CVIndependent

Thu06202019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Give co-directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein a lot of credit for making a movie about friends gathering for a game night—a premise that sounds kind of stupid—and turning Game Night into one of the funnier dark comedies in recent memory.

Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams play Max and Annie, a married couple with a love of board games and arcades. They host weekly game nights with their friends, but the latest one could be a bit annoying for Max, because it involves his highly successful brother, Brooks (Kyle Chandler). Brooks asks to take over game night; Max concedes; and what follows is a great and funny series of surprising, twisted and often super-bloody events. I don’t want to give away the big twists; I’ll just say the film managed to trick me on numerous occasions—while making me laugh hard.

Bateman and McAdams turn in some of the funniest work in their careers, while Billy Magnussen is a scream as the group dunderhead; Lamorne Morris does a very good Denzel Washington; and Jesse Plemons steals scenes with a dog as Max and Annie’s weird cop neighbor. And by weird, I mean super, mega weird.

The movie actually plays out like a great round of Clue, in which you guess the contents of the envelope and get it totally wrong, because the filmmakers are constantly fooling you in hilarious ways.

Daley and Goldstein constantly prove that there is nothing they wouldn’t do for a good laugh. They take a lot of risks—and they pay off.

Game Night is playing at theaters across the valley.

Published in Reviews

I was on an apocalypse-comedy high after seeing Seth Rogen’s funny This Is the End, so when I saw another end-of-times laugher on iTunes—which, like This Is the End, co-stars Craig Robinson—I bit.

With Rapture-Palooza, I got a mouthful of worms.

Anna Kendrick co-stars as Lindsey, a non-believer left behind after the rapture with her boyfriend, Ben (John Francis Daley). They live in Seattle, where the Antichrist (Robinson) has decided to settle and await his showdown with Jesus.

There are some sporadic laughs, but nothing consistent. Rob Corddry, who really can’t be unfunny, gets a few giggles as Ben’s dad. (A bit in which he keeps hitting his son on the head is slightly humorous.) Robinson riffs a bit, and he’s always good for a chortle or two.

However, most of the humor is stale, poorly timed and weak. I, for one, am tired of Ken Jeong’s shtick, and he shows up in a pivotal role during the finale.

This is an apocalypse movie in which way too much time is spent on a date with the Antichrist—and that date stops the movie in its tracks.

There’s need to see this one. Move along folks … move along.

Rapture-Palooza is available on demand and online.

Published in DVDs/Home Viewing