REVIEW: MEN IN BLACK 2

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CAST

Will Smith (Suicide Squad)
Tommy Lee Jones (Batman Forever)
Rip Torn (Robocop 3)
Lara Flynn Boyle (Afterglow)
Johnny Knoxville (The Ringer)
Rosario Dawson (Daredevil)
Tony Shalhoub (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Patrick Warburton (Get Smart)
Jack Kehler (The Big Lebowski)
David Cross (Scary Movie 2)
Colombe Jacobsen (Chef)
Michael Jackson (The Simpsons)
Martha Stewart (2 Broke Girls)
Peter Graves (Airplane)
Lenny Venito (The Neighbors)
Doug Jones (Hellboy)

Five years after the retirement of Agent K (Jones) from MIB, the secret New York City-based agency that monitors and regulates extraterrestrials residing on Earth, Agent J (Smith)—K’s former partner and hand-picked replacement—is called to investigate the murder of an alien, Ben (Jack Kehler), at his pizzeria. The waitress, Laura Vasquez (Rosario Dawson), tells him that the murderers were Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle), a shapeshifting Kylothian who has taken the form of a lingerie model, and her two-headed servant Scrad (Johnny Knoxville). Laura says they were looking for something called the Light of Zartha. J is strongly attracted to Laura, and in violation of MIB rules, does not neuralyze her to erase her memories of the aliens—and of him.J finds that little is known about the Light of Zartha, except that it is immensely powerful. As he investigates the crime, every lead points to his mentor, Agent K—who was neuralyzed when he retired, and remembers nothing of his MIB service. In Truro, Massachusetts, where K is now the town’s postmaster, J explains this, and convinces him by proving that all of his fellow postal workers are aliens. Back in New York City, Serleena and Scrad launch an attack on MIB headquarters before K’s neuralyzation can be reversed; fortunately, Jack Jeebs (Tony Shalhoub) has an illegal deneuralyzer in his basement. K regains his memories, but it’s not enough: Years before, he neuralyzed himself, specifically to erase what he knew of the Light of Zartha, and those memories have not returned—but as a precaution, he left himself a series of clues.At the pizzeria, they find a locker key. J hides Laura, who fears for her safety, with the worm aliens from the first movie. The key opens a locker in Grand Central Station where a society of tiny aliens, who worship K as their deity, guard their most sacred relics: K’s wristwatch and video store membership card. K recovers both, to the aliens’ horror, but J gives them his watch as a replacement, and becomes their new deity. At the video store, as J and K watch a fictionalized story of the Light of Zartha, K remembers: The Zarthan Queen Laurana long ago entrusted MIB with safeguarding the Light from her nemesis, Serleena, who followed Laurana to Earth and killed her. After hiding the Light, K neuralyzed himself to ensure that he would never reveal its hiding place. K still cannot remember where he hid it, nor what the Light actually looks like; he does remember that it must return to Zartha soon, or both Earth and Zartha will be destroyed.At the worms’ apartment, they find that Laura has been kidnapped by Serleena, who believes that Laura’s bracelet is the Light. J, K, and the worms counterattack MIB headquarters, freeing Laura and the other agents. Serleena attempts to retaliate but is eaten by Jeff, a gigantic worm alien living in the New York Subway. Laura’s bracelet leads J and K to the roof of a skyscraper where a ship stands ready to transport the Light back to Zartha. At last, they realize why it rains whenever Laura is sad: she is the daughter of Laurana—and is herself the Light. K convinces J and Laura that she must go to Zartha, to save both her planet and Earth from destruction. Serleena, who has assimilated Jeff and taken his form, attempts to snatch the ship carrying Laura as it lifts off, but J and K blast her out of the sky. Since all of New York City has just witnessed this battle in the skies over the metropolis, K initiates a giant neuralyzer in the torch of the Statue of Liberty.Back at headquarters, K and MIB Chief Zed (Rip Torn), hoping to cheer up a heartbroken J, have relocated the tiny locker-dwelling aliens who worship him to his MIB locker. When J suggests showing the miniature creatures that their universe is bigger than a locker, K shows J that the human universe is itself a locker within an immense alien train station.Men in Black 2 is not fantastic as the first movie, but it is a good and entertaining movie to be watched anyway

