Game Night (2018)

Directors: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein

Writer: Mark Perez (Screenplay)

Starring: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Sharon Horgan, Billy Magnussen, Lamorne Morris, Kyle Bunbury


Plot: A group of friends who meet regularly for game nights find themselves entangled in a real-life mystery.

Tagline – This is not a game.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Funny Comedy


Story: Game Night starts as competitive couple Max (Bateman) and Annie (McAdams) preparing for the latest game night with friends Ryan (Magnussen), Kevin (Morris) and Michelle (Bunbury) when Max’s brother Brooks (Chandler) arrives to put Max off his game.

When Brooks invites the group and Ryan’s trademark random date Sarah (Horgan) to his hosted Game Night, it involves one member of the party being kidnapped and the rest needing to solve the case. The night takes a twist when Brook is really kidnapped by criminals and the friends must work together to stay alive.


Thoughts on Game Night


Characters – Max has always been competitive when it comes to quiz or game nights, he has his perfect match in Annie, but has always been overshadowed by his brother and now he must be the one to help his brother. Annie is the perfect match for Max, strangely we don’t learn much else about her through the film, which is easily going to be the problem with most of the characters, we enter just one night of their lives, so we don’t need to learn too much back story. Brooks is the brother that has a shady past that has caught up with him tonight. Ryan and Sarah are funny as the first date couple that don’t want to admit their attraction and Kevin and Michelle as the married couple who are going through a situation.

PerformancesJason Bateman gives us one of his best comedic performances of his career and his chemistry and Rachel McAdams who shows she can handle the comedy genre whenever she wants. The supporting cast all get the laughs with Billy Magnussen getting most of the laughs and Jesse Plemons seems to steal every scene.

StoryThe story follows a group of friends that entertain on a weekly game night only for the latest one to take a deadly twist as they must take on criminals. The film takes place over one night which helps the story keep the pacing with each situation the friends finding themselves in feeling legitimate for the story. while we don’t learn too much about the characters we get everything we want from the story unfold which does keep us guessing.

Comedy/Crime/MysteryThe comedy in the film hits on the most part with each character offering different moments of laughs with Billy Magnussen and Jesse Plemons giving the most laughs. The crime twists the game night to what is real or not through the film which increases the suspense and the mystery keeps us guessing throughout.

SettingsThe film is set in one city over one night, which puts the characters that don’t normally attend.

Scene of the Movie –
Nearly every scene with Jesse Plemons.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Tries too much for twists.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun comedy that hits on the laughs more often than it misses and does keep us guessing to where the story will go with characters that will make you laugh throughout.


Overall: Comedy film I enjoyed.





ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – Z – Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Writer: Mark Boal (Screenplay)

Starring: Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Ehle, Mark Strong


Plot: A chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L.s Team 6 in May 2011.

Tagline – For ten years one woman never stopped searching for the most wanted man in history

Runtime: 2 Hours 37 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Intense Thriller


Story: Zero Dark Thirty starts as we see how Maya (Chastain) joins an interrogation unit ran by Dan (Clarke) who is looking for answers to the location of Osama Bin Laden, the man behind the 9/11 attacks.

As the information gathers, so does her desperation to catch and kill Osama, this shows on how she goes against any orders to follow leads, as well as risking her life to get to the moment in history where Osama Bin Laden was killed by a Navy SEAL team.


Thoughts on Zero Dark Thirty


Characters – Maya is the lady we are following through this whole film, she is determined to use the intelligence gathered to kill Osama Bin Laden, she stands up to authority and never backs down from a lead. We get to meet a whole host of other people that either taught, worked with or tried to stop Maya along the way.

PerformancesJessica Chastain is brilliant in the leading role, she once again shows us all the talent she has when it comes to being in a leading role. We have a host of actors that went onto become leading men here too including Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton and Chris Pratt showing that once again Bigelow knows how to select the next big things.

StoryThe story follows the manhunt for Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks, we follow the 10-year pursuit for the terrorist as we follow one lady who would never give up on finding the man, using the information gathered to bring this man down. This showed us just how many people took a part in the biggest manhunt known to man. The story unfolds in order as we see each lead set the people in the right direction they need to take to bring down the terrorist.

