Written by Ben Beck

After 30 years, Ghostbusters returns to the big screen rebooted with a fresh new cast, new story and new laughs.  Director Paul Feig brings his fresh take to the supernatural comedy, joined by some of the funniest actors working today -- Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and Chris Hemsworth. This summer, they're here to save the world! 

Now I will fully admit I was a skeptic… when the project of a Ghostbusters reboot was announced, I was not too happy with the idea.  It had nothing to do with the fact that the cast would be all women, but more so because the original film was and is such a classic.  I didn't want anyone to touch the franchise as to not risk tainting it.  Fast forward to the release of the first trailer and while not the greatest, my opinion startest to shift a bit.  Then the more and more trailers, TV spots and clips I saw, the more I grew to want to give the film a chance.  Now after finally getting to see the film, I'm excited to say that I'm glad I did!  

THE CAST:  While haters showed their sexist tendencies and complained about an all female cast, normal people who aren't internet trolls can't deny that the cast is a powerhouse of funny women.  While it may seem like an SNL reunion of women in Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon (with Melissa McCarthy in addition), these ladies certainly shine on screen.  Wiig shines thru as the brilliant comedianne that she is and while McCarthy tends to get typecast into the same kind of comedic roles, this film certainly gives her a chance to shake the slapstick-esc roles we're used to seeing her in.  That's not to say there aren't a few moments in the film that she falls back into it, but you can't fault the director and the writers for leaving her a moment or two to do what she's good at.  The real standouts in my opinion though are the newcomers breaking away from television, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon.  Both women prove that they are a force to be reckoned with in comedy films and can hold their own side by side with the experienced Wiig and McCarthy.  Jones fits into her urban city worker role extremely well and McKinnon plays just the right kind of awkward that it is absolutely hysterical at time.  The surprise in all though is the stand out performance by Chris Helmsworth as the ladies male, and totally moronic, new secretary.  While he usually plays the heroic roles, he proved that he has got comedy in his blood as well.  Take this great cast and throw in some other supporting cast in addition and it proves to be a strong ensemble.  

THE STORY:  Putting four funny women in a movie is one thing, but the film is still nothing without strong and funny writing to support them, and Ghostbusters doesn't fail in providing that.  Within the first 2 minutes of the movie, I was already laughing and the laughs never seemed to stop.  Filled with everything from light chuckles to full on belly laughs, Ghostbusters really delivers on the comedy that is only enhanced by the cast.  And while there are a few small similarities to the original film from 1984, the story is a fresh new rebooted take on the tale.  However that's not to say that the movie doesn't pay homage to its predecessor.  In a number of small nods throughout the film, fans of the original will certainly be grinning with a huge smile when these instances come up.  Even members of the original cast (including a certain marshmallow man... maybe) play a part in adding to the nostalgia of the film.  But even with all the moments that take you back to the original, the story is a brand new story all of it's own. 

Bottom line, internet haters take heed... YOU WERE WRONG!!!  Ghostbusters is a fresh new take that gives new life to a classic franchise.  Don't believe the hate, form your own opinion and see the film for yourself.  Even if you've never seen the original Ghostbusters from the 80's, take comforting in knowing that you can still highly enjoy this film since the story is brand new.  I look forward to hearing the stories of how a whole new generation ain't afraid of no ghosts. 

7.5 out of 10
Review written by Steve Richards

The “buddy cop” movie can be a fickle beast in Hollywood. The combination of a rapport between two stars, a touch of light-hearted humor, and an intriguing story must mesh perfectly to stand out among the rest. Succeed, and you have a Lethal Weapon franchise on your hands. Fail, and you have White Chicks.

“The Nice Guys” — which is the latest buddy cop rendition from writer and director Shane Black — brings together chemistry, comedy, and crime to create a fun night out for the audience. 

Ryan Gosling, who plays a troubled private investigator in 1970s Los Angeles named Holland March, is the standout star. March is originally hired to find adult film star Misty Mountains, but later changes his pursuit to a runaway teenager named Amelia (Margaret Qualley) as the clues lead him in that direction. 

Gosling plays what is almost a slapstick comedy character, and he does it so well I had to check his credits to see if he played the role before. The Gos is full of physical comedy and one-liners, keeping the audience laughing throughout the film.

