Men in Black: International (2019)

men-in-black-international-2019-movie-reviewDirector: F. Gary Gray

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Comedy, Adventure

Runtime: 114 Minutes

Main Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Liam Neeson, Rebecca Ferguson, Emma Thompson, Rafe Spall, Kumail Nanjiani, Jess Radomska, Kayvan Novak

Plot: After a childhood encounter with an alien changed her life, Molly has spent years trying to find the Men in Black in order to join their ranks. Once she succeeds, she is thrown right into the deep end as it is discovered there’s a mole within the organisation.

My Thoughts: I think I’ve only seen the original MiB movie but I liked it a lot. It was funny, the action scenes were cool and it had aliens! What more could younger me want? With all the reboots and remakes lately, I guess a new MiB movie was inevitable, and honestly I’ve felt like the only person around who was actually excited to see it! If nothing more, we get Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson team up again, which is bound to be fun.

Surprising no one, I set myself up for a fall. I enjoyed Men in Black: International, more than most by the sounds of it, but it wasn’t what I was hoping for. It just took itself too seriously most of the time and the jokes weren’t coming fast enough. The plot is really messy, and the ending was just a bit…sad, really. Still, there were plenty of things to enjoy. I’ve decided that every movie needs an Emma Thompson cameo. After Bridget Jones’ Baby and now this, I just want her to turn up and be sassy and sarcastic in everything I watch!

There are a few appearances from some familiar non-human characters, but I kind of wish we got to see a little more of them. There’s also a brilliant, tiny new character who I’ll get into in a moment, but he’s a show-stealer. All in all, there are definitely worse ways to spend 2 hours, but if you’re going to watch a silly action movie in which cool people clad in suits shoot at aliens…you’re probably better sticking with the original.

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Best Bit: Pawny! Or Steve, as he called himself. He’s a little alien who was also a pawn on a chessboard protecting his queen, who sadly was murdered. Left feeling hopeless, Agent H convinced him to serve Molly, Agent M instead, and every time he popped up he made me laugh. I’m hoping Funko are putting in a rush order of figures of him so I can get one for my dashboard soon…

Worst Bit: Spoiler alert here! After watching the trailer, and scoffing at my excitement, my husband announced ‘It’s obvious – Liam Neeson is going to be a bad guy’. How it was obvious, I don’t know, but I spent the whole movie unable to get the thought out of my head and curse him, he was right. He’s so annoying. He did the same with Gossip Girl, he’s got a plot-twist radar!

Fun Trivia: The film was originally going to be a “Jump Street” – “Men in Black” crossover with Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill reprising their roles from the franchise. However, plans fell apart, so it became a spin-off with Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson.
[ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN AMAZING.]

My Rating: 3 pairs of standard issue black glasses that you’ll need to wear so you don’t forget all about this movie. On second thought…you don’t want to wear them, do you?

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Cold Pursuit (2019)

cold-pursuit-movie-review-poster-2019Director: Hans Petter Moland

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama

Runtime: 119 Minutes

Main Cast: Liam Neeson, Laura Dern, Tom Bateman, Tom Jackson, Emmy Rossum, Domenick Lombardozzi, Julia Jones, John Doman, William Forsythe

Plot: Nels Coxman has just won his town’s Citizen of the Year award for keeping the treacherous roads safe and clear with his snowplow. When he finds out his Son has died under suspicious circumstances, his quest for truth leads him on a murdering spree of a powerful drug gang.

My Thoughts: If you’re off to the cinema at the start of the year to see Liam Neeson’s latest action movie, you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. I was disappointed by last year’s offering of The Commuter (2018) so I was hesitant about Cold Pursuit, but the trailer looked decent and almost made it seem like a comedy in some places. Then earlier this week I went to actually see it. What is this movie?!

It’s like Taken meets Fargo – and I’m not sure how I feel about it. There are some moments that are quite obviously meant to be funny, but others that seemed quite dark…but humorous? It didn’t help the screen I was in was almost empty, and I was the only one laughing. I feel like I needed someone to be holding up a sign letting me know if I was allowed to laugh at what was happening or not.

On the plus side, however, it was refreshing for a movie to not have Liam Neeson simply beating the crap out of everyone in front of some shaky camera with choppy editing. It was much more stylised than that. I just wish some of the other characters got fleshed out a little more. At 2 hours length, there should have been enough time for that.

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I need to see this movie again I think, knowing what to expect. Honestly, I think I enjoyed it, but I’m not certain yet.

Best Bit: Every time someone dies in this movie, a title card comes up with their name and nickname. This leads to some hilarious moments when the card comes up unexpectedly and you’re like, what?! Oh, that poor guy!

