Tagged: Joshua Mikel

 

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

Year: 2018

Australian Cinema Release Date: 22nd February 2018

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: United States

Director: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein

Screenwriter: Mark Perez

Cast: Jason Batman (Max), Kylie Bunbury (Michelle), Kyle Chandler (Brooks), Camille Chen (Dr. Chin), Michael Cyril Creighton (Bill), John Francis Daley (Carter), R.F. Daley (Tats), Abigail Ford (Mrs. Anderton), Jonathan Goldstein (Dan), Michael C. Hall (The Bulgarian), Natasha Hall (Madison), Sharon Horgan (Sarah), Malcolm X. Hughes (Not Denzel), Danny Huston (Donald Anderton), Candy Ibarra (Rachel Burns), Jessica Lee (Debbie), Daniel Lucente (Dan Steele), Curtis Lyons (Logan), Billy Magnussen (Ryan), Rachel McAdams (Annie), Joshua Mikel (Colin), Lamorne Morris (Kevin), Tony Ohara (Kramer), Olivia (Bastian), Chelsea Peretti (Glenda), Jesse Plemons (Gary), Brooke Jaye Taylor (Linda), Michael Twombley (Michael Bates), Zerrick Williams (Val)

Runtime: 100 mins

Classification: R

 

OUR GAME NIGHT REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Dave Griffiths Review:

 

To listen to some film journalists talk the state of the comedy genre is in tatters. Apparently unfunny comedy after unfunny comedy floods our cinemas screens. The notion is ridiculous though. It seems that films like Horrible Bosses and We’re The Millers have been completely forgotten about… hell even the local comedy Swinging Safari was a lot funnier that most journos gave it credit for. Now comes Game Night a film that certainly shows that comedy is back – not only does the film’s twists and turns keep the audience guessing but it’s sassy comedy and modern edge make a film worthy of more than one viewing.

The plot of Game Night is unique in itself. Max (Jason Bateman – Arrested Development, Juno) and Annie (Rachel McAdams – The Notebook, Mean Girls) are a regular couple with a big difference – they are driven by a competitive spirit that makes their frequent games’ nights a must attend for their friends.

However their games nights are changed forever when the couple realise that their inability to conceive a child is caused by Max’s competitive streak with his rich and popular brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler – Argo, Manchester By The Sea). With Brooks coming to town and deciding to host the latest games night… a night that he says nobody will forget… Max and Annie are already on edge. To make things worse they are trying to hide the night from their creepy, ex-friend and Police Officer Gary (Jesse Plemons – Battleship, Black Mass) so he doesn’t turn up, but that all pails into insignificance when Brooks’ real life makes the night potentially deadly.

Universally panned for their work on Vacation directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein bounce back here largely thanks to a witty script written by Mark Perez (Accepted, Herbie: Fully Loaded). While the premise of the film seems basic Perez’s screenplay makes this film stand-out. Game Night has everything that a good comedy should have – witty one-liners plus memorable characters like the dry and dull Gary and the extremely dumb himbo Ryan (Billy Magnussen – Into The Woods, The Big Short).

But Game Night also has more than that. The suspense of the plot is only enhances with a serious of twists and turns that soon has the audience realising that they can’t predict what is going to happen in the next minute let alone for the rest of the film. The fact that Perez is smart enough to have Max almost narrate what some would call film flaws with lines like ‘great two guys show up that haven’t been revealed in the plot earlier’ makes the decision to include such risky choices in the film pay off with laughter. The screenplay also gives a nod to other films, again with a smirk to the audience as Rachel McAdams declares ‘like Liam Neeson in Taken 3.’

In fact it is the chances that Game Night makes that ends up letting the film work. The decision to tone the adult humour down when compared to a film like Horrible Bosses means that this becomes the perfect date movie for both men and women while the interesting choice of cast all works. Batman and McAdams gel well as an on-screen couple while Jesse Plemons steals just about every scene he is in with some brilliant deadpan character acting. The other big surprise here is Kyle Chandler. Known more for his gritty dramatic roles in productions like Friday Night Lights Chandler here shows the world his comedic skills as he makes sure Brooks is one of those characters that the audience will love one moment and hate the next.

