Review: Ghostbusters (2016)

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This reboot of the beloved 1984 comedy ticks a lot of the right boxes. It’s fun, spooky (a haunted house tour makes for an effective intro) and the ideal amount of silly. But above all else it proves the premature naysayers wrong. The cast, made up of Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones own every inch of the film as four women, each with their own quirks (the scientist, the inventor, the subway worker with an expert knowledge of the city), who team up after a pale madman (Neil Casey) unleashes malevolent paranormal entities upon New York. Continue reading “Review: Ghostbusters (2016)”

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Review: Spy (2015)

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Bridesmaids, The Heat and now Spy, Paul Feig’s rapid ascent to comedy maestro is cemented by this laugh-a-minute and extremely well cast, if padded, action-comedy. Dried up CIA desk analyst Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is sent out into the field to stop deadly arms dealer Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne) in her tracks when the identities of all active operatives are exposed. Spy is a hearty and spirited send-up of the most infamous espionage films that also embraces – and reforms – the well-worn framework. The script, however, flounders in its unrefined state, causing the film to drag every now and then. But the humour consistently hits the mark; the cast heartily rising to the challenge and producing many stand out moments and hysterical one-liners. Jason Statham, Allison Janney and especially Byrne emerge as the closest matches to McCarthy, who’s a fireball of energy and ingenuity. Spy might drop the ball on the odd occasion, but for the most part it’s top drawer comical brilliance.  Continue reading “Review: Spy (2015)”

Review: St. Vincent (2014)

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Bill Murray is by far the stand-out performer in St. Vincent, infusing Theodore Melfi’s schmaltzy and predictable comedy drama with some much-needed spunk. Bullied-kid-next-door Olivier (Jaeden Lieberher) develops an unlikely bond with curmudgeon old man Vincent (Murray) when he reluctantly concedes to babysit for struggling single mother Maggie (Melissa McCarthy). Continue reading “Review: St. Vincent (2014)”

Review: Tammy (2014)

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With a string of hits in the bag (Bridesmaids, The Identity Thief and The Heat), Melissa McCarthy makes her first serious misstep with Tammy, a directionless road trip comedy she co-wrote with her husband Ben Falcone (who also directs). McCarthy stars as Tammy, a hostile, loud-mouthed loser who runs away with her elderly, equally as vulgar grandmother, Pearl (Susan Sarandon), after being fired and learning of her husband’s infidelity. Continue reading “Review: Tammy (2014)”

2013 In Film: A Summary

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2013 has brought with it a lot of things, both good and bad. But in this particular post I’ll be focusing on the film-related highlights that I’ve experienced over the past twelve months, from a mini adventure in London that included my first ever podcast appearance to a wine-soaked preview screening of Gravity at the newly converted IMAX cinema in Glasgow. I’ve interviewed idols, attended film festivals, and even walked a red carpet. Continue reading “2013 In Film: A Summary”

Review: The Heat (2013)

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In light of Bridesmaids’ worldwide success, director and former Sabrina The Teenage Witch actor Paul Feig continues in his efforts to shift emphasis onto female comedic talent with mismatched buddy comedy The Heat. By embracing and paying homage to its roots, and combining the talents of those in front of and behind the camera, what transpires is mostly solidly entertaining, but not nearly as commanding or edgy as it assumes it is. Continue reading “Review: The Heat (2013)”

Review: Bridesmaids (2011)

Synopsis: Annie‘s life is a mess. But when she finds out her lifetime best friend is engaged, she simply must serve as Lillian‘s maid of honor. Though lovelorn and broke, Annie bluffs her way through the expensive and bizarre rituals. With one chance to get it perfect, she‘ll show Lillian and her bridesmaids just how far you‘ll go for someone you love.

Though billed as the female counterpart to Todd Phillips’ massively successful The Hangover, Bridesmaids towers over the male orientated crass comedy in every sense of the word. Paul Feig, with the help of the writers and the entire cast, manages to create a film that not only subverts the predictable female comedy genre, but also brings a level of sincerity and nuance to a formula that has become so predictable and stale in its recent years. It’s fresh, exciting and almost completely original.

Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo’s well-crafted screenplay strives to keep away from the obvious clichés, instead presenting us with a female ensemble comedy that is incredibly mature, well paced, and strikingly played by all involved. It is, however, also one that knows when to have a laugh at itself: most notably in the wonderful dress-fitting and aeroplane scenes which, though a little contrived, are two of the funniest moments of cinema this year.

What’s most important, though, are the performances. Wiig, in her first lead role, thrives as Annie, proving her unquestionable comedy chops. She’s charming, sympathetic, wacky and completely believable as the naive yet quick-witted Annie. Rose Byrne plays Lillian’s new best friend Helen – Annie’s jealousy inducing opposite. She uses the role to prove her maneuverability as an actress by playing someone a little more unpredictable and improvised than she’s used to, and she absolutely nails it.

The rest of the cast, including Maya Rudolph as Lillian, Melissa McCarthy as Megan (who is, at times, utterly priceless), Wendi McLendon-Covey as Rita, Ellie Kemper as Becca, Jill Clayburgh as Annie’s mum, Chris O’Dowd as Nathan and Jon Hamm as Ted, are equally as entertaining in their respective roles. McCarthy and O’Dowd in particular, who are more used to TV roles, show their ability to mould into comically charged characters and hold their own against other more versatile and established actors. Bridesmaids is very much a team effort, and that’s what makes it work so well in comparison to other films of its nature.

If there are any criticisms to be made, it’s that at a hefty 125 minutes, Bridesmaids can feel, at times, a little too drawn out in places and could have benefited from a slight trim here and there. Similarly, with a cast as extensive as this, some actors are shamefully underplayed or, in the case of McLendon-Covey’s Rita and Kemper’s Becca, almost completely tossed aside halfway through. These, however, are minor issues and, in the bigger picture, seem relatively non-existant.

Bridesmaids is a truly hilarious ensemble comedy, with some of the best writing, performances and direction you’ll see all year. Find it, see it, love it.