Tuesday, June 18, 2019

This Week in Tickets: 10 June 2019 - 16 June 2019

Weather both nice and bad kept the moviegoing to a minimum this week..

This Week in Tickets

But first, two ballgames which did not go great - on Monday, the Red Sox coughed it up in the 9th, leading to extra innings and eventually losing it in the 11th. Unlike the last time, it was a crisp enough game that they got through eleven in the amount of time it often takes for nine. Tuesday, on the other hand, was kind of a sloggish butt-kicking, with Red Sox started Darwinzon Hernandez looking like a heart-attack style closer at the wrong end of the game.

Guys, you need to tighten the AL East up. I'm going to see the games in London next weekend and don't want the Brits laughing at us.

Lots of work trying to get ahead for that trip, which means I didn't get to the movies until Saturday, when I caught Men in Black: International in 3D, and, well, that wasn't much of a movie. Didn't stink, but didn't excite, either.

I planned for another movie after that, but they were showing the Red Sox game on the Common, so I planted myself with that, satisfying the twin impulses to try to be out in the nice weather and to just watch the game that are so often in conflict during these months, and it ended at a tricky time to see something else (well, at least that I hadn't seen). Then Sunday it was dreary, and a trip to the grocery store dissuaded me from going back out.

So, light week, and because I'll be away from the laptop for a while, updates will be on my Letterboxd page until further notice.

Men in Black: International

* * ¼ (out of four)
Seen 15 June 2019 in AMC Boston Common #1 (first-run, RealD 3D DCP)

It's fine. Like a lot of series built on whimsy, Men in Black is probably never going to match the sense of discovery and delight of the first installment, although the long stretches between movies have kept it from delving too much into mythology and backstory, because you can't expect people to easily pick back up where they left off. That's a plus. Still, without a genuinely creative story, it's slick and fun but not new and surprising.

The casting also just isn't the bit of genius it was back in 1997, where Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones complemented each other perfectly. You're never going to go wrong putting Tessa Thompson in a movie, but she and Chris Hemsworth don't click like they did in Thor Ragnarock (where, to be fair, they were mostly individually great rather than displaying terrific chemistry), and the material just didn't seem to be there for Hemsworth to do enthusiastically dumb like when he's at his comedic best. His Agent H has to be taken a little bit seriously, and he doesn't quite make that work. For all that Thompson is reliably entertaining, she's let down a bit by a script that gives M a good backstory but isn't really sure what makes her tick. There's a story to be found in her reaching the end of her obsession, but the writers never quite figure out what it is.


Then there is the matter of the villain, which is in some ways not the fault of the movie itself as much as how people interact with them these days. You kind of know that Liam Neeson's head of the London branch is going to be up to no good as soon as you see the poster - he's too good and too big a star to just be the boss (granted, so is Emma Thompson, but they're not sticking her front and center), and the attempt to redirect toward Rafe Spall just never has enough effort put into it to make the audience do more than shrug and wait for what's obviously going on. Neither is bad, but neither is interesting enough to make the outline of a story they've got work.

The film has fun bouncing around Europe and the effects guys design some nifty new aliens, but never really makes for much of a story, while F. Gary Gray just doesn't seem to have the light touch with the material Barry Sonnenfeld did. It still looks slick and has a couple decent moments, but it's nevertheless kind of a placeholder this summer, a thing to see if you like to see a new big fantasy every weekend.

Rangers 4, Red Sox 3
Rangers 9, Red Sox 5
Men in Black: International

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