Friday, June 29, 2012

"Seeking a Friend for the End of the World"

Written and directed by Lorene Scafaria, starring Steve Carell, Keira Knightley, and Martin Sheen - Rated R


This one squeaked by with a Commodus just because of the first, very funny part.




*Note: This review is going to be kind of spoilerish because I didn’t like the direction the movie took and I have to explain what that direction is for my review to make sense.  Stop reading if you want to experience Seeking a Friend for the End of the World fresh. 



End of the world movies have been very popular lately so it seemed inevitable that someone would make a true apocalyptic comedy.  Seeking a Friend for the End of the World looked to be just that based on the previews and the first third of the film.  Unfortunately, the filmmakers were more concerned with telling a love story than a comedy. 



To be fair, a film should not be judged because the preview was misleading.  That happens all the time.  I am not judging this movie because of the previews I saw, I am judging it based on the first twenty minutes of it.  Seeking a Friend… starts off as a humorous look at what people would do if they found out the world was going to end.  There are parties in which people do the drugs they were always too scared to try, parents cuss at their kids, sex is fair game, and everyone casts off the veil of society and let loose.  The first part of the movie is filled with stuff like that and I found most of it truly funny.  And then the movie started.



Seeking a Friend… turns out to really be about Dodge (but let’s just call him Steve Carell, especially since he’s playing a role he’s played five or six times already), a very depressed man.  Carell’s wife leaves him as soon as she hears about the end and he doesn’t handle it very well.  He mopes through all the chaos until he encounters Penny (Keira Knightley), a quirky woman who inspires Carell to go looking for the one that got away.  The two head off on a road trip and the movie slows to a crawl. 



As far as road movies go, this one doesn’t.  There is no sense of progression whatsoever.  They leave the city and everything just looks the same after that and they suddenly end up in places they need to be.  It’s all so boring.  What doesn’t help is the fact that comedy is ditched when they get in the car.  That’s when it all turns into a love story. 



Early in the film a friend tries to set Carell up with a new girlfriend and he laments that it’s not worth wasting the time getting to know someone with the end so imminent.  Because of that little piece of logic, the movie is held hostage to that idea as Carell listens to Penny’s boring stories that no one could possibly care about.  I wanted to yell, “Shut up!” multiple times during this film. 



Nothing against love stories, but this film just isn’t compelling.  Carell’s reasoning early in the film should have been followed by the filmmakers.  What’s the point in hearing all these boring stories?  Oh, he’s falling in love!  Cute.  Now die.  How stupid is that?  They should be engaging in much zanier antics than falling in love.  It’s the end of the world!  Do something halfway interesting!  Instead, when they come across an amusing situation (like a trip to made-up restaurant called Friendsy’s that has turned into a cult situation), they run away and get back to their boring crap in the car. 



This movie was such a wasted opportunity and there’s no need to waste any more words on it.  I guess we’ll have to wait for The End of the World for a true apocalyptic comedy.  But definitely check out the first few minutes of this movie, because it really is funny.  And if you can stomach a pointless romance, keep watching.  I did, but I certainly regretted it.

Monday, June 25, 2012

"Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter"

Directed by Timur Bekmambetov, written by Seth Grahame-Smith, starring Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, and Rufus Sewell - Rated R

Not to be all uppity, but you should really just read the book.




 
It seems a bit ridiculous to complain that a film called Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is too dumb and goofy, but somehow it is.  While the film has its moments and could be an enjoyable experience overall, it falls short of being the fun summer movie that it should be.

Most people scoff when they simply hear the title of this film, and for good reason.  Like last year’s Cowboys and Aliens, people are unsure if the film is a joke or not.  Unfortunate titles aside, both films strived to be serious fare despite the crazy premise.  Lincoln doesn’t disappoint just because of its premise, though.  It fails because it doesn’t take itself seriously enough. 

I’ve read the book this film is based upon and I loved it.  (Let’s ignore the hilarity that comes with realizing a movie about one of America’s most beloved presidents killing vampires is based on a book.)  Novelist, and screenwriter for the film, Seth Grahame-Smith created an amusing, surprisingly compelling story but failed to retain the fun in his adaptation. 

The story of both the book and the film is about how Lincoln discovers that vampires live among us when he witnesses his mother being attacked by one.  His life instantly turns into a revenge quest that eventually leads him to see that the entire country is heading towards a war that is not about slavery vs. freedom, but instead about vampires vs. humans.  Lincoln first fights the vampires in individual encounters, but eventually realizes he can do more as a powerful politician. 

