Tag Archives: Bill Murray

Who Ya Gonna Call? Bill Murray… But he probably won’t answer

matt

Part of me is annoyed at Bill Murray, and part of me sympathizes with why he’s turned his back on the long-gestating “Ghostbusters 3.”

The latest news, as reported by IGN.com, is that production for the long-talked-about sequel will begin summer 2013 and will do so without Murray.

My inner fanboy is crying out, “Why not do this for the fans, Bill?! We all are dyeing to see you back as Dr. Peter Venkman. We love you, and we love you in this unforgettable role. We are the ones who put all that money in your pocket. We’re the ones who waited in line and spent our hard-earned money to see your movies. We made you who you are, and you owe us — even if you’re not crazy about doing it.”

But  the truth is, we paid our money to see Bill Murray because he’s an incredible talent. I’m a huge fan of his, and I trust him. I believe when he makes a movie, it’s going to be a good one. I’m looking forward to his next movie, “Hyde Park on the Hudson,” in which he plays Franklin D. Roosevelt. There’s already early Oscar buzz surrounding his name. This is a man whose made some amazing movies, has incredible range, and always delivers a good performance — even if the movie isn’t great.

So I have to trust that he’s making the right choice to not take part in Ghostbusters 3. There have been so many prequels, sequels and spin-offs that I’m confident to say I could have lived without a third installment in the franchise. I’m sure it would be much better with Murray back in the cast, but it’s not going to ruin my day.

As a public, we often get the feeling that we’re entitled to the work of an artist. We feel that authors, artists and movie makers owe us their work, but it’s really not true. The greatest creations are those born naturally. It goes back to the old saying that sequels are never as good as the original, and it’s true for the most part. The reason being is that great original works are organic. When a spin-off is born out of request by the public or the demand for more dollars by a studio, it’s usually watered down, forced, and not fresh.

All great artists produce work that satisfies them. Stanley Kubrick never set out to please studios with his films. Pablo Picasso didn’t paint more or pursue surrealism because people demanded it. They created because they were artists, and people enjoyed their work because they were great at it. Bill Murray’s his own man, and I can’t help but respect him for it.

I look forward to the rest of Bill Murray’s career much more than I long for a third Ghostbusters movie.

Top 5 Technologies that Changed Movies Forever

Brian

What will Superman change in now that phonebooths are all gone?

5. The Cell Phone: This isn’t really a technology that was directly made for the cinema but it changed the way movies were written. No longer are characters tied to desks, telephone booths, or home phones. All conversations can take place anywhere at anytime and are untraceable. Stop and think about how many movies in the last 10-15 years could not have been made without a cell phone. Almost every modern crime, action, and horror film completely relies on them. Also, cell phones have to be accounted for somewhere in the story. A character will almost always show that they can’t retrieve signal on their cell phone, lose it, or damage it in order for the plot to progress where they are helpless and alone or the audience’s first question is, “Why don’t they just call for help on their cell phone?”

4. Panaglide: I’m sure some of you are saying, “What the hell is Panaglide?” Well, Panaglide was a steadicam that attached by harness to a cinematographer to allow them to have isolation between the movement of the camera and the movement of the operator. This allowed them to get shots that were previously considered impossible. In the past, sets had to be created to allow for fluid movement of the camera and space for dolly tracking and cranes so that it wasn’t done handheld with the “shaky cam” effect. Panaglide solved that problem by creating smooth motion with one operator in cramped spaces. A great example of Panaglide is the opening sequence of the horror classic “Halloween”. The technology allowed the Director of Photography (Dean Cundey) to smoothly move from outside the house, inside and through it, have a murder scene, and then exit the house in one continuous shot in cramped space on location without dolly track on a very limited budget. Remember that great shot in Goodfellas where we are introduced to all the mob characters in one shot? Panaglide. Remember that great shot in Boogie Nights at the pool party that kept going for almost three minutes and underwater? Panaglide. It changed how films were made forever.

3. Surround Sound: I remember like it was yesterday the first movie I heard in full Dolby Digital surround sound. It was the terrific film Star Trek: First Contact. I was sitting in the theater and the moment the opening credits started I got goosebumps. The theater was completely alive with sound coming from all directions with crystal clear clarity. Unlike the days of stereo, when a spaceship flew by it felt like it went right over your head and through the theater. It immersed you in the experience of the story in a more complete way. Surround sound also changed the way directors and sound engineers created their movies. Effects and sounds had to be thought of in a 360 degree environment where the audience was just as invested with their ears as their eyes.

