Tag Archives: paul feig

A Simple Favor

Emily (Blake Lively) is effortlessly cool and glamourous. She works a high-profile job in the city and has a handsome husband and an air of mystery. No one is more surprised than Stephanie (Anna Kendrick), a single mom and mommy blogger, when Emily befriends her. Their boys are friendly in school and now the mums are friendly over martinis.

But just weeks after an unlikely friendship blossoms between Emily and Stephanie, Emily calls her with a request for a simple favor: a work emergency has popped up, could Stephanie pick up her son from school? Two days later, the son is still in Stephanie’s care, and no one had heard from Emily.

As the investigation into Emily’s disappearance deepens, Emily’s secrets unravel. Her MV5BMTUzNDc3NTM4M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzYxNTM0NTM@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_husband Sean (Henry Golding) is very revealing. Turns out, Emily was a pathological liar and her past was very closely guarded. Stephanie doesn’t know what to think about her friend, but her doubts don’t exactly stop her from getting cozy with Sean…and eventually moving right in. Which seems like a bitch move from a grieving best friend, but then, the recent widower isn’t exactly objecting. Why is Sean not objecting?

Anna Kendrick is very good at being a pathetic loser, and Blake Lively is extraordinary at being a clotheshorse. This movie is exceedingly stylish. Blake Lively’s menswear-inspired wardrobe is to die for, but I swear I’m not the one who killed her. But no matter how you dress this thing up, it’s no Gone Girl, but that’s exactly what it wants you to mistake it for. Unfortunately, it can’t quite embrace any one genre. It often looks noir but goes for the easy laugh. Which one is it, truly? I admire that Kevin Feig went for a blend of both, but I don’t think he quite pulled it off. However, if you’re a fan of the Kendrick-Lively duo, they’ve never been Livelier or more Kendricky. They each know their strengths, and Feig gives them a beautiful stage on which to drip their special sauces.

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Ghostbusters

When I was a little girl, I had a Ghostbusters siren on the right handlebar of my bike. On the left, I had a Slimer horn. I was dedicated to kickin ass and bustin ghosts and doing both from the luxurious banana seat on my Blue Angel bike. But the boys? The boys always kristen-wiig-ghostbusters-2-16132-1468265440-1_dblbigthought I should be Janine, the secretary. There’s nothing wrong with being a secretary, but there’s a reason nobody plays secretary. It’s just sitting at a desk! I wanted the glory, dammit, not the paperwork.

So a word to all you “Ghostbros” out there: there’s a reason why they’re “ruining your childhood” by making this movie. It’s because it’s little fucks like you who ruined mine.

And while we’re on the subject, I don’t buy this “It’s about our childhood” argument anyway. No, it’s not. You’re sexist, magotty little misogynists and you’re too afraid to say it to my face because you know I’ll kick your ass. This movie does not have the ability to time travel back to your snot-nosed lame-ass childhood where your only friend was your Stay-Puft marshmallow man toy and make a mockery of it. You’re the one making a mockery of it, and I’m guessing you have been for about 35 years. This bizarre hatred for a movie you’ve never seen is sexism, pure and simple. Hollywood has been rebooting movies for years. No one cried to their mommy when they rebooted Batman. ghostbusters-iiiNobody worried that their childhood Batman was ruined. No one panics when they reboot James Bond every 10 years. As long as you replace a man with another man, everything’s cool. Look, I’m sorry adulthood isn’t working out for you. I’m sorry girls never took an interest. But hating this movie won’t make you cool. And if you are truly, truly worried that seeing a brand new Ghostbusters movie will somehow sully your memory of the first, here’s a thought: just don’t watch it. I know! It’s revolutionary! Don’t go to the movie (I’m sure you exercised this right when they made a sequel back in 1989, one that failed to live up to its predecessor, or to its sucessor). You don’t have to judge it without having seen it. You don’t have to out yourself as a coward and a woman-hater. You just have to opt not to see it. I mean, it’s a stupid move because this movie’s great, but I’m guessing you and stupid moves are well-acquainted.

