Sunday, 19 February 2017

Little Deaths - Emma Flint



In the summer of 1965, two young children go missing in Queens while in the care of their mother. After an investigation is mounted and the search begins, both children are found dead. Neighbors speculate, whisper, that the mother, the enthralling, intoxicating yet secretive Ruth Malone is to blame. Soon the police and the press are quick to jump to convenient conclusions but is Ruth really capable of murder?

   It's no mere coincidence that the title of the book derives from the french saying 'la petite mort', a euphemism that refers specifically to likening the sensation of orgasm to death. This is, primarily, a novel about sexuality and femininity; how women are punished for being confident in their overt sexuality told through the misty haze of a noir murder mystery. Interestingly, the novel is adapted from the real life case of two small children disappearing then being found dead later in which the mother was arrested, after two long years in the public eye. Ruth embodies this and is turned into a femme fatale monster in order to please the newspapers and the media that is dictated by a patriarchal society, she is punished for not living up to a preconceived stereotype and she is punished for being a bad mother. The streets bustle with rich imagery and descriptions, american colloquialisms dominate the language convincingly that entices the reader into the mystery; I truly felt like I could have been sat in an old fashioned American diner having fries and a root beer float.

   Perhaps the biggest mystery of all is uncovering who Ruth Malone really is. The narrative is that of third person, an unknown 'other' observing everything from a seemingly detached position that puts the reader in a firmly neutral setting. Ruth chain smokes, flaunts her promiscuous nature, drinks excessively and never expresses grief in a way that everyone expects. She hides that part of herself and rarely does she show it. Flint uses this anonymity of character to capture the blatant misogyny of the police who are convinced she has murdered her children in order to prevent her ex-husband Frank from gaining custody of them. Ruth is placed upon a pedestal in her position of a woman and Flint exploits the horrific nature in which the media and misogyny-lead detectives are so quick to push her down.

   Moreover the narrative alternates between Ruth and a young journalist Pete Wonicke, allowing us insight to an outsider's perspective. In true Hitchcockian style, Pete becomes obsessed with Ruth in an unnerving voyeuristic manner, following her every move, waiting outside her apartment, "He watched her watching the women and children... as he gazed up at her, she stretched sideways so that she rested one shoulder and her hip against the window". Ruth becomes the unattainable object of desire for Pete, who is himself a physical manifestation of male desire. She is watched and watches throughout, she is subject to the patriarchal male gaze and in return he is blinded by the sexual prowess that ultimately becomes her undoing.

   Flint packs emotional punches throughout the novel, from the grotesque discoveries early on to the riveting trial that takes up the last third of the book, Ruth's grief is as raw and as unrestrained as one can imagine, but always she stands tall and composes herself, to be seen as strong and determined. Throughout the many accusations she is faced, she simply maintains "They knew nothing of guilt. They were not mothers."  At times the alternating narrative can be a little distracting, such as the one sided interview answers that take place in the early chapters but it's easy to forgive when the characters, environments and dialogue are so well thought out, so cleverly researched and so rewarding. As for the ending, some may find it predictable (myself included) but it fits the formula that Flint is creating, and it acts as the final sting in the tail of Ruth's never-ending punishment.

Like what Emma Cline did for women for 'The Girls', Emma Flint uses the mask of murder to write a phenomenal debut novel that speaks out about the performance of femininity and womanhood, how now society condemns flawed, angry women for not living up to their ideals. Haunting and thoroughly complex, Emma Flint is set for big things.



Little Deaths
£12.99
Picador

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Review | La La Land



As we all know, 2016 was a pretty bad year for everyone. Celebrities dropping dead willy nilly, Brexit being an actual THING and a walking buffoon with weetabix for hair became President of the United States. Fortunately, 2017 has already gone off to a flying start thanks to the gorgeously romantic and charming musical film, 'La La Land', directed by Damien Chazelle (of 'Whiplash' fame). An ode to old Hollywood and MGM musicals, 'La La Land' follows the story of aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone) and aspiring jazz musician Seb (Ryan Gosling) as they become entangled into a passionate relationship that threatens to hinder both of them from following their dreams.

