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Game Night (2018)


Game Night (2018)

If you are a fan of games like I am, then this movie probably looks like fun to you.  The concept of diving into the unknown and stirring up your plain everyday life sounds great, doesn’t it?  Of course it does.  That is why I had to check this movie out.  Because, it is about exactly that.  It is about a game night filled with endless possibilities, mystery, and excitement.  Also, the trailer for the film is pretty funny and I wanted to see more.  The next best thing to playing a game is being a spectator.

This movie is a comedy about a group of friends that get together for a regular game night.  Their most recent game night gets a huge upgrade when one of the friends surprises the others with a real life puzzle.  One of them will be kidnapped and it is up to everyone else to find that person by following the clues left behind.

The film is written by Mark Perez and directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein.  The noteworthy cast includes Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Jesse Plemons, Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Michael C. Hall, Jeffrey Wright, Danny Huston, and Chelsea Peretti.

There have been a lot of comedies in recent history that have fallen flat.  The humor often is just not there or it is not consistent enough to warrant the genre of a Comedy.  Game Night is not one of those movies.  It is all kinds of funny.  It takes a little while to get going, but then it does not stop.

This film feels like a fun game.  The title is fitting, but for a couple of reasons.  The obvious reason is that it is about a game night, but more importantly the movie itself actually feels like a game night.  It is a great movie to see in the company of others (as comedies often are).  See this movie on movie night and it will feel just like a game night.  All the ingredients are there.  The excitement, the fun, the laughs, and the good time are all a part of it.  Buy some snacks at the concessions and you got yourself some good old-fashioned entertainment.

There is a comfortable assortment of humor in this movie; witty, dark, sarcastic, situational, and stupid.  It is a tasteful variety that is sure to make anyone laugh.

The film had a bit of a The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997) feel to it.  The characters think something is fake when it is actually real and hilarity ensues.

I felt like the cast all did a superb job in their roles.  The casting department compiled an enjoyable bunch of characters.

Bateman continues to prove his versatility between comedy and drama.  Not a lot of actors are capable of drama and humor at the same level.  Jason nails it!

McAdams, who is not known for her comedy, manages to pull it off because there is also just the right amount of drama in this film.

Chandler keeps up the trend of being always likable no matter what part he is playing in an acting role.

Michael C. Hall had a great cameo performance.  I think it worked well in this film because of his excellent history as the phenomenal Dexter in the well-known Dexter (2006) TV series.

Plemons continues to prove himself as a solid actor every time that I see him in a movie (which has been a lot lately).  In this one, he hysterically steals the show.

If you are looking for an exciting comedy, Game Night is totally worth it!

I rate this movie an 8.5 on a scale of 1-10.

 

If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:

 

The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997)

The Hangover (2009)

Horrible Bosses (2011)

Wedding Crashers (2005)

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)


The Hunger Games Catching Fire Poster

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

As I mentioned in my review of The Hunger Games (2012), I told my friend that I would see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire with him, even though I was not very interested in either of the films.  I’m not going to watch a sequel to a film without first watching the original, so I watched The Hunger Games at home before going out to the theatre.  I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed The Hunger Games, and this made me excited to see the sequel.  I would certainly not recommend watching The Hunger Games: Catching Fire without first watching The Hunger Games.  It is pretty much essential to watch the movies in order.

I would advise against reading the rest of this review if you have not yet seen The Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games Catching Fire Harrelson Hutcherson Lawrence

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire picks up where the first film left off.  Through an act of defiance, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) were the winners of the 74th annual Hunger Games.  Their public defiance was enough for the government to want to make an example out of them by punishing them in hopes of preventing a revolution.

The film was directed by Francis Lawrence and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, Elizabeth Banks, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Lenny Kravitz, Liam Hemsworth, Jeffrey Wright, Amanda Plummer, Jena Malone, and Toby Jones.

The Hunger Games Catching Fire Hutcherson Banks Lawrence

Like most sequels, I expected this movie to be a step down from the first film.  My expectations were wrong once again.  It’s a rare thing that a sequel is better than its predecessor, but this is exactly the case with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.  It’s as if the filmmakers ironed out all of the kinks from the first movie in order to make the sequel.

Everything that I liked and disliked about The Hunger Games was improved upon in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.  It was another welcomed surprise.  The acting was more passionate, the special effects were sharper, the story was more interesting, and the quality of the film as a whole was just plain better.

