Game Night (2018)

Game Night
Director: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein
Writer: Mark Perez
Cast: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Sharon Horgan, Billy Magnussen, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Jesse Plemons, Michael C. Hall, Danny Huston, Chelsea Peretti
Seen on: 12.3.2018
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Plot:
Max (Jason Bateman), Annie (Rachel McAdams), Sarah (Sharon Horgan), Ryan (Billy Magnussen), Kevin (Larmone Morris) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury) have a regular game night together. Tonight, Max’ brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) is hosting the party, when men come into his house and take him away. Believing it to be a roleplay, the six players set out to get Brooks back. But things may be more serious than they appear at first.

I didn’t expect much from Game Night and basically just watched it because I had a gap in my schedule where it fit perfectly. But I was pleasantly surprised: Game Night is an entertaining film that made me laugh out loud.

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Manchester by the Sea (2016)

Manchester by the Sea
Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Writer: Kenneth Lonergan
Cast: Casey AffleckLucas Hedges, Ben O’Brien, Kyle Chandler, Michelle Williams, Tate Donovan, Matthew Broderick
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 20.10.2016

Plot:
Lee (Casey Affleck) hasn’t been in his hometown Manchester-by-the-Sea for a while and he doesn’t actually want to return. But when his brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) dies, leaving behind his teenage son Patrick (Lucas Hedges), Lee is called upon to return and take care of Patrick. Added to the grief over Joe’s passing is Lee’s confrontation with the past and the horrible events that are linked to Manchester-by-the-Sea and Lee’s ex-wife Randi (Michelle Williams).

I saw Manchester by the Sea before the news about Affleck’s history of abuse hit the media (or at least reached me) (this review is based on my notes from October). If I had known, I probably would have reconsidered watching this film. But having seen it , I have to admit that it’s a strong film, offering an unusual perspective on an old story.

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Carol (2015)

Carol
Director: Todd Haynes
Writer: Phyllis Nagy
Based on: Patricia Highsmith‘s novel The Price of Salt
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Kyle Chandler, Jake Lacy, Sarah Paulson, John Magaro
Seen on: 21.12.2015

Plot:
Therese (Rooney Mara) works in a department store but dreams of becoming a photographer. When she meets Carol (Cate Blanchett), she feels immediately drawn to her. And Carol seems to feel the same. But that society doesn’t accept homosexuality is only one problem the two have: where Therese is young and inexperienced and has a boyfriend (Jake Lacy), Carol is trapped in a marriage with Harge (Kyle Chandler) who doesn’t hesitate to use their daughter to make Carol stay.

Carol is a beautiful film with great performances and a nice story. I can’t find any fault with it and yet, I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would.

carol

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The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

The Wolf of Wall Street
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer: Terence Winter
Based on: Jordan Belfort‘s book
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, Jean Dujardin, Joanna Lumley, Shea Whigham

Plot:
Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) dreams of making a whole lot of money on Wall Street. At first this seems rather impossible, especially since the stock markets crash right when Jordan gets his broker’s license. But then Jordan finds a way to make it big, even if it’s not entirely legal. He enjoys the money way too much to care about that. Even when the FBI gets involved, he can’t stop.

The Wolf of Wall Street was one of the most uncomfortable movie experiences I had in recent times. It was not only the content, but also the length and the audience that had me cringing.

wolfofwallstreet

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Broken City (2013)

Broken City
Director: Allen Hughes
Writer: Brian Tucker
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jeffrey Wright, Barry Pepper, Alona Tal, Natalie Martinez, Michael Beach, Kyle Chandler, James Ransone, Griffin Dunne

Plot:
Billy (Mark Wahlberg) is a policeman who shot a rapist who went free. During his trial where he claims self-defence, new evidence comes up but is quickly surpressed by Mayor Hostetler (Russell Crowe) and Comissioner Fairbanks (Jeffrey Wright). Despite being found not guilty, Billy is let go and earns his money by doing investigation work from then on. Years later in the middle of election time, Hostetler contacts him again to have him investigate his wife Cathleen (Catherine Zeta-Jones). But there’s apparently more to the story than just mere infidelity.

Broken City was a decent thriller but nothing that really blew me away, apart from Russell Crowe who obviously had fun with this one. The characters are a little too clichéd to work, the story is unfocused and all of that leaves you a little dissatisfied.

broken_city

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Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Zero Dark Thirty
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Writer: Mark Boal
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Ehle, Harold Perrineau, Scott Adkins, Mark Strong, Édgar Ramírez, Mark Duplass, James Gandolfini, Stephen Dillane, John Barrowman, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt, Taylor Kinney

Plot:
Maya (Jessica Chastain) works for the CIA and has just been sent to Pakistan. Her mission is to find out where Osama bin Laden is hiding. A mission that takes her from torturing prisoners under the the tutelage of colleauge Dan (Jason Clarke) to plain old research. When she stumbles across the name of a guy she believes is a close collaborator of bin Laden, she becomes obsessed with finding him as the most direct way to bin Laden himself.

I really did my best to be interested in this film. Admittedly, the topic is not so much my cup of tea, but it is important. Unfortunately the movie is so very boring that, with the best of motivation, it was impossible to keep up the interest. I mean, I know they searched for this guy a very long time – but was it really necessary that the audience feels every minute of that 10-year-search? At some point I just gave up and fell asleep for a little while – just to get away from the boredom of it all for a bit.

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Argo (2012)

Argo
Director: Ben Affleck
Writer: Chris Terrio
Based on: Joshuah Bearman‘s article [pdf link]
Cast: Ben Affleck, Tate Donovan, Clea DuVall, Scoot McNairy, Rory Cochrane, Christopher Denham, Kerry Bishé, Kyle Chandler, Chris Messina, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Victor Garber

Plot:
In 1979, Iranian revolutionaries stormed the USAmerican embassy in Teheran. In the middle of this confusion, 6 employees managed to flee to the Canadian embassy and hide there. The CIA hires exfiltration expert Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) to get them out of there. So Tony concocts a story about the shoot of a SciFi movie to provide a cover for the six of them, which includes the basic pre-production of the film.

Argo is a classic, straightforward and very well-made thriller that hits all the right notes in the right way, even if it doesn’t surprise. But it makes the perfect case for a tried and tested format executed well.

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Super 8 (2011)

Super 8 is the newest film written and directed by J. J. Abrams, starring Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Riley Griffiths, Ryan Lee, Zach Mills, Gabriel Basso, Kyle Chandler, Noah Emmerich and Jessica Tuck.

Plot:
Joe (Joel Courtney) recently lost his mother and his relationship with his father (Kyle Chandler) is strained. So it’s not really surprising that he spends most of his time with his friends. Charles (Riley Griffiths) is shooting a movie, where Joe does the make-up, special effects and audio. When Charles casts Alice (Elle Fanning), Joe is electrified. But during their first shoot together, they witness a train derailing – and something escapes that train. The military moves in quickly and weird things start happening.

The kids were adorable and I could have watched three films about Joe and Alice, easily. But (and I know I just said basically the same thing yesterday): the monster part seemed out of place and didn’t work for me. Apart from that, I liked it.

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