STARRING: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Alice Eve
DIRECTOR: Barry Sonnenfeld (CERT PG, 105 minutes)
The plot: Ten years after we last saw them in Men In Black 2, the team of top-secret alien hunters reunites for a mission which involves time travel and saving the world from a heinous beast called Boris (Clement), who wants revenge on Agent K (Jones) after he shot his arm off over 40 years previously. The increasingly frustrated Agent J (Smith) is mainly concerned
with working out why his partner K is being secretive about what happened all those years ago.
What’s right with it? To start with, this belated new entry in the comedy fantasy series feels fresh and dynamic, helped by a funny, action-packed opening introducing the amusing villain, played to fine effect by Flight Of The Conchords dude Clement, and the agents’ new boss O (Emma Thompson), who’s witty and likeable. It also builds to a satisfying and rather clever climax, which isn’t just a special- effects fest but has proper emotional resonance.
What’s wrong with it? The bit in the middle, where the storytelling gets bogged down in one complicated time-travel sub-plot after another and the young version of Agent K (Brolin) turns out to be a lot less interesting than the grizzled, grumpy old one. It also makes less sense as time goes on, and is rather too contrived and smug for its own good.
Verdict: If Marvel’s Avengers Assemble is an object lesson in how to make a franchise movie seem truly vital and inventive, Men In Black 3 feels more like an attempt to cash in on past blockbuster glories. There’s some amusing, enjoyable stuff here, just not enough of it. HHH @boydhilton
STARRING: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Edward Norton
DIRECTOR: Wes Anderson (CERT 12A, 94 minutes)
The plot: In 1965, a Boy Scout island camp is thrown into chaos when a dweeby outcast (Gilman) runs off with a young, book-loving beauty (Hayward). Their destination: a remote cove they call Moonrise Kingdom.
What’s right with it? Anderson, the quirky genius behind The Royal Tenenbaums, is back on form with a charming tale of young love. It’s also studded with big stars, from Bruce Willis as a sad-sack sheriff to Bill Murray as an axe-wielding drunk. Plus Ed Norton in very silly shorts.
What’s wrong with it? If you’re not into Anderson’s thing, you’ll likely find this an overload of kookiness — one characters even wears fishhooks as earrings.
Verdict: Sweet, eccentric and with a killer soundtrack, this Kingdom is well worth a visit. HHHH NICK DE SEMLYEN
STARRING: Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks
DIRECTOR: Kirk Jones (CERT 12A, 110 mins)
The plot: Five couples deal with impending parenthood in contrasting ways.
What’s right with it? The all-star cast give the material their all, with particular kudos to Banks (The Hunger Games), whose story is the most believable. She also slam-dunks the film’s one killer laugh-out-loud scene. The dads’ support group (headed by Chris Rock) is also pretty funny.
What’s wrong with it? It’s all a bit glossy and predictable, and in the cross-cutting style of Valentine’s Day/New Year’s Day, too many of these characters are one-dimensional and/or annoying.
Verdict: A mildly amusing comedy adapted from a best-selling self-help book, marred by some moments that might make you vom even if you don’t have morning sickness. HHH @boydhilton