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Ghostbusters (2016 film)

 Hollywood has been churning out reboots and remakes for the past couple of decades. No classic film is safe, as evidenced by the recent reboot of Ghostbusters. The new film is directed by Paul Feig and stars Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and Chris Hemsworth. It’s kind of like Bridesmaids but with more ghosts. It’s really funny with the right amount of spooky thrills. It’s a definite reboot. They pay homage to the original films, but the girls are the first batch of ghost exterminators in this universe. Most of the cast from the first films make cameos, the notable exceptions being Rick Moranis and Harold Ramis. Rick Moranis basically quit Hollywood and Harold Ramis passed away. They could have had him cameo as a ghost but that would have been disrespectful.

 The plot is similar to the first film. You kind of feel like you know what’s going to happen before it does. But the characters make the film worth watching. The four ghostbusters are all hilarious. The riff and play off of each other and it’s apparent that they are all having fun. Comedies are supposed to be fun. Chris Hemsworth had some of the best moments as their bumbling secretary. Who knew that he had comedic chops to rival Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy? 

 I liked the special effects. The ghosts looked retro like in the first two movies of the franchise. I saw it in 2D because that was the best showtime for me, but I wish I saw it in 3D because the climax was so spectacular. The end of the world has been depicted in countless movies, but this was one of the most memorable apocalypses I’ve seen. 

 There are a lot of haters who decided to hate this movie without watching it. You can’t hate it if you never experienced it. I experienced it. I liked it. Everyone else in the theater with me liked it too. I heard laughs and gasps and a smattering of applause when it was over. I heard no boos and no demands for a refund. I don’t think this movie will make its budget back. It won’t be a blockbuster even though it deserves to be. It sucks too, because the scene after the credits sets up a sequel that we might never see. 

 Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Thor: The Dark World (film)

Thor: The Dark World is the sequel to Marvel’s Thor. Chris Hemsworth is back as the titular Asgardian, along with Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Sir Anthony Hopkins as Odin, and the always stunning Natalie Portman as Jane Foster. Alan Taylor (The Emperor’s New Groove) takes over the director’s chair for Kenneth Branagh, and you can tell that there’s someone new in charge. Thor was a character-driven action film with deep Shakespearean themes. Thor: The Dark World is a special effects-driven action film with a lot of loud noises. There are a lot of familiar characters, there are a couple of new characters, and there are a lot of fight scenes but you don’t know what is at stake, so you don’t care what happens.

The second movie in a superhero franchise is usually the best film because you already know the characters and you can get to the good stuff right away. Spider-Man 2, X2, the list goes on and on. But Thor: The Dark World is a step backward. There are a lot of good things about this movie. It has cool action scenes. Natalie Portman is pretty. The climatic battle practically redeems the whole movie. But the problem is that you don’t give a fuck about any of the characters. You just wonder where Iron Man is. It’s worth seeing; just don’t expect it to be better than The Avengers.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The Avengers

It’s very refreshing to go to the movies and pay a shit ton of money and know that you are going to be entertained. Very few films come with that kind of guarantee. The Avengers is one of those movies. It has everything you want in a summer blockbuster: a great cast, a great director, great characters, great special effects, and great story. Joss Whedon knows how to direct large ensemble casts, and every character gets adequate screen time and at least one memorable moment. The Avengers kicks off the summer blockbuster season, and it’s going to be a tough act to follow. The world is in trouble and the Avengers must assemble, and it takes a while, but they learn to overcome their differences and become a team (and a family), and save they New York City and the world.

There is a huge cast. Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Samuel L. Jackson all show up. And they all get their moment to shine. There is no lead, but Robert Downey, Jr. wants you to think it’s him. Quick props to Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson. He has no powers, but he was no doubt a hero. He inspired the Avengers to become the Avengers, with a little manipulation from Nick Fury.

It might be helpful to first watch Iron Man, Iron Man 2, the Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger but it’s not necessary. I never saw Captain America, and I don’t feel like I had to. I understood his role and position on the team, and each Avenger gets ample screen time to establish or reestablish characters. Hawkeye and the Black Widow each get a good introduction scene; you learn their personalities, their capabilities and get a sense of who they are.

Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America all have dramatic entrances. You know the real heroes have arrived when they show up. The first half hour to 45 minutes kind of drags, but it’s important for the plot and it’s never really boring. As soon as the Helicarrier gets attacked and Banner transforms into the Hulk, the movie kicks into overdrive and never gives up. The action is intense and overwhelming. It’s sensory overload like Transformers, but unlike Transformers you are aware of what’s happening. You know who the villains are, who the heroes are, and what’s at stake.

Some of the funniest moments happen in the midst of battle. The Hulk in particular had some great moments (throwing the ejected pilot, sucker punching Thor, beating the shit out of Loki). Mark Ruffalo became the best Hulk with the shortest amount of screen time. BTW, Lou Ferrigno voiced the Hulk, a little nerd knowledge for you. Each hero has their share of quips though. It’s very reminiscent of comics: some spectacular display of violence followed by a witty remark.

Comic book fans will jizz in their pants. There are so many hidden Marvel moments to get excited about. Everyone loves a good Stan Lee cameo, but there are so many references to the Marvel Universe that your geeky head will explode. There is too much to take in, and you have to see it multiple times and talk about it to people nerdier than you are just to calm down a little. It makes you feel like a little kid, asking who that was, or what this was about. It’s rare to be excited about a movie these days. Don’t take it for granted.

I saw it in 3D. I was a little skeptical, because most films shot in 2D that get converted to 3D look terrible. The 3D is shoddy and the characters look like cardboard cutouts. A simple test is to take off your 3D glasses: blurry means that it is 3D, unblurred and in-focus means you wasted your money. This movie is actually 3D, and it’s worth paying a few extra bucks for the full experience. The cinematography alone is impressive, so seeing it in 2D is not missing out on much. Everybody wins. There are some great shots in the NYC battle. There’s a rapid shot where the camera is looking through the shattered rear window of a cab. Another great shot shows Captain America’s reflection in an overturned motorcycle’s mirror.

So this movie has already been ridiculously hyped. It has made over $207 million in its first 3 days in the US. It’s made over $1.008 billion. It’s already the #11 movie of all time. It wont be Avatar status, but it’s going to be in the top ten for sure. This isn’t the best movie of all time. But it will be a lot of people’s favorite movie. And you can’t fault them for that. This movie is a great blockbuster. There are a lot of great characters, funny moments, and jaw-dropping special effects. And it has heart.

Joss Whedon compares the Avengers to a family. They don’t always get along. They fight and bicker and argue with each other. But they come together when the need to. They work together and they save New York City. And saving New York City is always good.

This movie appeals to everyone. I saw it with three lesbians and an old man. We all had a blast. This is an awesome movie and I can’t wait to see it again. It is one of those movies that you geek out over and you do your best Iron Man and Hulk impressions to try and recreate the magic. Just see it already. Don’t be the only one left out.

Critically Rated at 15.5/17

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