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    Men in Black
    Rated:PG-13
    Stars:Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones
    Score:***
    Movies are rarely this enjoyable. There are a few classics out there that blend humor, action, and plot beautifully; Bad Boys and the Lethal Weapon movies come to mind. Well, Men in Black is destined to become a another classic in the same vein, but instead of busting criminals, they're busting aliens (and blowing them into little bite-size morsels). In fact, the only problem I have with MiB is that it's too short! A mere 90 minutes, while it contains the entire story, leaves you thirsty for more. We can only hope for a sequel.

    You wouldn't think a movie containing a couple dozen different alien species would be realistic, and you'd be right. MiB requires a slight departure from reality, but not as much as other movies. Batman is a great example. As I said, the departure from reality is slight, and that's partly what makes it so fun. Also, the atmosphere generated by the continuous humor contributes greatly to the whole effect.

    How about the special effects? Virtually all the aliens are computer- generated, but they were done all done pretty well, sometimes bordering on "really cool." I've seen far weaker efforts, to be sure. The aliens themselves come in a wide variety shapes and sizes, but I think they're pretty much all slimy. Quite a departure from Star Trek, where even on the other side of the galaxy, the aliens are just humans with bumps on their heads or noses (and all speak English with an American accent and have the same names for elements that we do: Potassium here is also called Potassium on the planet Telax).

    The acting is great here, too. Will Smith works very well with Tommy Lee Jones, although the pairing of a wild, young rebel with a world-weary realist is becoming a bit cliche. Still, they're an undeniably great combination. I can't really convey how funny this movie is. There have been countless comedies that seem bland by comparison and, unlike those comedies, Men in Black will still be funny after a dozen or more viewings. I'm not speaking from experience, of course, but I trust my instincts.

    If you haven't seen Men in Black yet, see it. When it comes out on video, buy it. You can get a pair of those $100 sunglasses, but I won't hold you to that. I'm actually pretty ashamed I waited so long to see this movie. I mean, it's been almost two weeks since it opened! And while I didn't face the long lines that would have been present on opening day, but the theater was still screwed up, and the audience was full on inconsiderate schlebs. First of all, most of the sound in the theater was off. You could barely hear out of the speakers in the very front (under the screen or something) and that was it. A couple of guys in the front of the theater yelled out, "Turn it up!" and there was this old couple behind me (you know the kind- they complain about everything and compare it to the "good ol' days" like my backward relatives) said, "Why should they turn it up? It's too loud already. It's hurting my ears." A couple minutes into the movie, the volume was fixed because one of those guys in the front ran back to tell someone. You know, this kind of crap happens with too great a frequency. Would it be too much to have some representative of the theater there for the start of the movie to make sure it's actually working?

    But, as I said, MiB is too short, and that's why it didn't get a full four stars. Everything else is flawless (there isn't a Macintosh to be seen! :) You just can't go wrong by picking up a couple tickets for this film (see it with a friend because only losers go to movies alone).

     
    Comments? E-mail movies@aldebaran.net