Jojo Rabbit: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #56

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews! As a heads up, this review will contain some adult themes and spoilers for Jojo Rabbit. I highly recommend this film as it certainly surprised me (in a good way) and may be one of my favourite films of all time.

Directed by and starring  Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok and Hunt for the Wilderpeople), and also starring Roman Griffith Davis, Thomasin McKenzie and Scarlett Johannson, Jojo Rabbit takes place in World War 2 and follows Jojo Betzler, a young Nazi living with his mother. Jojo discovers that his mother is hiding a young Jewish girl in the walls and turns to his imaginary best friend, Adolf Hitler, for advice.

Roman Griffith Davis played Jojo Beltzer and gave a brilliant performance. For a 12-year-old actor just starting off his career, he was able to display a wide range of emotions that allowed us to connect with Jojo’s character. The lead in most movies is usually able to do connect with audiences, but what’s remarkable about this in Jojo Rabbit is that this is all from a young actor. Griffith Davis has been nominated for a number of awards (including the Golden Globes and the Critic’s Choice) and after watching the film, it’s obvious to see why. Thomasin McKenzie played Elsa, a Jewish teenager who Jojo’s mother is hiding in the walls. McKenzie was perfectly selected to play Elsa and, for a young actress, delivered a strong and compelling representation of the Jewish experience in hiding in Nazi Germany. Taika Waititi took on the task of playing Adolf Hitler, or more accurately, Jojo’s image of Hitler. It’s important to remember that the film is from the perspective of a brainwashed 10-year-old Nazi, and Hitler in Jojo’s mind is someone he admires (Hitler is Jojo’s imaginary best friend after all).  Waititi wrote, directed and starred in Jojo Rabbit and took on the tough role of playing Hitler and for me, his portrayal was fantastic. He was witty and played the character in a different and memorable way. Jojo’s mother, Rosie Beltzer, was played by Scarlett Johansson. For me, Johannson wasn’t the most obvious choice to play Rosie but she was surprisingly well suited to the role. I would’ve liked to have seen more of her, but for the time she was on-screen, there was a strong and sweet relationship built up between Rosie and Jojo, despite the relationship build-up being a little rushed in my eyes. The dramatic reveal of Jojo coming across his mother’s hanging body by bumping into her shoes was so perfectly and subtlety built up and it’s all down to Waititi’s direction throughout the film. The build-up to this moment is sneakily intertwined with the film, first showing Jojo being unable to tie his shoes and the close-up shots of Rosie’s shoes, then Rosie talking to Jojo about butterflies in the stomach. This emotional climax of the film was unexpected, perfectly orchestrated and brought tears to my eyes in the cinema. It’s also worth mentioning one of the side characters who helped to make the film better; Captain Klenzendorf. Sam Rockwell played Captain K, and I loved the zaniness of his character, as well as his redemption at the end of the film. Together, the character chemistry was brought to life on screen wonderfully, particularly with the development of relationships throughout the film. One notable character relationship development that I thought was worth mentioning is the friendship between Jojo and Adolf. It starts off strong but as the film goes on, the relationship deteriorates to the point where Jojo tells Hitler to “f**k off” and kicks him out a window, showing that Jojo has no relationship with him or the Nazis anymore. Again, this is from the perspective of a brainwashed 10-year-old and the way the whole film plays out because of this is something we rarely get to see and was fantastically  done.

MV5BOTk3MDA1NzIzMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzQ1NDk2NTM@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_

Jojo and Adolf question Rosie’s loyalty to the Third Reich.

The music composed by Michael Giacchino was well constructed as it allowed us to not only connect with the characters’ emotions but also with the time period that the film is set in. I quite liked the German renditions of pop songs, even though there were only two of them. Nonetheless, the final scene of Elsa and Jojo dancing in the streets upon hearing the war is over to the German rendition of ‘Heroes’ by David Bowie will go down in my mind as one of the most powerful and iconic movie endings of all time. My only complaint is that I found the music was sometimes used unnecessarily to accompany a scene.

The story is actually an adapted screenplay, based on the book ‘Caging Skies’ by Christine Leunens. It was brought to life with a hint of Waititi’s quirky filmmaking style which gave us an interesting story told in a whimsical way that made for a surprisingly enjoyable cinematic experience. It was a little fast-paced in some places, but this pacing was better suited to the film rather than a slower pace. A question some of you may be wondering is whether Jojo Rabbit deserved to win Best Adapted Picture at the Oscars, and even if it should have been nominated for Best Picture itself. If I haven’t made it obvious enough, yes to both those questions. When people look back at 2019 as a year in film, there will be so many legendary films mentioned. Joker, Parasite, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Avengers: Endgame to name a few. Now add Jojo Rabbit to that list. It had humour and heart and was able to turn one of history’s darkest times into a deep film about love, family and defeating the hatred of the world.

Overall, Jojo Rabbit gets an 8.5/10 from me. It came out as a surprisingly fantastic film, brought to life by an amazing cast and crew and teaching us all an important lesson throughout; no matter what happens, just keep going. No feeling is final. It’s one of those films that’s a hidden gem and I can’t wait to see what Taika Waititi goes on to do next.

Thanks for your patience in waiting for this review to come out. Now that I’ve had time to settle in my new life both at work and working from home what with the corona-crisis, I’ve been able to adapt to a new schedule. I hope that you are all keeping well during these difficult and challenging times.

Further to the above, I’m currently working my way through reviewing the movie event of last year. I’m of course talking about Avengers: Endgame and aim to have the review out on April 25th (though that does seem a little ambitious). Anyways, I’ll have a review for Avengers: Endgame out soon, so I’ll see you then!

 

Taxi Driver: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #53

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews! As a heads up, this review will contain some adult themes.

You may remember that earlier in the year in my review of Whiplash I said that I’d try to watch 52 of IMDb’s Top 250 movies that I hadn’t seen. Since then, I’ve watched some, like American Beauty and Prisoners, but haven’t fully tackled the list. I recently watched Taxi Driver, the 1976 classic from Martin Scorsese. I fell in love with the film, admiring it for being one of Scorsese’s earliest films in his career that was so beautifully made. I just had to review Taxi Driver, making it this week’s review.

Starring Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster and Cybil Shepherd and directed by Martin Scorsese is Taxi Driver. Travis Bickle is lonely, living in New York as an honourably discharged Marine. He takes a night job as a taxi driver but slips into insomnia, and his shift becomes a round the clock job. Travis eventually dreams of cleaning up the city by ridding of its filth. As Travis explores more of the city, he meets Betsy, an attractive political worker and becomes committed to saving the world by plotting to assassinate Charles Palantine, a presidential candidate, before attempting to rescue Iris, a 12-year-old prostitute and saving the day in his eyes.

