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.
Nelson, best known for starring on his parents' TV hit The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, passed away on Monday (10Jan11) at his home in Los Angeles.
He was the last surviving member of the real-life TV family, whose U.S. sitcom ran on the small screen from 1952 to 1966.
Nelson attended the University of Southern California before convincing his parents to allow him to act on the show, along with his teen idol brother Ricky.
He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and racked up a number of TV and film credits, including roles in Peyton Place, The Big Circus and Love and Kisses.
The actor is survived by his wife, Yvonne, four sons and a daughter, according to the Associated Press. A memorial service will be held in Los Angeles' Pierce Brothers Westwood Mortuary on Thursday (13Jan11).
Created and starred in radio show, "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet"; until 1949 used actors to play sons; after 1949 roles were played by real-life sons David and Rick
After graduation, toured as bandleader and crooner
With wife Harriet Hilliard Nelson, moved to Hollywood; hosted radio show "Seeing Stars"
Played first leading role in a feature film, "Sweetheart of the Campus"; he and wife Harriet Hilliard received second and third billing behind Ruby Keeler; first of four feature films he made with his wife
Last feature film appearance for seven years, "People Are Funny"
Diagnosed with terminal liver cancer
Continued touring with his band
Moved permanently to California
Starred in a feature version of his family's radio show, "Here Comes the Nelsons"; film also marked Nelson's first screenplay credit, co-written with brother Don
Joined parents act at age five (date approximate)
Starred in syndicated TV sitcom, "Ozzie's Girls"
Wrote, produced and directed his first and only feature, "Love and Kisses", starring his son Ricky Nelson and Rick's wife Kris Harmon
Hired Harriet Hilliard as girl singer to tour with his band in the early 1930s
Toured in play "The Impossible Years", starring opposite wife Harriet
Formed a dance band while in college
Starred in long-running ABC sitcom, "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet"; also wrote, produced and directed many episodes
With wife, spent three seasons as regulars on Red Skelton's radio program
Underwent first treatment for cancer; had malignant tumor removed from his colon
Last feature film appearance, "The Impossible Years"
Made feature film debut appearing briefly with his orchestra in the Bette Davis dramatic vehicle, "The Letter", directed by William Wyler
Returned to live in NYC
married from October 8, 1935 until his death; born on July 18, 1909; had been married briefly
Born October 24, 1936; mother, Harriet Nelson; starred with his parents on the long-running sitcom "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet"
died on March 20, 1927 at age 48
born on October 24, 1936 in NYC; married to actors June Blair and Yvonne O'Connor Huston; besides acting in "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" on TV also performed in features including "Peyton Place" (1957) and "The Big Show" (1961)
born on May 8, 1940 in Teaneck, New Jersey; died in plane crash in DeKalb, Texas, on December 31, 1985; was major rock'n'roll star from the late 1950s through the early 70s; several dozen song hits included "Travellin' Man" and "Garden Party"; besdies acting in "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" was also in features including "Rio Bravo" and "The Wackiest Ship in the Army" (1960); was married to actor Kristin Harmon Tinker; father of Matthew, Gunnar, Tracy and Sam Nelson
born in 1904
born c. 1927; survived him; was present at Harriet Hilliard Nelson's death bed in 1994
born on October 25, 1963
born on September 20, 1967; father Rick Nelson, mother Kris Tinker (nee Harmon); twin of Matthew Nelson, with whom he formed the pop duo Nelson
born on September 20, 1967; father, Rick Nelson, mother Kris Tinker (nee Harmon); twin of Gunnar Nelson, with whom he formed the pop duo Nelson; was for a time involved with Erin Everly, daughter of Don Everly and Venetia Stevenson