Game Night is one comedy that is well worth a look. Its great screenplay allows for a little more storyline and suspense then what we expect from most comedy films while Jason Bateman once again shows why he is the current king of comedy. As you sit down to watch Game Night be prepared for a wild ride with more than enough laughs to keep the comedy fans happy as well.

 

 

 

Greg King’s Review:

This enjoyable mix of action and comedy from the team behind films like Horrible Bosses is like David Fincher’s The Game crossed with Date Night.

A group of friends regularly meet every Saturday night for some old-fashioned fun, playing old school board games and charades. The games are held at the home of Max (Jason Bateman) and his wife Annie (Rachel McAdams), both very competitive gamers who met a trivia night. The players include bickering high school sweethearts Kevin (Lomorne Morris) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury) and dim-witted ladies’ man Ryan (Billy Magnussen, from tv series Get Shorty, etc), who brings along a different shallow empty-headed date each night.

But this time, Max’s supposedly much more successful and wealthy older brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler, Emmy winner from Saturday Night Lights, etc) arrives for a surprise visit and decides to up the ante when he hosts his own game night. He has chosen an interactive “mystery” theme around the concept of a kidnapping. But things quickly go pear shaped when real life crooks invade the house, beat up Brooks, duct tape and drag him from the house. Max and the gang initially think it was all part of the game.

But when they realise that it was real, Max and his friends embark on a cross town chase to try and rescue Brooks. Their competitive spirit though means that they try to race each other to find Brooks and their efforts are driven by their natural one-upmanship. They soon discover that neither the game nor Brooks are what they seem. The chase also sees them having to find a Faberge egg, which is something of a McGuffin.

For the most part Game Night is an energetic and light-hearted action comedy with thriller elements as it mixes some car chases, fight scenes and the odd angry shot. But the plot is also very convoluted and there are a couple of last minute twists that defy credibility. The script comes from Mark Perez (the more family friendly Disney film Herbie Fully Loaded, etc). The film has been directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, who are best known for writing comedies like Horrible Bosses, etc. They made their feature film directorial debut with 2015’s disappointing Vacation reboot, and here they bring their own comic sensibilities to Perez’s screenplay and make the most of the thin premise.

The film is slickly paced, and cinematographer Barry Peterson suffuses the material with a noir like palette. There are some nice visual gags as well, including establishing shots of various neighbourhoods that initially resemble a board game community.

Bateman often has a nice everyman quality that shapes his performances. Here he seems far more comfortable than in some of the crass comedies like Office Christmas Party that he has appeared in. He and McAdams develop a wonderful chemistry that lifts the film, and they play off each other well. It seems that she has allowed Bateman to lift his game. McAdams also shows a nice flair for comedy.  The cast also features Jeffrey Wright (Casino Royale, etc), and Danny Huston and Dexter star Michael C Hall in small roles as shady underworld figures.

Everyone in the cast is given their own moment to shine. But the stand out of the ensemble is Jesse Plemons (American Made, etc) who plays Gary, Max and Annie’s somewhat creepy and obsessive neighbour. Gary used to be a regular part of their game night crowd until he and his wife Debbie divorced, and he became too moody and depressed for their liking.

Game Night is uneven, but with a brisk running time of 100 minutes it never quite outstays its welcome. And it is a lot more fun than many other recent Hollywood comedies.

 

 

Nick Gardener’s Review:

The amiable if at times flat Game Night is a little like David Fincher’s The Game done in the style of contemporary comedies like Horrible Bosses. It also falls into that cinematic sub-genre the Jason Bateman movie in which Bateman plays the put-upon, every-man, nice guy schlub forced into a dangerous situation that inevitably provides some necessary jolt to his staid suburban life.

