A decade-long gap between sequels could leave a franchise stale but in the case of Men in Black 3 it's the launch pad for an unexpectedly great blockbuster. The kooky antics of Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) don't stray far from their 1997 and 2002 adventures but without a bombardment of follow-ups to keep the series in mind the wonderfully weird sensibilities of Men in Black feel fresh Smith's natural charisma once again on full display. Barry Sonnenfeld returns for the threequel another space alien romp with a time travel twist — which turns out to be Pandora's Box for the director's deranged imagination.
As time passed in the real world so did it for the timeline in the world of Men in Black. Picking up ten years after MIB 2 J and K are continuing to protect the Earth from alien threats and enforce the law on those who live incognito. While dealing with their own personal issues — K is at his all-time crabbiest for seemingly no reason — the suited duo encounter an old enemy Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement) a prickly assassin seeking revenge on K who blew his arm off back in the '60s. Their street fight is more of a warning; Boris' real plan is to head back in time to save his arm and kill off K. He's successful prompting J to take his own leap through the time-space continuum — and team up with a younger K (Josh Brolin) to put an end to Boris plans for world domination.
Men in Black 3 is the Will Smith show. Splitting his time between the brick personalities of Jones and Brolin's K Smith struts his stuff with all the fast-talking comedic style that made him a star in yesteryears. In present day he's still the laid back normal guy in a world of oddities — J raises an eyebrow as new head honcho O (Emma Thompson) delivers a eulogy in a screeching alien tongue but coming up with real world explanations for flying saucer crashes comes a little easier. But back in 1969 he's an even bigger fish out water. Surprisingly director Barry Sonnenfeld and writer Etan Cohen dabble in the inherent issues that would spring up if a black gentlemen decked out in a slick suit paraded around New York in the late '60s. A star of Smith's caliber may stray away from that type of racy humor but the hook of Men in Black 3 is the actor's readiness for anything. He turns J's jokey anachronisms into genuine laughs and doesn't mind letting the special effect artists stretch him into an unrecognizable Twizzler for the movie's epic time jump sequence.
Unlike other summer blockbusters Men in Black 3 is light on the action Sonnenfeld utilizing his effects budget and dazzling creature work (by the legendary Rick Baker) to push the comedy forward. J's fight with an oversized extraterrestrial fish won't keep you on the edge of your seat but his slapstick escape and the marine animal's eventual demise are genuinely amusing. Sonnenfeld carries over the twisted sensibilities he displayed in small screen work like Pushing Daisies favoring bizarre banter and elaborating on the kookiness of the alien underworld than battle scenes. MIB3's chase scene is passable but the movie in its prime when Smith is sparring with Brolin and newcomer Michael Stuhlbarg who steals the show as a being capable of seeing the future. His twitchy character keeps Smith and the audience on their toes.
Men in Black 3 digs up nostalgia I wasn't aware I had. Smith's the golden boy of summer and even with modern ingenuity keeping it fresh — Sonnenfeld uses the mandatory 3D to full and fun effect — there's an element to the film that feels plucked from another era. The movie is economical and slight with plenty of lapses in logic that will provoke head scratching on the walk out of the theater but it's also perfectly executed. After ten years of cinematic neutralizing the folks behind Men in Black haven't forgotten what made the first movie work so well. After al these years Smith continues to make the goofy plot wild spectacle and crazed alien antics look good.
The 2012 Producer's Guild of America Awards are approaching, celebrating both Theatrical Motion Pictures and Long-Form Television with a new batch of nominees that the PGA has just released. Many of the films are no surprise—crossovers with the upcoming Golden Globes nominees abound. For theatrical motion picture include The Artist, The Descendants and Midnight in Paris; nominees for animated theatrical motion picture include Rango and The Adventures of Tintin.
The television nominees also offer some unsurprising names, including Mildred Pierce, Downton Abbey, Parks and Recreation, Boardwalk Empire,Game of Thrones, Mad Men and The Colbert Report.
Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures
Producer: Thomas Langmann
Producers: Judd Apatow, Barry Mendel, Clayton Townsend
Producers: Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
Producers: Ceán Chaffin, Scott Rudin
Producers: Michael Barnathan, Chris Columbus, Brunson Green
Producers: Graham King, Martin Scorsese
THE IDES OF MARCH
Producers: George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Brian Oliver
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS
Producers: Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum
Producers: Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz, Brad Pitt
Producers: Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg
The Producers Guild of America Producer of the Year Award in Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures
THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN
Producers: Peter Jackson, Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg
Producer: Denise Ream
KUNG FU PANDA 2
Producer: Melissa Cobb
PUSS IN BOOTS
Producers: Joe M. Aguilar, Latifa Ouaou
Producers: John B. Carls, Gore Verbinski
The Producers Guild of America Producer of the Year Award in Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures
BEATS, RHYMES & LIFE: THE TRAVELS OF A TRIBE CALLED QUEST
Producers: Michael Rapaport, Edward Parks (*additional producers eligibility pending arbitration completion)
BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK
Producer: Philip Gefter
Producer: Simon Chinn
Producer: James Gay-Rees
Producers: Cameron Crowe, Michelle Panek
The David L. Wolper Producer of the Year Award in Long-Form Television (Movies of the Week and Miniseries)
CINEMA VERITE (HBO)
Producers: Zanne Devine, Karyn McCarthy
DOWNTON ABBEY (Masterpiece) (PBS)
Producers: Julian Fellowes, Nigel Marchant, Gareth Neame
THE KENNEDYS (ReelzChannel)
Producers: Jon Cassar, Jonathan Koch, Stephen Kronish, Steve Michaels, Michael Prupas, Jamie Paul Rock, Joel Surnow
MILDRED PIERCE (HBO)
Producers: Todd Haynes, Pamela Koffler, Ilene S. Landress, Christine Vachon
TOO BIG TO FAIL (HBO)
Producers: Carol Fenelon, Jeffrey Levine, Paula Weinstein
The Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Comedy:
30 ROCK (NBC)
Producers: Robert Carlock, Tina Fey, Marci Klein, Jerry Kupfer, Lorne Michaels, David Miner, Jeff Richmond, John Riggi, Don Scardino
THE BIG BANG THEORY (CBS)
Producers: Chuck Lorre, Steve Molaro, Faye Oshima, Bill Prady
Producers: Ian Brennan, Dante Di Loreto, Brad Falchuk, Ryan Murphy, Kenneth Silverstein
MODERN FAMILY (ABC)
Producers: Paul Corrigan, Abraham Higginbotham, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Morton, Jeffrey Richman, Dan O’Shannon, Brad Walsh, Bill Wrubel, Danny Zuker
PARKS AND RECREATION (NBC)
Producers: Greg Daniels, Dan Goor, Howard Klein, Amy Poehler, Morgan Sackett, Michael Schur
The Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama
BOARDWALK EMPIRE (HBO)
Producers: Eugene Kelly, Howard Korder, Stephen Levinson, Martin Scorsese, Rudd Simmons, Tim Van Patten, Terence Winter
Producers: Sara Colleton, John Goldwyn, Chip Johannessen, Robert Lloyd Lewis
GAME OF THRONES (HBO)
Producers: David Benioff, Frank Doelger, Mark Huffam, Carolyn Strauss, D.B. Weiss
THE GOOD WIFE (CBS)
Producers: Brooke Kennedy, Michelle King, Robert King, Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, David W. Zucker
MAD MEN (AMC)
Producers: Jonathan Abrahams, Scott Hornbacher, Andre Jacquemetton, Maria Jacquemetton, Blake McCormick, Dwayne Shattuck, Dahvi Waller, Matthew Weiner
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Talk Television
THE COLBERT REPORT (Comedy Central)
Producers: Meredith Bennett, Stephen T. Colbert, Richard Dahm, Tanya Michnevich Bracco, Tom Purcell, Jon Stewart (*additional producers eligibility pending arbitration completion)
THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW (Syndicated)
Producers: Mary Connelly, Ellen DeGeneres, Melissa Geiger Schrift, Ed Glavin, Andy Lassner, Kevin A. Leman II, Jonathan Norman, Derek Westervelt
REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER (HBO)
Producers: Scott Carter, Sheila Griffiths, Marc Gurvitz, Dean Johnsen, Bill Maher, Billy Martin
