Ghostbusters (2016)

Ghostbusters
Director: Paul Feig
Writer: Katie Dippold, Paul Feig
Remake of: Ghostbusters
Cast: Kristen WiigMelissa McCarthyKate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris HemsworthNeil Casey, Ed Begley Jr., Charles DanceAndy Garcia, Ozzy Osbourne, Michael Kenneth Williams, Bill MurrayDan Aykroyd, Ernie HudsonSigourney Weaver
Seen on: 11.8.2016

Plot:
Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is trying to establish herself as a physicist when an old book of hers resurfaces. She wrote it many years ago together with Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) on the subject of the existence of ghosts and other paranormal phenomena. Erin is afraid that the book will threaten her career despite the fact that she left those ideas behind. When she goes to speak with Abby to ask her to keep the book under wraps, she finds her working with Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) to prove the existence of ghosts. When they are actually called in to examine a haunting, everything changes: Erin tags along and can see the ghost with her own eyes. So the three of them team up with Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) and found the Ghostbusters.

Ghostbusters was a hugely enjoyable film that had me laughing pretty much all the way through – despite the fact that Feig’s humor is usually very much hit and miss for me. But with a cast that great, not much can go wrong.

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The Jungle Book (2016)

The Jungle Book
Director: Jon Favreau
Writer: Justin Marks
Based on: Rudyard Kipling‘s books
Remake of: The Jungle Book
Cast: Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito, Christopher Walken, Garry Shandling
Seen on: 27.4.2016

Plot:
A few years ago, the panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) found a human baby and decided he couldn’t just let it die. So he brought it to the wolves Akela (Giancarlo Esposito) and Raksha (Lupita Nyong’o) who raised him as their own. Now the baby – Mowgli (Neel Sethi) – has grown into a child who feels perfectly at home in the jungle. But the tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba) will not suffer a human in the jungle. With the threat of murder in the air, Bagheera decides that the safest option is to bring Mowgli back to the humans.

The Jungle Book is a weird film. On the one hand, it stays extremely close to the animated Disney version, on the other hand it often enters grimdark territory. That makes for a very weird mix that made me scratch my head more than once.

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Rock the Kasbah (2015)

Rock the Kasbah
Director: Barry Levinson
Writer: Mitch Glazer
Cast: Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Kate Hudson, Zooey Deschanel, Leem Lubany, Arian Moayed, Scott Caan, Danny McBride, Fahim Fazli
Seen on: 5.4.2016

Plot:
Richie Lanz (Bill Murray) is a tour manager who has seen his heyday. Now he only has a handful of unknown acts, the most promising of which is probably Ronnie (Zooey Deschanel). When Richie hears about the tours for soldiers stationed in Afghanistan and what people get paid for those tours, he’s determined to get Ronnie there, despite whatever protests she might utter. She can be convinced but once they land in Kabul, she loses her nerve and takes off with the help of mercenary Bombay Brian (Bruce Willis). As luck will have it, though, Richie stumbles upon fresh new talent in the form of Salima (Leem Lubany). He is determined to get her to the TV show Afghan Star. Only problem is: Pashtun women are not allowed to sing and perform in Afghanistan.

Well. Rock the Kasbah is certainly a film. But it’s a film without direction or much thought or much to recommend it, really.

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Behind Jim Jarmusch (2010) + Travelling at Night with Jim Jarmusch (2014)

Behind Jim Jarmusch + Travelling at Night with Jim Jarmusch
Director: Léa Rinaldi
Writer: Léa Rinaldi
“Cast”: Jim JarmuschIsaach De BankoléJohn Hurt, Bill MurrayTilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 31.10.2015

“Plot”:
Both Behind Jim Jarmusch and Travelling at Night with Jim Jarmusch are documentaries about the creative process of director Jim Jarmusch. Rinaldi followed Jarmusch during the shot of The Limits of Control and then again a couple of years later during the work on Only Lovers Left Alive, trying to grasp how Jarmusch gets to work.

Behind Jim Jarmusch was Rinaldi’s first documentary and you can see how much she learned, so that Travelling at Night with Jim Jarmusch becomes the much better film. But both are interesting to see, especially if you like Jim Jarmusch’s films as they give you a look into the creation of something special.

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St. Vincent (2014)

St. Vincent
Director: Theodore Melfi
Writer: Theodore Melfi
Cast: Bill Murray, Jaeden Lieberher, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Chris O’Dowd, Terrence Howard
Seen on: 21.01.2015

Plot:
Vincent (Bill Murray) seemingly hates everything but alcohol and his weekly sessions with sex worker Daka (Naomi Watts). But he also needs money and when newly single mom Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) moves in next door, desperately in need of help with her son Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher), Vincent offerst to babysit Oliver in the time between end of Oliver’s school and end of Maggie’s job. As Oliver soon discovers, there is more to Vincent, though, than meets the eye.

