Summertime. BBQs, watermelon, family reunions and hot summer nights. The perfect time to escape to the movies. This is not a time for a Czech drama or a brooding intellectual film about politics. This is a time for fun, for explosions, for comedy. For Emma Thompson?
British actress Dame Emma Thompson is a two-time Oscar winner. Thompson is the only person to have won Academy Awards for both acting and writing. She won Best Actress for “Howards End” (1992), and Best Adapted Screenplay for “Sense and Sensibility” (1995).
In the past, Thompson was known for her work with Kenneth Branagh. In the 1990s, they were the couple for brilliant Shakespeare films and intellectual relationship dramas. As Sir Kenneth’s star rose, he stepped out on Thompson and their marriage, and their films together ended. Thompson went on to write the adaption of “Sense and Sensibility” and starred in it with Kate Winslet. She also stars in two of my favorite films, “Stranger Than Fiction” and “Howards End.”
Recently, she’s starred in two Nanny McPhee films and has written the TV adaptation of Margaret Edson‘s acclaimed play “Wit” (2001). She also starred in the movie and was nominated for a Golden Globe. Her awards page on IMDB is lengthy, to say the least.
So how did this acclaimed actress noted in Wikipedia as “often portrays enigmatic and matronly characters with a sense of wit, frequently in period dramas and literary adaptations” wind up featured in both the films opening the summer movie season at the Nugget Theater?
Her role in “MIB International” is a bit part but a crucial role. She’s the much-admired Agent O, leader of the Men in Black London Division. She’s portrayed as a smart leader in a smart suit and Tessa Thompson (no relation) is the new agent that tells her she wants in. They both allude to how the Men in Black needs an update — men and women in black. Sadly, this franchise seems to have run out of steam. There are some fun moments, but the banter between the two leads, Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth was better in “Thor: Ragnarok.”
Drinks with Films Rating: 2 super-sized soft drinks out of 5. “MIB International” is bright and fast-paced and lacking any depth, but there are a few roles for women. Tessa Thompson and Rebecca Ferguson are nice additions. Emma Thompson’s wardrobe is brilliant.
‘LATE NIGHT’ REVIEW
Mindy Kaling wrote the starring role in “Late Night” specifically for Emma Thompson. We get to see two comedic actors/writers at the top of their game have fun in a summer dramedy. Kaling gets top billing, but without the gravitas that Emma Thompson brings to the role, the comedy wouldn’t elicit the chuckles that it does. They make a great duo and film comes alive when they share the screen. “Late Night” could lose one of the subplots and been improved by a shorter run time. It’s witty and political, and takes on sexism, ageism, nepotism and wraps it in a summer comedy package. That it stars two women, one of color and one of a “certain age” proves yet again people will pay to see quality entertainment. We need more women starring (and writing and producing and directing) films.
Drinks with Films Rating: 3 glasses of fine wine out of 5. “Late Night” runs a little long and tries to tackle one too many “isms.” The writing crackles, and Mindy Kaling and Emma Thompson give performances that seem like heightened versions of themselves. Real and nuanced.