Movie Review: Game Night (2018)

What’s your favorite game? Not counting video games here, just things that you can easily play with friends on a game night. Charades, Yahtzee, Uno… doesn’t matter. Let me know your favorites.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Game Night”.

Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) have a weekly tradition of inviting their friends to a game night. One such weekend the group gets invited to a game night by Max’s brother (Kyle Chandler). They find out that he’s planned a bit of a murder mystery themed game night. But soon what should just be a fun evening with friends turns into something a bit crazier than originally expected. So now we have our twisty-turny comedy. And the plot here is pretty good. I appreciate that it tries to do something a bit different than a lot of modern comedies. It takes a really clever idea and has a lot of fun with it. Now, while I’m all for a twisty-turny web, this one twists around a bit much, turning it into a bit of a mess at times. Twist upon twist is fine, but the way it’s done in “Game Night” doesn’t always work, turning it from a clever mystery into a bit of a messtery (see what I did there?). It’s not so bad that it made me angry, but it does take me out of it a little at times. But it’s still a fairly refreshing entry in the world of Hollywood comedies. Good stuff.

The characters in this are all a ton of fun to follow, and they share some solid chemistry. First up we have Jason Bateman as Max, who is a very Jason Bateman-esque type. I can’t put it any other way, if you’ve seen Jason Bateman in a comedy, you know what to expect from him. But it still works, and Bateman does a good job. Next we have Rachel McAdams as Annie, Max’s wife and fellow game night entusiast. She’s not always the brightest bulb in the shed, but she’s always full of glee and is just a ton of fun to follow. And McAdams is fantastic in the role, absolutely the scene stealer. We also get supporting work from people like Kyle Chandler, Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Jesse Plemons, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Cliff Martinez, and it was really good. And I’m not just saying that because I’m a fan of some of Martinez’s older work, but I think it’s genuinely a great score that works really well in adding a surprising amount of suspense and intrigue to the movie. There’s also a few licensed tracks used throughout, and they work pretty well in their respective scenes.

“Game Night” was written by Mark Perez, and directed by John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein, and this trio really outdid themselves here. In terms of the overall craft of the movie, I didn’t expect much. So imagine my surprise when I notice all the clever and engaging camerawork used throughout the movie, especially during one sequence that I will not spoil, but let’s just say that my eyebrows were raised and my jaw was on the floor. And since this is a comedy, you might wanna know if I laughed. So did I? Like a fucking idiot. I didn’t expect this movie to crack me up as much as it did. Some jokes were chuckles, some were loud gut-busters. Yeah, I had a blast with the humor here.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 84% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 66/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

“Game Night” is one of the biggest surprises of the year. It has a pretty good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, great directing, and hilarious comedy. Though as previously mentioned, my score gets brought down a bit by the plot being a bit convoluted. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Game Night” is an 8,88/10. So while flawed, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Game Night” is now completed.

I think Uno might be my favorite, purely because of how fun it is to fuck people over.

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Movie Review: Deadpool 2 (2018)

In 2009, we got the big screen debut of comic book character Deadpool in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, and it was a fucking disgrace. Skip forward to 2016, Deadpool gets his own movie called… “Deadpool” (fucking unpredictable title, I know). And in 2018 he got a sequel. And now I finally watched it. So let’s talk about it.

Ladies and gents… “Deadpool 2”.

Super-powered mercenary Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) has to create his own mutant team in order to protect a young mutant (Julian Dennison) from a time traveling super soldier called Cable (Josh Brolin). So now we have our big comic book sequel plot. And it’s good. It does lack some of the focus that the first movie had, but that is not very surprising considering this is trying to be bigger than the first one. But I don’t dislike the plot here at all, as a matter of fact, I found it to be a lot of fun. Sure, it does jump around a bit, but it’s not enough to annoy me. It embraces the silliness of superhero comics, while still subverting a fair bit of expectations one has for them. And I thought it all had a fair balance between silly comic shit and heartfelt character drama. ’tis good.