If you search up Robert De Niro on IMDb or Google, you’ll see that Taxi Driver is one of his most notorious roles. After watching the film, it’s obvious to see why. De Niro’s role of Travis was something that he clearly immersed himself in, and he had such a strong character presence that it is widely considered to be a role that fully cemented De Niro as one of the greats, particularly as the film was released after De Niro’s Oscar success in 1974 for The Godfather Part II. Taxi Driver further demonstrates De Niro’s exceptional acting ability and his character development throughout the film allows the viewer to build a bond with Travis and stay hooked on what is an already brilliant film. Taxi Driver also stars 14-year-old Jodie Foster as Iris, a 12-year-old child prostitute. For such a young actress at the time, Foster’s performance was incredible as she was able to bring great range to Iris’ character. I would have liked to have seen more of Iris in the film, but that didn’t bother me too much. Cybil Shepherd plays Betsy, an attractive political worker who Travis becomes infatuated with. Admittedly, I didn’t like Betsy’s character too much, Shepherd was well cast as Betsy, but I felt she lacked a little something, that I can’t quite exactly put my finger on. Harvey Keitel played Matthew/”Sport”, a pimp who ran the prostitution service that Iris worked for. Matthew was an interesting character, and I liked how he was played by an actor as fantastic as Keitel, but I would’ve loved to have seen more of his character in the film.

The music from Bernard Herrmann was wonderfully orchestrated and suited the film’s tone well. The main theme for Taxi Driver was slightly overplayed in the film but it may be one of the greatest movie themes ever in my opinion. The theme is one of the most powerful themes in a movie as it has a dark undertone that is accompanied by the merrier, lighter side with the saxophone from Tom Scott. The deeper ‘dark’ undertones represent the scum Travis sees over New York while the lighter parts from the saxophone represent the better sides of society to Travis, like how he views Betsy.

maxresdefault

The infamous ‘You talking to me?’ scene.

The storyline and plot were quite unexpected and while the film was certainly ahead of its time, it did seem rather random for Travis to want to kill Palantine. However, after reflecting on the film, it makes sense as Travis could be jealous of Palantine, or have opposing political views to him. Additionally, Scorsese is notorious for ambiguous endings in his films, so this would just be part of his directorial trademark.

Now for my favourite moments. The opening with Herrmann’s brilliant main theme sets up an interesting premise, particularly with the use of darkness with only the use of traffic lights to illuminate faces and places creating an intriguing atmosphere about what the film could be about. I liked the scene with the passenger and a prostitute, with the passenger asking Travis to hurry up, and Travis having to clean blood and semen off his seats as this emphasises Travis’ want to clean up the scum around him and allows the viewer to sympathise with our protagonist. This is subtly supported by another scene which I enjoyed more over time, which is where Iris enters Travis’ cab, trying to escape Matthew. Matthew quickly intervenes and captures Iris before handing Travis a crumpled $20 bill, that acts as a reminder to Travis of the filth surrounding him. The training montage of Travis preparing to kill Palantine was something enjoyable and somewhat exciting to watch as it shows how prepared Travis is to do what he feels so strongly about in. In this montage is one of my favourite movie scenes of all time. The infamous ‘you talking to me’ scene. Here, De Niro shows off his phenomenal acting ability, delivering one of the most memorable monologues in movie history. The assassination attempt on Palantine was brilliantly done. We see a new side of Travis here with his mohawk and fully turned to his idea of cleaning up the filth. It was a great scene to watch and the twist of Travis being unable to carry out the assassination. The sequence of Travis going to rescue Iris was one of my favourite parts as it shows Travis still committed to cleaning the scum and saving the day. This brought out a violent side of the film which was great to see and was a good payoff for what the film was trying to show throughout. The ending was so awesome to watch as it was left somewhat open. We see Travis complete a taxi job for Betsy, driving away after giving her a free ride. He drives off and we see his eyes in the reflection of the rear-view mirror and Travis notices something that agitates him. The film ends here, leaving open to interpretation of what happens next. What was in the mirror? Is Travis about to get killed? Is Travis about to go on a rampage?

Taxi Driver is one of my favourite movies and gets an 8.5/10 from me. It had superb acting and a different story that was new and enjoyable to watch. Robert De Niro helps this film to shine and as a result, Travis Bickle earns a spot on my favourite characters list.

Thanks for reading this review. Join me in a few weeks time for the review of a movie about Hollywood in 1969, and I’ll also be reviewing a sitcom about a school soon too!  See you then!

Toy Story 4: Ryans Movie Reviews #52

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews! As a heads up, this review will contain spoilers for Toy Story 4.

Back in 1995, Pixar released their first feature film and the first-ever computer-animated feature film with Toy Story, which soon became one of the most iconic movies to date. 24 years later, and Pixar are back with their 21st film, expanding the Toy Story franchise with Toy Story 4.

Directed by Josh Cooley and with voices from Tom Hanks, Keanu Reeves, Key and Peele and Annie Potts comes Toy Story 4. Two years after Andy has given Bonnie his old toys, she is about to begin kindergarten and continues to play with all her toys, except Woody. On Kindergarten Orientation Day, Woody sneaks into her bag to accompany her, and she returns home with a new friend she literally made, Forky, who soon becomes Bonnie’s favourite toy. Bonnie and her family then embark on a road trip where midway through, Forky jumps out of a window because he doesn’t believe he is a toy. It’s down to Woody with the help of old friends, like Buzz and Bo Peep, and new friends, like Duke Caboom‚ and Ducky and Bunny to help reunite Bonnie with her favourite toy and save the day.

The way I judged the characters in Toy Story 4 was by the emotion conveyed by their voice actor and the relationship that the character had with others in the film. Woody is once again voiced by Tom Hanks who brings a lovable charm to the character. Hanks nailed the emotion within Woody’s voice, whether it be in the joy of finding Bo Peep again or the sadness in leaving his old friends behind to live with Bo Peep and her friends. Tim Allen is also back to voice Buzz Lightyear, who, like Hanks, did an excellent job in voicing his character. Though it wasn’t liked by some, I quite enjoyed the ‘inner voice’ aspect of Buzz. It not only conveyed a nice message for the audience about following your heart but was also a good addition to Buzz’s character that we could see in future Toy Story films. Annie Potts has returned to voice Bo Peep, 20 years after Toy Story 2. It was brilliant to have her reunited with the gang and her voice for Bo Peep was something that added to the film in a way that, with other characters, added to its enjoyability. I’ve mentioned Hanks, Allen and Potts as they are arguably the main characters in the film, but the relationship between each and every character was done fantastically, both by the voice actors and the animators. If you think about relationships between certain characters, like Bo Peep and Buzz or Woody and Duke Caboom, they have been orchestrated expertly with the tone from the voice actors and the body language from the animators. For me, this has improved massively over time for Pixar and made Toy Story 4 a better movie. I felt that though he was advertised as a main character, we could’ve seen more of Tony Hale’s Forky. Majority of his lines were screaming ‘gah’ and I would’ve liked to have more from a character that was heavily advertised in trailers and posters. It’s also worth noting how much I loved the new additions to the Toy Story family. Without Keegan-Michael Key as Ducky, Jordan Peele as Bunny and Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom, the film wouldn’t have been as funny or as good as it was, but then again, it wasn’t one of the better Toy Story movies.