   This was a film that I simply could not stop smiling at. From its big opening number set on gridlocked freeway involving a flash mob to the moving epilogue at the film's end, 'La La Land' churns out buckets of charm without ever falling into the overbearingly cheesy category. The film plays out across the four seasons, starting and culminating with Winter as we follow the journey of our two leads across the breathtakingly beautiful landscape of Los Angeles, which in itself becomes a prominent character to the story. Every scene is shot with splashes of colour and vibrancy, matching the incredibly catchy and infectious nature of the songs themselves in what feels like a big snapshot pf the city of L.A, a place of dream-chasing optimism. Shot in Cinemascope, every scene is bathed in long takes and in pastel hues of blue and pink; the vibrancy of the film matches the soaring pace of the narrative following the ups and downs of Seb and Mia's relationship, and at that, it almost becomes transcendental. You are momentarily pulled into the brightly coloured world that Chazelle has created and you never wish to leave.





   Both Gosling and Stone shine individually within the film, Stone going from audition to audition with such gutso and determination before inevitably crumbling allows the audience to empathise with her - she is our guiding force throughout and our emotional connection. She's as witty, smart and vulnerable than ever, particularly in her defying 'Les Mis' moment with the ballad 'Fools Who Dream', her voice cracking with emotion by the last note. Paired with Gosling's Seb, a disgruntled jazz musician who refuses to let go of the historical breakthrough and inspiration of famous jazz artists, their chemistry bounces off the screen through moments of song, dance and even moments where they do not speak, the silence is filled with a repetitive piano theme that aligns itself with the couple; it is played at the first time they meet, and the last, and completely wraps Mia and Seb in the emotional gravitas of the film.  Chazelle is clearly inspired by his own love of music and it pays off wonderfully in his direction.

  It's clear that Chazelle is a big musical fan, even a fan of old Hollywood movies. Mia works in a cafe at the Warner Brothers studio, amongst the backdrops of the classics (Mia points out the window from which Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart looked out on to Paris in 'Casablanca'), she and Seb have a spontaneous song and dance together as the sun sets over the city in true 'Singin in the Rain' style, their chemistry and dynamic alone recalling certain moments in 'A Star is Born'. This nostalgia never feels outdated or forced, it instead reinforces the charm of the film and it becomes new and fresh, much like Seb's reluctance to join a band that experiments with Jazz, bringing it to the 21st century. This could be a nodding reference to Chazelle himself, being brave enough to write and direct a modern day musical that is, quintessential, a love letter to MGM musicals and old Hollywood. It smashed the Golden Globes, and I'm hoping 'La La Land' recreates this success at the Academy Awards next month.

Deliriously romantic and nostalgically charming, 'La La Land' will undoubtedly put a smile to your face at a time when we really need to keep our chins up. Frenetic and breathtaking at the same time, this is a film that will make you want to chase your dreams, no matter how absurd they may be.
La La Land is in cinemas everywhere now.

Monday, 9 January 2017

The Goldfish Boy - Lisa Thompson



It's a new year which means it's time to shake off your dusty wigs and get your reading glasses back on as I'm back on the old blogger! It's been a rather busy few months (what EVEN was December?!) but I'm back, with a promise to you all of at LEAST one post per week. So, let's kick things off in style with a good old fashioned book review; what better place to start than January's Book of the Month for Waterstones, Lisa Thompson's debut 'The Goldfish Boy'.

  Matthew Corbin suffers from OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and rarely does he leave his room. He washes his hands until they crack and bleed, he douses everything with antiseptic spray and he has a secret box of latex gloves under his bed. To pass the time, he observes his neighbours as they go about their daily routines and jots it down in his notepad. Everything is as regular as clockwork, until Mr Charles' grandchildren come to stay, and the youngest, Teddy, goes missing. As the cul-de-sac residents come together to look for Teddy, it becomes apparent that Matthew was the last person to see him and he finds himself slap bang in the middle of a high-stakes mystery and every single one of his neighbours are suspects. Can Matthew overcome his fears and risk exposing his biggest secret to crack the mystery?


