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Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) Movie Review By The Moviie Couple

Godzilla King of the Monsters Review

Director: Michael Dougherty
Writers: Michael Dougherty (screenplay by), Zach Shields (screenplay by)
Stars: Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown

Moviie Couple here!   We went to see Godzilla: King Of The Monsters this weekend!  Remember we are just a married couple that loves movies!  We’re here to tell you if we liked it.  Film experts we are not!  Just a quick reminder of our rating system.   Mrs. Moviie Couple and I, rate films on whether they are worth the cash spent on a night out.  we use a 1-6 Dollar Bill system.  1-2 Bills equal a waste of both our time and money!  3-4 Bills equal Meh to Pretty Good, money well spent!  5-6 Bills equal Wow!  Well worth the price of dinner, movie and sitter!  Please take our money again!

Godzilla: King of The Monsters is the direct sequel to the 2014 Godzilla film.  It builds on that tale, where we are reintroduced to the Big Guy and he saves us all from the threat of the MUTOs!  That film plus Kong: Skull Island from 2017 officially connects to create the “Monsterverse” films and GKOTM (I can’t keep typing that title so I’ll abbreviate) grows that film universe even further!  Mr & Mrs Moviie Couple keep things spoiler free, so I’ll recap without giving anything away.  The mysterious organization, Monarch (established in the Godzilla and Kong films previous) continue to study and track these creatures known now as Titans.  Only now a new secret organization branches off from them with a new agenda.  Due to some shenanigans and a couple of twists along the way, the Titans are released upon the Earth and only Big G can save us all!   Maybe. We get Big Budget versions of Rodan, Mothra, King Ghidorah and more!  If you recognize those names, this movie may just be for you!  If not, Oh well too bad, sit back, enjoy some popcorn and watch! You get Monster fights!  Unnecessary exposition!  Humans running and screaming!   What else did you expect? Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga and Millie Bobby Brown all star as the Russells, a family of scientists with a lot of knowledge about Titans.  Ken Wantanabe and Sally Hawkins return to the franchise as the Monarch experts, Bradley Whitfield and Thomas Middleditch are along for the ride as comic relief and Aisha Hinds and O’Shea Jackson play military for us!  It is directed by Michael Dougherty of Trick ‘R Treat and Krampus fame.  But lets be honest, the true stars people will be coming to see are Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan and “He that is Many” himself…..Ghidorah!  So is a movie starring Coach from Friday Night Lights, Mommy Bates from Bates Motel and Eleven from Stranger Things a hit?!!!!  Is this film more Minilla or Destroyah?  If you understand that joke, you’re in for a Treat.  If not it maybe more of a Trick, see what I did there Mr. Dougherty?  Without further delay, let’s get ready to crumble!!!!  Grab your Oxygen Destroyers, put on our best Harajuku cosplay, lets review this baby and may the best Monster win!

So here we go!

Mr. Moviie Couple:  I am a very old school Godzilla fan!  Complete transparency. I watched many a Saturday afternoon Godzilla film as a child and am well versed in Kaiju (Giant Monsters for you uninitiated) history. So this film was right up my alley.  Godzilla vs Ghidorah?  I’m there, never mind if you throw in Rodan and Mothra! Take my money!  So for the inner little Mr. Moviie Couple this movie did a lot right. The creatures looked new, but with a lot of honor given to the original design. In my opinion, they even improved on Mothra visually!  There were a lot of easter eggs or tips of the hat for the eagle eyed fan.  Keep your eyes peeled, I will not spoil. The best fan service may just be the return of the “Godzilla March” or Godzilla theme!  Man, they update and bring back the score of a surging Godzilla at all the right moments! But, the film’s plot was weak at best.  I found the attempts at comic relief forced and not as funny as it may have seemed on the written paper.  The family story and the military drama seemed mandatory at best and poorly written at worst.  I understand most are not coming to this film for Oscar winning performances and they are here for the monster battles, but lets just say 2014 and Kong handled the human element better in my opinion.  Speaking of the 2014 movie and Kong fights, this will probably be an unpopular opinion, but I felt those kaiju battles were handled better in those film as well. GKOTM has more monsters and more action, but a lot of it seems to be filmed too darkly and too fast.  Many scenes felt like a ride at Universal Studios where you only catch glimpses of the threats as the ride shakes you to and fro.  For me that was a bit disappointing considering the importance these battles have to these types of films. That being said, I had a good time, but it was not a slam dunk for me. A lot of plot was left laying there with no payoff, for example everyone acts like Mothra is important throughout this film and it really never really pays off.  No spoiler, just an observation. The Titans look great, but I wanted better fights (visually) and the plot was just basic as heck.  I have GKOTM as 3-4 Bills, maybe leaning more toward 3 despite a lot of fun Kaiju action.  Closer to Pretty Good (4) for lifelong fans.

