Review: Game Night (2018)

game-night-movie-review-2018Have I ever mentioned how much I love Jason Bateman comedies? Horrible Bosses and The Change Up are 2 of my favourite movies of all time, and I’m also a big fan of board games and game nights in general so you can imagine how gutted I was to miss the cinema release of Game Night! It was just one of those incidents where plans were made, the showtimes didn’t work, and then by the time the plans are made again, it’s not in the cinema anymore.

Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) met at a quiz night, fell in love, and hosted a weekly game night for their friends ever since. Things get tense when Max’s extremely successful brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) comes to visit, and suggests hosting the ultimate game night at his rented accommodation. It’s a murder mystery night where one of the group will be kidnapped, but things take a strange turn…

Sadly if you’ve seen the trailer you’ll know what that turn is, but although it gives away far too much of the story (in my opinion anyway) there’s still a lot of fun to be had, and plenty of surprises along the way. There’s always that fear with comedies that all the good jokes are in the trailer, leaving nothing left, but I found loads more to laugh at this time around.

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If you’re a fan of American sitcoms like I am then there’s also a lot of familiar faces to spot which I always find fun. Jason Bateman gives you exactly what you would expect, but the show-stealer this time round was without a doubt Max’s weird neighbour Gary (Jesse Plemons Am I the only one who had to do a double take to check he wasn’t actually Matt Damon?

Anyway, Gary used to be a part of Max’s weekly game nights but when he split from his wife the group started to avoid him (because he’s quite weird), leaving the gang having to creep into the house so as not to make Gary suspicious.

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Despite all of this though, there’s just something stopping Game Night from being up there with the ultimate comedies for me. Perhaps its a movie that will grow on me more and more, as I’ll definitely be rewatching it at some point, but maybe it’s just that I had to wait so long to see it. It’s still a great comedy by all counts of course!

I feel like the last 20 or so minutes is where most of the real enjoyment is, and if you’ve already seen Game Night you’ll know why. I wondered how many times the movie was going to turn the tables on us! It gets a solid 4 out of 5 squeaky dog toys from me.

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Review: Love, Simon (2018)

love-simon-movie-review-2018-posterWho has two thumbs and went to the cinema twice in two weeks? This gal! No, I can’t believe it either. Thanks to my amazing husband for pushing me to actually leave the house and my bestie for being my date! This week was a movie we’d both been really looking forward to and the rave reviews just made us even more excited. Love, Simon might just be the best Rom-Com of 2018 and we’re not even halfway there yet.

Simon (Nick Robinson) is your average teenager. He has two loving parents, a sister who he actually gets on with but wouldn’t dream of telling her and, well actually Simon does a pretty good job of explaining his life in the opening narrative so I won’t take that away from him. Thing is, Simon has a huge secret that no one knows – he’s gay.

Simon’s school has a gossip blog and one day a confession post is published by an author titled as Blue. Blue reveals that he is, in fact, gay, and so Simon creates an anonymous email profile to contact Blue and strike up a friendship which eventually leads to love. That’s the basic plot here, with plenty of other High School drama and antics thrown in here and there. It was so much fun trying to work out who Blue actually was and it was an amazing reveal at the end! I don’t know if it was obvious to anyone else but I never see these things coming.

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It’s the characters that drive movies like these forward and separate the mediocre from the ones you’ll never forget, and the characters in Love, Simon are great. Even the ‘bad guy’ has lovable qualities and you can’t help but find him funny. I absolutely loved Tony Hale as the hilarious Vice Principal, in my favourite role of his since Arrested Development.

In fact, I think my only gripe with the entire movie was that it wasn’t quite angsty enough – but that’s just my own personal preference. There are sad moments for sure but everything still feels a bit sugar coated. Having said that though I think Love, Simon is a really important movie. I was reading through a few reviews on Letterboxd after seeing the movie and some movie fans were using their reviews as their own chance to come out, and I think if a movie can have that kind of positive effect on people then that’s an amazing thing.

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What else I think is great is that it’s a movie for all to enjoy. It doesn’t feel like a movie made for the LGBT community, is accessible for all. If two married women approaching their 30’s (sorry Steph if you’re reading this) can enjoy it, then so can you! Love, Simon gets 4 and a half Halloween Oreos from me and gosh darn it I wish they were available in the UK, they sound delicious.

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Review: Downsizing (2017)

downsizing-movie-review-2017After falling in love with Colossal (2017) last year for it’s unique story line, I was over the moon when I saw a trailer for Downsizing (2017). 2 movies in the same year with an interesting, different tale to tell that isn’t a remake or a sequel? Count me in! Plus it stars Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz and Jason Sudeikis? Shut up and take my money, cinema lady.

Us humans are slowly killing the Earth with our waste, and quite frankly, we’re running out of room. It’s a miracle then, when scientists discover the ability to irreversibly shrink people down to a fraction of their actual size. Years later, tiny settlements have been set up and roughly 3% (or was it 5%?) of the world’s population are now tiny. It’s environmentally friendly, and also economically friendly, as your money is worth a heck of a lot more when you’re only 5 inches tall.

Paul (Matt Damon) and Audrey (Kristen Wiig) are a married couple who make the difficult decision to downsize themselves. Things go belly-up however when Paul wakes up after the process to discover his wife changed her mind at the last minute, leaving him behind. Thus, Paul starts his new, tiny life.

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I am absolutely in love with this idea, and I’m actually gutted, but also impressed to learn that this is an original screenplay rather than one adapted from a book. So many details have been thought about, from the intricate details on how the downsizing process works to the social issues that would arise from this. Things such as terrorism, as these tiny people are so hard to track, or how they should be able to vote as they don’t contribute much back. It really is a lot to think about!

