Dan Aykroyd

October 25, 2013

This is Halloween: Ghostbusters II

UNDESERVED

Ghostbusters II – Undeserved

Will we ever see a “Ghostbusters III?”  The easy answer is no, the hopeful answer is, please no.  Trust me, “Ghostbusters” goes down as one of the best comedies of the 1980s, if not the best comedy from the past 30 years.  There was nothing else like it when it was released in 1984; a live action cartoon starring some of the funniest people in the world.  It made Bill Murray the biggest comedian in the world at the time, and the film still has a huge fan base to this day.  It’s a timeless classic that was way ahead of its time, but a third entry into the “Ghostbusters” saga would never work now, and would strictly anger fans of the first one while simply catering to today’s movie-watching public; a group of viewers who idolize Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, and any other crap that today’s fast food media tells you to idolize.  Just look at what Michael Bay is doing to the “Ninja Turtles!”  But that’s a rant for another review.  Getting back on track, fast-forward five years and the gang got back together for 1989’s “Ghostbusters II” a sequel that gets an undeserved bad rap from fans of the original.

“Busters II” opens with Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) and her baby Oscar out for a morning stroll.  Needless to say something spooky happens and Ray, Winston, Peter, and Egon, The Ghostbusters, are back in business.  Apparently Dana’s baby has been chosen by an ancient evil to take over the world, it’s hokey, but that’s your plot this time around.  Throw in a creepy painting of an ancient European wizard/madman, a river of ectoplasm, and an art curator from the “Upper Vest Side” and you got a sequel, while not perfect, still captures the magic of it’s predecessor and manages to be charming.

The fact that the entire original cast decided to come back for the sequel says one of two things; 1) The story was interesting and funny enough to bring everyone back or 2) sequels usually equate to desperation for actors and greed for the studio.  Back in 1989 Murray was coming off of “Scrooged”  Dan Aykroyd, “Caddyshack II,” Harold Ramis had become more of a writer and director than an actor, and Ernie Hudson was coming off of “Leviathan.”  When I think about it, I guess it was time for a sequel to “Ghostbusters.”

While there are problems with the plot, which dances the line of parody of itself and ridiculous, it’s just nice to see the whole cast back together.  The addition of Peter MacNicol to the cast adds quite a few comic beats, and his interactions with Bill Murray are some of the best in the film.  To be honest, I almost prefer Murray’s portrayal of Peter Venkman in the sequel.  It seems that he has more to do, and unlike the original “Busters,” he is the big name and the draw, and he stands out from the ensemble this time.

The story gets a little sappy near the end with a theme that only kindness can defeat evil (I mean…..come on).  Granted, this film was coming off the Saturday Morning Cartoon, “The Real Ghostbusters” which I also adore beyond words, but I feel like the story could have used a little more bite.  It simply came off as a little sappy, and frankly, simplistic, to me.  If you asked a New Yorker to be nice, there is no doubt you would get a one-finger salute, especially in the late 80s/early 90s.  Maybe in today’s New York you would get a nicer response, but the New York of yesteryear would tell you to take a hike, and than probably knife you.

Overall, “Busters II” is a fine companion to the “Ghostbusters” mythology.  It bridges the gap between the two films nicely, and is just as funny as the original.  It really does get an undeserved bad rap.  Plus, they made Janine hot!  I mean there was even a cameo by Bobby Brown for goodness sake!  Booby FREAKIN’ Brown!  Mr. Humpin’ Around!  He just wanted a proton pack for his kid brother!  I’m sure if he asked Peter instead of Egon he could have gotten that deal to work.  But alas…..

Fun Fact:  For all you Nintendo fans out there, check out the sweet NES Advantage joystick that was used to control The Statue of Liberty.

May 27, 2013

Behind the Candelabra

Behind the Candelabra: Fabulous 

118 min  –  Biography | Drama  –  2013

I know its shouldn’t come as such a surprise that HBO hits another home run, but they seem to have their shit together then most of TV (and as well as a few movie studios).

Brief History
At first Steven Soderbergh was having a hard time finding a studio who would back this film. Everyone’s reasoning was that “it is too gay”. Sadly that’s the world we live in, lucky for us HBO threw its hat in and said we’ll back it. First it was rumored to have Robin Williams set to play Liberace, then came Douglas. Soon after in 2008; filming was put on hold. In 2010 Michael Douglas began his treatment for throat cancer which put the film on hold.

The Film
Casting is heavy on talent. With Michael Douglas as Liberace, Matt Damon and Scott Bakula join in. Also Rob Lowe, Dan Aykroyd and Debbie Reynolds who plays Liberace’s Mother.
The acting is what stands out in this film. First off Matt Damon really holds his own opposite Douglas. Toward the end during his character (Liberace’s lover Scott Thorson) downward spin, you really feel the power of anger and love his character had. My favourite part of his, is when he screams at Liberace during a fight about another “young boy” Liberace may or not be sleeping with.
Rob Lowe plays a Doctor, creepy yet fun at the same time. He is part of this club but it takes time as a viewer when you first seem him onscreen. It’s very creepy in a way I haven’t seen before. Dan Aykrod is Dan Aykroyd and that not bad. I thought he was perfect for his role as was Scott Bakula and Debbie Reynolds.
Liberace himself is the reason I love this film. Michael Douglas give one of his best, if not his best performance. He kills it with such ease. The look and voice just worked so well, that I could without a doubt, believe him as Lee. I’m amazed by Douglas’s career as I write this. I’ve never not like him in a role and he always brings something that makes watching movies so damn fun. I’m always taken away by how far he jumped over his father in the art of acting, not to say Kirt isn’t good, he’s damn good but he just seems to be a whole different Douglas and I love that. I hate not seeing him in more films and it seems that will be changing soon. I have a feeling we will be talking about Reykjavik where he plays Ronald Reagan, with Christoph Waltz (who we all love here at SR) and Frank Langella whose not playing Nixon and yet I believe the whole time I’ll be thinking of that. 
Soderbergh did a good job with this one, he makes up for The Girlfriend Experience which I have a ton of issues with. He says this is his last film, thou he has said that more times then I can count with my hands. But if this is really the last one, then I’m glad he’s going out like this!   

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