By Kidus Tamiru , July 01, 2019
Men In Black – International
Directed by: F. Gary Gray
Runtime: 1hrs 50m
Starring: Tessa Thompson, Chris Hemsworth, Liam Neeson
MIB: International follows Agent M, a new recruit in the men in black and H, a reckless but effective agent in the MIB as they try to track down a potential mole in the organization. This movie is more of a spin-off of the MIB franchise than a sequel, featuring only one crossover character (two if you count the annoying pug) from the original. But don’t hold your breath anticipating a great cameo, it’s just Emma Thompson’s Agent O from MIB III.
In terms of story, this film has obvious similarities with the first one. Both films feature an intelligent, cool character being recruited to the men in black, getting paired up with a partner that’s their exact polar opposite and we get to experience the wonders and craziness of the alien world through their eyes. But this time around, we’ve already been
introduced to the crazy world of the MIB and the sight of all the odd-looking aliens. So, having the lead character marvel at all the craziness around her and expecting the audience to react with the same amusement made the first half of this movie quite boring.
My review in a nutshell is, every movie in this series gets progressively worse. From quirky but good in the first one, to amusing and watchable in the second to OK-there’s-nothing-better-to-watch in the third and then, my god that was an absolute pile of shit for this one. The story was incredibly boring; almost all of the jokes fell so flat I was literally cringing, it practically has no villain, and they even managed to muck up the action scenes. The problem with this series in the first place was that it was inevitably doomed to fail. The first film was good because of its quirky and novel appeal and because of the fantastic charisma and chemistry between Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. And both novelty and star power tend to fade through repetition. And that’s exactly what had happened by the third part.
So, I guess the filmmakers had the genius idea of just casting new, younger and more relevant leads and just keep churning out some more formulaic sequels. And they’re probably scratching their heads right now wondering what went wrong. Even though Hemsworth and Thompson’s performance is probably the only good thing about this film, they have nowhere near the presence and comic power to save a bad movie with lazy writing and incompetent directing. Speaking of, Mr. Gray seems very much out of his element with this. He seems much more at home directing either small scale comedies like Friday or large-scale full-on meathead action with no plot or wittiness like The Fate of Furious. But the nuances of directing a quirky, out-this-world comedy escape him.
Overall, if you want to see a fourth sequel done properly, watch the other film in cinemas right now, Toy Story 4. No, for real, check that out. It’s great. Just avoid this crap.
Directed by: Ermias Tadesse
Starring: Amanuel Habtamu, Betel Mengiste, Wintana Tadese
The plot follows Alemn, an honest lawyer hellbent on justice and fairness whose life turns upside down when he meets a beautiful but mysterious woman. What I enjoyed about this movie was that it started off as a slightly odd but potentially good romance movie but ends up a full on supernatural neo-noir film. With its silent protagonist, complex plot, mysterious damsel in distress and dark cinematography, this film was quite a surprise. At least for most of it. It gets kind of rushed and lazy in the third act, as writers are wont to do when they bite off more than they can chew. But, on the whole, this is a very good film. It is very well paced, written and directed. It has an uneasy, almost horror film-like atmosphere to it throughout. But the problem with making a good movie is that even minor mishaps that go unnoticed in mediocre films become quite obvious. In this case, I found the ADR (overdubbed dialog) quite annoying in an otherwise well executed film. It makes most of the dialog sound like narration. And what is with this obsession of having cheesy, original songs that literally describe the scene for you during sad moments? It seems to be the new fad for Ethiopian movies and it’s annoying when they overdo it with the heart string pulling. But I’m just being a nitpicker, I’d definitely recommend this film and I hope to see more Ethiopian films like it.
John Wick 3: Parabellum
Directed by: Chad Stahelski
Runtime: 2hr 10m
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Ian McShane
John Wick 3 is an immediate continuation of the previous film as the titular character tries to fight off all the assassins sent after him by the high table. By immediate continuation, I mean this literally begins right after the last film ends. So, it wouldn’t hurt to reacquaint yourself with the series if you intend on watching this. That being said, this is definitely the most “John Wick” movie in the series. It has less talk and a lot more action than the others. And at this stage, it’s obvious the filmmakers know exactly what the fans love about these movies (which is rare among movie franchises), and they’ve amplified those elements. Right from the brief title credits all the way to the end, this is non-stop, high octane action with practically no plot. This is a movie for the people who miss the golden age of action movies, back when blockbuster films were mostly about a hero killing scores of faceless henchmen. But, as anybody who’s played Call of Duty for too long will tell you, constant sound of gun fire can get pretty monotonous. This movie is also the most violent in the series, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on how you like your movies. It is obvious The Raid 2 was a huge inspiration, with everything from the hyper-violence to the colorful villains, played by the same actors from that movie playing the same roles (If you’re a fan of action films, I highly recommend The Raid 2). So, if you’re into drama, plot, realism, the laws of physics or other superfluous things, you might not like this. But if you just want to watch Keanu Reeves kill a giant dude with a book, then you gotta check this out.