The characters in this are fun, badass, surprisingly layered, and overall very entertaining. Ryan Reynolds of course returns as Deadpool. But this is a slightly different Deadpool to the first movie, this one has suffered a little bit, this Deadpool is going through some shit. But he still retains the insanity that we’ve come to know from him. And Reynolds is once again fantastic in the role. Next we have Josh Brolin as Cable, the time traveling soldier out for blood. He’s a tragic, unrelenting badass that I found quite interesting. And Brolin is great in the role. We also get Zazie Beets as Domino, one of the mutants joining Deadpool on his quest. She’s an interesting foil for Wade’s antics, and she’s just overall a fun character. And Beets is great in the role. Julian Dennison is also great as the tragic mutant kid that Wade wants to help. WE also get supporting work from people like Morena Baccarin, Karan Soni, Stefan Kapicic, Leslie Uggams, Eddie Marsan, Brianna Hildebrand, Rob Delaney, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Tyler Bates, and it’s good. It does include some good ol’ heroic brass, but it also takes inspiration from rock to create a score that captures the film’s mostly irreverent vibe. There’s also a lot of licensed tracks used throughout the movie, and while there are several I wouldn’t find myself listening to on my own, I thought all of them worked well enough within the movie for each scene.

Written by Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, and Ryan Reynolds, this movie wasn’t directed by Tim Miller. Instead, David Leitch took the director’s chair for this one. And I think he did a great job. Sure, quiet scenes don’t have much to speak of, all the magic in those come from the actors. But the action scenes, holy fuck, they are great. Fights, shootouts, chases… this film has all kinds of action, and all of it is well shot and incredibly entertaining… and violent as hell. And just like the first movie, “Deadpool 2” is in large part a comedy. So is the humor any funny here? I think so. Fourth wall breaks, references, sight gags, deprecating jokes, it’s all here, and I laughed like an idiot at most of it.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 83% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 66/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10.

While I probably prefer the first movie, “Deadpool 2” is still an absolute blast from start to finish. It has a good plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, great directing/action, and hilarious comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Deadpool 2” is a 9,75/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Deadpool 2” is now completed.

Can beauty come out of ashes?

Movie Review: First Reformed (2018)

Faith. Something a lot of people struggle with, regardless of which religion it is. And that’s all the religious talk I’m doing today, don’t wanna accidentally start a flame war (you commenters behave now).

Ladies and gentlemen… “First Reformed”.

Ernst Toller (Ethan Hawke) is a priest in an old church. And he soon starts struggling with his faith as things around him start crumbling. So now we have our drama. And it’s great. The plot here features a lot of sensitive subjects, which could’ve absolutely gone sideways in the wrong hands. But they are handled beautifully here. It all comes together to create a plot that is haunting, dramatic, layered, and insanely engaging.

The characters in this are layered, flawed, realistic, and just really interesting. First up we have Ethan Hawke as reverend Ernst Toller, the man at the center of this story. He has a very tragic past that kind of comes back to haunt him as he experiences certain things throughout the plot here. Seeing him having to deal with his demons, while also dealing with other people’s problems is really fascinating, and gives him a good bit of development. And Hawke is fantastic in the role. Next we have Amanda Seyfried as Mary, a pregnant woman who comes to seek Toller’s counsel during a stressful time in her life. And that’s all I’m gonna say about that, as the rest of her arc is seen through the movie and I don’t wanna spoil it. But it’s good. And Seyfried is great in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Cedric the Entertainer, Victoria Hill, Philip Ettinger, Michael Gaston, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Brian Williams and it was… fine. It’s just this low droning sound that shows up partway through the movie. While not bad, it feels a bit superfluous. We did fine without it, and suddenly it’s part of a couple scenes. Had it not been there I wouldn’t mind, it would’ve in fact given the general soundscape of the movie a bit more consistency. Again, not bad… just fine.

This movie was written and directed by Paul Schrader, who I think did a fantastic job. His direction is kind of cold and distant while still intimate to the character of reverend Toller. It really helps give the movie a unique feel of unease that I don’t think I’ve experienced elsewhere. I mean, movies have made me feel uneasy before, but not in the same way that “First Reformed” did. What also adds to it is the 1.37:1 aspect ratio. At first it caught me a bit off guard, but I quickly got used to it and thought it worked very well for the movie. And the cinematography by Alexander Dynan is pretty damn solid.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 85/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10.

