29 June 2012

Movie Review: Rock of Ages

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D


Rock of Ages 
2012, 123mins, 12 
Director: Adam Shankman 
Writer (s): Chris D'Arienzo, Justin Theroux, Allan Loeb, 
Cast includes: Tom Cruise, Catherine-Zeta Jones, Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin, Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Paul Giamatti, Bryan Cranston, Malin Akerman 
UK Release Date: 15th June 2012 

 On paper “Rock of Ages” should be a storming chunk of summer cinema. Taking a beloved musical, the director of 2007’s winning “Hairspray” and putting Tom Cruise in the role of a sozzled rock legend sounds like a full-proof formula, but alas the picture is in reality nothing short of terrible. In fairness Cruise delivers on his own individual promise, but the rest of the movie is an incoherent and shambling wreck, everything from the musical numbers to the storytelling underwhelming with depressing consistency. The main villain appears to be director Adam Shankman, who has handled this style of material effectively in the past, but here his storytelling, editorial and photographical touch are way off. The film is stitched together ineptly, Shankman failing almost totally to set an appropriate tone or to satisfactorily connect the various plot strands in any sort of intelligent or logical way.

A small-town girl (can you guess what 80s tune that pairs with later?) hailing from Tulsa, Sherrie (Julianne Hough) has dreams of making it big in L.A, bussing there with aspirations of fulfilment through her musical talents. On arrival she quickly meets Drew (Diego Boneta, horribly miscast) a chirpy bartender with similar aspirations. Drew secures Sherrie a job at the Bourbon club run by Dennis (Alec Baldwin) and Lonny (Russell Brand), the photogenic youngsters falling in love faster than you can say second act. The film then messily splits into three separate passages, which loosely intertwine before the finale. The first sees Sherrie and Drew struggle with romance amidst impending fame, the second follows an anti-rock music campaign speared by the Mayor’s forceful wife (Catherine- Zeta Jones) and last but definitely not least is the story of troubled musical megastar Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise).

“Rock of Ages” fails both as a musical and more traditional narrative. The numbers that populate the piece are covers of 80s glam-rock and power ballad classics, some of which are very listenable, but unfortunately here most are performed blandly or suffer from Shankman’s lack of controlled vision. Leaving aside one raunchily deigned set-piece featuring Crusie and Malin Akerman (portraying a journalist) the choreography is heartbreakingly uninventive, both energy and spectacle strangely lacking. Shankman seems a lot less at home with the grubby club setting than he was with sunny Baltimore in “Hairspray”, the dearth of confidence or imagination directly translating into the broad, unmemorable aesthetic. The big tunes headed by Boneta are a particular concern; the actor can’t get a grip on his part dramatically or vocally. His inability to service the material also rubbishes Hough’s arc, the actress otherwise faring slightly better. Together they lack chemistry and suffocate the film’s romantic heartbeat.

The screenplay is dire and the editing chaotic. Any comedic success the film ascertains comes from particular actor’s inherent sensibilities (Brand and Baldwin deserve a mention) rather than any real wit evidenced on the page. Some concentrated effort is made surrounding Jaxx, but the rest of the movie is a scrappy bore, lurching from one bad idea to the next. Which prim and proper figure used to live the rock lifestyle? Who’s gay? Why does Eli Roth have a cameo? These are the questions that “Rock of Ages” sees fit to ask, but the answer to all is unanimous. Nobody cares.

Some mercy must be reserved for Cruise who embodies the haunted rock-god physique commendably, and surprisingly proves to be a nifty singer. The stalwart’s contribution is refreshing amidst the sea of general awfulness, surrounded by scantily clad women, uniformed monkeys and bottles of scotch. He remembers not just to have fun, but to ensure that audiences can as well, something everyone else apparently overlooked. I don’t doubt “Rock of Ages” was a fabulous shoot; the issue is so little of that obvious joy crosses over to the viewing experience.

“Rock of Ages” is a disappointment and a sizeable misfire, the film having opened well below expectations at the North American box-office. It’s not hard to see why audiences have rejected the work; a cocktail of camp ambience, tragically misguided film-making and banal storytelling is rarely the favourite of anyone. The promotional material promises “Nothin’ but a good time”. Not quite guys, not quite.


