(PG-13; 105 minutes; Sony): In the remake-slash-reboot of the 1984 paranormal smash comedy “Ghostbusters,” the four exterminators with the quips, the coveralls, and the proton packs are female. Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones replace Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson. And under the game guidance of Paul Feig, who directed McCarthy and Wiig in Bridesmaids and McCarthy again in Spy, the re-gendering of Ghostbusters proves to be more than a gimmick.
Abby Yates (McCarthy) and Erin Gilbert (Wiig), colleagues and coauthors of a book that tries to prove ghosts are real, are joined by Abby's assistant, the strenuously goofy Jillian Holtzmann (McKinnon). They are joined by the brassy MTA subway worker Patty (Jones), who displays a knowledge of the phantasmagoric and who has access to a vehicle to convey the Ghostbusters and their nuclear-powered gizmos around town. Yes, it's a hearse. Chris Hemsworth shows up as Kevin, the receptionist.
The villain of the new Ghostbusters is a pasty-faced social reject named Rowan (Neil Casey), who works as a bellhop at a spooky hotel and who is plotting to let loose an army of phantoms, just for the heck of it.
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The special effects – the laser blasts, the ghost monsters, ghost humans, ghost blobs – are state-of-the-art and cheesy at the same time. As with the original, the visuals don't get in the way of the comedy. McCarthy, Wiig, McKinnon and Jones bring a spirit of spontaneity to their interactions.
Contains supernatural action and some crude humor. Philadelphia Inquirer
‘The Legend of Tarzan’
(PG-13; 109 minutes; Lionsgate): The vine-swinging character of Tarzan first appeared on the silver screen nearly 100 years ago, in 1918. Which is perhaps why this 2016 reboot, “The Legend of Tarzan,” feels woefully out of touch.
Writers Adam Cozad and Craig Brewer have decided that the way to bring Tarzan into a contemporary sensibility is to stuff his story inside a bizarre revisionist history fantasy, where the native African Congolese tribes overthrow the exploitative Belgian colonialists.
Enormous Swede Alexander Skarsgard doffs his shirt as the titular Tarzan, aka Lord Greystoke, John Clayton III. But he’s incredibly boring in this role. There’s no fire in his eyes, no wild abandon, no rakish sexiness. Fortunately, he’s surrounded by Margot Robbie as his feisty wife, Jane, and Samuel L. Jackson as an American Civil War vet, George Washington Williams.
The film is stunningly shot, all sweeping vistas and spectacular combat, but the pacing of it feels so, so off. Ultimately, this film feels both misguided and slapdash, and the good parts – impressive CGI gorillas, Jackson’s humor, Robbie’s sass, or even Skarsgard’s abs – aren’t enough to muddle through this overly complicated and dull-as-dirt story.
Contains sequences of action and violence, some sensuality and brief rude dialogue. Tribune News Service
(R 127 minutes; Broad Green): “The Infiltrator” is a smart, engrossing, fact-based glimpse into the 1980s world of Colombian drug trafficking and money laundering.
Bryan Cranston plays Robert Mazur,, a U.S. Customs Service special agent who helped take a bite out of the Medellín cartel in 1986 by passing himself off as Bob Musella, a businessman who laundered money for some of the most trusted associates in Pablo Escobar’s lucrative criminal empire.
Cranston’s career-crowning performance in “Breaking Bad” doesn’t eclipse his fine work here so much as give it a sly intertextual frisson. It’s Cranston’s most accomplished and subtly layered film performance to date.
The true subject of “The Infiltrator,” adapted from Mazur’s 2009 memoir, isn’t really the war on drugs or the sick soul of ’80s materialism; it’s about the thrill of donning a dangerous persona and embracing it to the hilt, and then slowly, grimly realizing that you may have played your part rather too well.
Contains strong violence, language throughout, some sexual content and drug material. Los Angeles Times
‘Ice Age 5: Collision Course’
(PG; 100 minutes; 20th Century Fox): The first “Ice Age” film – the 2002 animated family adventure, featuring a great voice cast led by Ray Romano, Denis Leary, and John Leguizamo as a trio of misfit prehistoric creatures – was inventive, humorous and full of heart.
Four film sequels and 14 years later, the best I can say of “Ice Age: Collision Course” is that it has nice coloring and good picture contrast. An empty, boring, limping exercise in futility, the fifth Ice Age entry is a picture in search of a reason to exist. None is forthcoming.
The three original stars are still on board – Romano returns as Manny the mammoth, Leguizamo as Sid the giant ground sloth, and Leary as saber-toothed tiger Diego. Also back is a raft of costars who have joined Ice Age along the way, including Queen Latifah as Manny's mammoth wife, Ellie; Wanda Sykes as Sid's granny; Simon Pegg as Buck the weasel; and Jennifer Lopez as Diego's mate, the fierce tiger Shira.
“Ice Age: Collision Course” winds its way through its singularly unexciting story line with tired dialogue, flat jokes, and surprisingly uninventive visuals.
This isn't a film. It's a glorified Saturday-morning cartoon – and a mediocre one at that.
Contains mild rude humor and some action/peril. Philadelphia Inquirer
Also out Oct. 11
- “Blood Father”
- “Broken Vows”
- “Mike & Molly: Season 6”
- “Good Witch: Season 2”
- “Feed the Beast: Season 1”
- “Scott & Bailey: Season 5”
- “The Muskateers: Season 3”
- “Hillary’s America”