LAKE OCONEE —
“Men in Black III”
Rated PG-13 for SF action violence, and brief suggestive content.
“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”
Rated PG-13 for sexual content and language.
“Men in Black III,” for a film that could be absolutely horrible and a blatant attempt at cashing in on “MiB” and “MiB II,” is pretty good, solid fun … and has a sappy little twist at the end which I was willing to swallow whole for the sheer delight in being emotionally conned.
The plot, as you might expect, concerns a horrible alien monster imprisoned on the moon and is the last of his murderous, planet-conquering species. The Men in Black go after him. Do I need to remind you that the elder is Tommy Lee Jones — the man who makes pock-marked skin and a yahoo accent sexy — and the younger is Will Smith — who makes jug-head ears and a gleaming smile — profoundly charismatic?
What makes MiB III unique and appealing is it tackles time travel. I am a sucker for time travel plotlines, so I might not be so impartial. The deal is that Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) saved the world back in the day. So the giant monster bug goes back in time to kill K — back in 1969. Now, there isn’t enough Botox, make up, camera filters, and digital magic to make craggy face Mr. Jones look 29, so the producers hired Josh Brolin. Brolin’s “Agent K” is very impressive and spot on. Frankly, the first twenty minutes of “MiB III” is almost dull but when Brolin hits the screen things pick up and then, when we get to learn about the mysterious past of Agent J (Mr. Smith), things really take off — yet another pun I have written in a lame attempt to entertain and inform. But to get that one, you will have to see the film.
A film that broke fresh ground 15 years ago can’t be expected to kick alien or human butt, but it can amuse and “MiB III” does just that. My row partner thinks it is the best MiB, but I wouldn’t go that far at all, but it is worth catching…as long as you get or got the MiB bug back in time — and I am talking about 1987.
“Men in Black III” earns four bow ties out of five.
Finally, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” has come to my neighborhood theater. As I have written before, toothless rubes such as I must wait months before arty-farty films come to our boondocks, where we unwashed, unread, and uncultivated wallow in yokeldom. But it is worth the wait.
The film is about old folks and the target audience is probably aimed at folks who have more doctors than fingers on one hand and pills than digits on both hands. I got bumped into more than four times in the theater. Geezers (and I am one of them) need to increase their intake of Vitamin A … but I grouse like any typical, crabby, senior.
For various reasons, a bunch of English retirees — some who are on tight budgets — are seduced by an overly enthusiastic website extolling a refuge for the elderly and “beautiful.” As to be expected, the hotel is not as expected.
What makes this film extraordinary is the extraordinary pedigree of English talent. Let me repeat: extraordinary talent — breath-taking talent. There is a shot that says it all. The actors, all in a row, waiting for a bus to pick them up at an Indian airport; it is a panoramic of stellar proportions.
Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, and Bill Nighy shine in the roles of the Aged, especially Mr. Nighy. As for the young set, Dev Patel, the young man from “Slumdog Millionaire” delivers a performance that rivals his elders. Really! If you see this movie, watch how he runs about … in character. And he makes a speech … trying to put a positive slant on his life crashing about him that will stick in my mind for a very long time.
This movie is hardly a classic; but I loved every inch of film, every frame was a feast for the eye. I loved it. I was charmed by the entire schmaltzy piece of it.
I know some critics will take shots at it for going after the sentimentality of aging and using more than a little hard-to-believe deus ex machina ending, but, like “MiB III,” I succumbed willingly.
“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” earns four and a half bow ties out of five.
LAKE OCONEE —
“Men in Black III”
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