Movies

Now showing in Taos: 'Men in Black: International'

Sci-fi comedy reboot hits the same notes but finds a scene-stealer in Tessa Thompson

By Rick Romancito
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 6/16/19

The comedy-sci-fi concept behind Men in Black could probably go on forever if its creators had as much imagination as the special effects designers hired to come up with all ...

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Movies

Now showing in Taos: 'Men in Black: International'

Sci-fi comedy reboot hits the same notes but finds a scene-stealer in Tessa Thompson

Posted

The comedy-sci-fi concept behind Men in Black could probably go on forever if its creators had as much imagination as the special effects designers hired to come up with all the bizarre alien species traveling through the cosmic grand central station on earth.

 Seriously, do they have to keep going back to the same well? Do they really think audiences want to see a quirky funny pair of agents who look good in black suits chase aliens around in pursuit of some strange magical, powerful or mysterious object that has the potential for destroying the entire universe — over and over? 

At least the third movie featuring agents K and J (respectively, Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith) capped off what probably should have been a decent little trilogy, but, no.

Agents K and J are gone from this newest entry, and replaced by another duo who wind up trying to protect yet another MacGuffin*. The best part of this movie, though, was casting Tessa Thompson as Agent M, whom we first encounter one fateful night when she was a child. That incident would carry her through adulthood as an obsession with finding out if the Men in Black were, indeed, real. Thompson's character is a complete little gem, fully realized as someone the audience can not only relate to but with whom they can share her quirky enthusiasm and curiosity — set up as a kind of in-joke that only we know.

As her partner, Chris Hemsworth (aka ‘Thor’ in a completely different universe) puts in one of his standard roles as a hunky guy-who-does-wear-a-black suit-really-well but adds little else, though his character’s slight cluelessness is somewhat endearing before it gets tiresome after a while.

Directed by F. Gary Gray, “MIB: International” features Liam Neeson and Emma Thompson as leaders of the super-covert group’s London branch charged with protecting the earth from, yes, “the scum of the universe.” Inadvertently, M comes into possession of a small object that is being sought by nefarious forces. While she doesn’t quite know what it is she instinctively hangs onto it because, well, it’s important. In the meantime, we are reunited with several alien characters from the series and a few new ones. Plus, there’s the now-expected glance at MIB monitors showing aliens masquerading as humans, people like Elon Musk, for instance.

The movie has a few amusing moments and Tessa Thompson’s performance to enjoy, but not much else.

* In fiction, a MacGuffin is a plot device in the form of some goal, desired object, or other motivator that the protagonist pursues, often with little or no narrative explanation.

Tempo grade: C

“Men in Black: International” is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action, some language and suggestive material.

It is screening daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

Also showing in Taos

High Life

MPAA rating: R for disturbing sexual and violent content including sexual assault, graphic nudity, and for language.

Taos Community Auditorium

Monte (Robert Pattinson) and his baby daughter are the last survivors of a damned and dangerous mission to the outer reaches of the solar system. The crew of death-row inmates led by a doctor (Juliette Binoche) with sinister motives has vanished.

As the mystery of what happened onboard the ship is unraveled, father and daughter must rely on each other to survive as they hurtle toward the oblivion of a black hole. “A staggering and primal film about love and intimacy, suffused with anguished memories of a lost Earth, ‘High Life’ is a haunting, thrilling achievement from visionary director Claire Denis,” promotional materials state.

This film will be screened at 2 p.m. Sunday (June 16) and at 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday (June 17-19) at the Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. For tickets and additional information, call (575) 758-2052 or visit tcataos.org.

Shaft

MPAA rating: R for pervasive language, violence, sexual content, some drug material and brief nudity.

Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres

JJ, aka John Shaft Jr. (Jesse T. Usher), may be a cyber security expert with a degree from MIT, but to uncover the truth behind his best friend's untimely death, he needs an education only his dad can provide.

Absent throughout JJ's youth, the legendary locked-and-loaded John Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson) agrees to help his progeny navigate Harlem's heroin-infested underbelly. And while JJ's own FBI analyst's badge may clash with his dad's trademark leather coat, there's no denying family. Besides, Shaft's got an agenda of his own, and a score to settle that's professional and personal. But, we’re talkin’ ‘bout Shaft. And, we can dig it.

It is screening daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

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