Posts Tagged ‘Ghostbusters’

Mid Week Mini: Dan Aykroyd

August 25, 2010

Dan Aykroyd

Born: 1st July 1952,

Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

I’ve been meaning to do a mid week mini on Dan Aykroyd for a while now, but once again I got myself bogged down in the huge amount of information on this talented comedian, writer, and actor to name but a few professional titles this man holds. Two things finally inspired me to do this mini homage to one of my favourite actors of all time; 1) Dan Aykroyd Wines and Vodka. Bizzare on many levels but strangely suited, and 2) The Great Outdoors (1988), not only a Dan Aykroyd film I’d never seen, but one I’d never even heard of! I figured it was then time to write this blog. I’ve been a fan since I first saw Ghostbusters (1984) and Dragnet (1987) so I’ve selected what I believe is some of his best movies, cameos and latest outings in the movie, and gaming world.

In my opinion, below are some of Aykroyd’s best performances in cinema, albeit in my favourite films list at least.

Dragnet (1987) Sgt. Joe Friday

Just the facts ma’m, just the facts. Dan Aykroyd plays Sgt. Joe Friday, the by the book character playing against Tom Hanks, the much more ‘laid back, casual detective’. They balance each other out perfectly, and although the plot seems just a tad bizzare its reminiscent of what made the original series so memorable and succesful in the first place. Good chemistry and a good formula.

Ghostbusters (1984) Dr. Raymond Stantz

All time favourite film (probably mentioning that a bit too much) some awesome funny moments, riddled with adult humour (most of which I missed as a kid) and great special effects. Hearing the approach of the Stay Puft Marshmallow man, seeing his head bob into view above the buildings and finally seeing him in full view still sends shivers down my spine. Will watch it over and over and stands proud as my favourite film.

Peter Venkman: “Go get her Ray”

Raymond Stantz: “Gozer the Gozerian? Good evening. As a duly-designated representative of the City, County and State of New York, I order you to cease any and all supernatural activity and return forthwith to your place of origin, or to the next convenient parallel dimension”

Peter Venkman: [dryly] “That oughtta do it. Thanks very much, Ray”

Trading Places (1983) Louis Winthorpe III

Great film and great comedy performance from all involved. Both the character of Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) and Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) are immediately likeable, even though one is a self involved snob and commodity broker and the other a down trodden yet clever con man. Both develop as characters brilliantly and come out the other side more or less on level terms, and much to the expense of the Duke brothers who set them up in the first place. The salmon/beard eating scene still grosses me out.

The Blues Brothers (1980) Elwood Blues

“Its 106 miles to chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, its dark and we’re wearing sunglasses. Hit it.” My favourite quote in this awesome comedy musical, and definitely Jim Belushi’s finest hour (also has a cameo appearance in Trading Places) This film has a brilliant soundtrack and features some legendary singers and artists. Always cheers me up when I watch it.

Possibly some of his greatest, or for me most memorable cameos:

Casper (as Ray Stantz), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Evolution. After watching The Great Outdoors you realise Aykroyd doesn’t always play the part you expect him too.

I loved the fact Dan Aykroyd and the rest of the cast returned for Ghostbusters: The Video Game (2009), not only as voice actor for Dr. Raymond Stantz but also as writer, something that shone through with the delivery and humour of the first 2 films. Despite the game being quite an easy run through, meaning I  finished Ghostbusters way too quickly, it was very funny and aesthetically very pleasing, with a fun and simple control system. Ramis and Aykroyd capture some of the magic of the films and give us something fresh but just as fun, quirky and charming as the original Ghostbusters movie. The Ghostbusters video game gave me some high hopes that the new movie, Ghostbusters III (scheduled for 2012) might be pretty awesome.

Check out below a few websites to read up on Dan Aykroyd, including the Dan Aykroyd Vodka/Wines site here and the IMDB page for Dan Aykroyd

I’ve always been pleased to know we share something in common, and that’s an interest in the supernatural. Dan Aykroyd has an extensive collection of books on the subject.

Other interesting facts, hopefully all true, according to the fountain of all knowledge, Google:

He is in the horn section of B.B. King’s “In The Midnight Hour”

music video.

Once worked as a mail sorter for Canada’s national postal service

Older brother of Peter Aykroyd. Like Peter, an alumnus of the Second

City comedy troupe in Toronto.

Left Handed

Police buff

A police buff.
Was good friends with John Belushi.
Is very interested in the supernatural and has an extensive

collection of books on the subject.

He appeared in the music video and sang in the choir on the

song “We Are The World.”

He is in the horn section of B.B. King’s “In The Midnight Hour”

music video.

His grandfather was a Mountie.
Was once engaged to Carrie Fisher.
Once worked as a mail sorter for Canada’s national postal service.
Older brother of Peter Aykroyd. Like Peter, an alumni of the Second

City comedy troupe in Toronto.

