Movie Review: The Invitation (2016)

Every year for the past few years, as we get closer to October (AKA the Month of Spooks), people keep recommending this fucking movie. So there, I finally got around to it. YOU HAPPY NOW?

Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for accepting… “The Invitation”.

On a night like any other, Will (Logan Marshall-Green) gets invited to a nice dinner at his ex-wife’s home. And as the night goes on, old memories keep coming back, all the while Will suspects that something might be going on. So now we have our story, and I think it’s an interesting one. What we have here is partly a character-driven drama, and partly a bit of a psychological thriller, and the blend makes for an utterly compelling and unpredictable experience that kept me on the edge of my seat from scene one. It is quite a slow burn, which might turn some viewers off, but for me it just added to the overall experience.

The characters in this are flawed, nuanced, and overall interesting. And I won’t go through them all, as that might ruin some of the reveals or interesting moments with them in case you’ll watch it. But the cast features people like Logan Marshall-Green, Tammy Blanchard, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Michelle Krusiec, Mike Doyle, Jordi Vilasuso, Michiel Huisman, John Carroll Lynch, and they all are great in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Theodore Shapiro, and I thought it was good. It is this low, almost droning score that creates a bit of an uncomfortable tension in some scenes, and adds emotional weight to others. It isn’t one I’m gonna find myself listening to in my spare time, but I thought it worked quite well for this movie.

“The Invitation” was directed by Karyn Kusama, and I think she did a fantastic job with it. She has a way of staying intimate to the main character while still encompassing everything going on around. To call the direction tight and focused would be underselling it. This is complemented by the outright stunning cinematography by Bobby Shore, which gives the movie an almost dreamlike vibe at times.

This movie has been generally well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

I can see now why people kept recommending me to watch “The Invitation”, because it’s fucking great. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Invitation” is a 9,89/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Invitation” is now completed.

Maybe it’s a good thing that I don’t get invited to a lot of stuff.

Movie Review: Hope Springs (2012)

Marriage. A bond between a man and a woman. Or a man and a man. Or a woman and a woman. The point I’m trying to make is that it’s a bond, connecting to people (sometimes out of love, sometimes because of horrible shit) in a more powerful way. But even the happiest of marriages can show cracks, especially after a really long time. Let’s explore that.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Hope Springs”.

Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) have been married for a long time. And while they have a nice and easy daily routine, Kay feels like their marriage has gotten a bit stale. So she books tickets for them to go to intensive couples therapy to see if she can’t fix their situation a bit. Stories about sexless marriages isn’t anything new, and the plot here doesn’t do anything new or totally unpredictable. Overall I’d call it… fine. It’s breezy and enjoyable enough, with only a few moments of melodrama that sometimes work and sometimes don’t. It’s a harmless enough plot that I’d call fine.

The characters in this aren’t the deepest, but I also don’t hate them. They’re fine. Meryl Streep plays Kay, the one of the two who gets the plot started, the one that feels like something’s off about the marriage. She loves her husband, but she wants things to be less… dry. She easily gets emotional, and it’s a bit hit or miss for me throughout. But I can safely say that Meryl Streep is great. Tommy Lee Jones plays Arnold, the Tommy Lee Jones-ian grouch who seems to be perfectly fine with the dry and sexless marriage that he’s part of. And it’s interesting to see him get some decent character development here. And Jones is really good in the role. Then we have Steve Carell as Doctor Feld, the therapist that Kay and Arnold see during their little vacation. You can tell that he’s actually interested in what’s going on, and he seems like he genuinely likes helping people. He mainly serves as a plot device to get the Kay’s and Arnold’s plot moving forward, but he’s also an enjoyable presence. And Carell is really good in the role.

The score for the movie was composed by Theodore Shapiro and it was fine… I think. I almost never really noticed it. I could at times kind of hear it, but those tracks felt more like fodder rather than any actual mood-setter. Then there’s also a bunch of licensed tracks used throughout and I have mixed feelings. While the songs themselves were pretty good, the way they were used was a bit… sledgehammer-y. Like they used songs “appropriate to the situation”, meaning lyrics exactly explaining what was going on with the characters, things we could’ve picked up on without the “YOU HEAR THIS SHIT, WE SO CLEVER!” use of music. So the music in this movie overall is… fine.

This movie was directed by David Frankel, and he did a pretty good job. Like I said about the plot, it’s quite fun and breezy, and there’s no shot that lingers too long. And the camerawork in general is fine. There are also some jokes here that are fine. I never laughed out loud, but there were a bunch of chuckles throughout.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 75% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 65/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,3/10.

