Tag: Rafe Spall

Men In Black: International

Before I get too far into this review of Men In Black: International, I will remind you of what could have been. What we were promised and then what was taken away from us.

In the mid 2010’s, we were told that we would get a cross over movie with 21 Jump Street and the Men in Black franchise. It seemed so absurd and brilliant at the same time, I know I loved it. It would work out so nicely, it would help get MIB back on its feet and be crazy territory for Jump Street. It was somehow original to smash two things that already existed together. But plans fell through, and we instead just got another MIB.

Now the first MIB will always hold a place in my heart, whereas the sequel will always be forgotten. And the third one felt like a good return, missing some great details, but definitely on the right path. But it clearly didn’t lead to more, as this is a sort of reboot/reimagining anyways.

Suck it aliens, its blasting time. 
When Molly (Tessa Thompson) was a little girl, she saw an alien. Well, something cute landed near her house and in her room. And while her parents were getting the eye wash sequence from some dudes wearing darks in the street, but she was safely asleep upstairs. Since then, she was determined to be the best person she could be. Smarts, athletic talent, whatever it takes, to work with these soldiers in suits because the truth is so goddamn out there and she wants to meet goddamn aliens.

Ahem. And one day, she finally tracks them down, surprisingly. And Agent O (Emma Thompson) sees she has gumption, so she takes her in on a probationary setting. And then send her far away to London where shit is going weird. Agents H (Chris Hemsworth) and Agent High T (Liam Neeson) are kicking ass, and she is going to maybe get to the bottom of it.

While also learning a lot about aliens and kicking butt herself of course. Oh I hope nothing is going on wrong in Europe.

Also starring Kumail Nanjiani, Rebecca Furguson, and Rafe Spall.

Some would say this is just a movie of progressively bigger guns being shot. 
Unfortunately for everyone involved, and especially true for us watchers of fine cinema, this addition to the franchise feels more like the sequel than the first film. And I do mean that in the forgettable sense, because if I wanted to talk about this film with other people, I would mention a few negatives and struggle to talk about any great moment.

They desperately wanted an alien to be a sidekick in this movie, of which Nanjiani was the voice, and it went over about as well as any sidekick that merely exists for laughs. They JarJar’d him.

Early on during fight scenes I noticed a few errors in the scenes, with characters being in the wrong place based on the cut and it seemed to happen way more than normal. Shit, I almost never ever talk about the editing, as it would be something I don’t notice. And it never really gets better.

This is the sort of film where the comedy mostly falls flat, the action falls flat, only one alien life form seems to be unique and interesting, an ending that is resolved very quickly despite the perceived threat, and of course plot twists that anyone can determine early on. The type of twist that is “Oh, it is setting it up for this twist. I wonder how this is a red hearing now?” And then… stick with the obvious twist the whole time.

None of the actors and actresses of this film stick their head above the rest enough to save the movie, and it is instead just a film I wish didn’t end up existing in the end.

1 out of 4.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

When Jurassic World came out a few years ago, it was a big deal for me. Jurassic Park is probably the first movie theater expirence I remember. Jurassic World was, at the time, the biggest movie I was able to see early as a member of the press.

And unfortunately, that film had issues. It had some new things, but other elements just felt rehashed, and them we had the ridiculous assistant death and heels fun.

Needless to say, I didn’t care much about Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. The story had a volcano and seemed to sort of give away a lot of the film. I couldn’t tell from the trailer if it really had anything new to say.

Balls and dinos
Look, there’s most of the same cast with the same magical travel balls.

Jurassic World has fallen, from that last film, because the dinosaurs got out and people had a bad time. They had to pay a lot of law suits to cover the costs, and didn’t really fight it too much. But now they are defunct and everyone basically agrees to leave the island alone.

Well, nature doesn’t want to leave it alone. The dormant volcano there has become active, and is ready to fuck a lot of things up. It is riling up, it is getting explosive, and now the dinosaurs might all become extinct, again. Should we save them, or let nature fix is course? The government decides to not intervene, so it is up to private groups to pick up the cost.

Namely, Lockwood estate. It is an old man (James Cromwell) who helped Hammond (Richard Attenborough) back in the day with their initial research to open Jurassic Park. He wants to save several species on the island, more if there is time, and put them on a new island. One that isn’t a volcano, has its own natural borders and it can be a sanctuary where dinosaurs can live peacefully. Something not for tourists. Time is of the essence. They also have a great need for Blue, the velociraptor, as they feel it is the second smartest creature on the planet and the only one left of its kind.