Although it is for a very different reason, also searching for Amelia is Jackson Healy (played by Russell Crowe). Healy is more of an intimidating investigator, solving the case with his head rather than his instinct.

Crowe proves to be an excellent complement to Gosling, as the New Zealander delivers his humor in a much dryer way. He also carries the action scenes in a way that Gosling is unable to.

Healy plays the tough guy, while March plays the pretty boy. Both men get the job done in their own way, making a team that is easy for the audience to root for. That formula works in movies like these, and Shane Black is more than familiar with it. The writer of Lethal Weapon, Black proves this isn’t his first rodeo with both the script and direction. It would be understandable to have some expectations heading into the theater; the way I see it “The Nice Guys” at least meets those and leaves any fan of the genre walking away satisfied.

There are a ton of one-liners in the film, and certainly not all of them land the way they were intended when written. You’ll find yourself hard-pressed to not get at least a chuckle every few scenes however, and a few scenes are laugh-out-loud funny the whole way through. The story could be tighter, but the movie has a much bigger comedy tone than crime tone, so the writing was good enough to keep my interest. The action isn’t anything groundbreaking, but it’s mixed in well to keep the audience captivated.

The movie is rated “R,” and you’ll understand why from the very first scene. That’s the best way to make a comedy in my opinion, and I appreciate the fact none of the content is watered down. Makes for a better laugh.

In all “The Nice Guys” isn’t the best date night movie, but if you’re looking for a movie with some star power that also has a solid mix of laughs and action, I would recommend it. The end was also left open, and I mean wide open, for a sequel. Hopefully it can get made.

For starters, I make no bones about the fact that I did not like Warner Brothers first film in the DC Cinematic Universe "Man of Steel".  I grew up on Superman but "Man of Steel" was very flawed and left a lot to be desired.  So I was skeptical about this next installment "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice".  With the announcement of all the characters that would be introduced as well as trailers showing Doomsday as the big baddy of the film, I had a lot of worry that this film would be too much too quickly as well as there being too much potential for things, such as Doomsday, to not be done properly.  But for the sake of being unbiased, I decided to leave my reservations outside the theater and go into this film fresh faced.

Sadly.... it didn't help....

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that this movie is not enjoyable at times, I just wish that the times were more frequent.  Visually, I have no complaints about this film.  The fight scenes are fun to watch actually pretty well done.  A film of this scale cannot avoid using CGI, but the CGI is not too overdone even when it comes to major villain Doomsday at the climax of the film.  Story-wise however, this film suffers from the same flaw as its predecessor in that it comes up short.  This is the first time that we are seeing these two characters, Batman (played by Ben Affleck) and Superman (reprised by Henry Cavill), on screen together in any live action capacity so there is tons of potential that unfortunately is not capitalized on.  With a running time of 2 hours and 31 minutes, you would expect to see more interaction between these two characters on screen but you are just left wanting more.  They share the screen for such a small fraction of the film that it's disappointing.  It's almost as if director Zack Snyder spent too much time focusing on the set up for the next film installment "Justice League" rather than spend the time building a story around what this film is actually called, "Batman v Superman"... should have been called "Batman Misunderstands Superman" at this point.

One of two large fears I had for this film was "too much, too fast".  With announcements coming out that we would see appearances from not only Batman, Lex Luthor (played by Jesse Eisenberg), and Wonder Woman (played by Gal Gadot) in this movie, we would also be getting our first look at Aquaman, Cyborg, and The Flash.  As I've told a number of people this, too many ingredients can spoil the entree.  Less is more.  However I was happy to see after viewing the film that this is something this film actually does right.  The appearances of Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash are such a small part of the film that is doesn't take away anything from the movie.  The appearances are just enough to acknowledge their existence in this universe then it's on with the show.  While she plays a larger role in the film than the 3 previously mentioned, it was nice to see Wonder Woman properly portrayed in a DC property finally after many failed attempts by Warner Bros. in the past.  Gal Gadot is a great addition to the film and the universe.  Probably the biggest surprise of all though was Lex Luthor played by Jesse Eisenberg.  I was very surprised by that casting and could not picture Eisenberg doing that role justice, but I couldn't have been more wrong.  He plays the part masterfully.

