Tag Archives: Tessa Thompson

Avengers: Endgame (2019) Blu Ray Movie Review By D.M. Anderson

Avengers: Endgame Review

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writers: Christopher Markus (screenplay by), Stephen McFeely (screenplay by)
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Tom Holland, Karen Gillan, Zoe Saldana, Evangeline Lilly, Bradley Cooper, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Tilda Swindon, Dave Bautista, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Elizabeth Olsen, Tessa Thompson, Benedict Wong

The major downside to catching Avengers: Endgame in theatres was the risk of subjecting my bladder to irreparable damage. In my younger days, simply holding-it for three hours was no big challenge. Back in college, I even once participated in a drinking challenge where we’d see who could go the longest without relieving ourselves. I didn’t win, but did manage to make it almost four hours.

Those were different times and Endgame is a different type of epic. We’ve all sat through three-hour films before, but thanks to the Infinity War’s open-ended resolution and plethora of unanswered questions – not-to-mention a year’s worth of fan theories and speculation – taking a bathroom break would risk missing a key scene, plot twist or revelation. I’ll give the Russo Brothers credit for one thing: Every scene in Endgame feels vital at the time, making it a tough movie to walk away from, even for a moment.

At the showing my family and I attended, not a single theatregoer got up to leave once the film started. Afterwards, the continuous sound of flushing toilets echoed throughout the lobby for five straight minutes. I, for one, made the mistake of buying a soda before the movie, which I began the regret around the 90 minute mark. By the third act, my screaming bladder made it a challenge to fully immerse myself the film’s numerous emotional payoffs.

So despite being a fitting, larger-than-life capper to Marvel’s 22-film story arc, Endgame ultimately plays better at home, at least for those of us not endowed with iron bladders. In addition to reacquainting myself with the story thus-far by revisiting Infinity War beforehand, seeing Endgame a second time – able to hit pause when nature called – was far more enjoyable.

While I still loathe the practice of stretching a single story across multiple movies, Endgame justifies its existence – and length – due to the sheer number of characters, story threads and loose ends to tie in a manner that meets expectations of legions of MCU fans. A taunting task, to be sure, which Endgame manages to pull off. The film remembers its past while acknowledging the future, and is well-aware of the finality its title suggests (for the story arc and some major characters). In that respect, Endgame pushes all the right emotional buttons.

But unlike the original Star Wars trilogy’s most iconic moments, Endgame meets expectations without really ever exceeding them. As viewers, we already have a laundry list of plot points awaiting explanation, questions to be answered and characters’ odds of living or dying. All those boxes are checked-off – often magnificently, sometimes poignantly – but there aren’t any revelations as jaw-dropping as learning who Luke’s father is. And even at three hours, there are simply too many characters for everyone to get adequate screen time (some don’t even appear until the climax). Fans of certain characters will inevitably be disappointed by what amounts to a cameo.

However, those are minor quips. Endgame is ultimately a slam-bang crescendo to this massive franchise, the likes of which we won’t likely see again for a long time. While sweeping and epic in scope, it’s still filled with the smaller, character-driven moments that have always made the MCU engaging (something DC is just now figuring out). I’ve personally never met anyone disappointed by the outcome. I’m sure they’re out there, but maybe their bladders were simply too full to enjoy it the first time.

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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!

Creed II (2018) Movie Review By Philip Henry

Creed 2

Director: Stephen Caple Jr.
Screenwriters: Sylvester Stallone and Juel Taylor
Stars: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson

I think the Creed movies are to the Rocky Movies what the Craig-era Bond films are to the Moore-era. They’ve ditched the indestructible hero for a more realistic approach. You would never have seen Rocky pissing blood after one of his fights, but that’s a scene we get in the latest outing for Adonis Creed.

This time he’s facing the son of, arguably, Rocky’s most memorable opponent Ivan ‘The Russian’ Drago. Viktor Drago has been living and training with his father his whole life, preparing for the day when he would get his chance for revenge. Drago senior’s defeat by Balboa disgraced the family, leading to their exile from Moscow and eventually the break-up of his marriage, so Viktor has a huge axe to grind with the man in Adonis Creed’s corner. Creed has plenty of emotional baggage as well, squaring up to the son of the man who killed his father in the ring, and all-credit to Michael B. Jordan we feel that angst every time he’s on screen. Bringing back an old foe is a gimmick that might stretch credibility for some people, but the boxing game is a lot like the movie business; if there’s a hook to market it on that will get bums on seats and make big bucks, they’re happy to back it.

Structurally speaking we’re in Rocky II territory here. It’s the chapter where marriage and babies (and complicated pregnancies) are addressed, and the fighter has to weigh up his responsibilities as a husband and father against his career. Jordan is terrific in the lead role. You can see the pain behind his eyes as he tries to cope with conflicting emotions this challenge has stirred up. Much as I love the original Rocky films (except V of course), I don’t think they ever had characters with such emotional depth, and this isn’t just confined to the good guys. Drago is far from a two-dimensional baddie, with both he and his father having their own, well thought out and satisfying character arcs.

