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Movie Reviews: Phase IV + Ghostbusters (2016) + John Curry: The Ice King + Leatherface (2017)

Phase IV (1974)
An emotionally brutal film about scientists looking into killer ants. Ants have become intelligent and their threat goes up. There are lots of ant close-ups. 2 scientists show up and utter ominous dialogue. A town’s population has fled. There are weird monoliths, a grass circle, a horse is shot, ants chew a house down and eat non-ant life whilst bothering the humans. A truck crashes, poison is sprayed, there is green stuff and biohazard suits.

Ants crawl into people. Oh gross. A teen girl is the sole survivor of a town. There is pervy decontamination. One scientist pervs over the girl. There is a yellow poison that kills the ants. The ants sacrifice themselves to find a way to overcome the poison. A scientist lies. The ants mourn their dead. Things go badly and the ants are now the dominant species. Saul Bass directed this bizarre entertaining film that ends on a note of two survivors (one of whom is Lynne Frederick) being turned into any/human hybrids.

Best Lines:
“Deciphering the ant language.”

“Absolutely cannot live.”

“High class bug talk.”

“Doing things ants don’t do.”

“Biological control.”

“Biological imbalance.”

“Any potential consequences.”

“People are dead back there.”
“Yes. Tragedy.”

~
Ghostbusters (2016)
This okay reboot that nobody asked for plays like an extended French And Saunders skit. One has a legitimate concern: why does this film exist? It is very colourful and has obvious VFX, slime and a number of consequences for one character being an annoying smartass. Said character is Erin, an abhorrent scientist who once wrote a book about the paranormal.

Charles Dance and Andy Garcia show up briefly. The original cast have various cameos including the late Harold Ramis as a bust. Erin has growing concerns about being seen as a nutter. Then there is annoying blonde character who seems to solely exist to attract the attention of cosplayers.

Another character is a terrifyingly cheerful eccentric. This doesn’t seem a lived in world. Erin is not emotionally open. The vexed topic of this reboot’s existence overshadows it. Erin is a voracious maw of ignoble need. This is never very good but never entirely awful. The apparently awful Erin has an irrational meltdown. This film is about troubled oddballs finding fulfilment by pursuing an unlikely ambition.

There is Pringles product placement and ghosts. There are no positive attitudes towards ghost hunting by the public. Erin’s fired by her university and wears stupid heels. Never the less she and her ‘friends’ persist in ghost hunting. Erin gets a hostile reception from people. This is quite tolerable. Men have characteristic jerkishness. Other women are also fired by a bitterly hostile man for being into ghost hunting.

A subway workers joins forces with them and the foursome become ghost hunters with less thought and preparation than reasonably intelligent sheep. Patty the subway worker makes banal observations. The women face a deluge of derision and rumbles of outrage. Cosplay woman is barely useless. Downright loathsome ghosts lurk as a nagging concern. There is a conspiracy by a boring crazy dude.

They try to rent the firehouse but it is way too expensive for them. They hire an idiot secretary Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) who is really stupid and unfunny. This is a noticeable improvement on ‘Ghostbusters II’. They get their logo and their outfits and their hearse car and the trap and the containment unit and proton packs. Erin tells a disturbing ghost story. The media give them the Ghostbusters name. There is a bad remix of the theme song.

The logistical challenge of fighting ghosts tells on them. There is a hilarious Ozzy cameo. ‘Ghostbusters II’ squandered time. There is no emotional reckoning only dissembling in this film. There is no congeniality. The mayor has exigencies of self-interest. The gang face stark unfairness. Cosplay woman has steely determination to annoy. They face only criticism and never praise. There is no broader moral or ethical perspective about ghosts being dead people. This has no emotional memory of the original as the foursome vie for glory. The afterlife is traumatically revealed to the public, nobody cares.

Kevin being dumb wears thin. Ley lines are important. There is relentless pressure but there are weird mirrors that remind me of Battle Beasts holograms. Scorn and mockery flow. The baddie comprehensively fails and he is not reasonable. There is no rarefied air of contentment as the foursome fail to advance in career or status. There is no utter inner contentment.

