Tag Archives: Bill Murray

Ghostbusters

 

Movie:   Ghostbusters

Rating:  3 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:    Something strange is going on in New York City, and it don’t look good.  Physicists and semi-experts in the paranormal Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) and Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) are unwittingly re-united after years of holding a grudge with each other, along with brilliant semi-mad scientist and techno geek Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon).  As luck (or was it destiny) would have it, just as the paranormal gang is getting run from their squalid basement test lab, they respond to a desperate cry for help from a museum plagued by bad tempered ghosts leaking icky ectoplasm all over the place.

The fledgling Ghostbusters are off and running, feeling their way along as they combat a series of increasingly snarky and malevolent poltergeists.  Joining the team of Ghostbusters is subway employee Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), and to assist in the admin duties in the office one hunky dude named Kevin (Chris Hemsworth).  Kevin seems to be a very dim bulb, but he takes his shirt off a lot and the ladies seem to think he is qualified enough for the job.  Go figure.  Some nutty guy called Rowan North (Neil Casey) is zipping around the city leaving devices that magnifies the ghost problem; how that figures in is rather mystery in itself.  Just go with it.  Sooner or later the ladies break out the unlicensed nuclear backpack ghost zappers, and all heck breaks loose.

This film opened with super high expectations, and was burdened with trying to compete with the classic 1984 version.  Is this movie as good as the original?  No, afraid not.  Is it funny and a good comedy?  Yes.  Hard to pinpoint what is lacking in this movie.  It doesn’t help that we remember the original, and pretty much know the story line as we watch the new one.  The new Ghostbusters are funny and good actors, but just don’t have the charisma of Bill Murray and Dan Akeroyd.   Plus there is maybe too much of a reliance on CGI special effects.  Still, this movie is better than 90% of the films out this summer, so go see these ladies kick some poltergeist ass!

Dialogue Nuggets:  Museum Tour Guide – “In this room P.T. Barnum first decided to enslave elephants.”

Abby – “Don’t get too close to her, Holtzmann.  She’ll ask you to write a book, then squash your dreams.”

Erin – “I got fired after years of hard work and ass kissing.”

Nutty Rowan North – “The universe shall bend to your will!”

Patty – “If I see the twins from The Shining, I’m gonna pass out!”

Erin – “There’s a ghost in that thing, and I want it.  Light ’em up!”

Patty – “I don’t know if it’s a race thing, or a lady thing, but I’m mad as hell!”

Erin – “It makes me feel so warm and tingly inside.”  Jillian – “It’s probably the radiation.”

NYC Mayor’s Aide – “It’s just another publicity stunt by these incredibly sad and lonely women.”

Abby to Kevin – “When we were risking our lives to save NYC, you were stopping at a deli to get a sandwich.”  

Cameos Galore:  The original Ghostbuster gang pretty much all show up in various quickie cameos.  Plus Andy Garcia and current SNL star Cecily Strong add some pizzazz as the NYC Mayor and top aide.  If you blink, you will miss the adorable Milana Vayntrub, who plays Lily in all those AT&T commercials.  She deserves a bigger role!

Credits:  Stay for the credits, and dig Ray Parker’s great theme song.  After the credits, there is an extra scene to watch.  I smell sequel!  Miss you, Harold Ramis….

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Rock The Kasbah

Movie:  Rock The Kasbah

Rating:  3 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:   The career path of Richie Lanz (Bill Murray) has bottomed out.  The music promoter and sometime agent is scraping along hustling fees out of wanna-be singers, promising them he can make them stars.  Finally he gets a chance at a real gig, taking  talented singer Ronnie (Zooey Deschanel) to Afghanistan as part of a USO tour to entertain the troops stationed in the Paktia Province.   It turns out that Ronnie is not a good flier, and likes Afghanistan even less when she gets there.  Suffice it to say that Richie Lanz has his hands full handling the talent for this tour.