St. Vincent is nice, but ultimately completely inconsequential, brings nothing new to the table and, apart from the parts that annoyed me, I’ll probably forget it as soon as I finish this review.

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Re-Watch: Scrooged (1988)

Scrooged
Director: Richard Donner
Writer: Mitch Glazer, Michael O’Donoghue
Based on: Charles Dickens‘ novella A Christmas Carol
Cast: Bill Murray, Karen Allen, John Forsythe, John Glover, Bobcat Goldthwait, David Johansen, Carol Kane, Robert Mitchum, Alfre Woodard, Michael J. Pollard

Plot:
Frank Cross (Bill Murray) is a TV producer. Rich, successful and cynical, he always strives to find the lowest common denominator to make most people watch his station. The current project is a live version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which Frank has spiced up, among other things with show girls. But just before the show starts, Frank is visited by his dead mentor Lew Hayward (John Forsythe) who warns him that he will be visited by three (other) ghosts to try to redeem him.

Scrooged was one of the films I used to watch regularly as a child, but I didn’t see it as an adult until now (or actually December, when it was screened at a local cinema). And as usual it is fascinating how different you see a childhood film as an adult. I enjoyed it then, I enjoy it now, but apart from my interestingly selective recollection, there were just so many things I never saw before.

Scrooged

[Spoilers, I guess]

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The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Director: Wes Anderson
Writer: Wes Anderson
Based on: Stefan Zweig‘s writing (very loosely)
Cast: Ralph FiennesTony Revolori, F. Murray AbrahamJude Law, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Léa Seydoux, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson, Karl Markovics, Bob Balaban

Plot:
Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes) is not just a concierge, he is probably the best concierge there ever was and he has his fans. One of them is his newly acquired protégé Zero (Tony Revolori), another a frequent guest at the Grand Budapest Hotel, Madame D. (Tilda Swinton). When she is f0und dead, though, suspicion falls on Gustave and he has to try and clear his name and to claim his inheritance, all with Zero in tow.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is probably the best film Anderson made since The Life Aquatic, if not his best film so far, period. It is crazy, enjoyable, funny, aesthetic and weird and has an awe-inspiring cast. Wonderful.

grandbudapesthotel

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The Monuments Men (2014)

The Monuments Men
Director: George Clooney
Writer: George Clooney, Grant Heslov
Based on: Robert M. Edsel‘s non-fiction book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History
Cast: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville, Bob Balaban, Dimitri Leonidas, Justus von Dohnányi

Plot:
As World War II is in full swing, the European art collections (both private and public) are methodically plundered by the Nazis. So Frank Stokes (George Clooney) manages to get a squad together, consisting mostly of old men who know their art. They are tasked with saving what is left – from statues to paintings. But even as the end of the war comes ever closer, this is neither easy nor without its dangers.

The Monuments Men is a film that is utterly mediocre. (puzzledpeaces called it “beige” and that hits the nail on the head pretty much.) The script isn’t good, the directing isn’t good, the camera work isn’t good – but none of it is all that bad either. It’s a film that tries to be as acceptable as possible to as many people as possible and with that desire loses all shape and impact.

themonumentsmen

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Hyde Park on Hudson (2012)

Hyde Park on Hudson
Director: Roger Michell
Writer: Richard Nelson
Cast: Bill Murray, Laura Linney, Samuel West, Olivia Colman, Olivia Williams, Elizabeth Marvel

Plot:
Daisy (Laura Linney) lives a quiet life, taking care of her mother. But all that changes when she gets an invitation to visit her cousin, Franklin D. Roosevelt (Bill Murray), President of the United States of America. They hit it off and quickly become friends, and more. But while FDR is hosting the King (Samuel West) and Queen (Olivia Colman) of England, Daisy has to realize that she is not the only woman in FDR’s life.

This film could have been very great, if the writer and/or the director had been a woman. Or at least able to take a female perspective. Unfortunately, the film completely fails in that regard, which destroyed it in its entirety.

Hyde-Park-on-Hudson

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Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

Moonrise Kingdom
Director: Wes Anders0n
Writer: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola
Cast: Kara Hayward, Jared Gilman, Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Harvey Keitel, Bob Balaban

Plot:
A small island in New England. Suzy (Kara Hayward) lives with her family and spends most of her time looking through binoculars, while Sam (Jared Gilman) is a khaki scout currently at Camp Lebanon. The two of them are very much in love, so they decided to run away together. When Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) notices the absence of his charge, he informs Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis) and soon the entire island is involved in the search for the two kids.

Since I didn’t like Fantastic Mr. Fox that much, I was a bit worried about Moonrise Kingdom. But my worries were for nothing – I really, really, really loved this film. It was sweet and fun and amusing. Plus, it had a wonderful cast. Perfect.

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