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
The 2013 SAG Awards nominations are now in. Here they are:
Outstanding Performance By A Male Actor In A Leading Role
Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave)
Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips)
Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
Forest Whitaker (Lee Daniels’ The Butler)
Outstanding Performance By A Female Actor In A Leading Role
Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
Judi Dench (Philomena)
Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)
Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks)
Outstanding Performance By A Male Actor In A Supporting Role
Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)
Daniel Bruhl (Rush)
Michael Fassbender (12 Years A Slave)
James Gandolfini (Enough Said)
Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
Outstanding Performance By A Female Actor In A Supporting Role
Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years A Slave)
Julia Roberts (August: Osange County)
June Squibb (Nebraska)
Oprah Winfrey (Lee Daniels’ The Butler)
Outstanding Performance By A Cast In A Motion Picture
12 Years A Slave – Bendict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Garrett Dillahunt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Paul Giamatti, Scoot McNairy, Lupita Nyong’o, Adepero Oduye, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt, Michael Kenneth Williams, Alfre Woodward
American Hustle – Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Louis C.K., Bradley Cooper, Paul Herman, Jack Huston, Jennifer Lawrence, Alessandro Nivola, Michael Pena, Jeremy Renner, Elisabeth Rohm, Shea Whigham
August: Osange County – Abigail Breslin, Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale, Ewan McGregor, Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Nicholson, Julia Roberts, Sam Shepard, Meryl Streep, Misty Upham
Dallas Buyers Club – Jennifer Garner, Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Denis O’Hare, Dallas Roberts, Steve Zahn
Lee Daniels’ The Butler – Mariah Carey, John Cusack, Jane Fonda, Cuba Gooding Jnr., Terrence Howard, Lenny Kravitz, James Marsden, David Oyelowo, Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Redgrave, Alan Rickman, Liev Schreiber, Forest Whitaker, Robin Williams, Oprah Winfrey
Outstanding Performance By A Male Actor In A Television Movie or Mini-Series
Matt Damon (Behind The Candelabra)
Michael Douglas (Behind The Candelabra)
Jeremy Irons (The Hollow Crown)
Rob Lowe (Killing Kennedy)
Al Pacino (Phil Spector)
Outstanding Performance By A Female Actor In A Television Movie or Mini-Series
Angela Bassett (Betty & Coretta)
Helena Bonham Carter (Burton And Taylor)
Holly Hunter (Top Of The Lake)
Helen Mirren (Phil Spector)
Elisabeth Moss (Top Of The Lake)
Outstanding Performance By A Male Actor In A Drama Series
Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire)
Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom)
Peter Dinklage (Game Of Thrones)
Kevin Spacey (House of Cards)
Outstanding Performance By A Female Actor In A Drama Series
Claire Danes (Homeland)
Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad)
Jessica Lange (American Horror Story: Coven)
Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey)
Kerrry Washington (Scandal)
Outstanding Performance By A Male Actor In A Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)
Jason Bateman (Arrested Development)
Ty Burrell (Modern Family)
Don Cheadle (House Of Lies)
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
Outstanding Performance By A Female Actor In A Comedy Series
Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory)
Julie Bowen (Modern Family)
Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie)
Tina Fey (30 Rock)
Julia-Louis Dreyfus (Veep)
Outstanding Performance By An Ensemble In A Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire – Patricia Arquette, Margot Bignham, Steve Buscemi, Brian Geraghty, Stephen Graham, Erik La Ray Harvey, Jack Huston, Ron Livingstone, Domenick Lombardozzi, Gretchen Mol, Ben Rosenfield, Michael Stuhlbarg, Jacob Ware, Shea Whigham, Michael Kenneth Williams, Jeffrey Wright