A Review by Daniel Kelly, 2012

27 June 2012

Being Adam Sandler - A guide to the most Love/Hate figure in Hollywood

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"That's My Boy" has crashed financially

It’s pretty common knowledge that Adam Sandler’s recent fare (“Grown-Ups and “Jack and Jill”) has been very poor, the former SNL goofball having fallen into a qualitative rut of epic proportions. Yet despite the dip in form the man’s movies have found no problem registering massive kerchings at the box-office. Until now. With the release of his most recent vehicle “That’s My Boy” (which received slightly improved but still largely lukewarm critical notices), Sandler has encountered a problem he hasn’t known since the mid 90s – financial failure. The film has registered just $27 million in domestic gross since opening a fortnight ago, a figure far lower than any traditional Happy Madison (Sandler’s production company) project in recent memory. For Sandler it marks a major concern. Critics have scorned his work since he jumped on the scene with 1995’s bizarre-o “Billy Madison”, but rejection from the general public is something he simply isn’t familiar with. He’s been one of the most reliable box-office draws in Hollywood for nearly 15-years, hits like “The Waterboy” and “Big Daddy” propelling him into the ranks of stardom usually reserved for the likes of Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie or Will Smith. The collapse of “That’s My Boy” could truly mark the beginning of the end for Adam Sandler “The Movie Star”, meaning that now is an incredibly appropriate time to survey his career.

Sandler chilling with the kids in "Billy Madison"
Sandler burst out of Saturday Night Live and into cinemas with a selection of moderate supporting roles in the early 90s, before taking leading man status in “Billy Madison”, the tale of a rich nincompoop sent back to school so that he might confidently assume his father’s business empire. Upon release the picture was met with universal derision and it tanked at the box-office, but time has been kind to “Billy Madison”. The film is poorly directed and assembled with the technical competency one might associate with amateur film students, but a propensity for inspired and surreal silliness has gifted the movie cult status. It’s a genuinely funny film and one worthy of remembrance, especially in today’s filmic climate. Sandler is in completely ridiculous form throughout, but his crazed turn alongside a host of cameos (Chris Farley and Steve Buscemi are particular highlights), sanity-bursting gags and hallucinogenic penguins elevate the picture above most of its contemporaries. The story is bobbins but the jokes are so regular, immature, infectious and silly that it all simply becomes impossible to resist. There’s an edgy blackness that just doesn’t inform Hollywood comedy much anymore – one of the repeat gags culminates in the death of a suburban family – yet somehow despite its tastelessness on paper the moment draws a big, broad giggle. Any piece of art that can do that is one worth acknowledging. With the advent of VHS and DVD “Billy Madison” has found a massive audience and is fondly accepted as one of Sandler’s most distinctive efforts, certainly it represents a good starting point for this article

Golf gets a hard time in "Happy Gilmore"
1996s “Bulletproof” (pairing him with a Wayans Brother) was badly received and also underperformed, but fortunes changed with “Happy Gilmore”. The story of a pro-hockey player forced into golf, “Happy Gilmore” is probably Sandler’s grandest calling-card. Perfecting his man/child routine within an inch of its bawdy life, the picture isn’t quite as absurd as “Billy Madison”, but it’s just as amusing. Reviews improved slightly (although many critics remained vaguely sceptical) but upon its release on VHS the film amassed a huge and deserved audience. “Happy Gilmore” is definitely more accessible than “Billy Madison” but a strong hint of the strange Sandler flavour still lingers, giving it enough spice to have withstood the years. In fact Empire Magazine recently included it in the lower ranks of their “50 Funniest Comedies of all Time”. The supporting performances once again supply a large chunk of appeal (look out for Ben Stiller in a fabulously vile little role), director Dennis Dugan keeping the soft story moving at a neat clip, indulging in Sandler’s weird creations rather than the lightweight narrative. It’s a tonne of fun even all these years later, a fond reminder of how inventive and zany Sandler could be. The actor stumbled more directly into the romantic comedy genre in the aftermath with “The Wedding Singer”. It’s a favourite of some, but whilst inherently serviceable, I can’t muster much enthusiasm for the picture. It has far too many bland spots, although Sandler and starlet Drew Barrymore admittedly make for a cute onscreen pairing (at least they do on this occasion).