The formula of the Rocky movies is still there if you look. Success – defeat – training – rematch, but these are much more grown up films than their predecessors. The Rocky movies sometimes felt like they whizzed through the downtime just to get to another training montage or fight, but the Creed movies don’t mind giving extended screen-time to personal issues and home life and this helps us connect more with the characters. The training montages look less like MTV music videos and more like sweat, pain and hard work. I suppose my only gripe is that they’re now using awful rap music (I consider all rap music awful) to soundtrack these films instead of classic eighties rock, but I suppose we can’t have everything.

The fights are expertly choreographed and exciting, as usual, and I have to commend them for finding a way to give us two fights with the young Russian without resorting to the cliché of losing the title and wanting a rematch. There are also a couple of nice cameos from previous Rocky movies with Brigitte Nielsen returning as Ludmilla Drago and Milo Ventimiglia as Rocky’s estranged son Robert.

Creed II builds on an incredibly strong first movie and gives us something with more depth and weight, and though there are plenty of echoes of the Rocky movies – ‘I don’t think you can win, so I can’t train you’ – these films have their own identity with well-rounded characters and original twists to the fights, and never feel like an obvious retread.

Now the big question is will Creed III have Adonis fight the son of Clubber Lang? I pity the fool who wouldn’t want to see that!

Sorry To Bother You (2018) Blu-ray Movie Review By D.M. Anderson

Sorry to Bother You

Director: Boots Riley
Writer: Boots Riley
Stars: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Flower, Omari Hardwick, Terry Crews, Danny Glover, Steven Yeun, Armie Hammer and the voices of David Cross, Lily James, Patton Oswalt, Forest Whitaker & Rosario Dawson.

Sorry to Bother You is full of surprises, never once unfolding like we expect it to. That alone make it at-least interesting, whether you end up liking the film or not (I suspect many viewers definitely won’t). That it’s also wickedly funny, completely original and features a charming, relatable protagonist makes it one of the best films of the year.

I know from personal experience that telemarketing is a shitty way to make a living, so I empathised with Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) almost immediately. Living in his uncle’s garage and desperate for cash, he lands a job at RegalView, a telemarketing company that pretty-much hires anybody who walks in the door. And why not? Telemarketers aren’t paid unless they make make sales. Despite rallying staff pep-talks by overly enthusiastic managers – “Stick to the script!” – telemarketing appears to be yet-another job he sucks at.

All that changes when co-worker Langston (Danny Glover) shows him how to use his “white voice.” In almost no time, he’s the star of the office and promoted to be one of the company’s Power Callers, who make huge deals with mega-corporations. I knew guys like this during my brief tenure as a telemarketer. They were usually the most overbearing assholes in the room. Cassius’ sudden success soon alienates those close to him, including co-workers Salvador (Jermaine Fowler) and Squeeze (Steven Yeun), who lead a strike against RegalView over unliveable wages.

Meanwhile, people everywhere are protesting WorryFree, a corporation that provides slave labor – working for basic necessities, but no wages – to other companies. When Cassius crosses the RegalView picket line, he becomes a national punchline when struck by a soda can. Still, he’s aggressively courted by obnoxious WorryFree founder Steve Lift to come work for him. It’s when Cassius learns how Lift wants to use him that Sorry to Bother You takes one of the most unexpected narrative turns I’ve ever seen, resulting in a final act that’s completely bonkers…in the best way possible.

Not that the film wasn’t already a little strange up to that point. Taking place in what can be described as an alternate universe, Sorry to Bother You presents a slightly dystopian society where labourers are commodities who are easily placated by mundane rewards and idiotic entertainment. The film itself is quirky and occasionally surreal, with a sense of humour that sometimes reminded me of  Idiocracy filtered through Wes Anderson. Along the way, writer/director Boots Riley aims satiric daggers at a variety of targets. And most of the time, he hits bullseyes. 

But all the self-assured cleverness in the world would mean nothing without engaging characters. As Cassius, Lakeith Stanfield is note-perfect, displaying a vulnerable likability, perplexed by his circumstances while simultaneously going with the flow…for awhile, anyway. Tessa Thompson is also effective as Detroit, his activist girlfriend who serves as his moral compass. Most of the secondary characters and antagonists are painted in broader strokes, but amusing nevertheless (Armie Hammer is an absolute riot). Certain characters’ “white voices” are hilariously rendered by a variety of well-known actors and comedians.

Despite RegalView’s company mantra, Sorry to Bother You definitely does not “stick to the script.” The result is a unique, offbeat satire that’s destined to polarise audiences for years to come. Those not on-board with its concept and ideas will want to get off this train before the first Equisapien even shows up. Everyone else will want to revisit the film again and again. This is an outstanding great directorial debut and I look forward to Boots Riley’s next.

