It was a dismal box office weekend, as Men in Black: International managed just $28.5 million to claim the top spot. Although the movie made over $71 million worldwide, the picture cost $110 million to make and ultimately this was a disappointing showing from the feature. The Secret Life of Pets 2was close behind with $23.8 million. The top 10:
Men in Black: International – It’s a sub-par showing with just $28.5 million.
The Secret Life of Pets 2– Animated film does well with $23.8 million and to date it’s made over $154 million worldwide.
Aladdin – Will Smith flick takes in $16.7 million.
Dark Phoenix – Speaking of disappointing, Dark Phoenix’s second weekend checks in with an abysmal $9 million.
Rocketman – Elton John biopic takes in $8.8 million.
Shaft– Samuel L. Jackson feature performs below expectations with $8.3 million.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters – Monster feature collects $8.1 million.
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum – Keanu Reeves’ latest hangs on with $6.1 million.
Silicon Valley cast member Kumail Nanjiani made a big splash movie wise with 2017’s The Big Sick, an autobiographical tale that received critical acclaim. In Stuber he plays an Uber driver whose latest passenger (Dave Bautista) is a cop who’s trying to catch a killer. Mismatched pairings when done just right can lead to excellent films (Twinscomes to mind!), and hopefully Stuber is worth the comedic ride.
“We wanted to feel the entire time that these guys are in danger,” said Nanjiani. “If any joke breaks the reality that they are in danger then the whole movie doesn’t work. I hope it’s really funny. The stuff we shot felt really funny.”
Though many buddy films feature one person being the alpha dog, Nanjiani claims that there are no sidekicks with Stuber (click on the media bar to hear Nanjiani).
After working together closely on Thor: Ragnarok and then again in Avengers: Endgame, Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson were excited about joining forces again to make Men In Black: International. The chemistry they developed on-screen is a direct extension of the chemistry they share off-screen. When we spoke with them, they talked at length about the things they’ve enjoyed most about each other. (Click on the media bar below to hear Chris Hemsworth & Tessa Thompson)
Men In Black: International is now playing in theaters.
Bill Murray’s dealt with the dead before — after all, he’s busted plenty of ghosts. His latest project is a “zombie horror comedy” called The Dead Don’t Die. Of course, it wouldn’t be Bill Murray if he didn’t have a unique perspective on the project, and when it co mes to zombies, he thinks the best part is that you’re actually doing them a favor by trying to kill them! (Click on the media bar below to hear Bill Murray)
It’s ironic that there are cineplexes currently playing both Aladdin and Men In Black: International. After all, Aladdin finds Will Smith filling the shoes of another actor’s iconic performance in the original Aladdin; Men In Black finds an actor trying to fill the shoes of Smith’s iconic performance in the original MIB.
First, let’s get something straight — though entertaining, the stories were never the main attraction behind the original MIB films. It was the “opposites attract” chemistry between Smith and Tommy Lee Jones that drove the movies, bolstered by a bevy of amusing animated aliens.
Fortunately, chemistry is one thing International’s leads, Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, do have. Honed over the course of their work together in the Marvel universe, the two share an easy rapport when they’re on the screen together. In this case, though, it’s both a blessing and a curse.
Whereas the work relationship between Smith and Jones developed through the brash newcomer and the grizzled veteran butting heads while they learned to function as a team, the relationship between Hemsworth’s Agent H and Thompson’s Agent M develops because, well, M thinks the H stands for hot. While that brings a playful sexual tension to the proceedings that obviously wasn’t in the original partnership, it ultimately makes the partnership less interesting.
There’s also a role reversal that feels a bit jarring — in MIB: International, it’s the newcomer who’s all business, much more competent in her new role than the experienced agent who supposedly saved the world.
Granted, it’s a job M’s been training for ever since she was a little girl, when she witnessed the MIB in action after a cute, furry, Gremlins-like alien turned up in her family’s New York apartment and she avoided the agents’ infamous Neuralizer. Yes, she’s been obsessed with the MIB organization and extraterrestrial existence for years, going so far as hacking into NASA’s computers to do her own real-time research on alien activity. But when her trial-by-fire first field assignment lands her in the midst of an alien dignitary’s murder and in possession of the most destructive weapon in the universe, you might expect a few more newbie nerves. Instead, Thompson plays M as someone who was born for the gig — a cool, collected bundle of kick-ass energy, always ready to go where the action is.
By contrast, Hemsworth’s Agent H is portrayed as a bit of a hard-drinking, womanizing buffoon who’s able to coast along on his reputation as one of the agents who once helped defeat a nefarious alien species called The Hive. He’s also an inferior fighter compared to M — one clumsy effort to attack an oversized alien brings about the movie’s biggest laugh, a cheeky reference to the actor’s time spent playing Thor. (In all fairness, the film’s resolution does partially explain the character’s behavior, but it doesn’t explain all of his deficiencies.)
In the grand scheme of all things MIB, however, these things are forgivable, because Hemsworth and Thompson are fun to watch, there’s plenty of action, and yes, you’ll find aliens galore. One new character, Pawny (voiced by Kumail Nanjiani), looks a bit like an animated acorn with a skin disorder, and he walks a line somewhere between Groot and Jar Jar Binks — he would be grating if used too much or in the wrong way, but stays just on the right side of sanity in this film. Rebecca Ferguson also gets to camp (and vamp) things up as a sexy, four-armed alien who once had a fling with H, but must now be defeated in the MIBs’ quest to save the world.
You’ll also find a couple of formidable actors, Emma Thompson and Liam Neeson, co-starring as the New York and London MIB bureau chiefs, and they bring a bit of gravitas to the proceedings, though the roles themselves are hardly Oscar-caliber.
Again, the plot — Alien threat! New weapon! Mole in the MIB! — is secondary here, and it’s just serviceable enough that the movie doesn’t fall apart. But it’s not quite good enough to make the film stand out as anything special. Given a better script — and with their characters’ introductions out of the way — Hemsworth and Thompson could be a formidable duo if they continue to extend the franchise. And with the film largely succeeding as an effects-laden popcorn movie, chances are we will see them again. Because as long as CGI designers keep coming up with new aliens, there will always be new jobs for the MIB.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood may be a fictional story, but it’s set in real-life Hollywood, circa 1969, and some of the characters in the film are infamous figures from that period. Margot Robbie plays Sharon Tate, the actress who was killed by members of the notorious Manson Family. Obviously, there’s been a lot said and written about Tate and her tragic fate; Robbie went through a lot of it while researching the role, and she talked to us about how she wanted to present her character. (Click on the media bar below to hear Margot Robbie)
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood opens in theaters on July 26.