“Ghost in the Shell” (PG-13)
Scarlett Johansson tries without success to breathe new life into “Ghost in a Shell,” the live-action version of the heralded Anime manga-turned-animated movie series. Johansson plays Major, the robotic shell that holds the brain of an unknown woman in futuristic Japan. The idea is that with the brain the soul of the person will inhabit its new cybernetic body, but instead the brain’s memories are suppressed as Major is turned into a weapon to track and eliminate criminals.
Listen to Tim’s reviews of “Ghost in the Shell” and “The Boss Baby” on KQRS with Tom Barnard by clicking the audio player above. Also, hear Tim’s reviews of the films with Bob Sansevere on “The BS Show.”
While the visuals are spectacular – the film feels like a combination of “The Matrix” and any number of virtual reality video games – “Ghost in the Shell” is ultimately dull and uninspiring. It’s hard to get engaged by Johansson’s portrayal, since she plays the character devoid of emotion throughout the entire film. If you want to see Johansson truly kick ass, then rent her brain-enhancing sci-fi thriller Lucy, where she shows the true mettle of an action movie star.
Lammometer: 5 (out of 10)
LINK: See Tim Lammers’ archived video and audio interviews, including Denzel Washington, Casey Affleck, Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman, Hugh Jackman, Francis Ford Coppola and more on his new YouTube channel.
“The Boss Baby” (PG)
Alec Baldwin is brilliant as the voice of “The Boss Baby,” an animated feature intended for the kid set that actually plays better for adults. The title character is an infant adopted by a suburban couple with a 7-year-old son, who in secret is a cut-throat businessman who has to carry out a vital plan.
Babies, as it turns out, were at one time considered the cutest thing in the world, but dogs – particularly puppies – are dangerously close to taking that mantle over; especially once the baby’s new parents are scheduled to help unveil a new breed of dog that stays a puppy forever.
Backed by inventive visuals and peppy dialogue, Baldwin pours his all into the portrayal of “The Boss Baby.” Oddly enough, a lot of the smart dialogue will fly over little kids’ heads, and parents will undoubtedly get more out of the film than their children.
Lammometer: 8 (out of 10)
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