Tag Archives: F. Gary Gray

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!

Law Abiding Citizen (2009) Movie Retro Review by Stephen McLaughlin


Director: F. Gary Gray
Writer: Kurt Wimmer
Stars: Gerard Butler,  Jamie Foxx,  Leslie Bibb

Our season of Retro Reviews continues with “Law Abiding Citizen) this movie was initially released in 2009 and at the time I remember enjoying it for what it was. A vengeance movie with a “The Justice System is Flawed” slant on it. Now don’t get me wrong, for anyone who has watched this movie will realise and also have had time to digest the plot holes and a lot of the storyline being a bit far fetched. But to be fair the film is to entertain and there is enough action to oversee a few of these flaws. It’s mainly focused on Clyde Shelton (Butler) who is an inventor who gets beaten and stabbed by a couple of intruders whilst restrained. Clyde witnesses the murder of his wife an although off screen we are later informed his daughter is also murdered in this attack. However the intruders where captured by the law and their case and their punishment was dulled down because of a deal made by the lawyers (Jamie Fox) which has enraged Clyde as he begins to plan his own method of justice 10 years later, not only taking on the intruders but also the justice system and the team of law experts who where involved in the deal.

Jamie Foxx stars as hotshot Assistant DA Nick Rice, who is proud of his extremely high conviction rate and it is here  we find out the reason for this is his deals he makes with the guilt as was the method in Shelton’s case. Basically charge them for less, but they still get charged anyway. That been said I was surprised he took this method with Shelton’s case as in my opinion looked like a very black and white crime and should have been an open and shut case to me but hey….i’m no lawyer. I do know right from wrong though and in the case of Clyde Shelton he is the audience at least up to this point. Shattered and Disillusioned by a flawed justice system you can feel his anger and bitterness towards Rice and his Law Team. Foxx does what Foxx does best, he oozes confidence and is a fast talker who portrays Rice as a man who although you can sense has a conscience always lets the law rule his heart and of course his ego. Jamie Foxx portrays the character who at first is very much in control of his life but as the story unfolds you can see the deterioration in the character as he begins to sense he is loosing control of the situation as Shelton’s plans begin to unfold. Fair play and credit to Foxx who convincing visibly portrays two characters of the same man throughout the duration of the movie and redeems his original qualities at the very end of the movie.

Gerard Butler portrays his character very well in the sense that he is the audience at the beginning. Butler’s facial expressions are of pain and disbelief at the verdict of a crime that looked like a case closed situation and the audience felt this too. What Butler does next with the character is extraordinary as he goes from calm and focused to a man on a mission to seek vengeance and justice on everyone who has wronged him. Gerard Butler isn’t my favourite actor by a long shot. I first saw him in a movie called ‘PS I Love You” where he portrayed an Irish Fella. Now coming from Scotland and in particular the same area as myself I found it hard to believe that a fellow Celt would struggle with a convincing Irish Accent. Unfortunately for Butler he came off as a “Too Be Sure Too Be Sure” Leprechaunic annoyance in this film and it was there I realised that accents aren’t his forte. It is no different here portraying an American. I know this is nitpicking but what is that he is doing with his mouth the whole time? It’s almost as if he has marbles in his mouth to disguise his Scottish Accent.

The rest of the Supporting Actors aren’t really called upon to do much more than “Support” which I was disappointed in when using actors like Bruce McGill who really is just there to advise and take Nick Rice under his wing as the DA and also Colm Meaney who plays Detective Dunnigan in what I think was a waste of time as I was expecting Meaney to play the kind of role he had and enjoyed in Con Air (1997) here is accompanies Rice and that’s about it. The Supporting cast really reminded me of the team who assisted John McClane in Die Hard with a Vengeance, just there stating the obvious and not doing much more. The focus is clearly on Shelton and Rice as they pit their minds against each other. Hell even those intruders who kicked the whole thing off are dealt with within the first 30 minutes of the movie to focus on the main two.

Without being overly critical of Director F. Gary Gray he does what he does best. A great action film and Law Abiding Citizen is no different. The story moves along at a ferocious pace and really only comes up for air when we cut to Rice’s family (Wife and Daughter) to keep things real. Pacing is one thing and in this day and age we all enjoy the straight to the point action but sometimes we require a little emotion in our story and if I had one major problem it was Clyde’s initial response and reaction to what happened to his family. I just felt a little time on this would have given the character a bit more sympathy with the audience but then again that would have been quickly dissolved with the brutal murder of Shelton’s cell mate with a bone from a steak. To this day I never understood why that scene was necessary other than to show us how far Shelton’s insanity had nosedived. Overall Gray does a fine job though and my issues are minor. The Soundtrack is pretty standard and wouldn’t look out of place in any action film or television series.

Overall “Law Abiding Citizen” is an enjoyable action film with a bit of physiological suspense. The storyline will keep you guessing who is next on his list to die and Clyde Shelton is a man on a mission. The script and delivery is fine and the actors do a good job. My mindset on this film 8 years on from when I first watched it hasn’t changed. I see a lot of “oh c’mon” moments in there from character plotholes and some of the scenes are a little far fetched but overall it was enjoyable and the ending although is a little predictable is the only way this movie could have ended. If you wish to see something that is highly suspenseful and will keep you on the edge of your seat, then Law Abiding Citizen will not disappoint.