If you subscribe to the idea of multiverses (where there are various universes for TMNT, DC Superheroes, and Marvel superheroes alike), I like to think of “Ghostbusters” 2016 as an Elseworlds tale, where the concept of Ghostbusters exists, but on its own plain and on its own terms. The Ghostbusters we know from the eighties are also existent, but in their own personas and fulfilling their own purposes. “Ghostbusters” 2016 even as its own horror comedy is just mediocre. It’s not as great as the original “Ghostbusters” but is definitely a notch above “Ghostbusters 2.” Melissa McCarthy is her usual wry self as Abby Yates, a once paranormal researcher who has spent many years trying live down co-publishing a book about the paranormal.
From Giant Animation Studios comes “Geist,” a magnificent and eerie animated film that explores the fall out from a tragic event and how one man comes to terms with it. Brought to life with amazing computer animation and marvelous visuals, “Geist” centers on a lone sailor who, after a ship wreck, finds himself lost in a vicious storm. When he finally finds a small cottage on a hill he seeks refuge for the night, hoping to regain his senses and warm up.
But all is not what it seems within the cottage, as someone or something else lurks in the dark crevices of the house, prompting the sailor to go looking for his watcher before it’s too late. Before long, he begins remembering his ill fated ship wreck and what brought him to the island initially. Directors Alex Sherwood, Ben Harper, and Sean Mullen create a vivid and very eerie short film that doesn’t rely on jump scares or shocks. It’s instead very reliant on the mood and blankets of darkness to keep the mystery of the unknown the most terrifying aspect of “Geist.”
The trio of directors relies on the unseen and unknown until the very end where our true view of what’s unfolded is a tragic glimpse at the concepts of fate, and destiny. I can’t say enough about the wonderful animation pulled off by Giant Animation Studios who build a very vivid world and dreamlike landscapes surrounding our character that may or may not be natural at all. Whoever says animation is only for kids and families really has never seen what indie filmmakers can do with bold ideas and complex themes about loss and death.
Alex Proyas’ latest genre effort has come under a lot of fire mainly for reasons of whitewashing, but after viewing “Gods of Egypt,” it’s no more a white washed endeavor than Harryhausen’s “Clash of the Titans,” or “Ben Hur.” When taken at face value and appreciated as a fantastic take on the mythology, “Gods of Egypt” is an entertaining and engrossing experience, and one I would have had a good time with during a quick Sunday matinee. Proyas constructs an interesting world and I wanted to see how the events would ultimately unfold in what becomes an unlikely buddy action film centered on a God and a mortal finding their own revenge against another God seeking immortality.
It’s a shame that “The Good Dinosaur” will forever be regarded as one of Pixar’s black sheep titles. Because as a whole it’s one of their most original and unique tales that channels the modern Western to invoke a tale about family, getting over one’s own shortcomings, and learning that life is often senseless and unfair. Pixar uses the aesthetic of the dinosaur to help induce the idea of nature and how the environment around us is both an element we must fear and respect in the long run. As with most Pixar films, “The Good Dinosaur” doesn’t justify the idea of death with simplicity, nor does it coddle the intended target audience. It instead takes us through a large journey and tells us that yes, life is hard, yes life is very unfair, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop living.
I consider Brigitte Nielsen to be one of the sexiest women to ever grace the big screen in the eighties. She’s a bomb shell and in her heyday was a pure sexual force that I worshiped in films like “Red Sonja.” I won’t argue that her skills as an actress, but at her prime she was insanely sexy. So with that said, I can’t stress how boring a film has to be for me to doze off during a movie starring Nielsen. “Galaxis” is a bland and soulless science fiction epic that garners all of the tropes of the genre that were tired by the early nineties and are even more worn by 1995. I’m frankly shocked there wasn’t an opening scroll setting the stage for the film like “Star Wars,” but writer Nick Davis thankfully dodges that stale gimmick and jumps right in to a massive conflict we can’t enjoy because it’s not the central focus of the movie.
Scream Factory offers movie fans a double feature on Blu-Ray with the theme of Asian culture driving the plots for both films. For folks that love Asian films, these two films offer up a helping of Asian genre entertainment with slight twists to them. The first feature is 1982’s “The House Where Evil Dwells,” a supernatural thriller that is basically “Amityville Horror” with a Japanese twist. It’s also just as goofy as the former ghost film. The Fletchers have migrated from the US to Japan in hopes of taking a long needed vacation. Writer Ted is intent on finishing his novel and is anxious to relax. The trio along with Ted’s friend Alex ends up at a small house in the woods of Kyoto where they’re told by Alex’s friend that the house’s rent is cheap due to suspected ghosts.
William Friedkin has a knack for creating genuinely uneasy horror films that destroy the concept of domesticity. “The Guardian” completely turns the idea of parenthood on its head, transforming the suburban family in to a veritable nightmare. “The Guardian” carries on the tradition of a menace from the outside ruining the family unit, this time following mundane couple Phil and Kate Sterling as they greet a new child in to their home. “The Guardian” is directed and staged very much like a nightmare that never ends, even with normal scenes of happiness depicted in a very surreal lens.
It’s mostly known as “Ghost Warrior,” but I think I prefer the alternate title “Swordkill.” While “Ghost Warrior” is given an insightful and meaningful definition during the narrative, “Swordkill” just makes the movie sound cheap and silly. I’d love to know who thought the title “Swordkill” was a proper summary of what is a dramatic fish out of water film. J. Larry Carroll’s “Ghost Warrior” is a surprisingly straight faced tale of a warrior placed out of his time, who finds that living in mid eighties Los Angeles kind of sucks. The movie is admittedly thin on narrative, but works for the most part as a series of unfortunate events Yoshimitsu experiences. Life sure does suck for the master samurai.