Writer: Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman (Screenplay)
Starring: Andy Nyman, Martin Freeman, Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther, Paul Warren
Plot: Arch skeptic Professor Phillip Goodman embarks upon a terror-filled quest when he stumbles across a long-lost file containing details of three cases of inexplicable ‘hauntings’
Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Creepy & Weird
Story: Ghost Stories starts as Professor Goodman (Nyman) a paranormal debunker shows what he does with his television show Psychic Cheat, we learn how his idol went missing, but when he receives a mysterious message to meet, he wants him to solve three cases that he could never explain.
Goodman meets the men Tony (Whiehouse) whose experience in an abandoned hospital has left his scared, Simon (Lawther) who has become obsessed with solving what happened to him on a drive home and Mike (Freeman) a wealthy man that can’t explain what happened to him.
Thoughts on Ghost Stories
Characters – Professor Goodman is a paranormal debunker, he has made a career out of proving there is no such thing as the supernatural, assigned to solve three unexplained cases which will tests his beliefs. Mike is a wealthy man that has his own story which will only leave him question his life. Tony is a night watchman that has been left shocked by the events of one night on the job. Simon is a young man that’s story has made him obsessed with finding out what happened on that night.
Performances – Andy Nyman is good in this leading role where he gets through the stories, while also going through his own story that will leave you shocked. Martin Freeman is clearly the most talented of this cast because you are instantly interested in where his at times unlikable character can be. Paul Whitehouse is good but the weakest of the three, mostly because his story is the simplest. Alex Lawther gets the most laughs with his performance because his story has the funniest part of the movie in it.
Story – The story is difficult to talk about without giving away spoilers, this is mostly because it isn’t just the three ghost stories being told, this side of the story is interesting and everything you would imagine, we have simple ghost stories that are not over the top and feel like true stories that may have affected real people. When you get to the final third of the movie it is nearly impossible to explain, it is weird and wonderful at same time, the only thing I will say is to watch the clues appear, as nothing goes in the direction you will be expecting it to go.
Horror – The horror is the by the book scares through the stories, it is the final third that has the most unexpected moments in.
Settings – The three stories are in different locations, while also being generic horror location for the most part, be it the abandoned hospital, middle of the woods or an isolated home.
Special Effects – The effects are used well through the film, with most usage coming in the final third.
Final Thoughts – This is a horror film that I feel will divide the audience, because it almost feels like two different movies by the end, the final third is nearly impossible to predict which is good to watch, but it doesn’t fit the tone of the first two thirds at times.
Overall: Horror movie that makes you think weird thoughts.
Writer: Jonathan Tropper (Screenplay)
Starring: Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant
Plot: When their father passes away, four grown siblings are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Must Watch
Story: This is Where I Leave You starts as the father of the house passes away, his dying wish is that his family respect Shiva which means the family must spend the week under one roof. This brings Judd (Bateman), Wendy (Fey), Phillip (Driver) and Paul (Stoll) to live with their mother Hillary (Fonda).
As the family comes together memories of the childhood come out as tensions between the siblings come out, as we see the family dynamics come out, we also get to see how the lives they siblings have been living haven’t gone the way they had planned, but most importantly how much they need the family.
Thoughts on This is Where I Leave You
Characters/Performance – Judd is a big city producer who earns his wife has been cheating on him, he must return to his home town to be with his family after his father’s death but now he must look at himself and wondering whether he should take more chances in his life. Wendy is the only sister of the siblings who has been married with children but we see the regret in her life as she always wondered what could have been. Phillip is the youngster sibling that has been the loose cannon mostly acting up about not being able to live up to his elder siblings. Paul is the eldest sibling that has been running the family business and trying to start his own family but having troubles. Hillary is their mother that brings the family back together for the funeral, she has always controlled them but also let them live their own life. We also see loved ones and lost loves coming the lives the siblings have lived or are living.
Performance wise, we do have an all-star cast here with Jason Bateman is in the leading role he shows just how capable of an actor he can be, Tina Fey even steps away from the comedy she is known for very well too, Jane Fonda shows us once again she can never be forgotten just how skilled she is, Adam Driver continues to grow his ever-growing body of work with Corey Stoll continuing to make his move up the film world. We also have wonderful performances from the rest of the cast.
Story – The story of the family coming back together for their father’s or husband’s funeral is one we have seen before, we get to see the problems the family has been having too. This is one of the good ones that covers everything, sure it does seem to be slightly too much for one family but this is one of the most interesting dynamics between the siblings over the weeklong visit.
Comedy/Drama – The comedy used isn’t about a laugh a minute, it is more about the light-hearted moments in life and the drama involved around it shows the relationships the people have with each other.
Final Thoughts – This is one of the best bringing the family together for a funeral to look at life, the what could have been, the where things are going and is easily one of the most powerful and interesting ones I have seen.
Overall: Wonderful family reuniting drama.