2. CGI: Love it or hate it, CGI changed movies forever. A lot of movies in the past were considered unfilmable. The ideas of large creatures, otherworldly locations, or sheer volume of fictional characters on screen at one time required such a huge financial commitment from film financers that many scripts were thrown away. CGI changed all that. For example, Steven Spielberg has said that without CGI, he would have never made Jurassic Park. After George Lucas saw what the technology could do, he decided it was time to start making new Star Wars films. And, James Cameron sat on his Avatar film for years because he knew that he needed CGI in order to achieve his vision. The technology had an even greater effect on the world of animation. The majority of films today are made through the process of computer animation. Pixar, Dreamworks, and Sony are just 3 of the many studios that are computer generated only. It has resulted in billions of dollars of revenue and been a driving force for creative flexibility.

1. Home Video: There is no single technology other than film itself that has changed cinema more than the ability for us to have movie playback in our home. It has gone through several advancements over the years: Beta to VHS to laserdisc to DVD to blu-ray and streaming. But, no matter the method of playback, the technology created new businesses through the home video rental market, movie collectors to buy and own their favorite films, and opened up a second way to get revenue for studios besides box office numbers. But, the most important thing it gave us by far is for us as film lovers to see movies we never got to see before. In the past, films would get re-released in theaters for short periods of time so that we could see films that we missed during their initial theatrical run. But, you would never know which films would come back and for how long. Today, we are so lucky to be able to see almost any film we want through services like Blockbuster, Netflix, Cable on-demand, or streaming boxes like Apple TV. It’s a great age to live in if you’re a film buff and it’s the most important technology added to movies ever!

Get Low


Oscar winners Robert Duvall and Sissy Spacek team up to tell the true story of irascible Felix Bush, a backwoods Tennessee loner who planned his funeral in 1938 while he was still around to attend — and enjoy — the proceedings. Director Aaron Schneider’s deft blend of dark humor and poignancy also stars Bill Murray as Frank Quinn, the huckster owner of a failing funeral home, and Lucas Black as his dubious assistant.

Matt
Rating: 7 out of 10

“Get Low” is an intriguing character piece that runs high on acting, and low on movement of characters.

We’re given storyline to a hermit who wants to hold a funeral for himself while he’s alive. He’s a bit of a legend because of his downright grouchy and mean ways, but reviled by locals. He gets them to come by holding a lottery for his land. But that’s the overlying plot to a story about a man with a broken heart and a questionable history that unfolds in a nice story. It moves slowly, but steadily, and is supported by excellent supporting roles from Sissy Spacek and Bill Murray.

This isn’t an action-packed thrill ride, but it is a steadily paced story about a very broken man.

The Ten Greatest Movies Ever Made Part 3

Every day we’re cutting ten movies from our original list of 45 of the Greatest Movies Ever Made until we’re down to ten. Brian and Matt will each chop five from the list.

Here are the movies that didn’t make the grade.

Matt’s vetoes:

Apocalypse Now – There are far better films in the war genre. This one gets a little too out there and away from what the message it should have had.

2001: A Space Odyssey – I love Stanley Kubrick, and I know this is a controversial pick. However, I think for a Top 10 film of all time, it has to appeal to everyone, and this one doesn’t. A lot of people don’t like or get this movie.

Blade Runner – I just didn’t enjoy this movie. It’s one of those movies you’re supposed to like. I often don’t like those films.

Saving Private Ryan – This is another excellent Spielberg movie, but in the broad spectrum, there are far better war films. This is a beautifully shot film that feels more like war than, perhaps, any film I’ve seen, but the dialogue isn’t the best.

Dumbo – Those crows are totally racist. Hence, not a timeless film. Can’t make the list.

Brian’s vetoes:

Born into Brothels – Great film but nowhere near my favorite documentary. I’d put “Man on Wire” ahead of it.

Black Swan — A brilliant film but it’s not even my favorite film of this year.

Singin’ in the Rain — Brilliant, wonderful, and great dancing and singing. But, the plot is pretty thin at the end of the day.