Creed (2015) Movie Review By Stephen McLaughlin

CREED

Director: Ryan Coogler
Writers: Ryan Coogler (screenplay),  Aaron Covington (screenplay)
Stars: Michael B. Jordan,  Sylvester Stallone,  Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad

The idea of a Rocky spin off sounds like taking things a little too far in a franchise that spanned over 40 years. If this movie had been pitched around 15-20 years ago I would honestly predict it would have been a straight to VHS release lying in some bargain bin at the local supermarket and the name Sylvester Stallone wouldn’t have been attached to it.

The surprising success of the 2006 film “Rocky Balboa” changed everything with this franchise. Back in 1990 the awful Rocky V looked to have killed off our beloved “Italian Stallion” in an underwhelming plot and substandard performances from the actors and not to mention the abandonment of the classic Bill Conti score. Fast forward 16 years and to be honest the news of a new Rocky movie didn’t excite me one bit. My first thought was…how old is Sly now? What far fetched storyline will we get to believe Rocky Balboa could step in the ring again. Well enough of that for now as I will do a Retro Review on that movie soon and explain why I was wrong on so many levels.

We revisit the “Rocky” universe 9 years on that film and surprisingly Stallone isn’t in the writing chair for “Creed”. Both Coogler and Covington wrote the screenplay and follow the early life of a young man named Adonis (Michael B. Jordan) (opening in the year 1998) who has spent most of his childhood life from one detention centre to the next. That is until an older lady visits him in his cell (after one two many punch ups) and offers him a chance to restart his life under her wing. Adonis surprised and a little confused on why this stranger would want to do this kind act. She reveals herself to be the wife (Mary Anne) of his father…….Apollo Creed.

The audience learns very early on that just before Apollo died, he had an affair and as a result Adonis was born after his father passed away. The year is now 2015 and we also learn that Adonis is now a settled young man making his way in the world and pursuing a career thanks to the guidance of Mary Anne Creed (Phylicia Rashad) Just like his late father he has a passion for fighting and wants to begin a career in the ring under the name of Adonis Johnson to make his own name in boxing without the burden of living under a large shadow.

I must say the first 10-15 minutes of the movie made me realise that the angle Coogler and Covington found to resurrect the franchise was clever and solid. The casting of Rashad as a seasoned actor to play the widowed Mary Anne was just write to open the movie and Michael B. Jordan as the lead was a fine piece of casting too. Jordan was just about at the write age to portray a character that if we are checking our calculations should be 30 years old (although Jordan was 28 at the time) if Apollo in the timeline died in 1985 (is this canon?)

Having made this decision to become a fighter Adonis heads from Los Angeles to Philadelphia and to look up an old friend (and foe) of Apollo Creed. Enter Sylvester Stallone as the iconic but ageing Rocky Balboa. Stallone basically inherits the role played by Burgess Meredith in those original films and I think is the same age as Meredith was in the original Rocky. Since we last saw Rocky in 2006’s Rocky Balboa another family member has passed on (Paulie) and Rocky is still running his restaurant “Adrian’s” in honour of his late wife.

I have to say and this is full credit to the writers in this spin off movie. Although Stallone makes an influence on every scene, the storyline generally avoids a trip down nostalgia lane and to be fair to Stallone, he takes a back step in this story and only adds a familiar face to the film. Don’t get me wrong, Rocky is battling his own demons and both Adonis and Rocky support each other in their battles and their fight.

Without a doubt Michael B. Jordan occupies the leading role with charisma that Carl Weathers would be proud of while Sylvester Stallone carries his ageing character with dignity and doesn’t conceal. In fact it’s quite the opposite as he takes advantage of his age in order to portray Rocky’s story.

Tony Bellew portrays Liverpudlian”Pretty” Ricky Conlan, the cocky boxing champion of the world who needs a massive send off as a public relations strategy after some legal bills. What better way than Bill his final bout against the son of Apollo Creed. Unfortunately, the movie dedicates him very little time to Conlan and I felt he was as menacing as Mason “The Line” Dixon was in “Rocky Balboa.” Everything you expect from the public image of a boxer in real life but nothing happening in his personal life. This itself has a little impact on the fight itself as I felt a little more information about this character could have added a bit of spice to the fight. Nonetheless Bellew is a good opponent.

The same could be said of Adonis’ love interest Bianca played by Tessa Thompson. Thompson is a fine actor and every scene she is in is decent. The chemistry between Jordan and Thompson is also decent but the character is somewhat shoehorned into the story and doesn’t really serve any purpose other than Adonis having a connection outwith Rocky in the city of Philadelphia.

In summary “Creed” is a great movie and as believable as the story can be with the backstory already fleshed out about the main characters heritage and the legacy that is lying in wait. The actors barely put a foot wrong and the casting of Jordan and his chemistry with Stallone works. It may not be up there with Rocky or Rocky II, but I would put it on par with Rocky Balboa for its cinematography and for its storyline. Highly Recommended.