MV5BMTEzMWQ5NzMtMDIxOC00NmNiLTliZDYtMmY0MWIxNWM0MzA1XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjg2NjQwMDQ@._V1_SY1000_SX1724_AL_.jpg

Woody and Bo Peep enlist the help of Duke Caboom to help save Forky

The animation in Toy Story was gorgeous and it really added to my enjoyment of the film. Recently, Pixar released a series of individual character posters for Toy Story 4 (found here) which, if you look closely, shows the spectacular amount of detail put into the animation and design of these characters, my favourite being the scuff marks on Woody’s hat and the material used to make Bullseye. Compare this to the animation from 1995’s Toy Story and it’s evident to see the incredible strides made by Pixar in their animation over this time.

As fun as a sequel that Toy Story 4 was, it did feel rather unnecessary. The story could’ve been left at Toy Story 3, but Toy Story 4 did open the door for the potential of more Toy Story sequels in the future. I also felt that in Toy Story 4 some of the “older” characters like Rex or Jessie were ignored to make way for the newer characters who could carry the franchise forward, like Duke Caboom or Ducky and Bunny. Even though some of the “older” characters were sidelined in Toy Story 4, I really loved that Pixar was able to integrate the enjoyability from previous films and their characters with the newer characters. I found myself wanting more from Ducky and Bunny and Duke Caboom and their adventures with Woody and Bo Peep and Giggle McDimples.

Though it wasn’t the best film of all time either, especially not in the Toy Story series, Toy Story 4 was still a good movie. Perhaps I’ve grown up which may be why the film didn’t meet my hopes for it, but regardless, there is certainly a message for all in Toy Story 4; you may be “lost” in your life, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are “lost”. Take Woody’s storyline over the movies. He was Andy’s favourite toy who’d seen competition through Buzz, the loss of friends like Bo Peep and Wheezy, but gained new friends like Jessie and Buzz, and has also suffered the terrors of daycare and losing your owner. By Toy Story 4, Woody is done. Bonnie doesn’t play with him and he’s abandoned, as he feels that his job of making a child happy is over. But he reunites with Bo Peep, one of his best friends who’s now shown him a new way of life. A new way to bring happiness to children. His life has meaning again and he is fulfilling his purpose as a toy. Though he has no owner and is classified as a lost toy, he has actually found himself. 

Toy Story 4 gets a 7.2/10. It’s not the best movie in the Toy Story series but that doesn’t mean that it’s a bad movie. Toy Story 4 carries a sweet story that made me reminiscent of my childhood. The voice acting, particularly from Hanks, Potts and Allen, combined with Pixar’s gorgeous animation, helped to make the film more enjoyable in a movie that leaves open the possibility for future Toy Story sequels.

Thanks for reading this review. I’m sorry I haven’t published a review in such a long time, it’s been a hectic couple of months, but I’m back with some more reviews coming soon. Follow this blog to be the first to read my reviews when they are published.

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. I’m off on holiday for some time, so join me in a few weeks for the review of a Martin Scorsese classic. See you then!

Logan: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #51

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

This time 2 years ago, Hugh Jackman hung up the claws and played Wolverine for the last time in Logan, in the only R-rated Wolverine movie ever. He had played the X-Man for nearly 17 years in 9 movies, but after all this time came his final run in 2017 with Logan.

Directed by James Mangold (The Wolverine, Walk the Line) and starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Dafne Keen is the third and final film in the Wolverine series in the X-Men universe, Logan. Set in 2029, an old Wolverine is suffering from his adamantium skeleton poisoning his body. He’s hiding from the public eye as a limo driver, regularly crossing over to Mexico where he and the last surviving mutants are hiding out in an abandoned smelting plant. There’s Caliban, who can track other mutants, and a nonagenarian Professor Xavier, whose telepathy has developed into dementia, where he has uncontrollable seizures. While on a limo job, he is approached by Gabriela, a nurse for Transigen, who hires Logan to take a child that has been experimented on, Laura, to Eden, a refuge in North Dakota. When Reavers, who are hunting Laura, attack Logan and Charles in Mexico, the trio escape and it’s now down to Logan to protect an ailing Professor X and Laura from the dark forces that put his own life at risk.

Hugh Jackman played Wolverine, or Logan as he goes by in this film. I think it’s fair to say that Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine in Logan was his best in the entire X-Men series. Jackman brought out a more damaged and harsher side of Logan that he brilliantly portrayed. His range of emotions blended with a new edge of agony and gruffness was perfect for the movie and was part of the reason why I enjoyed the film so much. Jackman also played X-24, Logan’s clone who is essentially an evil version of him in the movie. Again, Jackman did a superb job of playing X-24 and I had no issues with his character here. Professor Charles Xavier was played again by Patrick Stewart who was good as Professor X. Similar to Wolverine’s character in Logan, Charles’ character was more of a vulnerable and weaker man, but with more of a humorous and lighter side that we hadn’t really seen before. Stewart executed his role of Professor X wonderfully and he was one of the best parts of the movies. The role of Laura or X-23 (Logan’s daughter) was played by Dafne Keen and for such a young actress, Keen was spectacular as Laura. She was able to act well emotionally and had the ability to create complex character relationships through little words between Logan and Charles. Dafne Keen also won the award for Best Female Newcomer at the 2018 Empire Awards, showing that her performance as Laura was truly sensational. Caliban was played by Stephen Merchant who Merchant played well, though lacking in a couple areas. I also would have liked to have seen more from Caliban, as it seemed he really just served to show that mutants were on the edge of extinction. Merchant has a brilliant acting ability and I couldn’t help but feel that it was somewhat wasted in the role of Caliban. Had Caliban been featured more in the film, then I would have appreciated his character more. Boyd Halbrook played Donald Pierce, who was the head of the Reavers. I liked the way that Halbrook played Donald, as he brought a tone of creepiness and mysteriousness that made him a good character in the film. If I’m being honest, I thought there was a bit too much of his character and we should’ve seen more of some other characters, maybe Laura or Richard E Grant’s Dr Rice. Grant played Dr Rice well, but as previously mentioned, I would’ve liked to have seen more of his character. The character chemistry between each character was superbly acted out by all actors in the film, particularly by Hugh Jackman. Logan’s character had complex relationships with each and every character that Jackman was able to perfectly portray.

