Men in Black: International (2019)

Director: F. Gary Gray

Writer: Matt Holloway, Art Marcum (Screenplay) Lowell Cunningham (Characters)

Starring: Tessa Thompson, Chris Hemsworth, Rebecca Ferguson, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Kumail Nanjiani

 

Plot: The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization.


Tagline – The Universe is Expanding

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lifeless

 

Story: Men in Black: International starts as we see the mission which made Agent High T (Neeson) and Agent H (Hemsworth) famous before meeting Molly (Tessa Thompson) who has been trying to find her way to the Men in Black, proving herself to be a useful asset that Agent O (Emma Thompson) gives a chance to.

Sending Molly under the name Agent M to London, she works with Agent H to uncover the why a dangerous species has arrived on Earth, with a connection to one of the deadliest enemies The Hive, can Agent H show Agent M the ropes to save the world once again?

 

Thoughts on Men in Black: International

 

Characters – Agent H is known as one of the most famous agents in the Men in Black, he uses his swagger to get the job done, seeming to be lucky over good, he almost feels more like a James Bond figure over any other agent we have seen before, his reputation has put him above other agents, but others see him not reaching the promised potential. Agent M, has been trying to find the Men in Black after an encounter as a child, she has applied to every law enforcement agency in America, not getting any luck even after being offered jobs, she has her own way to hunt potential alien visits, until she finds the Men in Black, she gets offered a chance, with her first assignment in London, to work with that branch which leaves her working with Agent H, trying to save the world, left in a position we aren’t sure who to trust like her. This is a strange character because she starts out being all about independent strong woman and soon just gives this up for a guy she fancies. Pawny is one of the aliens that ends up working with H and M, he gets all the laughs and is easily the best part of the movie. Agent O runs the New York branch, she reluctantly gives Molly a chance to prove herself, unlike any system the team has done for recruitment. Agent High T is the former partner of H, they saved the world once, he will always stick up for H after his mistakes, being like a father figure to him. Riza is a former lover and alien arms dealer, she does have a beauty figure that could get what she wants.

PerformancesThis is the hardest part of this review, we have some of my favourite actors in this film and they are exposed to their weaknesses through this film. Chris Hemsworth has been able to handle comedy with ease before, only he does well with his character, only it feels like his character shouldn’t be acting like this. Tessa Thompson starts well, only to just being generic throughout the film. Emma Thompson is just not used enough and Liam Neeson is involved enough to impact the main story. Kumail Nanjiani brings the jokes, showing he knows comedy being the highlight in the film.

StoryThe story follows a rookie MIB agent that finds herself in the middle of the battle to save the universe when visitors are searching for something on Earth. This is where everything does seem to fall apart for this movie, the story is painfully weak and flawed all over the place. we get confusing main characters, who lack the spark the original pairing had, the character don’t even feel like real agents either, granted one is new, but we have always been led to believe they are strict and well behaved. The story going on is hard to get invested in because of the direction it goes through, we don’t get to care about the characters which only makes the big scenes lack that it factor. It does end up feeling like a story which goes, here is one location, head to this location and then another location.

Action/Adventure/Comedy/Sci-FiThe action involved in the film is very basic, we get the chases and minor fight and one moment that includes too many guns, the adventure does take our agents around the world, hence the international name tagged to the film. the comedy misses on nearly every level, if it wasn’t for Pawny, it would have failed completely. The aliens are here and while what the alien twins can do are interesting to see, only we don’t get anything new.

SettingsWe get the easy location around the world, New York, Paris, London etc, we get an international feeling which is all needed.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are strong throughout with the alien twins getting the most use out of them with their unique look.


Scene of the Movie –
Pawny

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is painfully predictable.

Final ThoughtsThis is a simple addition to the Men in Black franchise, which does waste the talents of the people involved to give us one of the most predictable movies you will ever see.

 

Overall: Use the Neuralyzer.

Rating

 

 

Straight Outta Compton (2015)

straightDirector: F Gary Gray

Writer: Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berloff (Screenplay) S Leigh Savidge, Alan Wenkus, Andrea Beroff (Story)

Starring: O’Shea Jackson Jr, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Neil Brown Jr, Aldis Hodge, Marlon Yates Jr, R Marcos Taylor, Carra Patterson, Alexandra Shipp, Paul Giamatti

 

Plot: The group NWA emerges from the mean streets of Compton in Los Angeles, California, in the mid-1980s and revolutionizes Hip Hop culture with their music and tales about life in the hood.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Important but Long Bio-Pic

 

Story: Straight Outta Compton starts by introducing us to all our five main players and where they are at their life early on Ice Cube (Jackson Jr), Eazy-E (Mitchell), DJ Yella (Brown Jr) and MC Ren (Hodge), each one of these dreams of being more and they all have talent but the neighbourhood they are in makes this difficult for them. Dr Dre (Hawkins) is the well-respected popular rapper from the neighbourhood who continues to live around looking for new music.

When Eazy-E meets Jerry Heller (Giamatti) he offers to take a chance on the NWA promising to take them to the main stream. With NWA taking the world by storm we see the early divides within the group as they all look to make something for themselves but Gangster Rap becomes the biggest thing in America.

The rivalries between the crew becomes clear when Ice Cube goes solo and the rest of the NWA learns that not everything is as clear as they believe it to be as they all want to become the main attraction in the industries which will lead to devastating consequences.

