Tag Archives: Mike Reyes

Cocktails And Movies Review: “Ghostbusters (2016)” – We’re Ready To Believe Them

by Mike Reyes

While it’s not the perfect savior some hoped for, and not the total garbage fire its nay-sayers wish it was, Ghostbusters is a solid action / comedy that we more than welcome during the summer season. 

I absolutely dreaded seeing Ghostbusters. Ever since I’d heard Paul Feig was directing it, scripting it, and had carte blanche with what he wanted to do with it, I started having flashbacks to how much I despised Bridesmaids. It certainly didn’t help when the commercials and trailers to the film didn’t make it look appealing in any shape or form. Yet here we are: I’ve seen Ghostbusters, had time to digest the film, and speaking as a fan of the original franchise, I want more.

Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) used to be the best of friends, sharing an interest in the study of the paranormal. Then, life and the prospect of tenure got in the way, separating the two of them in their respective niches of respectability. Of course, that was all before the moment that both women realized that ghosts are real, and they’re mad as hell. With their discovery comes a herald of doom, some toys cooked up by the crafty and demented Jillian Holtzman (Kate McKinnon,) and some New York knowledge from Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones.) All of which leads to the biggest paranormal event that the world has ever seen, and only four women to answer the call.

Ghostbusters 16 HeaderBefore we go any further, I need to applaud Paul Feig, Katie Dippold, and the entire cast and crew of Ghostbusters, as they’ve taken so much guff from the online community in the past couple of months that it must have been difficult to handle it with such restraint. Yet you can see why they defended their work so staunchly, or at least I could after I sat down to watch a new spin on a childhood favorite. There were two roads this film could have taken: a straight up “characters and all” remake, or a reboot that liberally borrows from the original film, while being its own animal. Most thankfully, it’s the latter option that was chosen, and it has made all the difference.

Ghostbusters is not without its flaws, as the film takes a while to find its metaphorical groove. The weakest points of the film are the most Feigian of moments where the humor is more improv than script based, leading to scenes where the film drags and doesn’t score a laugh. However, it’s also Feig and Dippold’s touch that lead not only to the really funny moments in the film, but also the more serious and effecting moments in the film. There was even a moment that got me to feel a little emotional, as a heroic act turned into a full blown IMAX 3D spectacle that still kept sight of the most important weapon in the Feig / Dippold arsenal: their characters.

Ghostbusters Effects HeaderIn fact, if there was one big criticism that I have of Ghostbusters is that it has moments that almost beg for the respect of fans that are either here to see a Paul Feig movie or are here to see a Ghostbusters movie. This movie can be both, it just needs to make better decisions as to when to play to which strengths. There really didn’t need to be cameos from each surviving member of the original cast, though Sigourney Weaver and Ernie Hudson’s cameos are the ones I wouldn’t trade for the world, especially the former. Still, when this movie made me cringe, it was full on “do not want” mode, as the moments that don’t work are obviously products of the recent trends of awkward comedy that doesn’t know when to end at one punchline.

Yet for every botched joke or blatant callback, there’s a moment of fun and, dare I say, actual emotion and cameraderie, that makes up for it. This team is one hell of a ghost busting team. While I had a healthy amount of skepticism going into Ghostbusters, walking out I had a greater amount of respect. When I was a kid, I admired and loved watching Ray, Peter, Egon, and Winston bust some ghostly ass. As an adult, I still admire and love the original 1984 classic, and even its 1989 sequel. But this new cast of Ghostbusters really has me revved for the possibilities of an entirely new franchise. New adventures with new spectres and spooks that deviate from what we’ve already seen. More importantly, a sequel to this Ghostbusters film could provide us with a film that truly allows Paul Feig and Katie Dippold to delve into the darker aspects they scrape the surface of in this film, all the while providing the humor that this film brought to the table.

I want more Ghostbusters. I want more of Paul Feig’s sharp suited wearing direction, coupled with a sharper approach to his writing with Katie Dippold. I want to strap on a Proton Pack and fight alongside Abby, Erin, Jillian and Patty. Most importantly, I want more of the fun that I didn’t know I was going to have while watching this film, because I had tons of it once the film found its rhythm. Given the right encouragement, the next Ghostbusters movie could really break some new ground.

