Game Night (2018) Review

Game Night (2018)

Directed by John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein

Starring: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Jesse Plemons, Michael C. Hall, Kyle Chandler

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Game Night follows a group of friends whose game night turns into a real-life mystery.

My Opinion:

I enjoyed this film and it’s a shame we don’t get many movies like this nowadays. I’m very picky when it comes to comedy and rarely like current films in the genre so I often avoid them completely. Game Night has the right blend of clever humor as well as an entertaining story. It’s not going to change the world and it’s not some all-time comedy classic but at least you won’t feel like you’ve actually lost brain cells just by watching it. It’s a fun popcorn movie that doesn’t treat its audience like complete morons.

Hey – this was co-directed by the little brother from Freaks And Geeks. I love that show!!! Anyone else love that show? But, FYI – this movie is nothing like the output from other Freaks And Geeks alumni (such as Seth Rogen). Game Night is better than that. Here’s the Freaks And Geeks kid (he’s 32 now. When did I get so old?!):


Speaking of TV shows for old people like me, I had a crush on Jason Bateman back in the 1980s. Not so much from Silver Spoons but from the thoroughly underrated, hilarious, ahead-of-its-time It’s Your Move. People couldn’t handle that sort of humor back then as I suppose it wasn’t all warm & fuzzy like Growing Pains or something. Anyway, Bateman had great comedic chops from a young age and I’m always happy to see him in stuff now. Maybe I should finally check out Arrested Development?! Or Horrible Bosses? Did I just use the words “comedic chops”?? Bateman & Rachel McAdams are really funny in this, playing a married couple who are both extremely competitive when it comes to their Game Nights with their friends.


I don’t know what else to say about this as comedy is so subjective but I would think I could recommend it to most people who are around the same sort of age as me (which is right in between the ages of Bateman & McAdams). The humor isn’t exactly subtle but it’s not the outrageous in-your-face stuff like in Bridesmaids, etc. It might not be one for twentysomethings – It’s probably more for the sort of old farts like me who would have a board game night with friends. I’d love game nights with the right group of people! Who wants a board game night with me?? Just please don’t order a kidnapping mystery.

I enjoyed Game Night a lot. It’s fun. The dark humor works. The thriller/action stuff works. The opening titles were really good. Everyone was funny and no one was annoying. Bateman & McAdams were especially good and believable as a married couple. But it’s still not quite as good as Freaks And Geeks or It’s Your Move

My Rating: 7.5/10

Is there a scene after the credits? Yes – During the credits as well as one at the very end. Not sure if the final one is worth staying for but I liked it.

He’s so handsome…

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Spotlight (2015) Review

Last weekend, I tried to catch up on watching some Oscar nominees. Of the Best Picture nominees, I’d already seen Mad Max: Fury Road (awesome), Room (amazing), and The Revenant (pelts!). I went to Spotlight & then what I really wanted to see was The Hateful Eight but it was sold out & I was stuck having to go to The Big Short instead. Were Spotlight & The Big Short worth my time? Let’s find out. I’ll review Spotlight today & The Big Short on Wednesday. 

Spotlight (2015)

Directed by Tom McCarthy

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows The Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team, the oldest continuously operating newspaper investigative unit in the United States, and its investigation into cases of widespread and systemic child sex abuse in the Boston area by numerous Roman Catholic Priests. It is based on a series of stories by the real Spotlight Team that earned The Globe the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

My Opinion:

Yes, Spotlight is a good film. It’s very much “Oscar material”, so I can understand why it’s up for awards. Is it the BEST MOVIE EVER?? No. Is it one of those Best Picture nominees that people will barely remember ten years from now? Hmm. Yes, I think so. Sorry. It’s pretty much your typical “serious true story” made into a Hollywood drama just in time for Oscar season. I mean no disrespect to the unthinkable true story behind this film but, judging it just as a film as opposed to the topic the film covers, it’s indeed a solid piece of filmmaking but is certainly not up there with some of the absolute classics that have been nominated for Best Picture in the entire history of the Oscars.