   From the get go, I was immediately sold by the premise as it reminded me heavily of Mark Haddon's wonderful 'Curious Incident', and it follows a very similar structure, the main protagonist is isolated, views something that is vital to the plot progressing and importantly, must deal with overcoming a substantial hurdle. In Matthew's case, it is his OCD. Thompson writes about Matthew's condition with such clarity and yet such sadness, as you really get into his mindset about why he feels the need to clean and why things have to be in a certain way. His parents don't understand and they urge him to "get better" but Matthew, and now us as the reader, know it is not that easy. It's clear that Thompson feels strongly about the topic, and it really resonated with me as I spent hours researching OCD shortly after finishing the book, it is a very serious condition and should be treated as such. It  never feels daunting or too heavily enforced either, the intended 9-12 demographic would easily be able to pick this book up and be able to relate to Matthew's character. He's likeable, smart and he'll probably break your heart by the last few pages; it is brave of Thompson to write about OCD in such a poignant yet realistic manner.

   The other characters are also very well thought out and crafted, each adding their own layer of perplexity to the mystery but also remaining incredibly realistic and humane, Mr Jenkins is a PE teacher who smokes in secret, Old Nina lives in a ramshackled old home longing on to the past, and Matthew's Mum and Dad are frustrated, emotional parents who are desperate for their son to be normal. This realistic setting with realistic characters helps plod the story on nicely without ever becoming far fetched.

   As for the main plot itself, as fantastic as the mystery of 'who took Teddy' was, I did at times think it would take a rather dark turn. Especially in one moment when Teddy's blanket is found covered in blood. I found this rather disturbing and may be unsettling for younger readers, though thankfully this is the only shred of darkness as all becomes clear when the culprit reveals themselves in an enlightening, yet heartbreaking manner. What I really enjoyed was the 'Broadchurch'-esque nature of the cul-de-sac, how closely intertwined everyone was with each other, and how events of the past affected the events of the present day. I was utterly absorbed the whole time and I really couldn't work out who had taken Teddy, even when I thought I had, it still took me by surprise.

A touching, humane story about being brave and learning to be comfortable in your own skin mixed with a engrossing mystery, 'The Goldfish Boy' follows in the steps of 'Wonder' and 'Curious Incident' in being a thoroughly entertaining book for children and adults alike.




The Goldfish Boy
9781407170992
£7,99

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Review | Suicide Squad



Picture the scene: David Ayer is pitching his idea for Suicide Squad at the Warner Bros headquarters, frantically throwing ideas together from a badly drawn together notebook. He triumphantly points to a line in the script, one that is uttered after a male character punches a female in the face, that reads "she had a mouth." "HILARIOUS RIGHT?!" Ayer shrieks unable to control his laughter as the members of Warner Bros look at each other nervously. This whole analogy basically sums up the sheer disappointment of Suicide Squad and makes me question the future of DC's planned extended universe.

The plot, a term I'm using VERY VERY loosely, follows bad-ass Amanda Waller (played flawlessly by Viola Davis) recruiting a team of well known super-villains such as Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) and others (literally they're not even worth mentioning because of how little screen time they have) to save the world from an ancient sorceress known only as Enchantress (Cara Delevigne). And that's it. Oh and Joker pops up near the end. The plot is so incredibly wafer thin you never really get a sense of what the hell is going on, you feel about as clueless as the characters walking into Midtown.




Now, I'm aware of how savagely critics have been tearing into the film and I honestly did walk into the cinema with an incredibly open mind, and as much as I didn't think the film was horrendously bad, it was a very very poorly made one. The pacing and tonal shifts are so frustratingly jarring and quick, you never feel like you're watching scenes, rather than video-game cut-scenes or trailers. The opening half hour should have been essential in giving the characters enough time to establish themselves and their back story, to which I would have happily enjoyed a film of origin stories for each member to set up something bigger. At least then we would have got decent character development. Harley and Joker's story speeds along with such fury in flashback form you never really know what's happening. Plus, if you weren't familiar with the comics, you wouldn't have had a CLUE on how Harley becomes the way she is as the flashbacks are so inconsistent in tone and lack any explanation. It's just so messy and confusing. Even the soundtrack feels horribly out of place, jumping from one song to the next, it became more intrusive than anything else.