Here Bateman plays Max who, despite a comfortable life and marriage to the gorgeous Annie (Rachel McAdams), is perpetually stressed, a condition that seems to be impeding his ability to conceive a child. The source of his anxiety seems to be his arrogant Wall Street trader brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) who has always taken sadistic delight in trouncing Max at games and competitions throughout their lives. When the obnoxious Brooks invites Max and Annie and their friends to a murder mystery party the night unexpectedly turns into a battle against kidnappers and sleaze-ball gangsters.

The film attempts to weld a typical Bateman middle class suburban rom-com to a crime thriller but the results are at best middling. Bateman’s easy charm and comic timing work about as well as they do in other films where he’s played essentially the same character and McAdams’ cheery, live-wire performance is typically fun and endearing.  Add an amusingly creepy performance from Jesse Plemons as a weird, angry cop neighbour who’s determined to inveigle himself into Max and Annie’s life and at least in its early stages, this is an enjoyably perky comedy.

As the film attempts to entangle Max and Annie in a twist-laden action/crime/ caper/ story, though, it begins to lose its appeal. The film lacks the necessary thrills, intensity and drama for this part of the movie to work. Add to this a few dud gags, predictable story threads, sub-plots about characters misfiring relationships that don’t really go anywhere and some completely unbelievable scenarios including a ludicrous sequence at a gangster’s mansion and Game Night becomes a little laboured.

Thankfully, Game Night eschews much some of the grubbiness and nastiness of contemporary raunch comedies but it doesn’t replace this with enough genuine wit, energy or clever story-telling.

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5): 

 

 

IMDB Rating:  Game Night (2018) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Game Night Reviews: N/A

Trailer:

 

Independence Day Resurgence

Summary: Two decades after the first Independence Day invasion, Earth is faced with a new extra-Solar threat. But will mankind’s new space defenses be enough?

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 23rd June 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Roland Emmerich

Screenwriter: Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich, James Vanderbilt, Nicolas Wright, James A. Woods

Cast: Gbenga Akinnagbe (Agent Travis), Angelbaby (Rain Lao), Arturo del Puerto (Bordeaux), William Fichtner (General Adams), Vivica A. Fox (Jasmine Hiller), Charlotte Gainsbourg (Catherine Marceaux), Jeff Goldblum (David Levinson), Mckenna Grace (Daisy), Evan Bryn Graves (Pilot P. Goodman), Tavis Hammer (Jeffrey Fineman), Chin Han (Commander Jiang), Liam Hemsworth (Jake Morrison), Judd Hirsch (Julius Levinson), Joey King (Sam), Kenny Leu (Ping Li), Lance Lim (Camper Kevin), Robert Loggia (General Grey), Joshua Mikel (Armand), Maika Monroe (Patricia Whitmore), Robert Neary (Captain McQuaide), Hans Obma (Sokolov), Deobia Oparei (Dikembe Umbutu), Bill Pullman (President Whitmore), Jenna Purdy (Voice of Sphere (voice)), Ryan Baloy Rivera (Sgt. P. Howard), Zeb Sanders (Camper Henry), Christian Simpson (Sgt. Fletcher Smith), Donovan Tyee Smith (Camper Marcus), Brent Spiner (Dr. Brakish Okun), Patrick St. Espirit (Secretary of Defense Tanner), John Storey (Dr. Isaacs), Travis Tope (Charlie Miller), Jessie T. Usher (Dylan Hiller), Joel Virgel (Jacques), Sela Ward (President Lanford), Garrett Wareing (Bobby), Nate Warren (Marley Sullivan), Hays Wellford (Felix), Otis Winston (Brian Cole), James A. Woods (Lt. Ritter), Nicolas Wright (Floyd Rosenberg)

Runtime: 120 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Has there ever been a film that you loved when you were younger that you have revisited as an adult and been bitterly disappointed? It happened to me recently with ‘Independence Day.’ As a kid this movie blew me away, the special effects, the idea that aliens could blow up the White House… and yes even Will Smith (I was addicted to the ‘Fresh Prince Of Air’). Going back to watch it last week though I realised that the film was not as great as I remembered, aside from the special effects it was actually a bit of a cheesy film and probably shouldn’t be considered a classic.