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE (NBC)
Producers: Ken Aymong, Steve Higgins, Erik Kenward, Lorne Michaels, John Mulaney
THE 64TH ANNUAL TONY AWARDS (CBS)
Producers: Ricky Kirshner, Glenn Weiss
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Competition Television
THE AMAZING RACE (CBS)
Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer, Elise Doganieri, Jonathan Littman, Bertram van Munster, Mark Vertullo
AMERICAN IDOL (FOX)
Producers: Charles Boyd, Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Simon Fuller, Patrick Lynn, Nigel Lythgoe, Megan Michaels, Ken Warwick
DANCING WITH THE STARS (ABC)
Producers: Ashley Edens Shaffer, Conrad Green, Joe Sungkur, Rob Wade
PROJECT RUNWAY (Lifetime)
Producers: Jane Cha Cutler, Desiree Gruber, Tim Gunn, Heidi Klum, Jonathan Murray, Sara Rea, Colleen Sands
TOP CHEF (Bravo)
Producers: Daniel Cutforth, Casey Kriley, Jane Lipsitz, Dan Murphy, Nan Strait
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television:
30 FOR 30 (ESPN)
Producers: John Dahl, Connor Schell, Bill Simmons
AMERICAN MASTERS (PBS)
Producers: Susan Lacy, Julie Sacks
ANTHONY BOURDAIN: NO RESERVATIONS (Travel Channel)
Producers: Christopher Collins, Julie Lei, Lydia Tenaglia, Tom Vitale
DEADLIEST CATCH (Discovery Channel)
Producers: Thom Beers, Jeff Conroy, John Gray, Sheila McCormack, Ethan Prochnik, Bill Pruitt, Matt Renner
UNDERCOVER BOSS (CBS)
Producers: Chris Carlson, Susan Hoenig, Eli Holzman, Sandi Johnson, Stephen Lambert, Allison Schermerhorn
ANDERSON COOPER 360º (CNN)
BBC WORLD NEWS AMERICA (BBC)
NBC NEWS WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS (NBC)
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW (MSNBC)
60 MINUTES (CBS)
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL (ESPN)
REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL (HBO)
SPORTS CENTER (ESPN)
30 FOR 30 (ESPN)
2010 FIFA WORLD CUP (ABC / ESPN / ESPN2)
U.S. OPEN TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP (CBS / ESPN2 / Tennis Channel)
DORA THE EXPLORER (Nickelodeon)
PHINEAS AND FERB (Disney Channel)
SESAME STREET (PBS)
SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS (Nickelodeon)
ASK A NINJA (blip.tv)
THE GUILD (WatchTheGuild.com)
PARKS AND RECREATION PRESENTS: "APRIL AND ANDY'S ROAD TRIP" (NBC.com)
30 ROCK PRESENTS JACK DONAGHY, EXECUTIVE SUPERHERO (NBC.com)
WEB THERAPY (LStudio.com)
*These programs were not vetted for producer eligibility this year but winners in these categories will be announced at the official ceremony on January 21st.
Source: Producer's Guild
Putting James Gandolfini in a starring role in a movie for the first time
has both its advantages and its drawbacks, it would seem. Critics are, for
the most part, praising his performance in the prison drama The Last Castle, in which he stars opposite Robert Redford.
Yet many of those
same critics complain that The Last Castle compares poorly with
The Sopranos, the HBO series that made Gandolfini a big star to begin
(In a feature about the movie appearing in today's Toronto
Globe & Mail writer Simon Houpt observed: "The Sopranos is so
finely wrought, and his work in it so sublime, it is disturbing to see him
in something as hackneyed as The Last Castle.")
film has received several raves. Jonathan Foreman in the New York Post
writes that it is a rare pleasure to see a movie "that combines exciting
action with a smart, well-informed script and vivid yet restrained
On the other hand, across town at the New York Daily News,
writer Jack Mathews scoffs, "I don't know why Redford and the white-hot
Gandolfini signed on for this fiasco."
Los Angeles Daily News critic
Bob Strauss voices a similar verdict. The film, he says, "manages to be
howlingly simplistic and ridiculously illogical at the same time."
Curiously, Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times admits he has
ambivalent feelings about the movie: "The immediate experience of watching
The Last Castle is strongly involving, and the action at the end,
exciting," he writes. "It's the kind of movie people tell you they saw last
night and really liked. I really liked it last night, too. It's only this
morning that I'm having trouble with it."