Mrs. Moviie Couple: She was very glad it wasn’t a superhero movie. After that she was not very amused.  She felt it was a typical Godzilla film, by the numbers…Wake up Monster from deep sleep (check), Bring Monster to face worse Monster (check), watch good monster fight bad monster (check), Run and /or hide while avoiding fallen debris (check), Tell family member you are estranged from how much you love them (check), Good Monster is hero (double check,   is that a spoiler?). A film only a Godzilla fan would love.  She thought the environmental theme, common in most Godzilla films was updated nicely in this one. She didn’t care for the family portrayal.  Usually a fan of Mr Chandler, Mrs. Moviie Couple felt he was just playing himself and packing it in. She couldn’t stand Vera Farmiga and didn’t believe her in the role for a second, her exact words!  She did however love Millie Bobby Brown! My bride may be the only person on the planet to have not seen Stranger Things, so she had no idea who Ms. Brown was, but loved her in this film.  She thought she an amazing young actress!  Overall, the Mrs. felt the film failed on almost every level.  Even the marquee fight scenes left her wanting, she complained about the Monsters not really changing on the design level and the fights themselves were filmed in the dark and within so much smoke and clouds that she couldn’t even appreciate them for what they were meant to be. This film wasn’t all smoke and mirrors, it was all smoke and clouds! She was not having it!   The Mrs. gave GKOTM 2 Bills!  She didn’t want to walk out, but she wouldn’t waste her money again!

On the way home, I continued to talk about the Mothra design and the many plot flaws, while pointing out the fun of the battles and the nostalgia shout outs for true green Godzilla fans! Mrs. Moviie Couple didn’t talk much, she only kept repeating how great Millie Bobby Brown was and how she would have to watch a few episodes of Friday Night Lights to cleanse her Kyle Chandler palate and redeem himself in her eyes. WOW.  Just WOW. The drive home always clarifies how we felt about a movie. Silence is not golden, silence is bad. I was not silent, The Mrs. kept to the golden rule we all learned from the Disney classic Bambi. If you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all.  At least young Ms. Brown has a new fan. I give it 3.5 Bills, a true G-Fan film, with a lot of flaws.  The Mrs. gives it 2 Bills!  A true don’t waste your money! So we give Godzilla: King of the Monster 3 solid Bills! I say Meh to Pretty Good. She says, not a walk out, but a waste of money. Stay in and wait to stream it. So we’ll go with an average of Meh!  Not the worst, but not the best!

So until the next date night, which if you go to our Facebook page you’ll see a clue to!  We will see you next time!  Moviie Coupe out!

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Game Night (2018) Movie Review By John Walsh

Game Night.png

Directors: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein
Writer: Mark Perez
Stars: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler

I’ve got level with you, I didn’t know this film even existed before it popped up in theatres and once I did become aware of its existence, the premise and title had me doubting its quality. I’m all for fun and having a laugh, but a game night wouldn’t be top of my list of potential film adaptations. It had a decent enough cast to entice me though with the insanely busy Jesse Plemons popping up again and it actually ended up surprising me in a good way.

The film follows the antics of Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel Adams), they’re both competitive gamers and marry early on. There’s a time jump and then they’re seen having counselling. Max appears to have an inferiority complex with his brother Brooke (Kyle Chandler) being the primary cause. This issue is further compelled when the latter turns up at a cloak and daggers game night in Max’s dream car and then proceeds to embarrass him. He arranges a game night of his own, at his flash pad and this brings out the competitive streak in Annie, with the dysfunctional couple plotting the downfall of their estranged, obnoxious family member.