Left handed.

Movie Review: Highlander

March 8, 2010

I know what you’re thinking, Highlander? He has to be joking? I’m afraid not people, Highlander is indeed one of my all time favourite films (next to Ghostbusters) so if you are of a weak disposition regarding this awesome movie please turn to another blog post now.

First time I watched Highlander was in the early 90’s and I didn’t really understand it, so I watched it again. Still didn’t get it, so I left it alone for a long time. When I started University in 2001 I decided to give it another go, this time on DVD, it certainly looked shinier than I remember and, apart from a few inexcusable 80’s hairdo’s, still felt like a recent movie.

I also realised it’s a film I can watch over and over again, no matter what. Always makes a good candidate for a favourite movie, one you can just sit down and switch off to (no pun intended), one you can feel good about afterwards, even if you know it might seem an odd choice to other people.

Highlander has certainly had to put up with a lot of criticism over the years, criticism which is unfortunately justified. The first film isn’t without its flaws but is superior to its successors in every way, truly “there should have been only one” However the series has been all but destroyed by a series of the worst sequels ever.

Highlander was directed by Russell Mulcahy and penned by Gregory Widen and released in 1986. If you didn’t know already, the film follows the story of Conner Macleod (Christopher Lambert) of the clan Macleod. He was born in the year 1518 in the village of Glenfinnan on the shores of Loch Shiel and is discovered to be immortal after being severely wounded on the battlefield by the Kurgan (Clancy Brown) After being banished from his village Macleod is found by Ramirez (Sean Connery) another immortal who befriends Macleod in order to teach him about the gathering and train him in order to win the prize and defeat the Kurgan.

The film skips between flashbacks of Macleod’s life in Scotland in the 16th Century, through the ages and to New York City 1985. The immortals are preparing for the gathering where the final battle will be fought by the last two and the winner will receive the prize. The only way the immortals can die is by having their heads cut off so swords are an essential weapon, also meaning there’s a lot of walking around with very cleverly concealed swords inside long jackets.

The sword choreography is highly watchable and over the top making it action packed and fun to watch. These scenes work in the same way as a martial arts movie, desperately waiting for linking dialogue to be over to get to the good stuff. The story is well conceived and despite a few plot points well executed, it flows relatively well, and unless you’re me, the story is pretty easy to follow.

I love the characters and the mythology behind them (something that was ridiculed and destroyed in the sequel rather than expanded upon and developed) and feel that it really should have been a standalone film and even has a perfect ending for it. I think Christopher Lambert does a brilliant job in bringing Conner Macleod to life as an iconic character. Given that English wasn’t his first language does a pretty sterling job at a Scottish accent, and also explains his non specific accent in the 1985 parts of the movie. He gives the character depth and potential for more “prequel esque” follow ups to the movie.

Highlander takes it charm from Lamberts portrayal and the urge to know about his past rather than his future. I think film makers after the first film forgot there was 450 years of history to explore behind this character. Sean Connerys’ inability to pull any sort of passable foreign accent out of the language hat is pretty amusing in any of his films, whether he’s playing an Egyptian Spanish metallurgist, an Irish cop or a Russian submarine commander, he’ll always have that Scottish accent in all its glory, but this is what we expect from Connery and he still plays a memorable and interesting character. Clancy Brown is awesome as the Kurgan and I wish this guy was in more movies, he really steals the scenes and becomes more and more animated and villainous throughout the film up to the final battle with Macleod.

I could probably gush about this film for a hundred pages but don’t worry I’m not going to go on too much longer, I could go into the awesome Queen soundtrack or Michael Kamen score, but maybe in another post! I will however mention the blu-ray release of this film which inspired this review. The extras have remained more or less the same from the special edition release on DVD, however the picture is awesome. For a movie that’s 25 years old 99.9% of it looks and feels like it was filmed yesterday. Only one scene stands out as being as little crude, the high definition picture emphasises the use of special effects and if you look to the screen closely you can tell half the castle, the horses, hills and fields are a matte painting, not really noticeable on VHS or DVD. Considering this scene is about 3 seconds long you’re not really losing out on a great quality transfer for such an old film. Whereas film transfers to blu-ray such as Ghostbusters were a disappointment and in my opinion not worth buying the blu-ray for Highlander is well worth the purchase.

For more Highlander I would recommend the series from 1992 with Adrian Paul as Duncan Macleod which wasn’t too bad. I also like the 4th in the series of movies “Highlander: Endgame” which see’s Conner and Duncan crossing paths and tries to recapture some of the charm of the first film with flashbacks to Conners’ life in Scotland (although don’t expect too much continuity).

Great article and more in depth look at Highlander can be found here!

Clancy Brown fan website here!

Visit here for a Christopher Lambert fan website!

QueenPrinces of the Universe” music video!