 Sandler in 2000's "Little Nicky". It's better than you've heard. 
The years that followed brought hits like “The Waterboy” and “Big Daddy”. The latter is a sweet, softly satisfying yarn with a respectable laugh quota, the former less impressive, albeit boasting a few choice moments of juvenile delight. Both movies comfortably cracked the $100 million mark, turning Sandler into the star he is today. 2000’s “Little Nicky” is regarded as a misfire, bringing in a paltry amount when compared to its immediate predecessors, swept under the rug as a blip. I have some love for “Little Nicky”, Sandler mixing religion and slight Shakespearean influence into his usual ballet of idiocy. He portrays Satan’s na├»ve and socially retarded son, forced to face New York in order to halt his dastardly siblings (including a smarmy Rhys Ifans) and save his father. The film is a bit messy and features one of the worst love interests in any of Sandler’s work, but otherwise remains a lovable, rambunctious and reasonably jocose effort. Sandler’s performance in this one is also particularly divisive, his wacky voice and decrepit physical stature irritating some, but for me it marks the comic at his ludicrous best, selling the jokes with an extra layer of berserk appeal.

"Anger Management" is one to avoid.
Sandler also turned his hand to producing more during this period. He provided brief but ill-fated leading man careers for buddies David Spade (a performer worthy of the attempt) and Rob Schneider (not so much). In fact 2002’s Schneider starring “The Hot Chick” is amongst one of the crappiest products to boast the Sandler stamp; it’s a literal affront to the notion of good humour. More disappointing on a thespian level is 2003’s “Anger Management”, a largely dreadful farce that placed Sandler alongside the legendary Jack Nicholson. It should have been a match made in heaven and even has a nice premise to boot, but the screenplay is atrocious and it would appear there was little synergy between Nicholson and Sandler in practise. It was however a modest hit, returning some level of stability to the Sandler brand following “Little Nicky”.

A film as delightful and weird as its poster
It was at this point that Sandler began to test himself dramatically, taking the main role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s subtle yet magnificently touching “Punch-Drunk Love”, a subversive love story that had Sandler turning heads as an eccentric and lonely salesman. The film established Sandler as a serious presence, something he confirmed in 2005’s “Spanglish” and 2007’s “Reign Over Me”. Neither of those films is on a par with “Punch-Drunk Love”, but each is a respectable work in its own right, Sandler at the forefront of their most notable attributes. Sadly whilst the serious side brought new hope, things on the comedic ranch were staring to sour; “50 First Dates” (his second and weaker collaboration with Barrymore), “Click” and “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” all thoroughly mediocre offerings. Yet despite the lack of verve or skill evident in these flicks, they each collected wealthily at the box-office, underlining Sandler’s dominance of the fratboy market. Things looked a little brighter with 2008’s uneven yet occasionally inspired “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan”, but it’s a minor oasis in a sea of unmemorable tripe.

Giving the best performance of his career in "Funny People"
It’s at this juncture we arrive at 2009’s “Funny People”, probably the best film on Sandler’s CV. A brave and utterly mesmerizing tale, “Funny People” inexplicably sank financially, a miss after director Judd Apatow’s gargantuan hit with 2007’s “Knocked-Up”. A tremendous movie in all regards, “Funny People” is the epic story of a comedian (Sandler) who after being diagnosed with cancer, decides to try and amend his hollow yet luxurious existence. It’s a harsh, organic and unexpectedly sympathetic turn from Sandler in a picture I now regard as a masterpiece; the sort of work that gets the like of George Clooney, Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling academy recognition. Alas Sandler is not amongst their esteemed ranks and never will be, meaning his contribution and the film as a whole were criminally overlooked. One has to simply watch the movie to see how open and vulnerable his performance is, its failure surely unsettling the performer’s artistic confidence. That’s something which might explain the following three years…