“First Reformed” won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me it was a fantastic and unique drama. It has a great plot, really good characters, fantastic performances, okay music, and fantastic directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “First Reformed” is a 9,89/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “First Reformed” is now completed.

Amen.

Movie Review: The Place Beyond the Pines (2013)

We all have to live with what we’ve done. Good, bad, doesn’t matter.

Ladies and gents… “The Place Beyond the Pines”.

A motorcycle stunt driver (Ryan Gosling) has to take drastic measures to be able to financially support his family. We also have a police officer (Bradley Cooper) who wants to move up in his field. And these men will find their stories crossing paths in some manner. Trying to stay vague while not misrepresenting this story is hard. But what I can say is that this is a slowly burning drama with a few action-thriller elements. Don’t expect an exciting cat-and-mouse game between the two leads, because that’s not what it fucking is. It’s a layered story about family, legacy, and fate. It has a structure that might throw a lot of people off. Not because it’s hard to follow, because it’s not, it’s very straight-forward. But it’s not your typical one thread narrative. It’s one thread that connects to another that connects to another, creating a bit of a web that I find quite intriguing.

The characters in this are layered, flawed, realistic, and just overall interesting. And that’s as deep as I’ll go on them, thinking that this is one of those movies where it’s better to know less about the characters when you want to get into it. But I can say that the cast is fantastic, including people like Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta, Ben Mendelsohn, Mahershala Ali, Dane DeHaan, Bruce Greenwood, Rose Byrne, and Emory Cohen (among many others). Not a weak link in this cast, everyone’s fantastic.

The score for this movie was composed by Mike Patton. That’s right, Faith No More frontman and voice of The Darkness composed a film score. And I think he actually did a good job. It has a unique, almost ethereal style that I don’t think I’ve really heard in any other movie. It’s so odd, but it works so well for the movie. There are also a few licensed tracks used throughout that work well in their respective scenes.

This movie was directed by Derek Cianfrance, and I think he did a great job with it. His directing is tight, never letting including any unnecessary fluff. All the shots in this have a purpose. What I also appreciate about his direction is that he uses a couple different styles. For most of the movie, the camera is steady. But when the action scenes happen, it goes to a more handheld style á la Paul Greengrass. But these changes in camerawork doesn’t hurt the movie in any way, as they’re both handled expertly.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 80% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 68/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“The Place Beyond the Pines” isn’t for everybody, but I certainly think it’s a great movie. I think it has a really good plot, really good characters, fantastic performances, really good music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Place Beyond the Pines” is a 9,55/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Place Beyond the Pines” is now completed.

To those who think Ryan Gosling doesn’t emote enough, look at his eyes.

Movie Review: Overlord (2018)

*Ron Perlman voice activated* War… war never changes. *Ron Perlman voice deactivated*.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Overlord”.

Set during world war 2, we follow a group of American soldiers as they land behind enemy lines in France to take out a nazi transmitter. But as they delve further into the complex, they discover some horrifying things that are unlike anything they have ever seen before. So now we have our historical action-horror plot. And I have to say that I really enjoyed it. Admittedly it’s a very predictable and straightforward plot that doesn’t do much to increase in depth, but that is also what I like about it. Don’t get me wrong, complex plots with twists and turns are great, but there’s something oddly refreshing about the simplicity of “Overlord”. It does slow down at a couple points to build on the characters, but that is just a plus for this movie as it gives the audience some room to breathe in between all the intense war stuff. So yeah, the plot is simple and predictable, but it’s also tense, badass, engaging, and just fun.

The characters in this are simple, but they’re also interesting and entertaining. First up we have Jovan Adepo as Boyce, who more or less is the rookie in the team.  A good kid who sees the horrors of WW2 and has to step up. But they play around with that pretty well here. And Adepo is great in the role. Next we have Wyatt Russell as Ford, the badass Corporal who takes no shit and is a little stern. Russell is great in the role. Next we have Mathilde Ollivier as Chloe, a French woman that our squad of heroes meet. She’s tough, she’s resourceful, and she’s willing to help the Americans stop ze nazis. And Ollivier is really good in the role. And then we have Pilou Asbæk in the role of evil nazi captain. I know his character has a name, but that doesn’t matter because evil nazi captain is all you need to know. A clear villain, no grey areas here. And Asbæk is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like John Magaro, Iain De Caestecker, Jacob Anderson, Bokeem Woodbine, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Jed Kurzel, and it was really good. It uses a lot of heavy percussion to simulate the intensity of wartime, while also implementing some intense brass stings, trodding bass, some tense string work, and it all comes together to create some music that really helps the suspense and intensity of the movie go above and beyond.

The movie was directed by Julius Avery, and I think he did a great job with it. He captures the uncertainty and suspense of being within this situation. You’d almost think this would be a straight up intense shoot-em-up all the way through, but there’s a surprising amount of sneaking around as well, and I think that adds a lot of tension to the movie. That’s not to discredit the shootouts, because when the bullets start flying, it is some of the most intense and brutal action I’ve seen in quite a while. The violence here will please fans of war films, as well as fans of gory horror stuff. There are also a couple jumpscares here, and I think they work well enough. They may be predictable, but they’re not false, and they did still get to me. Good shit.

This movie very recently came out, but so far it’s been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 82% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 58/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

“Overlord” isn’t the most original movie, but it’s still one hell of a ride that I liked a lot. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Overlord” is a 9,87/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Overlord” is now completed.

Came because of AC/DC, stayed for the HOLY SHIT, THAT’S BRUTAL.

Movie Review: The Machinist (2004)

Christian Bale, you crazy motherfucker. Lose weight, gain weight, skinny, muscular, skinny, fat… all that change can’t be good for the health. It’s impressive, but it also has me worried.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Machinist”.

Trevor Reznik (Christian Bale) is an industrial worker who hasn’t been able to sleep for an entire year. And his life soon takes a disturbing turn for the worse, when he starts suspecting that someone is trying to fuck with his life. So now we have our thriller. And I thought the plot here was really good. It had a very weird, dreamlike atmosphere that I haven’t experienced many times before. And it gives the plot a decent layer of suspense. And the mystery surrounding Trevor and what’s happening to him is really layered, intriguing, engaging, and at times even disturbing.

The characters in this are layered and interesting. First and foremost we have Christian Bale as Trevor Reznik, insomniac industrial worker. He’s interesting to follow as the paranoia that surrounds him suspecting… well, everything makes him twitchy, and potentially a bit of an unreliable narrator, which I always enjoy seeing in movies. He’s deep, layered, and a fascinating character to study. And Bale is fantastic in the role. Yes, even if you look past the weight loss. And we get some supporting performances from people like Jennifer Jason Leigh, John Sharian, Michael Ironside, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, Lawrence Gilliard Jr, Reg E. Cathey (R.I.P), and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Roque Baños, and it was great. It has an eerie, dreamlike quality to it that fits very well with the story of the movie. It also helps to just elevate a lot of the drama and suspense here. It also reminds me of “The X-Files” at a couple of points, which is never a bad thing.

The movie was directed by Brad Anderson and I think he did a great job. His direction is very tight and claustrophobic, which adds to the paranoia of the entire situation. It manages to make it feel a bit more tense and unpredictable, which never hurts in a movie like this. What also helps with this is the cinematography by Xavi Giménez, which both captures all those things I mentioned before, and overall looks fucking fantastic.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 77% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 61/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,7/10.

“The Machinist” is an eerie and incredibly well made psychological thriller. It has a great plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Machinist” is a 9,78/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Machinist” is now completed.

Not a lot of movies these days where you can hear the “ominous clarinet”.

Movie Review: Shattered Glass (2003)

Fake news. A topic often brought up in our current environment, especially by a certain cheeto-colored individual. Sometimes what is referred to as “fake news” is just a certain asshole not agreeing with the truth. Other times the call is warranted.

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Shattered Glass”.

Stephen Glass (Hayden Christensen) is a young man who’s made quite a name for himself by writing very successful articles for various magazines, with his main base being the New Republic. But his life will soon get unraveled, when some other journalists start looking into one of Glass’ articles, finding clues to it potentially being fabricated. So now we have our fake news drama. And I was completely riveted by it. The plot here keeps a fairly brisk pace, but never do the degree where it skims over important details, which makes it both a dramatic, in-depth look at this situation and a generally enjoyable watch.