Sadly, it’s also this movie’s huge problem. None of these issues are explored at all, they’re just brought up and never really mentioned again. The thing is, if these areas weren’t mentioned, we all would have complained that the movie was too simple, so it was never going to win really. Downsizing should have been a TV Series, where each season could have been dedicated to a particular issue. Heck, the first season could have just been about how the process began!

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There’s still some fun to be had though, mainly with the relationship that Paul strikes up with Ngoc Lan (Hong Chau). At first Ngoc Lan seems like a timid cleaner, but she has the most amazing personality and completely overpowers Paul in every single scene. She alone makes this movie worth a watch!

The other thing I have to wonder is what was cut from the movie? One of the coolest moments in the trailer was a giant bottle of vodka being drank by the tiny people. If a scene intended to actually sell the movie was cut, what else? Mind you, it’s long enough as it is!

All in all, I’m gutted this movie wasn’t a TV Show instead, so that the story and all the ideas behind it couldn’t have been explored properly. It’s 3 out of 5 bottles of vodka from me!

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Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2018)

three-billboards-movie-review-2018Ah January, the time when cinemas around the world are filled with terrible movies…unless of course you live in the UK like me. January and February are the months when we finally get the award-nominated movies, and they’re the months that I desperately scrabble around to try and watch them all in time for the big Oscars night (and of course, fail). If there was one movie that I couldn’t miss however, it was Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Thanks to being away from the movie world for so long, I only actually heard about this movie last week, but it’s been advertised everywhere now! From what I could tell, it looked bat-shit crazy and had one of the best casts I’ve ever seen, and I was right on the money with those assumptions.

Mildred (Frances McDormand) lost her daughter in a rape and murder case, and after 7 months with no arrests or even leads, she reaches the end of her tether and hires three billboards, outside her town of Ebbing, Missouri no less, to send a message to the Chief of Police Willoughby (Woody Harrelson). Problem is, Willoughby is very well respected within the community, and he’s also dying of cancer, which leads to a lot of public outrage against Mildred.

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Then we have Dixon (Sam Rockwell), a hotheaded cop who’s also a bit of a simpleton…and a racist. Sam Rockwell is an absolute legend here and I’m so glad he’s picking up a lot of attention in the awards season! To tell you anymore about the story here would be an injustice as there’s a lot of twists and turns along the way, but it’s a thrilling ride.

What’s so great about Three Billboards is how perfectly it crosses the line between a hard-hitting, emotional drama, and hilarious black comedy. In fact, as I was watching it all I could think about was In Bruges (2008) and lo and behold, both movies are written and directed by the same guy, Martin McDonagh! Does that make me a real movie fan, being able to pick up on similarities like that?! Just let me pretend…

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I was pretty sure I knew how it would all end, but I was still a little gutted when my suspicions were right. When the rest of the movie was so shocking, I guess I was hoping for a shocking ending too, that’s all. Regardless, this is a cracking movie that I’ll be watching again for sure, and recommending to as many friends and family as possible!

This messes up my usual ranking system of out of 5, but how could I score this movie any differently? 2 and a half billboards out of 3 from me (but really it’s a 4.5/5).

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P.S. I want to be Frances McDormand when I grow up. Lady is a badass.

Double Review: Rough Night (2017) & The House (2017)

What do you do when you haven’t got stuck into a great movie for a while, and you’re also mentally preparing yourself to get back into blogging and actually expressing opinions and thoughts on said movies? Switch your brain off and get stuck into 2 sub-par comedies of course!

Has 2017 had a great comedy yet? I’m behind so maybe I’ve missed it, or maybe I’m just losing my sense of humour. We’re definitely owed a few laughs though!

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Rough Night (2017)

There’s been a huge rise lately of female-centred comedies, which I am all for of course, but not all are hitting the mark. Rough Night features an all female cast (if we forget about the dead stripper) and even a past female relationship which wasn’t thrown in our faces which I definitely appreciate. However, what could have been a modern day Weekend at Bernies fell rather flat.

The main issue I found with Rough Night was the overall tone. It didn’t know what kind of movie it wanted to be. We’ve all seen the trailer, we know the group accidentally kill a stripper that comes to their home, but that scene itself was actually really dark…

Common sense got thrown out of the window and just when I started to get into the silliness of it all again, things got deep real fast and left me confused again. One thing I’ll say though is it wasn’t the disaster I thought it would be, and I actually quite enjoyed all of the main actresses, even if my beloved Kate McKinnon was a bit over the top. Stay with the credits for this one though, if nothing else made you laugh McKinnon’s song will!

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The House (2017)

I was dying to see The House ever since I saw a trailer. I had no visions of it being an outstanding comedy, but I loved the cast so much I was just happy knowing that I’d be able to see them all in something new.  In The House, Amy Poehler and Will Ferrell are parents struggling to afford their daughter’s tuition after her scholarship is taken away. They team up with their best friend, Jason Mantzoukas and set up their own casino.

So yeah, the funniest moments are all in the trailer. The plot is wafer thin and it’s predictable throughout. But it’s a fairly short movie by today’s standards at just under an hour and a half, and I’ve certainly spent the same amount of time doing worse things! My Parks and Rec senses were in overdrive in the town hall meeting scene with so many familiar faces, especially with Amy Poehler herself there!

I think my favourite running joke was Will Ferrell’s complete inability to count, or deal with math of any kind to be honest. I don’t know if it was as funny as it seemed to me or if it was one of the few jokes that just so happened to land, but it honestly made me laugh out loud each time. I’m easily amused I think!

How is 2017 doing comedy wise though overall? Are there some hidden gems I should hunt down or look forward to? The Big Sick (2017) was fantastic – but I need a laugh out loud comedy right now!