Entries tagged with “Jason Bateman”.


I confess that I was waiting for such a movie for quite a while. It’s so long since I have seen a comedy that made me laugh without being stupid, with characters I could care about without falling into melodrama, with a story interesting to follow and no super-persons involved. Game Nightwritten by and directed by and succeeds to be all these and made me spend some of the most pleasant couple of hours in a cinema theater recently.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2704998

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2704998

 

The characters of the story are quite recognizable for many of the viewers. They are young mid-class professionals in today’s America, whose lives is centered around the hobby of playing all kinds of rather innocent society games. Never falling on the bad side of vice, the gaming passion defines their way of life with funny moments – like proposing marriage in riddles – or doubtful impact when concerning their decision or even capability of bringing children to life. When games and real life become entangled and the game in game situation turns to be more real than realistic the characters become involved in a turmoil of events where physical integrity and even lives are at risk, and viewers become part of the game. Same as the heroes on screen we know that the bullets cannot hurt (too much) the good guys and the blood spilled by them is just ketchup. The script authors just added one layer between fiction and reality, and this layer turns the film into a combination of surrealistic action movie and situation comedy gags – a few of them novel enough to extract some extra laughs.

 

(video source Zero Media)

 

The excellent cast feels good on screen and you can feel that they had fun making this movie. A special note should be given to the lead actors and who add personal chemistry to their comic talents, and to , a young comedian who constructs the role of a nerd cop with a soul in  manner that lets me expect some more fun from him in the future.

If you look for good entertainment where neither the characters not the viewers are considered stupid – Game Night should be the choice.

 

Joel Edgerton is not a completely anonymous actor, but not a big star either. We know his face from a few supporting roles in a number of movies, but none of them really made it to the Academy Awards. This makes even more remarkable the fact that with The Gift he is completely in control. The resulting movie is packaged as a psychological thriller set in that part of California populated with apparently happy couples or families enjoying the good life ensured by their success of their corporate careers. Yet, not everybody succeeded as well, and happy facades can hide unhappy relations and dark secrets surfacing from the past.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4178092/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4178092/

 

A game is played during all this film between the director-script author and the viewers. It starts like a yuppies-go-to-California film, and a seemingly incidental encounter between the successful Simon (played by ) and a former school colleague called Gordo () who does not seem to have done that well. A feeling of un-easiness starts to install in a very subtle manner. It’s not only what happens on screen (although the visits and the small gifts and favors made to Simon and to his attractive but fragile wife Robyn () start to look more and more like stalking, but also the simple dialogs of the couples seem to indicate that not all is pink and bright in paradise. As the story continues we start to discover more details about the past, the angle and judgment on the characters changes, and the feeling of uneasiness increases. To put it in one of the words used by Simon to describe his ex-colleague – weirdo!

 

(video source Movieclips Trailers)

 

Actors directors are said not to be too successful in directing themselves, but Joel Edgerton is the exception. He is actually the best designed character in a triangle in which all three actors play crisply defined characters, which succeed to be true even as the perspective and the judgment of the viewers about them changes. Hitchcock is the obvious source of inspiration for the movies in this genre, and if Rebecca Hall was a blonde she would have made a perfect Hitchcockian character (Edgerton cannot even avoid filming not one but two shower scenes).

There is not much violence on screen, certainly not on the scale of the 2015 violence in movies, but the feeling of terror is present almost all the time, and its remarkable that it results from psychology rather than from effects. The ending is somehow disappointing in its making, but it includes enough dose of macabre and weirdness and it’s open enough to let us wonder what really happened. ‘The Gift’ is not easy or pleasant viewing, but it gives enough reasons of satisfaction to be worth spending the time with it.