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.

Movie Review: American Made (2017)

Don’t do drugs, kids. Also, don’t sell drugs. Or be near drugs. Basically just… to hell with drugs.

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 gents… “American Made”.

The story follows Barry Seal (Tom Cruise), an American pilot who gets hired by the CIA to run guns for them, which eventually also leads him running cocaine for the Medellín cartel. And we follow his insane life as he tries to balance these jobs while also trying to not get arrested. And it’s actually a really interesting plot with some flaw to it. It’s interesting seeing the ins and outs of Barry’s job, the routes he takes as well as how he just runs his operations. It’s overall a really fun and well-paced plot that is really enjoyable. My flaw with the plot is that it does slow down at a point in the movie. Not in the “let’s take some time to develop the characters a lot” (though there’s a little bit of that in there), but more just starts dragging a bit. It’s not too draggy, and it doesn’t go for too long, but it’s definitely worth pointing out as it is quite noticeable.

The characters in this are enjoyable. Some get a bit more development than others, but none of them feel out of place or anything like that. Tom Cruise plays Barry Seal, the pilot who gets dragged into all this crazy shit. He’s a charismatic, funny, and cool guy who not only happens to be a damn good pilot, but also a pretty good family man. And Tom Cruise is really firing on all cylinders here, this is probably the best performance I’ve seen from him since “Tropic Thunder”. Domhnall Gleeson plays Schafer, the CIA agent that recruits Seal for this dangerous mission. He has some charm, and he does share some good chemistry with Cruise throughout. And Gleeson is really good in the role. Then we have Sarah Wright as Barry’s wife Lucy. She’s a somewhat more reasonable person than Barry and does have outbursts when the strange stuff starts seeping into their home life. And Wright is great in the role. Then we have Alejandro Edda, Fredy Yate Escobar, and Mauricio Mejía as the founders of the Medellín cartel (Jorge Ochoa, Carlos Ledher, Pablo Escobar). And I’m lumping them into the same slot because this is my review and I can do whatever I want. But they are all great in their roles… charming yet intimidating. And throughout the movie you get some really solid supporting performances from people like Jesse Plemons, Jayma Mays, Caleb Landry Jones, E. Roger Mitchell, and more. Yeah, this is a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Christophe Beck and it was really good. It was tense, fun, energized, and had a healthy dose of guitar in it to give it a cool sound that worked really well for the movie. Then there were a whole bunch of licensed tracks used throughout, some from the era, and even one or two from around 2012. But they all fit incredibly well with the era the film was set in while also helping to give the movie it’s fun mood. So yeah, this has great music.

This movie was directed by Doug Liman and he did a great job. He gives this movie and interesting style by keeping it mostly handheld and also throwing in a lot of crash-zooms, which is very reminiscent of a documentary. And that makes this movie even more interesting since it now has a somewhat unique style. Liman (together with the production crew) also gives it a very retro vibe, which really helps sell the late 70s/early 80s era. There are also some really tense scenes here, which I didn’t really expect. The movie is also funny. Not “BWAHAHAHAHAHA!” funny, but it still got consistent chuckles/laughter out of me.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 87% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 65/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

“American Made” isn’t perfect, but it’s a highly enjoyable crime movie. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/editing/cinematography. As previously mentioned, I thought it had some slight flaws, including some pacing issues at one point, and some characters not always being the most interesting. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “American Made” is an 8,98/10. While flawed, it’s definitely worth buying!

My review of “American Made” is now completed.

Tumm Croos.

Movie Review: The Homesman (2014)

Something something, Markus likes westerns.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Homesman”.

After three women goes mad from living very tough lives they have to be transported to Iowa. So a woman named Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank) volunteers to take on this daunting task. However, she soon realizes that she might not be able to do this alone, so she employs a low-life drifter named George Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones) to help her out. So now we have our western-drama. And I’d say that it’s an interesting plot. It’s very serious and and at times even a bit disturbing, and overall it is very well told. My main issue with it is the first half which meanders quite a bit. I get that this is a simple road movie set during the old west, but even I feel like it doesn’t get very far plot-wise during that first half (a little less than half to be a bit more fair, but shut up). But when we get into the second half the plot picks up a bit more and I found myself really invested in the journey. And just to be clear: The first half isn’t bad… just a little bit too slow… a little bit.