Getting the creatures back is one difficulty, especially when it involves an exploding volcano. Once they are on the ship and ready to get out of the island though, that is where the real drama and intrigue begin.

Also starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Daniella Pineda, Justice Smith, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, Jeff Goldbloom, BD Wong, Geraldine Chaplin, and introducing Isabella Sermon.

Herein lies the sins of Jurassic Park’s past. Dey be ded, now. Again.

JW:FK seems to have heard some of the biggest complaints about the last film and respond appropriately. For example, the footware is more appropriate in this film. But how could they respond to the assistant death? How could they fix something like that?

I don’t know. How about by having that same giant dinosaur do a very similar thing, once again, to an undeserving character. Technically it is acknowledging the controversy by doing it a second time, although a bit less graphically.

JW:FK is certainly an entertaining movie. You will have some thrills, some screams, and some laughs. But overall it doesn’t offer anything really new. Last movie we had a man made T-Rex looking dinosaur that was too smart and caused problems. It was defeated by OG T-Rex. This film replaced T-Rex with Velociraptor. The same shit happens in different scenarios.

It also enforces normal Jurassic franchise tropes. Military people are always bad. Ugly people are always bad. People who aren’t bad but just working are expendable.

Overall, not enough new. What was new was obvious early on, but it didn’t go hard enough into it leaving more for sequels. But hey, Smith was better than expected as well.

2 out of 4.

The Big Short

Did you see Margin Call? No? Well, it had a pretty big cast of actors! I mean, Stanley Tucci was in it, so you should see it. That is why I wanted to watch all the Hunger Games movies, but he only had one damn scene in the last one, and it wasn’t even good.

I ended up really enjoying it and found it informative. I didn’t think I was an expert on the financial collapse that America had experienced, but I got the vibe behind it all and understood that something like that could happen.

Needless to say, I didn’t expect more movies about the collapse. Then The Big Short came along. And I didn’t know what to expect. But here is a hint.

Anchorman. Anchorman 2. The Other Guys. Talladega Nights. Step Brothers. Sure, all of these have Will Ferrell in common, but they are also directed by Adam McKay.

Sure, he has directed some TV shows and shorts and random things, but that list was literally every movie he has ever directed. Up til The Big Short. Can a guy who is BFF’s with Ferrell, make a movie serious enough about the economic collapse, easy to understand, and good, without any Ferrell at all?

The Gos
Don’t worry, we have mature Gosling to make the women and men swoon instead.

Back to the crisis. Our story starts in 2005, with one man. Michael Burry (Christian Bale). He is a socially awkward guy, with a fake eye. He had a wealthy inheritance, so he took it to wall street to make his own small investment firm. And you know what he wants to put over a billion of dollars? Into the mortgage market.

Mortgages are safe, everyone pays them, and only people who can pay them end up getting them. That idea has made bankers rich since the 1970s, thanks to something called Mortgage Backed Securities, MBS. The banks loan out hundreds of mortgages in one lump sum to many homes, and when they are that big, they can make some sweet interest and that gets them rich. More or less. But banks got greedy. They started renting to riskier and riskier people. So the chance of these large funds crashing, creating very bad scenarios, is actually getting higher but no one seems to notice.

Except for Burry. He wants to “short” the MBS funds. More or less, that means he is betting against them. He is loaning money to banks, like Goldman Sachs, and paying a monthly premium on it. He is letting them have that money, until these MBS’s break and he will get his money back multiplied many times over. He is the first guy to do something like this and most people think he is insane, but he looked at the numbers.

But there were more players. Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling) is our narrator, and actually works for Deutsche Bank. He finds out about the Burry deal and tries to get more people to follow suit, believing in him and working to get some profit on the side as well. He ends up talking to Mark Baum (Steve Carell), operator of a hedge fund, who crusades against all the bull shit on wall street, and sets out to find just how corrupt this whole thing is.

Also, Charlie Geller (John Magaro) and Jamie Shipley (Finn Wittrock), two Denver boys who grew their own money to 30 million, who see this as an opportunity to finally make it to the big leagues.

