Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!
One of my favourite things about flights (if there ever was something you could love about flights) is in-flight movies. As a film fanatic, it’s awesome to see new movies that you have yet to see being shown on board. On the flight to and from Beijing, I was treated to a wealth of brilliant movies that were on my watch list. From American Animals (review coming soon!) to Upgrade, there were so many choices. One of the films that I’ve wanted to see since it’s trailer release way back in January was Game Night. It has a fantastic cast, an interesting plot line and seemed promising.
Directed by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley (who have previously collaborated on films such as Spider-man: Homecoming and Horrible Bosses) and starring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams is the comedy Game Night. Max and Annie are a competitive couple who regularly have game nights with their friends. Recently, their neighbour, Gary, divorced his wife, and the pair hasn’t invited him to a game night since. When Max and Annie begin to try for a baby, it is unsuccessful for them as Max is stressed out. This is because his brother Brooks is in town, and Max feels inadequate compared to him. At a game night hosted by Max and Annie, Brooks embarrasses Max in front of all his friends, before inviting them all to a game night at his for the following week. At Brooks’ game night, he reveals to the guests that someone will be kidnapped and they must work in their couples to figure out where they are. As an incentive, Brooks says that the winner will get the keys to his car, a Stingray Corvette, which also is Max’s dream car. The night goes horribly wrong when real kidnappers intervene and take Brooks. It’s now down to Max, Annie and their friends to save Brooks and game night itself.
First off, this was actually a hilariously awesome movie. I rewatched it on the plane as I loved it so much. Jason Bateman played Max, a fun-loving guy with brother issues. Bateman is a great actor and Game Night is no exception from his talents, but there were definitely people who were better than him. The same could be said for Annie, played by Rachel McAdams. She was fantastic in this film and had me in fits of laughter at parts, and this film further proves her brilliant acting ability. For me, the best character has to go to Billy Magnussen’s Ryan. Ryan was one of the funniest characters who never failed to make me laugh. He was an interesting character, and that’s down to Magnussen’s flawless acting in this role. Ryan was such an amazing character that he’s earnt a spot on my favourite characters list (find the list here!). This was my first time watching Billy Magnussen in a film/TV show, and he didn’t disappoint. His date for the majority of this film was Sarah, played by Sharon Horgan. Horgan’s comedy was well suited to the tone of the movie and was so perfectly suited to the comedy from Billy Magnussen’s Ryan. Another hilarious character was Kevin, played by Lamorne Morris. I found his comedy in the film started off really good but gradually fell as the film went on. He was still funny in the film, but half of it came from situational comedy with his on-screen wife, Michelle. Kylie Bunbury played Michelle, and as previously mentioned comedy was mainly from scenes with Lamorne Morris’ Kevin. The main six characters (Max, Annie, Ryan, Sharon, Kevin and Michelle) had one of the best character chemistry dynamics I’ve seen in a film. In their respective couples and as one group, the characters had such a lovable relationship that was so brilliantly portrayed by them. It was evident to see that Brooks, played by Kyle Chandler, disrupted this dynamic. Chandler played Brooks well, especially in terms of making him an unlikable character. His humour had its moments but majority of the time it fell flat and failed to make me laugh. It’s worth mentioning Jesse Plemons’ character, Gary. He provided a (not-so-big) plot twist, and while some may have thought he was a good, funny character, I found myself thinking the opposite. The plot twist was decent, but his character was just awkward and failed to make me laugh.
The music was something to be majorly appreciated. It could have been better, sure, but for what it was, you had to respect it. I like how the movie both started and ended with a Queen song, both related to the film somehow. The movie made good choices in terms of songs used. I liked the use of ‘Semi-Charmed Life’ by Third Eye Blind for Annie’s little karaoke scene and ‘Quando, Quando, Quando’ by Engelbert Humperdinck for the film’s credits (where the credit’s featured a hilarious plan from Gary). The best songs in the movie were ‘We are the Champions’ at the film’s ending and Drake’s ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’ for the reveal of which celebrity Michelle had slept with. I actually loved that scene, but I’ll come on to the best scenes later.
The storyline was good and I like the idea of taking something that is relatable but taking it to the next level, but it did reach a point of going too far. The film tackled the story well, but it was too rushed in places. All it needed was just a few extra minutes for a few scenes to improve on the movie. The film didn’t fall down the usual hole that most films do, whereby they are too slow moving. However, it’s better to spend more time on something while it may be slow moving (even though I hate this!) than to actually rush through scenes. One of the best things that Game Night had was the camera work. It reminded me of some of the camera work seen in Edgar Wright’s films. It had imaginative scene transitions, my favourite being Max and Annie falling on a train which transitioned to the dice being rolled in Risk. The tilt-shift shots that made the city look like something out of a board game were visually stunning, and I loved the camera work for when the characters were in the car, as it looked like something out of a video game like Grand Theft Auto. The best camera had to go to the one-shot take but played on a different level. This was seen when stealing the Fabergé Egg, in a fantastic chase scene which left me in complete awe over how incredible the camera work and the scene execution was. Click on this link to watch the scene.
There were a few scenes in the movie that I loved so much. The opening with ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ with the montage of Max and Annie dominating in every game was the perfect introduction for the movie. Everyone meeting at Max and Annie’s for game night was great fun to watch and was a smooth and interesting way for us to meet every character. Admittedly, Ryan’s character introduction was the best for me, the highlight being his montage of past dates, as it was side-splittingly hilarious. The next best scene was Ryan and Sharon going to ‘Murder We Wrote’, which saw Chelsea Peretti (Gina from Brooklyn 99) in a hilarious role, where it is revealed that the kidnappers are real. After this scene, we get a juxtaposing scene with Max and Annie who haven’t discovered this yet. Though it was in the trailer, the scene of removing the bullet from Max’s arm was good fun to watch, but ruined by the trailer. From there, the next best scene was going to the mansion and discovering the secret fight clubs (and Ryan’s reaction to this was amazing!). In the mansion, two great scenes took place. The first was the reveal of which celebrity Michelle had slept with. It featured Drake’s ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’ and a fake Denzel Washington in a pay-off to an inside joke and a funny scene. The second was the Fabergé Egg chase scene. It used a one-shot take in a style similar to that of Ryan Coogler’s that was just so awesome to watch. Click on this link to watch the scene, I promise that it is worth it! The ending was a nice end to what was a fantastic film, showing a nice conclusion to the film we’d just seen as well as giving us the possibility for a sequel.
Overall, Game Night gets an 8.6/10 from me. It was a film that I was hyped to watch and it definitely delivered. It had gorgeous camera work, brilliant acting and really good comedy, despite having a few little issues that didn’t ruin what was a super movie experience. Game Night is a film that I can’t wait to rewatch and I highly recommend it to everyone. It has comedy, action and everything else you could want from a movie. Game Night is available on Now TV from Friday 16th November, on HBO (if you have a subscription) and should be added to Amazon Prime over the Christmas period.
On Monday 12th November, the world lost a real-life superhero. Stan Lee, co-creator of Marvel Comics, passed away, aged 95. Stan was a living legend, and his work for Marvel Comics has paved the way for the world of cinema for years to come. His creations such as Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four will live on, but the universe will never forget Stan Lee. May he rest in peace.
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Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. Next week, I review what is considered to be one of the best movies of all time, if not the best. The clue is Morgan Freeman. Can you guess which film it is? See you next week for its review!