Richie quickly makes the acquaintance of Bombay Brian (Bruce Willis), a contractor warrior who guards convoys in and around the city.  He often works for a pair of happy-go-lucky arms merchants played by Scott Caan and Danny McBride.  It is a crazy war, and these two knuckleheads hope it lasts forever, because they are making a fortune selling bullets and bombs.  Another entrepreneur that Richie runs into is Ms. Merci (Kate Hudson), a former school teacher who is working her butt off selling…well, her butt.  And various other body parts.  Somehow Richie and Merci bond, don’t ask me how.

But the real story is that while Richie Lanz may be a hustler and devoid of most ethics and morals, he is at heart a talent scout.  And in the most unlikely place and circumstances, he may have discovered a major musical talent in Salima (Leem Lubany).  The question is, what can Richie do about it in a country like Afghanistan?

This film is worth seeing, if for no other reason than to see Bill Murray do his shtick.  He does play the nutty but still likeable loser in this dark comedy that morphs into a surreal drama.  Doesn’t always make a lot of sense, but just go with it.  Bill Murray seldom plays the main lead in films anymore, so just enjoy this off the wall story.

Huh?  What the….:  Pretty sure that you can’t pick up TV reception inside a cave in the middle of a desert.  Just sayin’….

For you aging SNL fans, in one scene Bill Murray channels the spirit of Nick, his lounge singer character.

Dialogue Nuggets:  Richie – “Life is finding an open door and walking through.  Obviously some asshole has changed the locks on me, but I’m still in the game.”

Richie’s Daughter to Dad – “They don’t have casbahs in Afghanistan.”

Ronnie – “This is a G–damned death trip!”

US Soldier to Ronnie and Richie – “Make sure you get a room in the back (of the hotel) away from the flying glass.”

Merci to Richie – “Sweets, I can do things to you that are illegal in every civilized country in the world.”

Merci to Richie (Part Deux) – “This is Ms. Merci’s 401K retirement tour.  You do not want to miss it.  Buckle up, cowboy!”

Richie – “I am not a loser.  I am a quitter!”

 

 

Aloha

Movie:  Aloha

Rating:  3 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:    Come to beautiful Hawaii, the tropical paradise of the Pacific.  Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper) has returned to Hawaii and Hickam AFB, although he is no longer an air force officer.  And his former girlfriend Tracy (Rachel McAdams) is now married to Major John Woodside (John Krasinski) and has two children.  So as Sam the piano player once famously said to Ilsa, a lot of water has gone under the bridge.

These days Brian Gilcrest is a contractor, working for billionaire Carson Welch (Bill Murray) on a hush-hush space satellite program.  As a VIP of sorts, Brian has Captain Allison Ng (Emma Stone), F-22 fighter pilot, assigned as his escort officer to assist him in his duties.  Captain Ng is a native of the state, 1/4 Hawaiian, 1/4 Chinese and 1/2 Swedish, and insists on giving Brian a running commentary on the island’s history and customs.  Gilcrest, having been stationed there as an air force officer, believes he knows enough about Hawaii without her help.  As if the satellite program wasn’t enough to worry about, Gilcrest is tasked to negotiate with the native Hawaiian tribal government on rights to a new gate for the air force base.

If there wasn’t enough on Brian Gilcrest’s plate, he has four star General Dixon (Alec Baldwin) on his back to not screw up the high visibility satellite program, code named Brave Angel.  While we don’t get a lot of background, there is obviously some history between the two men from the time when Gilcrest was on active duty.

This is a very good movie, character driven with darn good acting.  The only problem is there are too many major plot lines struggling to be resolved in just two hours.  There is the troubled Brian Gilcrest coming back to Hawaii with all sorts of unresolved feelings for former flame Tracy, and her issues for Brian and the husband as well.  The attractive and ebullient Captain Ng has inserted herself into Brian’s life and mission.  There is a brief treatment of the native Hawaiians and their attempts to maintain relevance in their own land.  Oh yeah, and then there is the enigmatic and charming Carson Welch and the all important satellite project.  It just feels like none of the story lines had enough chance to breathe on their own, but it was a brave effort anyway.  Worth seeing, especially in the summer season of movies that mostly blow stuff up.

