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.
Madonna has set her heart on a new home. The singer and her husband, British film director Guy Ritchie, are on the verge of buying a $12.75 million British mansion that once belonged to photographer Cecil Beaton, Reuters reports.
French film star Jean-Paul Belmondo was hospitalized Wednesday in Paris for emergency treatment of what medical officials are calling a cerebral accident, The Associated Press reports. Belmondo, 68, is listed in serious condition, but is conscious. He was hospitalized early Wednesday in Corsica and then flown by helicopter to Paris.
Lorenzo Music, the voice of the cartoon cat Garfield, died Sunday at his home in Los Angeles of lung cancer, AP reports. According to his wife, Henrietta, the 64-year-old Mr. Music worked until a month ago when he recorded Garfield's voice for a car commercial. He is survived by his wife and four children.
Michael Cournede, the 19-year-old co-defendant in the robbery case against Sopranos actor Robert Iler, has been charged with stealing money, a jacket, and a compact disk player from a teen-age victim in a separate incident on April 19 by Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau on Tuesday, AP said. If convicted on the first-degree robbery charge, Cournede could face up to 25 years in prison.
Jim Nabors, who played the character of Pfc. Gomer Pyle in the 1964 TV sitcom Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., is ready to be promoted. According to AP, Gen. James Jones, commandant of the Marine Corps, will promote the character to lance corporal Thursday at a private ceremony at Camp H.M. Smith on Oahu, Hawaii.
Eminem protégés D12 and the Detroit acid-rapper Esham were thrown off the Vans Warped Tour show after a fight broke out backstage during the Aug. 3 show in Camden, N.J. Esham's publicist told SonicNet.com that the members of D12 jumped hims, causing a broken nose, ruptured eyeball, mild concussion.
A new batch of performers will be honored at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, ABCNews,com reports. Among them are former teen idols David Cassidy, Deborah Gibson and New Kids on the Block, who have provided the museum's curator, Jim Henke, with memorabilia.
Dr. Who has been cited as the most influential television cult programs of all time, according to a list compiled by media historian Jeff Evans for his new untitled reference book. Fawlty Towers and Star Trek ranked second and third, Reuters reports. Other top shows included Monty Python's Flying Circus, The Prisioner, The X Files and The Simpsons.
Anne Heche will star on her own television series for Warner Bros., scheduled for fall 2002. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Heche's salary will fall on the $1 million range. The studios are still unsure if the actress will act on a half-hour or hour-length show, but she has expressed interest in doing comedy.
Tyne Daly's paycheck for her CBS drama Judging Amy will climb from mid-five figures to six figures next season after the actress agreed to extend her contract by another year. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the deal settles the dust between Daly and the show's producers after the actress did not return to work for the show's third season.
Survivor 2 contestant Michael Skupin says he will not run for the U.S. Senate in 2002, AP reports. Skupin, 39, says he wants focus on his family and his new company, Michael Skupin Ministries, which fights alcohol and drug addiction. The former contestant told AP that he "will have the opportunity again when the timing is better."