REVIEW: WAYNE’S WORLD

CAST

Mike Myers (Shrek)
Dana Carvey (This Is Spinal Tap)
Tia Carrere (True Lies)
Rob Lowe (Austin Powers)
Lara Flynn Boyle (Men In Black II)
Michael DeLuise (Encino Man)
Lee Tergesen (Shaft)
Ione Skye (But I’m A Cheerleader)
Brian Doyle-Murray (Caddyshack)
Colleen Camp (Apocalypse Now)
Kurt Fuller (Ghostbusters II)
Chris Farley (Beverly Hills Ninja)
Meat Loaf (The 51st State)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Ed O’Neill (Modern Family)
Mike Hagerty (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)

In Aurora, Illinois, rock and roll fans Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar host a public-access television show, Wayne’s World, from Wayne’s parents’ basement. Learning that the show is popular in the Aurora area, television producer Benjamin Oliver offers to buy the rights for $10,000. Garth has doubts about the deal but is too shy to say anything to Wayne so the pair accept the offer. Wayne and Garth attend a local night club, where they avoid Wayne’s troubled ex-girlfriend Stacy. Wayne falls for Cassandra Wong, vocalist and bassist of the band Crucial Taunt, playing at the club that night. He impresses her with his Cantonese and purchases an expensive guitar he has long yearned.Benjamin attempts to steal Cassandra from Wayne by exploiting his wealth and good looks. He distracts Wayne and Garth with tickets to an Alice Cooper concert while offering Cassandra a role in a music video. At the concert, Wayne and Garth make the acquaintance of bodyguard Frankie Sharp, who is also producer of Sharp Records. While filming Wayne’s World under Benjamin’s oversight, Wayne and Garth find it difficult to adjust to the new professional studio environment. Their contract obliges them to give a promotional interview to their sponsor Noah Vanderhoff, who owns a franchise of amusement arcades. Wayne ridicules Vanderhoff with insulting notes written on the back of his question cards and is fired from the show as result, causing a rift in his friendship with Garth. Jealous of Benjamin, Wayne attempts to prevent Cassandra from participating in the music video shoot. Cassandra consequently breaks up with him, furious at his lack of trust. Wayne and Garth reunite and form a plan to win Cassandra back by having Frankie Sharp hear Crucial Taunt play. While Garth and their friends infiltrate a satellite station with the aid of Benjamin’s assistant Russell, Wayne goes to Cassandra’s video shoot. In an failed attempt to uncover Benjamin’s ulterior motives Wayne embarrasses himself. As he leaves, Cassandra changes her mind about Benjamin resulting in Wayne’s apology, and they return to Aurora. They delay Benjamin’s pursuit by having Garth’s police officer friend perform a rectal body cavity search on him.Broadcasting from Wayne’s basement, Wayne’s World successfully hacks into Sharp’s satellite television to broadcast Cassandra’s performance. As her performance ends, Sharp and Benjamin converge on Wayne’s basement. Sharp decides not to offer Crucial Taunt a record contract. Cassandra breaks up with Wayne and departs with Benjamin to a tropical resort. Stacy confesses that she is carrying Wayne’s child, and a fire destroys Wayne’s house. The unsatisfied Wayne and Garth reenact the scene in an alternative ending, unmasking Benjamin as “Old Man Withers” in a “Scooby-Doo ending”. They reenact it again in a “mega happy ending” in which Cassandra signs a record contract, reunites with Wayne, and Russell learns that “platonic love can exist between two grown men”. Garth begins a relationship with a waitress at the local diner, and Benjamin learns that money and looks do not bring happiness. The film frequently breaks the fourth wall, with Wayne, Garth, and others on occasion speaking directly to the audience and even the cameraman. Parts of the story are carried by Wayne’s narration to the camera, in which he offers his comment on what’s happening in the film. Wayne, Garth, Cassandra, Glen, and Ben all at times address the viewer, with some assumed dramatic irony as no one is aware that they are in a film.

