Posts tagged "Hemsworth"

“Men in Black: International” A disappointing attempt to revive a franchise

June 12th, 2019 Posted by Review 0 thoughts on ““Men in Black: International” A disappointing attempt to revive a franchise”

“Men in Black: International” aka MIB 4, attempts to re-create a fantastically fun and comedic franchise with new leads, but proves instead that sequels should just be a concept and nothing more. Starring Chris Hemsworth as Agent H and Tessa Thomspon as Agent M, the familiar storyline of an alternate world filled with aliens threatens the world as we know it and ultimately, the universe must be saved by the heroes.

The film starts out strong with an interesting concept as young Molly (Mandeiya Flory) encounters an alien. From this, her entire education and adult life (Thompson) is altered, driving her to join the Men In Black. Using her intelligence and wits, she finds a way to this world and partners with the renowned and rather cocky Agent H to earn her badge.

From this point, the film sputters to a near halt as the predictable “story” unfolds. Filled with plenty of special effects and chase scenes, this 4th installment of the franchise seems to have forgotten what made the first film so memorable: chemistry and dialogue. Thankfully, we are introduced to Pawny (Kumail Nanjiani), a CGI character who somehow is able to overshadow the handsome and charming Hemsworth character.

While it’s refreshing to see a female in the lead of a film with the word men in the title and a few comments regarding that, as well as Thompson doing an adequate job in the role, the interest level lacked for her character. Her personality was one-dimensional, much like Agent H’s, and together there was a feeling of forced chemistry that not even their acting skills could mimic. We craved information about who she is as a person and this lack of detail made her dull and benign.

Hemsworth is completely underutilized as an actor who has a range of skills untapped since Ron Howard’s direction of him in “Rush” (2013) or even Drew Goddard’s “Bad Times at the El Royale” (2018). Of course, he’s known as Thor and this film makes a humorous nod to it, but when an animated character can outshine this rock star of an actor, something’s missing. His valiant attempt at comedy is noted, but nothing more than that and we know he’s capable given his performances in all of his “Avengers” films.

Nanjiani brings the necessary and much needed comedic tone, but unfortunately, he’s not a major player in the film so we have to cherish his screen time when it’s there. Nanjiani is a master of vocal timing as Pawny with his parenthetical remarks. He makes you sit up and listen so as not to miss his hilarious comments.

If you’ve watched the trailer, you know that Liam Neeson and Emma Thompson are also in it, however, not even their regaled skills can elevate the level of entertainment of “Men in Black: International.”

Overall, the film is missing heart and consistent humor, and becomes a failed attempt to keep the franchise going. To its credit, the film has a female lead and allows Nanjiani to shine as the comedic wonder that he is, but this is just not enough to make this film worth seeing.

“Men in Black: International” is a disappointment particularly if you are a fan of that 1997 version starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. The magic, humor, and chemistry of this pair cannot be replicated by Hemsworth and Thompson creating a lackluster fourth sequel. Please note that this film is rated PG-13 and not intended for kids under this age.

To read the review in the Friday, June 14, 2019 edition of The Daily Journal, go to THE DAILY JOURNAL

1 1/2 stars

“Avengers: Endgame” Is a dynamic, dramatic, and hilarious film worth all 181 minutes

April 24th, 2019 Posted by Review 0 thoughts on ““Avengers: Endgame” Is a dynamic, dramatic, and hilarious film worth all 181 minutes”

“Avengers: Endgame” is one of the most highly anticipated films of the year as the answers to all the fans’ questions come into clear focus and the super hero worlds not only overlap, but collide in surprising ways. It’s an all-star arena filled with “marvel”ous characters in a fight for life, humanity, and the future of the world and the universe. (Don’t worry–no spoilers ahead!)

The evil Thanos (Josh Brolin) possesses all the Infinity Stones making him the most powerful being in the universe. And with that power, he has cursed the world, culling the population by 50%. “Endgame” picks up exactly where “Infinity War” left off and it’s an affective beginning as we see Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) with his loving family enjoying their time together only to be turned to dust. The impact of this emotionally loaded initial scene is unexpectedly shocking and not only are we hooked, we care about and relate to this family and Hawkeye’s devastation. And then the opening credits begin to roll.

Fast forward to 5 years later and the catastrophic results of Thanos’ work is more than evident— cities are in a state of shambles, but the oceans and natural environment are beginning to balance once again. The remaining super hero allies band together in what seems to be a losing battle to right this sinking ship and not a spark of hope is detected among them…until an Avenger thought to be dead, resurfaces. And this is where the fun begins!

From the depths of an emotionally heavy load, we are immediately bouyed into hilarious one-liners, side notes, and quick-paced dialogue and antics to remind us why we love comic books. Without giving one surprise away (I fear losing friends if I do), “Endgame” ranks up in the comedy hierarchy with the hilarity of stand alone super hero films like “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Ironman.” With references to some of our favorite films of the last 40 years and costuming that transforms these heroes into unexpected yet disturbingly funny renditions of themselves, for most of the 3 hour 1 minute (yes, you read that correctly) running time, it’s a captivatingly intriguing and funny film while it still creates an entertainingly entangled story to wrap your head around.

The story truly needed most of that 3 hour time period in order to create the thorough and emotionally dynamic storyline, although the last 30 minutes could have been edited quite a bit as the CGI begins to feel a bit mundane. (But that’s my issue with every super hero film.) I must admit that it’s a complicated story that intellectually makes sense as it delves into the waters of our environment and the cost of humanity and our memories. It is these memories that make us human and compassionate; an element that adheres us to one another. The writers cover all their bases, leaving no possible stone unturned, pulling you into their vortex of logic and reason while they connect you to the characters. Every past story is covered in well-balanced detail and of course, we have the directors and actors to thank for bringing such textured performances to those words on the page.

Watching this all-star cast in their respective roles feels like a family reunion, everyone knowing each other like family, the good and the bad. They love one another and have their squabbles, only to have each others’ backs when they need to. They are family. There’s a comfort in seeing this relaxed and familiar camaraderie even during times of dire situations and it is this interaction among and between the characters that not only propels the story, but engages us. We have become an invested part of this family.

“Endgame” showcases female empowerment, too, as we watch them rise to any challenge, physically, emotionally, and intellectually, and these women shine. To single out any particular female super hero would be to spoil the film, so I won’t. Suffice it to say, the it’s a male-female gender balanced film.

This is also a visually powerful film. The action is impressive as are the special effects and while this is what makes fans of this genre happy, it’s the levity that Ironman, Thor, Rocket, Ant Man and Quill bring to the table. When Robert Downey, Jr. Paul Rudd, and Chris Hemsworth interact, you have a comedy team that could make the Queen of England belly laugh. All three of these actors have the comedic timing and pacing to get the most from their lines and scenes, but when the dramatic elements are needed, they are at the ready, adding just the right touch and never doing so in a heavy-handed way.

“Avengers: Endgame” was a wonderful surprise, filling almost each and every minute with excitement, drama, humor and visually interesting and entertaining intrigue. While the 3 hour running time was a bit long, needing a 10-minute edit, that’s not a huge detractor from the film. It’s a strong story, great acting and directing, and a wonderfully well-balanced film on every level. If you’ve seen all of the Marvel movies, and this truly is a must to get full enjoyment from “Endgame,” the film is perfect escapism and an all ‘round good time. (No need to stay after the credits roll.)

4 Stars

All-star cast sails smoothly in the rough seas of life and death in “We Are Boats”

February 27th, 2019 Posted by Review 0 thoughts on “All-star cast sails smoothly in the rough seas of life and death in “We Are Boats””

James Bird (“Honeyglue”) continues to share his uniquely captivating view about life in “We Are Boats,” starring Angela Sarafyan (“Westworld”), Luke Hemsworth, and Graham Greene. As Francesca’s (Sarayan) life is cut short, she finds herself in a unique situation in the afterlife–intervening with lives in an effort to be reunited with the young daughter she has left behind.

The story begins with a violent and harsh blow, reminding us of the fragility of life. Francesca, a prostitute, is in the wrong place at the wrong time and now she is interviewing for another career with “Sir” played by Uzo Aduba. Francesca’s strength and determination create unpredictable results as she wanders into several pivotal situations beginning with an unhappily married man and culminating with a young couple about to be married.

Sarafyan is the lead and she shines in this role, using her expressive eyes to convey more than any words she could utter. Her portrayal of Francesca is that of a strong and realistic woman who has the ability to perceive others’ situations and difficulties in a mysterious yet reassuring manner. Encountering a lonely and emotionally lost man, a homeless woman, and a father who is attempting to right his past wrongs, she finds compassion and understanding although a soft touch isn’t always how she delivers it.

The support Sarafyan receives from this all-star ensemble cast allows the different vignettes to develop naturally and cohesively. While many of these glimpses into others’ lives have closure, it is Lucas (Hemsworth) and Ryan’s (Adrian Mather) story that delivers the emotional punch of life and love that hits home. Loyalty, regrets, family, and distrust are all at the core of this particular segment as we see Lucas and Ryan’s relationship teeter. Mather’s character as a bartender, like Francesca, sees the world and those in it a little differently, perhaps jaded, as she utters rather harsh views. For a young woman, Ryan’s past has hardened her and Mather masterfully exhibits these characteristics. Hemsworth’s performance is equally skilled as he demonstrates distrust for his fiancé based on his own insecurities. As Freddy (Justin Cornwell) enters the picture, the awkwardness and deception increases exponentially and we cringe at what is taking place. Cornwell’s performance is a treasure in this story, conflicted yet honest as he follows through with his friend’s request. Of course, Greene is exceptional as a man with regrets, spilling his guts to a bartender as if in a confessional box. He allows us to have compassion for him as he struggles with the end of his time, battling with his inner demons and possible resolution. This story is the climax of the film as we see all the loose ends tied expertly together, creating a dynamic and thought-provoking film about living life and what could possibly be next.

Developing a complicated and layered story could be overwhelming, but Bird’s vision carefully and thoughtfully delves deeply into life with magnetic characters all of whom we can relate on some level. Finding this spirit brings meaning not only to the film and story, but to our own perceptions about life as well. Bird’s message is a positive one, delivered in an astute and understated fashion.

“We Are Boats” is a films that has the power to lift us as it evokes emotion and puts into question what tomorrow can and will bring. Weaving together a common thread among the tapestry of stories gives a satisfying end that stays with you. With beautiful cinematic sequences, we connect with the characters, all brought to life with strong performances.

3 1/2 out of 4 Stars

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