Furthermore, considering the film is about a 'Squad', only Harley and Deadshot are given most of the screen time, heck, even Harley isn't allowed to steal the show with Margot Robbie's excellent performance. Killer Croc, Captain Boomerang, El Diablo and Katana are given next to no lines or any form of a back story except to stand around and look a little moody. Which makes it questionable when El Diablo proudly states "I've lost one family, I'm not going to lose another", YOU'VE NOT SAID A WORD TO EACH OTHER AND YET YOU'RE FAMILY?! It's just lazy writing, affirming the theory that the script was written in under six weeks. Dialogue is cheap, lazy or just downright ridiculous at times. Like would an ancient sorceress really say "You don't have the balls"?
   Something that really bothered me throughout the film though, and I don't think I can actually forgive Ayer for this, is how riddled the film is with misogyny. Batman (Ben Affleck, I KNOW right?) gives weirdly sexual mouth-to-mouth with Harley then punches her in the face once she is conscious, Harley is just a walking sex object with no other purpose than to depend on the Joker, and is even given a dream-sequence where is she is married, with children and even has rollers in her hair. Oh and she's in a kitchen. All she needs is to be making a sandwich and we'd be back in the 1950s, right Mr Ayer? It just devalues everything Harley's character is supposed to be and left a very horrible impression.

You'd think I hated the film, but there were moments I did enjoy. There were some, SOME, funny moments which earned a chuckle but nothing that warranted a belting laugh out loud. As much as Cara Delevine's acting is choppy to say the least, I did enjoy her characterization as primitive Enchantress. The standout, was undoubtedly, Viola Davis's Amanda Waller. Her icy demeanour and cruelty was pitch perfect and was the perfect antithesis to the objectified women in the rest of the film. Also any scene with Robbie's Harley and Jared Leto's Joker was such a treat. Robbie nails the character, with every line, her physicality, her laugh. She gripped my attention every time she was on screen and I wanted more, it's just shame I never got it. It's just such a shame that these moments were too far few and between, as over half an hour's worth of scenes were supposedly cut in the final film. Leto's performance of Joker was impressive, considering he's following Heath Ledger, but due to his lack of screen-time I wasn't fully able to see what he could do with the character or how far he could go, to which I'm hoping he can show in a future instalment.  The brief snippets of other characters in the DC universe and the mid-credits scene were mildly entertaining, but one feels that DC is just rushing to create this whole extended universe rather than think carefully about the films it's releasing. I'm not pitting DC against Marvel in any way, but Marvel have had a ten year gap ahead of DC, and more time to make a well crafted film. Warner Bros should just have a nice sit down and re-evaluate their upcoming schedule.


While lighter in tone than the dreadful Batman vs. Superman, Suicide Squad is just a convoluted mess of ideas and underdeveloped characters that suffer from a lazy script and poor editing. It's a shame that performances from Margot Robbie and Viola Davis are so severely undercut by Ayer's direction and unacceptable use of misogyny, for that, HE'S the real bad guy in this.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Lunch with Rylan



Wearing an all-black ensemble, Rylan greets us with a friendly hello and handshake, bearing that infamous grin on his face that so many know him for. He's in Waterstones' Reading today doing a signing for his new book, 'The Life of Rylan', which comes at a time where he is becoming a household name. Recently announced as the new co-host of The X Factor, he also presents Big Brother's Bit on the Side and has a segment on This Morning, which he recently co-hosted with his partner Dan. With everything going on, we ask why now to write a book, when he could have done years ago?

   "I was offered to a book months after X Factor finished (being a former contestant) but I felt it was embarrassing, because I don't do products, but then last year I was asked again and they really wanted to know my story before X Factor, before anything really, so I agreed to do it but if I was going to do it I wanted to do it myself."