Breaking Bad – Michael Bowen, Betsy Brandt, Bryan Cranston, Lavell Crawford, Tait Fletcher, Laura Fraser, Anna Gunn, Matthew T. Metzler, RJ Mitte, Dean Norris, Bob Odenkirk, Aaron Paul, Jesse Plemons, Steven Michael Quezada, Kevin Rankin, Patrick Sane
Downton Abbey – Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Michelle Dockery, Kevin Doyle, Jessica Brown Findlay, Siobhan Finneran, Joanne Froggatt, Rob James-Collier, Allen Leach, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern, Sophie McShera, Matt Milne, Lesley Nicol, Amy Nuttall, David Robb, Maggie Smith, Ed Speleers, Dan Stevens, Cara Theobold, Penelope Wilton
Game Of Thrones – Alfie Allen, John Bradley, Oona Chaplin, Gwendoline Christie, Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Mackenzie Crook, Charles Dance, Joe Dempsie, Peter Dinklage, Natalie Dormer, Nathalie Emmanuel, Michelle Fairley, Jack Gleeson, Iain Glenn, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Kristofer Hivju, Paul Kaye, Sibel Kekilli, Rose Leslie, Richard Madden, Rory McCann, Michael McElhatton, Ian McElhinney, Philip McGinley, Hannah Murray, Iwan Rehon, Sophie Turner, Carice Van Houten, Maisie Williams
Homeland – F. Murray Abraham, Sarita Choudhury, Claire Danes, Rupert Friend, Tracy Letts, Damian Lewis, Mandy Patinkin, Morgan Saylor
Outstanding Performance By An Ensemble In A Comedy Series
30Rock – Scott Adsit, Alec Baldwin, Katrina Bowden, Kevin Brown, Grizz Chapman, Tina Fey, Judah Friedlander, Jane Krakowski, John Lutz, James Marsden, Jack McBrayer, Tracey Morgan, Keith Powell
Arrested Development – Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, John Beard, Michael Cera, David Cross, Portia De Rossi, Isla Fisher, Tony Hale, Ron Howard, Liza Minnelli, Alia Shawkat, Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter, Henry Winkler
The Big Bang Theory – Mayim Bialik, Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Jim Parsons, Melissa Rauch
Modern Family – Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Aubrey Anderson Emmons, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Nolan Gould, Sarah Hyland, Ed O’Neill, Rico Rodriguez, Eric Stonestreet, Sofia Vergara, Ariel Winter
Veep – Sufe Bradshaw, Anna Chlumsky, Gary Cole, Kevin Dunn, Tony Hale, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Reid Scott, Timothy Simons, Matt Walsh
STUNT ENSEMBLE HONORS
Outstanding Action Performance By A Stunt Ensemble In A Motion Picture
All Is Lost
Fast & Furious 6
Outstanding Action Performance By A Stunt Ensemble In A Comedy or Drama Series
Summary: Nick Frost and Simon Pegg star as two science-fiction freaks who, while on a quest to discover what lies at the heart of Nevada’s infamous Area 51, cross paths with an alien (voice of Seth Rogen) on the run from earthly authorities.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 14th April, 2011
Australian DVD Release Date: 17th August, 2011
Director: Greg Mottola
Screenwriter: Nick Frost, Simon Pegg
Cast: Nelson Ascencio (Jorge), Jason Bateman (Agent Zoil), Blythe Danner (Tara Walton), Nick Frost (Clive Gollings), Bill Hader (Haggard), Brett Michael Jones (Keith Nash), David Koecher (Gus), Paula LaBaredas (Princess Leia), Jane Lynch (Pat Stevens), John Carroll Lynch (Moses Buggs), Simon Pegg (Graeme Willy), Jesse Plemons (Jake), Phoebe Price (Princess Lea), Seth Rogen (Paul (voice)), Steven Spielberg (himself (voice)), Mia Stalland (Young Tara), Jeffrey Tambor (Adam Shadowchild), Joe Lo Truglio (O’Reilly), Sigourney Weaver (The Big Guy), Kristen Wiig (Ruth Buggs)
Runtime: 104 mins
OUR REVIEWS/RATINGS OF ‘PAUL’:
Dave Griffiths’s ‘Paul’ Review: Move over Ricky Gervais, the true Kings of Comedy want their throne back. While Paul isn’t as good as Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, it once again shows that when it comes to comedy nobody really knows the game like Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. While it isn’t as good as their previous efforts, it is still a million times better than a lot of the films served up in cinemas these days.
