Category Archives: Sci-Fi & Fantasy

Men in Black: International (2019) Movie Review By The Moviie Couple

Men in Black: International Review

Director: F. Gary Gray
Writers: Matt Holloway, Art Marcum
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Kumail Nanjiani,Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Rafe Spall

Moviie Couple here!   We went to see ‪Men In Black‬: International this weekend!  Remember we are just a married couple that loves movies!  We’re here to tell you if we liked it.  Film experts we are not!  Just a quick reminder of our rating system.   Mrs. Moviie Couple and I, rate films on whether they are worth the cash spent on a night out.  we use a 1-6 Dollar Bill system.  1-2 Bills equal a waste of both our time and money!  3-4 Bills equal Meh to Pretty Good, money well spent!  5-6 Bills equal Wow!  Well worth the price of dinner, movie and sitter!  Please take our money again!

‪Men In Black: International continues and builds on the world started in 1997 with the original Men In Black starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.  MIB:I introduces us into a new recruit to the MIB ranks (The mysterious covert government organisation that protects Earth from any and all threats without the public’s knowledge)  and expands our story to the London Branch of the MIB.  The film stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson as the new Agents in the spotlight.  They are joined by Liam Nesson and Emma Thompson as the Agents in Charge.

Rebecca Ferguson (of recent Mission Impossible fame) and Kumail Nanjiani round the cast out as alien enemies and allies met along the way.  MIB:I begins with the story of Molly and how she becomes a member of the MIB (We never spoil here at Moviie Couple) and the facing of an alien threat known only as the Hive.  As Tommy Lee Jones legendary MIB agent once told us all, there ALWAYS is a threat to Earth’s existence going on at any given time.  Our director is F. Gary Gray of Straight Outta Compton and Fate of the Furious success! New characters, Big Stars, action sequences, alien threats and alien comic relief, a space McGuffin!  I believe that covers our mission briefing.  Will Molly earn her shades? Does Chris Hemsworth save the day?  Does he manage to keep his shirt on?  Will Earth survive the newest threat to all life on our planet?  Grab your sunglasses, fire up your neuralyzers, straighten your ties and lets get right into the reviews!‬

So here we go!

Mr. Moviie Couple:  I love Hemsworth from his work in the MCU as Thor and absolutely am a huge fan of Thompson from her portrayal of Bianca in both Creed films.  So I had some high hopes coming in.  Both worked together in Thor Ragnarok, which I didn’t like tone wise overall, but I felt they worked well together in that film.  I also, for the most part, liked the MIB series.  So we have two actors I enjoy very much, a series I enjoy mostly, what could go wrong?  A LOT apparently.  This film fails us on so many levels.  Let me start by saying the first 15 minutes or so, our introduction to Molly (Tessa Thompson) and her entering the world of the MIB was very well done.  It explained a lot left out in the trailer and I was on board early, but everything after her introduction fell off a cinematic cliff.  Also this movie doesn’t just foreshadow, it foreshadows with huge NEON glowing signs everywhere!

Early scenes nearly leap at the viewer or point imaginary arrows at certain things (we never spoil) nearly screaming at the audience “THIS WILL BE IMPORTANT LATER!”  It’s embarrassing.  Every “surprise” or “shock” this film hoped to spring on you can be seen coming as early as the first 10-15 minutes in.  This movie seemed to have a road map to its conclusion almost as soon as the opening sequence was finished.  Hemsworth was his charming, bumbling, self.  Part Bond/Part Maxwell Smart and all Hemsworth.  Tessa was the best part of this film, as she made me believe she was Molly and that she was thoroughly enjoying finally being in the world she searched her whole life to find.  But the funny chemistry that led this franchise to its great success, that of Smith and Jones, is absent from this film.  Molly and H never reach that comradery or team work that even the rookie Smith did with Jones.