It may not need to be stated, but history buffs might want to skip out on this one.  I knew, of course, not to take this film (or the book) very seriously as far as the historical record is concerned, but the disregard for some truth still bothered me.  A good fictional account of history will still include all of the real people; it will just create new reasons for their actions and whatnot.  This film just takes things too far.  For example, Lincoln has only two advisors in this film: a black childhood friend whose parents were stolen into slavery and a shopkeeper who gives him his first job.  He just brings these guys to the White House with him!  There is literally no mention of any of Lincoln’s actual advisors. 

I know, I know, who cares, right?  Wrong.  You can still be goofy and amusing and at least slightly historically accurate.  Once again, the book handled this well.  But enough complaining about the differences between the book and the movie.  I imagine many viewers did not read it, so all of this means nothing to them.  This doesn’t mean that everyone who didn’t read the book will love it, though.

The key word in the title of this film is “Hunter.”  Vampires are so common in TV and film these days that it’s nothing special to see them pop up.  But Lincoln is meant to be a hunter in this film.  For the most part, it is handled well.  We see Lincoln use his axe since he worked as a rail splitter and there’s a totally decent montage showing him learn all of his hunting skills.  And when Lincoln does throw down with vampires, it’s usually pretty entertaining with some interesting action and gruesome kills.  But he doesn’t really hunt anything.  Lincoln’s handler sends him a name and the next scene has Lincoln literally showing up at the target’s door and almost blindly attacking. 

I understand why the film is like this.  They wanted to give the audience as much blood as quickly as possible.  But the film would have been much more suspenseful had the kill list been shortened and Lincoln spent more time actually studying his targets.  Instead, Lincoln just jumps in headfirst almost always messing up and ends up coming out on top thanks to sheer luck. 

The action almost makes up for Lincoln’s stupidity.  Director Timur Bekmambetov does have a flair for stylized, crazy action.  He doesn’t do anything groundbreaking here (check out Night Watch or Day Watch if you want to see how crazy he can get), but it’s still better than plain action.  Although he does stretch a bit too far into the crazy with two sequences: a stampede and a train sequence.  I don’t want to go into spoilers, but those two parts had me literally laughing and shaking my head.  The ridiculousness can be enjoyable, though.  It was too much for me, but it might be awesome for another viewer. 

The acting makes the film enjoyable, as well.  Benjamin Walker is fine as Lincoln and really conveys an honest righteousness in the character.  Dominic Cooper is interesting as Henry, Lincoln’s handler, although he doesn’t look like he belongs to the time period at all.  Anthony Mackie is okay, but needed more to do as Lincoln’s friend, Will.  It was just amusing to see Jimmi Simpson in the film as Speed because he is best known for playing a McPoyle in “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”  Mary Elizabeth Winstead is kind of plain in the shoehorned-in role of Mary Todd.  Alan Tudyk is great as Stephen Douglas, though the role is too short.  Martin Csokas and Rufus Sewell are the actors who make the film enjoyable, though, as the two villains of the film.  Every scene featuring these two actors has a bit more life.

Overall, I lean more towards the negative side for this one.  I think the best thing I’ve told people so far is that, “Eh…it’s okay.”  But the more I think of it, the less I like this film.  For me, it all comes back to the book.  Since the author also wrote the screenplay, I cannot forgive the film for its massive departure from the much better novel.  So if you’ve read the book, you may want to avoid this one.  If you haven’t read it, you might find some enjoyment here.  Unfortunately, though, all the people who scoff when they hear the title of this film are right: it is just too stupid.
Random Thoughts (SPOILERS)

I don't want to keep complaining about the adaptation, but I have to mention how disappointed I was that Edgar Allan Poe didn't make the cut.  His inclusion was so cool in the book and it included one of those fact tie-ins I was complaining about above.  It explains why Poe said, "Reynolds," before he died.  That's what historical fiction can be good for.

Lincoln can hop from horse to horse in the middle of a stampede?  What the hell?

Henry would look more at home on "American Idol" or something.  I know he's a vampire so he should look different, but shouldn't he try to fit in?  He is obviously different from everyone else.  Speaking of which, how did Lincoln not pick up on the fact that Henry was a vampire?  That was one of the worst attempts at a twist that I've ever seen.  And if it wasn't meant to be a twist, then why have Lincoln be shocked by it?