Still I didn’t let me truth defining moment about the original dampen my hopes for ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’, after all I kept telling myself it’s twenty years later, Roland Emmerich has grown as a director and I guiltily kind of enjoyed ‘White House Down.’ Well as it turns out I was horribly wrong, yes it may be twenty years on but Emmerich hasn’t learnt anything new and he is still making the same mistakes that made ‘Godzilla’ and ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ films that might have impressed the masses but had serious film lovers shaking their heads over what they have just seen.

Emmerich’s new storyline has been put together by a team of screenwriters that sees the world as a very different place to what it was 20 years earlier. Humans have embraced the alien technology that was used against them in the previous war giving a very new look to things even as basic as a helicopter. Our old heroes are also very different people as well. Former President Whitmore (Bill Pullman – ‘While You Were Sleeping’) is a depressed mess, his daughter Patricia (Maika Monroe – ‘It Follows’) works at the White House, Dr. Brakish Okun (Brent Spiner – Star Trek: Generations) has been a coma for 20 years, while David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum – ‘Jurassic Park’) travels the world and is considered an ‘alien expert.’ He now answers to the likes of President Lanford (Sela Ward – ‘Gone Girl’) and General Adams (William Fichtner – ‘The Dark Knight’) who have developed a pretty impressive defence system for Earth.

Then there are the newcomers – the likes of bored fighter pilot Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth – ‘The Hunger Games’) forced to live in the shadows of the likes of the famous Dylan Hiller (Jessie T. Usher – ‘Teeange’),Charlie Miler (Tarvis Tope – ‘The Town That Dreaded Sundown’) and Dr. Catherine Marceaux (Charlotte Gainsbourg – ‘Antchrist’) a former rival of Levinson’s who now wants to help him. Somehow this mixture of people all have to bring it together and help fight when the aliens return, once again hellbent on destroying Earth.

Perhaps the scariest thing about ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ (is certainly not the aliens) is the fact that it becomes painfully obvious early on that despite it being twenty years later Emmerich seems to have learnt nothing as a filmmaker. Still there are the bad attempts of humor throughout the film, the awful over-writing of characters that makes them so clichéd and these repetitive tropes that keep turning up in Emmerich films (like a computer telling the characters of the impending danger).

Even worse this time around though are the facts though that Emmerich seems to have borrowed so much from other films, especially the ‘Star Wars’ franchise for this film, and just how unbelievable this film is to its audience. Yes, of course, a story about aliens attacking Earth is supposed to be a believable drama but can anyone buy the fact that two characters that are emotional and physical wrecks after the events of the first film are suddenly able to swing around and be battle ready this time around… one was even in a coma for 20 years but is suddenly able to do his work like nothing has happened.

The other area in which Emmerich manages to lose his audience with this film is the over saturation of characters and the even worse habit of introducing characters well into the film, far too late for you to ever care what happens to them. The result is a film where it is virtually impossible to connect with any of the characters, which in turn means the suspense that should be there in a movie like this is just non-existant. Add that to the fact that you find yourselves laughing at a lot of the dialogue littered throughout the film, or groan at ‘you have the heart of the warrior’ and this soon becomes a film that should be referred to as a let-down of a blockbuster.

The poor screenplay also lets down its cast badly. The likes of Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lima Hemsworth are sadly given nothing to work with and it’s likely people will quickly forget that they even made this film pretty quickly. Likewise if Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman thought this was the film that would resurrect their careers then they are very sadly mistaken. And as for the newcomers… well they barely even create a blip on the screen.