We have a ton of people in this movie, including Marisa Tomei, Brad Pitt, Adepero Oduye, Hamish Linklater, Jeremy Strong, Rafe Spall, Jeffry Griffin, Max Greenfield, Margot Robbie, Selena Gomez and Anthony Bourdain.

The man who drums at his desk and doesn’t wear a suit, predicted the downfall of American economy.
This is why I choose to wear shorts as well.

I honestly didn’t think much about this movie before seeing it. I saw the trailer once before Steve Jobs, was intrigued by the cast, but then forgot about it. And hey, I like some of McKay’s films a lot. I just didn’t have any faith with this topic.

Well, fuck me, I was wrong, and this movie was really fucking good. Star to finish, it captivated me about wall street fucking over America.

The acting was on point from all points, especially with Carrell and Bale as power houses. Pitt was very subtle in this film, similar to his role in 12 Years A Slave. But even better about these roles is that no single person was really the main character. The main character was the housing bubble and banks lying to America.

Were these people bad for profiting off the downfall of the World Economy? Sure, kind of. That is morally grey. Because it shows that some of them tried to tell everyone the problem with the numbers, tried to do something about the collusion, but were laughed right in their faces. Even if they wanted to warn everyone, no one would listen because the vast majority of people didn’t understand how any of it worked and were lied too constantly.

This movie made me ANGRY. I felt rage at what was going on, only eight years ago. I am mad that nothing has really changed. I am mad that no one got punished for it and that so many people got fucked over. I am mad that this movie is also a comedy, and that I gained so much amusement at something that ended up being so terrible.

And that is what a great movie can do. It can make you feel things. The Big Short is funny and anger inducing, while also taking a very complicated subject and making one feel like they understand it. I feel like I totally understand everything that happened now and it was something I never really thought about before. The Big Short is good enough that I feel like I could watch it every few months and still enjoy it and still feel those same emotions.

The Big Short wants me to almost get political and start shouting at rich people. One of the years best.

4 out of 4.

What If

What if I told you that sometimes movies are called different things in different countries. That wouldn’t surprise you in the slightest. You knew that.

After all, it is Gojira in Japan, and Godzilla in America. “Hey that doesn’t count, that is just another different language!”

Alright fucker. How about Frozen? We got the clever/unique title, while countries in Europe got stuck with the generic The Snow Queen, which the movie is “based upon” (aka, both have a woman with ice powers and…?). “Well, that one changed its name to appeal to different cultures where The Snow Queen story originated, to get more money!” Okay. Well, I don’t blame them for that I guess. I do blame them for saying it has anything to do with The Snow Queen, but I digress.

That leaves us with the movie for the day, What If. No question mark. It’s original title in Ireland/Canada was The F Word, and for whatever reason that title was found to be too risque or something for American audiences, so we get a much more romantic comedy-esque name to maybe get the ladies in? I don’t know. It is fucking stupid. If I hear it was the MPAA’s fault for alluding to maybe the word Fuck, I will be angry though.

See, there isn’t even any fucking in this scene. That would be impossible for them in their positions.

Relationships are hard. Just ask Wallace (Daniel Radcliff), who is finally getting over his ex girlfriend Megan after like, 3 years. So he is going to Allan’s (Adam Driver) party, his best friend. That is where he meets Chantry (Zoe Kazan), Allan’s cousin. They have some intense conversations, both of them a bit awkward, but it is nice.

Also, Chantry has a long term boyfriend of course, Ben (Rafe Spall), which throws Wallace off guard. Normally that information is given earlier in a conversation. But he is fine with being friends. She believes a man and a woman can be friends with no hidden motives. And you know what? Wallace is fine with that too. Fuck it.

Basically, this is a retelling of The Wedding Singer. Chantry even has a sister (Megan Park) interested in Wallace. Wallace is heartbroken after a long relationship ended. Chantry things she is in a relationship forever, but one that might start having issues. And there is at least one wedding occurring, when Allan hits it off hard with Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis).

It just has a lot less music and singing and no Broadway musical adaption yet. I say yet, because we all know Mr. Radcliffe loves Broadway.

He also loves diners, if you look at every poster for this movie.

This isn’t your grandmothers romantic comedy. This is a a romantic comedy for a more realistic newly mature movie watching crowd. Wait. It is only PG-13? Hmm. I figured it was R, but now looking back, I guess no real cursing or other adult stuff happened.

