Tag Archives: Chris Hemsworth

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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Vacation

Movie:  Vacation

Rating:  2 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:   Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms) is a success.  Kind of.  He is an airline pilot, albeit for a 3rd rate outfit called Econofare.  He is married to still attractive Debbie (Christina Applegate), though after 20 years the relationship feels stale.   Then there is his pride and joy, sons James (Skyler Gisondo) and Kevin (Steele Stebbins).  But elder son James is a bit of a dweeb and hopeless with girls, while pre-teen Kevin is hopelessly foul-mouthed and possibly displaying serial killer tendencies.  After some consideration, Rusty knows exactly what the family needs: a cross-country road trip like his dad Clark (Chevy Chase) took the family on.  So it is off from Chicago on a 2560 mile spiritual journey to find Walley World, and on the way bond as a family.

Even before the epic journey is to begin, there are harbingers of disaster to come.  One being the vehicle Rusty has chosen for the family, the Tartan Prancer, manufactured in Albania.  It has all sorts of interesting remote control features, most of which are utilized during the trip.  Soon the family hits the open road, but since they are on vacation why not take a few detours for family activities and to make new memories.  So the family stops off at the college where Rusty and Debbie met, including Debbie’s old sorority house.  And how could you resist stopping in Hot Springs, Arkansas to enjoy those springs?  Then a ways down the road Rusty laments that 30 years ago they hardly took time to appreciate the Grand Canyon, so this time they will stop and take a leisurely trip down the river with Chad (Charlie Day) as their veteran raft guide.  The Griswolds even squeeze in a quick stop to see Rusty’s sister Audrey (Leslie Mann), who is married to the impossibly hunky TV weatherman Stone Crandall (Chris Hemsworth).  But ultimately, the family indeed makes it to the promised land, Walley World.  And their date with destiny on the Velociraptor rollercoaster….

As far as crude comedies go, this film is pretty average.  It does have a few genuinely funny scenes, but mostly it feels like Ed Helms and Christina Applegate are working too hard to squeeze a little humor out of scenarios that are frequently heavy-handed and/or scatological.   Not sure why Chris Hemsworth, otherwise known as Thor, opted to do this movie, but he is definitely eye candy for the ladies.  There are a few good cameos, such as Colin Hanks and one of the leads from The Walking Dead.  So if you’re looking for some R rated ham-fisted yuks, this one is for you.

Actress To Watch:  Teenage Catherine Missa pops up in a few places to excite young Skyler in this story.  I expect to see her in bigger and better roles in the near future.  Just something about her….

Dialogue Nuggets:  Griswold family – “Why did you get an Albanian car?”  Rusty – “It has six ashtrays.”

James – “Why is Mom puking so much?”  Rusty – “She’s teaching those bitches a lesson.”

Rusty to Debbie – “How come you never told me about the Debbie-Do-Anything thing?”

“DO NOT PRESS THE MUFFIN BUTTON!”

Rusty – “I was crazy to think I could bring this family together by locking them in a car for a week.”

Griswold Boy – “Our family f**ked that family up!”

Best Scene:  There is a clever tribute scene to the original National Lampoon Vacation movie that featured beautiful Christie Brinkley in a hot red Ferrari teasing an aroused Clark Griswold.  In this film, a gorgeous Hannah Davis in a hot red Ferrari flirts with Rusty Griswold with much different consequences.

Credits:  The before and after the movie credits display pictures on screen that are apparently from real family vacations that proves all does not come out perfectly in family photos.  For similar photos, go to:  http://www.awkwardfamilyphotos.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Hat

 

Movie:  Black Hat

Rating:  2 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:  For all of you non-computer savvy folks out there (like moi), a “blackhat” is a computer hacker who violates computer security somewhere because they are malicious, or just out for personal gain.  In this film, some evil genius sics some malware into a Chinese nuclear plant and kaboom, meltdown.  Then some other bad things happen, such as Wall Street going bonkers over soy shares (whatever they are).  The Chinese government and the U.S. government come to a mutual meeting of the minds, and agree that some bad ass computer geek is out there getting into supposedly secure computer systems and wreaking havoc for some unknown purpose.

What are the two super-power nations to do about this crisis?   Bring in their top government geeks?  Uh, no.  The Chinese computer whiz, Chen Dawai (Leehom Wang) recognized the code in the malware as code created by friend and former college roommate Nick Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth).  Chen figures only he and Nick can save the day.  The only problem is, Nick got himself locked up in the Gray Bar Hotel for 15 years for some unfortunate illegal computer misdeeds.  But never fear, high levels of government intercession spring Nick, and the chase is on to find this really bad Blackhat.

I really had high hopes for this film after seeing the trailer, and knowing it was a Michael Mann film (credits include TV show Miami Vice; movies Heat, and The Insider).  Plus the film has a darn good cast.  The premise was interesting, but the plot goes off the rails about halfway through the movie.  It starts out as one kind of story, and then takes the easy way out and becomes a common place shoot ’em up flick with crashes and things that go BOOM.  Late in the movie, there was a plot point reminiscent of the movie Chinatown.  (If you figure it out, send me a comment).  Sorry fans.  I made allowances for the great cast; this is really a 2 star flick.   On the plus side, there were some nice views of Asia, especially Hong Kong at night.

Actresses To Watch:  Viola Davis is wonderful in any role.  Too bad she doesn’t have much to work with in this movie.  Also, Chinese actress Wei Tang is terrific.  For you fans of foreign films, if you haven’t seen “Lust, Caution”, do yourself a favor and see her in this Chinese film.

Huh?  What The….:    In a scene late in the movie, Hemsworth is prowling around in a heavy jacket with a thick scarf around his neck, while everyone else must be warm because they are wearing T-shirts.  He should have looked rather suspicious, don’t you think?

Since when do government agents stand out in the open with pistols to shoot it out with bad guys with automatic rifles, instead of fighting from a position of cover?  Just saying….

Dialogue Nuggets (slim pickings):    “I want you to commute my sentence.”

“How badly do you need this guy?”

“When I start thinking about anything it vanishes, disappears.”

“The real hit is still to come.”