Richard sits in on the CTV NewsChannel with news anchor Beverly Thomson have a look at the weekend’s big releases including “Men in Black: International,” “Late Night” and the documentaries “There Are No Fakes” and “Watergate.”
A weekly feature from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest and most interesting movies! This week Richard looks at “Men in Black: International,” “Late Night” and the documentary “There Are No Fakes” with CFRA Morning Rush host Bill Carroll.
Richard has a look at the new movies coming to theatres, including “Men in Black: International” with Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson stepping in for Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, “Late Night,” starring Mindy J+Kaling and Emma Thompson and the documentaries “Watergate” and “There Are No Fakes” with CFRA Morning Rush host Bill Carroll.
This week “The Avengers,” well, at least one of them, aren’t saving the world. Instead Thor portrayer Chris Hemsworth sets his sights a little lower, breathing new life into the flailing “Men in Black” franchise. Twenty-two years after the original hit film and a few years after a cancelled third sequel he’s joined by Marvel Universe citizens, “Avengers: Endgame’s” Tessa Thompson and “Iron Man” writers Matt Holloway and Art Marcum. The question is, Can the mighty Marvel alumni bring some of their magic to a different universe?
This reboot keeps the basics of the franchise. There are still loads of chatty aliens, Emma Thompson returns and the Men in Black remain a nattily dressed but top-secret organization that monitors and polices alien activity on Earth. They’ve managed to stay undercover for decades by the use of a neuralyzer, a device that erases the memories of those who witness their efforts to keep the world safe from alien attack. It’s a failsafe but in at least one case it isn’t entirely effective. In a flashback we see a family, including a young girl named Molly (Mandeiya Flory), neuralyzed after an incident.
Cut to present day. Now grown up Molly (now played by (Thompson) is about to realize her life-long dream, to become part of the best kept secret in the universe. “It took me twenty years to find you” she says to Agent O (Emma Thompson) head of MIB’s US branch. “I found you which makes me perfect for this job.” Dubbed Agent M, she is assigned to the UK branch, headed by High T (Liam Neeson) and teamed with Agent H (Hemsworth), her mission is to root out the biggest MIB threat yet, a mole in the organization. “We are the Men in Black,” says Agent H, “errr, the men and Women in Black.”
Unless there is a mass neuralization of audiences “Men in Black: International” will not make us forget the charms of the first “MIB” film. Director F. Gary Gray’s take on the film delivers actors with sparkling chemistry—Hemsworth and Thompson first lit up the screen in 2017s “Thor: Ragnarok” and continue to do so here—who elevate an otherwise unremarkable reboot of a well-loved franchise.
It has the earmarks of the original but, aside from Kumail Nanjiani as a tiny Marvin the Martian-esque alien named Pawny, there is nothing extra special about the extraterrestrials. For a movie about the “scum of the universe,” that seems like a missed opportunity. Nanjiani is provides some much need comic relief in the film’s last section but where is the creativity in the creature design?
Having said all that, despite the predictability of the plot, the chemistry on display makes “Men in Black: International” a fun, lightweight romp.
Richard sits in on the CJAD Montreal morning show with guest host Ken Connors to talk the new movies coming to theatres including “Men in Black: International” with Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson stepping in for Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones and “Late Night,” starring Mindy J+Kaling and Emma Thompson.
I was six when Apollo 11 happened and was incredibly bored by the whole thing. I couldn’t understand why the shows I liked were being preempted for moon launch coverage. The Cape Canaveral takeoff plays a big part in “MIB3” and I felt like I was six again. Not filled with wonder but wishing I was watching something else.
As the third installment opens Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement), a notorious intergalactic serial killer is 40 years into a life sentence. He’s locked away in the only place that will hold him, a super-high security prison on the moon. After a daring escape he plans a full-scale invasion of earth, but first he wants revenge on the man who put him in jail: MIB agent K (Tommy Lee Jones). The only way to thwart Boris’s evil plan is for Agent J (Will Smith) to go back in time to 1969 and stop Boris.
Once every decade or so Will Smith makes a big-budget mistake. He’s the biggest movie star in the world and his charisma is usually enough to save almost any movie he chooses to do. But every now and again he makes a “Wild Wild West” or, this season, “MIB3.” Smith’s got a good track record, but you can’t always hit it out of the park.
There is some good stuff here. If this acting thing doesn’t work out for Brolin he does have a future as a Tommy Lee Jones impersonator. He could do weddings and Bar Mitzvahs and make a fortune. He’s that good.
I also enjoyed Smith literally hurtling through time, Bill Hader’s take on Andy Warhol, the idea that Mick Jagger is an alien sent to the planet to breed with Earth women, Michael Stuhlbarg’s unusual performance as an alien psychic and the battle in the Chinese restaurant. All of these elements were cool, but despite a good bad guy, some cool creatures and Brolin the movie didn’t have the charm or the energy of the first two films.
The magic of the first film is gone. Even the fun stuff in this film seems to evaporate as soon the next scene starts and don’t even get me started about the ending. The attempt at adding in some heart to what should be an oversized sci-fi romp fails miserably.
“Men in Black 3” brings something to the franchise that was missing from the great first film and not even present in the second, lamentable entry in the series. Unfortunately that element is blandness.