I could go on, but I'd rather go back and read the book again.

Monday, June 11, 2012

"Prometheus"

Directed by Ridley Scott, written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof, starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Logan Marshall-Green, Charlize Theron, and Idris Elba - Rated R

"Big things have small beginnings." 



The main discussion concerning Prometheus is whether or not the film is a prequel to Ridley Scott’s classic, Alien.  The cast and crew have been vague about it, at most admitting that there’s some Alien DNA in the film.  I think they’ve been dodging the question not because of spoilers but because of revenue.  If Prometheus had been billed up as a straight up sequel to an old sci-fi film, then interest in it might lessen.  The big question, then, is if Prometheus can be enjoyed by someone who has never seen Alien.  The short answer is yes.  This film does stand on its own.  But only Alien fans can fully enjoy it because no matter what the filmmakers have to say about it, this is a prequel. 
Prometheus is great without any prior knowledge, though, because of the questions asked within the film.  The main question is the age-old question of humanity, “Why are we here?”  That question takes on different variations as the film continues, but it is that initial curiosity that sends the crew of the titular spaceship Prometheus to a planet light years away from Earth to investigate a message left by multiple ancient cultures.  Asking a loaded question like “Why?” can make or break a film because it has to deal with religion and science and how it can co-exist.  Not to go into spoilers, but the film dodges the issue in a satisfying way.  But anytime an issue is dodged there will be complaints.  Could Prometheus take a risk and answer the question in a definitive and dividing way?  Yes, the film could have done that and made a small group of obsessed fans (myself included, most like) extremely happy, but instead the filmmakers left it open.  That not only makes the film more accessible for the population; it also allows the viewers discuss the film.
That is what makes Prometheus truly great.  I am writing this review twelve hours after I watched the film and I am still rolling ideas around.  If all my questions had been answered then I would have very little to write about.  Instead, I am left with so many questions and theories that I can hardly focus on just one.  I find that exhilarating.  I’m usually happy if a film simply makes me feel something.  When a movie makes me think deeply about life: that’s special. 
I realize that I have not given a proper synopsis for this film yet, but I don’t intend to.  Prometheus is science-fiction and it’s about the origin of life.  If that interests you (and it should), then watch it.  If that sounds like a bit too much for you, then skip it.
But Prometheus is still a movie and should be judged as other movies are judged.   First, the visuals.  Sci-fi films are typically the most impressive visual films and this movie does not disappoint.  Director Ridley Scott insisted on using as many natural landscapes and practical sets as possible and the film benefits from it.  The locations are otherworldly and impressive because most of them are real.  The title sequence is so beautiful it seems like Werner Herzog or Terrence Malick took over directorial duties for it.  As for the sets: they were great.  The ship looks polished a bit, but it still fits into the technology of Alien in a very satisfying way. 
Of course, a sci-fi film has to feature some CG effects.  It’s all handled very well, though.  The film is in 3D, as well, and it is better because of it.  Prometheus is a visual spectacle and it should be presented in 3D.  I have decided that all science-fiction films should be in 3D because the vastness of space is best shown in the third dimension.
“Prometheus” also works thanks to the amazing cast.  Noomi Rapace is tasked with the leading role and she does a fine job.  She doesn’t make quite the tough heroine that Sigourney Weaver did in the Alien films, but she certainly holds her own, especially late in the film.  Idris Elba has some interesting scenes as the benevolent captain of the ship, and there are a few questions raised by his actions.  Charlize Theron makes for an effective and emotionless corporate minder.  Sean Harris provides some lively moments as a disgruntled geologist.  And Logan Marshall-Green does fine in a slightly boring role.
It’s Michael Fassbender, though, who steals the show as an android named David.  Who better than Fassbender to play a robot?  Not to mention a robot that watches actors like Peter O’Toole and emulates them.  Fassbender constantly propels the film and every scene he is in is instantly better than those without him. 
But the real star of the film is director Ridley Scott.  I am a huge fan of his work, most notably his sci-fi efforts, Alien and Blade Runner.  A lot has been made about Scott’s return to his best genre, so I don’t need to add much to that discussion apart from saying that I am glad Scott is back in sci-fi.  He has always been an ambitious filmmaker and sci-fi is the perfect place for lofty ideas and questions.  Scott has tried to insert themes and ideas about life in general into recent works like Robin Hood and Kingdom of Heaven to mixed results.  The vastness of space is a much better place to present ideas about humanity than historical settings are. 
It was also nice to see Scott return to the Alien universe for both his style and his attempt to shock.  Scott emulates the style of the original film with his long tracking shots throughout the ship.  It’s pretty much mimicking Kubrick, but who better to copy?  Also, Scott doesn’t turn the camera away when things get gory.  Prometheus earns its R-rating (something fans were worried about for a while) by featuring some truly gruesome moments.  Is anything as shocking or iconic as the chest burst scene from the original?  No, but it is definitely some disturbing, cringe-worthy stuff. 
Overall, Prometheus is an incredibly ambitious film made with great style by one of the best working directors out there.  The film doesn’t answer many questions for the viewer and, honestly, a truly great film never tells the audience much.  Prometheus is an excellent film to discuss and think about.  Just check out some message boards and you’ll find multiple complex debates going on about this film.  Even if you hate it, you have to respect that it presents some interesting ideas about humanity, technology, religion, abortion, faith, and…well, life.  It helps that the film is absolutely beautiful and features some great performances.  It’s my favorite film of the year thus far and will certainly be near (or at) the top of my list by year’s end.
Random Thoughts (SPOILERS)

