Jesse Plemons

Film Review: Game Night

by Carrie Kahn on February 23, 2018

The Game‘s afoot in breezy, fun new comedy

Game Night doesn’t exactly go as planned for Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams).

The writing/directing team of actor John Francis Daley (who played Sweets in the long-running and slightly addictive Bones) and Jonathan Goldstein made their directorial debut three years ago with the poorly received Vacation remake. They fared better with two pictures they wrote but didn’t direct: Horrible Bosses (2011) and Horrible Bosses 2 (2014); this reviewer isn’t at all embarrassed to admit that she laughed so hard during the first Horrible Bosses that she nearly hyperventilated. With Game Night, the team’s second feature directing project, Daley and Goldstein do the opposite, though, and only direct, leaving the script to screenwriter Mark Perez. That may explain why this film, which also similarly stars affable everyman Jason Bateman, doesn’t reach the comedic heights of those prior two films. But this new collaboration has resulted in a pleasant and highly amusing comedy with a sensational cast, and it yields enough genuine laughs to recommend it.
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Spinning Platters film critics present their top 10 films of 2016

Spinning Platters film critics Carrie Kahn and Chad Liffmann each share their ten favorite films of 2016. Here is Carrie’s list, presented, unlike last year’s alphabetized list, in descending rank order. And you can check out Chad’s list here to see which one of us you agree with more!

10.) Nocturnal Animals

Tony (Jake Gyllenhaal, middle) arrives at a possible crime scene with lawman Bobby Andes (Michael Shannon, r.).

Sometimes the story-within-the-story convention can be confusing or feel gimmicky, but in this visually stunning picture from fashion designer turned filmmaker Tom Ford, the technique works to terrific effect. Amy Adams, as a woman haunted by a decision she made years ago, reads a manuscript sent to her by her ex-husband Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal), and that story comes alive on screen in the form of family man Tony (Gyllenhaal again) and his confrontation with some dangerous, deranged miscreants. Ford’s keen aesthetic vision and sharp performances by Adams, Gyllenhaal, and Michael Shannon as a tenacious lawman combine to make this brutally poetic but utterly captivating film one of the year’s most definitively unusual. (You can also read my full-length review here.)

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Marking its closing with its annual awards ceremony, the 2016 Sundance Film Festival ended this past Saturday evening; you can see all the winners here.

For the second year in a row, I braved the Park City cold, snow, and the ubiquitous Los Angeles UGG-wearing throngs to bring you spotlights of a fraction of the films that played the Fest. With nearly 200 offerings, the Fest featured way more than this reviewer could see. While I sadly missed the big winner and much lauded The Birth of a Nation (you’ll have to stay tuned to Spinning Platters later in the year for a full review upon its wide release), I nevertheless managed to knock out a respectable 18 films in five days. Many of these may receive distribution deals (if they haven’t already), so you can study up now with these capsule reviews, which use our trademark Sundance Viewing Priority Level (VPL) Guide:

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Film Review: “The Master”

by Jason LeRoy on September 21, 2012

Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman in THE MASTER

starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Jesse Plemons, Ambyr Childers, Rami Malek, Laura Dern, Patty McCormack

written and directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson

MPAA: Rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity and language

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