The music used in Logan featured no pop songs or techno or anything. Instead, the music pieces were perfectly matched to the darker, sinister tone of the film. The themes were composed by Marco Beltrami, who has also composed music for other movies such as ‘A Quiet Place’ and ‘Scream’. The themes were dramatic, wonderfully composed and added to the dark tone of the movie and also added to my enjoyment of the film.

maxresdefault

Logan faces his clone in his last fight.

The storyline in Logan differed from the usual superhero movie plot which actually made it so much better. There were no robots, and the plot wasn’t the world is going to end and that the heroes had to save it. It was just taking a girl to a safe haven. Honestly speaking, there weren’t many powers used either. We only see Professor X use his telepathy once or twice, and Logan only using his (failing) claws as a defence mechanism. The film was uneven, dull and boring in places, and it did not flow as much as it could have. It did use a fair amount of exposition but not as much as most movies do and the film wasn’t ruined entirely by the exposition that was in Logan. Logan was a fantastically entertaining film that I have rewatched a few times since its release in March 2017, and I have only enjoyed the film more and more. I liked the symbolism of Logan facing himself, his clone in the film too. It was a smart twist that personified Logan’s internal struggle with his adamantium poisoning and inevitable death.

Now for my favourite scenes. I loved the opening which wonderfully illustrated the change in tone from the usual superhero movies and also showed what Logan has become. He’s changed, he’s weaker, no longer to defend him and no longer the mighty Wolverine as he used to be. The development from here was interesting but was a little dull to watch, but I liked the introduction to Logan’s new life in Mexico. It showed a change in lifestyle and how different the situation was. Professor X’s introduction was well done and made for a good scene. The first attack of the Reavers in Mexico which showed off Laura’s claws and agility was brilliantly exciting to watch. It showed off a new character and marked a point that showed the film would change from here. The next best scene for me was the gory hotel scene, which built on the R-rated theme of the movie and made for a great scene. Then the film tries to further itself, which it does but could have been done in more of an engaging way. Logan, Professor X and Laura then help out the Munson’s, who invite them over. There was some exposition here, but the film begins to move forward faster from this point. It is revealed that Logan has been cloned by Transigen in a ruthless duplication known as X-24. X-24 kills Professor X in a touching scene and leads to a gruesome fight between Logan and his clone, which was a scene I loved. Logan and Laura escape and bury Charles’ dead body. They make their way to North Dakota to meet with other young mutants who are going to cross the border to Canada where they will reach safety. The forest fight scene was one of the best parts of the film. The team-up between Laura and Logan, between daughter and father, was incredible to watch, but I was left on the edge of my seat at the final fight between Logan and X-24. X-24 impales Logan on a log where he has his dying breaths. He whispers his last words to Laura: ‘so this is what it feels like’ before passing away. The young mutants bury Logan and make a cross out of some sticks. Laura turns the cross sideways, so that it is an ‘X’ now, and the film fades to black and ends; a beautifully done ending to Hugh Jackman’s legacy of Wolverine.

Overall, Logan was a fantastic conclusion to Hugh Jackman’s run as Wolverine and proved for one final time that he is irreplaceable as Wolverine. The film receives an 8.6/10 from me. It’s R-rating gave it incredible action scenes while also taking on a new plot-perspective which made it more enjoyable. As previously said, it was the perfect send off to Patrick Stewart’s Professor X and, more notably the long-lasting legacy that will never be forgotten, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine.

Thanks for reading this week’s review. Follow this blog to be the first to read my reviews, and give my Instagram a follow too. I’m always posting the latest movie news, behind the scenes pictures and everything else you could want.

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. Join me next week for the recap of all the Marvel movies ahead of Avengers Endgame. See you then!

The Silence of the Lambs: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #47

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

One of the most notorious movies of all time is the Silence of the Lambs. It’s got brilliant acting, iconic quotes and brought something new to cinema screens. It even won the Big Five at the 1992 Oscars (Best Picture, Best Male Actor, Best Female Actor, Best Director and Best Screenplay). I’d heard so much about it and finally got the chance to watch it (and check it off my watchlist). This week’s review is the Silence of the Lambs.

Directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster, the Silence of the Lambs is based on the book of the same title. It follows Clarice Starling, a young student at the FBI’s training academy. As she is a top student, Jack Crawford enlists her help to interview Dr Hannibal Lecter, one of the craftiest and violent psychopaths. Lecter is currently serving lifetime behind bars for his acts of murder and cannibalism. Crawford needs Clarice to interrogate Lecter as he may hold information about a new psychopathic murderer on the rise, Buffalo Bill. Clarice holds the key to extracting the information out of Lecter and stopping the graphic murders.

Anthony Hopkins played the criminally insane and psychopathic Dr Hannibal Lecter, who is admittedly one of the best movie characters ever. Hopkins portrayal of a creepy, cannibalistic psychopath was so brilliantly and perfectly executed that Anthony Hopkins rightfully earnt his Oscar award for Best Male Actor. The role of Clarice Starling was played by Jodie Foster. Don’t get me wrong, it was a fantastic performance, and it was definitely award-worthy, but maybe not Oscar-worthy. She was well suited to play Clarice, and there aren’t many people who could have delivered a better performance than Foster, but I couldn’t help but feel that her delivery was lacking ever so slightly in a couple of areas. One was her vocal delivery, as I found it quite monotone at parts. I can’t quite put my finger on the other area. Having said that, the way Foster and Hopkins portrayed their characters when Clarice and Lecter were interacting with each other was so amazingly done. Buffalo Bill was the main antagonist and was played by Ted Levine. I thought the way Levine played Buffalo Bill was very well done on his part but would have liked to have seen more of his character.

The way the film came to life from the book was well done on Demme’s part. It created mystery and suspense in a way that left me intrigued by the film. The storyline is quite straightforward and, with the help of good music and acting, is produced into a film that kept me interested throughout and on the edge of my seat. The film also tended not to suffer from giving too much away via exposition but it did happen in a few places.

y3bnuzwtttfjjxuk9hpyow-2

Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter have a dramatic encounter.

Now for my favourite parts. I loved the opening of the film. It had dramatic music that left us in suspense and immediately got me thinking ‘who is the girl, why is she running through the woods?’. It used no exposition to give this away and was done smoothly in a way that I enjoyed. Then the joint best scene was up next, and it was the first meeting between Clarice and Lecter. It was such a perfect introduction to Lecter’s creepily psychopathic cannibalistic character and the interaction between the two was something brilliant to watch. The film dies down for a while but is still interesting. The next scene I enjoyed most when Lecter was being held at the cage prison cell in Tennessee and he attacks the guards and escapes his cell. This entire scene (including the reveal of Lecter wearing one of the guards faces as a mask) was so crazy and exciting to watch and was perfectly delivered in terms of its visual depiction on screen. I liked the whole system of figuring out which order the victims were in, but what really got me was the plot twist of Clarice knocking on Buffalo Bill’s door when it was set up to be the FBI at Buffalo Bill’s house. The entire scene of Clarice fighting against Bill was fantastic and was made even better by the night vision fight. Lastly, the film’s end was the perfect ending to the Silence of the Lambs. It saw Hannibal Lecter having escaped prison phoning Clarice from Bimini. The camera cuts over to Frederick Chilton (Dr Lecter’s nemesis) walking through Bimini before Dr Lecter ominously tells Clarice that he’s ‘having an old friend for dinner’ before hanging up the phone and stalking Chilton through a crowd of people.

