Movie Review: Ghostbusters (2016)


Title: Ghostbusters
Release Date: 15 July 2016
Director: Paul Feig
Summary/Review:

When I heard a new Ghostbusters movie was being made I was hoping it would be 30 years later and due to turnover they had a new crew, mostly because I’m tired of reboots.  But what I think about things doesn’t really matter because the makers of this movie have managed to make a Ghostbusters film (and a Ghostbusters origin story) that is totally fresh and original. There are lots of moments that pay tribute to the 1984 original – such as the firehouse, the Ghostbusters logo, Ecto-1, Slimer, and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man – but after the first moment of recognition these things are subverted in humorous ways.  The original cast also all appear in cameo roles (even the late Harold Ramis appears as a bust). But  despite all the nostalgia this Ghostbusters stands on its own with original ideas, a terrific script, and laugh out loud lines.

What really makes Ghostbusters terrific are the characters and the actors who play them.  There’s Erin (Kristen Wiig), the academic who appears alternately awed and enthused that her lifelong belief in ghosts is vindicated.  Abby (Melissa McCarthy) is an unabashed nerd.  There’s a special place in my heart for Patty (Leslie Jones) who brings her encyclopedic knowledge of the history of New York to the team.  But pretty much every scene is stolen by Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and her blasé weirdness. The main plot involves a villain who is using the ghosts to extract revenge on people  who made fun of him growing up, which is wonderfully contrasted with the Ghostbusters who also have tortured pasts but come together in solidarity and use their “outsider” traits to benefit the common good. It also can’t be overstated how important for girls and women to see themselves represented as funny and heroic in a movie like this.
Rating: ****

Movie Review: Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (2016)


Title: Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie
Release Date: 22 July 2016
Director: Mandie Fletcher
Summary/Review:

“Oh god, I can’t believe you’re still…alive!” sputters Jon Hamm  to Patsy Stone at a party in this film adaptation of the long-running BBC comedy.  In a way it’s kind of an appropriate response to the continued existence of Absolutely Fabulous.  The premise of a pair of aging baby boomers deluding themselves into believing that they are popular, fashionable, and can party non-stop was delightfully absurd in the 1990s, but it seems inconceivable to continue the same story 25 years later. Luckily, the movie takes on aging and mortality – as well as the human connections lost while trying to grasp youth – as one of its theme, but this is still AbFab so they don’t get too mushy about it.  The basic plot is the Eddie kills model Kate Moss by pushing her into the Thames and she and Patsy have to go on the run.  Hijinks ensue with a number of one-liners and visual humor (I particular like when Saffy is forced to sing Janis Ian’s “Seventeen” to a club full of drag queens).

There are numerous celebrities appearing in cameos and small parts including Lulu, Gwendolyn Christie, Mark Gatis, Hamm, Rebel Wilson, and Barry Humphries (aka Dame Edna) as well as lots of fashion models and designers I’ve never heard of before (apparently Paul McCartney has a daughter named Stella who is a fashion designer and she gets one of the best quips in the movie when she implies that Patsy broke up the Beatles, not Yoko Ono).  Ultimately, this is an extended length AbFab episode with higher production values.  Fans of AbFab will enjoy it,  but there’s nothing here for anyone who doesn’t like AbFab and anyone who’s not watched the show will be out to sea. It’s no comic masterpiece but I got a few laughs and a chance to renew my long-time crush on Julia Sawalha.
Rating: ***