Huh?  What the….:  Emma Stone as half Hawaiian and Chinese?  Those other Swedish genes really kicked butt!

Actor To Watch:  This movie would have benefitted with more of Alec Baldwin in it.  He has become one of the best character actors in the business, with a real flair for comedy.  If he ever gets the right vehicle he should win an Oscar.  Just saying.

Dialogue Nuggets:   Gilcrest – “Colonel, I am here to save you and your big, white obsolete whale.”

Gilcrest – “I don’t even remember why we broke up.”   Tracy – “We broke up because you didn’t show up for a vacation!”

Gilcrest – “I saw that missile coming and I didn’t get out of the way.  I didn’t care.”

“We have stuff to deal with before the famous Gilcrest exodus.”

Tracy – “Was he angry?”   Daughter – “He decapitated Santa Claus!”

Carson – “You can’t stop the future with one silly desperate act.”

Gen Dixon – “One more thing, Mister Three Day Beard Guy.  Stay away from Allison Ng!”

Gilcrest – “Well, I remember the good times.”   Gen Dixon – “THERE WERE NO GOOD TIMES!”

 

St. Vincent

Movie:  St. Vincent

Rating:  4 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:   Vincent MacKenna (Bill Murray) is the poster child for aging curmudgeons.  He spends most of his time in the neighborhood bar boozing when he’s got a few bucks, which isn’t often because he loses most of his money placing bets on the nags running at Belmont Park.  In fact, he’s in hock to loan sharks, and it’s only a matter of time before Zucko (Terrence Howard) makes good on his threats to beat the stuffing out of Vincent for failure to pay his debts.  Not only is Vincent in deep to the mob, he’s behind on his tab to Russian hooker Daka (Naomi Watts), his Tuesday afternoon thrill ride.  So the neighborhood sees Vincent as an aging cantankerous bum barely scraping by, living alone in a rundown house with his loyal cat Felix.

Then one day, Vincent gets new neighbors.  Escaping a bad marriage, Maggie Bronstein (Melissa McCarthy) moves in next door with her 10 year old son Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher).  In a move born of mutual desperation, Maggie agrees to pay Vincent to babysit Oliver after he gets out of school until she can return home from long shifts at her hospital job.  On the surface Vincent is a horrible choice to watch a young child, taking Oliver to the race track and the local bar.  But on a subtle level Oliver begins to learn valuable life lessons and sees a side of Vincent that others do not.

What a terrific film this is on so many levels.  As good as Bill Murray has been in other films, this is his best acting performance yet.  The actors are all at the top of their game, and you get everything you could hope for in this movie, a story that gives you a mixture of humor and pathos.  By the end of the movie don’t be surprised if you get a little choked up and misty-eyed.  Look for this film to make the grade as a Best Picture nominee.

Actors To Watch:  The whole cast could easily be included here.  High marks go to Melissa McCarthy proving she can play a “normal” person and do it well.  Jaeden Lieberher in a major role is so good as young Oliver in a coming of age story.  Bill Murray is a lock for a Best Actor nomination.  His Vincent character is played with layer upon layer of nuances, some understated but always captivating.  Hope Bill wins the Oscar for this one.

Huh?  What the….:  In one scene a skate board gets broken over someone’s knee.  I’m thinking it more likely the knee would’ve been broken.  Just saying….

Dialogue Nuggets:   Bank teller:   “Here’s zero.  You went below zero.”

“You know what it means?  You’re screwed, and you’re going to remain screwed.”

Oliver:  “Is that our new neighbor?”  Maggie:  “Yup.”  Oliver:  “It’s going to be a long life!”

Priest:  “I’m Catholic which is the best religion, because we have the most rules.”

Vincent:  “Who taught you to slap?  This country wasn’t founded by tree huggers, that’s for sure.”

Post Credits Stuff:  The whole audience stays to watch the credits while Bill Murray gives a virtuoso performance with a garden hose.