Go see Ghostbusters. Go see it in IMAX 3D, as it’s some of the most impressive usage of both filmmaking tools. It may be a bit messy and clunky at times, but it’s worlds away from what some would have you believe it is.  This movie deserves a healthy box office life, because I ain’t ‘fraid of no sequels.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Cocktails And Movies Review: “10 Cloverfield Lane” – A Taut, Unexpected Thrill Ride That Delivers, And Then Some

by Mike Reyes

Don’t let the title fool you, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a film that’ll thrill fans and win detractors of the film’s 2008 namesake.

It’s hard to preface a review of 10 Cloverfield Lane, solely because what you bring into your viewing of the film will effect how you process the rest of the proceedings. Not to mention, the film’s marketing campaign has been built on a brute force, last minute blitz of secrecy and shock. So instead of the usual pre-amble that I would take my time to weave here, I’m going to tell you the one thing you need to know about Dan Trachtenberg’s directorial debut: you absolutely need to fucking see it.

Mike Reyes Elevated to Senior Writer at Cocktails and Movies

Mike Reyes, Cocktails and Movies

Mike, after a double feature of Cocktails and Movies.

Mike Reyes has officially been elevated to the role of Senior Writer at Cocktails and Movies. Finding Cocktails and Movies by chance on Facebook, he has been a fan of the site since its inception. Mike has been instrumental in helping to shape the content and message of Cocktails and Movies for all of 2013 and has become an invaluable resource for movie reviews, opinions and has delivered some great picks for our “Take Out Theater” segments.

Mike considers himself a Whovian, may or may not be a Time Lord, and his work can also be found at What Culture? He is also active on Twitter at Mr. Controversy and The Bookish Kind. Living in New Jersey, Mike heads up the East Coast Cocktails and Movies group, and has put together some great outings in his short time.

In addition to his role as Senior Writer, Mike will also act as the Indie Film liaison, reaching out to productions and production companies to work with them to help promote their films and projects.

Please welcome Mike to the Cocktails and Movies group!

Bash of the Titans: Variety’s Problem With “Pacific Rim”

Down…But Not Out. Pacific Rim Needs Its Fanbase To Show Up, Or Lose To Sandler and Company.

 By Mike Reyes

Last week I came across a Variety article that one of my writer friends posted on Facebook. The article, Pacific Rim: Looking Grim With $25-$35 Million Opening”, proceeded to basically bag on the prospects of the film being anything remotely near a hit. Author Andrew Stewart predicted that the film would open with a rather low grossing, while Grown Ups 2 would supposedly open at a “low $40’s” mark, taking away whatever business Despicable Me 2 takes in at the top this (past) weekend. Basically, Stewart was saying that while World War Z enjoyed a success against an industry all too ready to bury it, Pacific Rim didn’t stand a chance of having that same success. Then again, Stewart didn’t seem to think World War Z would make it past the low $40’s, only to be proven wrong that weekend with $66.4 million raked in. Well in this case, he was right. Pacific Rim opened with a 3rd place finish of $37.3 million and Grown Ups 2 opened with a $41.5 million showing at 2nd place.  

 

It seemed as if Pacific Rim had the same problem as World War Z did before its release: there were two different versions that existed in our world. On one hand, there was the Pacific Rim that people seemed amped up for, driving the Internet narrative to help believe that maybe this could break the death sentence the industry was all too ready to pass on it. This was the same Pacific Rim that had been exploding the minds of critics and personalities alike. The Pacific Rim that had pulled quotes from TONS of critics, instead of the cheap marketing trick of pulling multiple quotes from the same review. (Next time you see a movie commercial with pull quotes, look at the bottom of each quote. If there’s an uninterrupted string of quotes without a name at the bottom, followed by one with a name… you’ve just been shouted at by the same critic and made to think it was several.) The Pacific Rim that somehow had pleased Kanye West, Jon Favreau and Hideo Kojima (of Metal Gear Solid fame), three artists of differing reputations in different realms, into trumpeting its praises through the Twitters.

On the other hand, there was the Pacific Rim that people were somehow looking down upon in favor of another lukewarm Adam Sandler vehicle where he’s married to a ridiculously gorgeous/out of his league type and gets to make funny noises. The Grown Ups 2 that Andrew Stewart saw was somehow a superior financial product that was on the road for success. His weapon? Advanced tracking numbers. These “numbers” were the Silver Bullet that Stewart fired to try and kill Pacific Rim‘s chances in his analysis, his coup d’grace being the following:Paramount managed to parlay strong early reviews for “World War Z” into a surprising $66 million domestic opening. But to be clear, an opening like that is not in the cards for “Pacific Rim” — not with competition from “Despicable Me 2″ and “Grown Ups 2”. 