I won’t bother you with a synopsis because I’m guessing you all know what Ghostbusters do. It’s pretty much just a new team who happen to be women, who happen to know a lot about the occult, who happen to be sciency enough to do something about it. The script is hella-funny. The ghostbusting is pretty badass. And there’s just enough spook to get your pulse racing in a few places. Plus Paul Feig is just the right guy to get the job done. I knew we were in good hands when I saw how reverently he treated Spy – this guy is just a fan of movies. He’s respectful, but he knows how to poke fun in just the right places. And he writes exceptionally well for women.

The ladies are superbly well-cast. Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig are the most talented comediennes we have, but they play straight-ladies in this case. Ghostbusters is a coming out party for Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones, and let me tell you, they have arrived. Matt was surprised by how much he liked Jones in this but for me, it was all about maxresdefaultMcKinnon. Her character is bizarre and oblivious but McKinnon somehow humanizes her and pulls off some really cheeky, sweet, inspired moments under Feig’s loose direction (being an SNL alum probably helps quite a bit – he’s a big fan of letting his cast improvise). We stayed right to the end of the credits to squeeze every bit of juice out of this thing, and were rewarded. In fact, the movie itself is crowded with little gifts, among them cameos from plenty of original Ghostbusters. Who was your favourite, Matt?

M: I’m always excited to see Bill Murray but Dan Aykroyd’s part was the funniest even though I didn’t recognize him at first.

It was really great seeing love and support from the 1980s cast. This movie isn’t about replacing an old favorite, it’s about updating a classic and introducing it to a whole new generation. Homage is paid. Respect given. Isn’t that enough? Sean, you’re the right age and sex to be outraged by the audacity – how do you feel?

S: It did not ruin my childhood or ruin my memories of the first one. It was definitely more fun than the sequel. It was an enjoyable movie that I can’t understand anyone hating. Just a good old summer blockbuster.

The first one was a bit of magic. It was different and fun and exciting. The 2016 Ghostbusters isn’t a new idea, it isn’t different, but it’s just as fun and exciting. I can’t imagine what more you’d want.

Spy

We had a busy weekend out-of-town but slid back just in time to make it to the drive-in and give this one the eyeball.

You know what I liked about this movie? A lot, actually. First, it’s not a spoof. Don’t call it a spoof. It’s a legit action movie that happens to also be funny. Second, it’s not funny because Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is bad at her job. She’s a top agent, extremely competent if rs_600x600-150401084422-600_Spy-Movie-Jason-Melissa_jl__040115somewhat reluctant. It’s funny because she’s not quite got that James Bond suaveness down pat – she still gets a kick out globe-trotting and being upgraded to premium economy. She hasn’t let the whole spy thing go to her head. Third, it’s not just the hero who’s a female – so is her sidekick (Miranda Hart) and her adversary (Rose Byrne), and they’re all great.

Its highest gear isn’t quite comparable to what Daniel Craig is doing over at Spectre, but there’s a kitchen knife fight that’s pretty intense and you can tell that a lot of work went into its choreography. McCarthy gets to stretch some muscles she hasn’t used in a while with a versatile performance rather than a crude caricature. But the greatest treat is that she’s isn’t funny alone; Feig has this great trickle-down effect where he expects everyone to get laughs, and they do, even the cutaway character reaction shots. The best laughs, though, probably come at the expense of Jason Statham, who welcomes them. Nobody else  75could have played it so well because the jokes don’t just hit back at the manly superagent type, but also specifically at Statham’s career, and he’s game. Obscenely game! And while McCarthy is undoubtedly the star, Feig gives everyone a chance to shine, because if funny is good, then very funny is very good.

Big applause to Paul Feig for being the only one who can truly write for Melissa McCarthy – and that includes McCarthy herself. In anyone else’s hands she turns into a clown. A big, crass joke who’s too obnoxious to appreciate. Feig doesn’t need to humiliate her. He elevates her with the right element, the right foil, and with good writing and the right context, she makes the movie sparkle, and she led this one right to the top of the box office this weekend, smoked right by those Entourage boys like the badass she is.