Anniversary Celebration 5: My Fave Five New Movies I Watched in Year 5

Hello, friends!

Welcome to the final item of my annual blogiversary celebration: my five favorite new films I have watched this year. But first, if you missed any of the reviews from this week, here is what you might have missed:

The Game, recommended by Ashley
King of Thorn, recommended by SG
United 93, recommended by Rob
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, recommended by Curt
The Wind That Shakes the Barley, recommended by Kira
The Raid: Redemption, recommended by Kim

Before I go into this list, I want to give a HUGE thank you to my blogger friends who gave me recommendations for this momentous event. These last few years have been fun and all of you have contributed to that, so I appreciate you helping me out in making this anniversary celebration stand out from the last four. Finally, to close out this celebration, here are my five favorite films I watched during my fifth year of blogging:

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle movie poster5) Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Robin William’s Jumanji is one of my favorite movies from the 90s.  When I first heard they were doing a sequel, I was unsure what to think. On the one hand, Hollywood has been making sequels to ride on nostalgia factor, mostly to mediocre or worse success. But I didn’t want to judge before I saw it, especially after seeing the cast. I’m glad I didn’t write Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle off as a simple cash-grab because this was one fantastic film. All four cast members brought different kinds of humor that made for all kinds of laughs. Jack Black acting as a teenage girl was especially fantastic and something I didn’t know I needed in my life. I was in stitches throughout the entire film.

Black Panther movie poster4) Black Panther

There is no doubt that Marvel Studios is a powerhouse. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is an unprecedented cinematic accomplishment. At 18 movies in, they finally made a movie that many are pushing to be nominated for best picture at the academy awards. Whether or not Black Panther will receive that honor still remains to be seen. However, what is already clear is that this movie is amazing. T’Challa is a well developed character with an equally developed and compelling villain in Erik ‘Killmonger.’ Killmonger finally seemed to have broken Marvel’s shallow villain problem and that alone is note worthy.

Game Night movie poster3) Game Night

One of my favorite movie genres, if not my favorite, is comedy. And when it comes to comedy, I have a pretty low bar; if I laugh, chances are I’ll like the movie, whether it’s slapstick like Airplane! or more subtle humor like Cannonball Run. These days, comedies tend to go more lowbrow humor so a comedy that is clever is bound to get noticed. That’s where Game Night comes in. Game Night takes a simple premise, like a friend’s regular get together, and turns the crazy up to eleven. Best yet, it does so without becoming juvenile or distasteful. Every couple has their own dynamic, creating all sorts of laughs. Weird neighbor Gary, played flawlessly by Jesse Plemons, almost single-handedly steals the show. Comedies are great but one like Game Night that manages to be unique in the saturated genre is sure to be remembered.

Ready Player One movie poster2) Ready Player One

Ready Player One combines two of my favorite things: Steven Spielberg movies and video games. For as long I can remember I’ve had a controller in my hand. There’s something special about where games can take you. This movie understands what it truly means to be a gamer and playing for enjoyment and to bond with others. That spoke to me on a personal level. Outside of that, the animation from inside the Oasis was amazing and the story was interesting, especially when it highlighted the point above. Spielberg has a fantastic eye for fantasy and science-fiction and there could not have been a better director. All-in-all, Ready Player One simply had all the right pieces.

Avengers: Infinity War movie poster1) Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War is to the entire MCU up to this point what The Avengers was to Phase One. It was a culmination of all the movie that had come before. The Avengers only had five movies worth of characters to worry about but Infinity War had the monumental task of capping 18 movies! And like the first Avengers movie, this year’s was up to the task. It balanced all the characters well and balanced the serious moments with the signature Marvel humor better than most MCU movies before it. Thanos, this movie’s villain, quickly became Marvel’s best villain to date, even greater than Killmonger mentioned before. Even though it is titled “Avengers,” an argument can be made that this is Thanos’ movie and the Avengers are the antagonists. It’s a wonderful flip of hero/villain dichotomy but was a brilliant move by Marvel Studios. Once again, they demonstrated why they are the king of the box office.


Turns out I didn’t watch nearly as many new films over the course of the last blogging year as I thought I did. In any case, I want to thank you all again for you patience as I went on a review hiatus and took an extra three months to get this celebration together. You all are simply the best. Another thank you for following, reading, liking, and commenting. It’s always great to see you stop by and I can never get enough of it. 😀 Onward to year 6!

Until next time, cheers!

Game Night Review

Game Night movie posterSynopsis
Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) host a weekly game night with their friends. When Max’s brother (Kyle Chandler) offers to host game night, the group finds themselves solving a murder mystery like they never expected.

Review
When I first saw the trailer for Game Night and saw it starred Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, and Lamorne Morris (aka New Girl’s Winston (aka my favorite character)), and the ridiculous premise, I was sold. I like comedies and I like movies that take a regular event, like a weekly, friendly gathering to play board games, and turns it on its head. And I have to say, I was not disappointed.

Sometimes in films with larger casts, some characters might be eclipsed or feel unnecessary. However, in this movie, no one character ever really outshined another. Every character felt unique, bringing something different to the film both in terms of comedy and character arc. In comedies, characters can feel the same. Again, not here. Big props to the casting director who brought this group of actors and actresses together. Everyone worked well together as couples and as a large group. It reminds me a little of Ocean’s Eleven where the cast just works so well together and has great on-screen chemistry, elevating the movie further than the script could alone.

Speaking of the script, the script was tighter than it is in most comedies. It was funny when it needed to be, focused on the action when it was supposed to, and let the character moments take front and center when necessary. It balanced all aspects of the film, never feeling rushed nor drawn out. To go with what I said above, every character had their place, each couple had their own arc besides the main story arc, and at running at just above an hour and a half, they all felt complete.

As great as the script was, the cast was even better. I’m a big fan of Jason Bateman and and even bigger fan of Rachel McAdams. The two of them are absolute magic together. Not surprising, Lamorne Morris was one of my favorites in the film. He brings the same sense of humor that makes his character of Winston in New Girl so lovable. Besides them, I didn’t know much of the rest of the cast going into the movie but I thought they all were great. Billy Magnussen as the not-quite-as-smart one in the group might have been my favorite of those I was less familiar with.

I thought Game Night was GREAT 😀 From the very beginning, this film had me laughing and it never stopped. Every character had their place in the story and the entire cast worked great together, in their pairs and in the overall group. And the tight script only elevates the great cast. It may be early in the year but I foresee this being one of my favorite comedies of 2018.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
John Francis Daley – Director
Jonathan Goldstein – Director
Mark Perez – Writer
Cliff Martinez – Composer

Jason Bateman – Max
Rachel McAdams – Annie
Kyle Chandler – Brooks
Sharon Horgan – Sarah
Billy Magnussen – Ryan
Lamorne Morris – Kevin
Kylie Bunbury – Michelle
Jesse Plemons – Gary
Michael C. Hall – The Bulgarian
Danny Huston – Donald Anderton
Chelsea Peretti – Glenda
Camille Chen – Dr. Chin
Zerrick Williams – Val
RF Daley – Tats
John Francis Daley – Carter
Michael Cyril Creighton – Bill
Brooke Jaye Taylor – Linda
Jonathan Goldstein – Dan

Trailer Round-Up – 2/5/18

Unsane

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Hereditary

Game Night

Disobedience

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom trailer #2

Mission Impossible: Fallout

Skyscraper

Solo: A Star Wars Story teaser trailer


Which of these films are you excited to see?