The Game (1997)

Director: David Fincher

Writer: John Brancato, Michael Ferris (Screenplay)

Starring: Michael Douglas, Sean Penn, Deborah Kara Unger, James Rebhorn, Peter Donat, Carroll Baker, Anna Katarina

Plot: After a wealthy banker is given an opportunity to participate in a mysterious game, his life is turned upside down when he becomes unable to distinguish between the game and reality.

Tagline – Players Wanted.

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Twist Filled Thriller

Story: The Game starts as wealthy banker Nicholas Van Orton (Douglas) has spent his life working forgetting to have fun, his rebellious brother Conrad (Penn) turns up to celebrate his birthday which sees him giving him a gift, one that would let him take part in a game that will change his life. Nicholas reluctantly decides to go through the process, finding himself involved in the game, which starts to fade his reality.

As the events continue, Nicholas does start to see his very controlled life start to get out of control with only a random waitress Christine (Unger) around for him to trust, can Nicholas unravel the mystery to save his career or will he lose the game.

Thoughts on The Game

Characters – Nicholas Van Orton is a banker that is in complete control of his life, he isn’t friendly to everybody he meets in life and is distant from most of his family, he is excellent at business, he gets a different present from his rebellious brother, which sees him break out of his controlling method of life to play along with an uncontrollable game where he doesn’t know what is or isn’t real, learning to navigate and try to stay one step ahead of the game. Conrad is the rebellious brother that has had personal problems in the past, he gives Nicholas a present, claiming it helped turn his own life around, only for this gift only make his brother’s life more difficult. Christine is a waitress that Nicholas gets fired, he must work with her even if she might in fact be involved in the game herself. Jim Feingold is the man behind the invitation, he has Nicholas give him plenty of information before unleashing everything to get into Nicholas life.

PerformancesMichael Douglas is wonderful in this leading role, he plays the controlling businessman with ease and watching him lose control of his life is a performance you feel was made for Douglas. Sean Penn is wonderful in the supporting role, where we see how his character’s life has been affected by the game. Deborah Kara Unger in her supporting role does shine, with the rest of the supporting cast all working very well through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a controlling businessman that decides to step away from his routine to play a game bought to him as a present by his brother, once the game has started he sees his life start to fall apart as he tries to figure out what is real and what is part of the game. This is a story that does keep you on your toes through the film as it does just keep trying to spin on everything going on. We do have an overall message going on which does show the Nicholas needs to become more open in his life, which is the point of the game, trying to teach them how important life is too. The fact that this film just keeps us guessing is what is the most important part of the film, nothing seems like reality, but it could be real, which is why this is such an impressive story.

MysteryThe mystery in this film keeps us wondering whether this is a game or whether there is something more intense going on, the fact we can balance this so effortless makes this one of the best mystery films you will see.

SettingsThe film is set in San Francisco which does show how a successful businessman will operate in a city know or think he knows all the shortcuts to make it through the difficult times.

Scene of the Movie – Rooftop.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Who took his kids at the zoo?

Final Thoughts This is one of the most intense mystery thrillers ever made, we are truly kept wondering just what will happen next balancing on whether this is real or not.

Overall: Brilliant thriller.


Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Dead Rising: Endgame (2016)

deadDirector: Pat Williams

Writer: Tim Carter, Michael Ferris (Screenplay)

Starring: Jesse Metcalfe, Keegan Connor Tracy, Jessica Harmon, Dennis Haysbert, Marie Avgeropoulo, Teach Grant, Dakota Guppy, Stephen Lobo, Curtis Lum, Ian Tracey, Billy Zane


Plot: DEAD RISING: ENDGAME drops us into the zombie-infested quarantined zone of East Mission City where investigative reporter Chase Carter must stop a secret government conspiracy.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Enjoyable Sequel


Story: Dead Rising: Endgame starts by filling in what happened through the first film and explaining how the virus has spread to new levels with Zomdrex being given to every America, we learn how Chase (Metcalfe) has gone in hiding while he searches for the truth. Chase uncovers that General Lyons (Haysbert) is about to unleash ‘Afterlife’ which could end lives of millions in America.

When word gets out about Chase’s video Hancock (Tracey) comes to the rescue but warning him that Afterlife is set for release within the next few hours. Chase, Hancock ad Sandra (Avgeropoulos) must race against time behind the quarantine wall to switch of the connection that could release the Afterlife side of the virus.

