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Slate’s Jessica Grose has a terrific interview with the wonderful Anna Chlumsky, child star of the 1991 classic “My Girl.”  Chlumsky took time away from acting to finish school and work as an editor before returning to star in this week’s Hallmark Channel movie Three Weeks, Three Kids and in the upcoming HBO series “VEEP,” from “In the Loop” writer/director Armando Iannucci.  She will play the chief of staff to a U.S. Vice President (Julia Louis-Dreyfus).  The interview is well worth reading — she is smart and funny and has some great stories.  And I love her answer to the question about whether Iannucci’s view is that politics is futile:

I agree that there’s a sense of “nobody’s a hero,” so there’s a futility in that sense. Does it mean that it’s a bad thing? I don’t know. Is just is. VEEP is going to be like that. Nobody’s safe. I get so bored when this person’s bad and this person’s good. My first litmus test when I see a piece or read a piece is: Is someone feeding me answers or did I leave with questions? That’s for me the only way to make an excellent piece.

It’s good to have her back!

 

 

 

 

The cast of “Glee” is going on the road with a concert tour, and Fox has announced that a 3D film of the tour will be in movie theaters late this summer.  Cast members Lea Michele (Rachel), Cory Monteith (Finn), Amber Riley (Mercedes), Chris Colfer (Kurt), Kevin McHale (Artie), Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina), Mark Salling (Puck), Dianna Agron (Quinn), Naya Rivera (Santana), Heather Morris (Brittany), Harry Shum Jr. (Mike), Chord Overstreet (Sam), Darren Criss (Blaine), and Ashley Fink (Lauren) will perform, and cameras will record on- and off-stage moments for the theatrical release.  Stay tuned for further details!

The Wrap notes that despite the record-smashing opening weekend for “Fast Five,” the rest of the summer movie line-up does not feature much ethnic diversity.

“‘Fast Five’ is a great example of Hollywood getting it right,” Craig Detweiler, professor of film history at Pepperdine University, told TheWrap. “Its multi-racial cast matches the multi-racial audience. The Rock and Vin Diesel reflect the browning of America, that there is more blurring across races and cultures than ever before. The box office take reflects that.”

But after that auspicious start, the summer derails quicker than one of Diesel’s sports cars. A quick scan of the major films hitting theaters over the next few months shows that Hollywood is about to flood the marketplace — again! — with four-quadrant fare almost exclusively by and starring the ever-shrinking white plurality.

I was pleased to see one of my favorite actors, Idris Elba of “The Wire” and “Daddy’s Little Girls,” in “Thor” (playing a character who is white in the comic books).  But The Wrap has it right:

Don’t look for anybody ethnic to save the world or make it safe for democracy in “The Green Lantern” or “Cowboys and Aliens.” For that matter, “X-Men: First Class” may preach inclusion, but its cast isn’t exactly a rainbow coalition.

 

The original Hammer is here.  Thor, Norse god of thunder and lightning (and the source of the word “Thursday”), star of Marvel comics written by Stan Lee and his brother Larry Lieber and memorably illustrated by Jack Kirby, now joins his fellow Marvel superheros with his own movie franchise.  Marvel pretty much has the big budget franchise assembly line working smoothly.  While it does not hit the spot the way “Iron Man” did, it delivers on what  it sets out to do, pleasing newcomers and fanboys as well.  To say that the post-credit sequence glimpse of things to come is the best part of the film is just to say that this film meets its number one goal — to increase anticipation for next summer’s Avengers movie, where we will see the superhero all-stars working together.

Thor (Australian hunk Chris Hemsworth) is the son of Odin, King of the Gods (Anthony Hopkins in magisterial mode).  In myth, Odin traded his eye for wisdom.  In comic books, he lost it in battle with the Frost Giants, with whom they now have an uneasy truce.  Thor has a brother named Loki.  They are close, but competitive, and true to his stormy nature, Thor is impetuous and arrogant.  A small incursion by the Frost Giants is squelched.  Odin wants to leave it at that.  Thor disobeys and takes the warriors from Asgard through a portal to fight the Frost Giants.  They fight bravely, but they are overmatched, and barely rescued by Odin.  Furious, Odin banishes Thor to earth, stripping him of his powers — and his mighty hammer.  “That is pride and vanity talking,” he tells his son, “not leadership.”

A physicist named Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) as pretty as her name is plain, finds him as she is investigating some cosmic phenomena.  As the government steps in to take over the investigation (“We’re the good guys.”  “So are we.”) she begins to realize that he is more than human.  And he begins to realize that the battles he left behind are following him to earth.  “These are someone else’s constellations,” Jane says as she looks up at the sky.

This has all the ingredients for a superhero movie — director Kenneth Branagh (yes, that Kenneth Branagh) ably mixes the action and drama. He takes it seriously enough to satisfy the fanboys and slyly but respectfully tantalizes them with touches only they will understand — look for Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye alter ego Clint Barton and a shout-out to Tony Stark.  But he makes it accessible to newcomers and adds in some humor, much of it provided by the refreshing Kat Dennings.  Hemsworth has all the charm and brawn anyone could wish, and Tom Hiddleston as Loki is one of the best super-villains to hurtle through a vortex to take control of the universe.  And the hammer really is extremely cool.

Stay to the very end of the credits for a glimpse of “The Avengers.”  If it makes this movie feel like nothing more than a long coming attraction, it makes me glad that “Captain America” will be out soon.