Unlike most other movies of the current summer aimed primarily at popcorn chompers, Planet of the Apes is not really infuriating many critics. Rather, the reviews are divided almost equally between those who find it somewhat disappointing and those who have gone, er, ape over it. Rita Kempley of the Washington Post is part of the latter crowd. Calling the movie an "astonishing new version" of the original story, Kempley says that it is "splendidly envisioned and boldly executed" by director Tim Burton. Michael Wilmington in the Chicago Tribune is equally enthusiastic about the movie, calling it "a Hollywood super-spectacle loaded with voluptuous visual effects and graced with subversive blasts of playfulness and wit." Geoff Pevere in the Toronto Star labels it "a resounding pop achievement: a re-imagining that honors the essence of the original while fusing it to the temperament of the present." And Jonathan Foreman in the New York Post promises that it will "keep you on the edge of your seat for nearly two hours." Bob Strauss in the Los Angeles Daily News urges moviegoers to "let the gray matter rest and enjoy what may be the best two hours of nonsense you'll see this year." On the other hand, Carrie Rickey in the Philadelphia Inquirer remarks: "(Planet of the Apes) is provocative. It is frightening. It is a mess." And Elvis Mitchell in the New York Times comments: "When Mr. Burton's Planet fixes on being entertaining as single-mindedly as the gorillas bearing down on homo sapiens, it succeeds. But the picture states its social points so bluntly that it becomes slow-witted and condescending; it treats the audience as pets." (In the film, apes treat humans as pets.) Most of the reviews compare the new film with the 1968 original. Rick Groen in the Toronto Globe & Mail observes that it would be impossible for the Burton film to duplicate the charm of the first Apes. "Instead, it's obliged to do something else, something different, and therein lies the problem ... it doesn't. ... In fact the themes have actually been dumbed down." Jay Carr in a review in the Boston Globe headlined "When Hairy Met Silly," is more specific. "The original film was campy but resonant with social themes in a time of civil rights struggle," he writes. "This new version is little more than a screenful of heavy-metal political correctness." Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times acknowledges at the beginning of the review that he "expected more" from Burton, then writes later that the director "had some kind of an obligation to either top [the original], or sidestep it. Instead, he pays homage. ... He's made a film that's respectful to the original, and respectable in itself, but that's not enough. Ten years from now, it will be the 1968 version that people are still renting."
Critics who often exhort filmmakers to be more daring have generally concluded that director Baz Luhrmann energetically did so with Moulin Rouge but often with dire results. "This is a flabbergasting piece of work, nakedly out there, willing to risk looking foolish because it is so in love with the head-turning possibilities of the film medium. And, inevitably, foolish is what it sometimes looks," comments Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times. "A bold attempt to resuscitate the movie musical, Moulin Rouge is a sometimes glorious, sometimes disastrous folly," writes Jonathan Foreman in the New York Post. Elvis Mitchell in the New York Times concludes: "This movie is simultaneously stirring and dispiriting ... Mr. Luhrmann's directing style is almost a brand of obsessive-compulsive disorder. He has too much to say and grows faint over the prospect of getting all of the thoughts and ideas and words and production numbers out of his head." Similarly, Bob Strauss in the Los Angeles Daily News finds the movie to be "undeniably lovely. Every frame of it is clever (often too, by half). It's certainly energetic/exhausting," but Strauss concludes that it is "overwrought with design elements and fast cuts." The Wall Street Journal's Joe Morgenstern writes that since watching the movie, "I've been doing the can't-can't. Can't believe the spectacular craziness of what I saw, can't convey the full folly of this opulent, gleefully decadent phantasmagoria." But Jack Mathews in the New York Daily News concludes that despite its shortcomings, Moulin Rouge is a rouge-hot success. The film, he writes, "is an audacious, snappy visual and emotional feast of dishes both familiar and fresh. It's the first really good movie of 2001."
Ginger Spice, the first member to bail from the all-women British singing group Spice Girls, visited a Santa Monica, Calif., Overeaters Anonymous meeting this week, raising questions about her own health, Reuters reports.
Ginger Spice, whose real name is Geri Halliwell, currently weighs in at 97 pounds, but her publicist denied that the singer was there for treatment.
“She swung by an Overeaters Anonymous meeting a couple of days ago to give support to people who are currently suffering from eating disorders,'' spokesman Jonathan Hackford said. ``She's had problems with bulimia in the past, but you only have to look at her to see she's now healthier than she's ever been."
O-Town ARISTA HITMAKER BACK WITH O-TOWN HIT: Talk about the comeback of the year.
Clive Davis, who founded Arista Records 25 years ago but reluctantly retired this year after a bitter feud with its parent company’s president, BMG Entertainment’s Strauss Zelnick, has produced yet another hit with pop quintet O-Town's debut single “Liquid Dreams.”
Davis is credited for boosting the careers of several musicians, including Whitney Houston and Carlos Santana's comeback.
He left Arista in June to start his own record company, J Records. Since its debut, “Liquid Dreams” has topped the singles sales charts, selling more than 42,000 copies in the week ending Dec. 10.
FROM A PRINCESS TO A QUEEN: Madonna will dress like royalty mixed with a little country for her wedding.
Reuters reports that the Queen of Pop will wear a priceless diamond-encrusted tiara that once belonged to the late Princess Grace of Monaco as well as white cowboy boots to fit her current "Music" image when she weds British filmmaker Guy Ritchie on Dec. 22 in Scotland.
Madonna's dress reportedly will be designed by Stella McCartney, the daughter of ex-Beatle Paul McCartney.
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