Flirting ill-advisedly with his feminine side in "Jack and Jill"
“Grown Ups” was unleashed during summer 2010 and accumulated accurately shambolic reviews but somehow powered its way to the top of Sandler’s profit list. Last year’s “Jack and Jill” featured a trailer so unforgivably awful it became the stuff of internet legend; I admittedly only trundled through 40 minutes of the cross-dressing endeavour before concluding life is too short. “Just Go With It” was more bearable, but hardly the sort of frothy confection to set ambition alight and much of the picture’s pros derived from Jennifer Aniston and Nicole Kidman. Sandler legitimately looks comatose for large portions of the runtime. Now we have “That’s My Boy” a certified box-office bomb after only a few weeks in release. Critics seem to agree it’s a marginal step-up, and it does boast the intriguing cocktail of Andy Samberg and a hard R-rating, but apparently it doesn’t completely break the dud mould Sandler has slowly formed around his once crazed self. The movie’s failure at the box-office signifies audience recognition of Sandler’s newfound coasting, meaning that if he wants to hold onto his cred as a Hollywood all-star he better up his game. On the basis of this, I have to conclude I kinda hope he does. One more “Happy Gilmore” or “Funny People” would be appreciated, because it’s obvious this much maligned comedian has it in the tank. Somewhere.

An article by Daniel Kelly, 2012

17 June 2012

Movie Review: Moonrise Kingdom

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B+


Moonrise Kingdom
2012, 94mins, 12 
Director: Wes Anderson 
Writer (s): Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola 
Cast includes: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray 
UK Release date: 25th May 2012 

 My relationship with Wes Anderson has been a volatile one, the American film-maker often infuriating with his brand of aggressively offbeat writing and directorial tics. Moments of brilliance have surfaced, largely encapsulated by 2001’s “The Royal Tenenbaums”, but that one major success is overshadowed by misjudged (yet oddly beloved) efforts such as “Rushmore” and his irksome adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox”. On paper “Moonrise Kingdom” looks like another foaming slice of the man’s usual shtick, the director bringing in regulars (Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman), famous newbies (Bruce Willis, Edward Norton) for a ride around his quirky narrative merry-go-round, this time the focus being the young love between a Wilderness scout and an unhappy prepubescent girl on a remote coastal island. The film begins with a grating combination of gratuitous longshots, deliberately unresponsive acting and silly metaphors, but “Moonrise Kingdom” thankfully warms itself up, the innocence and cute surrealism of the story actually allowing Anderson to ply his usual touches quite effectively. The film is a pleasant surprise and quite possibly the best work stamped with the Wes Anderson brand.

On a remote Coastal Town, 12-year old Scout Sam (Jared Gilman) has gone AWOL. His regimented but kind-hearted superior Ward (Edward Norton, much softer than usual) is thrown into a panic, assembling his youthful bunch of devoted underlings to help find Sam and get him back to camp safely. Sam’s chief reason for departing is to meet up with crush Suzy (Kara Hayward) a sullen girl, struggling with parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand) who can’t grasp her individuality. Suzy’s folks and Ward both contact local authority Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis), who pours a considerable amount of his time into finding the escaped youngsters. However Sam and Suzy are just happy to roam the wilderness together, their love for each other helping them overcome the obstacles the forest and their pursuers represent.

Being a Wes Anderson flick, “Moonrise Kingdom” is naturally much less mainstream than it sounds. The director’s fascination with lingering, silent close-ups is back in full force, as is attention to weird comedic detail, as evidenced by his attempts to make the murder of a dog blackly laughable. Yet there’s a warmness here and a refusal to completely indulge the film-maker’s traits that renders “Moonrise Kingdom” a genuine charmer, the unusual and not always welcome characteristics of typical Anderson fare actually buffering the picture sweetly, the director at home in the queer little dreamland the Island setting affords. At no point does “Moonrise Kingdom” attempt to be anything more than light whimsy, avoiding the yearning for unearned and overreaching depth that scuppered past outings, most notably his incredibly overrated high-school drama “Rushmore”. The film is a light-hearted contrast of first love and adult relationships, Anderson striving to be sincere on the subject as opposed to abstractly profound. The newfound tone is a keener fit, the picture taking itself less seriously and coming off as far more likeable in due course

The performances are a particular highlight. Anderson’s love of static under-reaction sneaks its way into some of the child based stuff, but the adults are largely left to do their own thing. Thank God. Bruce Willis and Edward Norton are standouts, the latter enchanting with a naivety and optimism that hasn’t been present in his work for quite some time. Willis has always been an actor occasionally willing to deviate from his macho image (something he doesn’t get enough credit for), and he does so exquisitely in “Moonrise Kingdom”, his turn laced with kind-hearted sadness and irreverent comedic perception. McDormand and Murray are left to occupy the fringes, Murray managing at least a handful of his traditional zingers. With the material depending less on blatant idiosyncrasy, the actors are allowed more freedom to attack their parts without Anderson’s smug input, allowing the thespian input considerable freshness and the ability to wiggle out of its helmer’s usually vice like clutch.