Okay, I have a lot more to write about on this one.  First: all the potential issues this film raises.

I loved that the question changed from the why of our origin into the why of our attempted annihilation.  And I am okay with our why simply being because the Engineers could.  It ties into our issues with technology.  Why do we create a lot of the technology we have?  Because we can and we want to make things better and better.  In the world of the film, it is brought up in a very effective scene between David and Holloway.  It is also extremely interesting when you factor in the timeframe when the Engineers decided to destroy humanity, which is roughly the time when Jesus walked the earth.  Scott has made this reference himself in an interview, going so far as to say that Jesus may have been an Engineer (i.e. alien).  But they strayed from that idea, for better or worse.  (If you want to check the interview, just Google "Ridley Scott moviefone interview.")

Religion is definitely a major factor in the film, though it isn't given the main focus.  It's more about faith and how someone can still believe after being put through trials and the answer given by Shaw is that she simply "chooses" to believe.  Not a groundbreaking answer and really kind of a boring answer, but it doesn't make it any less logical and it is still a statement about belief systems. 

The religion aspect is what I had in mind when I mentioned that Idris Elba's character, Janek, raises questions.  It is almost out of nowhere, but Shaw talks to Janek near the end of the film as he was God.  She asks how he can just sit back and watch horrible things happen without getting involved.  If you think back before that scene, we get to see Janek watching over all of the characters and even though they appear to be in imminent danger, he is very nonchalant and even uncaring a bit.  Kind of sounds like a certain deity who gets prayed to but seems to never intervene, right?  Of course, this changes a bit when Janek decides to care at the end and basically saves humanity.  So God was finally forced at act, basically.  Hey, at least this deus ex machina didn't simply magically show up...

Now, looking into how the technology of this film matches up with Alien.  An issue with a sci-fi prequel is that technology is better today so even though the film takes place before the original, the ship looks much better.  This has been explained in an interview I read a few weeks ago (so I don't remember who said it), but the basic idea is that the Prometheus is filled with scientists, which explains why they would have all the bells and whistles that the Nostromo does not, since that ship was basically an 18-wheeler in space.  Aside from that, the corridors still look similar and the ship does fit in nicely within the franchise.

Lastly, there is the issue of where this film takes place.  At first, I just assumed this took place on the same planet that the first film took place on.  That is not the case.  This is a completely different planet, but it is very similar in that it is also used as a cache for the Engineers' deadly weapons.  Presumably things went bad at all these locations which is why such a similar ship and issue occurred on an entirely different planet.  I know, I know, wouldn't it have been much easier just to make it the same?  Yes, but the story can go in more places if it isn't, so I'm cool with it.  Plus, it still explains the origin of the Space Jockey in an interesting way.  So Prometheus didn't end up being a true prequel, but it's still pretty damn close. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

"Snow White and the Huntsman"

Directed by Rupert Sanders, written by Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, and Hossein Amini, starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, and Charlize Theron - Rated PG-13

This film just wasn't dark and action-packed enough for me. 


