This week’s movie releases

No Branagh at the helm but ‘Thor’ wields his hammer once more

A scene from 'Thor: The Dark World.'
A scene from 'Thor: The Dark World.'

Thor was one of the better comic-book adaptations to roll off the ever-turning Marvel movie conveyor belt, a fact helped by director Kenneth Branagh's digging (slightly) deeper into the character's Norse roots than you might have expected. But the British filmmaker has now jumped longship for sequel Thor: The Dark World — his fun-looking Tom Clancy reboot Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is out in the new year. In his place we have TV specialist Alan Taylor, who helms a largely unchanged cast with Chris Hemsworth returning as the hammer-wielding hero, who this time round is called on to save Earth and the Nine Realms from a dark power that predates the universe itself - surely a nice addition to any superhero's resume. To do so he has to reunite with Natalie Portman's astrophysicist Jane Foster and join forces with upstart adoptive brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Sir Anthony Hopkins returns as Odin, as do Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba and Rene Russo.

Soon set to join the Marvel universe himself — in next year's Captain America: The Winter Soldier — Robert Redford can first be seen in The Company You Keep, which he also directed and produced. Redford plays a former 1970s radical leftist revolutionary wanted for murder who goes on the run after he's outed by journalist Shia LaBeouf.

Only God Forgives, Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn's follow-up to his acclaimed Drive, has polarized critics with its neon-bathed stylized violence. Set in the Bangkok underworld, it again stars Ryan Gosling, who plays the owner of Thai boxing club, a criminal who's forced into avenging his brother's murder by his intimidating mother (Kristin Scott Thomas).

From writer and filmmaker David Trueba — brother of Spanish Oscar winner Fernando — Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed stars Javier Cámara as a Beatles-obsessed English teacher in 1960s Spain who hits the road when he learns his hero John Lennon is filming down in Almería. Joining him along the way are a teenager running away from his strict father and a pregnant young woman also fleeing home.

Porn again

Don Jon marks the directorial debut of actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who also takes the lead here as a young womanizer and internet porn junkie who tries to repress his addiction after he falls for the more romantically inclined Scarlett Johansson.

Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, documentary Blackfish examines the often cruel treatment that killer whales receive in captivity, focusing on the story of Tilikum, who has been involved in the deaths of several people.

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