The central romance is tender, engaging but appreciatively basic. Anderson’s aspirations in this field are simplistic and he fulfils them perfectly, meaning that the finale actually packs a degree of fundamental emotional punch. The production design is distinctive and the photography lush without being overbearing. Obviously a tolerance for the crazed is advised, but what’s nice about “Moonrise Kingdom” is that it plays positively beyond the realms of Anderson fandom. It’s a funny, unique little treat, packed with enough honesty and strange charisma to transport and excite audiences satisfactorily. 


A Review by Daniel Kelly, 2012

16 June 2012

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8 June 2012

Capsule Review: Wanderlust

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D


Wanderlust 
2012, 98mins, 15
Director: David Wain
Writer (s): David Wain, Ken Marino
Cast includes: Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd, Ken Marino, Justin Theroux, Malin Akerman
UK Release Date: 2nd March 2012

2008’s effective sleeper hit “Role Models” was a nifty comedy with an offbeat personality. Pity then that director David Wain’s follow-up “Wanderlust” is such a turkey. The narrative follows a professional couple (portrayed by Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston) from New York, who after an unfortunate financial downturn arrive at a rural commune. The place is thronged with hippy dippy types, and whilst the city slickers are initially charmed by the simpler way of life, they have to ponder if an extended stay will threaten their personal outlooks and relationship?

Paul Rudd is usually a pointed and hysterical protagonist, but in “Wanderlust” his ranting improvisations are more miss than hit, Wain struggling to focus the actor’s talents satisfactorily. Equally as underwhelming is Aniston, no stranger to bad career choices, but following her splendid turn in last summer’s “Horrible Bosses” one had anticipated the actress might be rediscovering her mojo. On the back of “Wanderlust” that was a false hope. Not only is she left floundering with bland material, the actress also struggles to even vent her dependable girl next door allure. It’s a dull performance for a dull movie.

Only Katherine Hahn (an aggressive naturalist who gets a few choice lines) and Ken Marino (Rudd’s hyper macho and belligerent sibling) make any positive impact, the rest of a large ensemble failing to make much of the scattershot and uninventive screenplay (penned by Wain and Marino incidentally). At 98 minutes “Wanderlust” is protracted to a painful extent, the premise is inherently one joke, so why the filmmakers felt that singular gag should be stretched past an hour and a half is beyond me. It’s a bust, lacking heart, charm, insight but most importantly laughs. It tanked catastrophically at the box-office earlier this year. I’m betting Aniston and Rudd are both okay with that; the less people exposed to this dreary misfire the better.

A Review by Daniel Kelly, 2012

3 June 2012

Sponsored Video: "The Bourne Legacy" in cinemas this August!

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Out with the old in with the new. This seems to be the ethos behind “The Bourne Legacy”, Universal’s latest entry into the celebrated spy series. With original star Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass departing, Jeremy Renner (“Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”, “The Hurt Locker”) and writer Tony Gilroy (“The Bourne Ultimatum”, “Michael Clayton”) step into the creative breach. Aiming to move beyond the Jason Bourne story, “The Bourne Legacy” explores the idea of other super-agents, individuals possibly even sharper and deadlier than Damon’s initial maverick on the run. Fresh from stints working alongside action stalwarts Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner feels like an ideal actor to fill the void, bringing the same fearsome physicality and raw thespian talent that Damon provided in flicks past. Both

Renner and Gilroy have challenged Award’s bodies over the last few years, indicating that Universal are keen to maintain the high standards of previous outings with “The Bourne Legacy”, the studio and film-makers looking to expand on the world that Damon’s Bourne adventures could only hint at. The bone-crunching action beats, snazzy musical score and extreme paranoia will likely remain, but Gilroy also appears motivated by the idea of layering out this world of espionage further, introducing new characters, ideas and secrets to the already intriguing mix.

