Ghostbusters (2016)

gI have to admit that I’m the demo who thinks the original Ivan Reitman directed Ghostbusters is a perfect movie. But I also have to admit that I don’t have a reactionary view of remakes in general. Want to remake a film I love? Go ahead. Have fun. Maybe I’ll even like it. I’ll take a well-intentioned remake over a lazy sequel or prequel any day of the week.

The other thing I have to admit is that the fanboy backlash at remaking the film with women in the lead roles was so ugly (not to mention stupid and unnecessary) that I was more predisposed to like the film, just to spite the sexist buffoons.

All in all, the film is pretty good. The cast is (mostly) fantastic. Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones are the new ghostbusting team, with the dim-witted help of Chris Hemsworth. They all knock it out of the park. Neil Casey is a bit of a waste as the bad guy, and the cameos by actors from the original film are fine. (Bill Murray is the weakest, Annie Potts was the best.)

What does set the film apart are the effects. These ghosts are weird and scary and intriguing. There’s no attempt to try to explain why some of them look like people, and others look like dragons, and others look like parade balloons. You just go with it and enjoy the show.

Apart from the effects, every aspect of this film is inferior to the first, but not terrible by any means. I’m kind of sorry it didn’t do well enough for a sequel, because the tease in the after-credit scene definitely made me happy.

The Expendables 2

The first Expendables was a surprisingly fun piece of cinema. The gimmick of pulling a bunch of aging action stars together into one film felt a little like a super-ambitious SNL Short. But it really worked, partly because the performances were just as real as the story was doofy.

Really, I don’t remember much about it, except for the short-but-sweet three-way scene with Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Stallone, and one truly heartfelt scene with Mickey Rourke.

e2Sadly, for the sequel they amped up the dumb and made even character appearances seem like in-jokes. Expanding Arnold and Bruce’s parts was great. Using them for one liners was a mistake. And the whole “playing into the meme” thing with Chuck Norris got really old really fast.

Liam Hemsworth was in The Expendables 2 with Terry Crews. Terry Crews was in…