Weekend Movies: Black Moon Rising

There aren’t too many new options to choose from on this long Memorial Day Weekend. Only two movies open wide, one of which is a dinky horror flick appearing on 2,450 screens nationwide, and the other is the third in a franchise that was nearly driven into the ground a decade ago. The box office results ought to be interesting.

Fifteen years ago, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones pulled in $51 million with the opening weekend of ‘Men in Black‘, which went on to earn $250.6 million domestically. Five years later, ‘Men in Black II‘ opened to $52 million, just a smidge above the previous film. However, ‘MIB II’ only brought in $190.4 million domestically and generated terrible word-of-mouth from viewers. My prediction is that ‘Men in Black 3‘ will go on to earn more than the second film. Not only will it benefit from expensive 3D ticket prices, but the new sequel’s overall quality is much higher than the last. (Don’t get me started on why the second movie dons the Roman numeral “II” and the third carries the standard “3.”)

In this round, a seemingly unstoppable villain (played by Jemaine Clement from ‘Flight of the Conchords’) has traveled back in time and killed Tommy Lee Jones’ character. Although reality has changed, Will Smith’s character somehow has a memory of the previous timeline and has to travel back to save Agent K with the help of young 1969 version of him (played by a brilliant Josh Brolin). Expect a more intricate ‘MIB’ story than ever and just as much fun and comedy as the original film.

The smaller of the two wide openers this weekend is ‘Chernobyl Diaries‘. Not screened for press, this horror movie follows six extreme tourists who hire a guide to take them through the abandoned and evacuated city of Pripyat – the closest city to the radiation-riddled Chernobyl. It doesn’t take long for them to realize they’re not alone. Does this sound like ‘The Hills Have Eyes‘ to you too?

Wes Anderson’s first live-action film since ‘The Darjeeling Limited‘ (which I’m still mad at myself for not owning) opens on four screens this week after its recent premiere at Cannes. ‘Moonrise Kingdom‘ is a dramatic comedy set during the ’60s in New England. When two young lovers run away together, the dormant town is brought to life in an attempt to find them. Co-written and directed by Anderson, Focus can’t expand ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ fast enough.

The much-hyped French comedic drama ‘The Intouchables‘ is taking America four screens at a time. The film tells the story of a wealthy businessman who’s left a quadriplegic by an accident. After interviewing applicants for the caretaker position, the rich guy hires the most unlikely candidate (an offender from the projects), and a strong friendship blossoms. Hopefully, the Weinstein Company will expand ‘The Intouchables’ soon too.


  1. EM

    Today is the 35th anniversary of the original Star Wars; this might be a good weekend to stay in and watch that trilogy.

    • EM

      I tend to think of the tetralogy as a duology myself. I have a young friend who needs to be introduced to those movies—or at the very least the original Alien—before Prometheus comes out, but that’ll happen sometime after this weekend.

      • JM

        Your numerology is very common.

        My first Alien experience was in a dark basement in the dead of night with a circle of girls at the age of eleven.

        My second first experience that same midnight was Monty Python and The Holy Grail.

        I’m not saying that’s what you should do to your young friend, but it helped take the edge off.

        I think I love A3 because it mirrored my emotional self when I saw it.

        • EM

          That’s good advice. So good that I regret that it’s not applicable here: the friend in question is 23 and a longtime horror fan (enough that I was taken aback when I learned of this gaping hole in his education—I have tried to do much over the years, but I haven’t been able to get to everything…). Also, because of our schedules, we’ll probably be watching Alien between 2 and 5pm. (I do have black curtains, though.)

          Now, if we get his 19-year-old brother into the act, we might have to make concessions. As of his early teens, the younger brother was still fairly skittish about horror. I don’t know whether that’s changed. I would offer to issue warnings just before the chestbursting and other especially gruesome events. I don’t know if he’ll be interested or, for that matter, available.

          And both brothers have seen Holy Grail a zillion times. 🙂

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