REVIEW: MEN IN BLACK

CAST

Will Smith (Suicide Squad)
Tommy Lee Jones (Batman Forever)
Linda Fiorentino (Dogma)
Vincent D’Onofrio (Jurassic World)
Rip Torn (Robocop 3)
Tony Shalhoub (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Siobhan Fallon Hogan (Forrest Gump)
Mike Nussbaum (Field of Dreams)
Jon Gries (Get Shorty)
Sergio Calderón (Pure Luck)
Carel Struycken (The Addams Family)
Fredric Lehne (lost)
David Cross (Scary Movie 2)
Sean Whalen (Superstore)
Verne Troyer (Austin Powers)
Danny DeVito (Batman Returns)

Alien refugees live in secret on Earth, disguised as humans. Men in Black is a secret agency that polices these aliens, protects the Earth from intergalactic threats and uses memory-erasing neuralyzers to keep alien activity a secret from the public. Men in Black agents have all traces of their former identities erased and retired agents are neuralyzed and given new identities.NYPD officer James Darrell Edwards III pursues a supernaturally fast and agile suspect in New York City. Men in Black agent K interviews James about his encounter, then neuralyzes him and leaves him a business card with an address. Edwards goes to the address and undergoes a series of tests, for which he finds unusual solutions. While the other candidates are neuralyzed, K offers Edwards a position with the Men in Black. Edwards accepts and his identity is erased, becoming Agent J, the newest Men in Black recruit.In upstate New York, an alien crash-lands and kills a farmer named Edgar to use his skin as a disguise. The alien goes into a New York restaurant and kills two aliens disguised as humans. He steals from them a container, searching for something, but finds only diamonds inside. After investigating the crash landing at the farm, K concludes that Edgar’s skin was taken by a “bug”, a species of aggressive cockroach-like aliens. He and J head to a morgue to examine the bodies the bug killed. Inside one body they discover a dying Arquillian alien, who says that “the galaxy is on Orion’s belt”. The alien, who used the name Rosenberg, was a member of the Arquillian royal family. K fears his death may spark war.Men in Black informant Frank the Pug, an alien disguised as a dog, explains that the missing galaxy is a massive energy source housed in a small jewel. J deduces that the galaxy is hanging on the collar of Rosenberg’s cat Orion, which refuses to leave the body at the morgue. J and K arrive just as the bug takes the galaxy and kidnaps the coroner, Laurel Weaver. The Arquillians deliver an ultimatum to Men in Black: return the galaxy within a “galactic standard week”, or an hour of Earth time, or they will destroy Earth.The bug arrives at the observation towers of the New York State Pavilion at Flushing Meadows, which disguise two flying saucers, where Laurel escapes its clutches. It escapes on one saucer, but K and J shoot it down. The bug sheds Edgar’s skin and swallows J and K’s guns. K provokes it until he too is swallowed. The bug tries to escape on the other ship, but J slows it down by taunting it and crushing cockroaches, angering it. K blows the bug apart from the inside, having found his gun inside its stomach. J and K recover the galaxy and are about to be attacked by the bug again but Laurel shoots it with J’s gun. At Men in Black headquarters, K tells J that he has not been training him as a partner but a replacement. K bids J farewell before he neuralyzes him at his request; K returns to his civilian life and Laurel becomes J’s new partner, L.Men in Black is a fast-paced action-comedy that over-achieves the whole way. Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith make an amazing comedy team as the title characters who protect the Earth from the scum of the universe. Everything is tongue-in-cheek and the whole film works in a really great way. A great film that benefits from its characters and amazing special effects. .

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REVIEW: DOGMA

CAST

Matt Damon (Oceans Eleven)
Ben Affleck (Gone Girl)
George Carlin (Jersey Girl)
Brian O’Halloran (Clerks)
Linda Fiorentino (Men In Black)
Janeane Garofalo (Wet Hot American Summer)
Jason Lee (My Name Is Earl)
Alan Rickman (Harry Potter)
Jason Mewes (R.S.V.P.)
Kevin Smith (Daredevil)
Jeff Anderson (Now You Know)
Chris Rock (Death at A Funeral)
Salma Hayek (Traffic)
Dwight Ewell (Chasing Amy)
Ethan Suplee (Fanboys)
Alanis Morissette (Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back)

