Ghost Town (Blu-ray)
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A spirited romantic comedy, Ghost Town is the story of Bertram Pincus (Ricky Gervais), a cranky Manhattan dentist who develops the unwelcome ability to see dead people. Really annoying dead people. But when a smooth-talking ghost (Greg Kinnear) traps Bertram into a romantic scheme involving his widow Gwen (Tea Leoni), they become entangled in a hilarious predicament between the now and the hereafter!
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I do not want to give a blow by blow detail of the story as that is what you are buying the DVD for and need some surprises. Be sure to watch the commentary afterwards and then the moving again armed with the knowledge of what is being portrayed.
Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear) a recently dispatched philandering husband still hangs around in the ether. Soon Bertram Pincus D.D.S. (Ricky Gravis) meets with an untimely "end" of sorts and is able to see dead people. So as tradition has it Frank recruits Bertram to protect Frank's widow from marrying what seems like an unseemly person. Naturally thing go awry. We cannot help from kibitzing. But we may also learn something in the process.
Fort the technically inclined I must admit I only say the Blu-ray version so I cannot comment on different media presentations. The commentary is with David Koll and Ricky Gervais. Aside from the standard three languages they have added Portuguese subtitles for some reason.
I've ordered from your 3rd party suppliers many times and have never had this problem before.
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Not that Gervais' Dr. Pincus, a dentist, is pleasant. He's a quiet man, eager to do all he can to stay away from his fellow man, whether by sneaking past an office party for the exit, or not holding an elevator door open for a fellow apartment building dweller. He has disdain for ALL of mankind, and chose the life of a dentist because he can pretty much keep his patients from talking by opening their mouths and shoving things in them. Gervais, as we know from his work on THE OFFICE and EXTRAS, is perfect at this sort of misanthropic character. Unengaged with those around him, full of easy (and hilarious) contempt. The smart remarks he tosses off under his breath are quite funny. Frankly, he reminded me of something akin to Hugh Grant's older, more unpleasant brother.
Early in the film, Dr. Pincus goes in to the hospital for some minor surgery in a very indelicate spot on his body. To avoid the humiliation, he insists on a general anesthetic...and something goes wrong. He dies for seven minutes ("a little less than seven"), and when he comes to, he can suddenly see, be seen by, and interact with ghosts. And New York City is FULL of ghosts. They're all "people" with unfinished business, and in Dr. Pincus, they see a chance to finally get someone to finish their business for them so they can "move on." One particular ghost, played with his usual oily ease, is Greg Kinnear, who wants Gervais to bust up the impending marriage between his widow (Tea Leoni) and a no-good human rights attorney (Billy Campbell...looking 15 years older all of a sudden). Gervais only agrees to try this because a) Kinnear can get the other ghosts to leave him alone, and b) he actually finds Leoni interesting.
If all this sounds very familiar, I'll admit right here that although I've never seen this EXACT formula, it does sound like a mix of ghost movies from TOPPER to GHOST. But GHOST TOWN is its own unique creation, primarily because Gervais is unlike any other actor we've seen in such a role. He's an amazingly quick wit. Listen carefully, and you'll find yourself laughing out loud at half the things he says. He also is quite convincing when he begins to open up his heart just a little bit more. We see, of course, that there is a good but wounded man underneath all the nastiness.
The film holds no real surprises, but it does get many familiar pleasures right. That Leoni has never become a bigger star has always dismayed me...she's super intelligent but excellent at vulnerability...and she's capable of being funny as hell. In GHOST TOWN, she and Gervais develop a most tentative but very engaging relationship. It is...dare I say it...sweet.
Kinnear and the supporting cast are all okay, but nothing more. There are some moving moments near the end involving the other ghosts...but mostly, this is Gervais' film...ably assisted by Leoni. It feels old fashioned yet modern too. And if it weren't for two totally unneeded "f-bombs"...it would be quite suitable for ages 13 and up. But then again, this is a love story about two folks in their `40s...how many people will THAT turn off? For me, a man IN his `40s...I liked it and hope that the film finds the audience it deserves.
I have always found Ricky Gervais (The Office, Extras) incredibly Englishly funny. In Ghost Town he did not disappoint. He was hilarious from the first to the last minute, what facial expressions! But what got to me, was how sexy his character, Dr Pincus, became as he developed as a character throughout the film. By the end of the film I was positively infatuated with Dr Pincus! The contrasting setting (New York) added to the sense of Englishnes mentioned. Excellent.
The film is not just a thigh-slapper though, particularly the middle of the film is quite touching. It makes a pleasant 'Christmas story' (although not set during Christmas, it smacks of being somewhat Dickensian in its theme), has that feel-good factor, and could even pass for romantic comedy.
Lots of quotable one-liners.
It is the BEST all-around date/couples/friends movie. Beautifully shot in Manhattan (makes me want to live there) This movie is funny with laugh out loud yuks.
There's a love story super sweet and it's also got male bonding buddies.
Tea Leoni is so pretty Ricky Gervais is funny as you expect but with a side of maturity and character development.
Please see this movie-it is wonderful.
For not being a high-budgeted FX film, the CG looked very presentable and did not show any real artifact on the BD. The docus are the same as on the DVD. The main docu has plenty of info on the making of the film, the Ghostly Effects is a short, uneventful clip on how they interlaced the CG, but it does provide one surprise on a scene that did not appear to be CG. The highlight though, especially for Gervais fans is the Some People Can Do It feature, which is actually the outtakes and bloopers - hilarious.
The colors were outstanding on the BD for having so many interior shots, and some of the NY exteriors looked outstanding in HD. Obviously not a thorough sound or visual test for your display, but worth the purchase for multiple viewings.