Headline »

collecting the dead

Book Review: COLLECTING THE DEAD by Spencer Kope

July 21, 2016 – 9:33 pm | 2 Comments

Spencer Kope’s Collecting the Dead introduces Magnus “Steps” Craig, who works in the FBI Special Tracking Unit as the “human bloodhound.”
Steps has the synesthetic ability to see touch, i.e., he can spot the traces people …

Read the full story »
Books & writing

Book reviews and more

Movies

Advance movie reviews and behind-the-scenes discussions with filmmakers

Q & A

Nerd chats with writers and actors

Random Nerdy Stuff

Ramblings that defy categorization

TV

Recaps and reactions to some of your favorite TV shows

Movies »

Movie Review: GHOSTBUSTERS

July 15, 2016 – 6:17 pm | No Comment

ghostbusters_2016

The first things you probably want to know are: Is it as good as the original? Is it funny?

No, and yes.

I wanted to be fair to this version and not compare it to the 1984 movie, but people kept asking me that first question so I figured I’d get it out of the way. The version starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson is so beloved that it’s hard to beat. Even its 1989 sequel, with much of the original talent returning, couldn’t live up to it.

The reboot’s story is roughly the same as the original: three scientists who believe in the paranormal get fired from their jobs and must strike out on their own, eventually calling themselves Ghostbusters. Along the way, they’re joined by a fourth member to save New York City from an infestation of ghosts.

The leading cast is very talented, too: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones. I don’t think the script, cowritten by Katie Dippold and director Paul Feig, supports them well enough, though it does give them some funny lines—unless they were improvised.

Some of the comedic bits go on too long, but McKinnon’s Holtzmann is a welcome kind of weird; McCarthy’s and Jones’s Abby and Patty, respectively, are reliably sassy; and Wiig proves she can still be funny as the straight person of the group, the “serious” scientist. It’s nice to see the power of female friendship onscreen, smart women working together to accomplish great things. They own their misfitness.

Standouts in the supporting cast include Karan Soni as a droll Chinese restaurant delivery boy, and Zach Woods as a tour guide who sees ghosts.

Not as successful is Chris Hemsworth as the Ghostbusters’ dim-witted and clumsy receptionist. Hemsworth can be funny (see: Vacation remake), but here he’s trying too hard. It’s like he’s asking for the laugh instead of simply being the character.

The actress who played the original receptionist, Annie Potts, shows up as…a receptionist. Look also for appearances by Murray, Aykroyd, Hudson, and Sigourney Weaver. The late Ramis appears, too, in a way. Half the fun is keeping your eyes peeled for original cast members, who drop in long enough to give a touch of nostalgia but not long enough to distract from the current cast. Oh, and stay for the tag after all the credits.

So, if you’re looking for some diverting entertainment, who you gonna call?

Nerd verdict: Doesn’t bust new ground, but good for some laughs

Photo: Sony/Columbia

Nerdy Special List June 2016

June 9, 2016 – 9:52 pm | 6 Comments
lily and the octopus

I turned on the air conditioning and pulled out the tank tops two days ago, so you know what that means: I shouldn’t be opening the door to strangers.
It also means it’s time for the June Nerdy …

Movie Review: THE NICE GUYS

May 19, 2016 – 8:18 pm | 5 Comments
nice guys

Shane Black, the screenwriter who shot to fame with the Lethal Weapon movies, may have had a few stumbles in the last three decades, but with The Nice Guys, a 1970s noir detective story Black cowrote …

Girl, You Need New Friends

May 10, 2016 – 9:17 pm | 5 Comments
pexels-photo

I’ve been reading a couple of books in which a woman experiences or witnesses something shocking and she tells someone or several people. And no one believes her, not even her closest family members and friends.
They suggest …

Nerdy Special List May 2016

May 8, 2016 – 10:05 pm | 6 Comments
5135xhS181L._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_

Every month I think the list is the best one ever, and May is no different. We read lots and lots of books, and only our top faves make the cut.
Here are the new releases we recommend.
From Jen …

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR Movie Review

May 4, 2016 – 9:26 pm | 11 Comments
Marvel

Do you have superhero fatigue? Were you tempted to skip this post when you saw the title? What if I told you the movie is terrific?
Which is what I’m doing. Captain America: Civil War is one big bundle …

Book Review: Suzanne Rindell’s THREE-MARTINI LUNCH

April 25, 2016 – 9:56 pm | One Comment
three martini lunch

It’s 1958, New York City.
Cliff Nelson is a Hemingway wannabe who feels destined to be a famous writer, if only his editor father would help him—and if he could get some ideas for great stories.
Eden …

Binge TV Reviews: THE NIGHT GRANTCHESTER and HAPPY THORNE-y KIMMY SCHMIDT

April 18, 2016 – 11:07 pm | One Comment
Des Willie, The Ink Factory/AMC

For the last two months, I’ve been binge-watching several shows and they all happened to be British series…until Kimmy Schmidt returned for her second season last Friday on Netflix. Here are some overall thoughts on these shows’ entire …

Movie Review: THE JUNGLE BOOK

April 13, 2016 – 9:41 pm | One Comment
jungle book mowgli bagheera

The first question I asked when I went into a screening of Disney’s live-action remake of The Jungle Book was: Is this a musical? The answer: No.
Fine by me.
My second question was: Will “The Bare Necessities” …

Nerdy Special List April 2016

April 4, 2016 – 10:06 pm | 4 Comments
king-maybe

I’m so excited April is here, because not only is it my birthday month, about 93 people I know and love also have birthdays. There will be lots of celebrating ’round here! (With loads of cake …

Book Review: THE WATCHER IN THE WALL by Owen Laukkanen

March 30, 2016 – 8:38 pm | 2 Comments
watcher in the wall

Adrian Miller, tired of being tormented at school, hangs himself while home alone. But there’s a witness to his act—someone watching via videocam on his computer. Not just watching but encouraging him to do it, …

Movie Review: BATMAN V. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE

March 25, 2016 – 12:00 am | 4 Comments
(Clay Enos/AP)

When I was a kid—heck, even now—nothing much could get me out of bed early on a Saturday morning. If something could, it was a BIG DEAL.
And so it was, the show Super Friends, which …

Nerdy Special List March 2016

March 8, 2016 – 1:51 am | 2 Comments
jane steele

So…it’s been an interesting month. For the past several weeks, I’ve been traveling a lot—all over California, into Nevada, and down under to Australia. Some of it was work-related, some not, but none of it was …

Theme Tweaker by Unreal