Here's a look at the new movies I saw this week.
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and Chris Hemsworth
Synopsis: In 1984 legendary comedians Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramis came together with director Ivan Reitman to deliver an iconic classic, “Ghostbusters.” It was about a group of scientists who battled the paranormal — and their doubters — to save New York City. The classic film inspired a toy line, an animated series, a follow up film and endless talk of another sequel. For years ideas bounced around but nothing came of it. And after Ramis passed away in 2014, it seemed to put a lid on the possible third “Ghostbusters” film. But good ideas never really die — sometimes they just change. Enter director Paul Feig and two of his favorite actresses, Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, and “Ghostbusters” had life again. The question all summer has been whether this new team — rebooting the franchise with the blessing and participation of the original stars — could live up to the hype. I am a big fan of the original “Ghostbusters,” so I was skeptical that this new iteration could work. I’m a fan of Feig, Wiig and McCarthy, but this seemed like a project where so much could work against them. How could they make something fresh and compelling that honored the original? After seeing the film, I realized I shouldn’t have worried. While the trailers for the film have received a luke warm reception, they don’t give an accurate picture of how dynamic this film really is. The new “Ghostbusters” pulls off the neat trick of paying homage to the original while creating something hilarious and unique. That’s a credit to its stars and production team. Feig was the director behind “Bridesmaids” and “Spy,” so he’s worked with his talented leading ladies before, and knows how to make the most of their skills. “Ghostbusters” is a different kind of movie, going for a more universal brand of comedy than the hard R-rated fare of their other collaborations. And it works brilliantly. McCarthy, Wiig, McKinnon and Jones are great in the lead roles. They have incredibly funny and diverse characters, and they each make memorable contributions to the story while having an easy rapport together. The film is also blessed with some great supporting performances, none more so than Chris Hemsworth as the ditzy receptionist Kevin. Best known for strong, action roles like “Thor,” Hemsworth is perfect — and the film’s biggest scene-stealer — as Kevin. He is like the cherry on top of a well made and satisfying sundae that is this movie. But where this movie really succeeds is in staying in its lane. It features cameos from all the remaining living stars, which is a great nod to the original film. It also retains a lot of the iconic elements — from the Ecto 1 to Ray Parker, Jr.’s iconic song. But it creates something new. This isn’t a shot-for-shot re-make. These aren’t the same characters. This isn’t the same story. It’s the same idea but a completely new experience, and that works well. If you’re on the fence, give this new “Ghostbusters” a shot. You won’t be disappointed.
Rating: PG-13 for supernatural action and some crude humor.
Verdict: Three stars out of four.
The Secret Life of Pets
Starring: Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell, and Albert Brooks
Synopsis: One of the staples of summer is animated movies. They're light. They're family friendly. And they fill the long days until school resumes. This has been a huge summer for animated movies, too. "Finding Dory" dominated the Box Office for three weeks and, hot on its heels, comes "The Secret Life of Pets." I went in not expecting much, and what I got was something that was fun, funny, and heart-warming. This is a great movie for the whole family, and one that has enough of a story and jokes to be fun for adults, too. And it's a good length — clocking in at 91 minutes. This is a good movie for summer.
Rating: PG for action and some rude humor.
Verdict: Three stars out of four.
Friday, July 22 — "Star Trek: Beyond," "Ice Age: Collision Course," "Lights Out," "Absolutely Fabulous The Movie"
Wednesday, July 27 —"Nerve"
Friday, July 29 — "Jason Bourne," "Bad Moms," "Cafe Society"