There is possession, a bemused mayor, ghost rats, Slimer, evil balloons and bad situational judgement. People make impassive faces at the Staypuff Marshmallow Man and Erin at one point wears a Ghostbusters outfit she shouldn’t have had access to. There are no tranquil pleasures as they fight the ghosts. There are blu-ray and Woolworth ads, property destruction, very stupid dialogue and this was not intellectually stimulating.

Lady Slimer shows up and there is a sequel hook. Hair goes grey for no reason. There is uber-confidence and the obviously devastating battle is shrugged off. Erin is permanently angry. Kevin is toxic and negative. There is no complete self-assurance. Sadly there will be no sequel with Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnion.

Best Lines:
“I’ve heard terrible things about you.”

“Don’t get weird on me.”

“Anti-Irish security fence.”

“Face bidet.”

“First had the idea to enslave elephants.”

“I thought I burned it. Both copies.”
“It’s on Amazon.”

“More prestigious than Princeton?”

“Makes me look like a crazy person.”

“Just floating there.”

“The last Dean went to jail.”

“You were never invited!”

“You spell science with a y.”

“Made him soil himself.”

“I didn’t even know it did that.”

“Saw this on Reddit.”

“Corporal aggression.”

“Walking sewage.”

“When the Fourth Cataclysm commences.”

“Like biblically bad.”

“The rent is 21,000 a month.”

“Pull it out.”

“A submarine for fish.”

“So unsanitary down there.”

“Untested nuclear laser.”

“The 12 year reputation of this fine institution.”

“The 3rd scariest thing on that train.”

“Not into that conversation.”

“Work for Vienna sausages.”

“Don’t hit Patty anywhere important.”

“That man went out the wrong door.”

“Like Patrick Swayze.”

“Use a distinctly un-American sounding siren.”

“Spectral polar bear.”

“Malevolent apparitions.”

“It’s always the sad pale ones,”

“Someone who might care.”

“Hate to see the smart ones go bad.”

“People can be terrible.”

“That’s so not good.”

“Please don’t be like the Mayor in ‘Jaws’!”

“What’s Zuul?”

“Ghost pilgrims.”

“I’d talk to you at an AA meeting.”

“I ain’t afraid of no ghost.”

~
John Curry: The Ice King (2017)
A documentary about the late Olympian who whined a lot and want to EST. He won Olympic gold and set up an ice dancing business. Curry got a lover nobody liked. Curry was a sexist jerk. This bored.

Best Lines:
“Better stop quick.”

“Rest of your life will be a living hell.”

“Everything was unpleasant.”

“The difficulty of what I was doing.”

“Choreographed it on the airplane between Manhattan and Denver.”

~
Leatherface (2017)
This is an unwanted prequel to the raw brutal classic. A weird family lurk and serve up creepy birthday 'cake' and menace a ‘guest’ with a chainsaw. The family have hostility and are angry, aggravated, isolated and living in a self-constructed bubble whilst being extraordinarily aggressive. There is excessive gore and no complex narrative structure. One gets the feeling this was reshot and re-edited.

Stephen Dorff plays an aggressive cop whose dumb daughter is killed by the family in 1955. The family is headed up by Lili Taylor. There is no solemn dignity just unreasoning rage. The film has one effective scare, a creepy costume. The cop rages at the trash clan and has the children taken into care. 10 years pass and a nurse at a reform school tries to care for the crazy kids.

There is casual menace at the mental asylum of horrors. There is precocity and long term implications and no sense. The loonies escape. This has possibility but the re-shoots and added gore ruin this. The actively psychotic types cause huge frustration. It is hinted at who the future Leatherface is.

There is sex and strobe lightening and an annoying psycho woman. There is a twist about who the future Leatherface is. He was a damaged boy who through trauma, abuse and losing people he cared about became a monster. Why was this needed? Leatherface was scarier having no backstory or pragmatic thinking. No to this.

Best Lines:
“Your dirty pigs.”

“Your filthy family.”

“You done good.”

“That ain’t no crime I heard of.”

“Product of degenerate parentage.”

“Said some things I didn’t care for.”

“I can afford me a lawyer now.”

“Degenerate criminal family.”
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