Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Theatrical Review: Ghostbusters

Date: Tuesday July 19 2016
Location: Pocono Movieplex
Time: 1:45pm
Party: 1 (me, myself and I)

Director: Paul Feig ("Bridesmaids" and practically all of Melissa McCarthy's "good" movies)
Writers: Paul Feig and Kate Dippold (and a lot of uncredited ad-libs from the cast)

Notable Cast:
Abby Yates- Melissa McCarthy
Erin Gilbert- Kristen Wiig
Jillian Holtzmann- Kate McKinnon
Patty Tolan- Leslie Jones
Kevin- Chris Hemsworth
Mayor of New York- Andy Garcia
Mayor's aide- Cecily Strong (another SNL alum)
Benny the take-out guy- Karan Soni (check it out- it's the taxi driver from "Deadpool"!)

Duration: 116 minutes (+3 trailers)


Opening Comments

"Ghostbusters" was one of the 80's most iconic movies. There'd been talk for years of a third movie that never materialized. (At one point, I believe Bill Hader was attached). Finally, it happened and it wound up being a reboot with an all female cast.
It's crazy enough to work. Yet everyone was so quick to come down on it.
Why? I have no idea :P Are they that attached to the original?

I mean, the actor who played the dude from the EPA in "Ghostbusters... people actually started fights with him because of what his character did. Not much of a spoiler, but he did something that complicated things SEVERLY.
And the firehouse where they filmed the movie, I heard it was being shut down or demolished and people rallied to save it.

And yes, "Ghostbusters" is one of the funniest movies of all time. So why not be a little protective of that?

At the same time, I'm up for something new when it involves people I know are capable of being hilarious and putting their own spin on it.

Of course I know Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig from "Bridesmaids"... which I was completely against when it was released because it was promoted as the female version of "The Hangover." Speaking as a woman, I'm not jazzed about the idea of girls doing gross-out comedy. No offence, but guys are more natural at being gross.
But "Bridesmaids" was more than just the "dressing shopping after Brazilian food" scene. It was freaking hilarious. Especially when Kristen Wiig was hopped up on pills on the airplane.

Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones, I know very well from Saturday Night Live over these past couple years.
On the one hand, Kate was someone who always kinda bothered me :/ because she plays a lot of famous people I don't like. With this being an election year, SNL hasn't exactly been my favorite place. But on the other, this is the kind of role I'd been dying to see from her. Just playing an original character that is inherently quirky. I'm writing this part of the review before seeing the movie and I have a feeling this will be a break-out role for her.

Then with Leslie Jones- dude, she is freaking hilarious! Nearly every time she's in an SNL sketch, I'm laughing my ass off. She's so over the top vocal and blunt.
The Oscars this year did this whole sketch about putting black people in Oscar-nominated movies to mock the lack of diversity in nominations. [FYI- there were two characters in "The Martian" played by black actors and they played significant roles that saved Matt Damon's life, so it wasn't as if the movie was entirely lacking in diversity].
Her part was the biggest laugh by far. She played the bear that attacked Leo in "The Revanent." Seriously, if that was in the movie, maybe I would have seen it. [I like Leo, but it's too damn serious for my tastes].

I was listening to the radio last week and during their news segment, they were talking about this movie coming out and Leslie Jones said how everyone needs a laugh right now- citing all the recent shootings and attacks that had occurred

And even if the laughs are forced and kinda stupid, I kinda need to laugh today. Seriously, is it 2017 yet? With the except of my working life, which is stable and still enjoyable, and one pretty cool concert, it's been a miserable year.


Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them
Kind of a teaser trailer really... asking if we want to return to the wizarding world and how Eddie Redmayne says how his suitcase opened just a smidge and had accidentally let loose some magical creatures.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar ChildrenDirected by Tim Burton and starring Helena Bonham Carter in the titular role (well, of course)- based on a YA novel. The title kinda speaks for itself.
The special effects are amazing.
Also- this is the third YA novel Asa Butterfield starred in. He'd been in "Hugo" (which I've yet to see) and "Ender's Game" (which I struggled to read and the movie was slightly better). After I first saw him as a kid, I pegged him to play a character in a YA book I wrote. Sadly, nobody wanted to publish it and now he'll be too old to play my teenage character by the time it is published. If it is at all.