Overall, I’m giving the Silence of the Lambs an 8.4/10. Jonathan Demme’s great directorial skills were combined with some of the best acting I’ve seen from Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster (whose admittedly was not as good as Hopkins, but was brilliant nonetheless) and an interesting story from Thomas Harris made for a fantastically enjoyable and awesome movie.

Thanks for reading this week’s review. Follow my Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) for the latest movie news, behind the scenes pictures and more! Also, give this blog a follow to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. Join me next week for the review of a comedy movie, and while the film may not be the best, it sure is hilarious. See you then!

American Animals: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #44

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

One of my favourite types of movies are those based on true stories. These feature Goodfellas, Selma, BlackKklansman, Hidden Figures and, most recently, American Animals. I saw the trailer and it looked somewhat interesting. I was lucky enough to attend a screening in London followed by a Q&A with director Bart Layton. It was a fantastic experience and I had an amazing time. Here is my review of American Animals.

Directed by Bart Layton and starring Barry Keoghan and Evan Peters is a cinematic depiction of a true crime caper. When Spencer Reinhard begins studying at the University of Transylvania, he discovers a book in the library that is worth $12 million. He tells his best friend, Warren Lipka, who decides the pair, accompanied by Lipka’s other friends, will steal the book and make their millions. However, unforeseen circumstances play their part and the heist goes horribly wrong.

Evan Peters took on the role of Warren Lipka, the brains behind the heist. Evan Peters was very well suited to play Warren Lipka and he was great in this film. Peters acting ability is so brilliant and his talent shone throughout this film, particularly when he was expressing his feelings, like the desire to steal the book or the anger when it all falls apart. Warren’s primary partner in crime was Spencer Reinhard, played by Barry Keoghan. I preferred Keoghan in The Killing of a Sacred Deer (review here), but Keoghan doesn’t have much range. His voice is quite monotonous and depressing and, while that suited the latter part of the film, the half of Spencer being happy and actually kind of enjoying life was just mismatched to Keoghan’s acting ability.  Jared Abrahamson played Eric Borsuk, a quiet and reluctant member of the heist. He was well played, especially for being a quiet and shy crew member, but I felt there could have been more of his character. The final heist member was Chas Allen, played brilliantly by Blake Jenner. Allen’s character was reluctant to join and was the most vocal member of the group when it came to not doing the heist. I loved the way that Jenner played Chas as he immersed himself in the role and delivered a good performance.

american-animals

Warren Lipka (Evan Peters) plans out the heist and getaway.

The music was brilliant throughout the movie. Though it was a little cliché in places (Using ‘A Little Less Conversation’ for the dream heist scene), it overall used good music that was suited to the movie and made it more enjoyable to watch. The best use was ‘Who By Fire’ by Leonard Cohen, for when the police come to arrest the guys for their crimes. It beautifully juxtaposed what was happening in the movie and made for a great scene.

Since the story is something that happened in real life, you can’t really critique it, but you can discuss how it was portrayed on the screen. Honestly, Bart Layton did such a brilliant job with the direction of the film. The opening was so stylish and created a tone of mystery that had me hooked for what would be shown throughout the film. The use of cutting between the men in real life in the present after the crime (with the real Warren Lipka, Spencer Reinhard, Eric Borsuk and Chas Allen in the film) and them describing what happened with Evan Peters and Barry Keoghan playing the younger versions of the men who carried out the heist. The scene transitions were sleek and carried the film nicely, leaving me more invested into what the film was showing. The film showed how the boy’s memory was unreliable and it had the same scene but with different little details in places that made the film more interesting to watch. One of the best parts of the film was seeing how the heist was planned out and how it took place. It was also great to see a Reservoir Dogs reference by code names like Mr Pink (and Chas getting mad about it like Steve Buscemi did). When asked yesterday, Layton explained that one of his biggest influences for the style of his direction in American Animals came from ‘Dog Day Afternoon’, a 1975 movie starring Al Pacino. In Dog Day Afternoon, a bank robbery goes horribly wrong from the start. You can see how Layton draws inspiration from Dog Day Afternoon to bring the story of American Animals to life.

Overall, American Animals gets an 8.2/10 from me. I actually cannot wait to watch this film again. It may have been a little dull in places and could have had more development but makes for a brilliant movie that I thoroughly enjoyed watching.

Thanks for reading this week’s review. Follow my Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) for the latest movie news, behind the scenes pictures and everything else movie related you could want. Follow this blog to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. Join me next week for a Black Mirror episode review. See you then!

The Best of 2018

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

As we near the end of 2018, it’s fun to look back at what a long and awesome year of movies and TV shows we’ve been treated to. And like most things in life, there’s the good and the bad. In this review, I take a look back at the best of 2018’s movies and TV shows that I watched. I’ll try to keep spoilers down to a minimum but you have been warned! There will be indications as to which movies or TV shows contain spoilers and links to reviews of those which I have reviewed.

BOJACK HORSEMAN: Season 5

Kicking off this list is everyone’s favourite cartoon horse and washed-up celebrity, Bojack Horseman. Netflix released season 5 in September and it showed Bojack taking the job on Flip McVicker’s new show, Philbert. Princess Carolyn continues to look for a child to adopt, Mr Peanutbutter and Diane go through a rough patch and Todd creates a sex robot who becomes the head of whattimeisitrightnow.com. Bojack Horseman season 5 delves deeper into Bojack’s mental state and sees him internally struggle with his insecurities while trying to deal with the joys and troubles of the outside world. One of the best things about Bojack Horseman’s recent seasons is the music, and season 5 is no exception. The ending was admittedly a little disappointing but season 5 as a whole was one of the best seasons of Bojack Horseman. Season 6 has been confirmed, and I for one can’t wait.

BLACK PANTHER

2018 was a year of diversity within Hollywood, and one of the films that portrayed this best is Marvel’s Black Panther. Directed by Ryan Coogler, Black Panther marks a turning point in the future of Hollywood movies. With a predominately black cast, Black Panther tells the story of T’Challa rising to the throne of Wakanda and finding the balance of being a good king and a hero while encountering a powerful enemy who poses a huge threat to  T’Challa and his country. Black Panther smashed records and was an entertaining movie that combined beautiful cinematography with great action and a good storyline to produce a film that will be loved for generations to come.

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR – Contains spoilers!

