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.
On Monday, May 21, Hugh Laurie will make his final acerbic, marginally racist diagnosis: Fox's long running medical drama House is coming to an end. With the finale and the relationships and misadventures of the past eight seasons fast approaching, executive producer David Shore teases a "bittersweet" ending.
Unsurprisingly, he doesn't divulge much detail about the big finale. However, he assures fans that we're not in for an open-ended conclusion. "It’s definitely an ending," he tells Hollywood.com. "We never do happy endings, but we also try not to do simply miserable endings. Bittersweet is the most you can hope for from us."
But perhaps it's not about the destination, but the journey. Shore says he wants fans to walk away knowing "who [Dr. House] is and what he stands for." The way Shore sees it, "It’s really about the character and what the character stands for, which is, really, the pursuit of truth. Not just blindly following things.” Of course, Shore couldn't have accomplished that character without "Hugh Laurie’s eyes, the character’s sense of humor, and the fact that he’s a bit of a 15-year-old boy."
Speaking to some of the more controversial bits in House history, Shore is empathetic to fans' concerns, but maintains that he is generally proud of the creative choices he and his staff have made. While the House-Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) romance has been critiqued all over the Internet, Shore insists that doing something with this pair was unavoidable.
"I think it was going to be a lightning rod no matter what we did," Shore says. "I’m not saying we did everything perfect. I’m not saying we did things horrible either ... But fundamentally, we had to do it. You can’t have sexual tension go on and on and on and on. It was there from the beginning ... but at a certain point, we had to put them together," he added. As fans know, House's relationship with Cuddy came to a climactic end in the Season 7 finale, when the title character crashed his car through his ex's home — a move that Shore calls, "a logical and motivated irrational act, but it was still an irrational act" noting that the doctor "never meant to do [Cuddy] harm." House's destructive move got a lot of heat from fans and critics, but Shore is confident in the writers' big twist. "The saying within the writers room ... was, ‘The punishment doesn’t have to fit the crime, but there has to be a crime.’ As long as there was a motivation, as long as there was a House-like motivation ... pretty much anything went," he says. But although Shore can identify the mentality behind the act, he's not unsympathetic to fans' outcry. "We had to pay a price the next year," he says. "But that may have been why that act got more of a reaction than any of the other, shall we say, reprehensible things he did … He has come closer [to causing harm] in an effort to saving lives. There was no upside, I suppose, to driving that car, except for a satisfaction of lashing out." Finally, the creator speaks passionately about what he considers the life blood of the show: House's friendship with Dr. Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard). “I think one of the things that we’ve done very well on the show, if I do say so, is the House-Wilson relationship. There’s a lot of exploration on TV of romantic relationships ... there are very few explorations of male friendship — not just a wingman type friendship, not just an opportunity for humor." Of course, this friendship wouldn't work if Wilson weren't somewhat as mentally deranged as his starring partner. "I think there’s something clearly wrong with Wilson as well [as with House]," he says. "When we were casting Wilson, Robert Sean Leonard was reading for the network, and he came in and did a great job. The network wanted him to be a little kinder, a little nicer ... And Bryan Singer, when I was directing it, went off to give him a note outside the room." But Shore knew this wasn't the right move for the character: "I’m sitting there in the room, thinking about it, and going, ‘I think that’s a bad idea. He can’t be too soft. There has to be something about this guy, something that would make him be friends with House. There has to be a bit of an edge to him.'" Clearly, Shore got his way. After eight years of cracking medical mysteries, berating his friends and coworkers, and pill-popping himself into oblivion, Dr. Gregory House is saying goodbye to the spotlight. If Shore's comments are any indication, the show was handled with the same passion and dedication that fans gave to it throughout the years. What do you really need from the House series finale? [Image Credit: Fox] More: Fox to Cancel House After Eight Seasons Fox Renews Touch, Drops Alcatraz: Why Heroes Still Works & LOST Doesn't NBC's Series Pick-Ups: Bit o' Ryan Murphy, a Dash of J.J. Abrams, & an Old Friend
After nearly a decade, last year we watched as House and Cuddy finally got together during Season Seven of House—and that turned out so well. Don’t bite the apple, Eve. This unholy union is what Tamala Jones, who plays Lanie on Castle desperately wants to avoid between Richard Castle and Kate Beckett. We recently chatted it up with this sweeter-than-life actress about the upcoming episode “The Blue Butterfly,” a 1940's film noir type episode with our dynamic duo thrust back in time to solve another riveting case. Gangsters, Castle and Tamala, what else could you ask for on a Monday night? (Don’t answer that).