While “Hope Springs” is far from a great movie, it’s still an enjoyable enough little romcom. It has an okay plot, okay characters, really good performances, okay music, good directing, and okay comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Hope Springs” is a 6,23/10. While very flawed, it’s still worth a rental.

My review of “Hope Springs” is now completed.

Seen better, seen worse.

Movie Review: Ghostbusters (2016)

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What? Two reviews in such a short amount of time? And both of recent movies that are in theaters? What kind of madness is this? I’ll tell you what it is… Mad skills, that’s what it fuckin’ is!

Ladies and gents… “Ghostbusters” (the rebootification).

Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) and Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) are two long time friends, both having an interest in the paranormal. So when they discover that ghosts actually, truly, without any doubt exists, they form a group/firm together with crazy engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and historian Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones). They also get a secretary named Kevin (Chris Hemsworth). And together these people make up… the Ghostbusters (roll credits). And what they have to do is try to stop a sudden paranormal invasion of New York City. Interesting? Decently. Investing? Not really. I never really thought the plot was bad throughout the movie, but there was also never a point in which I got emotionally invested in it. I wasn’t bored at any point, but there was never that full on investment that I might’ve wanted from the movie.

The characters, I honestly thought I would dislike them… but no, they’re actually pretty enjoyable. Let me first say that the central cast have terrific chemistry, they work well together. Melissa McCarthy does a fine job in the movie, she’s not bad nor great, she does well. Kristen Wiig does a really good job with her performance and her character was enjoyable. Leslie Jones, I thought she would be pretty annoying, based on the trailers. But no, I actually enjoyed her in the movie. Then we have my favorite of the four… Kate McKinnon. Her character was just absolutely nuts, and was definitely the one I enjoyed the most. Best way I can explain her is that she’s kind of a mix of Doc Brown from “Back to the Future” and Tyler Durden from “Fight Club”. Chris Hemsworth is a lot of fun in this movie… mainly because he’s playing a dumb blonde secretary who’s pretty much inept at anything he tries to do. Yeah, everybody did a good job… holy shit, I never thought I’d say that about this movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Theodore Shapiro and I thought it was okay. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad. It was what most people would call passable. It worked just fine for the movie, nothing spectacular. As for the new and “updated” theme song however… yeah, I fucking hate it. And just so you know, saying that saddens me because I like Fall Out Boy. I think they’re a good band, but this new “Ghostbusters” song is not good.

This movie was directed by Paul Feig and I actually think he did a pretty good job. The direction is pretty fast and snappy and never spens too much or too little time on a specific bit. As for the CGI? It’s fine I guess. I wouldn’t call it bad, but there’s a point in this movie where it’s just a bit too much. And the ghost designs aren’t really creative or even scary, which is a little sad (Sidenote: Slimer looks like shit). And since this movie is a comedy, we should look at the jokes and see how they are. I thought the jokes were fun. Not all of them, there were a few that made me cringe a little bit, but the majority of jokes at least made me at least chuckle. There was one joke which I can’t remember, but I know that it made me laugh quite a bit. Most of the comedic entertainment came from Kate McKinnon and Chris Hemsworth in my opinion, both of whom had a bunch of fun lines and entertaining personalities. So let’s talk cameos! That’s right, all of the original cast members (‘cept for Rick Moranis and William Atherton) had cameos, even Harold Ramis who is dead. And these cameos felt a little bit distracting for me. While not as gratuitous as some cameos in other movies, they still felt a bit distracting and almost even forced.

This movie has sure as hell gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 73% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 60/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,4/10.

Let me start this wrap-up by saying that the movie was a lot better than I anticipated. Sure, the plot isn’t very engaging, the CGI gets a bit too much at times, some of the jokes don’t land, and the cameos are distracting. But the characters are all enjoyable, the performances are good, the music is fine (‘cept for that damn theme), the directing is pretty good, and a lot of the jokes are pretty fun. Time for my final score. *WHO YA GONNA CALL!?* My final score for “Ghostbusters” (the rebootification) is a 7,54/10. While not that great, it’s still worth a rental (or in this case, worth a watch).
Rent it

My review of “Ghostbusters” (the rebootification) is now completed.

True story: When my parents and I got out of the theater and got into the car, the original (AKA good) “Ghostbusters” theme played on the radio. No joke, it actually fucking happened.