Dead Rising: Endgame is the sequel to what I thought was the best video game adaption made to film mostly because it captured the game environment perfectly. My issue is that we do lose certain elements the first one had most notable the real time world seemingly watching what is going on with Frank West’s commentary throughout. The story is a simple race against time that does feel like another chapter to a potential bigger picture for the film franchise and this is an enjoyable casual watch.


Actor Review


Jesse Metcalfe: Chase is the returning reporter determined to get to the bottom of General Lyons plans after his near escape during Project Watchtower. Now he has the latest information that can expose the truth and must go back into the warzone to stop the releases that will take the lives of millions of American lives. Jesse is a good leading man for this franchise because we need a character that can be over the top at times filled with charm and heroism.

Ian Tracey: Hancock has been working on the Zombrex chips but once he finds out there link to Afterlife he locates Chase to stop Afterlife taking the lives of the American people. Ian is good but I do feel gets left behind our main characters at times.

Marie Avgeropoulos: Sandra Lowe is a brilliant hacker that works with Chase including going on the mission behind the wall. She can handle herself in a fight which is always needed for a film like this. Marie steps into the lead female role well coming off tough and smart with her character.

Dennis Haysbert: General Lyons is still running his seedy operation to get the military involved in the zombie outbreak even if it means killing innocent people. Dennis is good in this villainous role having a permanent authority image.

Support Cast: Dead Rising: Endgame has a supporting cast that does have a returning friend but also includes the type of characters you would expect to see within the Dead Rising video games.

Director Review: Pat WilliamsPat does a good job for the zombie outbreak side of the story but I do feel this film loses the elements that came from the game.


Horror: Dead Rising: Endgame does have good horror elements but you never really feel threaten through this movie.

Settings: Dead Rising: Endgame keeps us in the middle of zombie filled city but also shows us how society has continued on during this all.
Special Effects
: Dead Rising: Endgame does have god effects with the kills but sadly it does have some that you can see the CGI.

Suggestion: Dead Rising: Endgame is one for the fans of the game to watch if you enjoyed the original. (Video Game Fans Watch)


Best Part: The customize weapons all look good.

Worst Part: No Frank West.

Action Scene Of The Film: Saving Jordan.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: It could have one.

Post Credits Scene: Yes


Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes


Overall: Sequel to one of the better video game films that doesn’t reach all of its potential.




The Net (1995)

logoDirector: Irwin Winkler

Writer: John D Brancato, Michael Ferris (Screenplay)

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Jeremy Northam, Dennis Miller, Diane Baker, Wendy Gazelle, Ken Howard, Ray McKinnon


Plot: Angela Bennett (Bullock) is a computer program but when she stumbles upon a conspiracy her life ends up in grave danger. With few friends outside the computer world and her life slowly getting erased how can she make it through? What follows in a cat and mouse between Angela and Jack Devlin (Northam).


Verdict: The first real cyber thriller?

Story: With the film made back in the nighties and the internet first becoming something not many had we get to see the more serious side of computerising all our information. The idea that your identity is taken without any proof left of who you are would come off very frightening but our heroine has to get through this to uncover the truth behind why it was erased. The cat and mouse side of the story comes off very strong and makes this a real thriller. (9/10)


Actor Review: Sandra Bullock – Angela a computer program who gets a mysterious program from a friend, but while on holiday her life changes she is erased and has to use what little contacts she has left to prove who is really is and using her knowledge of computer systems stays on foot ahead of her nemesis. Good performance from Sandra showing that you can have an action thriller leads without need endless fights, just smarts. (8/10)


Actor Review: Jeremy Northam – Jack Devlin a hired hit man sent to clean up all the evidence that is on a disk that Angela receives. Jeremy does a great job in his first American film role. (8/10)


Director Review: Irwin Winkler – Good direction to show how to make a thinking person’s thriller. (8/10)


Action: The action isn’t as important as other films where a muscle bound bodyguard figure would protect the girl. (6/10)

Crime: The crime committed and the covers up all fill the crime out very well. (9/10)

Thriller: Once it gets going the thrills are non-stop and you will just be left to guess whether she will uncover the truth. (8/10)

Believability: I feel this was part a warning about putting too much information on computers. (5/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Settings: Mixture of settings but none that really add much to the story but work for foot chase scenes. (6/10)

Suggestion: I think this is only one to try I think thriller fans will enjoy but the more casual relaction fans will not enjoy. (Try It)


Best Part: The pier chase

Worst Part: Starts a bit slow.

Oscar Chances: No

Chances of Sequel: No


Overall: Cyber Thriller Before We Really Understood The Power Of The Internet

Rating 78