Do you think it’s time for Castle and Beckett to finally hook up? I don’t think it’s time to hook them up. I think that both of them have some deep-rooted issues they need to work through. No, I think it will really ruin the whole mystic if you do it, honestly. Keep them chasing that moment. So tell us about “The Blue Butterfly.” This episode is amazing. I can say, it’s my favorite by far. This episode is when Castle and Beckett are investigating the killing of a treasure hunter that actually is linked to a mysterious homicide that happens in 1947. So, Castle figures the way to solve that particular treasure hunter’s murder is to go back and solve the other murder form the past. The flash back scenes are—oh my God—amazing! Your 1940's alter ego is a singer? Do you have a lyrical background? Her name is Betsy and she is a chanteuse. She is the best friend of Dempsey, the gangster’s girlfriend. She sings, she’s wonderful.. I discovered through this episode that I have a lyrical background [laughs]...I really never sang anywhere else except the shower and the car but they told me it was a Billie Holiday kind of song I’d be singing and I love Billie Holiday...ask me to do Aretha Franklin or Patti Labelle and that would have been trouble, Billie Holiday I can do [laughs]. What can we expect the rest of the season on Castle, any reconciliation with Esposito? I hope so, I felt like it looked like we would be in Ryan’s wedding episode but I don’t know. Those guys are real secretive in that writer’s room...so we’ll have to see. You play a medical examiner, any experience with that until now? Oh my God, it was so hard. I can tell you this season is the season I am the most comfortable playing Lanie and spewing those medical terms out. I am very grateful to the cast I work with because they have been extremely supportive and patient with me throughout the time that I wasn’t so comfortable. Mark Pellegrino guest stars tonight. He’s coming off LOST playing a key role in Jacob. He plays this bad gangster Tom Dempsey...The man is an amazing talent. I am a huge fan of his. I didn’t have any dialogue with him in “The Blue Butterfly,” but I was in scenes that he was there, and he’s just so strong, so handsome and so mean, but mysteriously mean. Other than Castle what are some of your favorite shows? I love Game of Thrones, I love True Blood and I love Boardwalk Empire...I love Dancing with the Stars, that’s one of my favorite reality-type shows to watch.. I love to dance and it just looks like they are having so much fun. The Oscar nominees just came out, who are some of your favorites? I hope that Octavia Spencer wins an Oscar as well as Viola Davis, but Octavia because we worked together in Blue Streak, she played my cousin and I’ve known her for years. I’m just so proud of her. And of course Meryl Streep. That’s my girl! Check out all your Castle dish at ABC. “The Blue Butterfly” airs tonight at 10 p.m. EST on ABC. You can find Mike Rothman on Twitter @TheRealRothman.
House fans, I know you're probably not happy that the prospect of Cuddy is done for (although after that season finale, I doubt anyone would suspect there's hope for a reunion), but it's time for Huddy (Lisa Edelstein) to move on. And she's moving right onto another show, the critically acclaimed drama, The Good Wife. That's gotta sting, House. It's like seeing your ex-girlfriend move on to a sultry hot guy in a band just mere weeks after your breakup. Life is rough.
But onto the really important things. Edelstein will board a multi-episode arc that finds her character as "a lawyer and born poker player whose sexiness is enhanced by her obvious intelligence." I would have reworded that myself, but that whole bit about the sexiness is too hilarious as-is. Apparently, her character will also be from Will's (Josh Charles) past.
Okay, hold the phone. She's sexy, plays poker, and knows Will? I smell an upset here. Come on, you knew that steamy rendevous between Alicia (Julianna Margulies) and Will wasn't a recipe for happily ever after. This is television, folks! And on television, we don't get truly happy endings for high-profile couples until the show is on its way out or until the writers give up. So, let us go onward into the tumultuous, drama-filled future.