Best Thor Actors

How Thor: Ragnarok deconstructed the Viking spaceman; Christian Bale out-chameleons chameleons; Chrissy Judy is a gay drag platonic love story for everyone — and one of the year’s best films. Plus some other recommendations. All in today’s Movie News Rundown.

Out Today: Thor: Love and Thunder is in theaters this afternoon, and to mark the occasion, Sarah Druhan writes about how its predecessor, Thor: Ragnarok, changed the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Set against the multiracial Asgard and in the hands of Marvel’s first director of color,” she writes, “the character became almost a deconstruction of Marvel’s customary white-male superhero.” I never realized this before, but it’s true.

Christian Bale Has Range: The new David O. Russell film Amsterdam — perhaps coincidentally, perhaps strategically — released its new trailer yesterday just as star Christian Bale is getting lots of attention for his Nosferatu-like turn as Gorr the God Butcher in Thor: Love and Thunder. One reason Bale is so high on our list of the Best Actors Ever to Do a Thor Movie is his ability to go from this…

…to this:

All in on Amsterdam: This looks like a movie that’s very in line with our sensibility. Christian Bale spoke to us for this American Psycho oral history in our January 2020 issue, in which we learned that he can sweat on cue. Its other lead, Margot Robbie, was the subject of our cover story in the same issue. And the third lead, John David Washington, was the subject of our cover story two issues later.

One of the Best Movies of the Year: Todd Flaherty’s Judy Chrissy does one of my favorite things a movie can do — invite you to hang out with characters without over-explaining, justifying or simplifying them. It’s the story of two friends and drag queens, Judy and Chrissy, whose intense but platonic friendship is threatened when one gets into a new relationship. It’s shot in black and white — think Manhattan with getaways to Philadelphia and Provincetown, Mass. — by Todd’s cinematographer brother, Brendan Flaherty, and they did the whole thing for under $20,000. Here’s our interview with Todd Flaherty about how the film came together.

Where to See Chrissy Judy: The film premiered at the Provincetown International Film Festival and next comes to Outfest. (You can also watch online.) Here are details and the trailer:

Lower East Side Film Festival: New York City’s Lower East Side has long been a haven for Ukrainian immigrants, and tonight’s opening of the LESFF honors that. In association with the CinemAid Ukraine Charity Film Marathon, the festival, based at the Village East Cinema, will feature World Premiere shorts tonight from Ukrainian filmmakers.  There’s complimentary beer and wine, and snacks from Veselka. I know people who’ve never heard of Veselka have no idea why I’m mentioning that, but people who’ve been there totally get it. You can learn more about the festival here.

Over-the-Rhine Film Festival: If you’re in beautiful Cincinnati, check out the OverTheRhine Film Festival, which organizers describe as a “diversity-driven film festival in the nation led by people from the disability community with films created by the disability community.” It runs through July 10, and you can learn more here. Here’s the trailer for tonight’s opening film, Not a Hero:

Stranger Things Spinoff: Deadline exclusively reports that Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer, aka The Duffer Brothers, have formed a new company called Upside Down Pictures and agreed to several new Netflix projects, including a Stranger Things spinoff, a live-action series adaptation of the Japanese manga and anime series Death Note, and a series adaptation of the 1984 Stephen King and Peter Straub novel The Talisman. We’re also getting a stage play set in the world of Stranger Things.

Speaking of Stranger Things: In the latest Low Key podcast we talk about how it’s become one of those shows we like even when we don’t like it. We think the new episodes are too long, for example (Duffer Brothers may agree) — yet we’re still interested. We also talk about how high schoolers should set more realistic relationship expectations. You can listen on Apple or Spotify or wherever or here.

Main image: Naked Thor, whose nudity symbolizes his vulnerability and deconstruction. Also we’re hoping this will maybe help us get some clicks from folks who Google “naked Thor.” Matter of fact, here you go, perverts:

Other image: Christian Bale as Gorr the God Butcher.