I will never fully understand the online backlash against the 2016 Ghostbusters remake, and what I understand least of all is this: why did this happen over Ghostbusters?
Don’t get me wrong – the original is a 1980s classic, and I have plenty of sympathy with the idea that it should never have been remade at all.
What I don’t get, though, is why Ghostbusters – a funny, silly, sweet, scary, riotous popcorn movie that welcomes all comers – has attracted the kind of over-entitled fanbase which seems to treat the original as some kind of sacred text, and dedicates itself to keeping the flame of True Ghostbusters Fandom alive.
Whether that small but vocal section of the audience will be satisfied with Ghostbusters: Afterlife – the trailers and pre-publicity for which suggest that ‘fan service’ is high on its makers’ agenda – remains to be seen.
But honestly, to all those about to inundate the web with ‘What the new movie gets WRONG about Ghostbusters’ articles – maybe just pause for a moment and imagine the expression on Dr. Peter Venkman’s face, as you explain to him what you’re doing with your time…
A family’s move to a small Oklahoma town prompts the children to discover their late grandfather’s forgotten legacy in this sequel to the much-loved 1980s blockbuster.
No prizes for guessing who the grandfather is, or what that legacy might be (although how would anyone have forgotten a giant Mr. Stay-Puft walking the streets of New York City?) – and with the town subject to unexplained earthquakes, and reports of strange goings-on in an old mine, it’s soon time for the kids (McKenna Grace and Finn Wolfhard) to dust down those old proton packs.
The trailer suggests this will be Ghostbusters by way of Stranger Things, from the casting of Wolfhard as one of the teenage ‘busters right down to Carrie Coon’s single mum and Paul Rudd’s friendly science teacher.
Expect new spooks, mini marshmallow men and an array of familiar faces in what sounds very much like a passing-of-the-baton exercise – a process replicated behind the camera with Jason Reitman (Juno, Tully) taking over directing duties from his father Ivan.
There’s talk of potential Oscar glory for Will Smith’s acclaimed turn in this sports biopic about Richard Williams, father of Venus and Serena.
The film follows Williams’ determined and tireless efforts to shepherd his two prodigiously talented daughters (played by Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton) from the public courts of Compton to international glory.
While Smith may be the headline act, there’s been plenty of praise too for Sidney and Singleton as the young tennis aces, with reviews suggesting that this is a well-crafted and crowd-pleasing addition to the ever-popular sporting underdog genre.
This fairytale-like drama from French director Céline Sciamma (Girlhood, Portrait of a Lady on Fire) asks a question many of us have wondered while growing up: what if you could meet your mum when she was a kid?
The story centres on eight-year-old Nelly, who is mourning the loss of her beloved grandmother, and finds help and comfort from a new friend she meets one day in the woods – a little girl who is in fact Nelly’s own mother.
Conceived at the start of the pandemic and filmed late last year, Sciamma’s film had critics spellbound when it premiered at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival, with Sight & Sound hailing it as ‘extremely small and exactly perfect’.
There’s another Surprise Film Screening at City Screen on Friday 19th, giving you a chance to see a preview of a mystery upcoming release at a reduced price of £8 (or £5 for members) – but you won’t know what it is until the lights go down. (If I had to take a punt, I’d guess that fans of Lady Gaga, fashion and true crime could be in for a treat…)
City Screen’s Japanese cinema season continues on Sun 21st with a screening of another classic from Akira Kurosawa, the legendary director whose samurai epics have inspired many a Hollywood remake – Throne of Blood is his take on Macbeth, transposing Shakespeare’s tale of vaulting ambition to feudal Japan and starring Kurosawa’s regular collaborator Toshirô Mifune as the murderous warrior.
There’s also a chance to see the latest work by an acclaimed contemporary Japanese director at City Screen on Tues 23rd – Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s Drive My Car follows the growing bond between a grieving theatre director and his chauffeur, and won rave reviews following its premiere at Cannes this year, where it also bagged the Best Screenplay award.
A very different sort of two-hander is on offer in this week’s big reissue, Rocky IV: Rocky vs. Drago (Director’s Cut) – showing at Vue (Sat 20th, Tues 23rd) and Cineworld (Thurs 25th), this rejigged version of the Philadelphia bruiser’s 1985 outing apparently significantly reworks the original movie, with 42 minutes of new footage promised.
And finally, it’s raining cats and dogs and, er, elves in your budget family-friendly fare this week. Cineworld’s Movies For Juniors offerings are Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds and Tom & Jerry: The Movie (Sat 20th/Sun 21st, £2.50), and the clunkily titled Dennis & Gnasher: Unleashed! Operation Noise is showing in Vue’s Mini Mornings strand (Sat 20th/Sun 21st, £2.49).
Meanwhile, City Screen’s Kids’ Club has last year’s Pixar adventure Onward on Sat 20th, and their Autism-Friendly screening this month is Paw Patrol: The Movie, showing on Sun 21st (both films £3.00).