Punch Drunk DVDs: 'Ghostbusters', 'The Legend of Tarzan', And 'Ice Age: Collision Course'


In this surprisingly conversational reboot of the beloved 80’s property, Kristen Wiig stars as a university professor who reunites with her now-crazy former partner (Melissa McCarthy) and her friends (Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones) to form the titular team of paranormal investigators. When ghosts from New York’s part start popping up on a regular basis, the Ghostbusters must fight to send the spirits back from where they came from before an even bigger threat takes hold.

We Said: “While it's understandable that some out there will be skeptical about this new, modern Ghostbusters, sometimes the best thing to do is trust in the talent. […] Don't worry; your childhoods will remain intact.” Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The Good: Obviously, this movie had some very big shoes to fill, and with all the negative press surrounding the film, I went in expecting very little and was pleasantly surprised to see that 2016’s Ghostbusters is actually pretty alright. Fans of previous collaborations between writer/director Paul Feig and star Melissa McCarthy will certainly find a lot to enjoy, but personally the standout to me was Kate McKinnon. She is a Ghostbuster. She steals every scene she’s in and is certain to be a popular Halloween costume for years to come. Additionally, Thor’s Chris Hemsworth showcases his surprisingly spot-on comedic sensibilities as the team’s dumb secretary. Ultimately, although it is unnecessary, there is a great deal of fun to be had with this reboot.

The Bad: Of course, when compared to the original film, this new Ghostbusters is rather weak, with an over-complicated plotline, and sometimes truly groan-worthy humor. To their credit, a good half of the cast seems to be really trying hard to land this iffy script, but everyone else seems to be fully aware of how miscast they are, and phone it in like crazy. The callbacks to the original film are misguided and the super-villain subplot slows the movie to a screeching halt. This is a movie filled with missed opportunities. I’m not mad at you 2016 Ghostbusters, just disappointed.

Overall: Ghostbusters is perfectly okay. It certainly does have some excellent performances and fun sequences throughout it, but never it all never fully comes together as a whole. That being said, if you can mange to put the first movie out of your mind and instead just focus on this movie, and the goofy scifi fun its having, Ghostbusters can be an enjoyable ride.

A sequel of sorts to the classic story of the man raised by apes, Legend of Tarzan focuses on the hero (now living in high society England under the name John Clayton alongside his wife Jane) reluctantly returning to the Congo as suggested to him by American explorer George Williams (Samuel L Jackson). Little do they know, the request for the famed Tarzan’s return to his jungle home is a trap, set by Christoph Waltz’s villainous Captain Rom and an old adversary  from his past (Djimon Hounsou).

 We Said: “It's an impressive spectacle, for sure, but also serves to highlight The Legend of Tarzan's inability, or unwillingness, to be more than just a standard adventure film rather than a fresh take on the character.” Rating: 3 out of 5

The Good: I was surprised at how enjoyable a lot of Legend of Tarzan actually was. A great deal of the action and drama are rather captivating. Director David Yates really managed to turn the very dated and potentially boring Tarzan story into something really engaging. There were many sequences of the movie that had me at the edge of me seat, totally into the action on screen. When an adventure story manages that, it’s really something to applaud. Alexander Skarsgard gives a excellent (and ab-tastic) performance in the title role, and Margot Robbie manages to elevate her Jane into more than just the plot device the story wants her to be. I’d literally watch her in anything. She’s always great and this film is no exception. Overall it’s an entertaining movie to have watched.

The Bad: Legend of Tarzan makes some very questionable decisions over the course of its runtime. Top of the list, of course, is its decision to be a sequel to the story of Tarzan, as opposed to the actual story. That’s a very strange choice, and the plot that was invented for this movie instead is pretty weak and confusing. It also interjects elements of historical fiction throughout for reasons beyond my understanding. Both Sam Jackson’s comic relief character and Christoph Waltz’s villain were actual historical figures who lived through that time, and have true stories far more complex and compelling than the one’s assigned to the stock characters the movie portrays them as. My biggest problem with it, however, is its halfhearted attempts at modernizing the sensibilities of the very outdated source material. We’re left with a movie that uncomfortably doesn’t know what to say about itself. Legend of Tarzan is rather awkward.

Overall: Although the script is messy and makes some distracting decisions, the direction and lead performances in The Legend of Tarzan elevate the movie to a place where its action is truly exciting to watch. If you don’t think about it too hard, Legend of Tarzan is pretty fun.

The Ice Age gang is back in their strangest adventure yet. Manny the mammoth’s daughter is now grown up and getting married, with their good friend Sid the sloth planning the whole event. Of course, everything falls apart when ever-unlucky acorn hunter Scrat somehow manages to accidentally launch himself into space, sending an asteroid hurtling straight to prehistoric earth on the day of the wedding. Hilarity ensues.

We Said: The overwhelming sense of "who cares; it's just for kids" comes off of Ice Age: Collision Course like cold wind off a glacier. […]It's a Mc-movie, designed more for superficial appeal and mass-production than for any long-term nutritive value.  It maybe fine once in a while, but you probably don't want to encourage a taste for it.” Rating: 2 out of 5