Cinema Dispatch: Ghostbusters

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Ghostbusters and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures

Directed by Paul Feig

No other movie this year, save MAYBE Batman v Superman, had as much drama and passion as this reboot of a classic eighties comedy.  A very vocal minority of people were deadest on hating this from the word go with nothing more to go on than the idea that it would star women instead of men, and they haven’t shut the hell up about it since then; effectively drowning out any legitimate criticism that was levied against the movie.  It’s true that this is a reboot and that Ghostbusters was a very much a movie of its time (not only in concept but also the fact that comedies just don’t have the same clout and reverence they did back in the eighties), but I was still genuinely interested in seeing this based on who they ended up casting and some of the better moments in the trailer.  Does this manage to live up to the hype as a patriarch smashing masterpiece, or will it live up to the OTHER hype of being the worst possible thing to ever happen to anyone at any time in history?  Probably neither, but is it at least good?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with Columbia Physics professor Dr Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) being forced to confront an old colleague of hers, namely Dr Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) over a book they wrote years ago on the paranormal which she has since disowned but has recently resurfaced and may pose a threat to her bid for tenure at the university.  Abbey never stopped her research and is angry at Erin for abandoning her those many years ago so she’s not too keen to help her out and has even gotten a new partner in crime in the form of super engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and they’re both trying to get evidence that ghosts really do exist.  Opportunity comes a-knocking for all three of them however as Abby and Holtzmann (with Erin along for the ride trying to get Abby to take her name off the book) actually do run into a ghost and get footage of it on camera.  Unfortunately, the video goes viral, Erin gets fired from the University, and all three of them can’t get anyone to believe the story.  Still, this is some groundbreaking stuff they’ve uncovered, so they pool all their money together to begin a start-up company and relocate to the attic of a Chinese restaurant (a firehouse looked promising, but was WAY too expensive).  As they perfect their craft and Holtzmann works on the weapons, they eventually meet Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) who saw a ghost at the subway station she works at and enlists the Ghostbusters to bust it before eventually joining the team, as does Kevin Beckman (chris Hemsworth) who becomes their secretary because no one else bothered to apply for the job.  While all this is going on by the way, there’s some creepy dude named Rowan (Neil Casey) who seems to be setting up devices that amply the strength of ghosts that are already haunting various places in NYC and is clearly planning something much bigger.  Can the Ghostbusters find out Rowan’s evil plan before it’s too late?  Will the world even accept them as anything more than frauds and Ghost Hunter knock offs?  Is there ANY chance that those determined to hate this movie will feel any different by actually watching it?  I’m gonna guess no on that last one.

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“Is THAT what people have been saying about us!?”     “Yup.”     “Wow…”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Shallows

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The Shallows and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra

Everyone wants a crack at that Jaws money, or I guess that Shark Week money now that THAT has become a cultural touchstone… for some reason, and this is no exception.  The big innovation this time though is to make it a bottle film which makes a certain amount of sense considering that any situation other than STRANDED AT SEA means it would be hard for a shark to get you.  It’s either that or you’ll have to stick them in a tornado, and that shit got old REALLY quickly.  Does this manage to be a taut and exciting thriller as Blake Lively tries to outsmart a shark, or is this just a low budget imitator of much better films?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows Nancy (Blake Lively) who’s gone to Mexico to find a beach that her mother visited long ago, and the reason she’s there in the first place is to work through some problems by surfing them away.  Unfortunately, a whale had died close to the beach which has attracted a shark that then proceeds to attack Nancy while she’s catching waves alone.  She survives the attack and manages to climb her way onto a nearby rock, but she’s got no phone, she’s got a huge bite mark in her leg, and the rock will sink back under the water once it’s High Tide.  Can Nancy manage to find a way back to the shore without getting eaten?  Will someone come by to rescue her before the sea rises?  What is this shark’s problem!?

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“It’s eating them.  And then it’s gonna eat me!  OH MY GOOOOOOOOOOOODD!!”

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Cinema Dispatch: The Angry Birds Movie

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The Angry Birds Movie and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures

Directed by Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly

After the disaster that was Ratchet & Clank, this COULDN’T be worse… right?  Honestly, with the track record that video game adaptations have, it’s not like a shitty movie based on a mobile game can tarnish their legacy any more than Street Fighter: Legend of Chun-Li did, which isn’t to say that I have any hope for this movie; just that it’s not in a position to do much damage.  Does this turn out to be an unexpectedly competent surprise, or just another awful adaptation to add to the pile?  Let’s find out!!

The movie follows the angriest bird in Birdville, or whatever this place is called, named Red (Jason Sudeikis) who has finally pushed the citizens of Bird-opolis to the breaking point!  After an “incident” gets out of hand involving a slightly messed up cake and cracked egg, Red is assigned to mandatory Anger Management which is led by Matilda (Maya Rudolph) and is attended by Chuck (Josh Gad), Bomb (Danny McBride), and Terence (Sean Penn); none of whom are particularly well adjusted.  That’s only the first half of the movie though.  Eventually, a ship chock full of pigs arrives at the Island of Birds and come offering friendship and gifts of the outside world!  Only Red can see that they’re up to no good though, but no one wants to listen to him because… well he’s an asshole.  Still, he manages to get Bomb and Chuck on his side enough so that they agree to go with him to find the LEGENDARY MIGHTY EAGLE who is said to watch over Bird-sylvania and aid it in its time of need.  Can red get over his anger issues long enough to do some real good for his fellow birds?  Can the LEGENDARY MIGHTY EAGLE save the town before the pigs enact their nefarious plan?  Have these birds never bothered to go off of their island!?  How have they never heard of pigs before!?

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“Whatever it is, I think we should worship it.”     “Don’t you think that’s a little extreme?”     “HERETIC!!”     “Don’t you mean… HAM-etic?”

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