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: Spotlight (2015)

spotlight-one-sheet

Bullshit happens in our world all the time. From corrupt politicians, to corrupt courts, to corrupt cops, to corrupt men of faith… a lot of corruption now that I think about it. Anyhow, all of it is awful… I got nothing else to say.

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… “Spotlight”.

The year is 2001. The Boston globe’s investigative team (called “Spotlight”, roll credits) starts investigating allegations of sexual abuse within the Catholic church. And the movie follows their journey as they are looking into this, and some of the difficulties with getting it done. And it’s no huge conspiracy thriller we’re dealing with here, oh no. This is a quiet and slowly burning drama that completely engrossed me from start to finish. Seeing these people investigate all of this is incredibly fascinating. And I have to admit that when certain things were uncovered and we learned more about what was going on… I got a little bit disturbed… because the things that we learn are pretty fucked up. But yeah, I was totally invested in the story of this movie. It was very interesting and had a good amount of emotion to it.

The characters in this movie are all very clearly passionate about this investigation they are working on, and they are all very interesting and believable. And the actors definitely helped sell a lot of that for me. Mark Ruffalo is great, Michael Keaton is great, Rachel McAdams is great, Liev Schreiber is great, Brian d’Arcy James is great, John Slattery is great… every single actor in this movie is great! But what I enjoyed about these performances mainly is how reserved they all are… which adds a lot to the realism of it. Really, the way they act in this movie doesn’t feel Hollywoodized in any way, it feels very real and genuine. There’s only maybe one outburst (typical Oscar/Hollywood thing) in this movie, but it feels like it has a purpose where it is, and doesn’t just feel like it’s there for the sake of being there. Yeah, it’s a very well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Howard Shore and it is pretty damn good. Most of the time I really didn’t necessarily notice it, but that isn’t really a bad thing. Like with the story and acting, the score is very quiet and reserved and perfectly fits the movie. And after also litening to it a bit after the movie I have to say that the music overall is really good.

This movie was directed by Tom McCarthy and I think he did a really good job with it. The shots never do anything too crazy or innovative, but it’s a smoothly directed movie that looks great. And again, it perfectly works with the more quiet and reserved style of everything else in the movie.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 96% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 93/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,1/10 and is ranked #192 on the “Top 250” list. The movie also won 2 Oscars in the categories of Best picture and Best original screenplay. It was also nominated for an additional 4 Oscars in the categories of Best supporting actor (Ruffalo), Best supporting actress (McAdams), Best director, and Best film editing. 

“Spotlight” is a pretty fuckin’ great movie. It has an engrossing plot, really interesting characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *ahem*. My final score for “Spotlight” is a 9,88/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Spotlight” is now completed.

Remember that time Bruce Wayne, Howard Stark, Bruce Banner, Christine Palmer,  and Sabretooth worked for a newspaper? Good times.

Movie Review: Doctor Strange (2016)

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I know, I know. I said that I had reserved October for Spooky stuff and “Harry Potter”… but this is an exception I just had to make. I mean, it’s fuckin’ Marvel!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Doctor Strange”.

Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a brilliant but arrogant neurosurgeon. And one night he ends up crashing his car, completely fucking up his hands. So in search of ways to get them healed, Sephen finds himself going to Kathmandu where he meets a mysterious woman called The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) who begins teaching Stephen about sorcery. And while the plot can feel a bit by the numbers, it still works as an interesting origin story while also opening up the more magical side of the MCU very well. I mean, I was invested throughout and I enjoyed seeing where the plot went next. Good shit.

The characters in the movie were for the most part interesting and entertaining. Benedict Cumberbatch was great as Strange, even if I got a bit of Tony Stark vibe from him. His American accent was a little bit distracting at first, but I quickly got used to it. Rachel McAdams was really good as Christine Palmer, colleague and love interest of Strange. Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One was a very controversial choice, since it’s a white person playing an originally Asian character. But to give credit where credit is due, I thought her performance was good. Chiwetel Ejiofor was really good as Mordo. Mads Mikkelsen was suitably intimidating as the villain Kaecilius.

The original score for the movie was composed by Michael Giacchino who seems to be everywhere these days when it comes to composing music for movies. And the score for this movie is definitely one of the best from any MCU movie. Sure, some tracks feature the typical bombastic stuff we’ve come to expect,  but there’s also a lot of new stuff going on here too. There are instruments being used throughout that I honestly haven’t heard from any previous MCU score. And I think it’s all pretty great, especially the end credits theme… that shit is great!

