This week definitely was not as strong of a film week as last week was. I did however manage to get four films in. I will only be reviewing three on this blog post though, as I have already published my review of Ready Player One. Despite that, I have a lot to say about my two new watches (as well as comment on my repeat viewing) so lets jump into things.
Game Night is an action comedy starring Jason Bateman (Max) and Rachel McAdams (Annie) as a couple who host game nights regularly for their friends. Suddenly, Max’s brother comes in and tries to raise the stakes of the game by hosting a real life Cluedo, where someone has been captured and it is up to the players to find the body and win the game.
I have been excited about this film for a while. Me and my boyfriend are huge board game nerds (who doesn’t love a feisty game of Monopoly?!) so this premise and hook was right up my street. Alongside the trailer for the new film Tag (which looks promising so far), Warner Bros could have a strong franchise on their hands.
I say that, and a lot of people really do enjoy Game Night, but this is the biggest disappointment of 2018 for me so far. The trailer looked so good, but that is because all of the best jokes were featured in them. The humour seems to be dumbed down to sex and violence, and I found this to be immature and poorly written.
It wasn’t just the jokes that were poorly written. I felt the entire film was messy in what the story wanted to say. The plot would go back and forth on who is the hero and who is the villain. What is real and what is fake. It would be a good thriller to watch if I cared about the “game” and the people who were playing it. Asides from Max and Annie, I did not like anyone in this film. They felt like filler characters that added unnecessary drama to the story.
If there is one really good takeaway from this film, it is the editing and cinematography. I particularly loved the small sequences where the camera would pan over the top of the houses and streets, as if they were on a board game. This element could have even gone further, and it would have made the film feel very different.
Don’t write this film off purely because I didn’t enjoy it that much. I know people that loved it, and it has been getting great reviews since its release. Unfortunately for me though, this was a major disappointment and it leaves me worried for Warner Bros and Tag.
The Shallows is a horror film starring Blake Lively (Nancy Adams) as a surfer who goes out to explore the area that her mother used to visit. Whilst out in the shallows, a great white shark surrounds her and traps her on a buoy and from there it is a battle for survival.
This is a minimalistic film, but it really works for this set-up. For a running time of 80 minutes, this film gives you one main plot and keeps your attention straight on it. There are also very few characters in this film, with Lively getting most to all of the screen time. A minimalistic approach works brilliantly for horror as it leaves you waiting for more and anticipating a bang.
Lively is still a fantastic actress and gives a remarkable performance in this film. I am a huge fan of her in Gossip Girl, and her real life persona and family life is one to be in awe of, so to already have a likeable impression of her going into this film is an added bonus. She is dramatic, fearless and a strong lead in a tough situation and that is admirable for a horror film.
This does feel very small though. There is little at stake here, besides from Nancy’s life, so the drama is very small. It does work, but it also feels lack-lustered and unimportant. I wish that we got more development of certain characters, especially Nancy’s family. It is briefly touched on at the start and end of the film, but then it just feels a little disconnected from thereon.
If you are needing a simple little film to watch, this would be a good pick. It doesn’t require much thought or brain power, but it is a charming horror film that stays true to the genre and has some genuine scares within.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (repeat)
A lot of people consider this film the best in the Harry Potter franchise. Whilst I may not agree (Goblet of Fire is my particular favourite), it is still a truly brilliant entry to the franchise that is easily my second favourite. No wonder either, given that Cuaron was the director of this entry.
This is when the film starts to get a little darker. With Dementors and death arriving, as well as the mystery of Voldemort unravelling, lives are finally at stake as Hogwarts becomes more practice than light theory. I definitely recommend this film in the franchise, as it is a shorter entry but has a lot of vital moments and subjects that continue on throughout the rest of the series.
This week was a mixed bag of genres, stories and ways of watching films. I like that though. I like watching all types of genre and appreciating all legal ways of watching films. Whether it is a comedy on the big screen or a repeat viewing of one of my favourite franchises straight on DVD, as long as I am watching a film the entertainment will still be there.
Until Sunday, that was some film for thought.