What may come as a shock to some but did not to me was Ben Affleck joining the universe as the Dark Knight.  Many thought this was a poor casting choice but I was in the minority that believed he would kill it as Batman... and I say with pride that I was right.  Affleck's portrayal of both Bruce Wayne and Batman is the most stand out part of this film.  It is a version of Batman we have never seen before but the fans have deserved for a long time.  We are reminded in this film something that previous Batman installments tend to forget and that is Batman is a detective more than anything else.  He is more than just a billionaire vigilante with gadgets.  Dare I say it, this version of Batman played by Ben Affleck may be the best Batman we have seen so far... and I'm saying this as a massive Keaton fan.   If there is anything I would like to see come out of this, it's another stand alone Batman film with Affleck at the helm.

Overall, while enjoyable at times, this film falls short of all the massive hype it is getting.  It's fun at times but the build-up to get to those fun times seems to draw a lot of the breath out of this feature.  It's shades better than Man of Steel so DC is on the right track when it comes to their cinematic universe, but they still have a long way to go.  It's recommended to see in theaters once, but doesn't merit any additional viewings.
OFFICIAL RATING = 5.5 out of 10
(Jump to Bottom for NSFW Trailer)

Deadpool is childish, absurd, juvenile, vulgar… and is worth every brilliant second!!!

Directed by Tim Miller and based upon Marvel Comics’ most unconventional anti-hero, Deadpool tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool.  Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.  Also starring Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, Gina Carano and TJ Miller.

This Rated R (borderline NC-17) Marvel film is just what the comic book fans have been waiting to see, especially when it comes to a proper depiction of the character.  Ryan Reynolds (who also co-produces the film) has been waiting 10 years for a proper telling of this character’s origin and it was well worth the wait.  Also, the studio couldn’t have chosen a better person than Reynolds himself to play the role.  From the first 30 seconds of this movie’s opening, you are already laughing and the laughs just continue all the way thru to the end of the film.  However, that’s not to say that the film can’t find its moments of seriousness when it needs to.  It’s a great balance of humor, action, and story-telling, something many films tend to miss the mark on.  Also, when it comes to explaining the actual origin of the character, the film does a great job in making it easy to understand and comprehend that even viewers not familiar with the character will be able to easily follow and have fun. 

The R rating that this film was given is its saving grace.  While some may not like the vulgar and crude take on a comic book movie making it difficult to bring younger children to enjoy, the character of Deadpool in all of his true, childish glory would not have been able to shine properly on the screen without the rating that it was given.  While fun and hilarious, it is certainly not a movie for younger kids.   In fact, you can tell that Reynolds and Miller definitely pushed the limits of that R Rating by seeing just how much they could get away with.  I for one, feel that a more adult movie is just what comic book fans needed today.  While I enjoy the rest of the Marvel cinematic catalog, sometimes it’s easy to see that the films are catering to a younger demographic and I feel like Deadpool is a great change of pace. 

Lastly, you can’t forget the rest of the cast of characters this film has along for the ride.  From Morena Baccarin as Vanessa (the unconventional yet fitting love of Wade’s life) all the way to the villains played by Ed Skrein (who plays Ajax, the man responsible for Deadpool) and Gina Carano (Angel Dust, lieutenant to Ajax).  Helping Deadpool along the way we also find Brianna Hildebrand (Negasonic Teenage Warhead- Coolest name EVER) and Stefan Kapicic (Colossus).  Lastly we can’t forget about TJ Miller (Weasel) who, next to Reynolds, provides most of the hysterical comic relief this movie has.

Bottom line… Deadpool is a great departure from the typical comic book movie and is worth seeing if not worth seeing multiple times.  Trust me, it may take those multiple times to catch all of the pop culture references and 4th wall breaks that this movie stuffs into it.  It’s vulgar, it’s violent and it’s just plain fun.  I know I’m someone who is easy to please when it comes to films but I’ve thought long and hard about it since seeing it and I can’t think of one negative thing I could throw at it.  Maybe that will change upon multiple viewings but for now that’s the case.  That being said I can only think of one rating I can give this movie…


Fantastic Four is the ‘Daredevil’ of this generation of Marvel and superhero movies… and we’re not talking the Netflix version.