This movie was directed by Scott Derrickson, a man primarily known for horror. And I think he did a great job directing this movie. The scenes flow very well and the action scenes are really good. But I think that also works with a lot of the trippy magical stuff we get in this movie. There is a lot of world bending being done throughout, which makes this one of the most visually interesting movies this year, or at least in the MCU. And the visual effects in general look fantastic, with all spells and such looking perfectly integrated into the movie. Speaking of things that work well in the movie, there’s a lot of humor throughout that I thought was really funny. Even though I am aware that the MCU isn’t afraid of having some comedy in their movies, I didn’t expect there to be as muc as there was in this movie. It’s not as much as in “Guardians of the Galaxy”, but there’s more than I expected… and I like it.

Since this movie just came out, the scores will probably change a bit on the sites, so these are just the scores on the sties as I’m writing this review. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,1/10.

“Doctor Strange” is not absolutely perfect, but it’s a damn fine movie. It’s definitely one of the best solo movies in the MCU, in my opinion. It has a good plot, good characters, great acting, great music, great directing, amazing visual effects, and some real eye candy. Time for my final score. *Magic*. My final score for “Doctor Strange” is a 9,61/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Doctor Strange” is now completed.

Finally… MAGIC!

Movie Review: Southpaw (2015)

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It’s the eye of the tiger
It’s the thrill of the fight
Risin’ up to the challenge
Of our rival
And the last known survivor
Stalks his prey in the night
And he’s watching us all with the
Eye of the tiger

Ladies and gentlemen… “Southpaw”.

Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) is boxer, and a damn good one at that. I mean the guy is the junior middleweight world champion. Well, he is that until something happens. Something that makes him lose everything. So now he has to find a way to work his as back up in life, and for that he takes help/training from Tick Wills (Forest Whitaker). And I have to say that rarely have the plot of a movie depressed me as much as “Southpaw”. Without spoiling anything, let me just say that Billy’s life goes from fine, to bad, to shit, to lowest low. And with his life falling down, so goes your emotional dominoes. That’s right, the plot made me feel like shit and I think that is a bit of a plus. I even have to admit that there were a few points where I almost teared up a bit. Sure, the story is cliché in a lot of ways, but the movie uses those clichés to it’s advantage and that is a good reason for me to like it.

I think it goes without saying that Jake Gyllenhaal is fucking phenomenal in the movie as boxer Billy Hope. Te guy has proven himself time and time again that he is one of the best actors working today and this is jsut another example of his talents. He commits to the role both physically and mentally and is perfect in the role. Forest Whitaker gives one of, if not the best performance of his in recent years. Rahcel McAdams is also really good as Gyllenhaal’s wife. 50 Cent is also in this movie, basically playing Jake Gyllenhaal’s manager and he is actually realld good in the role. In the movie we also have relative newcomer Oona Laurence playing Gyllenhaal’s daughter and I would say she gives a damn fine performance. I rarely like child performances, but she was really good in the movie. Everybody did a great job in the movie.

The score for the movie was provided by the late (and great) James Horner. It is emotional, it is a little thought-provoking and it is pretty damn good. And the use of all the licensed rap songs is perfect. Sure, if you’re not a fan of rap music then you might not enjoy them, but I liked the songs and I thought they fit perfectly.

This movie was directed by Antoine Fuqua and you notice that he was very passionate about this project. You can see how much effort he put down to make sure this movie was as well directed as possible. The overall direction is great, but where it excels is in the boxing scenes which are intense, fierce and brutal. I especially kind of love the first-person shots they sometimes do where you see the actor throw punches at the camera and you see it weave away and dodge, those shots were really cool. Here is a little fun fact for you: This movie was intended as a follow-up to “8 Mile”, this movie was even set to star Eminem. But since there were some scheduling conflicts, Eminem had to drop out and the part went to Gyllenhaal, which may or may not have been for the better.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 59% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 57/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“Southpaw” is a movie that features a pretty cliché story that actually uses the clichés to it’s advantage while also having great emotion, great acting, great music and great directing. Time for my final score. AAAAAAAHHHHHH! My final score for “Southpaw” is a 9,84/10. It gets the “SEAL OF APPOVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

Review of “Southpaw” is now completed.

Did you see how much Gyllenhaal beefed up for this? Jesus Christ.