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Filmland

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Lake. Learn more about how to prepare for wildfire and share your concerns and ideas. This workshop is for the communities of Redwood Valley, Chezem, Titlow and all residences in the surrounding area. Refreshments. Free. 267-9542. Coffee with a Cop. 2 p.m. Espresso and More, 39063 State Route 299, Willow Creek. Join your neighbors and deputies from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office for coffee and conversation. Free. Humboldt Cribbage Club. 6:15 p.m. Moose Lodge, 4328 Campton Road, Eureka. See Nov. 9 listing. Sip & Knit. 6-8:30 p.m. NorthCoast Knittery, 320 Second St., Eureka. See Nov. 9 listing. Standard Magic Tournament. 6-10 p.m. NuGames Eureka, 1662 Myrtle Ave. #A. See Nov. 9 listing.

Heads Up … Humboldt Towing is collecting gifts for its Christmas Box campaign benefiting fire victims. To donate gifts (puzzles, LEGOs, games, pajamas, books, toys for 0-12 years old, etc.) drop off at Humboldt Towing, 101 H St., Eureka, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more info, call 442-4066. Humboldt State University’s Humboldt International Film Fest announces the call to entry for local short narrative, documentary, animation and experimental films (1-30 minutes long) made within the past 5 years. Deadline is midnight Feb. 28, 2018. Entry fee is $10 for Humboldt County residents and free for HSU students and alumni. Visit www.hsufilmfestival.com, call 826-4113

or email filmfest@humboldt.edu. The McKinleyville Community Services District announces two alternate member vacancies on the Recreation Advisory Committee. Letters of application may be mailed to the MCSD, Attn: Lesley Frisbee, P.O. Box 2037, McKinleyville, CA 95519. Contact the Parks and Recreation Office at 839-9003. Arcata Fire District is seeking a community-minded individual to serve on an elected five-person board of directors. Visit www.arcatafire.org to download an application. For more information, call 825-2000. Interested in volunteering for EPIC? Contact Briana Villalobos, briana@wildcalifornia.org or call 822-7711 to be added to the volunteer list. Headwaters Fund mini-grants available for projects to promote local economic development. For more information call 476-4809 or visit www.humboldtgov. org/2193/Mini-Grants. The Morris Graves Museum of Art seeks volunteer greeters for Friday and Saturday afternoons, noon to 2:30 p.m. and 2:30 to 5 p.m. Contact Janine Murphy, Museum Programs Manager at janine@humboldtarts. org or 442-0278, extension 202. North Coast Community Garden Collaborative seeks donated garden supplies, monetary donations and/or volunteers. Contact 269-2071 or debbiep@nrsrcaa.org. Volunteers needed for the Arcata Marsh Interpretive Center. Call 826-2359 or email amic@cityofarcata.org. Volunteers wanted for Eureka VA clinic. Call 269-7502. ●

RESTAURANTS A-Z Search by food type, region and price. Browse descriptions, photos and menus. www.northcoastjournal.com

42 NORTH COAST JOURNAL • Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017 • northcoastjournal.com

Not All Heroes Wear Frowns

Ragnarok cracks wise, Bad Moms Christmas, not so much John J. Bennett

filmland@northcoastjournal.com

Reviews

THOR: RAGNAROK. I’ve tried to find at least something to like about each addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe; this has proven easier in some cases than others. By and large, the movies are entertaining, expensive looking and well acted, but they also tend toward overlength, weak plots and debilitating Chronic Seriousness. That last one has never made any sense to me but I’ve been moaning about it for years now, so I’ll try to keep it brief. The glowering grandiosity and forced solemnity of the MCU as a whole, even shot through as it can be with off-handed sarcasm, undermines some of the inherently goofy joy of the source material — and of the very medium — from which these stories are drawn. And of all the Marvel movies, I have found Thor’s to be the worst offenders. Thor (2011) and Thor: The Dark World (2013) both heave along on under-written scripts, freighted with misplaced importance and overwrought design; they make the air in a theater feel heavy. So it comes as no small, nor unpleasant, surprise that Thor: Ragnarok should be so nimble, funny and bright. (It’s still too long, but that is easily forgiven). Thor (Chris Hemsworth), having spent a couple of years wandering the universe, finds himself a prisoner of Surtur (voiced by Clancy Brown), a giant, fiery demonic sort who intends to set in motion a series of cataclysmic events (Ragnarok) that will destroy Asgard. Thor puts the brakes on that plan and then heads home to check in on the family. Not surprisingly, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has made a devious power play in Odin’s (Anthony Hopkins) absence. Thor takes little brother to task and the pair head to Earth to look for Dad. After a brief interaction with Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), they are re-united with Odin, who informs them that

there are dark, tumultuous days ahead for Asgard, embodied by Hela (Cate Blanchett), the goddess of death. She proves more than a match for Thor and Loki, and manages to shunt them to a colorful, chaotic planet called Sakaar as she ascends to Asgard to wreak havoc. On Sakaar, a sort of galactic garbage dump presided over by Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), gladiatorial combat has become the primary source of entertainment. Thor is conscripted to fight in the arena, where he must face Grandmaster’s champion, the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). And then he needs to convince Hulk to help him get off-planet, recruit some willing fellow gladiators, outwit Loki in his continual double-crossing and compel Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), the alcoholic Asgardian who captured him in the first place, to join him in the defense of Asgard. (It’s a lot, but the plot moves along more briskly than a summary might suggest). Thor: Ragnarok succeeds most in its avoidance of the tropes of the prior two entries. Where they were defined by darkness, it finds its identity in light and humor. This, of course, must be primarily attributed to the presence of director Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, 2016; What We Do in the Shadows, 2014), a veteran of indie-comedy whom one might not have expected to be anointed and placed at the helm of one of the biggest releases of the year. But his sense of timing, his relaxed, improvisational direction of actors and his obvious glee at having access to a gigantic toy box transform a formerly burdensome property into something compelling and joyful. They are still moments in Ragnarok — primarily the Asgard-set sections — that bow to the high drama and staid design of the previous movies. They are so well-balanced by the more whimsical, imaginative elements of the story, though, that

North Coast Journal 11-09-17 Edition  
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