Critics Consensus

Men in Black: International Is Sporadically Amusing

Plus, Shaft is outdated, Jessica Jones is overburdened, and Late Night and Pose are Certified Fresh.

by | June 13, 2019 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we’ve got super-secret agents (Men in Black: International, starring Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth), three generations of bad mother-shut your mouth (Shaft, starring Jessie T. Usher and Samuel L. Jackson), and a fresh voice in the writers room (Late Night, starring Mindy Kaling and Emma Thompson). What are the critics saying?

Men in Black International (2019) 23%

The last time we encountered the Men in Black, Will Smith‘s Agent J traveled back in time and partnered up with a young Agent K (played by Josh Brolin) to save the world, and it certainly seemed like it might be the last time we would see them. While that may technically still be true, there are still plenty of other letters in the alphabet, which means there’s room to follow the adventures of other agents. Enter Men in Black: International, which introduces audiences to rookie Agent M (Tessa Thompson) and her partner Agent H (Chris Hemsworth), both part of MIB’s London branch, who are tasked with uncovering a mole within the organization, all while fending off a new supernatural threat. Unfortunately, critics have not been impressed with this return to the franchise, saying that the film is content to recycle familiar material in an attempt to recapture the original’s magic, but largely fails. The humor is hit-or-miss, the story feels uninspired, and the chemistry between Thor: Ragnarok co-stars Thompson and Hemsworth — not to mention a stellar supporting cast that includes Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Kumail Nanjiani, and Rebecca Ferguson — isn’t quite enough to make up for the film’s other shortcomings. In other words, it’s something of a missed opportunity for all, considering the level of talent involved.

Shaft (2019) 32%

As long as we’re reviving old properties this week, why not go back a couple decades further? Back in 1971, Richard Roundtree became a blaxploitation era icon when he slipped on a leather jacket as John Shaft, and in 2000, Samuel L. Jackson revived the franchise, however temporarily, as the original Shaft’s nephew. Now, almost 20 years after Jackson’s Shaft hit the big screen, comes the next chapter, focusing on young computer science wiz JJ a.k.a. John Shaft III (Jessie T. Usher), who suspects foul play underlying the death of his best friend and enlists the help of his more experienced kin to crack the case. The 2000 reboot was already probably unnecessary, but Jackson made it work, and it benefited from the presence of actors like Christian Bale, Toni Collette, and Jeffrey Wright, and it managed a respectable 67% on the Tomatometer. Not so, this time around. Critics say that, to the extent that Shaft works, it’s indebted to the charisma of its three primary stars, but beyond some laughs and the novelty of seeing the trio together, the film doesn’t offer viewers enough to keep them satisfactorily engaged or entertained. Its attempts to update the character for contemporary audiences are clumsily executed, and its callbacks to previous entries feel forced, but fans of Jackson and Roundtree may be satisfied just to revisit this world.

Late Night (2019) 80%

The one original film opening wide this week is, appropriately, neither a sci-fi blockbuster nor an action film, but a workplace comedy focused on the relationship between two women. In Late Night, Emma Thompson plays Katherine Newbury, the abrasive host of a struggling talk show in need of a boost, while Mindy Kaling plays Molly Patel, a new “diversity hire” in the writers room who catches Katherine’s attention. With Molly’s help, Katherine’s show begins to recover, and the pair form an unlikely bond. It’s a variation on a formula we’ve certainly seen before (The Devil Wears Prada, anyone?), but critics say Kaling — who also wrote the film — and Thompson make it work, thanks to the combination of the actors’ considerable abilities and Kaling’s sharp script. Late Night isn’t groundbreaking stuff, per se, but it hums along genially and, in the end, reveals itself to be a rather heartwarming feelgood story.

What’s New on TV

Pose: Season 2 (2019) 97%

A delightful, delicate dance of light and dark, Pose‘s second season achieves a striking balance between the grittiness of reality and the glamour of the runway and shines even brighter.

Marvel's Jessica Jones: Season 3 (2019) 74%

Despite some strong storytelling, Jessica Jones‘ third season buckles under the burden of being the closing chapter for not only its own superhero narrative, but an entire era of Marvel television.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

  • 5B (2019) , a documentary about the health care workers who were assigned to the first AIDS ward in the U.S., is at 100%.
  • Plus One (2019) , about a pair of college friends who agree to be each other’s dates during a summer of weddings, only to fall for each other, is at 92%.
  • The Reports on Sarah and Saleem (2019) , a drama about an Israeli woman and Palestinian man who engage in a dangerous affair in Jersuaslem, is at 92%.
  • In the Aisles (In den Gängen) (2019) , about a retail worker who falls for a colleague with secrets of her own, is at 83%.
  • Head Count (2019) , a horror film about a group of teens terrorized by an unseen force during an outdoor getaway, is at 80%.
  • American Woman (2019) , starring Sienna Miller and Christina Hendricks in a drama following a young woman’s efforts to raise her grandson over more than a decade, is at 76%.
  • Our Time (Nuestro tiempo) (2019)Carlos Reygadas‘ drama about a ranching couple whose open marriage is challenged when a new horse-breaker enters the picture, is at 60%.
  • Being Frank (2019) , starring Jim Gaffigan in a 1992-set dramedy about a rebellious teen who discovers his father is living a double life, is at 53%.
  • The Dead Don't Die (2019)Jim Jarmusch‘s ensemble comedy comprised of vignettes from a town on the brink of a zombie apocalypse, is at 56%.
  • Hampstead (2019) , starring Diane Keaton and Brendan Gleeson in a romantic comedy about a well-meaning American widow who falls for an Irish man living off the land, is at 45%.
  • The Outsider (2019) , a Western about a Chinese rail worker who seeks revenge when his wife is attacked, is at 30%.

Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Tag Cloud

spy thriller Certified Fresh docudrama Quiz finale BET WarnerMedia Mary poppins Hulu Drama Mystery El Rey Reality Competition Mary Tyler Moore space batman Schedule TNT TruTV Super Bowl talk show FXX Valentine's Day Turner Classic Movies IFC disaster TV mockumentary political drama President CBS All Access 24 frames The CW hispanic CBS Crunchyroll Best and Worst Shudder dc FOX Esquire Premiere Dates Food Network Infographic American Society of Cinematographers Election Pixar Emmys award winner vampires New York Comic Con MTV BBC America HBO Max Dark Horse Comics spider-man History Awards miniseries YouTube Premium Sundance Now Paramount Network Sony Pictures toy story Captain marvel Film Festival Rock ABC Kids & Family theme song romantic comedy Cosplay Set visit mutant Country Stephen King composers Calendar The Arrangement Syfy TLC Christmas National Geographic 2016 Walt Disney Pictures TBS zombie SundanceTV television Holidays MCU streaming Rom-Com series crime drama Fall TV cults 21st Century Fox cinemax Awards Tour game show diversity Apple sports animated Opinion ghosts RT21 golden globes Rocky TV Land dragons Song of Ice and Fire Teen adaptation book Toys Ellie Kemper LGBTQ spain Comedy Central Winners Summer GoT revenge biography Pet Sematary Sneak Peek cooking CW Seed SDCC canceled TV shows YA Animation 007 game of thrones cops Marvel TCM blaxploitation festivals foreign 71st Emmy Awards Heroines Disney Channel Spike Podcast politics Women's History Month Shondaland Interview Grammys binge Musical Trailer spinoff Ovation zombies nature police drama Marathons hist slashers Black Mirror YouTube Red Trivia cancelled transformers Elton John TIFF Comedy Cartoon Network dceu Emmy Nominations latino Writers Guild of America halloween Tarantino aliens video travel CNN thriller Horror Reality Film 2018 Anna Paquin Trophy Talk USA Western E3 Rocketman PaleyFest anime Watching Series Sci-Fi free movies Paramount harry potter Family jamie lee curtis DirecTV Box Office Music 20th Century Fox Star Trek cancelled television Columbia Pictures X-Men Mudbound San Diego Comic-Con Disney Disney Plus Comic Book science fiction Mindy Kaling Nat Geo LGBT NYCC Epix Oscars Warner Bros. cancelled TV shows FX Superheroe sitcom Polls and Games justice league Brie Larson Year in Review Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Lionsgate DGA Nickelodeon green book anthology Fantasy crime thriller DC Comics Freeform Mary Poppins Returns GIFs Netflix Creative Arts Emmys Video Games comic HBO Apple TV+ cats breaking bad Tumblr Nominations quibi singing competition crime sequel canceled 45 Lucasfilm elevated horror adventure WGN Countdown tv talk 2015 facebook crossover joker Universal Pride Month movies YouTube Pirates war Ghostbusters casting Crackle Bravo Masterpiece CMT Red Carpet strong female leads USA Network Acorn TV Vudu ABC Family RT History Classic Film true crime TV renewals A&E ratings serial killer Adult Swim Britbox See It Skip It supernatural First Reviews social media ESPN Fox News based on movie Showtime Winter TV romance witnail Television Academy Disney streaming service Amazon Prime Video Character Guide Sundance Extras Amazon Arrowverse GLAAD Thanksgiving natural history Star Wars Tomatazos cars Logo NBC SXSW Starz dramedy TCA PBS boxoffice Turner Comics on TV medical drama OWN VICE richard e. Grant Martial Arts Spectrum Originals The Purge period drama Action The Witch Cannes doctor who Spring TV Pop kids 2019 zero dark thirty Superheroes psycho teaser Amazon Prime IFC Films Lifetime MSNBC renewed TV shows discovery E! Binge Guide technology Biopics what to watch cancelled TV series 2017 Chilling Adventures of Sabrina ITV DC Universe APB children's TV spanish language First Look Peacock Musicals AMC historical drama VH1 Photos The Walking Dead comiccon Chernobyl TCA 2017 DC streaming service unscripted psychological thriller stand-up comedy robots south america BBC