But, yes, it’s at least worthy of a nomination (for Best Picture – not so much for the acting categories). Sorry to start out sounding so negative – I promise that I have nothing bad to say about this movie from here on out (I’ll save my negativity for my next review). I’ll talk about all the things that I thought were good about Spotlight. There’s honestly nothing at all bad about it – I think my negativity is aimed more at the Academy being so out of touch with the general public nowadays. But I’m getting ahead of myself again – that complaint belongs in the review I’ll be posting on Wednesday. I apologize to Spotlight – I think it’s just unfortunate that I saw it on the same day that I saw The Big Short!

Spotlight takes a serious issue and, thankfully, doesn’t exploit it. Movies based on true stories can often take things too far down that tearjerker, emotional DRAMA(!!) route and quite often end up feeling insincere. The story focuses mainly on the Spotlight team of investigators as opposed to the actual victims of sexual abuse by their priests and I think that was the best way to approach telling this story. We don’t need to see the abuse or get specific details – just knowing that such a thing could happen and that it was so widespread is bad enough. It disgusts me that adults in a position of trust can betray children in such a horrible way. But back to discussing the movie itself, not the topic it covers…

I liked this film’s approach as I’ve never been a fan of over the top melodrama and I think the quiet & subdued performances in this are much more realistic. However, it also felt like any professional actor could have played any of the roles in this film so I’m quite surprised that both Mark Ruffalo & Rachel McAdams are up for acting Oscars. I don’t think they have any chance of winning. It’s not because they’re not both good in this (they are) but these just aren’t exactly defining roles. Actually, the best performance here may be from Stanley Tucci in a small role. 

I think the Academy too often confuses “worthy topic” with “good filmmaking & acting”. But a lot of what I’m saying may also be down to my own personal preference – I like a worthy film now and then but I most often watch a movie for escapism so will almost always choose sci-fi, fantasy, etc, over a dramatic true story. The story behind this film is a very important one so it’s great that they did a Hollywood film about it as that’s (sadly) sometimes the only way the public becomes fully aware of a certain topic. But, for me personally, after watching movies like these I often feel like I’d be better off just watching a documentary (if one exists) instead of the Hollywood version of true events. Spotlight is a good film, though, and most certainly one you should watch if you like the genre and want to see how they’ve handled the story.

My Rating: 7/10

Midnight In Paris (2011) Review

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Midnight In Paris (2011)

Directed & Written by Woody Allen

Starring:
Kathy Bates
Adrien Brody
Carla Bruni
Marion Cotillard
Kurt Fuller
Rachel McAdams
Michael Sheen
Owen Wilson

Running time: 94 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Set in Paris, the film follows Gil Pender, a screenwriter, who is forced to confront the shortcomings of his relationship with his materialistic fiancée and their divergent goals, which become increasingly exaggerated as he travels back in time each night at midnight.

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My Opinion:

This has nothing whatsoever to do with Midnight In Paris but I just have to say this: I think I deserve a payrise for getting the word “Xenomorph” into my company’s newsletter last week.

Now, onto Midnight In Paris: a movie I watched months ago but never reviewed because I don’t really have much to say about it. But, shit – apparently a lot of you like it as it’s in third place in that poll of movies you want me to review. So, damn, I better stay true to my word! 🙂

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Here’s my big, embarrassing movie blogger confession: I’ve never watched a Woody Allen film. NONE! So Midnight In Paris was my first & only. Tell me, Woody Allen fans – was this the place to start? I assume not. But, I dunno… I really liked the sound of it plus I’m a big fan of Van Gogh so I was a sucker for that poster up there. ^ I am NOT, however, a fan of Owen Wilson. Probably because he’s been in too many of those annoying Wes Anderson movies. Plus, I’ve always hated his voice. And, you know, that nose. I’m sounding bitchy now but I’m just trying to point out how much I do NOT like Owen Wilson so that you know this may have had an effect on my enjoyment of my first Woody Allen movie. However, it’s definitely a good film & I can understand why some people really like it. It needs to be your type of “thing”, though.

