by Tom Doty
A big budget sequel and the (almost) complete run of a crime series made for an excellent week for disc lovers.
“Men in Black 3” — Lots of laughs and special effects enhance this third installment of the series about a secret government agency that works with aliens. This time out J (Will Smith) must go back in time to save K (Tommy Lee Jones) from an alien assassin. J is transported to the 1960s, where he must stop the alien plot and deal with a younger version of his partner, now played by Josh Brolin. This is all fun and cute, and the alien make-ups are always impressive. Aside from Brolin’s dead on impersonation of Jones, there isn’t much going on here that you’ll remember one week after viewing it.
“Paranorman” — A young boy can see dead people, but they also can see him in this animated flick. This gift comes in handy when the town is attacked by zombies and ghosts thanks to a curse. All of a sudden, everyone decides that Norman is a an asset and no longer the town whipping boy in the face of this crisis. This is an excellent Halloween film and a real celebration of being different. A great film for kids who feel left out or picked on for being someone who stands out.
“Cagney and Lacey: The Complete Series” — New York is the perfect setting for this mid-1980s cop show that saw Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless break down the glass ceiling as a pair of female detectives working the mean streets of NYC. This was an excellent show that used great writers (like Robert Crais) to tell stories about the hardships that women face in a male-dominated workplace. True fans will know that it isn’t complete, as it doesn’t include the short season one that featured Meg Foster as Cagney. A more complete set will follow and be available online. That will feature the pilot film (with Loretta Switt as Cagney) and the Foster episodes, as well as the four films that followed the series.
“Lawless” — Moonshiners fight the law (who want a piece of the action) in this action drama that relies on a strong cast and a solid script. Shia La Beouf, Tom Hardy (Bane in “Dark Knight Rises”) and Jason Clarke play three brothers who stand up to the law dogs who want a cut of their profits. Supporting players with great acting chops abound here and include Guy Pearce and Gary Oldman.
Next week brings the final film in the latest Batman cycle with “The Dark Knight Rises.”
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