‘Men in Black III,’ ‘Chernobyl Diaries,’ and ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ (Review Revue)
By WSJ StaffColumbia PicturesWill Smith (left) and Tommy Lee Jones star in Columbia Pictures’ ‘Men in Black 3′
This weekend at the multiplex, we’ve got the latest installment of a blockbuster franchise (“Men in Black III,” starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, and Josh Brolin), along with a haunted vacation video (“Chernobyl Diaries,” produced by “Paranormal Activity” mastermind Oren Peli) and an eccentric coming-of-age love story (Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom,” featuring bill Murray and Bruce Willis, which is opening in limited release). Find out what the critics have to say.
“Men in Black III”
In the world of franchise moviemaking, the third time is rarely, if ever, the charm. so it’s something of a surprise to report that the critics say “Men in Black III” is unexpectedly solid, a fun popcorn flick with excellent special effects and enough laughs to overcome its sporadic moments of mediocrity. this time out, Agent J (Will Smith) learns that his old partner Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) is in grave danger. In order to rescue K — and save humanity — J must travel back in time and team up with K’s younger self (Josh Brolin). “Men in Black III” is currently at 65 percent on Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer; check out some of the reviews here:
Fresh: “‘Men in Black 3′ arrives in the multiplexes of the world with no particular agenda. Which may be part of the reason that it turns out to be so much fun.” — a.O. Scott, new York Times
Fresh: “[Director Barry] Sonnenfeld’s mildly overachieving film isn’t essential, but it finds just enough ways to justify its existence beyond the insatiable demands of commerce.” — Nathan Rabin, AV Club
Fresh: “Did the world need another ‘Men in Black’? no, not at all. But if there had to be one, then it’s certainly a relief that it should be one as agreeable as this.” — Shawn Levy, Oregonian
Rotten: “Exactly what you’d expect: amiable mediocrity and nicely laid-back performances with pricy special effects plugging in the gaps where jokes should be.” — Vadim Rizov, Boxoffice Magazine
It’s never a good sign when a movie is released before being screened for critics, and unfortunately that’s the case with “Chernobyl Diaries.” Produced by “Paranormal Activity” director Oren Peli, it’s the story of a group of American tourists who decide to spice up their European vacation by heading to the site of history’s worst nuclear disaster. When they arrive, however, our heroes discover that they’re stranded – and they’re not alone. Check back with Rotten Tomatoes for reviews when they become available.
Director Wes Anderson (“Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “the Royal Tenenbaums”) is back this week (albeit in select theaters) with “Moonrise Kingdom,” and critics say it may be his best film yet — it’s a poignant coming-of-age tale filled with the director’s trademark warmth and whimsy. the opening selection at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, “Moonrise Kingdom” is a comedy about a pair of lovestruck runaways (newcommers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward) whose disappearance shakes up their seaside community (which includes bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, and Tilda Swinton). “Moonrise Kingdom” is currently Certified Fresh at 96 percent on the Tomatometer; here are some of the reviews:
Fresh: “‘Moonrise Kingdom’ is a deeply romantic film, perhaps the sweetest and most compassionate Anderson has ever made.” — Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com
Fresh: “As in ‘Fantastic’ Mr. Fox, Anderson is able to express sincere personal connection and compatibility while employing a highly artificial style.” — Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter
Fresh: “As funny, bittersweet and as distinct as you’d expect from Wes Anderson, a director who helps you know you are not alone.” — Nev Pierce, Empire Magazine
For more reviews, go to Rotten Tomatoes.
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