The biggest film of 2018 and now the fourth highest grossing movie of all time, Anthony and Joe Russo directed Avengers: Infinity War, a film that was loved by billions this year. It saw most of Marvel’s heroes (with Hawkeye and Ant-Man missing) face off against the biggest villain yet, Thanos, who is on a mission to collect all six infinity stones and kill half the universe. He succeeds and in a literal snap of his fingers, half of the universe turned to dust. It’s now down to the remaining heroes, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Bruce Banner, Black Widow, Hawkeye (now Ronin), Nebula, Rocket Raccoon, War Machine, Okoye, M’Baku, Ant-Man and Pepper Potts to try to rewind time and undo the decimation. All this will be revealed in next year’s Avengers: Endgame, which is gearing up to be the biggest movie of next year too.

DEADPOOL 2 – Contains spoilers!

Ryan Reynolds is back in red spandex to break more fourth walls and kick ass in Deadpool 2, the highly anticipated sequel to 2016’s Deadpool. To stop a young mutant and the Juggernaut from creating a horrific future, Wade must team up with Cable and Domino to save the day. Reynolds proves again that he was made to play Deadpool, the jokes were more self-aware and hilarious and the action was something to adore. David Leitch (director of Deadpool 2 and John Wick) was perfectly suited to direct the sequel and, together with Ryan Reynolds’ incredible acting and great writing from Rhett Reece and Paul Wernick, Deadpool 2 was a brilliant sequel and certainly lived up to the hype plus plus.

READY PLAYER ONE

Steven Spielberg directs Ready Player One, a story set in 2045 where everyone lives in a huge virtual reality world called the Oasis, where the late creator, James Halliday, has left an Easter Egg challenge where the first gamer to find all three Easter Eggs would inherit the Oasis and half a trillion dollars. With gorgeous animation and an engaging storyline, Ready Player One was a great film that I had fun watching, and the hidden real-life easter eggs made the film even better.

McMAFIA: Season 1 – Contains spoilers!

Way back in January of this year, BBC released a thrilling look into the world of the mafia. The series followed Alex Godman, the son of an ex-mafia Russian family trying to forget the past. Alex is lured into the dark and hidden realm of crime that sees Alex being brought closer to those who have wronged his family. Meanwhile, Alex’s family have no idea about his actions that bring him closer to the mafia. Eventually, Alex tells his family about his actions with Vadim (the family’s nemesis) and the mafia, before heading to Moscow for one final confrontation with Vadim, before becoming the top of the food chain and was backed by the government by the looks of it while also cutting off all ties with his family back home in a dramatic and brilliant finale that had me on the edge of my seat. BBC have commissioned the show for an eight-episode season 2 that hasn’t begun filming yet, but I am already excited for season 2 and wondering what’s next for Alex Godman.

BLACKKKLANSMAN

Similarly to Black Panther, BlacKKKlansman brought more diversity to cinemas by bringing a true story to life before showing it’s relevance into modern-day America. Starring John David Washington and directed by Spike Lee, BlacKKKlansman tells the true story of a black police officer who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the late 1970s. The film ends by looking at the events in Charlottesville last year, where the Ku Klux Klan launched the ‘Unite the Right’ Rally to promote their ideology of white supremacy. The film provided a shocking and eye-opening look at racism in the last 50 years, and the way that Lee was able to direct and portray this in a movie was fantastically done.

GAME NIGHT

One of the best comedies of 2018, Game Night is a film I am looking forward to rewatching. The Fabergé Egg chase was one of my favourite scenes of cinema this year. Game Night had a good cast with even better character chemistry and jokes that were brilliant. I thoroughly enjoyed this film the first and second times, and it is definitely one of my favourite comedies of all time.

AMERICAN ANIMALS

Another true story film that took me by surprise this year was Bart Layton’s American Animals. It’s the true story of the 2003 Transy Book Heist, where 4 young men dared to try to steal a book worth $12 million but it goes horribly wrong. Told in Reservoir-Dog-esque way that gets the real men to explain and talk about the heist American Animals was a film that wasn’t heard of or seen by many this year but deserves to be.

THIS IS AMERICA

Yes, it’s not a movie or a TV show, but Childish Gambino’s music video is definitely deserving of some praise. Not only is an awesome song, but the music video looks at the life of being black in America and some of the issues, such as gun violence and police brutality. The ‘This is America’ video and song is one of Gambino’s best songs and it carries a strong and powerful message.

Thanks for reading this week’s mega-review of my favourite movies and TV shows, the best of 2018. Follow my Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) for the latest in movie news, behind the scenes pictures and more! Also, give this blog a follow to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. I wish all you the best for 2019 and hope that you join me next year for more movie reviews! Next week, I’ll be revealing some of the big movies and TV shows coming out in 2019 that I’m looking forward to and hopefully you are too. See you then!

 

Elf: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #43

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

As it’s Christmas very soon, I decided to review one of the most festive movies around. Usually, when you say Christmas movies, the first films that pop into people’s minds are Die Hard (review here), Home Alone and Elf. Seeing as I reviewed Die Hard last week, Elf was next in line to be reviewed.

Directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man and next year’s The Lion King), Elf tells the story of Buddy, a human who is accidentally taken to the North Pole as a baby and raised as an elf. When Buddy grows up, it is revealed to him that he is actually a human. Buddy’s decides to travel to New York to meet his father, Walter Hobbs, who is a grinch. What follows is a sweet and hilarious story about family and Christmas.

Will Ferrell plays Buddy the Elf and one of Ferrell’s most notorious roles to date. He brings a sweet charm and enthusiasm combined with a childlike naivety to Buddy’s character that makes him lovable and a hilarious character. It does reach a point of Buddy being a bit of a nuisance in places, but nonetheless, Buddy is a great character who is brilliantly played by Will Ferrell. Walter Hobbs, Buddy’s grinchy father, is played wonderfully by James Caan. Though Walter Hobbs was the main antagonist in Elf, the way that Caan played Hobbs was done well and his acting ability was put to good use in the film. Of course, there was a love interest in this film, and it was Jovie, a shop assistant at Gimbels, who was played by Zooey Deschanel. Jovie was a good character and all, but I felt she was just put in to lengthen the run-time and create a few more comedic moments in the film. Elf also featured Peter Dinklage, who played Miles Finch. Honestly, I’ve seen Elf about 10 times and can’t remember who he has. All I can remember is Buddy chasing him and mistaking him for an elf. Dinklage did a great job playing Miles Finch, but he was just a forgettable character.

The music was classic Christmas stuff (Let it Snow, Rocking Around the Christmas tree, Sleigh ride and so forth) which was well suited to the film. I liked the song choices throughout the film as it made the movie more enjoyable to watch. There’s nothing to criticise here.

