Check out episode thirty of Richard’s web series, “In Isolation With…” It’s the talk show where we make a connection without actually making contact! Today, broadcasting directly from Isolation Studios (a.k.a. my home office), we meet an actor who is having an incredible couple of years. With starring roles in “Ready or Not,” “The Frontrunner,” “Goalie,” “Marriage Story,” “Bad Times at the El Royale,” “City on a Hill” and a new indie called “Hammer,” now on VOD, Mark O’Brien is a very busy actor… and if that wasn’t enough, he also became a dad and wrote and directed his own movie The Righteous.
On a Zoom call from his home in Los Angeles we caught up… talking about working on post production for his film “The Righteous” while in isolation, the short films he made with his friends growing up in Newfoundland, doing the Happy Gilmour dance on a film set, auditioning for Al Pacino and, of course, his most recent film, “Hammer.”
It’s the story of O’Brien’s character Chris, who is having a very bad day. Estranged from his parents and deep in debt to some very bad people, he arranges a deal with an old associate. They arrange to meet on a rural road to exchange $200,000 in cash in return for drugs. The deal goes wrong, bullets are fired and Chris, covered in blood splatter, makes a getaway on a motorcycle with the drugs and money. As he speeds through town on his getaway, his father Stephen, played by Will Patton spots him and immediately knows something is wrong. Over the course of one day the situation escalates…
“Hammer” is an engaging and offbeat thriller that makes the most of its lead performances. O’Brien manages to make Chris almost likeable despite his constant foul-ups and Patton, as a father caught up in a breathless situation, is all strength and goodwill, even when he’s doing terrible things. Why this wasn’t released on Father’s Day I’ll never know. As it is, you can find it on VOD, right now.
Let’s get to know Mark O’Brien.
Watch the whole thing HERE on YouTube or HERE on ctvnews.ca!
Richard and CP24 anchor Leena Latafat have a look at the new movies coming to VOD and streaming services including Jon Stewart’s satire “Irresistible” starring Steve Carell, the Netflix comedy with the longest title of the week,”Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga,” the dreary “Exit Plan” and the crime drama “Hammer.”
Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with host Todd Van Der Heyden to have a look at the new movies coming to VOD and streaming services including the political satire “Irresistible” starring Steve Carell, the Netflix comedy with the longest title of the week,”Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga,” and the dreary “Exit Plan.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to VOD and streaming services including the political satire “Irresistible” starring Steve Carell, the Netflix comedy with the longest title of the week,”Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga,” the dreary “Exit Plan” and the father-and-son crime drama “Hammer.”
“Hammer,” a new VOD thriller starring Will Patton, uses many of the genre’s puzzle pieces but rearranges them in a new and interesting way.
Chris (Mark O’Brien) is having a very bad day. Estranged from his parents and deep in debt to some very bad people, he arranges a deal with an old associate, Adams (Ben Cotton). They arrange to meet on a rural road to exchange $200,000 in cash in return for drugs. The deal goes wrong, bullets are fired. Adams (Ben Cotton) and his girlfriend Lori (Dayle McLeod) are wounded as Chris, covered in blood splatter, makes a getaway on a motorcycle with the drugs and money.
As he speeds through town his father Stephen (Will Patton), out doing errands, spots him and immediately knows something is wrong. The situation escalates as Adams, looking to find Chris and the stash, grabs Chris’ younger brother Jeremy (Connor Price) as a hostage. “You haven’t changed,” Stephen says as he and Chris drive toward an uncertain outcome. “You haven’t changed one bit.”
Just after everything goes sideways in Chris’ life director Christian Sparkes stages a scene in a cornfield that tells us everything we need to know about Chris in one potent image. Hidden among the plants is a snake devouring itself. It’s a quick shorthand for the cyclical nature of Chris’ self-destruction. He’s been in trouble before, and the imagery suggests the pattern will continue, even if he makes it out of this scrape alive. It’s details like this that elevate a standard crime drama, complete with crooked ex-colleagues, innocent family members and bad debts, from the same-old to something new.
But it is the father and son relationship that gives the movie its momentum. It asks, and mostly answers, big questions about unconditional love and how far a father will go to help his son. Sparkes builds tension all the way through the tight eighty-minute running time but never forgets to allow the relationship between the father and his ne’er do well son to slip from the forefront of the storytelling.
