Ghostbusters

Bustin’ makes me feel good!

I love Ghostbusters (1984). I even love Ghostbusters 2 (1989). I now say loudly and proudly that I love Ghostbusters (2016). Whether it’s a reboot you wanted and whether it’s a reboot you thought necessary, well, it’s here. And it’s great. Just because it’s rebooted doesn’t mean the original does not exist – it’s still there if you want it – but the new film does a fantastic job of bringing the ghostbusters to the 21st Century and hopefully inspiring younger generations. I’m not going to comment any further on the (needless) controversy surrounding the film, except the villain of the film is a ‘weirdo’ loner millennial male who hides behind technology rather than humanity, who thrives on negativity and rejects modernity – few villains have been so well-timed and apt…

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Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is a scientist and lecturer at Columbia university. She’s extremely close to getting tenure there, a job for life, when both that and her academic reputation is put under threat by an old friend re-entering her life. Years earlier she and Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) wrote a book on the existence of paranormal phenomenon. Erin walked away from the book and Abby. Abby has put the book back on sale and has continued to work in investigating the paranormal, now working alongside  Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon). When Erin goes to Abby to persuade her to take the book off the market she gets swept back into her old line of work when ghosts start to appear all over New York. The trio are soon joined by Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) and the four of them make up the Ghostbusters, ‘aided’ by the world’s worst secretary Kevin (Chris Hemsworth).

I really enjoyed watching this film. Hooked in from the first scene – which featured Zach Woods aka ‘Jared’ from Silicon Valley – I laughed. A lot. The film is centered on feel-good and it’s a watching experience that is really uplifting – spirit raising in more than one way (sorry-not-sorry for the pun!) Deciding to make the film, yet another reboot some of you may cry, probably was an easy decision for the studios. But, considering the aforementioned controversy  (which I will discuss no further, promise) it required director Paul Feig and his cast to be fearless. And they really are!

Watching the film is a truly enjoyable experience for on many layers and for many reasons. Some are saying the film is ‘safe’ or ‘not enough’ – I personally think it’s a step in the right direction. An entry-point update of a classic which can be pushed further with the next in the franchise (which is the same criticism most gave of The Force Awakens no..?) And, arguably, this film does better than TFA at blending the old with the new. The ‘old’ doesn’t detract attention here. It doesn’t distill the zeitgeist with nostalgia. Instead Ghostbusters has nods to the past whilst being fun, funny and full of energy. Much of this is down to the cast, whom there is not a weak link amongst- all are extraordinarily brilliant in their own ways

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. Wiig as Erin is probably the closest I’ve ever seen a cinematic version of myself; a woman driven by logic who totally loses all rationale around her passion (the paranormal) and attractive members of the opposite sex  (Kevin). Her journey kick-starts the film and then drives it to the end as she rediscovers what she truly believes in  and who the people that truly matter to her are. Best line: Books can’t fly and neither can babies!

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Melissa Mccarthy = comedy gold. No matter the film she still manages to sparkle and steal most of the scenes she is in. This film is no exception. Abby is classic Mccarthy character, a joy to watch and laugh with/at. Her timing is immaculate whether that be swapping lines or kicking ghost-ass. Best line: I will kick the the unliving crap out of you and you and especially you! 

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I hadn’t really heard of Leslie Jones prior to her casting in Ghostbusters (sorry Leslie in the unlikelihood you ever read this!) but she’s definitely a comedian I will be checking out. Not only is she a fellow tall lady (we’re both six feet tall) but her facial expressions are hilarious and her delivery of lines is beyond on point. I know there has been a lot of discussion over the fact she is the only non-scientist of the group but her character is very well-presented, she’s just as smart as the others but in a different yet no less important way. Best line: I guess he’s going to Queens – he’s going to be the third scariest thing on that train.

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If I really had to choose my favourite Ghostbuster (and that’s only if, to paraphrase The Princess Bride, death was on the line) I’d have to pick Jillian. Kate McKinnon is a truly magnetic performer, every scene she featured in I found myself drawn into watching her. She brings a crazily wonderful energy to the role and creates a fantastically memorable character. Also, her lip syncing ‘Rhythm of the Night’ by Debarge caused me to have many unexpected feelings… Best line: Just try saying no to these salty parabolas!

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I have to also briefly mention Chris Hemsworth as Kevin. Not only is the man the physical embodiment of human perfection he is also utterly hilarious (is there no justice in the world?!?). Everything he says is funny, and you have to stay during the closing credits for his dance number. Best line: An aquarium is a submarine for fish.

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All in all, I loved Ghostbusters. It may even be one of my most enjoyable film watching experiences of the year so far. It’s a feelgood classic in the making and a whole lotta fun to watch. I ain’t afraid of no ghosts!

4 stars

 

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The Nice Guys

Shane Black strikes again with another brilliant buddy comedy

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is one of my favourite films from the 21st century. Not only did it reintroduce the world to Robert Downey Jr (with Iron Man coming out three years later) and star an underrated Batman, Val Kilmer, as a character called Gay Perry, it is also a definitive example of a contemporary pulp-y neo-noir that is also truly hilarious with a side note of surreal.  I love Kiss Kiss Bang Bang so I have been impatiently waiting for The Nice Guys with desperate expectations. Thankfully those expectations were more than meet with a crime comedy that is made so much fun to watch by an awesome cast.

1977, Los Angeles. Holland March (Ryan Gosling) is a private detective, quite a good one actually although appearances can be deceptive, very deceptive… Whilst investigating the death of a porn star called Misty Mountains (Murielle Telio) he begins searching for a girl called Amelia Kuttner (Margaret Qualley) Holland comes into contact with an enforcer called Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe). More specifically Jackson breaks Holland’s arm to try and stop him from hunting down Amelia. But after a failed attempt on his life occurs Jackson realises that his case and Holland’s cases actually overlap, they may have to work together to solve their cases and stop more people from being killed.

There are three truly great things about this film. 1) Ryan Gosling is truly wonderful and properly hilarious. He appears to have a natural gift for physical comedy and it is a gift he utilizes for great effect here. His facial reactions are joyous to watch and his delivery of gags legendary. His bond with teen daughter Holly (Angourie Riceadds a wonderful dynamic and an extra layer of depth to things. But it is his rapport with another truly great thing about this film that is standout.

2) Russell Crowe has been rocking a certain blend of grizzled touch-guy for a few years now. In this film he goes full grizzled tough-guy in such a way that, thanks to his mis-matched partnership with Gosling, makes him likeable. The dynamic between the pair is founded on hate-fear rather than hate-love, with both characters being so fatally flawed they shouldn’t really spend any time with each other. At all. Yet the pairing proves hilarious with both characters finding a balance between each other as Crowe’s punch-punchy character, whose only friend is a pet fish, somewhat softens through his exchanges with Gosling who frequently ends up rivalling Buster Keaton in terms of physical comedy.

Finally, 3) The script. Few scripts are this crisp with brilliantly quotable one liners and dialogue such as this gem of a sequence:

Holland March: Look on the bright side. Nobody got hurt.

Jackson Healy: People got hurt.

Holland March: I’m saying, I think they died quickly. So I don’t think they got hurt.

Occasionally the plotting does get too convoluted, potentially it is too overambitious in its conspiracy plotting, but for the most part it’s typically sharp Shane Black with a blend full of action, comedy, aspects of hard-bitten noir and a side of social commentary. Few films out in the cinemas at the moment are this entertaining.

4 stars