The characters in this are layered and interesting. Hilary Swank is great as Mary Bee Cuddy, giving a vulnerable yet determined performance. Tommy Lee Jones is great as George Briggs, playing him as a kind of pathetic but still tough and semi-honorable man. Then we have the three crazy ladies (that is what they are, shut up), played by Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, and Sonja Richter. And they’re all great in their respective roles. They don’t say a lot, but they give great performances nonetheless. Then there are a bunch of good supporting performances throughout from people like Evan Jones, William Fichtner, John Lithgow, James Spader (his Irish accent isn’t very good), Jesse Plemons, Tim Blake Nelson, and Meryl Streep. Most of these actors aren’t in the movie for very long, but when they are… they’re good.

The score for the movie was composed by Marco Beltrami and it was really good. It was very dramatic and emotional, often adding to the quality of the various scenes in here. Sure, a lot of the music sound like stuff we’ve heard in other western-dramas, but that doesn’t make the music any worse… ’cause it’s really good.

This movie was directed by Tommy Lee Jones and I think that he did a really good job. The movie is directed with a lot of confidence which makes for an investing watch. It’s also a really good looking movie, having a bleak style that doesn’t feel too depressing and sad. I also feel like I should mention that this isn’t an action packed western. It’s a slow drama, with very few shots being fired. Just thought I’d mention that.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 81% positive rating and a “Fresh” ceritifcation. On Metacritic it has a score of 68/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

“The Homesman” is a really solid western-drama. It has a good plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and really good directing. My main problem with the movie is that first half which meanders a bit too much. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Homesman” is an 8,84/10. So while it is flawed I’d still say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “The Homesman” is now completed.

Sloooooow burn.

Series Review: Fargo – Season 2 (2015)

2VLBpPuNe1s

Some of you people might remember that I had seen and reviewed the first season of this show a while back. If you remember that you probably also remember that I absolutely loved it. So of course I was excited about seeing season 2… and here we are, finally reviewing it.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the second season of… “Fargo”.

The year is 1979, that’s right, this season is more or less a prequel to season 1. Like I said in my review of the first season, this is an anthology show. Now that we got that part cleared let’s move on to this season. And in it we follows Minnesota state trooper Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson) as he is drawn into an investigation involving a local crime gang, the mafia and a local couple (Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst). And it all of course is a huge mystery filled murder, deception and most other things you’d expect from this show if you’ve seen the first season. And there is no reason to either lie about it or postpone it anymore… I think the plot of the second season is great, as good as the first season even. I would even say that I might’ve enjoyed this season even more than the first one. The mystery is bigger and even more bizarre. It’s intriguing, entertaining and really well told.

While the plot is great on it’s own, it would be nothing without the characters, that is a fact that works for most pieces of media. With that said, holy shit the characters are amazing! They are all very interesting, colorful and all get time to shine. Patrick Wilson knocks it out of the park as Lou, which I didn’t have much of a doubt about since I love him as an actor. Ted Danson plays a sheriff and Lou’s father-in-law and he’s as great as ever. Jesse Plemons, you have shown me once again what a terrific actor you are. First “Breaking Bad”, now “Fargo”… I can’t wait to see what awesome thing you’ll do next. Kirsten Dunst, holy shit, this is the best she’s been in years. Jeffrey Donovan plays an unlikable asshole in this show, but that’s okay because his performance overall is terrific. And there are a whole bunch of otehr great actors/performances/characters in this show that I will not get into because I would be here all day. But yeah… it’s all great.

Just like in the first season we got Jeff Russo to do the score for the show. And once again it is great. It manages to create a lot of tension, a lot of suspense, a lot of drama and it is just awesome to listen to. There is also a lot of otehr tunes here that are not composed by Russo. What I mean by that is that there are a lot of licensed tracks and not only do they fit the scenes they are used in, but they are songs that I really enjoyed listening to. As someone who listens to a lot of 70’s/80’s music, this soundtrack was pretty much made for me. Especially in the last few episodes, those had some of the best tunes in show in my opinion. Yeah… this season had great music.