Spirited Away – Visionary and wonderful even to people that don’t like animation. However, not a top 10 film ever.

Rashomon – One of my favorite Kurosawa films but not as good as other finalists on the list.

Movies remaining on our list:

Forest Gump
Seven Samurai
Wizard of Oz
Paths of Glory
Jaws
Pulp Fiction
M
Taxi Driver
Raging Bull
Goodfellas
Casablanca
The Exorcist
Unforgiven
The Shawnshank Redemption
The Wrestler
Up
On the Waterfront
8 1/2
Boogie Nights
Passion of the Christ
Citizen Kane
It’s a Wonderful Life
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Psycho
The Bridge on the River Kwai

The Ten Greatest Movies Ever Made Part 2

Every day we’re cutting ten movies from our original list of 45 of the Greatest Movies Ever Made until we’re down to ten. Brian and Matt will each chop five from the list.

Here are the movies that didn’t make the grade.

Brian’s vetoes

Life is Beautiful — A comedy about the Holocaust where a father tries to convince his son that he’s having a game with the Nazis? Wayyyy too overly sentimental to even be considered.

The Kid – Brilliant but dated and Chaplin has better films, namely “City Lights” and “The Gold Rush.”

Gone With The Wind – A classic film that really comes down to being a 3 1/2 hour soap opera. She loves him but he doesn’t love her and he loves her but she doesn’t love him until later when he decides he doesn’t love her but then she decides she really loves him….boring!!

Duck Soup — Funny but forgettable. Yes, the Marx brothers were great but hardly enough to be considered a top 10 film ever.

Rear Window — A great, classic suspense film that I love but it’s not even Hitchcock’s best.

Matt’s Vetoes

Braveheart – Too sentimental, the directing wasn’t that great, and the dialogue isn’t as strong as the movies that did make the cut.

Star Wars - It’s one of my favorite movie series of all time. I love it, and hold it close to my heart. But let’s be honest, these movies have wooden dialogue, stiff acting and the series was killed by the prequels (namely Jar Jar).

Inception – Great movie. The second best of 2011. It’s original, brilliantly directed, and I love it. However, the character development was held up by too much explanation of the complex story.

Schindler’s List – It’s the kind of movie you watch once, say, “It’s great.” Then don’t go back to it again. To be in the ten best ever, it has to be a movie I can watch over and over.

Clockwork Orange – LOVE LOVE LOVE Stanley Kubrick. Favorite director ever. However, this was not his best and there are movies I hold closer to my heart on this list. Tough choice to veto.

Movies remaining on our list:

Forest Gump
Seven Samurai
Wizard of Oz
Paths of Glory
Jaws
Pulp Fiction
M
Taxi Driver
Raging Bull
Goodfellas
Casablanca
The Exorcist
Unforgiven
The Shawnshank Redemption
The Wrestler
Born Into Brothels
Up
Spirited Away
On the Waterfront
8 1/2
Boogie Nights
Passion of the Christ
Singin’ in the Rain
Black Swan
Citizen Kane
Rashoman
It’s a Wonderful Life
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Psycho
Dumbo
Saving Private Ryan
Blade Runner
2001: A Space Odyssey
The Bridge on the River Kwai
Apocalypse Now

Zombieland 2


matt

Zombieland was an enjoyable flick — a treat to zombie movie lovers everywhere. Two Academy Award-nominated actors, Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg, had great chemistry in a movie that balanced humor and levity with horror and action. Bill Murray’s cameo was fantastic and really made the movie. Having Emma Stone to look at didn’t hurt, either.

So why not a sequel? This has the makings to be a fun franchise. It’s not like there hasn’t been zombie sequels before.

Eisenberg told MovieWeb.com that Zombieland 2 is being scripted and will likely be in 3D. I hate 3-D, but a zombie flick could be fun. Here what Eisenberg said: “I believe they are going to shoot it in 3D. If they do it. Which will be interesting for the glasses industry. They are just starting to write the script. Maybe they haven’t even started that yet. I don’t know where my character will go. The first movie was fun, though. I can’t imagine the second one won’t be good.”

However, co-star Harrelson told TotalFilm.com he’s not sure making a sequel is the “right thing to do.”

On the first movie, he said: “I didn’t even want to read the script… Then as it turns out, I read the script and I thought it was phenomenal, really funny…” he said. “Usually, if I theoretically reject it, I’m right, but this one I was dead wrong. And it might be the first movie I do a sequel to.”

When we asked if the follow-up is definitely happening, Harrelson said: “I’m sure it will happen if everyone does it, but I’m not sure it’s the right thing to do. … It’s one thing to do it when it came out real good and it made a lot of people laugh, but then to do a sequel… 99 out of 100 are worse by a lot. So I don’t know. … “I don’t feel like a sequels guy.”

Top 5 Bill Murray Movies

matt

I think Bill Murray is one of the best actors of his generation. He once said it’s much harder to make an audience laugh than to cry. But he’s done both and in excellent fashion. He’s long shown range in acting — whether it’s something dramatic like “Broken Flowers,” or something completely goofy like “What About Bob?,” Murray has a way of engaging an audience like few can. This was a hard list to write because he has so many great movies that aren’t on this list, like “Ghostbusters,” “Get Low” “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “The Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “Rushmore” “Kingpin”
“Scrooged,” and the list goes on. But these are my Top 5 Bill Murray Movies:

5. The Man Who Knew Too Little: This is a movie with a simple concept that is just beautifully played out by Murray. He plays a simple American guy who visits his brother in London. His older brother needs to get him out of the house because he has important company and gets him tickets to “The Theater of Life,” in which the audience member meets the cast on the street and take part in a realistic, life-like play. Only when Murray’s character goes to a designated payphone for his call to start the play, he gets a call from a real life spy. The rest of the movie, he’s acting like a spy, thinking he’s acting, but is actually caught up in real-life espionage. It’s brilliant, and Murray makes me laugh every time in this very underappreciated film in his large body of work.

4. Quick Change: Murray plays a bank robber in this romp of a heist movie. It’s got a lot of action and an actual smart bank robbery story at its core, but it is a brilliant comedy with excellent supporting roles by Gina Davis and Dennis Quaid. This is classic Murray from the early 90s. If you haven’t seen this movie, check it out. It’s one of Murray’s best performances in a very smart, funny movie. Oh, and he directed it, too.

3. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou: This is a visually compelling film by Wes Anderson, a director Murray has collaborated with on “Rushmore,” “The Royal Tenenbaums,” ” The Darjeeling Limited” and “The Fantastic Mr. Fox.” It’s a comedy, for sure, but it’s also a complex father/son story. This is one of those films where you either love it, or you didn’t care for it very much. I think this is one of Anderson’s best films and Murray gave an understated performance in what could have been a campy delivery of a character surrounded by a lot of zany imagery. It was brilliant.

2. Lost in Translation: Murray was fantastic in this Golden Globe-award winning role, for which he won best actor. He was nominated for an Academy Award and didn’t win, but sometimes getting the nomination is enough. Again, this is the kind of range great actors like Robert De Niro — who constantly flops in comedy — don’t possess. This was a simple film, but sometimes the best stories are. Murray was strong as the once-famous actor who goes to Japan to make commercials. He was engaging, funny without trying, and dramatic without effort. This could be his best performance in this group.

1. Groundhog Day: This is a great film that showcases everything Murray does well. He plays a great sarcastic jerk with moments of sincerity, drama, slapstick all wrapped in one of the most brilliant comedic scripts ever written. The Academy almost completely ignores comedy. I’m not saying this should have won best picture, but this is one of those ones that should have at least been nominated for original screenplay. Murray plays a man stuck on the same day — Groundhog Day. He’s a weatherman there on assignment and every morning, over and over again for eternity, lives the same day. He does everything all of us would do, like commit suicide, think you’re a God and go a little mad, and eventually screw around and break the law. But ultimately, he begins to figure out that he needs to change and make himself a better man to get out of his rut. It’s an unforgettable film, and Murray’s best.


Ghostbusters 3 update

Matt

We’ve been following the story for a pontetial third installment of the Ghostbusters franchise, and it finally looks like things are moving ahead. Filming is expected to begin in the spring, according to a report by The Guardian.

Productions Weekly, a reliable source, also tweeted: “Hearing that @SonyPictures is planning to put Ivan Reitman’s “Ghostbusters 3” into production in May 2011.”

Clearly, the wheels are turning. And to add interest, Bill Murray appeared at Spike TV’s Scream Awards to accept the best picture award for “Zombieland” and donned a Ghostbusters uniform, complete with proton pack.

The Guardian reports that Dan Aykroyd has been revising a screenplay by Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, who worked on the American television hit “The Office.” Aykroyd said that there was a “comic role of a lifetime” for Murray in the new movie, and confirmed it would concern handing over ghostbusting duties from the old team to a new generation. 

“My character’s eyesight is shot, I got a bad knee, a bad hip – I can’t drive that caddy any more or lift that psychotron accelerator any more, it’s too heavy,” Aykroyd told the U.K. paper. “We need young legs, new minds – new Ghostbusters; so I’m in essence passing the torch to the new regime, and you know what? That’s totally OK with me.”

There have been plenty of reasons to feel skeptical this film would ever make it to the cinema. Murray and others expressed concern that the original screenplay was written by the team responsible for “Year One,” a dopy comedy with Jack Black and Michael Cera — whom I can’t stand.  In a rare interview, Murray told GQ: “Harold Ramis said, ‘Oh, I’ve got these guys, they write on The Office, and they’re really funny. They’re going to write the next Ghostbusters.’ And they had just written this movie that he had directed. Well, I never went to see ‘Year One,’ but people who did, including other Ghostbusters, said it was one of the worst things they had ever seen in their lives. So that dream just vaporised.” 

Since then, Aykroyd has been very involved in make the screenplay. He also worked on the video game screenplay, which was very good and starred the original cast. 

Rushmore

Wunderkind Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman), a sophomore at upscale Rushmore Academy and the president of myriad school clubs, sees his world turn topsy-turvy when he’s smitten with widowed first-grade teacher Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams). To win her heart, Max enlists the aid of self-made steel magnate and school benefactor Herman J. Blume (Bill Murray), only to end up vying with the millionaire industrialist for Rosemary’s affections. Directed by Wes Anderson (Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Royal Tenenbaums).

Kyle
Rating: 9 out of 10

I was in the sixth grade the first time I watched this film. I didn’t understand the comedic elements at the time but there was just something about it that appealed to me so much.

It’s been ten years and I still love this film. The world that Wes Anderson creates is so intriguing to me. He presents this retroactive group of people who operates independent of modern society. I don’t think I’ve loved and hated a protagonist as much as Max Fischer. What compliments this film even more is the musical score, in this case and most unsually, by Mark Mothersbaugh.

Also, this film definitely opened up my eyes for Bill Murray’s potential as an actor. For a while, I was getting a little tired of the roles he played but when I saw this I couldn’t believe his performance. When he appeared in more in Wes’ films, as well as ”Lost In Translation” and “Broken Flowers,” I was just amazed.

Zombieland

The horror comedy Zombieland focuses on two men who have found a way to survive a world overrun by zombies. Columbus, Jesse Eisenberg (Adventureland) is a big wuss — but when you’re afraid of being eaten by zombies, fear can keep you alive. Tallahassee, played by Woody Harrelson (The People vs. Larry Flynt) is an AK-toting, zombie-slaying’ bad ass whose single determination is to get the last Twinkie on earth. As they join forces with Wichita, Emma Stone (Superbad) and Little Rock, Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine), who have also found unique ways to survive the zombie mayhem, will have to determine which is worse: relying on each other or succumbing to the zombies.

Matt
Rating: 6 out of 10

This was a fun film, especially because I love watching zombies getting killed in interesting ways.

We’ve seen the bullet to the brain more often than not. But a banjo decapitating a zombie? That’s pure gold. Or how about snuffing out a zombie clown with a sledge hammer from a carnival game? Just makes me feel warm and tingly all over.

Mind you, I’m rating this as a zombie/comedy. It’s not for everyone, but horror and zombie movie fans will enjoy this. It’s a funny movie with just enough suspense to keep you interested and having fun. There’s also a great cameo by Bill Murray that makes the movie. Harrelson is fun as the bad-ass zombie killer who drives a giant SUV equipped with a zombie-smashing plow, driving the country, mowing down zombies and finding new and interesting ways to slaughter them. Eisenberg plays the eccentric, anal retentive kid who works nicely off of Harrelson’s cocky demeanor. If you enjoyed “Shaun of the Dead,” which I’d say is better than this film, then you’ll want to check this out.