We have had a year full of fun and exciting films, from Avengers: Age of Ultron to the most recent Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, but unfortunately Fantastic Four wraps up the summer season with a weak attempt at a second chance.  Let’s face it, the earlier versions of the Fantastic Four series didn’t exactly set the bar very high to clear, yet even with the bar that low this current reboot still manages to trip on the bar and fall flat on its face. 

I seriously don’t even know where to begin with this review.  I had hoped that this film could make up for the bad taste we had in our mouths from the past versions but all this version does is make me want to watch the old ones again.  Let’s start with the cast…. There is no denying that the cast is a group of heavy hitters, from Miles Teller who just came off hit Oscar nominated film ‘Whiplash’ to Kate Mara (House of Cards) and Michael B Jordon (Fruitvale Station) who are also fan favorites.  But unfortunately a cast is only as good as what they have to work with…. which isn’t much at all. 

The story is weak at best.  It’s no secret that they steered away from the comic source material to put their own spin on an origin story, but where they got their ideas for that different spin, who the f*ck knows.  With a running time of around 106 minutes, almost 100 minutes of it makes up a convoluted, over-drawn character development that shows no development.  We get introduced to these character, find out how they get their new abilities (SPOILER ALERT: They’re drunk… what?!?), then we skip a whole year’s time NEVER even seeing how they focus on them, adjust to them and learn how to use them.  Um hello FOX, as comic book fans WE WANT TO SEE THAT! 

As far as action goes, this is probably the one Marvel movie that has the least amount of action, namely barely any.  The “climax” of the movie is barely that at all.  It builds up to a weak final battle that comes out of nowhere and is also the first real action we see all movie only to fizzle out with a lack-luster conclusion that isn’t even explained how it’s done or what the hell even happens. 

There is so much more to say about this film but I think I’ve gotten the point across.  Die hard comic fans will go to see this movie no matter what the reviews are and while some may enjoy it, most will leave extremely disappointed like myself… and I’m not hard to please (See my review on Pixels).  Bottom line, save your money and time and use it for something more entertaining… like watching grass grow or paint dry.

OFFICIAL REVIEW: 3 out of 10

It is “Impossible” not to enjoy this movie!!! (<-- You see what I did there, right?)

Okay so now let’s get serious… Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation is one of if not the best action movie of the summer.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of the comic book movies that come from the Marvel camp but this movie was just plain exciting and fun.  It's filled with jaw-dropping action, premium stunts (some even performed by Cruise himself!) and elements of comedy that bring the movie back down to earth.  

I honestly never expected this franchise to survive as long as it has since the drop off of the second film in the series.  The first was good, the second I'd skip, however the 3rd film found it's footing once again setting up the awesomeness that was the 4th installment, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol.  And now with Rogue Nation, these films just get better and better with this one that is right on par with Ghost Protol.  Cruise himself proves once again as well by doing his own large stunt that he earns every penny that he earns for these movies.  Cruise has said time and time again that he is very proud of this film franchise and it definitely shows in the production of this most recent one.  Not neglecting the rest of the cast, Tom Cruise is reunited with previous cast members Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Jeremy Renner and new comers Rebecca Ferguson and Alec Baldwin.  Short of The Avengers, this cast has to be one of the strongest emsemble casts of any action movie that we've seen yet.  

All in all, this movie is a blast!  Awesome action, great timed comedic moments... it's worth checking out  on the big screen.  Watch it on IMAX if you can for the full experience.  

OFFICIAL REVIEW:  9 out of 10

Trainwreck is raunchy, it’s dirty… and I loved every minute of it.

If you are a fan of Amy Schumer and her brand of straight forward comedy, then Trainwreck is a movie you are going to love.  Staring alongside Schumer is SNL alum Bill Hader who definitely holds his own against Amy as well as adding his own comedic charm to his role.  Throw in a great supporting cast made up of Brie Larson, Colin Quinn, Vanessa Bayer, Dave Attell, and a nice handful of other up and coming comedians and you’ve got a cast that really holds this whole film together nicely.  However, besides Amy and Bill, the surprise stand out is NBA star LeBron James who definitely holds his own in this cast of comedic chops.

