Showing posts with label Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire. Show all posts

Thursday, March 28, 2024

"Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire" and More!

[I review the new Ghostbusters movie - "Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire" - as well as "Society of the Snow" and "Falling for Figaro."  And there's a book too! - "Hits, Flops and Other Illusions: My Forty Something Years in Hollywood" by Ed Zwick]

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (2024)

Ghostbusters is now a family affair and this time they need to save the world from a second Ice Age.

If you have been following me, you know how much I hate sequels.  

And even if you haven't been following me, now you know.  So why did I go see this movie, then, you ask?  Well, at this point, this film is more a part of a franchise than a sequel, like "Mission Impossible" or "Jurassic Park," so I am going to give it a pass on the sequel thing.  And even though I am not particularly a fan of franchises, also known as "beating a good idea into the ground," I am not going to pick on this movie for that either.  It's the fifth in the series, but in my opinion, the second, third and fourth installments don't really count.  They weren't very good.  

Besides, it's been 40 years...repeat, 40 years...since the very first "Ghostbusters," a movie that became a cultural phenomenon. It was critically acclaimed, cementing the movie careers of Bill Murray and Dan Ackroyd, it was the first comedy to employ expensive special effects, and it was number one at the box office for seven consecutive weeks making it the then-highest-grossing comedy ever. And let's not forget that iconic theme song, which became a number one hit. 

And 40 years later, it's number one at the box office again, so I had to pay homage.  Was it worth it?

Well...first let me bring you up to date.

If you saw "Ghostbusters: Afterlife," we were introduced to Callie Spengler (Carrie Coon) and her kids, Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), who were living in Oklahoma after inheriting the farm where Ghostbuster Egon Spengler had lived and which also served as a plot device and homage after the real life death of Harold Ramis, who played Egon. Turns out the farmhouse is haunted and the surviving Ghostbusters are called and, along with Phoebe's science teacher, Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd), they all rid the farm of the harmful entities.

Okay, that's what has happened before this latest film begins, so fast forward to present day. Now Callie and Gary are a couple and they are living in New York City with Trevor and Phoebe.  The OG's have retired and ghostbusting has become a family affair for Callie, Gary and the kids. They are all living in the original Ghostbusters firehouse that original Ghostbuster Winston (Ernie Hudson) had restored when he became a rich entrepreneur and Callie et al have taken on the responsibility of keeping New York City free of nasty paranormal beings. Original Ghostbuster Ray (Ackroyd) has a book shop - Ray's Occult Books - where he also collects rare cursed artifacts with the help of Podcast (Logan Kim) and Winston has a privately-owned paranormal research center staffed by Dr. Lars Pinfield (James Acaster) and his assistant, Lucky Domingo (Celeste O'Connor).  Not sure what Peter (Murray) is doing in retirement but he appears briefly to administer a parapsychological evaluation on Nadeem Razmaadi (Kuymail Nanjiani).  But I am getting ahead of myself.

Written by Gil Kenan and Jason Reitman and directed by Kenan, the film opens in 1904 when New York City firefighters find over 30 people frozen to death in a gentleman's club and there is this mysterious orb that seems to have something to do with that.

Now in the present day, Nadeem Razmaadi (Nanjiani), a rather sleazy huckster, comes into Ray's shop to sell some old items that belonged to his grandmother.  Okay, you guessed it.  It's that same orb we just saw in the opening scene and that, my friends, is the crux of the movie.  The orb houses a very, very bad ancient god who wants to turn the world to ice and our Ghostbusters, old and new, have to figure out how to destroy it.

There is a side story about Phoebe meeting another young woman, Melody (Emily Alyn Lind), while playing chess with herself in Central Park.  Melody just so happens to be a ghost trying to get to the other side to be with her family, and Nadeem turns out to have some pyrokinetic powers and both of those characters will play pivotal roles in the finale when they all meet up with Garraka, an evil entity who had been enslaved in the orb.

So, 40 years later did this reboot do justice to the OG movie?  Was it worth seeing?

Well, let me focus on the positive first...what I liked.

The opening chase scene was fun, I like Paul Rudd and I LOVE Kumail Nanjiani. I laugh just looking at his reactions to things and his dry delivery. The young characters are engaging and it's always a treat to see the OG Ghostbusters again along with Annie Potts, who have more to do this time than they did in "Afterlife," except for Potts. The special effects were also good - those gross, gooey ghosts are fun - and I love the scenes in the New York Public Library and Patton Oswald as a librarian. We librarians need to be in the movies!

What I didn't like:

Plot holes, too many "huh?" moments, it dragged in the middle, and it wasn't that funny, though I will say I did chuckle a few times, which is more than I can say about the many comedies I have watched over the last couple of years. I could also have done without the shushing ghost librarian in the library.  People, librarians no longer shush people! I was hoping to see more of Bill Murray. Murray's appearance was too brief but not surprising since he was never particularly interested in the reboots. And I can't believe I am saying this, but I was really hoping the iconic theme song would have shown up during the movie instead of at the end. Speaking of the end, there is a bit of an epilogue but you will have to sit through quite a bit of the end credits to see it.

All in all, better than the ones that came after the original, but, of course, nothing can reach the iconic status of the original.  That first one made a huge impact on us younguns in the 80's and as I always say about sequels...let us remember that great first one.  But it was good to see the OGs again. 

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you can ignore the plot holes, it was entertaining...ish. And remember, for your movie reviews, who you gonna call? (In theatres)

Society of the Snow (La sociedad de la Nieve) (2023)

Dramatization of the aftermath of the 1972 plane crash that stranded a Uruguayan rugby team in the Andes.

Nominated this year for an Oscar for Best International Feature, this Spanish film is an enactment of the true story of the plane crash of the Uruguayan rugby team headed for Chile and what they had to do to survive.  It attempts to explain how that plane crash might have happened in a harrowing scene just fifteen minutes into the film when the plane hits a mountain peak, breaks apart and skids to a landing upside down in a remote part of the Andes. There were 45 passengers and crew, nine died on impact.  The survivors make it through the freezing night only to be faced with the magnitude of their situation. They are in the middle of nowhere and miles from civilization.  Over the next two hours we watch as 20 more die until only 16 survive. And those of you who remember this international incident, know that cannibalism played a role in the survival of those 16 people.

Directed by J.A. Bayona, who cowrote the script with Bernat Vilaplana and Jaime Marques, and based on the 2009 book of the same name by Uruguayan journalist Pablo Vierci, this is a more personal and detailed take on the event than the film "Alive," which was based on the book by Piers Paul Read that was written two years after the event and had more of a reportage slant. Also based on the stories of the actual survivors, this film tries to get to the heart of what was going on inside of the survivors.

Seen through the eyes of Numa Turcatti (Enzo Vogrincic), a member of the rugby team on board the plane, we see him and the others survive two avalanches, freezing temperatures and lack of food for two months and what lead them to make the difficult decisions they made.

This was a shocking incident that has since inspired similar films like "Alive" and TV series like "Yellowjackets" and "The Wilds," but this film does this fateful event justice, treating it with respect (each person's death is noted with their name), focusing not just on the sensational elements but also on the compassion and humanity that took place, but, be warned.  It is sometimes difficult to watch. 

Rosy the Reviewer says...perhaps too long and perhaps too grim for some, but it asks the question - what would you do? Would you be able to do what you had to do to survive? (Netflix - in Spanish with English subtitles) 

And now on a lighter note -

Falling for Figaro (2020)

Millie Cantwell, an American fund manager living in London, moves to the Scottish Highlands to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming an opera singer.

Millie (Danielle McDonald)  quits her job and leaves her boyfriend in London and heads to a small Scottish village to train with ex-diva, Meghan Geoffrey-Bishop (Joanna Lumley)  in order to compete in the "Singer of Renown" contest.  She gives herself a year to prepare. However, there are some obstacles.

One of them is Jeoffrey-Bishop  herself who is, how shall I put this?  Less than encouraging? She tells Millie that some people say an opera singer needs to suffer and Meghan plans to make Millie suffer and she does with her diatribes and biting comments.  Millie also has to deal with Max (Hugh Skinner), who is one of Meghan's students...well, her only other one, and he is almost a surrogate son, who doesn't want Meghan concentrating on anyone else.  He has tried to win the "Singer of Renown" contest several times and has always been a runner up.  So he is not happy about the competition, not just for Meghan's attention but for the contest itself. And then there is The Filthy Pig Pub with its gruff landlord (Gary Lewis), its lack of amenities and nosy villagers. But Millie is determined to follow her dream. Will she make it?

Rom-com tropes are in evidence here. Two young people meeting and hating each other on sight but then, well, you know.  Giving up everything to follow a dream. A love triangle. Obstacles. A beautiful landscape and a village full of eccentric people inexplicably interested in opera and rooting for our hero and heroine. And a happy ending.

In case you think McDonald is a newbie, you would be wrong.  She has starred as Patti in "Patticake$" as well as in "Dumplin" and "Bird Box" and the TV series "The Tourist."  It's refreshing to see a successful actress who looks like a regular woman.

Written by Ben Lewin and Allen Palmer and directed by Lewis, this is an Australian-British collaboration and both countries are great at producing small but charming films, and this is that and more with wonderful performances by Aussie Danielle McDonald (her American accent is perfect) and that actress of renown, Joanna Lumley.

Rosy the Reviewer helps if you love opera (which I do), because there is a lot of it here, but you don't have to love opera to enjoy this film. You will love the acting, the feelgood moments and the beautiful Scottish countryside. (Netflix)

***Book of the Week***

Hits, Flops and Other Illusions: My 40 Something Years in Hollywood” by Ed Zwick.

Director Zwick shares his award-winning career in this candid and self-deprecating memoir.

Co-creator of the ABC family drama “thirtysomething” when he was appropriately in his 30’s, he went on to a movie career, directing such films as “About Last Night” (1986), “Glory” (1989), “Legends of the Fall” (1994), “The Last Samurai” and others. He also was a producer for “Shakespeare in Love,” which won an Oscar for Best Picture.
Starting out in the theatre, when he got his break in TV and movies, he had to learn the difference, especially when it came to directing actors. Director Sydney Pollack mentored him and Zwick shares his ups and downs as he climbed the cinematic ladder. The book is punctuated with lists of directorial advice and what he has learned – e.g. “Ten Tips From Long Lunches With Sydney [Pollack],” “Eight Helpful Hints For Young Directors,” “Ten Things Every Director Needs To Know,” and “Ten Tall Tales From The Makeup Chair.”
Zwick also takes the reader behind-the-scenes of “thirtysomething” and his many films, with no-holds barred when it comes to revealing funny and sometimes not very complimentary observations about the actors and others he has worked with, such as directing Tom Cruise and Denzel Washington and working with Harvey Weinstein. And can you imagine Julia Roberts and Daniel Day Lewis in “Shakespeare in Love?” He also shares Hollywood anecdotes, such as director Frank Pierson’s reply when asked what it was like to direct Barbra Streisand in the 1976 version of “A Star is Born” – “I wouldn’t know.” Lol

Rosy the Reviewer says…if you like fun and revealing Hollywood memoirs, you will enjoy this but his insights into directing will also appeal to film students and filmmakers alike. (Check it out at your local library)

Thanks for reading!

See you next time!

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And next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll over to the right of the synopsis to where it says "Critic Reviews" - Click on that and if I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list (NOTE:  IMDB keeps moving stuff around so if you don't find "Critics Reviews" where I am sending you, look around.  It's worth it)!