The characters in this are layered, interesting, and fairly realistic. First up we have Hayden Christensen as Stephen Glass, the man at the center of this story. He’s smart, charming, and excellent at bullshitting people in conversation. But when the pressure starts coming down on him, you start seeing the cracks in the glass. And Hayden Christensen is REALLY GOOD in the role. The reason why I emphasized that was because he’s caught so much shit for his acting in the “Star Wars” prequels, that I have to really be clear that he can be a really good actor. Next up we have Peter Sarsgaard as Chuck Lane, one of Glass’ co-workers. He is one of those that kind of partakes in unraveling some of the clashing aspects of Glass’ articles, and he’s just really interesting. And Sarsgaard is great in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Chloë Sevigny, Steve Zahn, Hank Azaria, Rosario Dawson, Cas Anvar, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score was composed by Mychael Danna, and it was good. I wouldn’t call it that much of a standout, but it worked well enough within the movie, focusing more in smaller piano pieces than anything else, which I think just fits the various scenes well enough.

This movie was written and directed by Billy Ray, and I think he did a great job with it. What I like about his style here is that it often feels less like some small personal drama, as it often feels a bit more like a political thriller in execution. And that helps keep the movie feel a bit more exciting, it adds a bit of tension to it, which is nice as it makes it stand out a bit. But when it needs to slow down and focus more on the character drama, then Billy Ray’s direction delivers beautifully on that too.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 91% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 73/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

“Shatterd Glass” is a fascinating and engaging look into a very interesting situation/person. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, good music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Shattered Glass” is a 9,78/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Shattered Glass”.

Need a movie relevant to today’s society? Here you go.

The Month of Spooks 2018 Roundup

Hello there, ladies and gentlemen. We have entered November, which means that the fourth annual Month of Spooks has come to an end. It’s been a lot of fun, and we’ve gotten some great posts from my little spookers this year. So, now it is time to just sort of collect every Month of Spooks related post here.

Let’s start with my posts. This might seem vain, starting with my posts rather than the post of my little spookers, but I choose to see it as getting the least interesting posts out of the way first.
Hour of the Wolf Review
We Are Still Here Review
The Stakelander Review
The Devil’s Backbone Review
Constantine Review
Fortitude Season 1 Review
E.T. Review
Eden Lake Review
An American Werewolf in London Review
The Babadook Review
Castlevania Season 2 Review
Night of the Living Dead Review
Hellraiser Review
Halloween Review

And those were my posts. Now we move on to my little spookers and their sexy posts.

First up we have The Craggus on https://thecraggus.com, who is doing his third Month of Spooks in a row. Not sure if friend who appreciates themed blogging, or just foolish enough to follow my example. Either way, here are his posts:
The House with a Clock In It’s Walls Review
The Addams Family Review
Addams Family Values Review
The Witches of Eastwick Review
Goosebumps 2 Review
Double Date Review

Thank you, Craggus, for your loyalty to this silly thing of mine.

Next up we have Gavin, who is on http://minimediarvwr.com, who is doing his sophomore run on the Month of Spooks. So, let’s see what good ol’ Gav has cooked up for us.
The Innocents Review
The Innkeepers Review
Session 9 Review
Hell House LLC Review
Devil’s Pass Review
Our House Review
Halloween (2018) Review
The New French Extreme
Top 5 Things Ruined By Horror Films
The Haunting of Hill House Review

Thank you, Gavin. Your contributions to the cause are appreciated.

And the final one we have, making her Month of Spooks debut is Maddy, who you can find on https://fivethreeninety.wordpress.com. Always fun to get a fresh face in the Month of Spooks. So what did Maddy bring to the table?

The Scariest Non-Horror Films

Thank you for your contribution, Maddy. It was great to have had you on board!

And that’s about it. I only got three little spookers this year, but I don’t mind. They were all great, and it’s about quality over quantity, yo. To my little spookers I once again say THANK YOU, I LOVE YOU FOR DOING THIS. And to everyone that has followed along and read, THANK YOU, I APPRECIATE YOU READING MY STUFF.
Have a good one.