Worst Bit: It takes too long for the movie to find it’s feet. I felt confused for almost the entire first half of the movie because I couldn’t work out what kind of movie it actually was. Also, maybe I was just tired but it felt like it was at least an hour longer than it actually was.

Fun Trivia: Liam Neeson has stated this will be his final action movie role.
(NOOOOOOO! Please say it isn’t so. I need my guilty pleasure movies!)

My Rating: 3 out of 5 rolls of chicken wire, which every murderous father should keep in the trunk of his car…or snow plow.

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The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

the-ballad-buster-scruggs-netflix-posterDirector: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Western

Runtime: 132 Minutes

Main Cast: Tim Blake Nelson, James Franco, Liam Neeson, Tom Waits, Zoe Kazan, Tyne Daly, Brendan Gleeson, Jonjo O’Neill, Willie Watson, Clancy Brown, David Krumholtz

Plot: An anthology movie comprised of six different stories, each dealing with a different aspect of life in the Old West.

My Thoughts: Despite it being a Netflix release, I was so excited to see The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. I’ve never hated a Coen brothers movie (although I’ve enjoyed some more than others) and the trailer was hilarious. It’s a long-ass movie but knowing it was split into six stories eased my mind a little. I’ve always been a fidget!

The first segment with Buster Scruggs is nothing short of a masterpiece. I was laughing from start to finish. My husband was trying to play World of Warcraft and cursed me as he shut his game down thinking he had found his new all-time-favourite movie. The comedic timing, the crazy action, the musical numbers, ugh! Just perfect. And then it ended, and it dawned on me that Buster Scruggs was only a very minor part of this movie.

Maybe that revelation tainted it for me, but from there I just grew more and more bored with each of the other stories. They still had some great moments, but it felt like I was watching a whole lot of nothing before being rewarded with those short glimpses of brilliance. Each story also felt longer than the one before it, making the whole thing feel about 3 hours long.

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I think I’m probably in the minority here though, and I can absolutely see why most people loved it. I guess I was expecting the whole thing to be as crazy and funny as the first segment, and I set myself up for disappointment. One thing I will say though, the cinematography was absolutely gorgeous. I paid more attention to the landscape than what the characters were doing half the time.

Best Bit: The way Buster Scruggs killed the guy at the cards table was just epic. It was that perfect mix of shock and humour that makes you jump and laugh at the same time. Then the musical number that followed. Heck, I need to watch that segment again…and again!

Worst Bit: There’s no moment in particular, but I can’t comment on the sixth and final story at all because my brain had completely switched off by that point, and I was playing the Disney Emoji game on my phone instead, trying to unlock Darth Vader. (I got him)

Fun Trivia: The poker hand that Buster Scruggs refuses to play, two pair aces and eights, is infamously known as the “dead man’s hand” as it was reportedly the hand-drawn to Wild Bill Hickok before he was shot and killed.

My Rating: 2 and a half clever chickens who can answer simple math questions.

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Review: The Commuter (2018)

the-commuter-move-review-2018Don’t pretend you didn’t know this post was coming. Some girls have a love of Nicholas Sparks novels, or fashion, or fine wine. Me? I have a die-hard passion for Liam Neeson movies. Rainy weekend? Liam Neeson movie. Sick day? Liam Neeson movie. Down in the dumps? Liam Neeson movie. Yeah, they’re all kind of the same but hey, you know exactly what to expect!

The Commuter is the love child of Taken and The Polar Express. Okay not really, more like Source Code but it conjures a funny image doesn’t it? Michael MacCauley (Liam Neeson) is a down on his luck insurance broker (and an ex-cop, of course) who finds himself caught up in a criminal conspiracy whilst on his commuter train home. There’s someone on his train that doesn’t belong, and he has to find them…and kill them. Sorry, he doesn’t…but you saw what I did there.

I guess The Commuter has a lot of comparisons to Non-Stop (also directed by Jaume Collet-Serra funnily enough) in the sense that the manhunt is taking place in a confined space. It just doesn’t have the same suspense that I felt during Non-Stop, nor does it lead us on wild goose chases. Instead, we get more kick-ass action, such as Liam Neeson beating a guy with an electric guitar. His athletic skills might not be so believable anymore but it’s always fun to see him put up a fight.

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Sadly I didn’t love this movie that much. It was plenty fun to watch, and maybe I’m actually getting tired of watching the same old thing now, but hopefully, it’s just a one-off. Some of the plot didn’t really make sense to me (although that might be my Mum-brain) and the reveal was just a bit…lacklustre.

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So yeah…a slightly shorter post from me than normal but I don’t have much more to say than that. It’s a decent movie but just nothing special. Probably the kind of movie I wouldn’t normally even post about but I miss writing and I haven’t seen anything else for a while! The Commuter gets 2 and a half electric guitars from me, just don’t let Liam Neeson have them.

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