The Hunger Games Catching Fire Lawrence Hutcherson

Fans of The Hunger Games will undoubtedly like The Hunger Games: Catching Fire even more.  The film is a higher caliber and therefore delivers a stronger potency.

I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011)


extremely loud & incredibly close poster

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011)

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is a tender, heartfelt drama about a boy (Thomas Horn) who tries to keep the memory of his father (Tom Hanks) alive for as long as possible.  The boy is completely devastated after his father dies inside of the World Trade Center during the attacks on September 11th, 2001.  He finds a key to an unknown lock that belonged to his father and he is prepared to search all of New   York City to find out exactly what the key will unlock.

extremely loud & incredibly close binoculars

The pace of the film was pretty slow and it allowed for the development of the main characters.  It did not have to rely on special effects or action, just actors acting and telling a story.

extremely loud & incredibly close bathroom

Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock both give charming performances in the film, as they usually do.  But, their roles were miniscule in comparison to the breakout performance of 14-year-old Thomas Horn.  Horn came out of nowhere.  He did an excellent job of acting in his first movie ever.  The young man was able to carry the majority of the film on his back.  Thomas Horn reminded me a little bit of Haley Joel Osment.  It will be interesting to see what Horn does next.

Max Von Sydow did a great job with his supporting character.

EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE

Jeffrey Wright and John Goodman both had minor supporting roles.

My only complaints about the movie are that it was maybe a little too slow during some parts and it was a little bit predictable.  It would have been more beneficial to the film if Hanks and Bullock had a little bit more face time.

It is hard to get excited to watch a movie that has anything to do with the attacks on the WorldTradeCenter on 9/11/2001.  That is the reason why I did not rush out and catch this movie in the theatre when it was out in 2011.  I’m glad that I did take the time to finally watch it because it did turn out to be a pretty touching story.

extremely loud & incredibly close 9 11

I rate this movie a 7.5 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Rent.

Broken City (2013)


broken city cover

Broken City (2013)

Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe both let their presence be known in Broken City.  Each man carries himself with such tenacity and vigor that when you put them both in the same movie together, you are certainly in for a show.  Put them both in the same scene, and you are in for fireworks.

In this film, Crowe reminds us all just how powerful his acting can be.  He seemed like he was very comfortable with his part and was having a lot of fun with it.  That aspect of it was pretty obvious and made the movie more enjoyable.

broken city cheers

Wahlberg has been choosing his movie roles very carefully lately, and makes yet another wise choice.  He has definitely shown us that he can act with the best of them and delivers another very raw, intense performance.  Obviously he is the lead in this film and he was billed first before Russell Crowe, but I think that he has rightfully earned that position.  He has paid his dues and has reached the superstar status.

The movie is pretty dark.  It is filled with deceit, dirty cops and politicians, murder, and violence.  It’s almost scary how well it was all depicted.  It was all very well written, well directed, and skillfully filmed.  It was all rounded out by a superb supporting cast: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Barry Pepper, Jeffrey Wright, and Kyle Chandler.  The latter three of those four are all very solid character actors and they were all at their best.

barry pepperkyle chandler broken city

I have noticed a trend recently.  Female lead characters have not had much of a chance to develop their characters in movies.  It just seems that more and more, actresses are not given too many lines or very big roles in larger movies as of late.  They may be main characters, but the men usually dominate the film.  Obviously this happens a lot in movies, but usually when the movie has a big budget and a high caliber cast, it also gets a couple of strong female lead characters to go with it.  Broken City continued the trend of weak or underdeveloped female lead characters.  This may have taken a little bit away from the movie, but at the same time could have contributed to how and why the male characters went off the deep end.  Their female counterparts were a little too withdrawn.

wright wahlberg broken city

Broken City was reminiscent of old Humphrey Bogart private detective movies such as The Maltese Falcon (1941), or The Big Sleep (1946).  Of course it is a new age and more intense film than those were, but it just reminded me of them while I was watching it.  Those were classic films that were fun to watch.

Overall, Broken City was a very strong, entertaining film.

I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.

If you enjoyed Broken City, then you will probably like:

2 Guns (2013)

Pain & Gain (2013)

Ted (2012)

American Hustle (2013)

The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)

Lone Survivor (2013)

crown zeta broken city