With a dreadful screenplay and nothing new when it comes to special effects ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ ends up being one of the biggest disappointments of 2016. Even worse is the fact that we know another one is on the way… it’s like looking forward to a dentist’s appointment. One to avoid.

 

Stars(2)

 

 

 

Kyle McGrath:

There’s a lot of reliance on nostalgia in making sequels or follow ups ten or twenty after the previous film in a franchise. Recent memory brings up hits like Star Wars episode 7 and Creed but also not so successful films like Zoolander 2. As always with sequels it can be difficult catching lightning in a bottle twice but with a decade or two in between films that can only make it more of a challenge.

Independence Day: Resurgence is a sequel to the 1996 science fiction alien invasion film Independence Day. It’s been 20 years since earthlings with the aid of 90s computer viruses and nuclear weapons fought back and defeated the hostile creatures intent on total genocide of the human race and harvesting of all our planet’s resources. In the aftermath the world’s superpowers have entered a time of general world peace (Adrian Veidt would be so proud) and great advances have been made in space flight with secrets learned from alien technology. Unknown to everyone however is that the aliens sent a distress signal all those years ago and reinforcements are about to arrive.
I look at the original Independence Day as being the Avatar of the mid 90s. It showed us things we had never before seen on such a grand scale in movies, showcased amazing miniature special effects, cemented Roland Emmerich as the king of disaster movies and along with the successes of Bad Boys the previous year and Men in Black the following spring boarded Will Smith to be one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.
So even if the 96 original wasn’t the biggest of critical successes it definitely had a massive impact. Independence Day Resurgence simply doesn’t live up to its predecessor. The film attempts to weave so many threads together in only 2 hours that not enough time is spent on any of them and you wonder why they bothered with half of them.
Even as a 10 year old something that bothered me in the original was how quickly Will Smith’s character got over the death of his wingman during a battle with alien spacecraft. However the gravity of a massive alien invasion, the destruction and devastation of several major cities worldwide was still expressed to the audience. When the use of a nuclear weapon on US soil to destroy an attacking space craft turns out to be fruitless David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) has a breakdown of sorts because it WAS a big deal. In this film the same character is watching London being destroyed and millions upon millions of people being massacred in front of his eyes yet he and the characters around him are making quips and generally playing for comedic relief. When David afterwards is consoling his new former girlfriend Catherine (Charlotte Gainsborough) as her parents are almost definitely dead it just feels forced.
This is a problem that comes up several times. It seems in an attempt to make the film fun they drove a steamroller through any possible drama the film has. Someone’s loved one is killed, they rage then in no time they’re back to making quips. If a film’s characters aren’t going to care about the end of the world then why should the audience?
After 20 years of disaster movies (seemingly half of which directed by Emmerich himself) audiences may not automatically find anything amazing about seeing the world destroyed anymore. This is made worse by the way in which the bland characters in the film itself don’t seem to care either. Ultimately what it means is a film about a fight for survival of the human race ends up being unreasonably boring.

 

Stars(1.5)

 

 

 

Adam Ross:

You can hear Adam Ross’s Independence Day: Resurgence review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #182.

Stars(2)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(2)

 

IMDB Rating:  Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Independence Day: Resurgence reviews: You can also listen to our full Independence Day: Resurgence review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #182.

 

Trailer:

Alvin & The Chipmunks Road Chip

Summary: Alvin (voiced by Justin Long), Simon (Matthew Gray Gubler) and Theodore (Jesse McCartney) return and this time they have a huge problem. Not only has their ‘father’ Dave (Jason Lee) put a stop to them performing live, so they can be normal kids for awhile, but his relationship with Samantha (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) is going so well it looks like they are about to get engaged.