Even likeable Molly doesn’t quite earn her heroic moments.   Two major moments for her come, not from her skill or brains, but rather from luck or alien pals. Nanjiani is funny as the alien sidekick Pawny, but not as funny as the script thinks he is.   And in there lies the fault of MIB:I, the script or directing let this film down.  The talent is there (although wasted on the great Ms. Ferguson) , the effort is there, but the execution is lacking.  The sum does not equal the parts.  Such a let down for a once great franchise despite great talent.  I give Men In Black: International a solid 2 Bills! Ughh. What a waste of my money.  I should have caught it on TBS in a few months.

Mrs. Moviie Couple:  She summed her feelings up with one word, Predictable.  Utterly predictable!  She found Chris Hemsorth (usually a favourite of hers from the Super hero films she doesn’t care for) typical and even boring and lifeless.  She even mentioned being somewhat insulted, as a female fan, that the film makers felt a few shirtless shots of Mr.Hemsworth would make her ignore a wooden performance.  She thought Tessa Thompson’s performance was the only highlight, but still felt there was a lack of chemistry between the two leads.  She was confused throughout the film as to whether the point was to build a romance between them or not.  Neither performance leaned in either direction.  Liam Neeson did nothing spectacular for her either and she felt he simply collected an easy paycheck.

She found the “Cute” Pawny (Nanjiani) not cute, funny or likeable.  Even the aliens were generic and typical and added no fun as they did in the previous editions of the franchise.  She stated “The best thing about this movie was the free MIB sunglasses they gave us.”  The Mrs. felt this movie never should have been made.  Her final comment was how she wished ‪Will Smith‬ would show up and Neutralise her so she could forget ever seeing this movie.  “You never saw this movie, it never existed.  Go see Aladdin again”  She would beg for that memory instead.   She would have walked out if she were alone.  There must be some better things on HBO right now!  Mrs. Moviie Couple gives ‪Men In Black‬: International 1 Bill!!! Yikes, she said if our system allowed it she would have went lower!!

On the way home, We bemoaned the experience.  I continued to talk of the world of MIB, how this film didn’t even follow the established rules of preventing public knowledge of aliens and how this film could have been better. She just kept saying it was her most painful movie experience so far.  At least we got a pair of cool MIB sunglasses!  I give it 2 Bills, just a badly executed sequel.  The Mrs. gives it 1 Bill!  She wanted to walk out!  Even Hemsworth and Thompson could save this film, she wished the aliens won!  So we’ll go with an average of 1.5 Wow!  Run from this film, nothing to see here and if you do see something, get Neutralise quickly!

Till next time, Ties tight, glasses on and we’ll see you at the movies!  Be sure to check our facebook page for a clue to our next movie up for review!  Mr. & Mrs. Moviie Couple out!

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Attraction (2017) Movie Review By D.M. Anderson

Attraction Review

Prityazhenie (original title)

Director: Fedor Bondarchuk
Writers: Oleg Malovichko (screenplay), Andrey Zolotarev (screenplay)
Stars: Irina Starshenbaum, Alexander Petrov, Rinal Mukhametov

What’s the attraction? For one thing, the film starts off with the mother of all crash landings. An benevolent alien spaceship, which sort-of resembles a massive Pokeball, gets damaged during a meteor shower and enters Earth’s atmosphere. Honouring the time-honoured sci-fi tradition of shooting first and asking questions later, the Russian military shoots it down. This results in a long, gloriously-destructive sequence in which the ship plows through the heart of Moscow, flattening buildings and killing hundreds.

This is, by far, the best scene in the entire film. The remainder of Russia’s Attraction, while visually impressive, is a bit anti-climactic, not-to-mention derivative of such American classics as The Day the Earth Stood Still and Starman. A group of teenagers, angered by the death of one of their classmates during the crash, want revenge and are determined to take their neighbourhood back (no, seriously). Yulia (Irina Starshenbaum) initially leads the revolt with the help of her hunky boyfriend, Artyom (Alexander Petrov) and his buddies. However, after an even hunkier alien, Hekon (Rinal Mukhametov), saves her life, she decides to help him return to his ship, made more difficult by her estranged father (Oleg Menshikov), who also happens to command of the troops that shot it down in the first place.