Now I mention a cloak and daggers game night and the reason behind that is their lonely, creepy, carrot headed neighbour Gary (Jesse Plemons). He’s not taking his divorce from ex-wife Debbie well and yearns for Max and Annie’s company and acceptance. There’s a painfully awkward conversation between the three early doors and their interactions don’t get any easier to watch as the film progresses.

The first twenty minutes to half hour had me concerned. It plodded along introducing the different people involved which is standard fair in most films, but there was a moment when I genuinely thought it was going to be about painful attempts at charades and arguing over monopoly until the bitter end. Thankfully though, things went up a few notches upon the guests arriving at Brooke’s house. He has a different idea for his brand of game night. He opts for a murder mystery affair with the winner picking up the keys to his Corvette. Brooke has been a naughty boy though, mixing in the wrong circles and when a pair of armed men storm his house and kidnap him, his guests think its all part of the game.

And that’s pretty much the plot for Game Night. Well, admittedly it’s a little bit more complicated than that but that’s the general gist of things. Max and Annie rush off trying to find Brooke, tracking his mobile and believing it’s all a game. There’s others involved too, who I won’t name because they don’t really have a massive impact on the proceedings, but the story is surprisingly enjoyable. Things go absolutely crazy after this and the film turns into a full blown action flick at times. They all eventually discover the game is very much real in their own time and that they’re dealing with ‘The Bulgarian’ (Michael C. Hall), a ruthless gangster.

There’s dramatic car chases, shootouts, an illuminati fight club scene, moments with bloodstained cats in pristine white rooms and even a dramatic chase with a plane trying to escape on a runway. There’s a couple of decent twists in there too, including a fake one. It’s got some  decent humour, likeable characters and as I mentioned before a quick paced and enjoyable, little story.

I really enjoyed Jason Bateman and Rachel Adams in this. They were a mad, dysfunctional couple and the latter gave me strong Monica from Friends vibes with her competitiveness. The overwhelming majority of the film followed them and if they weren’t right or didn’t turn up then it wouldn’t have worked. But they did. Bateman brought plenty of laughs and the two had good chemistry. The standout by a mile however was Jesse Plemons. Jesus, this guy is the definition of versatile. He’s got such a good range and pops up in a myriad of films as distinctly different characters. He’s like a human chameleon. Gary is a freak show of a man. He’s clearly battling loneliness, but is so caricature like in his creepiness and social awkwardness that you don’t know whether to laugh or pity him.

Like I said at the beginning, I didn’t even know this film existed until we discussed it on our ‘Box Office Chat’ segment of the Movie Burner Podcast. It flew right under the radar for me. The title nearly made me give it a pass entirely, but I’m actually glad that I watched it. Game Night is one of the rare films that I had little expectation for heading in, but it actually left me pleasantly surprised. It had a nice blend of comedy and action, a decent story with a few twists in there and it was reasonably well acted to boot.

I’d recommend giving it a watch if you’re bored and have a couple of hours to burn.

Rating: 3.5/5

Manchester By The Sea (2016) Movie Review by Kevan McLaughlin

MACHESTER BY THE SEA

Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Writer: Kenneth Lonergan
Stars: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler

Affleck is on point, Williams will break your heart and you’ll be looking out for Lucas Hedges in years to come. Kenneth Loregan’s subtly beautiful and sneakily tragic film is gentle and brutal in equal measure.

 Lee Chandler (Affleck) is a lonely, surly janitor who’s obnoxious to the tenants in the buildings he works in and awkward around anyone who wants more than a second of his time. He also gets drunk and picks fights in bars. Lee is called away from work because his brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) has a heart attack. He arrives at the hospital too late and didn’t get a chance to say his goodbyes. And he is…okay. He’s not ecstatic that his big brother has just died but he doesn’t react in a way you’d expect.

Lee is shocked to learn that he’s been named guardian for his nephew Patrick (Hedges) and, in a series of flashbacks, we begin to understand Lee’s strange mannerisms.

Lee wasn’t always like this. Once upon a time Lee was married to Randi and they had three beautiful children. One night after happy-go-lucky Lee had finished partying with his friends, he went out to buy some more beer and returned to find his house ablaze with his hysterical wife outside. When being interviewed by the police, it transpires that Lee and his friends were in the basement of his house drinking, smoking joints and doing coke. When Randi kicked his buddies out she went to bed and Lee, deciding that the house was cold and that central heating would give his daughter a headache, built a fire in the livingroom fireplace before going for his beer. It’s further revealed that when he was on his way to get his beer he questioned himself as to whether he put a guard in front of the fire or not.