Season 2 takes the directing of season 1 and ramps it up to fuckin’ eleven. It’s quicker, it’s snappier, it’s even more stylish than the first season. It’s also even more violent, good grief. Yes, season 1 was pretty damn violent, but wasn’t this violent. It also didn’t have as much violence and brutality and blood/gore as this season. Not that the extra violence takes away from the show, I would amost say that it is one of the things keeping the show as interesting as it is in combination with the story and characters ‘n’ shit. The pitch black humor also makes a triumphant return in this season and as someone who loves pitch black humor to no end I actually laughed at some pretty dark stuff. No wonder I never get invited to parties…

This season of the show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% (holy shit) positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 96/100. And while imdb doesn’t have season-based averages, the show does have a score of 9,0/10 and is ranked #23 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

The second season of “Fargo” took what season 1 did right and improved upon it. I thought the story was even better, the characters more entertaining/great (though I miss Billy Bob Thornton), the soundtrack absolutely fantastic, teh directing/action fantastic and the violence/humor great. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for “Fargo” season 2 is a 9,90/10. I love it and it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Fargo” season 2 is now completed.

So… Ewan McGregor next season then!

Movie Review: The Master (2012)

the-master-trailer_1280x720

Back on the drama platform again. Some dramas get universal praise, while some get hated and some are just somewhere inbetween. And no, this is not one of the inbetween movies…at all. This is a movie that got recognized as a great movie pretty damn quick. But is it something that this guy can get behind and love as much as the critics did?

Ladies and gentlemen…”The Master”.

The story of the movie is set in 1950 and follows a man named Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix). Freddie isn’t really a completely stable person. First he was kind of traumatized by being in war and then he ended up a bit of a drunk. One night when he is on one of his drunken escapades he ends up one a boat filled with people led by Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Dodd is someone who the people pn the boat call “Master” (Roll credits). Basically it is like a cult or organization that Freddie ends up joining. And then he struggles to be in the organization but also having the disadvantage of having the bottle as his best friend. And that is it realyl considering how difficult it is to explain this movie without spoilers. But the premise is kind of interesting and the execution isn’t too shabby. It is just that strangely enough…the story of this movie doesn’t appeal to me. Not saying it’s bad, it just isn’t that kind of super awesome to me. It is kind of good, but not perfect.

The characters are kind of like the story…odd. Okay, I never mentioned odd in the story segment, but it is kind of odd. But the way these characters are is diffcult to say. I could say they are portrayed very realistically, but I am not sure on if what they do is realistic or not. I can at least say that the acting is really good…I mean REALLY GOOD. Joaquin Phoenix is pretty much unrecognizable as this drunken mess of a man. This guy pulls off the role perfectly! I honestly think it is one of the best performances I have seen from any actor. Philip Seymour Hoffman was also great as this leader of the organization. Still, Philip Seymour Hoffman is good in everything. But with characters/acting I was pleased.

The music is fantastic. A good mix of orchestral tracks, both bombastic and calm. Composer Jonny Greenwood did an excellent job making the soundtrack for this movie.

This movie looks better than most movies I have ever seen. Paul Thomas Anderson really shows here that he knows how the camera works and how to make a really good looking scene! Also, when I looked in the cast list for this movie I was surprised to see Swedish actress Lena Endre in there. Not saying seeing here there was a bad thing, just surprising.

The reception for “The Master” was good. On Rotten Tomatoes this movie has a 85% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has 86/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars and said this;

Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” is fabulously well-acted and crafted, but when I reach for it, my hand closes on air. It has rich material and isn’t clear what it thinks about it. It has two performances of Oscar caliber, but do they connect? Its title character is transparently inspired by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, but it sidesteps any firm vision of the cult religion itself — or what it grew into.

On imdb.com this movie has a score 0f 7,1/10. This movie was also nominated for 3 Oscars. Best actor in a leading role (Joaquin Phoenix), Best Actor in a supporting role (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Best actress in a supporting role (Amy Adams).

I have given this movie some good words and some less good words. So now I am ready to give it my score. This movie gets my personal 8,43/10 and a recommendation to rent it. This movie has a lot of things going for it, but is still not really worth buying (In my opinion).

“The Master” is now reviewed.

While Philip Seymour Hoffman is cool, he is not as cool as the Master from Doctor Who.