  While on the topic we bring up The X Factor, as Rylan tells us he had just finished filming his first day at Wembley Arena. "It's so weird being on the other side of the barrier" he laughs. "But it's so nice knowing that I can turn up and start work straight away rather than wake up at six o'clock in the morning and wait around for seven hours!" There is a certain amount of empathy Rylan emits when talking about his role as presenter for two reality shows he himself has been a part of, which makes the experience a whole lot more enjoyable and genuine, which he concurs with. "When the housemates come out in Big Brother, I can talk to them and relate, because I've been there y'know? It's the same with X Factor, and it's much more enjoyable that way, being able to impart some wise words of wisdom!"




"I've bumped into so many people on this book tour, it was like long lost families!"

 





   Reading is the penultimate stop of Rylan's book tour that has been incredibly successful, so much so that he arrives into store with very good news. "The book came out two days before the start of the tour, so I had no idea on sales, whether people were buying it or not and now I'm here today and it's number one!" he beams, flashing a smile, clearly very grateful and humbled by this news. I elaborate on the figures, by explaining how in my local branch in Coventry we had sold out within a day which is meant by a gasp, then a chuckle.
  "That's amazing, I'm really, really grateful. It just means a lot more that I've written the book myself, so I can say I'm not just a Sunday Times Bestseller, but a Sunday Times bestselling author." 
Rylan was approached by a ghostwriter in the early stages of the book process, but he ultimately turned it down, "I don't judge people at all for using ghostwriters, I actually met up with one and she was lovely, but I just knew that I had to do it and I wanted to do it. It means so much more when it's my number one and no-one elses."

"I'm literally on a forty six day stretch, I don't get a chance to relax or unwind!"








  Considering he's on a mammoth book tour, simultaneously hosting three television shows, and planning two more for ITV, I note how well he is looking which is met with another laugh. "It's a LOT of make up and fake tan! 2016 has turned out to be the year...I don't actually have a life, but y'know I'm prepared to do it and I'm really lucky to be doing it. Though having a three hour gap between shows can be strange at times."

  I then ask Rylan about hosting a segment on This Morning with his partner Dan, as it was certainly a big event not just for This Morning, but for ITV and TV in general, having the first same-sex couple present a morning prime-time show. "It was really surreal, the opportunity came up, but I wasn't sure, though Dan really wanted to do it, so we did, and it went down really really well. I'm so grateful for the reaction, and even though it is a moment of history, I don't really look at it that way, I'm just glad me and Dan got to it!" I throw the term role model into the conversation, saying how potentially young people may look up to him and Dan and use that moment to help them come to terms with their identity or overcome any issues they may be facing. "The word role model scares me" Rylan laughs softly "but I get what you're saying. People on this tour come up to me and say 'My dad really likes you, he thinks you're really funny which made it easier to tell him I'm gay or bi, or whatever it may be', and if I've helped anyone in any kind of way, then I'll be completely over the moon."

   What everyone loves about Rylan, and myself included after being in his company for just over ten minutes, is how genuine and lovely he is, which was clear in the segment with Dan, they were both so genuine and warming. "I don't act and I never mean to act" he explains, "there is a lot of people in this industry that do act but I am always myself. You see it on TV, read it in the book, backstage, onstage, I am the same person all the time. I didn't do this book to sell books at the end of the day, I did this for myself, to prove I could do it and meet amazing people on the way." A pivotal question is asked next, as to which emoji Rylan feels like he most resonates with, and he bares his teeth, showing them in full, resembling the said emoji gritting its teeth. "I wanna get my own emoji!" he declares, eyes sparking with excitement. With that, we say our thank you and goodbyes and Rylan heads down to begin his signing. 

   In a time where reality television seems to be on the verge of an all-important comeback, it is so refreshing to see people like Rylan emulating a natural kindness and sense of humour that is, not only needed to carry such shows, but so crucial in real life. What you see with Rylan, is truly what you get, and I couldn't have asked for more polite, engaging gentleman to interview. I was even fortunate to stay with Rylan and his wonderful team for lunch before they headed on to Basingstoke, as we all just had a natter over some sandwiches; true as his word, Rylan remained as engaging, polite and as humorous as ever. Hasn't he done well?

