“Men in Black” follows the exploits of Agents K (Jones) and J (Smith), members of a top-secret organisation established to monitor alien activity on Earth. The two MIB find themselves in the middle of a deadly plot by an intergalactic terrorist (Vincent D’Onofrio) who has arrived on Earth to assassinate two ambassadors from opposing galaxies. K and J face a simple imperative: track down the interloper or the Earth will be destroyed. It’s all in a day’s work for the Men in Black.
1997 – Certificate: PG – American Film
Rating Details: Mild language, violence and horror
7.5 out of 10
At last, another film that has aliens, spaceships and explosions in it, as well as a plot I can relate to in a very meaningful way. As well as dealing with the scum of the universe, I also work for an organisation that does its best to remain hidden, even down to changing its name on a regular basis, to help ensure we remain a secret. Along with a somewhat stupid smartphone and a Dell laptop with bits falling off it, I have one of those ‘flashy things’ (a neuralyzer) to make people forget stuff, too. And I’m certainly never seen in anything but a black suit/tie and white shirt combo. And as for the cool shades, well I bought mine from eBay for about £2. Will Smith is a talented chap. He can act, sing and dance. I guess when he talks to people about me he says, “that Paul’s a boring guy. He can’t do bugger all.”
For a sci-fi movie made 16 years ago, this one still holds up well; it hasn’t really dated at all. I watched it on Blu-ray and it looks really lovely in that way too. According to IMDB this film contains 1 possible f-word, 13 anatomical terms (including 2 uses of a term for male genitals, i.e. dick), 18 scatological terms (crap, shit and piss), 29 mild obscenities, 3 religious profanities and 2 religious exclamations. There’s also some name-calling (bastard, prick, etc). Sadly, I had to watch the censored version, which of all this lot chooses to replace the word “prick” twice, with “twerp” and “jerk”. There must be a ‘league table’ of ‘bad words’ that people refer to, to find out how bad each one is. I wonder how they check if it’s correct? Get a big group of people in a room, swear at them a lot and see how offended they get? Funny thing is, someone must have sat down and made a record of all that; I bet that job’s a conversation starter at parties. “What do you do for a living then?” “Me? Well I count profanities.” You may also be interested to know that “the principal female character wears a short skirt that reveals a lot of her bare legs. Once, for less than a split second, it hikes up to reveal a little of her lower buttocks.” I must have missed that, I guess I’ll have to go back and use the frame-by-fame function to check for myself; thanks IMDB for letting me know, that’s my evening’s entertainment sorted out. It’s not even that short either. Actually I think I look a bit like Will Smith.
The music in this film is a bit of a disappointment. Danny Elfman wrote the totally brilliant music for “Batman”. I even bought the soundtrack of that on CD. But for this film he seems to have had a bit of an off-day. It’s serviceable but entirely forgettable. On the other hand, we do get Will Smith and his fun theme tune.
Recommended for anyone that works for a secret organisation, aliens and females that wear short skirts.
One cat, no chainsaws or decapitations. A true, starring role for a lovely ginger and white cat, complete with some real acting and lines. He/she just blew Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith off the stage.
Top badass moment? There’s something to be said for driving a souped up car along the roof of an underground tunnel full of traffic and taking the time out to give some advice to your passenger about dealing with stress at work; whilst singing along to Elvis and trying to save the Earth. Even I don’t get to do that every week. That’s therefore very cool and very badass.
This is a film about a young girl who overcomes great adversity. Whereas I’m a sad old bloke who’s got a cold right now and can’t be bothered to even try to do anything about it. Let the fiery depths of Hell take me; at least it’ll be warm there.
2008 – Certificate: R – USA
Rating Details: Disturbing sexual assault of a young girl, and brief sexuality
You know they often say that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, or that something often acts as a catalyst to help others achieve more together than apart? Well whatever the opposite of those is, applies to this drama. It looks good and the acting is great, but somehow the story and script didn’t really work for me; I guess it’s one of those films that takes too many of its cues from its setting; in this case the southern states of the US in the 50s, a time and place I can’t readily relate to. From what I saw in this film, it was pretty crap anyway and I’m glad I don’t know it. I like films that utilise music as a component in the plot and this one uses Elvis Presley and The Blues to decent effect; and there I was, thinking the Wasted and One Direction represented the pinnacle of popular music. I did enjoy seeing a dysfunctional family again too, it’s been a while since I’ve come across one in a film. Dakota Fanning, who plays Lewellen, the young girl, really does an amazing job with the role; the film is worth seeing for that alone. Her singing is pretty impressive too. I was also stuck by the number of times objects just happened to be in the right place to save someone or other’s blushes; I’ve not seen so many strategically placed house plants etc since the Austin Powers movies. The biggest letdown was the script; the characterisation was excellent, yet I felt I had to fill in too many gaps in the plot; maybe it’s my cold, but some important things just seemed to pass me by. I suppose that makes it a film for clever people, not like me. This is also a film that’s famous for one particular scene, where Lewellen is horribly raped by a milkman. It really isn’t that graphic or anything, but I suppose the idea of what’s happening and the fact that it looks very real on the screen does give it a great deal of power. The second half of the film wouldn’t really work without it either. Also, if you don’t like snakes, this is a film to give a miss; there’re a lot of them in it.
Recommended for intelligent people who aren’t going to freak out over ‘that’ scene.
No cat, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Charles, Lewellen’s unofficial mentor. Despite his slightly unhinged view of the world, which is probably a result of his hanging out with too many snakes, he does represent just about the only character in the whole film that’s able to move things forward. Anyone with that much belief in the power of music has to be badass.