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Laramie Movie Scope:
Men in Black 3

A hit sci-fi action comedy series continues

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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May 26, 2012 -- The third “Men in Black” movie appears to be about as good as the first two. I wasn't expecting it to be, based on early reviews. It makes me wonder who they let in to see advance screenings of movies like this, art film fans maybe? It's been 10 years since the last Men in Black movie and this one picks up in the present day.

The years haven't been kind to Tommy Lee Jones (who plays Agent K), who looks ancient in this film. Fortunately, the plot calls for time travel to the year 1969, when we get to see what amounts to a younger version of Tommy Lee Jones, played by Josh Brolin (“Jonah Hex”). Brolin is brilliant in his portrayal of Agent K in 1969. Will Smith, who plays Agent J for the third time in the series, goes back in time to prevent another time traveler, the evil 'Boris the Animal' (Jemaine Clement of “Dinner for Schmucks”) from killing Agent K.

The usual time travel complications set in when there two versions of Boris running around causing trouble in 1969, younger Boris and older Boris from the future. Boris plans to kill Agent K and to prevent him from launching a device called the ArcNet into orbit around the earth. This device will protect the earth from attack. The plan is to allow Boris to avoid prison and to make the earth defenseless from attack by him and his fellow aliens.

The interplay between Will Smith (Agent J) and Josh Brolin (Agent K) is very entertaining. Smith uses his wide repertoire of facial expressions to great advantage. He has known Agent K for a long time, but this younger version of K is a revelation to him. Smith's reaction shots are very funny. As Agent K is constantly reminding Agent J, a crucial event which shapes him has not yet happened. We learn that this crucial event in his Agent K's life takes place on July 16, 1969 in Florida at the launch of the Apollo 11 moon mission.

When this crucial event finally happens near the end of the film, it isn't really as big a deal as you would think, it doesn't really explain Agent K's behavior either, but it is moving. Another character in the film who plays a crucial role in events is an alien named Griffin (Michael Stuhlbarg of “Hugo”). Griffin has the ArcNet device and he can see all possible futures in any situation. He is a very appealing character. Emma Thompson of “Nanny McPhee Returns” does nice supporting work as Agent O (the director of the Men in Black's organization) and Bill Hader of “Pineapple Express” does a funny turn as a very unhappy Andy Warhol.

This has the look of an expensive film. The special effects look great and it is very slick looking with solid production values. It is well-directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, who also directed “Men in Black II.” This film does have some slime in it, but then all three Men in Black movies have some slime. These guys just can't help themselves. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2012 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)