I say realistic, but in the end, this is similar to a lot of other romantic comedies, just with slightly different approaches. After all, the F word in questions ends up either being “Friendship” or “Friendzone” depending on how you look at the movie. Friendzone is a rather ugly word now, because it is pretty sexist in most cases, and used by people who think that being nice to the sex they are attracted to should eventually lead to a relationship and of course sex. Because not every relationship starts with friendship, a lot start romantically first. Unless its the movies.

So should I punish the movie for going the technically same cliche route of friendship with the intention of friendship leading to something more? Or should I ignore it and enjoy the acting, the chemistry, the comedy, and the ridiculousness of it all?

I like the ridiculousness route. Woo romcoms! Woo What If! A bit of it seemed forced, but I loved how uncomfortable everyone acted when they were forced into slightly romantic situations. I literally live off of awkwardness, and this movie may have extended my life at least 4 days.

3 out of 4.

Life Of Pi

Life of Pi was always one of those books that I figured I should read, yet still never did. It had a pretty tiger on the front, and Pi in the title. I like math! Maybe it is about some crazy math world, an irrational place, where Pi is left stranded. I don’t know. Reminds me of Flatland, another math based book I never read but should one day.

Hold the phone. Flatland movie thing is currently being remastered to be released in winter 2012. Excellent. I hope I get to see that. Fuck the book.

Err, yes. Life Of Pi. Nothing to do with math really. Somewhat. But oh boy, so much more than just math.

Bitch, there’s a mother fucking Tiger in this movie.

This story, is about a story, that allegedly might make you believe in God. Pi (Irrfan Khan) has lived a strange life. So strange, yet so secretive, that some writer (Rafe Spall) was told he has a story to tell, and wants to write a book about it. Maybe.

Well, it turns out his name is actually from a hotel, and not Pi. But it sounds like pissing, so he shortened it, to the math symbol, and eventually he got it to stick. His father (Adil Hussain) owned a zoo, and mother (Tabu) was a home maker. His dad believed in reason, his mother a strict Hindu. He also considered himself to be a Jewish Hindu Christian Muslim. Fuck your stereotypes on just picking one, said kid Pi!

But unfortunately for slightly older teenage Pi (Suraj Sharma), his family is going to move from India to Canada. They need to sell the zoo and move on, poor economy and all. So that is what they do, even so far as to getting on a Japanese cargo ship to ship all the animals across the sea. There is a mean chef on board (Gerard fucking Depardieu) but overall it is fine. Until the storm happens.

Yeah, the boat capsizes. Bad things happen, and next thing you know Pi finds himself on a life boat, sharing it with some animals. Can Pi survive in the Mid Pacific ocean for over 200 days, with a Tiger ready to eat his face off?

Oh shit, it looks so artsy too at the same time.

Whoa. Just Whoa. Whoaaa.

I have shown in the past that religious based movies tend to piss me off, but that is usually because of their low budget and shoddy workmanship instead of the message they convey. So if you take a very detailed movie, based on a very well written book, you could say whatever you want for all I care.

I tagged this movie as spiritual, because that is a big part of it, Pi discovering his true self. I watched the movie bright eyed, both amazed at the level of detail that went into each scene, the great cinematography, and wondering just what would happen next. I got to see the 3D version, and the 3D is not a gimmick where shit just comes out at you every once in awhile, but instead just adds an overall roundness and complete feeling to the movie. A lot like what Avatar did (even though it had tons of stuff coming out at you as well).

It is interesting that they cut out a few scenes in order to make it PG, because I don”t think kids will really get the full impact from the movie, and perhaps find it boring. Might have been better at PG-13, to apparently make it more true to the source material.

I fully suggest watching this movie, and it might give you a new appreciation on life. The ending really makes you think, given the final words of Pi’s story.

4 out of 4.


Prometheus! Such a meaningful word. This movie I had the pleasure of seeing in theaters, which of course means it is automatically a bit better than it might be, so the review could change months later.

Outside of the amazing trailers, of course I knew that Ridley Scott was the director. I had heard originally that they planned on being a prequel to the Alien movies, but it was scrapped when it became so big. Well, it still is pretty much. Not a direct prequel, but same universe, and before Alien at least.

I’m sure there is nothing ominous about those vases.

Prometheus is the name of the ship, sent to a moon of a very very distant planet. Two archaeologists, Liz Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) find a bunch of cave paintings, showing old nations worshiping a lager man, and pointing to a very specific star system. It is weird, because none of these nations would have had contact, and are quite old.

