Such a garden of delights for this Memorial Day weekend! First, we pay tribute to horror icon Christopher Lee on his 90th birthday, as Cinefantastique Online‘s Steve Biodrowski and Lawrence French highlight their favorite Lee films and Dan chips in with a memorable TV moment.
Then we delve deeply into the weekend’s major release, MEN IN BLACK III, the return of the frenetic secret agents vs. aliens comedy that reunites actors Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones with director Barry Sonnenfeld and, courtesy of a time-travel plot, introduces Josh Brolin as a young Jones. The film was rumored to have no shortage of problems during the filming process (even discounting New Yorkers’ complaints about Will Smith’s Taj Mahal of a dressing trailer), but does the final project transcend the behind-the-scenes turmoil? Steve, Larry, and Dan discuss what’s good and bad in the film, and throw in a discussion of the logic behind building a prison on the Moon.
Plus: Steve and Larry give their capsule reviews of Oren Peli’s return to horror, CHERNOBYL DIARIES, and what’s coming in theaters.
Director Barry Sonnenfeld (MEN IN BLACK, WILD WILD WEST) has been talking to Showbiz 411 and has confirmed that both Will Smith (INDEPENDENCE DAY, I AM LEGEND) and Tommy Lee Jones (SPACE COWBOYS, BATMAN FOREVER) are coming back for the third MEN IN BLACK film.
Smith has been on board Sony’s third MIB entry for a while now, but Jones’ commitment to the film has been in the balance with replacements such as Josh Brolin Sacha Baron Cohen on the cards. This news doesn’t come as too much of a surprise as Jones has spent the last few years making indie films and so is probably in need of a blockbuster to balance the books.
Not only does Sonnenfeld reveal that both actors are back but also says that MIB 3 will be, you guessed it, shot in 3D. As sick as I am of every single blockbuster having to be in 3D the MIB franchise would actually suit the format and could help make this sequel stand out from it’s predecessors. So far, plot details are scarce but as Sony are aiming to release the film on Memorial Day 2011 so it shouldn’t be long before we learn more about the film.
Variety reports that Will Smith has narrowed his next assignment down to two projects: MEN IN BLACK III for Sony or THE CITY THAT SAILED for Fox. The studios will neither comment nor confirm; Variety cites “insiders” as the source of the information.
MEN IN BLACK III would be almost a guaranteed hit, considering the blockbuster numbers of its predecessors. However, Smith has a personal stake in CITY THAT SAILED, which his company Overbrook FIlms developed.
CITY THAT SAILED, written by Andrew Niccol (THE TRUMAN SHOW) is about a New York street magician (presumably to be played by Smith) whose daughter in London discovers magic candles that grant wishes. You can imagine what goes wrong with Manhattan Island when she wishes to reunite with her dad – just look at the film’s title.
Although makers of 1997’s MEN IN BLACK deny comparisons to MARS ATTACKS (which came out the previous year), the film itself quickly draws its own parallel during the opening title sequence: in macro-closeup, a whimsically cartoony dragonfly (rendered with CGI) flits down a road, accompanied by a bemused Danny Elfman score. And, like Tim Burton’s film, MIB takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to aliens on Earth. But there the comparison ends. Whereas Burton sympathies were entirely for disenfranchised outsiders, MIB is the ultimate insider fantasy, in which the clique group is so exclusive that no one else knows it exists. In this scheme of thinking, common people are just plain too stupid to deal with the truth, so they must be kept in ignorance, while the secret society goes about keeping them safe from alien invaders. And all of this is portrayed as a good thing. Continue reading “Men in Black (1997)”