Tag Archives: Liam Neeson

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!

Advertisements

Cold Pursuit (2019) Movie Review By D.M. Anderson

Cold Pursuit Review

A Plowman’s Revenge (Blu-ray Review)

Director: Hans Petter Moland
Writers: Frank Baldwin (screenplay by), Kim Fupz Aakeson (based on the movie ‘Kraftidioten’ written by)
Starring Liam Neeson, Tom Bateman, Emmy Rossum, Tom Jackson, William Forsythe, Laura Dern, Domenick Lombardozzi, Raoul Trujillo, Julia Jones, Benjamin Hollingsworth, Arnold Pinnock, Micheal Richardson.

Liam Neeson has been channeling his inner Bronson for so long that one could be forgiven for assuming Cold Pursuit has him playing yet another one-man wrecking crew. But don’t let the generic title fool you. This is a highly amusing black comedy that just happens to have some great action.

Granted, as Nels Coxman, Neeson does exact a bit of bloody revenge over the death of his son, who was murdered by thugs on orders from smug, psychotic drug lord Trevor “Viking” Calcote (Tom Bateman). And yeah, Nels plans to kill his way to the top of the food chain. But Nels isn’t ex-CIA or a retired super soldier. He’s just a grieving, angry snowplow driver. And even though he dispatches three bad guys in short order, Viking assumes it’s the work of a rival Ute mob run by White Bull (Tom Jackson). Striking back, Viking kills White Bull’s son, which triggers an escalating war.

Since I was unaware of director Hans Petter Moland’s original 2014 Norwegian version, In Order of Disappearance, I guess I was anticipating a snowbound Taken (which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing…Neeson’s an awesome senior-discount asskicker). However, the beauty of Cold Pursuit is how it consistently defies expectations. Neeson’s the star, of course, but the film is more of an ensemble piece loaded with interesting, sometimes quirky characters. Some appear for a scene or two, while others share nearly as much screen time as Neeson himself.

It’s hard to get into specifics without ruining many of the film’s surprises, but while there’s plenty of bullets ‘n’ blood, it’s just-as-often funny as hell, including a couple of priceless running gags related to the escalating body count. The humour is sometimes understated, sometimes broad and occasionally morbid. If Fargo was as an action film, it might resemble something like this. But even without the eclectic characters and copious amounts of dark humour, Cold Pursuit’s plot is interesting enough that it could be presented straight and still remain fairly engaging.

Though it may not be the best film I’ve reviewed so far this year, it’s by-far the most fun. Criminally overlooked in theatres, this one deserves a second life on home video, definitely worth checking-out by both action fans and those whose sense of humour leans toward the dark side.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) Movie Review By Stephen McLaughlin 

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs Review,

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Writers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen 
Stars: Tim Blake Nelson, Willie Watson, Clancy Brown, James Franco, Liam Neeson, Tom Waits, Brendan Gleeson

The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs is six individual tales of life and violence in the Old West, following a singing gunslinger, a bank robber, a traveling impresario, an elderly prospector, a wagon train, and a perverse pair of bounty hunters. None of these short tales are connected in anyway and there is no Tarantinoesque intertwining themes here. 

Surprisingly The Ballad of Buster Scruggs segment also headlines the film and begins light hearted, with comedic tone and a catchy sing song it the local saloon. Tim Blake Nelson plays the singing cowboy who likes to be known as “The San Saba Songbird” and breaks the forth wall every now and then to talk to the viewer. It’s abrupt finale will surprise you but also prepare you for an unexpected piece of storytelling throughout its duration. As the film moves forward it’s tone shifts and reaches some really dark places. Keeping this review as spoiler free is important for anyone experiencing the film for the first time. It’s the little shifts that take place in the storytelling that keep you captivated and wanting to know what is coming next.

In the second segment named “Near Algodones”, a cowboy played by James Franco attempts to rob a bank, but what looked like a simple robbery goes completely wrong and the cowboy wakes up in an awful predicament. For a Coen Brothers film this segment barely has much dialogue and relies on the story and the landscape. If I’ve to take anything from the shortest segment is how quickly things can go downhill for a character in the old west through bad choices.