Beauty & The Beast
Another teaser trailer, but it's one I had heard a lot of good things about. Well, just a lot of buzz and excitement without a lot of detail.
I saw the Disney logo, marveled at the interior design of the castle, and when the music started playing, I gasped and almost started crying. It's the same music from the animated movie.
And yes, even in flashes and voices (we hear briefly from Lumiere, Cocksworth and Emma Watson as Belle)...
I cannot wait for March 17th 2017- OMG!

The Main Event:

you know... in case anyone cares...
just kidding... there's only one or two and they're minor

For starters, I liked the movie a lot. It might not be perfect, but it doesn't deserve all of the flack it's been getting from people. I got exactly what I came for and it was to have a good time and escape for a while.

We start, as we did in the original, with our first haunting. And our unlikely librarian, er, tour guide is played by Zach Woods. Whom a lot of people know as Gabe from "The Office" and is also in the HBO series "Silicon Valley." Don't worry, he makes it out okay. But it got pretty intense for a while.

They overdo it a little bit with the slime gags and the CGI renderings of the ghosts aren't all scary. But it does have some intense moments. Maybe it's because I hadn't seen this before, but I did gasp and jump once or twice.
or I'm just a freaking lightweight.

We cut to Erin (Kristen Wiig) who's trying to get tenure at a university, but her past (haha, you know where this is going) comes back to haunt her. In the form of a book she co-wrote with her ex-bestie Abby (Melissa McCarthy).
She tracks Abby down at her place of work where she has a new partner in Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon). Originally, she wants her to take their book off Amazon, but the three of them wind up going to the site of the opening haunting.
Erin regains her belief in ghosts and winds up losing her job over a YouTube video they posted.

Patty (Leslie Jones) joins them after reporting a haunting in the subway where she works. And they put out an ad for a receptionist and Thor himself Chris Hemsworth (but we just call him Kevin) was the sole applicant.
Oh don't worry, Kevin actually plays a big role in the third act, so he's not just there for eye candy and dumb jokes.

The kinda cool thing about this movie that they didn't do in the original... they had a reason behind the hauntings. It wasn't just random. And some government agent isn't the bad guy. Although the mayor's office (which has their own SNL alum... Cecily Strong is another member I didn't always find funny) is no help regarding the Ghostbusters' credibility.

And as I predicted, Kate McKinnon was the funniest one there, but they all did have their moments. One movie blogger I follow said that Holtzmann was quirky for no apparent reason and didn't have much of a backstory to her.
I honestly don't care. She needs more original roles like this.

For whatever reason, Leslie Jones is getting a lot of flack right now. People suck. She was awesome in this movie. Although I do miss her saying "It's a Cadillac!" when referring to their new vehicle- that was only in the trailer), I hope to see her in more comedies.
There are seriously nights watching SNL where there are few laughs to be had and she saves the show for me. As much as I don't want her to leave, she could easily carry a comedy better than Melissa McCarthy in "Tammy" and "The Boss."
Melissa hosts SNL last season and I didn't laugh at her once :/

In this movie, though, she has a lot of heart and is genuinely funny without trying too hard. There's a running joke with her and Benny the delivery guy throughout the movie.

Kristen Wiig is the sanest one of the bunch. And maybe some of her jokes were a little forced, but in the plot, she does come through where it counts. Especially in the third act.

This is one of those rare movies where the third act was maybe the best part.

There are also a bunch of cameos in this movie. You could call them Easter Eggs from the original movie. And the roles vary from passing by to comic relief to have some baring on the actual plot.

Again, it's also worth sticking around through the credits. Lots of extra goodies. Some great music ("Get Ghost" by Mark Ronson, Ray Parker Jr. and a bunch of other guys was the easy highlight). And even a dance number choreographed by Twitch (I tell you, he has to be the most successful 2nd place winner of any reality show ever- dude's freaking everywhere and he's an amazing dancer/choreographer and person).

Side-note: They DO run the movies even when people aren't in the theater. Except I was the only person in the theater and they shut the movie down halfway through cuz they forgot I was there :P but they quickly realized the mistake, apologized and restarted it within 5 minutes of where it was stopped.

Grade: A
(I had fun- that's all that matters...)

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