ThrillerThis does keep you on the edge of your seat as you see the mission unfold, even if we do know the end of this story.

SettingsThe settings take us to the events of the terrorist attacks, and the locations the mission would have taken place in.

Scene of the Movie –
Night mission.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is too long in places.

Final ThoughtsThis is an excellent look at how Bin Laden was taken down, the people who gave up time in their own lives to bring down the terrorist.


Overall: A must watch for the thriller fans out there.





Casey Affleck Weekend – Manchester by the Sea (2016)

manchesterDirector: Kenneth Lonergan

Writer: Kenneth Lonergan (Screenplay)

Starring: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Lucas Hedges, CJ Wilson, Tata Donovan, Matthew Broderick, Gretchen Mol, Heather Burns, Stephen Henderson


Plot: An uncle is asked to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy’s father dies.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Casey Affleck’s Powerhouse Performance


Story: Manchester by the Sea starts as we meet Lee Chandler (Affleck) handyman for apartment complexes. He lives a very isolated life that he is happy with but when he gets a phone call he needs to leave town after his brother Joe (Chandler) suffers a heart attack.

Lee needs to return to Manchester to tell Patrick (Hedges) what has happened to his father but returning to Manchester means memories of his ex-wife Randi (Williams) and daughters Suzy (Dixon) and Karen.

Lee’s life is turned upside when he learns Joe’s will leaves him as the guardian to Patrick with enough money to re-locate in Manchester the town he had left all those years ago, Lee must figure out what to do and what is best for Patrick.


Thoughts on Manchester by the Sea


StoryThe story is a simple follow showing how one man must face his past to help his family, a past he never wanted to go back to. This comes off like an everyday family having to deal with what happened which is great to see because we support them through their struggles. This is a story you will need to be in the right frame of mind to see but if you do you will be rewarded.

Characters/PerformanceLee is such a brilliant character who has his own demons while having to face a new life with his nephew, he keeps to himself to himself but facing these demons on poses a challenge in his life. Patrick is a teenager who does think he is better than the other students and hates his Uncle but is mostly reacting to what has happened with his father. The rest of the characters are all part of the past and present of these two. Casey Affleck does give a career best performance that is so withdrawn from the world the other characters are living, while Lucas Hedges shines next to Affleck with ease. All the other performances are great throughout.

SettingsThe settings in this film make you fully believe that this is just a normal family that has been struggling with problems in everyday life which is very important through this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the hardest watches of the year, the story is not going to be for everyone. I will be saying you should be watching if you are a film lover.


Overall: Outstanding drama that keeps everything very simple for the characters involved with a powerhouse performance.




Oscar Season Challenge – Carol (2015)

Rob and I have decided to make a twist on the challenge where we will be looking at Oscar related films first before moving into going back to look at different Oscar winners from the past.

carolDirector: Todd Haynes

Writer: Phyllis Nagy (Screenplay) Patricia Highsmith (Novel)

Starring: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Kyle Chandler, Jake Lucy, Sarah Paulson, John Magaro, Cory Michal Smith


Plot: Set in 1950s New York, a department-store clerk who dreams of a better life falls for an older, married woman.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Wonderful Romantic Story


Story: Carol starts as we fellow department shop clerk Therese (Mara) getting ready for the Christmas rush in the toy department, she has herself a boyfriend Richard (Lacy) who wants her to marry him but she just isn’t ready yet. Her life gets turned upside down when she meets the older woman Carol (Blanchett) who is also going through her own problems with her husband Harge (Chandler) trying to take her children away because of her lesbian liaisons.

With both their partners putting pressure on them the two go away together for Christmas as they have to keep their relationship hidden from the world who would frown on it in 1950’s America.

Carol shows the difficulty in any potential relationship between the same sex during the 1950s, it also tackles the ideas of different ages between any relationship too. We get to see how without technology people would different ways to expose affairs. While this really is just a love story and a good one at that it is it will show how different times were for something that wouldn’t even get looked at twice now a day.