The cultural references of Wayne’s World may date it a bit, but the nature and personality of its humor set it apart. There is a kind of naive benevolence and boundless joy which makes this movie so lovable.

REVIEW: CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR

 

CAST

Tom Hanks (Catch Me If You Can)
Julia Roberts (Mirror Mirror)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt)
Amy Adams (Man of Steel)
Ned Beatty (Superman)
Christopher Denham (Duplicity)
Emily Blunt (Into The Woods)
Omn Purri (London Dreams)
Ken Stott (The Hobbit)
John Slattery (Ant-Man)
Denis O’Hare (Derailed)
Daniel Eric Gold (Ugly Betty)
Jud Tylor (That 70s Show)
Brian Markinson (Arrow)
Rachel Nichols (Conan The Barbarian)
Wynn Everett (Agent Carter)
Shiri Appleby (Roswell)
Cyia Batten (Killer Movie)
Ilia Volok (Power Rangers Wild Force)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Anthony Azizi (Lost)

Faran Tahir (Iron Man)

Shaun Toub (Iron Man)
Michelle Arthur (Lost)
Rizwan Manji (The Dictator)
P.J. Byrne (Rampage)
Navid Negahban (Legion)
Jim Jansen (Death Becomes Her)
Kevin Cooney (Roswell)
Spencer Garrett (Yes Man)
Nazanin Boniadi (How I Met Your Mother)
Lara Flynn Boyle (Men In Black 2)

In 1980, Congressman Charlie Wilson is more interested in partying than legislating, frequently throwing huge galas and staffing his congressional office with young, attractive women. His social life eventually brings about a federal investigation into allegations of his cocaine use, conducted by federal prosecutor Rudy Giuliani as part of a larger investigation into congressional misconduct. The investigation results in no charge against Charlie.

A friend and romantic interest, Joanne Herring, encourages Charlie to do more to help the Afghan people, and persuades Charlie to visit the Pakistani leadership. The Pakistanis complain about the inadequate support of the U.S. to oppose the Soviet Union, and they insist that Charlie visit a major Pakistan-based Afghan refugee camp. Charlie is deeply moved by their misery and determination to fight, but is frustrated by the regional CIA personnel’s insistence on a low key approach against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Charlie returns home to lead an effort to substantially increase funding to the mujahideen.

As part of this effort, Charlie befriends maverick CIA operative Gust Avrakotos and his understaffed Afghanistan group to find a better strategy, especially including a means to counter the Soviets’ formidable Mi-24 helicopter gunship. This group was composed in part of members of the CIA’s Special Activities Division, including a young paramilitary officer named Michael Vickers. As a result, Charlie’s deft political bargaining for the necessary funding and Avrakotos’ careful planning using those resources, such as supplying the guerrillas with FIM-92 Stinger missile launchers, turns the Soviet occupation into a deadly quagmire with their heavy fighting vehicles being destroyed at a crippling rate. The CIA’s anti-communism budget evolves from $5 million to over $500 million (with the same amount matched by Saudi Arabia), startling several congressmen. This effort by Charlie ultimately evolves into a major portion of the U.S. foreign policy known as the Reagan Doctrine, under which the U.S. expanded assistance beyond just the mujahideen and began also supporting other anti-communist resistance movements around the world. Charlie states that senior Pentagon official Michael Pillsbury persuaded President Ronald Reagan to provide the Stingers to the Afghans.

Charlie follows Gust’s guidance to seek support for post-Soviet occupation Afghanistan, but finds no enthusiasm in the government for even the modest measures he proposes. In the end, Charlie receives a major commendation for his support of the U.S. clandestine services, but his pride is tempered by his fears of the blowback his secret efforts could yield in the future and the implications of U.S. disengagement from Afghanistan.
Charlie Wilson’s War is a very good film in my opinion, that is compelling, clever and entertaining.