Attraction is fast moving and watchable enough, with decent performances, good action scenes, impressive production design and spots of humour (both intentional and unintentional). The familiar story, however, is hampered by some terrible writing and needlessly stupid characters. Artyom, for example, turns on-a-dime from helpful hunk to revenge-fuelled psychopath, instantly able to jump into bio-mechanical body armour to wage war on the aliens, with the help of a few hundred angry neighbours armed with clubs (Yep…that’s how you get rid of beings who’ve mastered interstellar travel). Speaking of aliens, of course Hekon is young and handsome, complete with prerequisite five o’clock shadow and douchebag hair. How else can Yulia fall hopelessly in love with a guy from another world?

Though the CG-heavy climax descends further into utter predictability than we’d like – Attraction is kind-of fun (even if some of that fun comes at its own expense). We’ve seen it all before in better movies, but it’s nice to see what another country can do with a familiar concept. And if nothing else, the Pokeball crash alone might be worth the price of admission.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) Review By Philip Henry

Fantastic Beasts Review

Director: David Yates
Writers: J.K. Rowling
Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Johnny Depp

I was quite worried when the first Fantastic Beasts film was announced. I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter books and films, and the slim volume of creatures J.K. Rowling released for charity didn’t seem like the stuff of blockbuster movies; it seemed like they were just trying to milk the franchise for every drop of magic it had. But they pulled it off! The first movie was a fantastic success, not only financially, but creatively. To set the story in 1920s New York with all new characters, but still retain the familiar elements established in the Harry Potter films was a masterstroke, and one I seriously doubt they could’ve pulled off without J.K. Rowling’s involvement. She knows this world inside out, including heritage and back-stories that never made it into the Potter novels.

The first film had a pretty basic setup – a bunch of magical animals escape in New York and they have to be recaptured. This second outing doesn’t have a plot that can be summed up in one line, or even a paragraph, and that’s its main failing.

The Crimes of Grindelwald is like a lot of little vignettes instead of one complete story. There’s no clear task set out for our heroes to accomplish and so the film does feel like it chases its own tail a lot of the time. London and France are added to the list of locations and I’m not sure if this was a good idea or not. On one hand, it does give this problem a more international feel, and so upping the stakes, but on the other it just distracts from the plot as we sightsee around these new locations establishing new rules and characters.

Johnny Depp gives us yet another character with a unique look and he seems to be relishing playing the baddie, but I think it would’ve made him a stronger villain if we’d seen him doing some more nasty stuff. There is quite a disturbing death in an apartment in France, but since he gets one of his minions to do the dirty deed it gives the impression of a general doing what has to be done rather than someone who is truly evil relishing killing.

Jude Law plays the young Dumbledore and though his portrayal bares little resemblance to the wizened old headmaster we all know and love (he hasn’t even got started on that beard yet!), I’m hoping he’ll edge towards something more like the Albus we know as the movies go on. The scenes at Hogwarts give us something familiar to hang this whole story on, but once again these scenes are so badly fragmented at one point I didn’t realise we were in a flashback. This film really does feel like a script made of a hundred post-it notes for things we need to know going forward.

Emotionally I didn’t connect with the characters this time, even the ones returning from the first movie, and I think that’s because this script was trying to run in too many directions at once and forgot that above all we need to care about the characters. There’s a scene near the end which should’ve been heart-breaking, but fell flat with me, and it was simply because we hadn’t spent enough time with these people to care about them.

J.K. Rowling has said there are to be five of these movies, so we may well look back on The Crimes of Grindelwald as the movie that planted a lot of important seeds for what is to come, but I felt they could’ve done that and still gave us an entertaining self-contained story that added to the greater story arc, instead of using two hours fifteen minutes to strategically position chess pieces for what’s to come.

Lucy (2014) Movie Review By Darrin Gauthier

Lucy

Director: Luc Besson
Writer: Luc Besson
Stars: Scarlett Johansson,  Morgan Freeman,  Min-sik Choi

Plot:  A woman, accidentally caught in a dark deal, turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.

