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Review: ‘Ghostbusters’ is All Female, All Nostalgic and All Cliché

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Ghostbusters Review MovieSpoon.com

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he first Ghostbusters movie in nearly three decades arrived with much nostalgia to bank on. Leading up to the premiere of the movie, my social media feed was all abuzz of my peers gushing over the return of the Ecto Cooler promotional drink and slime-colored Twinkies. These attempts at generating hype for the grand return of Ghostbusters were beginning to wear me down with the way fans went bonkers for green sugary treats.

By the end credits of this new movie, I felt as though I had eaten an entire box of Twinkies and chugged a gallon of Ecto Cooler. It was an experience that left me nauseous, weary and regretful, asking myself why I ever thought this would be a good idea. Those slime-colored glasses have to come off.

Ghostbusters Review MovieSpoon.com

The gang of gals looking tough.

The new Ghostbusters banks hard off its elements of nostalgia and marquee value. The director, Paul Feig, is one of the strongest comedic forces of the decade with his all-female casts that deliver as successes, both critically and financially. He assembles his own female Ghostbuster team composed of comedy familiars Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones.

The key to what made the first Ghostbusters movie a success was the chemistry of the actors in how they played off one another. The problem with Feig’s female Ghostbusters is that they are lacking comradery. Each one of them feels as though they’re struggling to bust out as many one-liners as they can, refusing to let each other step over or play off of their lines.

In trying so hard to be funny, their characters come off as underdeveloped joke vehicles. Kristen Wiig plays Erin Gilbert, a meek and awkward professor struggling for tenure, but only as timidly as Wiig can play her. Kate McKinnon does her best to steal the show as the eccentric scientist/weapons expert Jillian Holtzman, but she’s not given much to work with being entirely composed of random quirks. Leslie Jones fulfills the familiar everyman (everywoman?) role as MTA worker Patty Tolan, but she is so loud and sassy in her fight to be relevant that she may as well just be another wacky scientist.

Ghostbusters Review MovieSpoon.com

They might as well be aiming those at each other.

As for Melissa McCarthy, arguably the most notable of the primary cast, she isn’t given much of a character at all as Abby Yates. She has a history with Erin in that they both wrote a book on the paranormal, but it’s mostly just a generic McCarthy character, narrowly avoiding the fat jokes of her non-Feig roles. Chris Hemsworth could have been the most pleasant surprise as the inept idiot secretary, but he’s written to be so stupid that he may as well be mentally retarded. I’m surprised they even gave him lines considering he’s mostly only present as beefcake eye-candy for the blushing Wiig to wrap her hands around.

The story is razor thin. Granted, story was never a strong suit of Ghostbusters, merely acting as a platform for the comedic team. But this Ghostbusters refuses to do any of the grunt work in establishing its characters, its antagonist or its paranormal lore. The evil demon Rowan (Neil Casey) is committed to unleashing ghosts on New York City. He’s played so generically to the point where all he needs is a mustache to twirl as he shakes his fist at those darn Ghostbusters.

Not much is known or revealed about this character’s motivations outside of him apparently being bullied and seeking revenge on humanity, a backstory only whispered in passing. Remember all the history and scientific studies the Ghostbusters did to stop the evil forces of Zuul or Vigo? The most you can expect from this group of heroes is drawing a correlation of events on a map and connecting the dots. They don’t have time to know their enemy as they’re too busy testing ghost-zapping shotguns and grenades.

 

There’s an awful lot of technobabble thrown into the script, shot out at rapid speed to paint these women as smart and innovative. But when the third act arrives for the giant CGI show of invading ghosts, the script has given up explaining any of this and throws any ghost design it wants at the screen. Big-legged giant ghosts? Sure, we don’t need to explain why that’s here. Floating balloon mascot ghosts? Who cares if it doesn’t make any sense – throw it in. A city-destroying bedsheet-ghost? Don’t bother explaining why it had to be so large – we need something massive enough for the Ghostbusters to shoot at.

Click to the next page to hear about Bill Murray’s cameo:

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Izzy

Movie Magic: The De-Aging Technique of The Irishman

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Robert DeNiro de-agedHave you read Izzy yet? If so, you know that Izzy makes the apples that give the Gods their youth and immortality. It also seems Robert De Niro discovered one of Izzy’s apples too… In Martin Scorsese’s upcoming biographical film, he stars as Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a labor union leader and alleged hitman for the Bufalino crime family. The trailer for the movie, which will premieres NEXT WEEK (!), also features a “de-aged” De Niro. “We’re so used to watching them as the older faces,” Scorsese said in an interview on the A24 podcast. “Does it change the eyes at all? …If that’s the case, what was in the eyes that I liked? Was it intensity? Was it gravitas? Was it threat?…How do we get that? I don’t know.” Some might consider this magic and I for one can’t wait to see the impact of Izzy’s apples on screen for myself. ????

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“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office

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It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.

As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.

Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.

View the full top ten weekend box office results below:

Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)

Wonder Park ($16,000,000)

Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)

No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)

Captive State ($3,163,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)

Green Book ($1,277,000)

Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.

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“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back

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With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.

Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.

The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.

Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)

Green Book ($4,711,000)

Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)

Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)

Greta ($4,585,000)

What Men Want ($2,700,000)

Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)

Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.

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