Still bankable after charming audiences with her standout performances in Bridesmaids, and The Heat, funny gal Melissa McCarthy, otherwise, can’t seem to catch a decent movie role to save her life, not that her bank account would likely know that. Ghostbusters (2016), McCarthy’s latest film, has the cast, the budget, director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat), and the blessing of the surviving original crew from the 1984 paranormal/comedy/horror flick of the same name, though that’s not enough to put it in the same league. This newest venture is not a sequel, however, it’s an all new update, a reboot of the original, with an entirely new plot line. This time around it’s three smart and nerdy science gals, McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and their streetwise sidekick, Leslie Jones, who trounce around New York City busting ghosts, and flirting with hunky Chris Hemsworth, who plays the Busters’ administrative assistant. The special effects and 3D treatment are fantastic, but so what? The film lacks the edge and originality (and personality) that made the original a classic. You could do worse for a summertime movie diversion, but keep your expectations in your particle containment proton wand.
The Infiltrator **1/2
Thrilled to watch Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) work his every man persona into whatever role he’s playing, I had high hopes for The Infiltrator, but was disappointed by what felt like a narcissistic retelling of the heroics and bravery by the film’s lead character. Turns out the film is a dramatization of the biggest drug bust in U.S. history, and is based on the autobiography by Robert Mazur, the U.S. Customs undercover agent and story’s lead, played by Cranston. It’s a compelling, historically accurate (and therefore interesting) crime drama set in the 1980s when the War on Drugs was first heating up and had global implications. John Leguizamo as Mazur’s risk-taking partner, along with Benjamin Bratt, Diane Kruger, Olympia Dukakis, and a generally strong cast can’t make this otherwise compelling narrative feel nearly as exciting as Johnny Depp’s Blow, Sicario, American Gangster, City of God, and other true-crime cartel dramas that feel less like an autobiographies and self-glorifying adaptations. Still, Bryan Cranston stars…
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