“The Bourne Legacy” will be released nationwide this August. Check out the trailer above.

Official Site: http://thebournelegacy.co.uk/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/universaluk

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thebournelegacyuk

 This is a sponsored Post, 2012

This Week at the Movies - 03/06/12 -

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With the summer season in full flow, it's time to look at a few flicks dominating cinemas and DVD shelves over the coming weeks.


This Means War :  C+ 

Tom Hardy and Chris Pine resuscitate this otherwise uninventive star vehicle, which has an irksome Reese Witherspoon strapped on as a third romantic wheel. The boys play the CIA’s finest (never mind that Hardy is overtly British) who also happen to be best friends. Along comes Witherspoon’s hapless career gal, both men are smitten and boom this mean war. Geddit?

Directed by McG (“Terminator Salvation”) “The Means War” is regularly over-stylized and features an early, simple but somehow messily presented shootout. The filmmaker seems far more comfortable with the lighter comedic stuff, pitching the two hugely charismatic performers against each other, finding a respectable roster of laughs en route to an unearned emotional climax. The middle section and Hardy/Pine chemistry is what keeps it watchable. Also look out for a genuinely uproarious paintballing sequence.

Prometheus: C+ 

One of the summer’s most anticipated blockbusters arrives and sadly struggles to match its sensational marketing campaign. That’s not to say it’s bad though, just disappointing. A semi-prequel to 1979’s “Alien”, the film follows the crew of the ship Prometheus (featuring Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba and Michael Fassbender amongst others) as they attempt to seek out the beings potentially responsible for our creation.

Ridley Scott (who also crucially helmed “Alien”) depicts the planet and various spaceship interiors juicily, albeit with less of a phallic and vaginal influence than before. The world is visually lush and the film uses 3D effectively, immersing viewers in the action rather than stinging them with cheap scares. There are also individually amazing moments, an explosive finale and gory surgical scene particular highlights.

The problems largely stem from a middling screenplay and some clunky editorial choices, Scott fumbling storytelling in favour of style and atmosphere, not an uncommon trait in his more contemporary outings. The story takes a substantial amount of time to ignite, and when it does, nothing particularly innovative or memorable actually happens. There’s also a distinct lack of tension throughout, a surprise given how masterfully Scott has manipulated it in the past. Alien fanboys should also be made aware that the links often feel forced and unnecessary; with no prior attachment to a franchise this tale might actually have flowed more freely and left a brighter mark.

However brownie points for the casting. Rapace handles her role competently and Michael Fassbender is captivating as the android David. It’s no coincidence that Scott often seems most interested in this character, and with an actor of Fassbender’s skill it’s impossible not to be intrigued by his version of artificial life.

Men in Black 3:  B-

One of the year’s less promising event pictures actually morphs into a pleasant surprise in the guise of Barry Sonnenfeld’s “Men in Black 3”. The plot is pure hokum, it involves time-travel, an intergalactic baddie with a grudge and Emma Thompson with a bizarre haircut but somehow the movie is appealing thanks largely to its deliberately carefree tone.

This is Will Smith’s first flick since 2008’s morbid “Seven Pounds” and the actor demonstrates why he’s been missed, handing in a commandingly charming performance, oozing comedic energy in every frame. Tommy Lee Jones only bookends the piece (probably contractual) but Josh Brolin is a capable substitute. For a filmmaker who hasn’t handled a major blockbuster in a while, Sonnenfeld gets back in the game confidently here, piecing together several impressive set-pieces.

Not quite up to the standards of the 1997 original but a good deal sharper than 2002’s “Men in Black 2”, this entry is forgettable, flighty but ultimately a rather fun time at the cinema. Could have done with a more imposing villain though.

The Muppets: A-

People have covered it to death. It’s been talked about extensively. But let me just weigh in by saying last year’s reincarnation of “The Muppets” is an absolute gem. Written by Jason Segel (can he do no wrong?) the picture is uplifting, hysterical and joyously anarchic. The soundtrack which also deservedly procured an Oscar is a work of artistic genius in its own right. It’s happiness on celluloid. Highly recommended if you haven’t checked it out already. 

Daniel Kelly, 2012