Bill Murray

Nick’s Relatively New Movie Rundown – April 2018

I haven’t been reviewing movies much lately (or at all) because, ya know, life. But I recently got one of those dandy MoviePasses, so I’ll probably be hitting you guys with a little more if I get the sudden motivation. Anyway, here’s what I’ve been watching recently.

Ready Player One (3D IMAX BLASTEROID EDITION)

Holy shit. I loved this movie. I’m a sucker for pop culture nostalgia references, and I’m an even bigger sucker for a certain 1980 film set in the Colorado Rockies, so this was the perfect storm for me. I was a big proponent for the book itself, though it is by no means a literary achievement. Like the book, just let yourself be a kid again when watching this. No one does exciting, childlike action quite like Spielberg, and he’s at his fun, 80’s best here. The soundtrack is a blast, the acting is joyously hamfisted, and holy hell, watch this on the biggest, loudest, most 3D screen you can, because this is what a wallet-breaking theater experience is all about.

Score: 8/10

Isle of Dogs

This is the first movie I have used my MoviePass with, and god damn, I could not have picked a better one. While I really liked Fantastic Mr. Fox, I couldn’t help but feel Wes was holding back a lot to try and appeal to the younger crowd. Being as dark as his comedy usually is, it just didn’t quite feel right watching these foxes not going full Baumbachian-existential-crisis mode. Well, here’s the retry. Dogs is dark, man. Like, not only in tone, but the message delivered, as well. I ate it all up. It’s not only a gorgeous love letter to man’s best friend, but a bitingly nasty take on the world’s political climate. This is a fun watch, and while not a typical Anderson film, it’s enough to satiate long time fans. Put this in the top half of his films.

Score: 9/10

Rampage

Ok. Just listen. If you played this at the arcade like I did when I was a kid, you agree that the story behind the action was weak as fuck, but who cares, right? LET’S DESTROY THIS FUCKING CITY! Enter The Rock in a tiny t-shirt (let’s be real, it’s probably an XL) as a Primatologist *giggle* in his early 90’s, Schwarzeneggery best. This is by no means a good movie in the critical sense. And really, there could have been more destruction. But if you go into the movie expecting exactly what this movie is – a dumb arcade game – you’ll probably leave as I did: satisfied with some mutant animals absolutely annihilating a city.

Score: 6/10

A Quiet Place

Alright, I’m going to blame my experience with this movie on the crowd in the theater – most notably, this Starbucks-sipping basic beezy saying “No, no, no, no don’t, don’t, DON’T” in the most suspenseful of scenes throughout the entire film – but, I’m also going to blame my constant needing to know what other critics think of a film. I don’t always rely on Rotten Tomatoes, especially with horror, but seeing a 95% attached to a straight horror film is still surprising. Was the movie suspenseful, frightening, original, even groundbreaking? Sure. Definitely. Is it meant more to watch at home, away from the buzz of reclining seats, package rustling, popcorn munching, and constant bathroom breaks? For me, absolutely. So, if that shit bothers you like it does me, wait to watch this one at home in the dark. That being said, it’s a cool movie. I’m excited for Krasinski as a filmmaker. He’s definitely got the chops.

Score: 7/10

Alright, that’s it for me here. This probably sounded like an ad for MoviePass. It’s not in the commercial sense, but you should get one. I haven’t been to the theater this much in one month since I was a kid at the dollar theater on Spokane’s Garland Avenue, so at a measly $10 a month, you should probably get one.

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Ghostbusters 3D (2016)

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Ghostbusters 3D (2016) – Comedy

Directed by: Paul Feig

Starring: Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy

How I Watched: Theatres

Best Line: “Do NOT compare me to the Jaws Mayor!”

I love everything about the Ghostbusters universe. I grew up absolutely enthralled, playing with the firehouse, the corresponding figurines, multiple Slimer toys, the list goes on. I’ve got the first two installments on Laserdisc and have grabbed each new format that comes out what seems like every year. So when I got the news that Paul Feig was bringing us a new Ghostbusters, I was both excited and admittedly skeptical. How could I not be?

Feig is a funny man. He created Freaks and Geeks for us all, was one of the funniest parts of a horribly underappreciated film called Heavyweights, and has continued the traditions of the Judd Apatow school of drama-injected comedy. He also is a self-confessed Ghostbusters geek, so it makes sense why he was so dead set on bringing a new one to all of us. He knows this universe well and he did everything he could to bring us a faithful adaptation that does nothing to receive the vicious scrutiny thrown its way before the movie even had a chance to hit theatres.

This new installment is not without faults, though. It’s hard to live up to one of the most perfect comedies ever given to the world, but this film is loaded with all the capabilities and opportunity that I’ve ever seen. We all know from Bridesmaids, just how funny Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy are together. Trust me, I was not all that impressed with that film the first time I saw it, but after I gave it a second chance, I have come to appreciate just how funny it is. Sure it has what I like to call the ‘Apatow Freeze’ (hilarious up until the middle of the movie, where the characters are suddenly facing some kind of depressing crisis), but its improv powers become more prevalent and hilarious with each viewing.

Though they feel a bit suppressed in Ghostbusters, Wiig and McCarthy do a pretty excellent job filling the shoes of both Aykroyd and Murray, while still carving their own place in this universe. I was under the impression that this new film was going to acknowledge the events of the first two. While it doesn’t really, the whole film feels like a loving tribute to those original two. Leslie Jones is much funnier and more prominent than Ernie Hudson (whose character was actually written for Eddie Murphy, then practically written out of the script once Murphy turned the part down) and Kate McKinnon pretty much steals the whole movie as the Spengler-inspired Holtzmann. Honestly, she’s going to be a force in Hollywood for a long time. If you’ve enjoyed her like I have on SNL for the past few years, you’ll love her character in Ghostbusters.

If there’s one thing I can knock from the first two installments, it’s the lack of making the ghosts a real force in the storyline. Sure, Vigo the Carpathian brings a Lovecraftian presence to II, and Gozer and the Marshmallow Man hold their place in the first, but they are not really frightening in the least. While the ghosts in the 2016 version are not really scary either, they look great and feel like they’re really part of the whole storyline. Slimer is back of course, and there are some new towering spectral entities destroying New York for our enjoyment.

The 2016 Ghostbusters is not perfect. Ramis, Aykroyd and Reitman brought us the perfect version back in 1984, so this one simply could not live up to that. What this new one brings though, is a very loving, affectionate trip into the universe, and rather than a replacement that it seemed like the entire internet feared (misogynist and otherwise), I’d consider this an additional installment in the Ghostbusters universe that already exists. So of course, you can say this new version is unnecessary and a smear on the first two movies. Real fans of the Ghostbusters films though, will consider this the Ghostbusters III that we’ve all been waiting for.

Final Score: 3/4

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Similar Films: Ghostbusters (1984), Bridesmaids, Ghostbusters II