I’d probably say that the Meal Ticket (The films third segment) is my joint favourite story. Liam Neeson plays an an Impresario who arrives in a town and advertises a show by “Harrison: ‘The Wingless Thrush’ – Celebrated Thespian, Orator, and Entertainer.” The performance is a one-man show by the Artist played by Harry Melling, an actor with no arms or legs. The Artist recites famous segments of Shakespeare and the first showing we see is well received but as the two travel from town to town the numbers are dwindling and Neeson’s character must rethink his strategy to survive. Again I’m not going to reveal any spoilers but what I will say is some of the decisions in this segment are brutal. What I got out of this story was how ruthless some people are to succeed in show business. Ironically, the Impresario also realises how lowbrow he can go to succeed.

All Gold Canyon is my favourite story and is essentially a one-man show by Tom Waits for the most part. It looks like the most invested segment of the film by the Coen Brothers with its stunning scenery and amazing score. Waits performance is excellent as a lone prospector working around the clock to unearth gold from the river. There is moments in this segment that although the prospector is “a ruthless gold digger” show the character has respect for his surroundings and the wildlife around. I nearly hated what I thought was the ending (steady now, no reveals) but thankfully there is a moment that redeems the situation and leaves you satisfied.

The Gal Who Got Rattled (The films fifth segment) is probably the one story that frustrated me the most in its ending. I get this is what the filmmakers where going for and there is a sense of a Romeo and Juliet ending to this one without the love of the  two characters in their predicament. Siblings Gilbert and Alice are on route to Oregon but when Gilbert dies of cholera his sister is left with nothing and a $400 debt to a character who runs their wagon named Matt. A kindly cowboy named Billy Knapp in charge if the train becomes friendly with Alice and asks her to Marry him which in turn assumes her debt. As the story develops the trail continue to travel across the landscape and somewhere down the line Alice has wandered off and Billy’s partner Mr. Arthur finds Alice and both are in a situation with Comanche. The Gal Who Got Rattled is the most personal story of the six. The characters are more connected in this segment than the others based on the situation and ruthlessness of the previous stories I understand that. There is a more loving human element to this story that ends in sadness.

The final instalment of the film is titles The Mortal Remains. The story is about Death and ironically no one dies (is that really a spoiler? I’m only telling you something that didn’t happen so not really) The Mortal Remains resembles Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” opening in its setting and dialogue heavy scenes. Appearing in the story is Tyne Daly, Chelcie Ross, Saul Rubenik, Brendan Gleeson and Jojo O’Neill. Although not my favourite segment The Mortal Remains reveals itself as an interesting tale and in places a surreal experience ending to The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.

Overall an expected enthralling film by the Coen Brothers who utilise the Netflix platform to its maximum capabilities. The service attracts the best filmmakers and actors and the filmmakers have complete control over their work with very little studio interference. A win-win situation for all to be had. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs works for me and I enjoyed all the sections and the characters. What we are presented with is a film by the Coen Brothers who capture the essence of the old west beautifully with stunning visuals capturing the different seasons and settings perfectly, which made me think that each six short film could easily have been made into six feature films. Enjoyable and Highly Recommended.

The Commuter (2018) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

The Commuter Review

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Writers: Byron Willinger (story by), Philip de Blasi (story by)
Stars: Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson

“The Commuter” really took me by surprise in how long it would keep me interested. The trailer already showed us that Liam Neeson’s character Michael MacCauley an ex-cop now working in selling insurance is met by stranger Joanna played by Vera Farmiga who offers him a proposition to carry out one task and he could walk away with $100,000 if he succeeds. If he fails, his family will die. Yes, sometimes trailer can annoy me in this sense where they really show you everything. In this case though to sell the movie it was essential to show the good bits.

If not handled well can become stale and uninteresting. Speed managed to do this correctly set on a bus, but unfortunately its sequel was a massive flop, hey Keanu Reeves didn’t even want any part in that one, Under Siege is another example of predominantly being set on a ship which worked even though I’m not the biggest Steven Segal fan. It’s sequel just like “The Commuter” is set on a train but was terribly made and relied on a cardboard cutout villain and what looked like “blue screen central” everywhere.

