Director: Sacha Gervasi
Writers: John J. McLaughlin (screenplay), Stephen Rebello (book)
Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren and Scarlett Johansson
I’ve never been able to sit and watch a thriller without getting scared out of my brains or laughing at how ridiculous it is. Alfred Hitchcock films are different though. I still remember watching North by Northwest as a young teen and not really understanding who made it or what it was meant to be, but it was in black and white so I was interested. It turned out I have a love/hate relationship with thrillers. I also studied Rope at university as part of a film studies class and from that moment onwards I was both enthralled and petrified of Hitchcock. So when my friend suggested we go see a movie about Hitchcock and the making of Psycho I wasn’t completely sold on the idea, but friends will make you do amazing things, and it was a very hot day…
I was blown away. Utterly and completely. Hitchcock is an incredible film about an incredible man. Strange and sometimes scary, Alfred Hitchcock – portrayed perfectly by Anthony Hopkins – is a man who needs to be in charge and who needs to be engaged with a project. The thing that is terrifyingly brilliant about this film is how Hopkins brings Hitch so much to life that you feel like you are watching the man himself. It’s not just the mannerisms or speech, it’s his air and the delivery of every second of every scene. And with Helen Mirren by his side as Alma Reville, Hitch’s wife and script editor/writer, the world of Psycho is lived out on screen for the audience. The perversity of Hitch’s obsession of his lead ladies and his want of control over their lives is very evident but done in such a way that you are both repulsed by him and pity him at the same time, but above all you come out with an admiration for a broken but brilliant man who was and still is the master of suspense.
Special mention needs to go to Scarlett Johansson (Janet Leigh) and Michael Stuhlbarg (Lew Wasserman) who held the supporting actor roles with such integrity that the film would not have been as convincing without them.
Agent J travels in time to MIB’s early years in the 1960s, to stop an alien from assassinating his friend Agent K and changing history.
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Writers: Etan Cohen, Lowell Cunningham (Malibu comic)
Stars: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin
Oh that opening ten minutes was trying. At one point I thought one of my friends was going to gross out and leave. Fortunately we all stayed and the third installment of the Men in Black franchise surpassed expectation. I have to say after the horrific experience of the second Men in Black my expectations were not high. And once you get passed the gross, icky insect crawling into a man’s hand then the story gets interesting. The alien in this film is bizarre but Boris the Animal really compels a fascination in the audience to wonder how Boris was captured in the first place and how Agent K managed to control him into a prison.
With the complications that time travel can bring, the script works quite well in the way it solves the problem of Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin) disappearing from most people’s memory except Agent J (Will Smith). The humour and the action are as they ever were, impressive and entertaining. There are some moments when the film waned and I was just waiting for the next bit of action to happen, especially with the romance side plot between Agent K and Agent O (Emma Thompson). And here I was thinking that he had always loved that woman who he had stalked via satellite and gone off to be with at the end of the first film. I suppose this was before then, but still what a woman magnet that man must’ve been! I really enjoyed the way they explored the reason behind why Agent K is so emotionally withdrawn and secretive about his life. It gives a new depth to the character that we don’t really see in the other films however I’m still a bit confused the way the phone call works where Kay tells Jay that he will tell him all the universe’s secrets tomorrow. But apart from that small hiccup in logic (probably more on my naivety then the filmmakers) the film runs smoothly and the complexity works.
The best bit about this film is the character (and performance of) Griffin (Michael Stuhlbarg) the multidimensional being. He is the perfect amount of quirky and plot-solving-elegant. His quirkiness is not too overpowering and not too underplayed either. Stuhlbarg’s performance was gripping and had me both laughing and feeling emotional at the same time. He was a redeeming feature of the film when the narrative waned.
Overall Men In Black 3 was way better than the second one but still floundered at points when you expected it to soar and thus it had moments where you could easily tune out and tune back in five minutes later. It is a fun film but one that you could wait for DVD/Bluray to see unfortunately. Although the shots of Will Smith falling to the ground is impressive on the big screen, as is the fight scene on the Apollo 11 launch tower. I want to watch this film again which usually means I like the film but I suppose like anything it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.