Paul tells the story of English comic book nerds Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Nick Frost) as they arrive in the U.S. to attend Comic Con and to also take a journey through the Extraterrestrial Heartland of America. However, their journey doesn’t go as planned when they run into Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen), an alien who is desperately trying to get back to his home planet. Just to add to their concerns, they soon find themselves being chased by the authorities, led on the ground by Agent Zoil (Jason Bateman) and then running into religious nut, Ruth Buggs (Kristen Wiig).
Greg Mottola really does earn his keep as director of Paul. While many may say that the director, who has brought movies such as Superbad and Adventureland to the world, is in his element directing a comedy, you really do need to sit back and take a look at what Nick Frost and Simon Pegg’s script called for him to do.
It called him to direct a comedy with some science fiction and action sequences thrown in for good measure that also has a dramatic storyline at the centre. That and he has to direct Paul, a CGI character that for obvious reasons was never on set to take his place in scenes. Luckily Mottola was up to the task, and what you are left with is a film that seamlessly welds nearly all of the film genres together. Frost and Pegg also need to be congratulated for the fact that they remembered that even though they were writing a comedy, the audience does in fact enjoy having some character development.
Aside from their script, Frost and Pegg also put in relatively good performances in the lead roles. As usual they are certainly on top of the comedic scenes, and to their credit, they also pull off the dramatic scenes surprisingly well. Gone are the days when a comedy actor can just rely on being funny to be great in a role.
Honorable mention must also be made of Kristen Wiig who steals many a scene with an amazingly hilarious portrayal of Ruth, while Jason Bateman also does a fine effort playing Agent Zoil. It really is a pity we don’t get to see him in more films.
If you loved Fanboys, you’ll love Paul. It is a terrific comedy that is a must see for all of the fanboys out there!
Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):
Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Paul′: This review was first published in Buzz Magazine.
Sometimes when you are successful you unintentionally set yourself up for a fall. That is certainly the case for Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, when you are the creative minds behind brilliant films like Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz people expect something amazing every time you put pen to paper. Paul is nowhere near as good as the previously mentioned films, but having said that it is still ten times better than most of the films around today.
Paul tells the story of English comic book nerds, Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg – The Chronicle Of Narnia – The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader, Burke And Hare) and Clive Gollings (Nick Frost – TV’S Money, The Boat That Rocked) as they arrive in the U.S. to attend Comic Con and to also take a journey through the ‘Extraterrestrial Heartland Of America’. However their journey doesn’t go as planned when they run into Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen – Fight For Your Right Revisited, The Green Hornet), an alien who is desperately trying to get back to his home planet. Just to add to their concerns they soon find themselves being chased by the authorities, led on the ground by Agent Zoil (Jason Bateman – The Switch, TV’S Sit Down Shut Up) and then running into religious nut, Ruth Buggs (Kristen Wiig – TV’S Saturday Night Live, Funny Or Die Presents…).
Greg Mottola (Adventureland, Superbad) was the right choose as a director for Paul. Using Frost and Pegg’s script as a guidance he does a wonderful job mixing outrageous comedy while not forgetting that there is also a dramatic storyline also going on. Poor Mottola certainly gets his directional skills tested as he practically has to weld all genres together (apart from drama and comedy there is also sci-fi and action to throw into the mix) seamlessly, as well as direct, Paul… a character that is never present on the set. Luckily, he is up to the task and what you are left with is a film that a pure joy to watch.
Once again Nick Frost and Simon Pegg show why they are the two best comedic actors going around at the moment. Their comedy scenes are impeccable while much to their credit they can also pull-off dramatic scenes with ease. Credit must also be paid to Jason Bateman who is excellent as the deliberately rubbery Agent Zoil and Kristen Wiig who steals the show on a number of occasions with her over-the-top portrayal of Ruth.
Paul is a terrific comedy that is a must see for comic book fans out there. It is the best fanboy comedy since… well Fanboys.