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With this movie, as with Wilson’s character, it really comes alive when it’s in the past. These scenes are so much better than those set in present day with Wilson’s absolute bitch of a fiancée (Rachel McAdams). But that’s the whole point – a viewer may very well end up loving 1920’s Paris just as much as Wilson’s character does. I may not be able to fully relate to a love of 1920’s Paris but I can relate to feeling nostalgic about a certain time. I hate 2015! The world is shit now. I’d probably go back to the 1970s/early 80s. Hmm… I suppose that’s a little unoriginal. I’d probably be happy in any time that’s before the Internet but after indoor plumbing! Oh, and after women stopped being treated like shit. Wait… we’re still treated like shit! Oh cool – I think I’ve written enough now. I can finish this horrible first-ever Woody Allen review I’m making a mess of! 🙂

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Summary:

Midnight In Paris is a good film and I would assume those who love Woody Allen films loved this one too (not that I can compare it to another film of his since I’ve not seen any). I’m probably not cultured enough to have fully appreciated all the famous historical figures Wilson’s character meets in the past but I did find this a very fun part of the story as I actually didn’t know beforehand that anyone “special” was going to be in this. I also didn’t mind the romance in this although I’m not the type to usually go for that. Oh yeah! And my favorite “hey, it’s that guy!” guy was in this (Kurt Fuller – never thought to look up his name before now). I can’t say Midnight In Paris is a movie I fell in love with or that I’ll ever watch it again, though. I liked the originality & it was entertaining but I know I probably should have watched an older Woody Allen film first.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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About Time (2013) Review

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About Time (2013)

Directed by Richard Curtis

Starring:
Domhnall Gleeson
Rachel McAdams
Bill Nighy
Tom Hollander
Margot Robbie
Lydia Wilson

Running time: 123 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
When Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) turns 21 his dad (Bill Nighy) shares a family secret with him: the men in their family are able to time travel & change things in their past. Tim decides to use this to get a girlfriend.

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I’m not the biggest fan of Richard Curtis films. While I enjoy watching them, there’s always a character or two that annoy me and then when I think about the movies more later on, I always end up liking them even less. Didn’t like Notting Hill that much – Julia Roberts was annoying. The lesser characters in that film were the best. Four Weddings And A Funeral wasn’t as good as the hype and, again, the female lead was annoying. Then there was Love Actually, which I saw in the cinema and kind of enjoyed but, on reflection, man there are some hateful characters in that one! At least with that film, there were SO MANY characters that you could focus more on the stories & people you liked. I guess. Oh, and I’m not the biggest fan of Hugh Grant, either. And although Curtis just co-wrote the screenplay, not the book, can I just say that Bridget Jones gets on my nerves? It wasn’t at all shocking that she had trouble getting a boyfriend! Obnoxious cow.

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Wow – I sound really bitchy. Lol! I guess the point I’m trying to make is this: About Time is, overall, better than all the above films. It has its flaws and its couple of slightly “quirky” characters like in all Curtis films. But it feels less contrived than previous films and gets its point across really well without having to shove its message down our throats. It’s not trying too hard to please every single moviegoer with lots of different stories and characters like in Love Actually – it keeps things very simple which I think makes it a much better film. We get to really know and care about the main characters in this film. And they’re likeable and realistic in this one! (Aside from the sister being made the quirky one but she’s not TOO annoyingly quirky). Oh! And the American female lead is also, for once, totally likeable as well! Yay!

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FYI BOYS: Margot Robbie is in this

I really wanted to see this one as I read several very positive reviews (especially from male bloggers!) here on WordPress. The main one I remember was from Tom at Digital Shortbread (his review is HERE). I was curious as to why so many guys liked what appeared to be a romantic comedy, especially as I’m not the type of girly girl who normally likes those types of movies (sometimes – it depends on my mood!). I can tell you now, staying spoiler free, that it IS romantic but it’s not a comedy. It’s also not JUST about romance, like it at first seems it’s going to be. There’s a big focus on the relationship between the main character (Domhnall Gleeson) and his father (Bill Nighy). I loved this! His relationship with Rachel McAdams was great & totally believable (they seem like real people in a real relationship – no sickly sweet stuff) but the father/son relationship is what ended up really making the film for me.

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So don’t run away from this one, guys – there’s something here for both male and female viewers. The film starts out a little slow and it did take me a while to get into it but, once it finished, I thought it was pretty damn good overall and I loved the direction it decided to take at the end. As for the time travel?? Ignore that – this movie is NOT about that. I think it probably breaks every possible rule about time travel and some of it made no sense. It was simply used as the device to get across the (very simple yet very good) message of the film. Not too bad, Richard Curtis!

My Rating: 7/10

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