Friday Flicks: ‘Thor’-ly Not! ‘Thor’ Signals the Start of Summer Blockbuster Season

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Director of the movie Kenneth Branagh (right) greets cast member Chris Hemsworth at the premiere of "Thor" at the El Capitan theatre in Hollywood, California May 2, 2011.

Grab some popcorn! NewsFeed’s Glen Levy brings you the movies you should check out (or avoid) this weekend.

Thor

Tagline: Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of …

Once upon a time, Irish thespian Kenneth Branagh was touted as the next big thing. For whatever reason, he never quite pulled it off, either as an actor or director. But despite a track record working within the realms of Shakespeare and not having directed since the 2007 turkey, Sleuth, he’s been entrusted with Paramount’s big bucks, helming the first summer blockbuster of 2011, Thor.

And who has been entrusted with the eponymous part? That would be the 27-year-old Australian, Chris Hemsworth (last seen playing Kirk’s father on the Star Trek reboot), playing Thor, who has been cast out by his father (Anthony Hopkins) from the world of Asgard and banished to Earth. Cue an inevitable journey of self-discovery to say nothing of the threat posed by his jealous brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Naturally, their relationship has Thor-ed somewhat over the years with events now reaching a Thor point. But with all eyes on box-office takings this weekend, will they, in keeping with the comic book company that spawned the character in the first place, be a Marvel?

(More on TIME.com: See TIME’s review of Thor)

Something Borrowed

Tagline: It’s A Thin Line Between Love and Friendship.

Your willingness to watch Something Borrowed is entirely dependent on how you react to the following anecdote: to prepare for the shoot, director Luke Greenfield (The Girl Next Door) watched many a female-fronted film, including the Bette Midler vehicle, Beaches.

Still with us? Well, in that case, you’ll want to know that Something Borrowed has in no way, shape or form, borrowed from any movie which has ever trodden a similar path. Ahem. Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) is an attorney at a top New York law firm (is there any other kind?), who has steadfastly remained a firm friend to her engaged best pal Darcy (Kate Hudson) who likes nothing more than to remind Rachel that she remains single. But here’s the twist (and, we suppose, spoiler alert if you haven’t read Emily Griffin’s 2004 best-selling book): Rachel goes and beds the guy she’s had a crush on since law school, Dex (Colin Egglesfield), who is only Darcy’s fiancé! Lock this woman up and throw away the key!

In a nutshell, it sounds like the poor relation to the 2007 Steve Carell-Juliette Binoche rom-com, Dan in Real Life, which, at best, was forgettable in the first place. And a personal plea to Kate Hudson: We, as with everyone else you encountered during that magical movie, fell in love with you during Almost Famous. Please make us feel that way again.

(More on TIME.com: See Kate Hudson in TIME’s top 10 Cameron Crowe moments)

The Beaver

Tagline: He’s here to save Walter’s life.

Does anyone know whatever happened to that Mel Gibson? He seemed like such a nice chap, with nary a controversial opinion contained within his adorable frame, and won awards and fans aplenty for his pretty decent output. And then … nothing. Let us know if you hear anything!

While we await news about Gibson the person, here’s the latest on his new movie, The Beaver, which also marks Jodie Foster’s return to directorial duties for the first time since 1995′s Home for the Holidays (10 points if you’re not our critic Richard Corliss and already knew that). Foster also appears in the movie, as the wife to Gibson’s Walter Black – even his surname represents darkness! – the suicidal man (or, in the words of the trailer, “a hopelessly depressed individual”) who starts to communicate through a beaver puppet on his left hand (so far, so Mel, right?). And if you’re interested in TIME’s longer take, here it is.

Rounding out the cast are Anton Yelchin (second Star Trek reference of the article!) as their smart, savvy son and Jennifer Lawrence, who is the object of his desire. As for Gibson, it must have been a stretch for him to play a man losing his mind. Who could he have looked to for inspiration?

(More on TIME.com: See Mel Gibson in TIME’s top 10 badly behaved celebrities)

NewsFeed’s Flicks Pick: Branagh, Hudson and Gibson could all do with a hit. But not just for the pun opportunity it affords, after much Thor-tful consideration, our choice has been made.

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