Running Time: 89 Minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 66%    Audience 47%

Why I Watched It: This one slipped by me, I missed it and just got around to finally watching so yes I’m very late to the party.

Random Thoughts: Luc Besson is a very interesting director and not always in a good way.  He’s not pure Hollywood and that’s because of course he’s French and has also made French/Foreign films and has also produced a lot but when he directs he’s always big, his films are always loud and beautifully crazy and again not always in a good way, Lucy is very much a Besson joint.

What I Like: Scarlett Johansson is a very watchable actor not just because of her beauty but she’s always thinking and for the most part her characters either seem a little off or a tad different than who think they are.  For a star she does take risks and she can handle drama and action.  Here she’s easily the best part of the movie, she’s the reason you watch as the film gets crazier and downright silly.  She’s good but her character is very under written Johansson coasts on her own presence here.  I liked Morgan Freeman, he doesn’t do much but he’s Morgan Freeman and he’s always welcome in any film I watch.

This is an idea that I think works on paper and I do like the idea but the film loses it’s way but I’ll give it credit to try and be about something and trying to make a very smart science action film.

So to Besson, he has his fingers all over this and I did like the look and feel of the film and it’s crisp at under 90 minutes and he keeps the film moving at a decent speed.  The film does have a good action vibe to it.

What I Didn’t Like: The film goes off the rails and never really recovers, the idea is good enough use an action to explore the brain and use science in an action film, use the “we only use 5% of our brain” and sow what happens when we use more.  It’s the latter that the film just does wrong.  They tried to be smart in a pretty dumb action film and once Lucy becomes really smart then the film has nowhere to go and of course the film just keeps pushing things and it gets sillier and harder to care.

The film is also hurt by the fact that the film has a terrible villain this character is a cliche of a cliche, he’s just evil and really think about what he’s trying to do and how far he goes it really makes little sense.  The screenplay does no favors to it’s cast as no one is well written or fleshed out, the Morgan Freeman character works cause it’s Morgan Freaking Freeman.

The ending is beyond silly, I have to say I was bored by the end the film had out stayed it’s welcome, the film’s plot hit a brick wall but kept going.

Final Thoughts: Oddly it’s not a bad film just a not very good one but it’s watchable cause of it’s lead.

Rating: 5/10

Extinction (2018) Movie Review By Darrin Gauthier

Extinction Review

Director: Ben Young
Writers: Spenser Cohen (screenplay by), Brad Kane (screenplay by) (as Brad Caleb Kane)
Stars: Michael Peña, Lizzy Caplan, Amelia Crouch 

Plot:  A father has a recurring dream of losing his family. His nightmare turns into reality when the planet is invaded by a force bent on destruction. Fighting for their lives, he comes to realize an unknown strength to keep them safe from harm.

Running Time: 95 Minutes

IMDB Rating: 5.8

Why I Watched It: This is a Netflix exclusive so I saw a poster and that’s it, I went in blind I do really like Michael Pena but to counter that I’m not a Lizzy Caplan fan.

Random Thoughts: I think every character actor should get at least one kick at the can as lead in a film, now Pena has had co-leads before but here he’s front and center and it’s nice to see, he’s a very underrated actor who can do both comedy and heavy drama and that’s not easy.

As a point of interest this film is marketed heavily on the Sci-Fi elements in the film those elements take awhile to get fully introduced so be patient.

What I Liked: The thing I liked the most is that I didn’t care for the film for the first third, it was fine but boring and then it won me over.  Now I won’t spoil anything and this is the kind of film that I recommend you see without knowing too much cause there is a major twist that I think saves the film and there’s a couple of more to round out the film and for me that’s the reason to watch the film.  The twists make sense and then turn the film into something else, for the first third the film is very Sci-Fi light but then by the end it hits some very big Sci-Fi themes and they nail them.

The film starts very cliched and then becomes something else, I don’t want to say too much but at the beginning they steer you one way then man do they sucker punch you, the direction and the script is very good here, all of the twists have major effect, this is not just a twist for the sake of a twist.