So they believe that these beings are inviting them to their planet, and really want to “meet their maker”, and so they convince a trillionaire (Guy Pearce, looking like an old Bill Maher) to finance a ship and crew to do just that. Presumably the ship cost most of the funding, so not all individuals of the crew were the top of their field (on a potentially suicide mission), but still. We got a pilot (Idris Elba), a biologist (Rafe Spall), a geologist (Sean Harris), some sort of high level CEO like figure (Charlize Theron) and an adroid who is fucking fantastic (Michael Fassbender).

Of course other people too, like medics, navigators, security, etc. But eh whatever.

They go to the planet, find the people in question, but they are all dead (OR ARE THEY?). Also, find some nice black ooze. I’m sure after this they go home disappointed and no one dies.

After unlocking all of the secrets of the universe, of course.

Let me go over some pros first:

Michael Fassbender as an android. So good. So so good.
The visuals and shiny colors.
That basic premise.

Some of the cons?
Well, obviously, this is by far the worst depiction of a geologist I have ever seen in film. Thus my comments on not top of the field. Scientifically, a lot of this film is a travesty. Liz demanding no weapons on a new planet for safety, is pretty dumb, as is having only one “Expert’ on each field. But man, that geologist. It sucked, knowing he would die so fast in the film before I knew his field.

A lot of the characters don’t get as much development as one would like. So when certain self sacrifices are made, emotionally it doesn’t hurt as much because we barely know these people. Other conversations seemed forced (“I can’t have babies!” “Father!” etc) and it almost cringe worthy to see. Also drugs.

If I could rate this just on potential? It would be quite high. A lot of the elements are there but I think a bit too much was left on the cutting room floor. This film with a directors cut would probably be great. There is a lot of implied themes that make this film great as well, with plenty of evidence. Just…not enough for me to call it great.

Give a watch, but maybe wait for a nice Directors cut on Blu-Ray.

2 out of 4.


A historical drama and political thriller about the works of Shakespeare? Alright. Why the hell not.

Anonymous shakespeare
That shit was like a rock show back then.

In case you didn’t know, Anonymous is a movie saying that William Shakespeare (Rafe Spall in the movie) did not write the works accredited to him. No, he was from a family of illiterates, and just an actor who was in the right place at the right time. No, instead it was Edward de Vere, an Earl of Oxford at the time who might have wrote them all! And he is played by Rhys Ifans.

Oh okay. Well why does it say that? Pretty much explains it over the whole movie.

According to the movie, play writes who got out of line back in the day got imprisoned. Nothing too raunchy, nothing against the crown, etc. Some guy named Ben Johnson (Sebastian Armesto) get arrested early on for being such a crude guy, I guess.

But the movie has an Earl doing all the writing, and in secret at that. Writing is also frowned upon for some reason. But he gives his plays to others to publish, under ‘Anonymous’, until Shakespeare takes credit after (Henry the VIII maybe?). Which he is fine with. Good, someone to “direct” all his works. Great.

Theres also the major plot about Queen Elizabeth 1 (Vanessa Redgrave) having sex with EVURRYBODYYY. And having secret children, even if its with people she was related to. Eventually this stuff leads to heir questions, possible revolts and mobs, and some war stuff. Beheadings too.

The movie also begins as if it was a play in front of a live theater, and ends that way too. But don’t worry, it turns into a real movie after the intro, and before the outtro.

Anonymous RHys
“Your mother is an outtro.”

I can tell you I know very little about Shakespeare’s work. Never really cared. Also historically, I like ancient, but that means older than Renaissance. So any of that stuff wasn’t as interesting to me.

With all the sleeping around and fake babies, it just felt like a modern drama set in the past. I don’t even know how the movie explained that no one would be able to notice the Queen was pregnant all those times.

Also, a lot of the characters looked alike in my head. Kind of like the six fingered man in The Princess Bride. At least half of them. That made it harder for me to just follow along with the plot, which was important, given all the characters. The play also took place over 4 different years, over about 35 or 45 years though. It was more confusing, because I didn’t know when it went super far in the past. The other years at least showed “Five Year prior!”. Maybe the super far in the past one did too. But I missed it.

Shouldn’t be hiding time cues like that!

But anyways. The movie looked pretty, but the plot seemed kind of silly.

1 out of 4.