Trainwreck hits on every level.  It most certainly makes you laugh, it will make you cry, and at times will even make you feel completely uncomfortable but in the most fun way.  It’s a movie that you’ll want to see twice just to see what jokes you missed the first time around from laughing through them.  Her first time as a leading lady, Amy Schumer has a sure fire hit on her hands!

OFFICIAL REVIEW = 8 out of 10

Yes it's true... great things come in small packages!

Okay now that that cliche is out of the way, let's talk Marvel's Ant-Man.  So what can I say about this film that would sum everything up?  Marvel's Ant-Man has the comedic charm of "Guardians of the Galaxy" along with the thrilling action of The Avengers, but something new that we haven't seen yet in a film out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.... pure heart!  

While there are some nods to the rest of the MCU (including an appearance from an Avenger and some cameos from other movies on top of that), Ant-Man stands alone apart from the other superheroes we've already seen and it works.  It includes a fantastic cast rounded out by lead Paul Rudd and a solid supporting cast that includes Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll, and Evangeline Lily just to name a few.  Being familiar with the comic source material, Paul Rudd does a great job in portraying the lead of Scott Lang, and the story does one thing better than the latest Avenger movie in that it gives time for proper character development of all the supporting cast.

One thing I was worried about when it came to Ant-Man was the special effects considering the transition from big to tiny and the use of a lot of insects.  The CGI however completely holds up and even does a great job in making Michael Douglas seemlessly look decades younger in one part of the film.

Bottom line is that Ant-Man is just a fun, charming movie that is worth heading out this weekend to see, especially if you are a fan of anything having to do with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  The cast is great, the story is witty, and the action keeps you on the edge of your seat.  But as I mentioned earlier, my favorite part of this movie is the emotion and the heart that it carries that we have not seen come from the MCU.  For that alone it is worth the view.  

Oh yeah and in typical Marvel style... stay all the way to the end for the mid AND after credit cut scene.

OFFICIAL REVIEW: 9 out of 10
I try not to go into movies with high expectation (with the exception of some movies like The Avengers and other Marvel properties) because that is when you end up disappointed.  However I could not help going into this one with very high hopes.  While the last two installment of the franchise (The Last World and Jurassic Park III) were not the greatest of films, I am still a big fan of the Jurassic Park franchise in general.  I mean let’s face it, the original Jurassic Park still holds up in every way to this day.  That being said, I walked into this one with those high hopes and I am happy to say that I did not leave disappointed in the least!  Then again, I am very easy to please haha.

While Jurassic World takes a little bit of time to find its proper pacing, once it does it is all hands on deck and non-stop to the very end.  This film features more dinosaurs than previous installments, after all the park is finally open after 22 years.  The cast is made up of familiar faces from Chris Pratt (Hollywood’s current golden boy), Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Irrfan Khan, Judy Greer, and Jake Johnson as well as some other faces you may recognize from other projects and the cast doesn’t disappoint in their mix of comedic moments to moments of terror.  And let’s just say that if Pratt hasn’t already established himself as a true action star and bad ass, this movie definitely does it for him.  Move over Indiana Jones is all I’m saying.  Btw, to anyone who thought the idea of a “Raptor Wrangler” was dumb, the premise makes more sense after seeing this.

The action of all things does not disappoint in Jurassic World, whether it’s jumping from waterfalls to a massive end of movie battle involving multiple dinosaur species (not saying any more than the fact that it’s AWESOME!).   The score which was originally done by John Williams in previous films is now done by composer Michael Giacchino (Pixar’s “Up”, ABC’s “LOST”) and completely lives up to the emotion of the film.  Being the fan that I am of the franchise, I got chills the moment I heard that famous and well known Jurassic Park suite as part of the film.  Lastly, this film does one thing that its predecessors never did and that is spotlight a little bit of humanity in the dinosaurs themselves.  While it was great treating them as the monsters that they are in the first 3 films, the creatures in this film have evolved much like the franchise itself.  It truly asks the question as to if there ever could be a way for a once extinct species to co-exist with humans today.  We may never know, but I can promise you that after seeing this movie you may question it yourself.  Do yourself a favor and go enjoy what is sure to be this summer’s blockbuster hit.

Final Rating:  Solid 8 out of 10