Tag Archives: Paul Feig

Cinema Dispatch: A Simple Favor

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A Simple Favor and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate

Directed by Paul Feig

I only got the trailer for this movie once and I was honestly not sure if it was a joke.  Not in the sense that I thought the trailer was FAKE, but more that I wasn’t sure if there was supposed to be some kind of ‘gotcha’ in this; like with A Deadly Adoption explicitly being an April Fool’s joke despite the film itself being rather straight faced about the whole thing.  To me it looked like a Tyler Perry thriller along the lines of Temptation or Acrimony, and the fact that it was directed by noted comedy director Paul Feig seemed like an indication that this was in some way a satire of that kind of movie, but it never really clued me on the punchline.  I guess that’s as good a way as any to go into a movie as I know it exists but have absolutely no clear sense of expectations for it which gives it a chance to truly surprise me.  Will it surprise me in the right way and turn out to be either a fun metatextual examination of the genre or just another great entry in it?  Alternatively, it could be an utterly confused mess of a movie with no clear idea of what it wants to be, but in any case, let’s find out!!

The movie follows Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick); a single mom who has more energy every single day than I could muster in a lifetime as she constantly finds something to do for her son or for his school despite it making all the other parents look bad.  One such parent is Emily Nelson (Blake Lively), though she has the advantage of not actually caring what other people think of her and actually finds something endearing about Stephanie after the two are forced to spend some time together as both of their sons are best friends.  She’s a bit caustic, maybe likes to use people a bit too much, and certainly has no problem deflecting all of her problems onto everyone else, but there’s something that Stephanie finds fascinating about her and they become best (if slightly unhealthy) friends!  That is until Emily calls Stephanie one day asking her to watch her son as she’s got an emergency at work and then just disappears.  No one knows where she went, not even her husband Sean (Henry Golding), and it seems that the authorities aren’t taking the case all that seriously.  I guess it’s up to Stephanie The Fixer to not only try to find Emily but to keep her family together in her absence which starts to make things a bit awkward between her and Sean and ESPECIALLY between her and Emily’s son.  Twists and turns are the name of the game here as more and more information is uncovered about Emily as well as Sean, which points to possible foul play or something equally sinister!  Will Stephanie uncover the truth of just who Emily is and will she like what she ends up finding out?  How much is she willing to put her neck out for this woman, and will she have to pay some serious consequences for her incessant snooping?  Most importantly, WHAT WILL THIS MEAN FOR HER COOKING BLOG!?

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“Welcome back to Cupcakes and Cold Cases!  A quick update; we haven’t located their head JUST yet, but we’re searching every nook and cranny!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Ant-Man and the Wasp

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Ant-Man and the Wasp and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Peyton Reed

The first Ant-Man is easily one of my favorite Marvel films and has always felt like an outlier in the MCU because (incoming pun VERY much intended) it knew the value of going small.  The fate of the world wasn’t at stake, it didn’t involve Gods, Kings, or vast armies of convenient cannon fodder; rather it was a heist film about a guy who basically just needed a job and got wrapped up in a while bunch of sci-fi nonsense!  It was fun, it was light, and it didn’t have the weight of a dozen other films dragging it down which, given my lukewarm reception to the more recent BIG TEAM UP MOVIES, is just the kind of Marvel film I could really use right about now.  Seriously, I couldn’t IMAGINE a better time to make a goofy palate cleanser than in the wake of Infinity Bore which I’m STILL feeling rather grumpy about and could certainly use something like this to take my mind off of it.  Does this manage to be the perfect antidote to the overly serious and bombastic Avengers film that preceded it, or does the specter of that film loom large enough over the MCU that even THIS series cannot escape from its massive shadow?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins in that period between Civil War and Infinity War where The Avengers are basically split up but no one is all that freaked out about it.  Spider-Man is doing his thing on the East Coast, Black Panther is dealing with his kingly duties in Wakanda, and it turns out that Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has been doing… nothing.  Yeah, it turns out that after helping Captain America in Civil War and taking a plea deal with the US government, he’s under house arrest and hasn’t been doing his Ant-Man thing in a while; especially since the Sokovia Accords (ugh…) have an odd stipulation that the people who MADE the tech he used are JUST as responsible as he is and need to face similar punishments.  Well jeez, I kinda wish we ACTUALLY had that with gun manufacturers, but what it means here is that Hank Pym and Hope van Dyne (Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly) are on the run and decidedly not talking to Scott for putting them in this situation in the first place… not that they could considering he’s under house arrest.  Jeez, kind of a downer way to start the movie, BUT things get better once Scott starts having night terrors about the Quantum Realm and Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) who is the mother of Hope and the wife of Hank, and manages to get this message to those two who swiftly kidnap him MERE DAYS BEFORE HIS HOUSE ARREST IS UP!  It turns out that the two of them have been continuing their research while running from the law (pretty easy to do when you have the ability to shrink) and they’re VERY close to making a tunnel to the Quantum Realm (that place you go to if you shrink TOO SMALL and where Janet ended up after doing so on a mission) but apparently Scott has some connection to it and potentially to Janet due to him somehow escaping it in the first film.  Okay, so Scott helps them with the Tunnel and with any clues he may have about Janet from his dreams, and then they just drop him off at his house before the cops realize he’s gone!  Easy enough, right!?  Well… not exactly.  Throw in some wannabe gangsters looking to snag their research for profit (led by professional scumbag Walton Goggins), a mysterious woman who has bad ass phasing powers (Hanna John-Kamen) trying to steal their research for reasons OTHER than profit, and all of a sudden it looks like Scott might end up going to jail for twenty years because he got caught up in some giant caper yet again and could get caught out of the house at any moment by FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) who is just itching to put him away for good!  Can Scott, Hope, and Hank find out what happened to Janet and maybe save her from the Quantum Realm?  What exactly is the mystery phasing lady after, and just how far will she go to get her hands on their research?  When they get that glove away from Thanos, can we use the Time Stone to go back and make EVERY Marvel movie about Ant-Man and The Wasp?

