Ghostbusters. While I don’t agree that reviewers were paid off to write favourable reviews of this film, and men blaming the crapness specifically on the existence of females in it need to grow the hell up, it is mind boggling that such good reactions exist for this poor excuse for a remake. Paul Feig directed and co-wrote the film so I was well aware that it’d probably be as unfunny as his back catalogue. It is sporadically humourous, and it was good to see unsexualised women kicking ass, but that cannot make up for lazy storytelling, the original being unimaginatively referenced every two minutes, and that it was, simply, just not funny enough. Cameos from the original ‘busters was a nice idea but they were all uninspiring, with Ackroyd’s cabbie being, perhaps, the only exception. Murray’s potentially interesting character, in particular, was totally wasted. A wasted attempt at what could have been a strong film for women in Hollywood.
The Neon Demon. Nicholas Winding Refn is always going to be a filmmaker I look forward to seeing the work of. My initial reaction to this film, as seen below, hasn’t really changed too much. The film certainly had more narrative than Only God Forgives, but, overall, lost its engrossing nature. At times mesmerising, original, gross (I genuinely felt sick at a couple of points), funny, and perfect, but at others boring, nonsensical and over the top this was a real mixed bag, which, to be honest, I am still kind of processing. But I do feel as if I like it more three weeks after seeing it than I did three minutes after doing so.
Mustang. This month’s Reel Equality screening at Savoy Cinema was the Oscar nominated Turkish film, written and directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven (while she was pregnant, no less). Five orphan girls are seen innocently playing with boys on a beach and their conservative uncle and grandma confine them in their home, while forced marriages are arranged. There is a lot of humour and hope within the film, despite being really quite horrific at times. It is a good film, beautifully shot, but it felt almost incomplete to me – this may have been due to the unnecessary narration and use of Warren Ellis’ previous film scores (in tandem with original stuff) giving it a feeling of an extended trailer. I also never really felt like I got to know any of the characters; with five sisters, plus the Grandma, Uncle and others, it was a lot of characters to develop – six hour TV episodes would have been great for this; an episode concentrating on each sister, then a finale to tie it off. As mesmerising, well acted, important, and funny this film often was, I felt a bit disconnected from it.
The BFG. This potentially exciting adaption of one of Roald Dahl’s most well know books fell rather flat for me. Mark Rylance voiced the Big Friendly Giant, perfectly relaying his askew pronunciation of words, and his computer generated body was well designed; however, his and the other giants’ integration within the live action was surprisingly poor and will start to look awful in ten-plus years. Ruby Barnhill as Sophie, too, was not the greatest actress – as Stranger Things as recently proven, being a child is not a barrier to a great acting performance. I am aware I am being a little harsh on this film; it was just more aimed at kids than I would have liked – there is not much fun to be had as an adult viewer here, even with nostalgia in mind.
Star Trek Beyond. A really solid film, with a good story and baddie. The, frankly, very exciting first half hour was never quite lived up to again within its duration, but the finale reveal and action was very engrossing. The CGI was incredible, especially within the design and execution of the bad guys’ battle ships as they attack the Enterprise like a swarm of bees. The cast – new and old – was strong, headed by a really great Chris Pine, who continues to channel William Shatner without it ever slipping into parody. A couple of small blips – Spock crying (really?) and Simon Pegg saying “lassie” far too much. But yeah, slightly forgettable, solid fun.
Jason Bourne. Bourne again, after a nine year absence for Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass, the fifth in the series is an intense two hours of cinema, there’s no doubt. Literally, there is not one minute in which Greengrass releases you to take a breath. Even the parts that would have looked calmer on paper are made tense with quick cuts, shaky cameras, and action score; no mind scenes such as the very claustrophobic and smashy car chase through Las Vegas between Damon and Vincent Cassel. The topical digital privacy issues within the plot were nicely handled too. Great, dependable performances from Damon, Cassel, Vikander, Lee Jones, and Riz Ahmed. Definitely an exciting watch, but ultimately, the worst of the Damon Bourne films, probably because there wasn’t really anything fresh brought to this edition. Perhaps a good time to call it quits.
DUD OF THE MONTH: Ghostbusters