The Life of Rylan
9781780895741

£18.99

Monday, 18 July 2016

The Girls - Emma Cline




Everyone has fleeting memories associated with a particular summer. Whether that be a song, a holiday, excursions with friends, you recall it perfectly and you are transported to the summer of whatever year it was like it was yesterday. For me, the memory of my summer in 2016 will be reading the phenomenal 'The Girls', Emma Cline's debut novel. Set in the hazy summer of 1969, the book depicts a fictionalised account of the Charles Manson cult and subsequent murders, all through the eyes of a young teenage girl, somewhat trapped between childhood and womanhood,  who becomes captivated with the group of girls that dominate the cult. Basically, this is an incredibly compelling novel that everyone should read this summer.

   Cline makes it clear that this isn't about Manson, or this in case Russell, it is instead about, as the title suggests, the girls that hover throughout the novel, wearing their femininity and sexuality on their sleeve, stroking marks of independence all the while still seemingly seeking Russell's approval. Cline painfully captures the essence of being a young girl waiting to be approved by men, "that was part of being a girl-" Cline writes, "you were resigned to whatever feedback you got",  but it is not Russell who captures the affections of our protagonist, Evie, it is the mysteriously seductive Suzanne, with her "smile blooming in me like a firework, losing it's coloured smoke." The focus shifts on the relationships between women, not necessarily romantic or sexual, but the strong, empowering bonds they create. Evie longs for more than her dull friendship with Connie, subtle with dark stabs at jealously and female rivalry, vying for older boys attention. When she meets Suzanne, and subsequently spends time in her company, she blossoms and takes her first steps into becoming a woman, who we actually meet a many points in the story, as the narrative flips between present day (more or less) and 1969. This is by no means a hindrance, but rather more an insight into the adult Evie looking back and reflecting on the choices she did or should have made.

   The complexity, sadness and fluctuating emotions are beautifully captured by Cline in exploring what it is like to be a teenage girl, who so often in literature are dismissed as shallow or emotionally unstable. Evie's exploration of sexuality are so harrowing and uncomfortable at times but it feels so much more real, and Cline allows us a true insight into the mind of a teenage girl, of how Evie feels she must change herself, mentally and physically for men, as that is the supposed priority. This, contrasted with the rural imagery of the Californian suburbs and prose so searing with the flames of summer that you can almost feel it leap from the page, makes the novel so immediate and captivating. What is more heartbreaking is the present day Evie, alone in a house that is intruded upon by a young teenage boy, Julian and his girlfriend, Sasha, recognising how these attitudes still remain. Sasha, is denied a voice when discussing her own body and her boyfriend speaks for her, "'She doesn't like her tits' Julian said, pulsing the back of her neck, 'but I tell her they're nice.'" It made me extremely sad, and angry that this is the reality that most teenage girls face today, who face womanhood with such extreme frailty, but Cline must be commended for voicing, I can only imagine, the thoughts of what is like to be a girl in a male driven world.

    Which really, is the ironic thing as the novel dominates with female characters, all given a backstory and a well-crafted identity "trying to campaign for her own existence." The real girls that lived in Manson's shadow were most likely dismissed, or not even talked about, though they were the ones who carried out the actual murder. This is cleverly referenced toward the end of the novel, the present day Evie referring to herself as "the bystander, a fugitive without a crime" but notes how "even toward the end, the girls had been stronger than Russell". One again, Cline grasps the focus away from the man who is at the centre of the story but is superfluous to drive it forward, instead she hands that baton to the girls, and she them a voice, the girls of past and present; "We all want to be seen.


  Rich with scorching imagery of the summer, painfully honest in its exploration of womanhood, adolescence and sexuality and beautifully crafted with free-flowing language, 'The Girls' demands to be read in one sitting, sat under the blaze of sultry sun. Easily, my book of the summer. 



