Saturday, 26 May 2012

Film Review: "Men in Black 3" (2012)

From the first trailer, we get this: "I know what you're thinking: MIB, 3-D, we're going to be blowing stuff up and all that. But that's not really what we're doing right now. We're here for one purpose, and for one purpose only: Just to let you know that I'm about to make 3-D look good." Well… he certainly does with Men in Black 3. This science fiction comedy film directed by Barry Sonnenfeld. This film is the sequel to the 2002 film Men in Black II released on May 25, 2012, almost ten years after its predecessor and fifteen years after the release of the original Men in Black (1997). The film is the third installment in the Men in Black film series which is based on the Malibu / Marvel comic book series The Men in Black by Lowell Cunningham. An alien criminal, Boris The Animal, kills the young Agent K in 1969, altering the timeline, changing the Agency and placing the Earth in danger. Veteran Agent J must travel back in time to 1969 to before the murder and work with the young Agent K to save him, the Agency, the Earth and humanity itself.

The film stars Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Michael Stuhlbarg, Emma Thompson and Alice Eve. The cast gave hilarious and fantastic performances. I was glad to see the returning veterans Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as the agency's hilarious odd couple Agents J and K. As always Will Smith is energetic, enthusiastic and humorous, and Tommy Lee Jones was always very serious demeanor, rarely joking or smiling and giving very matter-of-fact responses as usual in funny and good way. Cudos to the new comers to the film such as Emma Thompson as Agent O, Alice Eve as Young Agent O, and Michael Stuhlbarg as Griffin. But I was especially impressed with Josh Brolin as the Young Agent K, giving the most dead-on imitation of Tommy Lee Jones. Brolin's performance was uncanny, he had portrayed a young Tommy Lee Jones so perfectly that sometimes I could not tell the difference. Lastly, Jemaine Clement as the film's 'bad-ass' villain Boris The Animal. I was proud to see Flight of the Concords' Jemaine Clement, he was so brilliant in the role of the villain.

Men in Black 3 restores heart interest of the first film and has a satisfying complete storyline. Smith keeps the plot on the move and Brolin’s imitation of Jones is funny. It continues to move the spirit of the series forward in new and exciting directions, and it reaches a satisfying conclusion to the overarching story. Director Paul Thomas Anderson praised the film by saying, "It was [expletive] great. ... The time-travel stuff [made me] cry my eyes out. I'm a sucker for that stuff." Well... so am I! The film is a great conclusion (I hope) to the series and its ending is the neatest of all.

Simon says Men in Black 3 receives:

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Film Review: "Margin Call" (2011).

"Be first. Be smarter. Or cheat." This Margin Call. This drama film written and directed by J. C. Chandor in his feature directorial debut. A financial company's management division head working on a major analysis is fired. His protege attempts to complete the analysis and finds out the true reason behind their financial downfall.

Chandor said that he wrote the script for the story he had been carrying around in his head for about a "year-and-a-half" in just four days, filling time between job interviews in Boulder, Colorado. The screenplay was featured in the 2010 Blacklist; a list of the "most liked" unmade scripts of the year. By late June 2010, Kevin Spacey, Zachary Quinto, Jeremy Irons, Paul Bettany, Simon Baker, Penn Badgley, Demi Moore, Stanley Tucci, Aasif Mandvi, Mary McDonnell, Ashley Williams, Susan Blackwell, and Al Sapienza were cast. Ben Kingsley and Carla Gugino were originally cast, but was ultimately replaced with Irons and Moore. At the same time, principal photography commenced, and wrapped in early July. Filming took place in New York City.

The film stars an ensemble cast that includes Spacey, Quinto, Irons, Bettany, Baker, Badgley, Moore, Tucci, Mandvi, McDonnell, Williams, Blackwell, and Sapienza. Quinto does a fine job opposite a typically stern Jeremy Irons, a typically sociopathic Kevin Spacey, and a surprisingly likeable Simon Baker. Quinto is magnificent as a wide-eyed innocent who transitions into a slick veteran pitchman. Spacey and Irons steal nearly every scene they are in as Rogers and Tuld, the top dogs of the firm. The engaging cast provide an engaging showcase wrapped around a warm and fuzzy morality play. Entertaining and fast-paced but ultimately not wound quite tightly enough to be the thriller it would like to be.

Margin Call is a confident film that tackles a worthwhile topic with insight and conviction. First-time filmmaker J. C. Chandor does a nice job of initially establishing the central character and the raucous office in which, at times, the story transpires. Turns of dialogue ring compellingly true, and the well chosen cast carry the inflections of the drama with some style. Chandor, wrote and directed this film has crafted an intense thriller about this often risky business. Although the film occasionally feels more like a 60 Minutes expose than a movie, it adds up to a highly watchable, entertaining (though extremely profane) cautionary tale. Backed by tense and dramatic music, a pretty good script faulters a bit when it rushes the progress and consequences of the characters. The film's greatest strength is its energy level. Every scene clips along at the pace and energy level of the world in which it's set. The tension and pacing of the film are fast and exciting, like in a good thriller, and the setting is exotic and original. Its ending is disappointingly tidy, but the film boasts just enough sharp writing and brisk pacing to make getting there worthwhile. The film may be derivative and flawed, but it does throw off a few sparks.

Simon says Margin Call receives: