Tag Archives: Melissa McCarthy

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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Spy

 

Movie:  Spy

Rating:  3 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:    Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is an ace analyst for the C.I.A., and is invaluable directing hotshot field operative Bradley Fine (Jude Law), giving him live intelligence and directions via his earpiece that not only allow Fine to complete his missions, but Susan is often the voice that keeps him alive on his dangerous forays into the field.  Technically Susan has been trained as an operative at the C.I.A.’s “Farm”, but she is too valuable back in the office to ever venture out in the cold, and besides, she prefers to live vicariously through her secret and unspoken love for Bradley (oh so) Fine.

The world of espionage is a dangerous place, and constantly evolving.  Circumstances dictate that assistant director Elaine Crocker (Allison Janney) send a new agent into the field that is unknown to enemy intelligence agencies.  Having never left Langley, Susan Cooper is the perfect choice to go undercover and track Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne), a Bulgarian master criminal with access to a nuclear weapon.  Needless to say, Susan Cooper cannot remain in the background to simply “track and report activity”; she soon becomes embroiled in all the action.  Fellow C.I.A. agent Rick Ford (Jason Statham) seems to shadow Susan on an unofficial basis, despite not being assigned to the operation.

This is a multi-faceted type of movie.  During the first scene followed by credits, they are obviously copying the James Bond signature opening, graphics plus song, with some success.  There is plenty of dramatic action, shooting and fighting aplenty, but there is also a tongue in cheek element going on that tells the viewer this is also a bit of a comedy film as well.  The whole nuclear bomb plot is a thinly disguised McGuffin, to quote Hitchcock.  It mostly gives McCarthy a chance to tear-ass around Paris, Budapest and Rome to pull off various escapades.  Jason Statham steals the show whenever he is on screen.  His Rick Ford is akin to an action hero version of Inspector Clouseau; just wind up Rick and watch the mayhem explode around him.  Statham is hands down the funniest part of the film.  Good stuff.  Expect to see Spy 2 soon….

Huh?  What the ….:  I seriously doubt C.I.A. operatives are all trained to fly jet planes and helicopters, just in case they might need to some day.

F Bomb Alert!  – Movie exceeds 50 of them.

Dialogue Nuggets:  Bradley Fine – “I couldn’t do what I do without you in my earpiece.”

C.I.A. Version of Q:  “I think it is very brave you’re sacrificing your life for your country.”  – Susan – “I’m coming back!”  C.I.A. Q – “We’ll see….”

Rick Ford – “How did I get in this shitbox of a hotel room?  Because I’m a real spy!”

Susan (reading cover identity) – “Why do I have ten cats?  Isn’t that illegal?”

Susan – “Are you okay?”  Rayna – “No, I have a dead man’s hand on my ass!”

Susan to female assailant- “You’ve got a lot of rage inside that jump suit.”

Susan to Rick – “Don’t do that thing with your thumb again!”

Post Credits – Stick around for the last bit of tomfoolery.

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.