TL;DR This Week In Cinema: Turns Out, Ghostbusters is Pretty Damn Good
Welcome to Beat's weekly rundown of what's hot in the coming seven days of cinematic releases. The holiday schedule has finally righted itself and we're back on track for some flippin' fun!
But look, there's really no contest this week. Aykroyd called it, man. AYKROYD. I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW HE WAS IN THIS PICTURE. And yeah, he might be biased, but you'd be crazy to pass up the opportunity to drag your date/partner/mate/Tinder match to this brutal winter's most sensational resurrection...
The reviews are in for most anticipated poltergeist-packing film of 2016, and things are looking spookily good! Ghostbusters has already seen its fair share of controversy, as the trolls came out in force to lament this all-female relaunch of a true comedy classic. And much as those human beings are rubbish, so was the initial trailer, a mess of cliché and poor editing.
Then executive producer Dan Aykroyd spoke, and all fell silent. Expectantly, they turned their gaze towards the new team assembled before them - Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones - with bated breath. Shame it took a dude saying something to quiet the mob.
Anyway, with Paul Feig in the directing seat and some of comedy's finest out in force, how could this not top your to-do list for the week? Finally, some freakin' fun! My hope is that the film ends with the new awesome foursome kicking down the doors at Blumhouse and cleaning shop.
tl;dr Four ladies dismantle the patriarchy, one (un)dead value at a time.
Ahem... DEAD WIFE ALERT.
Jean-Marc Vallée, the director of Dallas Buyers Club and Wild, turns his hand to the greatest dramatic cliché of them all - a man trying to discover the value of his life after the sudden loss of his wife. Jake Gyllenhaal is at his best when embracing weirder material, and this looks as traditional as they come.
Critics and audiences alike have responded with indifference. A previous Oscar and a big-name actor can't fix an inherently tired narrative. I value my own life too much to waste my time on this mopey drudge. Time to rewatch Nightcrawler.
tl;dr At least they're keeping the trope in the family.
SWISS ARMY MAN
Truly divisive comedies are something of a rarity, but Swiss Army Man takes the cake. Referred to coloquially at Sundance as the "flatulent corpse film", this truly twisted and strangely innocent flick has to be the weirdest thing you've seen this year. If not, call me.
Yeah, there's some seemingly regressive gender politics at play, but first-time feature directing duo The Daniels know this, and something resembling a higher message comes to light late in the game. Till then, it's farts and erections ahoy, along with just about every other gallows joke you can ring out of a dead body. What else would you expect from the guys who created this?
Still, the chemistry between castaway Hank (Paul Dano) and his dead compadre Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) brings something beautiful to proceedings, as do the a capella soundtrack numbers they perform. When they want joy, The Daniels bring the joy. It helps keep the darkness at bay.
tl;dr Is it wrong to say that Daniel Radcliffe's best performance is as a dead man?
OUR KIND OF TRAITOR
Man, John le Carré must be rich as shit. Our Kind Of Traitor is the tenth adaptation of his novels to the big screen, and each has picked up a more impressive cast than the last. His characters have been performed by Richard Burton, James Mason, Anthony Hopkins, Diane Keaton, Gary Oldman, Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan, Geoffrey Rush, Ralph Fiennes, Gary Oldman and Philip Seymour Hoffman; not to mention Sidney Lumet, Anton Corbijn and Fred Schepisi taking the helm.
Now, Ewan McGregor (he who stars in everything) and Stellan Skarsgård take the fore, with Damian Lewis acting as proto-Smiley. That's a lot of male names, sure, but the director is a woman - Susanna White, whose last cinematic outing was Nanny McPhee Returns. Quite the step up.
Our Kind Of Traitor is the classic kind of spy film - there's Russians, there's betrayal, there's pistols being concealed, and there's something we're all missing right up until the final moments. Le Carré is a guarantee: you know why you're here.
tl;dr Big money tension city.
I'd take that Rotten Tomatoes rating with a grain of salt - after all, Finding Dory picked up 95% for being merely competent. That said, Sing Street promises family-friendly fun from a director with a demonstrated talent for making musical cinema, so perhaps I'm the cynic.
For those looking back, Sing Street will be the most cathartic. As a teenage boy starts at a new school, and puts together a band to impress the model that lives in his neighbourhood, you can guarantee every 40-something male in the audience will be lost in their own glory days. The soundtrack is purpose-built for it, with The Cure, The Jam, Duran Duran and Motörhead all featuring.
Director John Carney struck gold with the beautiful Once, and chances are he's struck it again. It also features Aiden Gillen's oddly shifting Littlefinger accent that never seems to work even when he's home in Ireland.
tl;dr Still can't touch my fav high school band movie (oh hey, same rating!).
And now for THE VERDICT - maybe you only get to see one of these flicks on the big screen, and you don't wanna waste that night out. So, drum roll please...
Swiss Army Man and Sing Street both promise a great deal of joy that's been lacking from the screen for a while, and Our Kind Of Traitor seems tight enough to thrill. But really, there's no debate. Put your fedora away. See Ghostbusters. Have a blast.
Until next week!