Deciding it didn’t matter, he continued on his drunken quest. When the police tell him there’s no law against that, he calmly accepts their response before taking a gun from a cop’s holster and tries to shoot himself, being stopped by a crowd of cops.

This is where it’s clear why Lee is so shocked his brother made him his nephew’s guardian in his meticulously planned will. Lee is adament that Patrick should live elsewhere, either with relatives or his brother’s close friend and his wife. Anywhere, in fact other than with Lee himself or Patrick’s mother. It seems that the time between Joe’s diagnosis for his congenital heart condition and his passing, Patick’s mother had developed a drinking problem and spent time in a psychiatric facility, leaving them both long before Joe died.

Lee is forced to move back to his home-town, Manchester-by-the-Sea, and everything haunts him. He’s adament that if he’s to be Patrick’s guardian, it has to be somewhere else. But Patrick loves his life in the sleepy seaside town. He has two girlfriends; he’s on the hockey team; he’s in a band; he’s popular. But for Lee everything in this town reminds him of what he’ll never have and what he’s lost. He’s living in his dead brother’s house. His nephew is becoming an adult – something his own kids will never be. And his ex wife has remarried and is heavily pregnant.

To top it all off, the boat in which Lee, Patrick and Joe used to go out on the sea is falling apart and they can’t afford to maintain it.

The realationship between Lee and Patrick is where we see the real Lee. Patrick is stubborn, argumentative, challenging…a 16 year old boy. He’s also confident and funny, but it’s how he challenges Lee and how his uncle responds where we get to glimpse at Lee’s good soul. He’s gruff, foul-mouthed and abrasive but he’s also incredibly patient and kind.

He’s in hell in Manchester. Because of the time of year, it’s too cold and the ground is too hard to bury Joe. So, as is the custom in these circumstances, it’s not uncommon to have a church service at the time while the mortiary keep the cadaver frozen until the Spring and have the burial then. Lee explains this to Patrick, and although he understands the logic behind it it’s a constant source of friction between the pair. Lee’s patience in dealing with the headstrong Patrick is truly beautiful and when the latter has a panic attack when rooting around the freezer in his kitchen, Lee’s unorthodox and comical approach to comforting his nephew is just lovely.

It’s important to remember that Lee’s children died very young, so he never got to wade into these muddy teenage waters carefully. He was dropped in the middle of it.

The film progresses with more and more challenges for Lee, none more troubling than when, months later, Randi bumps into Lee in the street. She apologises to Lee, begging him for forgiveness for the things she said after their children died. What’s remarkable about this scene is that we don’t know what was said or how many times she said it but Michelle Williams will have you believing it was worse than anything you’ve ever heard before, but probably completely understandable given the circumstances.

Willams is in the film for only a few scenes in total but her performance , in that scene especially, will break you into a million pieces. Affleck’s reaction will grind those pieces into dust.

We know that Casey Affleck is an outstanding actor but he’s is in the process of refining his craft to the point that he’ll slip quietly into his role as one of the greats. His performance in Manchester by the Sea is beautiful, messy, ugly, relatable…a host of superlatives and oxymorons. Lee is a man lost and Affleck doesn’t play his character, he lets the devastating story wash over him.

If Michelle Williams is nominated there’s a great chance she could win an Academy Award as one of the actors with the least amount of screen time in the history of film.

But there isn’t a wasted second in her performance. She is astounding.

Lucas Hedges delights and frustrates in equal measure. Not his performance, you understand. His character is so…adolescent! He’s so combatative and beligerent, yet so vulnerable. It’ll be a delight to watch where he goes from here.

Kenneth Lonergan’s film is a treat for the eyes, as well as the soul. The coastal Massechusetts town has a lovely, cold winter glow. His long, lingering shots of his characters expose their vulnerabilities and flaws. Jody Lee Lipes’ cinematography lights up the entire film, literally. The raw, naked light is, at times, uncomfortable. But it’s the brightness of the film as it’s juxtaposed with the dark subject matter that brings everything alive.

Oscar contender? Definitely!