Bartleby (Affleck) and Loki (Damon) are fallen angels, banished for eternity from Heaven to Wisconsin for insubordination after an inebriated Loki (with Bartleby’s encouragement) resigned as the Angel of Death. When the trendy Cardinal Glick (Carlin) announces that he is rededicating his cathedral in Red Bank, New Jersey in the image of the “Buddy Christ”, the angels see their salvation: Anyone entering the cathedral during the rededication festivities will receive a plenary indulgence; all punishment for sin will be remitted, permitting direct entry into Heaven.[5] They receive encouragement from an unexpected source: Azrael (Lee), a demon, once a Muse, also banished from Heaven (for refusing to take sides in the battle between God and Lucifer); and the Stygian Triplets (Barret Hackney, Jared Pfennigwerth, and Kitao Sakurai), three teenage hoodlums who serve Azrael in Hell.
Bethany Sloane (Fiorentino)—a downhearted, infertile, divorced abortion clinic employee—attends a service at her church in Illinois. Donations are being solicited to help a hospitalized, comatose homeless man—known only as John Doe Jersey (Cort)—who was beaten senseless outside a skee ball arcade in New Jersey by the Triplets. Later that day, Metatron (Rickman)—the Voice of God—appears to Bethany in a pillar of fire and declares that she is the last relative of Jesus Christ. He explains that Bartleby and Loki cannot be allowed to succeed: By re-entering Heaven, they would be overruling the word of God, thereby disproving the fundamental concept of God’s omnipotence, and nullifying all of existence. She, together with two prophets who will appear to her, must stop the angels and save the universe.
Now a target, Bethany is attacked by the Triplets, and is rescued by the two foretold prophets—drug-dealing stoners named Jay and Silent Bob (Mewes and Smith). Azrael then summons a Golgothan (a vile creature made of human excrement) to find and kill Bethany, but Silent Bob immobilizes it with aerosol deodorant. Other allies in Bethany’s mission are Rufus (Rock), the thirteenth apostle (never mentioned in the Bible, he says, because he is black), and Serendipity (Hayek), the fickle Muse of creative Inspiration, now working in a strip club in search of inspiration of her own. On a train to New Jersey, a drunken Bethany reveals her mission to Bartleby, who tries to kill her; a melee ensues, and Silent Bob throws the angels off the train. Bartleby and Loki now realize the potential consequences of their scheme; and while Loki wants no part of destroying all existence, Bartleby remains angry at God for his expulsion—and for granting free will to humans while demanding servitude of angels—and to Loki’s horror, resolves to proceed.
Bethany and her allies discuss the situation: Who is really behind the angels’ plan, and why has God not intervened? Metatron explains that God’s whereabouts are unknown; he disappeared while visiting New Jersey in human form to play skee ball. At the cathedral, the group attempts in vain to persuade Cardinal Glick to cancel the celebration; Jay angrily steals Glick’s golf club.
At a nearby bar, Azrael captures Bethany and her protectors and reveals that he is the mastermind behind the angels’ plan—he would rather not exist at all than spend eternity in Hell. Silent Bob kills Azrael with Glick’s blessed golf club. Serendipity tells Bethany to bless the bar sink, turning its contents to holy water, and Jay, Rufus and Serendipity drown the Triplets in it. Bartleby and Loki reach the cathedral; Bartleby kills all the celebrants, and when Loki attempts to stop him he tears off Loki’s wings, making him mortal. When the protectors block Bartleby’s entry into the church, Bartleby kills Loki and fights off Rufus, Serendipity and Bob, but as he flees, Jay shoots off his wings with a machine gun.
During his latest of several attempts to seduce Bethany, Jay mentions John Doe Jersey. Realizing that the homeless man is the mortal form that God assumed, Bethany and Bob race to the hospital. Bethany disconnects John Doe’s life support, liberating God, but killing herself. As Bartleby again attempts to enter the cathedral, God manifests before him as a woman (Morissette), and kills him with the power of her voice. When Bob arrives with Bethany’s lifeless body, God resurrects her and conceives a child within her womb. God, Metatron, Rufus, and Serendipity return to Heaven, leaving Bethany and the two prophets to reflect on what has happened.
Never really showing its age, this film can be an awesome introduction to Kevin Smith’s world. Highly recommended.