Pena carries the load here, he’s good but he’s very quiet, nothing showy here but he’s solid as always.  He does a lot here with silences, you care about him cause you get the sense early on something is not quite right.  The key here is Pena doesn’t go over the top or do any big foreshadowing with his performance he deals with the twist as we do.

What I Didn’t Like: The beginning is slow and I’ll be honest I almost fell asleep and if I did I might not have gone back to finish it and that would have been a shame cause I really liked the last third but the first act is so cliched and so slow it does kill the tone and it is something they don’t fully get back, I know what they wanted to do and it was needed but they could have given the first act some energy.

After the twists the film is very good but the end does drag a bit and I’m glad the film was just over 90 minutes cause they were beginning to screw up the landing.

So I said I’m not a Lizzy Caplan fan,I just don’t like her style of acting but she’s fine here though I didn’t buy her and Pena has husband and wife.

Final Thoughts: Not a perfect film but a well written and very thought provoking Sci-Fi film well worth seeing.

Rating: 7/10

Anon (2018) Movie Review By Darrin Gauthier

Anon Review

Director: Andrew Niccol
Writer: Andrew Niccol
Stars: Clive Owen, Afiya Bennett, Morgan Allen, Amanda Seyfried

Plot:  In a world without anonymity or crime, a detective meets a woman who threatens their security.

Running Time: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

IMDB Score: 6.0

Why I Watched It: I like Owen, Seyfried and Niccol but I have to say they haven’t done much lately to get me excited but they were enough to get me to watch.

Random Thoughts: Andrew Niccol is living off Gattaga and it’s a good movie but he hasn’t been able to top it has a director and he’s tried in the past and he’s trying it again with Anon yet another movie with a Sc-Fi back drop.  I just want to point out that just having something set in the future and using advanced set doesn’t make it interesting or that Sci-Fi, here we have a murder mystery that happens to be set in the future.

This ended up as a Netflix exclusive, now that’s not good or bad, it doesn’t say anything about it’s quality but it does scream new content, so if you have Netflix and you see this with these actors hey click the play button.

What I Liked:  I love film noir, a good dark detective story and sadly we don’t get many anymore, film noir is about setting and tone and I will say Anon does a good job of setting up the world and it’s characters, the main characters do fit into a film noir world, they’re sad, broken and have major flaws.

The acting is fine, I think Seyfried is a good actress who just has broken through yet, she works and she’s been in some good films but she hasn’t broken out and here she plays off her looks more than anything else but she’s the best part of the film, she’s a smart and yet vulnerable character, she’s the only one with more than one shade in the film.

Owen is fine, he’s got a stock character to play and he does what is required but he’s better than this, he does do dark and brooding well though.

What I Didn’t Like:  This is a boring misfire and I know that sounds harsh but really this film doesn’t even try to do something different, this is your stock murder mystery, sure it fits into the sub genre of “is she the killer or not, oh and the detective falls for her” and yes that is a sub-genre, actually this film is Sea Of Love with a Sci-Fi twist.

Let’s talk about this Sci-Fi premise, they set up this tech and guess what they have someone who can break it,really it’s a gimmick or even a McGuffian, it really does nothing to enhance the story and to me the worst part of this film is the way it’s shot, it’s bland it doesn’t feel Sci-Fi at all, it looks and feels like Toronto present day.  There is no mood or atmosphere.

The biggest let down is the characters, just paint by number stock characters that we’ve seen a million times, there’s good actors here but really they’re going through the motions.  There’s no energy, the pacing is slow and like I said the film is boring for the most part.  The film never sucks you in and really you never end up caring.  It’s a middle of the road cliche riddled film that in a couple of months you will have forgotten you saw which is too bad.  Andrew Niccol has talent but right now he just feels like he’s fallen back on what he knows with this film and really not taking chances.

Final Thoughts:  Not a terrible film, if you like the actors give it a watch it just really did nothing for me and I had a hard time keeping myself interested in the film and story.

Rating: 4/10