Now the Chipmunks are happy for Dave but are concerned that if he marries Samantha that wil mean that they that are now ‘brothers’ with a boy that seems to enjoy torturing them, Miles (Josh Green). When they learn that he isn’t too happy about being related to them either the four decide to embark on a road trip to Miami to prevent the engagement from happening.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th December 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Walt Becker

Screenwriter: Randi Mayem Singer, Adam Sztykiel, Janice Karman (characters), Ross Bagdasarian (characters)

Cast: Christina Applegate (Brittany (voice)), Jennifer Coolidge (Ms. Price), Kaley Cuoco (Elenaor (voice)), Anna Faris (Jeanette (voice)), Josh Green (Miles), Matthew Gray Gubler (Simon (voice)), Tony Hale (Agent Suggs), Ellie Knaus (Anna), Jason Lee (Dave), Justin Long (Alvin (voice)), Jesse McCartney (Theodore (voice)), Maxie McClintock (Alice), Joshua Mikel (Wyatt the Pizza Guy), Red Foo (himself), Eddie Steeples (Barry), Bella Thorne (Ashley Grey), Kimberley Williams-Paisley (Samantha)

Runtime: 92 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS:ROAD CHIP REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Well I guess it had to happen to one film and for most territories around the world it was Alvin And The Chipmunks: Road Chip that went up against the might of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. When you actually think about it it’s not such a bad strategic move considering that most little kids who will want to see Alvin and co will have very little interest in going to see a film about intergalactic warfare. That leaves the big questions being… is this the kind of movie that will entertain or put my children to sleep?

Anyone who has sat through all four Alvin & The Chipmunks movies will tell you that this has been a franchise that has been all over the shop when it comes to quality. The first film surprisingly had meaning taking a huge swipe at the music industry and the way it treats young artists, but from then (like most of the franchises) these days it seems to have had more lows than highs. That is where you might be pleasantly surprised by Alvin And The Chipmunks: Road Chip.

While the cast in front of the camera (and behind the microphone in some cases) haven’t changed this time around, the crew behind the scenes has. Known comedy director Walk Becker (who has previously brought us Van Wilder and Wild Hogs) steps up to the plate and is probably the reason behind a lot of the slapstick that surfaces this time around. Also new to the creative table are screenwriters who can boast films like Mrs Doubtfire and Due Date on their Resumes.

The new creative team behind the film takes this movie in a completely different direction to the last two films. Here the franchise once again finds its heart as the film explores the delicate subject of siblings being brought together as parents remarry etc. Surprisingly the film actually does that quite well, and while Miles is originally set-up as a brat you are supposed to hate the screenwriters do actually take his character on a journey that allows the audience to see how he ended up the way he did. It’s surprisingly moving.

Of course as you would expect from a movie aimed at the younger demographic there is also a lot of scenes that adults are going to find ‘silly.’ The battle scenes with Agent Suggs (Tony Hale) are over the top and too slapsticky for adults to really enjoy but you can guarantee younger kids will be in hysterics over them. Likewise the Red Foo scenes which are nauseating for anybody that has taste in music, but luckily the latter music scenes depicting the Chipmunks doing everything from playing in a redneck bar to rocking out with a brass band in New Orleans are a lot better.

As is normally the case with this franchise the actors are really overshadowed by the CGI chipmunks. Jason Lee seems to be cruise control, as is Kimberly Williams-Paisley. Tony Hale overacts constantly throughout the film, something that it is obvious he was asked to do by the creative team and for the most past it works. The biggest surprise though is the acting performance of Josh Green. The young inexperienced actor really shows that he may be an actor to watch in the future and he masterfully takes his character on a journey throughout this film. He manages to switch from comedy to moving emotionally scenes at a whim and he is one of the few actors who isn’t over-shadowed by his furry, cute co-stars.

Alvin And The Chipmunks: Road Chip has enough crazy scenes and music sequences to keep younger kids happy while the older generations will warm to the more heartfelt moments throughout the film. Yes this film isn’t the car crash many expected it would be.
Stars(3)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Alvin And The Chipmunks: Road Chip reviews: You can listen to our full Alvin And The Chipmunks: Road Chip  on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #158. You can also read our full Alvin And The Chipmunks: Road Chip review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer: