Summary: In a world where supervillains are commonplace, two estranged childhood best friends reunite after one devises a treatment that gives them powers to protect their city.
Cinema Release Dates: NA
VOD Release Dates: 9th April 2021 (Australia), 9th April 2021 (Thailand), 9th April 2021 (UK), 9th April 2021 (USA)
Director: Ben Falcone
Screenwriter: Ben Falcone
Cast: Marc Alsfeld (Marty), Sarah Baker (Sarah (Security Guard)), Jason Bateman (The Crab), Bobby Cannavale (The King), Shawn Ray Cartel (Officer Connors), Jackson Dippel (Young Wayne), Kevin Dunn (Frank), Ben Falcone (Kenny), Georgette Falcone (Evelyn), Vivian Falcone (Young Lydia), Isaac Hughes (Tony (Boxing Instructor)), Brendan Jennings (Clyde), Mia Kaplan (Teen Lydia), Pom Klementieff (Laser), Trevor Larcom (Young Clyde), Melissa Leo (Allie), Tai Leshaun (Teen Emily), Marcella Lowery (Grandma Norma), Steve Mallory (Mr. Emerson), Melissa McCarthy (Lydia Berman), Taylor Mosby (Tracy), Melissa Ponzio (Rachel Gonzales), Bria Danielle Singleton (Young Emily), Octavia Spencer (Emily Stanton), David Storrs (Andrew – Robber 2), Tyrel Jackson Williams (Jessie)
Running Time: 106 mins
Classification: M (Australia), 12 (UK), PG-13 (USA)
OUR THUNDER FORCE REVIEWS
David Griffiths’ Thunder Force Review:
With cinemas currently closed in Phuket luckily film fans can turn to streaming services for some entertainment. Once again worldwide we have seen Netflix get the jump on cinema chains due to the pandemic and they are proudly showing the brand new Melissa McCarthy (Brides Maids) film Thunder Force.
Written and directed by McCarthy’s real-life husband Ben Falcone (Superintelligence) Thunder Force sees her play Lydia – a dock worker who has always regretted the argument that ended her friendship with her former friend in high school Emily Stanton (Octavia Spencer – The Help). The fight itself was over Emily never wanting to have fun – instead she wanted to spend all her time studying so that she could one day develop a way to destroy the mutants that plague society and killed her parents.
In the present day Emily is now the owner of one of the biggest scientific firms in the world and the world is still plagued by these mutants which include the deadly Laser (Pom Klementieff – Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2) and the just plain strange The Crab (Jason Bateman – Juno). Determined to make things right between them again Lydia reaches out to Emily on the night of their High School reunion and the disastrous result sees the pair become super-heroes.
Now the world finally has a duo that can stand up to the mutants but that also suddenly sees the new-found heroes thrust into the middle of a political election that sees the larger than life celebrity know as The King (Bobby Cannavale – Superintelligence) take on the mild-mannered and serious Rachel Gonzalez (Melissa Ponzio – The Walking Dead).
For fans of super-hero movies there was no way that Thunder Force was ever going to stack up against anything that Marvel or DC could ever deliver but for fans of comedy – well you might be in for a little bit of a surprising treat.
To Ben Falcone’s credit he doesn’t try to make Thunder Force anything it isn’t. From the get go he would have wanted this film to be mentioned alongside films like Galaxy Quest. While Thunder Force is not exactly a parody of a Marvel film it is the next best thing. It is loud and it is dumb, but at the end day it does what it is designed to do – and that is makes its audience laugh.
The key to whether or not you not you enjoy this film all comes down whether or not you normally like the comedy styling of Melissa McCarthy. McCarthy doesn’t do anything different here to what she has been doing for the last decade in cinema. Once again she plays a character who sees herself as a ‘loser’. There are jokes about her looks, joke about her weight, lots of slap-stick comedy and once again her character has to do things she never ever thought she was capable of. Yep, if you’ve seen a majority of McCarthy’s films you’ll know exactly what to expect. But hey, if what she does works, why should she change it?
Aside from McCarthy the rest of the actors and actresses here also seem to have a hell of a lot of fun. Bobby Cannavale seems to be his element playing an over-the-top rogue while Octavia Spencer seems to relish one of the lighter roles of her career. Then there is Jason Bateman who once again re-creates the comedy magic that he had with McCarthy in Identity Thief.
Thunder Force is your typical Melissa McCarthy shtick. You are either going to watch it and laugh along or you’ll be wondering why on earth everybody around is laughing at a film that you find unfunny.
Summary:A group of friends who meet regularly for game nights find themselves entangled in a real-life mystery.
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
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):
Other Subculture Entertainment Game Night Reviews: N/A
Over the past few years, we’ve seen the traditional family comedies, films like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, replaced with films that have been aimed at a more adult market. The first to be released in Australia this holiday season has been Office Christmas Partyfrom comedy directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck. Together the pair has been able to put together a fantastic ensemble cast consisting of some of the biggest comedy stars of the last few years and it doesn’t take talking to Jason BatemanandJennifer Aniston very long to see that they enjoyed every minute of making the film.
No stranger to comedy Bateman, who has been in films such as Horrible Bosses and Identity Thief,and Bateman admits that it was who he knew in the comedy world that got him the plum role of playing lovable loser Josh in the film. “Will and Josh and I are very close,” he explains. “We’ve done a film together and we’ve been friends since then so I think that there wasn’t really a big mystery to them of what it is that I do or what I would bring to this so I think that because they had been with the project for so long that they knew exactly what they would be getting with me and if they wanted that or not, so when they asked me to do it they figured ‘oh he will do this thing and that’s what we want so let’s get him to do that.”