“The Commuter” manages to keep you enthralled and in the first 15 minutes the ground work is set and one of the reason for that is Liam Neeson’s character Michael MacCauley isn’t the man he used to be. Now 60 years old, he is selling insurance, has two mortgages and is about to send his son to college. Unfortunately for Michael he has been given a severance package and basically he thinks his day can’t get any worse. It’s worth mentioning that we get to see a bit of Michael’s day to day interactions and patterns that he does on a daily basis for the last 10 years. We get to see a bit of interaction with Michael and other commuters which serves the storyline later on.

Dejected and desperate Michael whilst reading a book on his way home to face the music is approached by a lady named Joanna. There is a little back and forth small talk between both characters until the Ex-Cop comes out in Michael and asks bluntly what is it she wants. Joanna, offers Michael a tempting offer to find a commuter on the train or face the consequences. This is how the next 90 minutes plays out on this train with Michael against the clock to figure out who the target is and why this organisation wants this person and what they are carrying.

Now I don’t really want to delve into the reasons for their actions nor do I want to reveal any twists as I am basing this review as a non spoiler to an extent as I enjoyed a few of the reveals. Mostly what I have already said was in the trailer anyway so there is nothing spoiled here. “The Commuter” is a clever written film and the events in the movie will keep you entertained as the story is one big puzzle solver.

Liam Neeson again doesn’t let us down. His character has the tendencies of an honest and moral ex policeman who left all that behind and became an insurance salesman. You can sense a regret in the character on some of his life style choices and career choices and comes across as a man who would do anything for his family. I’m glad they gave the character a little back story in his previous work as the film plays out you understand why he can think the way he does and how to handle intense situations. Neeson despite being a “serious” actor in his younger days made the transition to action star way back in his “Taken” days, heck go further back to his “Jedi” days in The Phantom Menace (1999) unlike the Bryan Mills character from the former, MacCauley is flawed. He doesn’t have the confidence within himself to be able to conquer his insecurities or be be decisive as perhaps he once was.

Vera Farmiga is terrific in her limited screen time. As the supposed villain of the movie I think I can say that its more the people she works for that are the bigger villains but nonetheless delvers in a cold and calculating way. Joanna from the kick off doesn’t beat around the bush with her intentions. Yes there is a little small talk in there that MacCauley cuts does very quickly, but I sensed she was about to explain what she was doing on that train anyway. Farmiga for the most of the movie is then on the phone and although it makes sense for her to be dictating the situation you couldn’t very well have her presence there and you will realise why in the movies climatic finale.

Patrick Wilson is cop Alex Murphy (not the Robocop one) and is Michael’s ex partner. Murphy comes across as a younger version of MacCauley. He appears to have the same work ethos and moral values of Michael and comes across as a guy who learned a lot from him. Wilson is one of my favourite actors of the past 10 years and I have to admit that I was a little disappointed with his screen time. That’s not to say that his presence at any point isn’t impactful. He appears at the films first 15 minutes and we don’t get to see him again until the last 20 minutes or so.

Overall “The Commuter” is a thrilling rollercoaster of a ride and I’m always happy to see Liam Neeson in a successful and entertaining movie. The pacing and direction by Jaume Collet-Serra is great. At no point does the movie slow down, within the first 15 minutes you know and understand the main characters and you get to understand why MacCauley ends up doing what he does. The look of the film and the camera movements within a close proximity on the train works for me, especially during the fight scenes which where brilliantly and realistically executed. Jonathan Banks, Sam Neill and Elizabeth McGovern all play smaller roles than they would normally but add to the weight of the characters. If you haven’t yet watched “The Commuter”

Run All Night (2015) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

RUN ALL NIGHT

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Writer: Brad Ingelsby
Stars: Liam Neeson, Ed Harris, Joel Kinnaman

Mobster and hit man Jimmy Conlon (Neeson) has one night to figure out where his loyalties lie: with his estranged son, Mike (Kinnaman) whose life is in danger, or his longtime best friend, mob boss Shawn Maguire (Harris) who wants Mike to pay for the death of his own son.

