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.
Two members of the rap group Junior M.A.F.I.A. and a bodyguard employed by the group have been charged in connection with a shooting outside a New York deli, police told The Associated Press.
Rappers Little Caesar--whose real name is James Lloyd, 23--and Banger--Antoine Spain, 23--and their bodyguard Suif Jackson, 31, were arrested Friday and charged with attempted murder, reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon. Two 9mm handguns were found in a hidden compartment of the car they allegedly fired the shots from. The guns are registered to rapper Lil' Kim, who is also a member of Junior M.A.F.I.A., police said.
Actress Tisha Campbell-Martin and her husband, actor Duane Martin, gave birth to Xen Martin, their 8-pound, 11-ounce son, on Wednesday. Both mother and baby are doing well, her manager, Gina Rugolo-Judd, told The Associated Press on Friday. Campbell-Martin played Gina, Martin Lawrence's girlfriend, on the Fox series Martin.
Country music Oak Ridge Boys' member William Lee Golden and wife, Brenda, welcomed a 6 pound baby boy, Solomon Golden, Friday, in Nashville, Tenn. "He looks wise already,'' Golden commented. This is the couple's first child, but Golden has three sons from a previous marriage, reports The Associated Press.
Michael Houston, brother of famed diva Whitney Houston, was arrested Wednesday and charged with cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia possession, and being under the influence of drugs, Launch.com reports. Police searched his car and found 14 partially smoked marijuana cigarettes, a bag of marijuana, and cocaine. Michael Houston was arraigned at 12:30 a.m. Thursday, and released on a $3,500 bail.
A member of the rap group Insane Clown Posse pleaded no contest to charges stemming from a local bar fight. Joseph W. Utsler--also called Shaggy 2 Dope--entered no contest pleas to misdemeanor charges of battery and disorderly conduct Thursday in Wisconsin's Eau Claire County Circuit Court. Utsler paid $396 in fines and court costs, reports The Associated Press.
Singer-songwriter Dale Watson, 37, pays tribute to his fiancée, Terri Herbert, who died in a car accident last September, on his new CD Every Song I Write Is for You. "The album is a chronicle of grief, if you will,'' Watson told The Associated Press.
Lynyrd Skynyrd resumed their tour Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, following the death of bassist Leon Wilkeson on July 29.
The Backstreet Boys are on course to continue their tour following AJ McLean's release on Aug. 4, from the rehabilitation center where he had been staying since early July. McLean, who underwent treatment for alcoholism, depression and anxiety, has been moved to a "transitional care" facility in Los Angeles, according to the Backstreet Boys' publicists. The Backstreet Boys tour will resume on Aug. 24 at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, WI and end at the Coors Amphitheater in Oct. 20 in Chula Vista, CA.
Irish pop group U2 has launched a European tour with a plea to Northern Ireland to ''Give peace a chance," reports Reuters. "Compromise is not such a bad word after all,'' lead singer Bono told the crowd in Manchester, England Saturday night. "Our prayer is that this week brave people make brave decisions and this little island across the little channel does not go back to war,'' Bono said.