ELF, Will Ferrell and Artie Lange, 2003 (screen grab)CR: New Line Cinema

Buddy discovers​ that the Gimbel’s Santa is not the real Santa.

Elf’s storyline is one that is quite smart and straightforward, a human who is raised as an elf is sent to reconnect with his human family but his dad is a grinch. The human tries to convince his dad to enjoy Christmas time and hijinks occur. It’s where additional parts are thrown into the film that it starts to deteriorate. You have so many subplots squeezed in to get more laughs out of the audience, and it worked in some places but flopped in others. It’s evident that Will Ferrell really enjoyed making this film and he really put everything into making this a great film, but I felt that too much was packed into what was an already good film. The comedy was well done by Ferrell, and it’s clear that he’s mastered the art of making people laugh. It was mainly the additional subplots that ruined the film.

Overall, Elf gets a 7.2/10 from me. It was a good movie that featured great comedy from Will Ferrell but threw too much into the film to make it longer. Admittedly, Elf is not Jon Favreau’s greatest work but nonetheless is a good film. To get you in the festive feeling, Elf is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Thanks for reading this week’s review. Follow my Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) for the latest movie news, behind the scenes pictures and more! Also, follow my blog to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. I hope you all have a merry Christmas and join me next week for a yearly look at the best movies and TV shows we were treated to in 2018. See you then!

Ralph Breaks the Internet: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #41

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

It’s always difficult for a sequel to be made. You’ve got to continue the original story as well as introduce a new storyline in the world, bring in some new characters and keep the audience interested, as well as living up to the brilliance of the first film. Naturally, these range from the good (Deadpool 2) to the bad (Speed 2). 2018 saw many sequels being released, such as Avengers: Infinity War, Creed II, Mission Impossible 6, and most recently, Wreck-It Ralph 2. I watched the film last weekend and am bringing my review of it to you for this week’s review.

Rich Moore and Phil Johnston reunite to direct Wreck-It Ralph 2, also known as Ralph Breaks the Internet. When Vanellope’s beloved ‘Sugar Rush’ game breaks, Ralph and Vanellope travel to the internet to get a new part to fix the game. The pair inevitably find themselves getting into antics that lead to problems.

John C. Reilly returns to voice the titular character and is well suited to the role. He brings a fun and lovable side to Ralph’s character, as well as developing his character. Sarah Silverman is also back to voice Vanellope Von Schweetz. I hate the voice used for Vanellope, as it’s so irritating and doesn’t really suit Vanellope’s character. Silverman did a great job voicing her, but in this film, it just reaches a point of where your ears are on the edge of bleeding. We also get introduced to some new characters, such as Shank, KnowsMore and Yesss. Shank is voiced by Gal Gadot and is the lead character of an internet game, Slaughter Race. Gadot was great as Shank and she was a fun character, but I would have liked to have seen more from her character. KnowsMore was basically a rip-off Google voiced by Alan Tudyk, one of my favourite actors. KnowsMore was one of the best characters in the film and there should have been more of him. If there ever will be a Wreck-It Ralph 3, KnowsMore has got to be in it. One character I felt there was too much of but also was just thrown in to get another celebrity attached was Yesss, voiced by Taraji P Henson. She didn’t really do much apart from further the plot and could have had a reduced amount of screen time that wouldn’t have changed the movie much.

05wreck-it-ralph2-2-articleLarge

Ralph and Vanellope visit KnowsMore

The plot started off good but got more ridiculous as the film went on. It started off with Ralph and Vanellope being best of friends until Vanellope’s arcade game breaks in the real world. Ralph and Vanellope need money to buy a new part so they travel to the internet in search of eBay. When this fails, they try to steal Shank’s car from Slaughter Race so they can sell it, but they inevitably get caught. Vanellope falls in love with Shank, then Shank advises them that a great way to make money is to go viral on the internet. The pair enlist the help of Yesss, the head code or something of BuzzzTube who help Ralph become viral and get rich. Ralph goes viral and gets the money to buy the game part, but Vanellope longs to be with Shank and her racing crew. Ralph hears a conversation between Vanellope and Shank where Vanellope explains her feelings and decides to sabotage the game by getting a virus from the Dark Web putting it in Slaughter Race so that it will copy Vanellope’s glitch and make the whole game glitch out. Ralph soon admits to Vanellope his dirty deed and the pair fight. Meanwhile, the virus escapes from Slaughter Race and spots an insecurity in Ralph; his neediness and clinginess. The virus copies this and creates millions of needy Ralph’s that then break the internet. These needy Ralph duplicates are hunting down Vanellope to stop her from going to Slaughter Race permanently until the real Ralph realises that he has to move on from Vanellope, With this, the millions of needy Ralph’s disappear and the internet is saved. Shank (somehow) edits the code so that Vanellope can be part of Slaughter Race and Ralph and Vanellope speak on a video call on a weekly basis. For a kids film, this was too far fetched. Scratch that, it was just far-fetched and just got more crazy as the film went on. A lot of jokes were used to cover up the bad plot and it just didn’t really work as well as it did in the first film. Some jokes were actually smart and funny but the majority just were either terribly executed or just terrible jokes themselves.

Overall, Ralph Breaks the Internet gets a 6.6/10 from me. It was a sequel that delivered in some areas, but otherwise didn’t follow-up from the awesomeness of the first film. While some may have loved the sequel, I found myself unamused throughout most of the film.

Thanks for reading this week’s review. Follow my Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) for the latest movie news, behind the scenes pictures and more! I’ll be doing a poll this week where you can decide on next weeks movie. Follow my blog to be the first to read my reviews.

This week was the week of Marvel, where the trailer for Avengers 4 (officially called Avengers: Endgame) was released. It was viewed 289 million times in the first 24 hours (a new record) and was the fastest movie trailer to receive 1 million likes on YouTube. The trailer looked promising and there’s no doubt Marvel will dominate the box office next year.

Once again, thanks for reading this weeks review. Follow @Ryans.Movie.Reviews to have your say on what next week’s review will be! See you then!

Game Night: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #39

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

One of my favourite things about flights (if there ever was something you could love about flights) is in-flight movies. As a film fanatic, it’s awesome to see new movies that you have yet to see being shown on board. On the flight to and from Beijing, I was treated to a wealth of brilliant movies that were on my watch list. From American Animals (review coming soon!) to Upgrade, there were so many choices. One of the films that I’ve wanted to see since it’s trailer release way back in January was Game Night. It has a fantastic cast, an interesting plot line and seemed promising.

Directed by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley (who have previously collaborated on films such as Spider-man: Homecoming and Horrible Bosses) and starring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams is the comedy Game Night. Max and Annie are a competitive couple who regularly have game nights with their friends. Recently, their neighbour, Gary, divorced his wife, and the pair hasn’t invited him to a game night since. When Max and Annie begin to try for a baby, it is unsuccessful for them as Max is stressed out. This is because his brother Brooks is in town, and Max feels inadequate compared to him. At a game night hosted by Max and Annie, Brooks embarrasses Max in front of all his friends, before inviting them all to a game night at his for the following week. At Brooks’ game night, he reveals to the guests that someone will be kidnapped and they must work in their couples to figure out where they are. As an incentive, Brooks says that the winner will get the keys to his car, a Stingray Corvette, which also is Max’s dream car. The night goes horribly wrong when real kidnappers intervene and take Brooks. It’s now down to Max, Annie and their friends to save Brooks and game night itself.

First off, this was actually a hilariously awesome movie. I rewatched it on the plane as I loved it so much. Jason Bateman played Max, a fun-loving guy with brother issues. Bateman is a great actor and Game Night is no exception from his talents, but there were definitely people who were better than him. The same could be said for Annie, played by Rachel McAdams. She was fantastic in this film and had me in fits of laughter at parts, and this film further proves her brilliant acting ability. For me, the best character has to go to Billy Magnussen’s Ryan. Ryan was one of the funniest characters who never failed to make me laugh. He was an interesting character, and that’s down to Magnussen’s flawless acting in this role. Ryan was such an amazing character that he’s earnt a spot on my favourite characters list (find the list here!). This was my first time watching Billy Magnussen in a film/TV show, and he didn’t disappoint. His date for the majority of this film was Sarah, played by Sharon Horgan. Horgan’s comedy was well suited to the tone of the movie and was so perfectly suited to the comedy from Billy Magnussen’s Ryan. Another hilarious character was Kevin, played by Lamorne Morris. I found his comedy in the film started off really good but gradually fell as the film went on. He was still funny in the film, but half of it came from situational comedy with his on-screen wife, Michelle. Kylie Bunbury played Michelle, and as previously mentioned comedy was mainly from scenes with Lamorne Morris’ Kevin. The main six characters (Max, Annie, Ryan, Sharon, Kevin and Michelle) had one of the best character chemistry dynamics I’ve seen in a film. In their respective couples and as one group, the characters had such a lovable relationship that was so brilliantly portrayed by them. It was evident to see that Brooks, played by Kyle Chandler, disrupted this dynamic. Chandler played Brooks well, especially in terms of making him an unlikable character. His humour had its moments but majority of the time it fell flat and failed to make me laugh. It’s worth mentioning Jesse Plemons’ character, Gary. He provided a (not-so-big) plot twist, and while some may have thought he was a good, funny character, I found myself thinking the opposite. The plot twist was decent, but his character was just awkward and failed to make me laugh.

The music was something to be majorly appreciated. It could have been better, sure, but for what it was, you had to respect it. I like how the movie both started and ended with a Queen song, both related to the film somehow. The movie made good choices in terms of songs used. I liked the use of ‘Semi-Charmed Life’ by Third Eye Blind for Annie’s little karaoke scene and ‘Quando, Quando, Quando’ by Engelbert Humperdinck for the film’s credits (where the credit’s featured a hilarious plan from Gary). The best songs in the movie were ‘We are the Champions’ at the film’s ending and Drake’s ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’ for the reveal of which celebrity Michelle had slept with. I actually loved that scene, but I’ll come on to the best scenes later.

Game Night Day 14

Ryan successfully steals the Fabergé Egg, which leads to the best scene in the movie.

The storyline was good and I like the idea of taking something that is relatable but taking it to the next level, but it did reach a point of going too far. The film tackled the story well, but it was too rushed in places. All it needed was just a few extra minutes for a few scenes to improve on the movie. The film didn’t fall down the usual hole that most films do, whereby they are too slow moving. However, it’s better to spend more time on something while it may be slow moving (even though I hate this!) than to actually rush through scenes. One of the best things that Game Night had was the camera work. It reminded me of some of the camera work seen in Edgar Wright’s films. It had imaginative scene transitions, my favourite being Max and Annie falling on a train which transitioned to the dice being rolled in Risk. The tilt-shift shots that made the city look like something out of a board game were visually stunning, and I loved the camera work for when the characters were in the car, as it looked like something out of a video game like Grand Theft Auto. The best camera had to go to the one-shot take but played on a different level. This was seen when stealing the Fabergé Egg, in a fantastic chase scene which left me in complete awe over how incredible the camera work and the scene execution was. Click on this link to watch the scene.

There were a few scenes in the movie that I loved so much. The opening with ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ with the montage of Max and Annie dominating in every game was the perfect introduction for the movie. Everyone meeting at Max and Annie’s for game night was great fun to watch and was a smooth and interesting way for us to meet every character. Admittedly, Ryan’s character introduction was the best for me, the highlight being his montage of past dates, as it was side-splittingly hilarious. The next best scene was Ryan and Sharon going to ‘Murder We Wrote’, which saw Chelsea Peretti (Gina from Brooklyn 99) in a hilarious role, where it is revealed that the kidnappers are real. After this scene, we get a juxtaposing scene with Max and Annie who haven’t discovered this yet. Though it was in the trailer, the scene of removing the bullet from Max’s arm was good fun to watch, but ruined by the trailer. From there, the next best scene was going to the mansion and discovering the secret fight clubs (and Ryan’s reaction to this was amazing!). In the mansion, two great scenes took place. The first was the reveal of which celebrity Michelle had slept with. It featured Drake’s ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’ and a fake Denzel Washington in a pay-off to an inside joke and a funny scene. The second was the Fabergé Egg chase scene. It used a one-shot take in a style similar to that of Ryan Coogler’s that was just so awesome to watch. Click on this link to watch the scene, I promise that it is worth it! The ending was a nice end to what was a fantastic film, showing a nice conclusion to the film we’d just seen as well as giving us the possibility for a sequel.

Overall, Game Night gets an 8.6/10 from me. It was a film that I was hyped to watch and it definitely delivered. It had gorgeous camera work, brilliant acting and really good comedy, despite having a few little issues that didn’t ruin what was a super movie experience. Game Night is a film that I can’t wait to rewatch and I highly recommend it to everyone. It has comedy, action and everything else you could want from a movie. Game Night is available on Now TV from Friday 16th November, on HBO (if you have a subscription) and should be added to Amazon Prime over the Christmas period.

On Monday 12th November, the world lost a real-life superhero. Stan Lee, co-creator of Marvel Comics, passed away, aged 95. Stan was a living legend, and his work for Marvel Comics has paved the way for the world of cinema for years to come. His creations such as Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four will live on, but the universe will never forget Stan Lee. May he rest in peace.

Thanks for reading this week’s review. Follow my Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) for the latest movie news, behind the scenes pictures and more! I’ll be doing more polls soon, so give it a follow to have your say! Also, follow this blog to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. Next week, I review what is considered to be one of the best movies of all time, if not the best. The clue is Morgan Freeman. Can you guess which film it is? See you next week for its review!