Actor Review


Cate Blanchett: Carol is the married woman who has had a family but isn’t interested in the attention of men even though her lesbian tendencies are frowned upon by in the 1950s. she is going through messy divorce which leaves her in a position of losing her children, but Therese gives her a chance to be happy while all these things are going on. Cate gives us yet another brilliant performance proving she always gives the best performance year on year.carl character

Rooney Mara: Therese is the young department shop clerk who isn’t sure where her life will go next, she has a boyfriend who wants to marry her but when she meets Carol she automatically gets the desire to be with her. She ends up having a Christmas holiday learning something new about herself and life along the way. Rooney continues to show her talent in this role where she shines next to one of the best in the business.therese

Kyle Chandler: Harge is the husband of Carol who is tired of all her affairs but wants to keep the children in the right set of mind being raised correctly, that is until he reaches his final straw and wants to take away her children. Kyle gives us a good supporting role even if we would have liked to see slightly more in the character.

Sarah Paulson: Abby is a former lover of Carol’s who’s almost become part of the family, she questions the desire behind the desire to Therese but remains loyal to Carol for all the personal issues going on. Sarah is good in this role giving a good supporting role.

Support Cast: Carol has a good supporting cast that all do their jobs well through the film.

Director Review: Todd HaynesTodd gives us a very good romantic story from start to finish.


Drama: Carol shows the difficultly of being involved in this type of relationship during the 1950s.

Romance: Carol has a beautiful romantic story that goes through all the problems that could be around during the time period.

Chemistry: Carol shows great chemistry between Cate and Rooney.

Music: Carol uses the music very well through the whole film.

Settings: Carol creates the settings that make you feel like in the 1950s from start to finish.

Suggestion: Carol is one to watch but I do understand that some people will find this not their cup of tea. (Watch)


Best Part: Cate and Rooney’s performances.

Worst Part: Subject isn’t for everyone.


Believability: While the story is fictional the difficulties would have be true.

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Awards: Nominated for 5 Golden Globes including Best Picture Two Best Actress and Best Director.

Oscar Chances: Could easily get nomination and wins when it comes to Oscars.

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

Tagline: Some people change your life forever


Overall: Wonderful Love story against all the odds


The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013)

logoDirector: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Terence Winter (Screenplay) Jordan Belfort (Novel)

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, Jean Dujardin, Joanna Lumley


Plot: Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio) wants to be rich and as he enters the cut throat world of stockbroking he takes a meteoric rise to the top. Jordan and his partner Donnie (Hill) start making more money than they could have ever imagined but with that money comes, drug, sex and drinking addiction that drive them and slowly take over them. With FBI agent Patrick Denham (Chandler) tracking down their wrong doings we see how long they can stay at the top before it all comes crumbling down.


Verdict: Good drama that shows how money controls people

Story: All I have heard is how brilliant this is and in all honesty I don’t get the hype. For the whole biographic side it is good and I do understand that they were out of control, but there is way, way too much drug use for the sake of it. I found myself just wanting some scenes to end and move on to the next chapter and other storylines were just, he is now dead. In conclusion I found the story too long. (8/10)


Actor Review: Leonardo DiCaprio – Jordan playing his rise and fall. Leo is brilliant having to go through all sorts of emotions and different reactions to every scene. He dominates the screen whenever he is on it, this will be added to his fine performances he always puts out. Star Performance Award (10/10)


Actor Review: Jonah Hill – Donnie the guy Jordan started the business with and gets to the top with him. It a great supporting role as he becomes more of the loose cannon of the team. (9/10)


Actor Review: Margot Robbie – Naomi Jordan wife who enjoys the high life with him. It what is one of her first major roles she is great as the good side to Leo’s drive but doesn’t get enough screen time. (8/10)


Director Review: Martin ScorseseHe is the master of the epic films and this is great but it focuses way too much on the wrong things that are going on in the story. (7/10)


Crime: We see all the crimes they are committing but only hear a small parts what consequences of the crimes are. (8/10)

Believability: True Story (10/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Settings: Nearly every setting is an expensive idea showing how well the rich are doing. (9/10)

Suggestion: It is long so if you don’t want to sit around and watch a film for three hours then you can easily miss this. The diehard fans of the stars will have to watch but I feel this isn’t something you really have to watch. (Try It)


Best Part: The moment when Jordan gets a small time job and shocks everyone with his selling ability.

Worst Part: Too much drugs

Oscar Chances: Nominated for 5 Oscars

Chances of Sequel: No


Overall:  A long biopic that will leave you disappointed

Rating 80