This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

Fort Worth’s Q Cinema got underway last night with the screening of the period drama Funkytown, but there’s plenty of good programming all weekend long. And while you’re in Cowtown, check out some of the performances at the Fort Worth Opera (if you haven’t already, send in your email to win tickets to some performances this weekend.)

If you prefer to stick closer to Dallas, Paula Poundstone is performing Saturday night at the Lakewood Theater. And if you haven’t seen it already — seriously!?!? — Mamma Mia is playing at Fair Park Music Hall, courtesy of Dallas Summer Musicals. Tonight at Revive is the latest Gay Dallas Happy Hour, starting at 5 p.m., with DJ Paul Kraft spinning (the food is worth a bite, too).

There’re some leather events this weekend as well, from the spank-happy Butt Busters leather event on Saturday to the Women’s International Leatherfest, going on all weekend. And Snow White and the Huntsman is the summer movie you wanna catch (complete with a Hemsworth, pictured) before Prometheus comes out next week.

Stealing a little god-of-thunder from Marvel’s announcement that its gay Northstar superhero would get hitched later this month, DC Comics has outed the Green Lantern as gay. He certainly has always had fashion sense. And it may erase some memories of the Ryan Reynolds movie from last year.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

The electric Norseman

When I was a kid, all I knew about Thor was he had long blond hair and big muscles and he carried a huge hammer and he was a god. My fantasy life took over from there. To be honest, I had just as big a crush on his  nemesis, brother Loki, whose horns and lackadaisical villainy were seductive.

Those roles are almost reversed in Thor, the new live action film that kicks off the summer movie season. One look at bearded, impossibly over-muscled Aussie Chris Hemsworth as Thor and you’ll believe in at least one god.

Some mythologies are inherently more receptive to cinematic expression than others, and it was a stroke of genius to hire Kenneth Branagh to direct this. He gives the story a Shakespearean scope, with Loki playing Iago to Thor’s Othello. He also knows something of character development, humanizing Loki and making the bigger-than-life characters relatable.

There are some slow parts, and the opening is a visual muddle that doesn’t benefit from the 3-D add-on, especially when the special effects themselves are so impressive. The penultimate battle, with a hulking robot called The Destroyer, has a primal urgency that sneaks up on you. And the art direction is a glorious fantasia of otherworldly grandeur. It’s almost as pretty to look at as Thor himself. Almost.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

Opens today in wide release.
Three stars

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 6, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens