Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas for a pair of strange bedfellows: The Infiltrator and Ghostbusters.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers. First on the docket: The Infiltrator.
A US Customs officer launches a dangerous undercover mission to catch one of the world's top drug kingpins.
It is both a blessing and a curse that The Infiltrator is good, but not special. In an age where the Internet has no problem convincing people they hate films they haven't even seen yet, being neither great nor terrible enough to be buzzworthy isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Still, structured as it is around a decorated actor (Bryan Cranston) in a role tailor-made to earn him more hardware, the tense tale ultimately can't help feeling a little disappointing. Cranston is solid in the lead, but it's John Leguizamo who steals the show as his loose-cannon partner. Diane Kruger, Benjamin Bratt, and Joseph Gilgun are also terrific in supporting roles.
Characters are well fleshed out, so that even the worst earn a bit of sympathy. Focusing on the money side of the illegal narcotics trade, The Infiltrator is less sensational than movies that detail the gorier realities of drug running, but the intense plot has no trouble holding your attention. Sadly, if it's details that elevate a good movie to great, that's where The Infiltrator fails.
Some of the direction is decidedly amateurish, with too-obvious foreshadowing and lingering frames that almost stray into comic territory. Hairstyles, fashions, and music are sometimes not correct for the picture's 1985 setting. There's no obvious filler, but the movie runs a hair too long and drags noticeably in the second act.
The Infiltrator clocks in at 127 minutes and is rated R for "strong violence, language throughout, some sexual content, and drug material." The Infiltrator boasts strong performances and well-definted characters, offering solid "grown-up" counterprogramming on a blockbuster family-release weekend.
Of a possible nine Weasleys, The Infiltrator gets six and a half. Fangirl points: Jason Isaacs!
Next up: the poliarizing reboot of Ghostbusters, a.k.a. why it's best to ignore Internet trolls. Three scientists, an MTA employee, and the world's best-looking receptionist team up to quash a ghost infestation in New York.
Dear Reader(s): We all have things we love enough to drive us past the point of reason. I am no stranger to this phenomenon, and, thus, in my presence it is best not to speak of that unfunny, unholy, disrespectful dumpster fire that is 2004's Starsky & Hutch. Herein I shall attempt to give even the staunchest fan of the original Ghostbusters a few reasons why 2016's Ghostbusters is NOT 2004's Starsky & Hutch.
Ghostbusters is a well-and-truly funny comedy, with laugh-out-loud moments throughout. Rather than bastardizing beloved characters, it reboots with new ones. Kristin Wiig and Melissa McCarthy are delightful as estranged friends reunited by the spirit crisis; their chemistry is fantastic. Leslie Jones' wisecracks and physical comedy provide the movie's funniest moments, and Chris Hemsworth is perfect as the dopey but ridiculously-hot office assistant.
There's nostalgia aplenty for those who want it, in faces both living and undead, the recurring Ghostbusters theme, and that very familiar logo.
Though rarer than laughs, there are a fair few proper scares to be had as well. The movie boasts super effects and 3D that is not just worthwhile, but great! Ghosts run the gamut from pretty terrifying to pretty hilarious. The comedy slows up a bit in the movie's second act, displaced by some fun, well-executed action sequences.
Only Kate McKinnon's character, Jillian Holtzman, is a weak link, so jarringly off that every appearance becomes an unfortunate distraction. Writers and actress must share blame for bringing to life possibly the most irritating character I've ever seen on the silver screen (and, yes, I'm including Jar-Jar Binks in that equation).
Ghostbusters runs 116 minutes and is rated PG13 for "supernatural action and some crude humor." Ghostbusters is a uniformly funny movie with a great cast and terrific effects. Only that rare individual who strongly feels Chris Hemsworth is better used in something like Black Hat wouldn't find something to enjoy here.
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Ghostbusters gets seven and a half.
Fangirl points: Michael Kenneth Williams and one teeny glimpse of my beloved Shubert Theatre!
Until next time...