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“Captain Ant-merica!  Guardians of the Colony!  Thor; Ragna-wasp!”     “Yeah, I’m sure Paul Feig is gonna put those on a marque.”     “Well you won’t know until you ask him!”

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Cinema Dispatch: Ghostbusters v Ghostbusters

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Ghostbusters (2016) and Ghostbusters (1984) are both owned by Columbia Pictures

The new movie has finally come out we can all confirm that the world has not plunged into forty years of darkness, but while there have yet to be any reports of rivers and seas boiling or dogs and cats living together, there’s denying that we indeed saw some mass hysteria .  Hopefully all that will subside soon enough, but those people have already gotten more attention than they deserve and it’s been difficult to keep everything in perspective as some people decided that the success or failure of this movie was going to be the crescendo in some childhood ruining man hating agenda, so trying to have a measured conversation about the strengths of both this new film and the original it’s based off of has not been an easy task.  Thankfully we can hopefully start taking a measured look at both films’ individual merits and how one movie might have done somethings better than the other without having the more obnoxious among us either use it as proof that we are biased or evidence that the new movie is horrible.  To kick that discussion off, here’s my own examination of both films and how one stacks up to the other based on important aspects that are in both films!

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Who Ya Gonna Call? (The Crew)

This new movie made two fantastic decisions right off the bat.  It was a reboot instead of a sequel, and they didn’t try to make these new characters analogues for the original crew.  No one in this movie is a recreation of someone from the last film which means that we don’t have to play the WHO DID IT BETTER game on individual actors (a decision also wisely made by the Evil Dead reboot), and similarly I’m so glad that this new Ghostbusters team is not the trainees, or even worse THE DAUGHTERS, of the original crew which would have completely ruined what makes these new characters so interesting.  Look, I’m well aware that this is a movie starring women that FIRST had to be done by men, but the fact that it’s not the case in the movie itself is an inspiring message to young girls to be proactive and forge their own paths.  A lot of people who are upset about this movie seem to think it would have been better if this was a passing of the torch story which is a concept that worked pretty well for Star Wars, but there’s no way it would have worked here.  At least in that movie there’s a whole universe to explore and the new people wouldn’t necessarily be in the shadows of the original cast allows them to do their own thing; something that would be infinitely harder here if the new Ghostbusters were still using the same logos, firehouse, equipment, jumpsuits, what have you that the original cast were wearing twenty years ago and everyone in the movie knew that.  It wouldn’t be able to be its own thing as it would constantly be in the shadows of the original members who are still hanging around the background and would take attention away from the brilliant actors that are the real stars here.

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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: Trailer Talk (Ghostbusters)

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

Directed by Paul Feig

If the internet wasn’t already bad enough for you, the announcement of a Ghostbusters movie with a female cast should have been enough to put it over the edge.  For reasons that are bafflingly petty, there are still a number of dumbasses who hated this movie just on principal.  The principal that… what, women suck?  I don’t know and frankly I don’t want to know.  This trailer though is the first chance that many of us will have to form an ACTUAL opinion on it rather than get blindly angry at it for no good god damn reason.  Does the trailers assuage the fears of those who legitimately had some hesitations for this, or will this be a complete mess of a reboot like… eighty percent of other reboots are?  Let’s find out!!

The trailer begins with that most sacred of reboot traditions; softly playing the original film’s theme over establishing shots that are accompanied by trailer text.  The text by the way is somewhat misleading as it references the original film (thirty years ago, four scientists saved New York) despite nothing else in here indicating that the Ghostbusters existed prior to the events depicted here (an actual reboot instead of a pseudo sequel).  The trailer proper is all about the origin of these four people coming together and as well as creating their equipment, though this could all just be some VERY creative editing on the marketing department’s part to hide anything that indicate them not being the first crew to carry the name.  I really hope that this IS a full on reboot though because having the original movie or the original cast be a presence here is just going to overshadow who the real stars of the movie are.  Speaking of which…

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“Here we come to save the DAY!!!”

 

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