Three new films currently playing in Malaysian cinemas: 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife', 'No Time To Die' and 'Venom: Let There Be Carnage'

·4-min read

DECEMBER 4 ― When it comes to what's playing in Malaysian cinemas, I’m still surprised that it took me a few weeks to gather enough films to write about, with new movies still very slowly trickling into our cinemas, usually with just one new movie opening every week as opposed to the sometimes three or four big new movies that we had to choose from back during the pre-pandemic days.

It'll probably take another six months or so, if not more, for us to get back to those days of being spoilt for choice at local cinemas, but already in December we’ll be seeing some exciting new films opening here, like Spider-Man: No Way Home, The King’s Man, The Matrix Resurrections, West Side Story and Prebet Sapu, which is Malaysia’s submission to next year’s Oscars.

But as we wait for that bunch of excitement to arrive, let’s take a look at what’s already here in Malaysian cinemas right now. It took me a while to see all of them, but I finally did!

Ghostbusters: Afterlife

The latest film to open in local cinemas is this second attempt at a Ghostbusters reboot (after the universal and miserable failure of 2016’s Ghostbusters: Answer The Call), which takes the form of an actual sequel to the first two Ghostbusters movies from the 1980s.

Directed by Jason Reitman, son of Ivan Reitman (who directed both the 80s films), the film is like a passing of the torch from the old generation to the new one, with the story literally reflecting this since it involves the grandkids of Egon Spengler (played by the late Harold Ramis in the original) taking up the mantle from their grandfather and becoming a new team of ghostbusters in this one, albeit not in New York City this time, but a small town in the middle of nowhere.

Playing a bit like an Amblin movie set in the Ghostbusters universe, the three kids here are what will keep you glued to your seat and giggle your way through this delightful nostalgia trip, with Logan Kim as Podcast effortlessly stealing the show every single time he pops up on screen and Mckenna Grace as the film’s lead character Phoebe equally effortlessly carrying the whole movie with her affable presence and charisma, and surely converting plenty of new kids to the world of Ghostbusters, making this one a successful reboot indeed.

Mission accomplished.

No Time To Die

If you, like me, are only a casual fan of the Bond franchise, with only faint memories of the last few films like Casino Royale, Skyfall and Spectre, which are all linked together in a way that resembles the MCU, don’t fret, for your enjoyment of No Time To Die will not be hampered by those faint memories.

Cast member Daniel Craig poses as he arrives at the world premiere of the new James Bond film ‘No Time To Die’ at the Royal Albert Hall in London September 28, 2021. — Reuters pic
Cast member Daniel Craig poses as he arrives at the world premiere of the new James Bond film ‘No Time To Die’ at the Royal Albert Hall in London September 28, 2021. — Reuters pic

The closing chapter of the Daniel Craig as Bond era is, despite its absolutely epic 163-minute runtime, a highly enjoyable action spy yarn that packs in every single thing you might expect from a Bond film, including some unthinkable things like actual feelings!

Summing up the plot for a three-hour film is of course an exercise in futility, so let’s just say that this one picks up right where Spectre left off, following Bond and Dr Madeleine Swann as they ride into the sunset and try to live happily ever after, with them then trying to pick up the pieces after all of that optimism was blown to shreds during the film’s second major action set-piece.

As far as Bond films go, I’d say that this one earns its big bucks (and mammoth running time) very fairly, thanks to director Cory Fukunaga’s very able balancing of the story’s action and emotional requirements and the lead actors’ very earnest performances.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage

This one’s a bit trickier to write about, because even though I was reasonably entertained while watching this big budget superhero sequel, thanks to the banter between Eddie Brock and Venom (both played/voiced by Tom Hardy, in a strangely delightful display of overacting) and the loving chemistry that eventually develops between the two (seriously, this one follows the exact formula of your classic, typical rom-com in its narrative structure, right down to the “break-up” and “make up” beats), there are just too many messy bits surrounding those two good things to enable me to even call this a good movie.

In short, the superhero bits here are never as good as the comedy bits, with much of the action still hampered by dodgy-looking CGI and the plot mechanics surrounding the film’s two villains sloppy at best and distractingly unconvincing at worst, which makes this viewing experience akin to watching a favourite actor of yours having fun and slumming it in a crappy play, which is all you need to know whether this would be your cup of tea or not.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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