Snow White is suddenly a hot property in Hollywood as not just one, but two new films about the fairy tale have been released in recent months.  I skipped out on Mirror Mirror because it simply didn’t interest me and appeared to be going with a safe, family friendly tone (no offense to safe, family friendly movies, but those types of films don’t appeal to me).  The second film, Snow White and the Huntsman, appeared to be geared more towards my demographic with its action packed previews and dark tone.  While I’m sure that this film is more enjoyable than Mirror Mirror, Snow White turned out to be overlong, a bit boring, and just underwhelming in general. 
You should know the story by now, but even if you just remember the bits and pieces of it (like me), then you still probably know what to expect from this film.  You have the princess (Kristen Stewart) and the evil queen (Charlize Theron), the seven dwarves, a talking mirror, a magical forest, a poison apple, a love story, etc.  The whole point of this incarnation is to be darker than the cartoon version most know.  As far as that is concerned, Snow White is a success.  The kingdom in this film is truly miserable as dead bodies are caged up in the streets and young women are taken from their homes never to return.  The two standout dark elements are the drug-trippy forest featuring truly grotesque images and Theron as the evil queen who engages in Elizabeth Bathory-like (Google it) antics to retain her youth.  Those elements account for the best parts of the film.

The rest pales in comparison or consists of misfires.  First off, the film attempts to inject action into the fairy tale and there are some action sequences, but they are incredibly dull.  The action is chaotic and hard to follow and is simply not interesting.  It’s just a bunch of arrows and sword slashes and people falling down.  Some supernatural action elements start off promising (like the troll), but fizzle out quickly. 

The titular Huntsman raises some issues as well.  Nothing against Chris Hemsworth, though.  His performance was fine and he is one of the more interesting characters in the film.  But his inclusion creates this love triangle issue between him and some duke’s son (who is pretty much a non-character).  I can’t remember if there was a love triangle in the original story, but regardless it just made this film more bloated than it needed to be.  Does Kristen Stewart always have to have two men vying for her?  Is it in her contract or something?  It felt tacked on and pointless in this film.  This could have been easily fixed had the Huntsman and the duke’s son been condensed into one character. 
Screen time that was wasted on the duke’s son could have been used on the dwarves.  I don’t want to waste time listing all of the actors’ names, but they all deserved so much more screen time and they seem to appear as an afterthought in the film.  If they had been introduced early on, the film would have benefitted greatly and there could be more character development with at least a few of the brilliant actors portraying them.  Instead, they serve as awkward comedic relief in the third act. 
Snow White and the Huntsman just has a bit too much going on and is unable to focus on anything for too long for it to become compelling.  If some cuts in the right places had been made, perhaps the running time could have been cut down (it clocks in at over two hours) and more deserving elements could get some attention.  It seems as if someone wanted to make a Lord of the Rings film out of the Snow White tale and that’s all they were worried about. 

Think about it: they have true evil in Theron (Sauron), there are dwarves (hobbits), and there’s a long journey to save a kingdom (Middle Earth).  The long journey is the worst part.  There are so many scenes of walking and campfire chats in this film.  That just isn’t good cinema; especially when you don’t care what the characters are talking about and you are 99% sure the characters will end up where they need to be. 

Snow White and the Huntsman is a film that is all over the place.  Some of the movie works, but far too much of it seemed pointless to me.  It is not an unredeemable film, though, and there will certainly be fans (and probably a sequel).  If it works for you, fine.  Me?  If I want to see Lord of the Rings, I’ll just watch that instead.
Random Thoughts (SPOILERS)
I know it's a fairy tale and all, but how in the hell did Snow White learn how to handle a sword?  She was locked up for a decade or so with nothing but weird little stick dolls, yet when she gets released she can take down trained knights.  It doesn't help that it's Kristen Stewart, who looks like she should collapse under the weight of her armor.
Anyone else notice that the love triangle was just swept under the rug by having Hemsworth smile at her at the end?  What was that?  I know the movie was too long and an extra scene wrapping that story up would just be too much, but why even throw in that aspect if you can't finish it?  Just have the duke's son wake her up with a kiss if you can't devote time to the love triangle part.  Would it be so bad for the Huntsman to just help out and continue to grieve for his dead wife? 
Seriously, you get Ian McShane, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan, Nick Frost, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, and a few other lesser known actors and you don't have them show up for an hour.  And then you just use them for weak jokes and an odd death moment?  That death meant nothing, by the way, because we barely saw the character before he died.  Oh no, I can't believe they killed off that dwarf that had just been introduced ten minutes ago?  How could they kill off...wait, which one was he?
I know it's a fairy tale, but the actual fairies just looked stupid.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"Men in Black 3"

Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, written by Etan Cohen, starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, and Josh Brolin - Rated PG-13

Worth it just to see Brolin mimic Tommy Lee Jones.



