And the reign of The Avengers may finally come to an end during – of all times – Memorial Day weekend. The film itself isn’t exactly a notable release, but then again, giant killers usually do not appear as such in the movie business. I am of course referring to…
…Men in Black3, which marks now two more films than I expected this series to go. This installment finds the ever-sassy Agent J going back in time to stop a murder plot against his straight-laced partner K by teaming up with his younger (still straight-laced) self in 1969. But then…if K was killed in 1969 by Jemaine from Flight of the Conchords, wouldn’t all of his future actions have been erased as well? Meaning that he never would have recruited J into MIB, meaning that he still would have been an NYPD officer, meaning…ah best not think of these things. Time travel plots always have more holes in them than Swiss cheese. Besides, the critics have given this a slightly warmer reception than its stupid predecessor, calling it a clever and even somewhat touching romp with an impressive mimicry of the TLJ persona by Josh Brolin. Despite a sluggish midnight showing, Men in Black3 has rebounded with an impressive $18 million gross on Friday and should be able to actually dethrone The Avengers with $54-59 million by the end of the three-day weekend.
Less promising is the Oren Peli-produced found footage horror flick Chernobyl Diaries. Six friends decide to take an “extreme tour” of the notorious disaster site, only to find more terrifying horrors in the heart of Pripyat. Ignoring the profoundly dubious taste of the film’s premise – this certainly isn’t the first time a historical tragedy has been exploited by Hollywood for cheap thrills – critics are blasting the lack of any true scares and idiotic decisions by its main characters just to artificially draw out the film. Despite being a seemingly go-to choice for teens wanting a midnight schlock-fest, it hasn’t exactly been lighting up the box office the way Paranormal Activity did and I can’t see it walking away with more than $15-20 million on Monday.
In limited release might be the first non-documentary Oscar powerhouse of the year, at least if critics are to be believed. The ever divisive, defiantly idiosyncratic director Wes Anderson returns with more quirky characters, boldly colored costumes and sets, and frontal compositions to delight his fans and madden his detractors in Moonrise Kingdom, about two youngsters in love who run away together and prompt a search party to find them. But maybe even his haters will warm up to him this time? Many critics are declaring this the best film of Anderson’s career, which after Fantastic Mr. Fox I’m not even sure how that’s possible, but the director has always been at his best when paying tribute to the poignancy and affection of childhood and adolescence (it’s no coincidence that his two worst films – The Life Aquatic and The Darjeeling Limited – had “growing up” as their central themes). With such glowing reception from even his skeptics, we could be looking at Best Picture, Original Screenplay, Original Score, Cinematography and even Anderson’s first Best Director nod.
Tell us whether you saw Anderson’s or Sonnenfeld’s trip to the past (or Bradley Parker’s, I don’t know, maybe you’re that kind of person…) right here on The Awards Circuit!
Tags: Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Bruce Willis, Chernobyl Diaries, edward norton, Emma Thompson, Found Footage, Francis McDormand, Josh Brolin, kara hayward, Men in Black 3, Moonrise Kingdom, Roman Coppola, sequel, Tommy Lee Jones, Wes Anderson, Will Smith