Ghostbusters


Viewed – 16 July 2016  Cinema

(Updated: 18/07/2016) Possibly one of the most heavily criticised movies for a long time before anyone actually saw it.  Now that it’s out however, although public opinion hasn’t completely reversed it seems the movie might actually be worth your time … and I’ll say straight away that it certainly is.

ghostbusters

Is it OK to say I have a crush on Kristina Wiig?   The Bridesmaids star heads an all new female cast who join together to rid the city of New York from a supernatural phenomenon, despite government and the media struggling to take them seriously.  So far so very much the original plot, and this movie bares a very close resemblance to what came before along with many in-jokes and (a slight overkill) of cameo appearances from the original actors.  That being said this also has it’s own flavour – in the form of a great cast all doing a fine job bringing their individual personalities into the action.  Melissa McCarthy whose brand of often slapstick humour I feared might have been misplaced, is very good as are a somewhat unhinged Kate McKinnon and a fun Leslie Jones.  The effects for the various ghosts and creatures are above average and the ghost busting action itself is often thrilling, funny and utterly entertaining.

Inevitably comparing this to the original, I’ll admit the movie doesn’t hold up as well, replacing creepy atmosphere and characterisation with at times corny humour and an overdose of CGI (and gunge).  Yet taken on it’s own merits I enjoyed several fun encounters (slimer and mrs slimer?), it made me chuckle often and it was seriously feel good in places, making this more than a simple cash-in … and for a new audience it possibly works even better.  So I say give this a chance.  It does a lot right and everyone involved (including a dopey Chris Hemsworth) look like they are having a blast, which came across strong enough to this viewer to leave him with a big, satisfied grin.

Verdict:  3 /5

Spy


Viewed – 01 December 2015  Online-rental

I have to admit I quite like Melissa McCarthy.  I thought she was hilarious in Bridesmaids and followed her star-making turn well with the amiable Identity Thief.  She’s not just funny either, she’s likable.  So her latest venture has her as a desk clerk who is the eyes and ears for her man on the ground Jude Law; a highly skilled spy with more than a passing Bond complex (with a bit more cheese…).  However said spy goes missing and soon McCarthy gets her chance to go on a mission of her own, and maybe finally prove her worth to the CIA.

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Typical fish-out-of-water stuff granted but given no end of personality by the ever enjoyable McCarthy who throws herself (sometimes literally) into the task of tracking down bad guys and seeing off the advances of a lecherous side-kick.  At the same time she has gung-ho rival agent Jason Statham to deal with (more full of shit than full of action), and also on hand is Brit comedienne Miranda Hart … whose inclusion threatens to ruin everything because well, she is just not funny.  I don’t get her popular but cringy brand of ‘posh/awkward’.  I just don’t.  Also a cameo by rapper 50 Cent feels like he’s wondered off a music video onto the wrong set.

spy judeIt’s a movie of two halves for sure … the first plodding getting to know the main character, sympathise as she swoons over Jude Law and dreams of better things … stuff.  Not that interesting but gets a lot more fun once McCarthy gets caught up with villains, bombs and globe trotting, whilst kicking ass, donning disguises and being involved in chases.  Rose Byrne is very good too as the lead bad-girl megalomaniac (and those legs!) but a rather predictable, clichéd plot and a reliance on annoying supporting characters stops Spy reaching it’s full potential.

I enjoyed this, but better use of it’s cast and a sharper script could have made for a more memorable experience.  As a McCarthy vehicle however, this did it’s job.

Verdict:  3 /5

Identity Thief


Viewed – 09 April 2015  Netflix 

Hot off the success of her star-making turn in Bridesmaids, comedienne Melissa McCarthy plays Diane, a woman who steals people’s identities.  One such unsuspecting victim is Sandy (Jason Bateman) who’s life quickly spirals out of control when debts wrack up in his name.  In an attempt to reclaim his identity he chooses to track Diane down in a hope of bringing the woman to justice – but doesn’t bank on the heap of trouble that comes with her.

identity-thief

This was a fun movie.  I had heard about it and the rather ‘meh’ reviews that followed so didn’t exactly jump at the idea of seeing it, but hell – sometimes I like an easy going comedy if I’ve had a stressful week, and this fit the bill nicely.  What I wasn’t expecting was just how funny and likable Melissa McCarthy is – who for me wasn’t the sole reason Bridesmaids was so damn good.  She handles slapstick, a motor-mouth persona and more than matches a very enjoyable Jason Bateman as the everyman nice guy (sort of his thing these days) on a roller-coaster road trip from Florida to Denver chased by a duo of hit men and a bounty hunter (a great appearance from an almost Terminator-like Robert Patrick).

The jokes aren’t exactly stunners and it relies a bit too much on McCarthy’s prat-falls and I’ll admit her wild antics sometimes fell short (was that the un-funniest sex scene ever?).  The hit men (or should that be hit man and hit woman) were also glaringly under-developed and even a cameo from Breaking Bad’s Jonathan Banks shed no light on just why they were after Diane.  That being said, McCarthy & Bateman made for a very enjoyable pairing and I for one had a good time in their company.  Worth seeing.

Verdict:  3 /5