Of course, the other person who wasn’t a stranger to Bateman on set was Jennifer Aniston who has now appeared in a number of films including two Horrible Bosses films, and Bateman says that was an advantage when it came to Office Christmas Party. “Jennifer and I have known each other for twenty years now… maybe more. We’re very close, and this is like any profession if you get to work with your friends that is something that you look to do and I hope this certainly isn’t the last time we work together. I think it is five, or maybe fourth or sixth movies that we have done together and hopefully, we are only halfway done.”
When asked about the premise of Office Christmas PartyBateman laughs at how simple it is. “Will and Josh have worked on this project for so long, and they have such a clear idea what they want to bring to the audience with it, right there in the title there’s a promise of an ensemble… Office Christmas Party… it’s basically all you need to know. There’s a Christmas Party happening in an office which implies a number of people and because it is an R-Rated comedy things are going to go sideways pretty quick, and you hope that there is funny people driving that car off the road and that literally happens in this movie. It’s a great group, and my character is Josh and he’s not too dissimilar to characters that I have played in the past. There is a necessary element in every comedy where you need something that blends into an obscure world, so something like a ‘us’ – the normal guy, the every guy, the straight man, the protagonist and that is kind of Josh in this movie. He is somebody that is trying to keep the office running at a good clip, being productive and that everything stays professional. If you don’t have that kind of element then you have Martians on Mars, and there isn’t really anything that special about that, it’s only weird when they come down to Earth. So my character Josh and of course Tracy and Claire are faced with the fact that their branch is going to be shut down or severely downsized by Jennifer Aniston’s character who happens to be the sister of T.J. And so in an attempt to keep the branch open they reach for an account that could save them. They try to close this big account, so in order to court that CEO, this guy Walter Davis, they throw a Christmas Party and invite him to it in a bid to impress him with the way they party, but they try a little bit too hard and things go wrong… it leaves the office after awhile, and we hit the streets of Chicago at night, and things escalate for sure.”
With Jennifer Aniston’s character, Carol, very much being the villain in this piece she admits she had to put a lot of thought into how Carol would relate to many of the other characters in the film. “With Carol and Clay, I had a pretty good idea of who I thought they would be. I thought they would be a grown up Jeanie and Ferris Bueller kind of relationship… that kind of relationship grown up and there’s still that resentment there, but now they are in the professional world but that kind of sibling rivalry still comes out in bad ways and unexpected moments and I thought that would be fun. And she’s not a terrible person she just hasn’t been given anything on an emotional level, so all that she has really trained inside herself is that ‘well I’m going to prove myself, I’m going to the best, and I’m going to be the strongest. So sadly she has never really developed that soft, fuzzy side. Carol is pretty much the Grinch that wants to steal Christmas away from all of these hard working employees who aren’t doing as good of a job as they should be doing and I know that and I’m actually right, but I just don’t go about it the right way and I’m also paying back a childhood vendetta that I have had.”
Like Bateman Aniston also admits that there is a big plus side to working with people that you know. “Will Speck and I and Josh have known each other since The Switch and we became such good friends, and then, of course, Jason and I are like family. There’s definitely a shorthand and a trust that we have with each other. It almost doesn’t feel like work. I joke that with Jason that this is our fifth film together… I think that it is the fifth… and that is really great. Again there becomes this trust with each other, and you know what you are in for and you know that you can go to a place and trust that your partner is going to believe in you, so you feel really lucky. I’m so lucky that they are still allowing this to happen to Hollywood.”
As cinema goers, we should also consider ourselves lucky that Hollywood allows Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston to keep working together as well because the result is a film that is as fun as Office Christmas Party.
This week on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Dave, Greg and Nick take a look at new release films ‘Mahana,’ ‘Office Christmas Party,’ and ‘The Menkoff Method’. This episode also contains an interview with Olivia Munn, Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, Lee Tamahori, Sam Bodhi Field (Candidate Games), Stephanie Skinner (Half), Saara Lamberg (Innuendo), Charly Harrison (Innuendo) and Addison Heath (Mondo Yakuza).
You can listen to The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show or download it for free from our Podcast Channel – Listen/Download here.
This week on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Dave, Greg and Nick take a look at new release films ‘Zootopia,’ ‘Miracles From Heaven,’ ‘London Has Fallen,’ and ‘The Witch’.This episode also contains interviews with Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Jennifer Garner, Kylie Roberts, Gerard Butler, Mathieu Ravier (Young At Heart Film Festival) and Mike Hill (Take Heart).
This week on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Adam, Dave Greg and Nick take a look at new release films ‘The Wolf Pack,’ ‘StalkHer,’ ‘Holding The Man,‘‘Ricki And The Flash,’ ‘The Gift,’ and ‘She’s Funny That Way.’ This episode also contains interviews with Crystal Moselle, Meryl Streep, Mamie Gummer, Joel Edgerton, Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Jennifer Aniston, Imogen Poots, Kri Stenders (Kill Me Three Times), Neil Armfield (Holding The Man) and Keith Arem (The Phoenix Incident).
Also make sure you listen this week to see how you can win a copy of The Woman In Black 2: Angel Of Death on DVD thanks to our friends at e-One Entertainment.