The Girls
£12.99
Vintage Publishing


Monday, 11 July 2016

Review | Ghostbusters




As I strolled into the screening of the hotly anticipated, yet, controversial of the rebooted 'Ghostbusters', I could almost feel the apprehensions and skepticisms of people floating through the air like ghoulish apparitions themselves. The film's trailer is the most disliked video on YouTube to date, and the internet is just breeding with misogynistic haters claiming that women cannot be 'Ghostbusters' and they're simply not funny. It's easy to see why some people are reacting this way, the original film struck such a fine balance in being genuinely funny and scarily frightening at the same time and for the same reasons remains a cult classic to this day. People don't want a franchise they love so dearly skewered or distorted, which I respect but, for the most part, Paul Feig's 'Ghostbusters' delivers on the humour, the scares and the source material that paved way for this film to be made, while also proving that women have always, and will continue to be, funny.

   The story follows physicists and engineer Erin (Kristen Wiig), Abi (Melissa McCarthy) and Jillian (Kate McKinnon) who are all laughed out of academia when an old book, written by the former pair, resurfaces claiming the existence of the paranormal. Shortly after, ghosts begin cropping up over New York thanks to a shady character known as Rowan, and so our gals team up with New York subway worker Patty (Leslie Jones) and their pretty-but-oh-so-dumb assistant Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) to try and save New York from a grisly doom. It's a little far fetched at times, but this IS a Ghostbusters film so really, the more sillier and extreme the better. The pacing at times does quicken at points so there are moments when scenes feel extremely rushed or poorly explained but you don't really mind that much. What really carries the film is the chemistry and spark between all four ladies, bouncing off each other with such vivaciousness and speed you can't help but smile, and laugh. Whats more is that each leading lady is given enough time do show off their distinct comedy style, McKinnon in particular stealing the show as entertainingly erratic Holtzmann, with her zappy one-liners or her quirky mannerisms. McCarthy and Wiig still bring the laughs, though a couple of jokes feel weak and miss the mark, though when they're on point, they're on point. Leslie Jones had me in stitches for most of the film, which knocks aside any accusations of racial stereotyping many have backlashed the film for.





   Chris Hemsworth also uses every moment he has on screen to gain the laughs. He perfectly grasps the character every one of us has met in real life of the boy who is incredibly good looking but also incredibly dumb. In a film that particularly focuses on gender subversion, it never felt cheap or in poor taste, it simply added to the humour. He acquaints himself perfectly with misunderstanding after misunderstanding. Speaking of gender subversion and the amount of hate the film had gotten pre-release, I felt like the film's enemy Rowan, a geeky, socially awkward sociopath hellbent on destruction , was the epitome of all the trolls and haters sitting on the internet whining and complaining. One brilliant scene even addresses the social media outpour, by having McCarthy directly reply to a comment that reads "Ain't no bitches gonna hunt ghosts", something that could either have been written for the film or taken from the comments section on the trailer. Who knows. Rowan even tosses casual insults at the gang, lambasting them for "shooting like girls", but the film constantly reminds you that these gals are tough, they work hard and they mean business. Heck, they even shoot a ghost in the crotch in the final scene in which I was screaming in my head SYMBOLIC CASTRATION. Albeit it never feels too much or shoved in my face, the film does have heart, stressing the values of friendship and belonging together as a group of outcasts.  The balance is just right, and I hope that little girls may leave the cinema, hopes raised that they can be a Ghostbuster too. 

  That being said, the film isn't perfect. It never quite lives up to its predecessor that looms over it like a mighty shadow, with the humour at times being very hit and miss or, at times, completely superfluous (looking at you, fart joke). Moreover the heavy use of CGI for the ghosts gave them a theme park look which took away from the illusion they were supposed to be giving of being frightening or intimidating. Though, the opening scene and a few moments throughout are genuinely spine-tingling, and did make me feel comfortably nostalgic toward the original. This nostalgia is heightened with brief cameos from all the cast members from the 1984 film, Bill Murray to Signourney Weaver making a visit. 

   Overall, 'Ghostbusters' bluntly, is just a hell of a lot of fun. Putting its fingers firmly up at the haters and showcasing new faces of comedy, 'Ghostbusters' pays homage to the 1984 classic nicely whilst empowering its female driven cast against the haters and also adding a much needed shot in the arm for the summer blockbuster. The haters may hate, but I'll definitely be calling the Ghostbusters again.