In The Brainwashing of My Dad, documentary movie maker Jen Senko asks the perfectly reasonable question: why did my father change from a life-long Democrat with no axe to grind against minorities, to a right-wing fanatic with no time for gays, blacks, or the very Democrats he was a part of? The answer lies in the rise of the right-wing media in the US, and shows just how pervasive it’s become – and with no clear way of redressing the balance. By using her father as a prime example of how persuasive the right-wing media phenomenon has become, Senko seeks to understand and explore the ways in which Americans are being drip-fed a steady diet of paranoia and xenophobia, and how the effect of this diet is both wide-ranging and a major reason for concern in the years ahead.
The reboot of Ghostbusters features four of today’s finest comediennes – Kirsten Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones – and plonks them down in many of the situations that made the original so entertaining. So is there likely to be a fresh approach to Ivan Reitman’s Eighties classic, or will we find ourselves awash in the kind of romantic nostalgia that provided the basis for Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)? It’s hard to tell from this first trailer, which combines two iconic moments from the original in its first twenty seconds, and then seems content to rehash scenes from Ghostbusters II (1989). That might be prove to be a good thing, but right now the jury’s still out on just how effective Paul Feig’s gender-switch update will be, and how funny.
With the unlikely name of Marnie Minervini, Susan Sarandon’s interfering mother – or The Meddler, if you prefer – has all the hallmarks of a woman who lacks boundaries and treats her kids as extensions of her own personality. In Lorene Scafaria’s offbeat yet heartwarming comedy, Sarandon doesn’t lack for opportunities to show off her comedic skills, but you can be sure that in amongst all the indie hijinks and scatterings of inappropriate behaviour, there’s a simple story about mother-daughter differences that are overcome in the end. A feelgood story? Very probably. A movie that offers us something fresh, or new? Maybe, but at least it looks as if you’ll have fun finding out.