Straight Outta Compton is a film that surrounded the Oscars as one of the missed opportunity to be diverse but watching it I found myself thinking it didn’t deserve to be in the Oscar contention. This doesn’t help that I am not a big fan of the style of music or the attitude this can give show people from the neighbourhood to be. The other use of the ‘N’ word throughout the film gives us what can be seen as the problem with a racial divide. The story off the rise of a small-time rap group is interesting and seeing how they got divided but remain respectful but are the only ones who know what they need to do to get out of the trouble making neighbourhood.

The acting is all top notch from what is nearly all an unknown cast at the time in the NWA roles even with the heavyweight performance from Giamatti ones again. I will say this film is too long because we spend well over an hour just dealing with the parties but the interesting side of the story comes from the divide and consequences between these now icons of music.

 

Overall: Great look into the world even if it is over glamorising certain points of the careers.

Ratingcard

 

 

Original v Remake Weekend – The Italian Job (2003)

Director: F Gary Gray

Writer: Donna Powers, Wayne Powers (Screenplay) Troy Kennedy-Martin (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Donald Sutherland, Jason Statham, Seth Green, Yasiin Bey, Edward Norton

 

Plot: After being betrayed and left for dead in Italy, Charlie Croker and his team plan an elaborate gold heist against their former ally.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid but Confusing Remake

 

Story: The Italian Job starts as Charlie Croker (Wahlberg) and his tea John Bridger (Sutherland) Handsome Rob (Statham), Lyle (Green), Left Ear (Bey) and Steve (Norton) pulling of a heist in Venice, an Italian Job if you like. With the job done perfectly the escape looks like a sure thing only for Steve to turn on them leaving the rest of the team for dead.

One year later Charlie brings the team back together with Stella (Theron) John’s daughter in to get revenge on Steve by stealing the gold he stole from them.

 

Thoughts on The Italian Job

 

Characters/PerformanceCharlie is not the character we knew from the first one, he isn’t the womaniser, quick talker we loved but just a dull smart guy, Stella brings us the female character need for the heist and the daughter of Mr Bridger does work but she isn’t anything overly special. Steve is the traditional backstabber greedy villain but again doesn’t have too much about him. The rest of the crew all have the banter they need that get laughs but are no more than you need, the tech guy, the explosives guy and the getaway driver.

Performance wise, I think the word fine is going to be used a lot here, Wahlberg just doesn’t have the charisma that Michael Caine bought to the role and the whole of the ‘good’ team have fine but nothing special performances. Ed Norton on the other hand you can see doesn’t want to be there.

StoryThe story does build on the original story, it has a heist in Italy, but after that first ten minutes it turns into a revenge heist in LA making the title misleading. The story isn’t anything fresh because we have seen this style of heist movie many times before, it just rips off one of the bests ideas.

Action/CrimeThe action is fine as we are left with the final chase being the payoff for the movie but it doesn’t live up to the original. The crime is a heist so we are cheering for thieve whatever happens.

SettingsThe opening setting is Italy great works for the title of the film but the rest is set in LA which doesn’t make sense.

Special EffectsThe special effects are used to show whole the heist will go but it just doesn’t look very good.

Final ThoughtsIf this was a stand-alone heist movie it would be good but nothing special but being a remake it just doesn’t work on the right levels.

 

Overall: Remake we never really needed.

Rating

 

 

Law Abiding Citizen (2009)

Director: F. Gary Gray
Starring; Jamie Foxx, Gerard Butler, Colm Meaney, Bruce McGill, Leslie Bibb, Michael Irby, Gregory Itzin, Regina Hall, Emerald-Angel Young, Christian Stolte, Annie Corley, Richard Portnow, Viola Davis, Josh Stewart

While simply looking after his daughter and getting ready for the family meal a door bell rings and Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) answers the door only to get attacking by two men restrained and beaten the men move into the house killing his wife and young daughter. Clarence Darby (Christian Stolte) and Rupert Ames (Josh Stewart) are caught and taken to a trial. Hot shot lawyer Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx) is offered a deal which gives him his guarantee success rate which is all that matters to him. This deal with Clarence means Rupert is put to death while he goes free after three years in jail. Clyde is less than impressed but has little choice but to accept.

Ten years down the line Rupert Ames is about to be executed and Nick and his mentor Jonas Cantrell (Bruce McGill) and his new apprentice Sarah Lowell (Leslie Bibb) all go to view, only something goes wrong leading to a less human death for Ames. The police go after Clarence thinking he might know or be involved in the crime only for him to be given an escape by a mystery police man who turned out to be Clyde. Clyde ends up butchering Clarence and filming it.

Police then arrest Clyde Nick questions Clyde only for Clyde to use a play on words to sound guilty but never actually admitting anything. The Tape Clyde filmed was sent to Nicks Family his wife Kelly (Regina Hall) and daughter Denise (Emerald-Angel Young) who watch it only for the tape to reveal no image of the murderer. On to the bail hearing where Clyde gets Judge Laura Burch (Annie Corley) to grant bail with legal material he has learnt himself. Only to laugh and shove it in her face question how they can let someone accused of murder free.

Clyde is now in jail waiting for trial but starts offering deals to Nick if these deals are not met people involved in the original case will die, will Nick continue to take the deals or not? who will be the ones to suffer for Nick’s pride and Clyde revenge.

The Story will keep you on the edge of your seat and also keep you question who to cheer for as Nick is by the book not getting hands dirty guy while Clyde is trying to bring the justice system down so there are no more deals. I personally cheer for Clyde as his character sums up the feeling anyone who had something similar happen to them would drive them to the edge.

My overall rating is a perfect action thriller 93%