I’m not Andrew Stewart. I don’t have access to the polling data he does, so my predictions are naturally going to be sloppier than his. What I do have though is eyes and a mind, and you don’t even need those to see that while Pacific Rim might not be the runaway hit of the Summer, it stands to make a decent amount of money and please a fanbase that’s been pulling for it since its inception. In fact, at the time of this writing, the film has made a comfortable $53 million from Overseas receipts alone. Combined with the $41.3 million it’s made so far Domestically, you’re looking at a $94.3 million figure out of $190 million budgeted. Now more than ever, films are depending on International monies in order to become more profitable productions. It’s why films like Looper and Iron Man 3 have taken production credits from Japanese companies, as well as filmed excusive sequences for their localized releases in that country. With the Chinese market opening up to Hollywood product ever increasingly, it’s not wise to just put your eggs in one basket.

Pacific Rim isn’t out of the woods yet, but in the big picture, it’s doing better than Grown Ups 2. While the latter film is a cheaper production (both in budget and in actual content), which makes for an easy Domestic hit, it’s made a horrific $1.7 million, bringing its total gross to about $48 million. Again, the big picture shows us something entirely different than the narrative we’ve been given, and that picture shows us that the bigger picture is just that. While Pacific Rim isn’t exactly a record breaking film, what with a consistent 3rd place finish, it still denotes something that the market has long since written off as a liability: curiosity. Curiosity is what got people into the seats for World War Z, and gave it not only its initial Domestic 2nd place finish, but a healthy 3rd place finish the same weekend The Heat and White House Down opened. Curiosity made hits like Cloverfield, Titanic, and even Independence Day (the film to which this movie owes a huge debt of success to) eventually succeed.

Granted, those films opened with stronger showings, but Del Toro’s film doesn’t need to rise to #1. It just needs to make it through the next couple weekends of lite competition with consistent performances. Red 2, R.I.P.D, and The Wolverine don’t seem poised to be amazing Blockbuster hits. If anything, they seem to be set up as modest to low range hits. In fact, the only real competition there seems to be is Elysium, which should bring in some August dollars no problem. This is the time of year Warner Brothers brings out the big guns of Summer, and the reason is because the bigger, badder “assured” hits have come and gone. This is the time to experiment, much as Warner Brothers did with The Dark Knight back in 2008. While Batman Begins was a modest hit, no one could have predicted just how big of a hit The Dark Knight would go on to become from that initial success. Warner Brothers was confident enough to make a bet on Christopher Nolan’s vision, just as they were confident enough to make that same bet on Pacific Rim.

So I say, let’s not leave Warner Brothers high and dry. Let’s MAKE Pacific Rim a hit, by both word of mouth and repeat business. Instead of just letting the industry tell us we’re not going to see this movie, let’s turn the Internet chatter into actual numbers. If you’ve ever complained about the lack of original content, if you’ve ever felt like Guillermo Del Toro is a great filmmaker that is overdue for his moment in the limelight, and if you just like a fun time at the movies, it is your duty to get out there and see this movie. If people could help World War Z buck the odds and the bad press surrounding it, surely we could do the same for a film that actually manages to be good! Pacific Rim might have the industry out to bring it down, but if the fans and those who are simply curious show up in droves this weekend (and the weekend after that), we might just have to re-think how we track the industry.

 

Cocktails and Movies Weekend Flicks To Pick

BY TIM BARLEY AND MIKE REYES

It’s time for Cocktails and Movies to give you a little nudge in our “Flicks to Pick.”

cocktails and movies white-house-down

It’s the boys…

Time to prepare for an action packed weekend of Flicks to Pick! Cocktails ready? Check. Movies? Picked out. Gun, Badge, and Spanx? Already on. Rocket Launcher? Um… we lost it? And, as always we’re ready to throw down some differing predictions. As always, you can challenge us on whether we know what we are doing or not in the comments section below, or find us on Facebook or Twitter (@cocktailsmovies). Use the hashtag #flickstopick to join in the conversation.

the heat cocktails and movies

…vs the girls.

After a weekend of monsters and zombies overrunning the screens of America, it’s time to scale things back down to a more manageable level. Something along the lines of mass governmental property damage and improper interrogation techniques. Yeah, that’s the ticket! In fact, that’s exactly what we’ll get out of this weekend’s two big contenders for the “Flicks To Pick” top spot. Let’s meet them, shall we?