You know something? “Run All Night” is a pretty decent attempt of an action thriller. You would be forgiven if you thought after the disappointing “Taken 3” that Liam Neeson’s career as an action hero was all but over but here he isn’t playing the hero in the way of Brian Mills. Neeson’s Jimmy Conlon is a damaged figure. His family have disowned him for years, he is a laughing stock within his circles as a waster and a drunk with a past reputation as a henchman for Shawn Maguire who appears to be the only friend or the only human being who gives Conlon a second thought.

Neeson plays this role so well as a broken man and it’s a nice slant on the character that breathes new life into the actors career and allows him to play a darker role than that of the Taken franchise. His interactions with the brilliant Harris are great and enjoyable to watch.

I’ve been a fan of Ed Harris since the 1990’s and his versatility as an actor holds no bounds. In fact, in “Run All Night” we see multiple versions of the same character. A straight laced business man with a murky past, a friend to a down an out (Conlon), a grieving father and a nasty villain all rolled into one film.

Kinnaman’s career is on the up and roles in Suicide Squad as Rick Flag and TV’s The Killing as Stephen Holder have held the actor in good stead and fits right in comfortably up against veteran actors as Neeson and Harris with ease. His character Mike has a deep hatred for his father Jimmy and is ashamed of him. The scenes early on with Kinnaman and Neeson are deliberately awkward and tense. Mike is a simple man who wants a simple life with his family and that all comes crumbling down upon him one night for being the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time (where have I heard that before?)

To be fair Director Jaume Collet-Serra’s style reminds me a lot like Pierre Morel. The pace is electric and the dialogue is interesting without being pretentious. His work with Director of Photography Martin Ruhe (Harry Brown) is stylish and i didn’t mind those little “Google Map” effects they threw in to give the audience an idea of the layout of the neighbourhood, zooming in and out of the area and dropping you in the next point of interest.

I shouldn’t be making the comparison but is “Run All Night” better than “Taken”? Not a chance. Is it better than “Taken 3” without a doubt. I’m glad I gave this movie a go and although it isn’t the best action / thriller I have watched this year, it isn’t bad either. I would recommend watching this as I found it enjoyable and interesting enough.

Run All Night (2015) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

Run All Night Review

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Writer: Brad Ingelsby
Stars: Liam Neeson,  Ed Harris,  Joel Kinnaman

Mobster and hit man Jimmy Conlon has one night to figure out where his loyalties lie: with his estranged son, Mike, whose life is in danger, or his longtime best friend, mob boss Shawn Maguire, who wants Mike to pay for the death of his own son.
Running time: 1 hour 54 minutes
IMDB Score: 6.6

Why I watched it: Mostly for Neeson and Harris, I really like Ed Harris he’s good in everything he’s in and Neeson is very good in these types of film.

What I liked: Easily the best part of the film is Neeson and Harris and when they’re on screen together the film works for me, when they’re not well it falls apart.  Also want to give D’Onofrio credit he has the thankless role of the “Cop” but he’s very good.  I liked the idea of seeing these crooks or mobsters if you will be these aging men, who have murdered and committed crimes but are also fathers and husbands, also showing how these two men have been life long friends.  The scenes of Harris and Neeson being old friends are very good but men are good actors and they have chemistry together.

What I didn’t like: This a very dumb film, I would almost call it a mess, the plot is just dumb and the real bad thing here is the script this might have been a decent film but man the script let’s everyone down.  Almost everything doesn’t work here, Joel Kinnaman is miscast here, and really though he has nothing to work with, he’s a married guy and he hates his father that’s it to say the performance is one note would be kind.

Once father and son are on the “Run All Night” the film almost goes to a comedy it’s so badly written, the action is boring and by the numbers.  The one thing I couldn’t get past is Common’s character this hit man a master killer, I like Common and he’s done some good work but this character is a joke, he’s a plot device, he’s a boring killer and not a very good bad guy.

My biggest problem is the main plot thread is so forced it’s silly, cause Neeson’s son kills Harris’s  son pretty much everyone must die, Harris won’t say alright I understand or at least work a deal so by the end it’s like they’re boxed in, the script and plot has given them nowhere to go and it plays out exactly  like you would think it would but the problem is by that point we don’t care.  My other huge problem is how lazy the action and chases are handled, there’s so many plot holes it isn’t funny.

Final thoughts: Neeson and Harris deserved a better movie.

Rating: 4/10