 

Men in Black seemed to have been a dead series after a weak second entry and years of inactivity.  When a third film was announced I didn’t get very excited.  I got downright uninterested when I heard that it started shooting without a finished script, which is a terrible sign for a film.  But then the previews came out and I saw the time travel twist to the story.  Time travel can be either a curse or a blessing, but it definitely raised my interest in the film.  Thankfully, the time travel element was used to good effect, leaving Men in Black 3 a worthy entry in the series and nearly on par with the first film.

Men in Black 3 finds Agents J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones) once again trying to save the world.  Nothing new or original about that, but things get strange when K suddenly disappears and only J remembers the last few years while everyone else knows of K dying back in the 1960’s.  An alien who was thwarted and maimed by K back in the 60’s found a way to go back and permanently solve the problem, so J has to follow in his footsteps to save K.  Oh…and the rest of the world, too.

Obviously it would look strange to have Tommy Lee Jones playing a 40+ year younger version of himself, so Josh Brolin was tapped to portray the younger J and it is the highlight of the film.  Brolin perfectly inhabits Jones and it is simply amusing to see his impersonation throughout the movie.  And he interacts with Smith with the same ease as Jones.

The other part of the time travel aspect is the possibility of era jokes.  Sometimes a film that takes place in or travels to a different time period falls victim to exaggerating clich├ęs of the time.  Men in Black 3 does feature some typical call outs to the 60’s but instead of throwing out a lot of free love and hippie stuff, the focus is exclusively on Andy Warhol and his famous studio, The Factory.  The jokes are exclusive to Warhol stuff, which is strange because Warhol isn’t exactly a relevant figure for young audience members.  Those with even a passing interest in Warhol should get a kick out the jokes but those who don’t know of him will likely be left in the dark.  But since he is portrayed by Bill Hader, even the youngest viewers may find some enjoyment from the sequence. 

Enjoyment is flagging in other departments, though.  The first film worked so well because the alien effects were created in the beginning days of decent CG so it was a visual spectacle and the designs were funny.  It was also amusing to see the famous aliens among us.  Both of those elements grew stale the second time around and they don’t fare any better this time.  Sure, the special effects are the best yet and the aliens are all really weird.  It’s just that none of it is that spectacular compared to dozens of other sci-fi films. 

But it’s still Men in Black, which means Will Smith is onscreen nearly one hundred percent of the time doing his thing.  If you’re a Smith fan, then this will be a good time.  If his antics are wearing thin, then you’ll possibly hate this movie.  I’m still cool with Smith so I enjoyed his performance for the most part, though some of his one-liners and reactions definitely feel like they are the result of a half-written script. 

Another element some may find lacking is the film’s villain.  Vincent D’Onofrio set the standard for an amusing and disgusting villain in the first film, and no one has come close to that character since.  Jemaine Clement (“Flight of the Conchords”) takes on the villainous role for this one and he does an okay job for the most part.  The problem is that this usually hilarious actor is hidden behind CG and prosthetics.  His outlandishly deepened voice is funny at times and he’s certainly a disgusting creature, but for the most part it’s a dull role. 

The weaker elements of Men in Black 3 are outshined by the stronger moments, though.  Perhaps it only seems that way because the film gets better and better as it continues, but it felt that way for me because the emotional pay off of the film truly worked for me.  Not to spoil anything, but this series typically features an almost tacked on heartfelt ending for a character.  It can be seen as lazy filmmaking, especially since this ending deals with time travel, but it worked on me and I imagine it will work on others.

Overall, Men in Black 3 is worth a watch.  It isn’t as good as the original, but it’s certainly an improvement over the second film and it’s a lot of fun if you don’t over think the time travel bits (nearly every time travel movie unravels if you think about it too much, anyway).  It’s not the original, but it’s good enough for me.

Random Thoughts (SPOILERS)

What's with the one wheel things they drive?  They look suspiciously like the "IT" from "South Park."

Michael Stuhlbarg was amusing in a rare big-budget appearance.

Oh, almost forgot that this was in 3D.  It was okay, I guess, but not really necessary...as usual.