“Hammer” is an engaging and offbeat thriller that makes the most of its lead performances. O’Brien manages to make Chris almost likable despite his constant foul-ups and Patton, as a father caught up in a breathless situation, is all strength and goodwill, even when he’s doing terrible things. Why this wasn’t released on Father’s Day I’ll never know.
Despite starring in two movies based on a Marvel hero Natalie Portman says, “I’ve never gotten in to comic books.”
This weekend she reprises the role of Jane Foster, scientist and love interest to the God of Thunder in the Thor: The Dark World.
Portman may not have spent time reading comics but she can understand the obsession fans have with Thor’s characters because she was once a fangirl herself.
“The one thing I ever got into like that is really dorky,” she says. “Until I was twelve or thirteen I was obsessed with the Babysitter’s Club, a series of books for girls. There was a new book every month and the day the book would come out I had to go to the bookstore and get it and read it on the way home.
“The writer’s name was Ann M. Martin and my friends and I would look in the phone book and call every Ann Martin trying to get her.
“One time she came to our bookstore and did a signing. The week before I wrote a packet about what her next book should be about, with drawings, and I waited in line for three hours and gave it to her and she was like, ‘OK weirdo.’”
Playing heroine Jane Foster is miles away from her Academy Award winning role in the dark psychological drama Black Swan. Portman admits she “never thought I’d get the chance” to act in a superhero movie, “which is why whenever they ask I say yes.”
Also appealing is the chance to work with Anthony Hopkins, who she describes as “a giant among actors.” She shares several scenes with the veteran actor and says she was “completely intimidated” by him.
“I kept messing up lines around him because I was so nervous but he was so sweet about it. He’d say, ‘That’s a really hard line to say.’”
Many of her scenes with Hopkins take place on Asgard, the celestial planetoid home to Thor and family, which raises the question, Do you believe there is life on other planets?
“That question makes me think of another movie. In Antz all the insects are around a campfire,” she says, laughing, “and they say, ‘Do you think there’s something bigger than us out there?’
“It totally feels like that. Of course there has to be something else out there. I don’t know what it is but it would be completely silly to think that we’re ‘it.’”
Thor: The Dark World opens in theatres, bringing with it Chris Hemsworth as the sledgehammer wielding superhero with his rippling muscles, crazy mythology and Dark Elves.
The Marvel comic series borrowed the character from Norse mythology, coopting the God Of Thunder’s most famous weapon, the Mjölnir. In myth the name translates to “that which smashes,” and refers to his hammer, a fearsome club capable of leveling mountains, causing lightning flashes and boomeranging back when he throws it.
“The power within Mjölnir,” he says, “doth rage like the winter storms bursting upon the shore in furious assault!”
According to Nordic legend the mallet was forged by dwarven brothers Sindri and Brokkr but Marvel embroidered the lore, adding to the story the fictional Asgardian metal uru as the main component of the basher and an inscription that reads, “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.”
The image of Thor flying through the air, propelled by Mjölnir, is the iconic picture from the comics and movies, but not from mythology.
According to legend Thor’s preferred mode of transport was a chariot drawn by two 1700-pound warrior goats named Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder. But they didn’t just provide transport, they also frequently provided dinner as well—literally.
After a long day of battle a tired Thor would be too tired to hunt for food, so he’d kill and eat the goats. When he was done, he’d carefully wrap the bones in their pelts, wave Mjölnir over the bloody mess, and before you could say “By the Hammer of Thor!” the goats would come back to life, ready for more adventures.
In the comics Thor has unlimited power when it comes to controlling the mighty hammer, unlike in mythology where he often used a magical belt called a Megingjörð and iron gloves to give him the strength to employ Mjölnir to its full effect.
The hammer has also had an influence outside of the movies, mythology and comics. The sci fi show Stargate SG-1 used the Mjölnir as a plot device, The Thor’s Hammer Organization are the bad guys of the Silent Storm video game series and the dramatic lyrics “And out of the forge of dwarfs, To hold in your hand now, And for evermore, I give you the Hammer of Thor,” came from the Viking folk rock band Týr.