Not quite Barb & Star caliber, and not quite Rachel McAdams’ best comic performance (but probably Dan Stevens’) but it’ll do nicely. The only great review is by Mark Asch on letterboxd, who got more out of this film than any of us did.
Fun-enough comedy that will mostly be remembered for Rachel McAdams’ best line delivery of 2018 (“oh no, he died”). Sibling rivalry deal, with Jason Bateman, who grew up extremely competitive because of his older brother Kyle Chandler. Kyle visits and sets up a live-action murder-mystery game as a pretense to gift Jason a sweet-ass car, but Kyle actually gets kidnapped by baddies because all his apparent success is due to his double-dealings with dangerous criminals, so Jason and wife Rachel split up from their fellow gamenighters to solve the real kidnapping which they think is fake until people start getting killed.
Calum Marsh’s review is what go me into the theater:
The screenplay, which has set-ups and punchlines and set-pieces and actual jokes, made me realize how bored I am with the Apatovian improvisatory riffing that’s dominated mainstream comedy since about 2005, and how much I’ve yearned for gags that seem written rather than stumbled upon once the camera’s rolling indiscriminately. It also looks terrific: unlike the slapdash script-delivery-service style that makes everything from Baywatch to The Disaster Artist feel like the same careless feature-length slab of cable television, Game Night is clearly the product of thought and skill, directed by people who remember (as some of us still do) that film is a visual medium.
The very definition of a great ensemble cast, each character given similar tasks throughout the investigation but with different personal connections to the church and the case. Hulk Ruffalo and Michael “Birdman” Keaton are joined by Rachel “Passion” McAdams, John “Iron Man’s dad” Slattery and a gentle mustache named Brian James under new boss Liev “brother of Wolverine” Schreiber as reporters investigating a pattern of sexual abuse in the catholic church.
D. Ehrlich: “earns comparisons to Zodiac and All the President’s Men, but is also more modest and anonymous than either… less sticky. still, builds an immense momentum with its earnestness.”
M. D’Angelo: Thoroughly enjoyable, but the only aspect of it that wowed me was Liev Schreiber’s deliberately off-putting performance; I imagine McCarthy repeatedly telling him “Let’s try that again, but give me more absolutely nothing this time.”
I know some people think that Tom McCarthyâ€™s direction is utilitarian; I couldnâ€™t disagree more. His steady medium shots and groupings of men (mostly men) in conversation in offices, behind overcrammed desks, in restaurants, clubs, doorframes, and well-appointed sanctuaries are not the product of lack of visual imagination but of serious thought about how best to tell a story of journalistic process and the uneasy co-functioning of big urban institutions (church, paper, courthouse). The empty weekend office in the filmâ€™s final sequence, with Liev Schreiberâ€™s Marty Baron at work in the distant background, has stayed with me as much as any shot from any movie this year.
A twisty triple-cross murder thriller, sleek and sexy and fun while it’s playing, with very good performances, but pretty instantly forgettable. Too bad, I was hoping for another Femme Fatale. American remake of Alain Corneau’s final film Crime d’amour which starred Ludivine Sagnier and Kristin Scott Thomas.
Rachel McAdams (To The Wonder) steals credit for her employee Noomi Rapace’s successful advertising idea, is in line for a big promotion, and is dating hottie Paul Anderson who is stealing from the company on the side. Noomi (also great in Prometheus) does all the work while Rachel enjoys being rich and powerful, repeatedly humiliating Noomi until she murders Rachel in the midst of a downward spiral of pill addiction with blue-toned noir lighting.
But wait! After being arrested Noomi manages to prove her innocence with some belated evidence and pin it on the boyfriend instead. And she’s secretly dating her hot red-haired secretary Dani (Karoline Herfurth of We Are The Night, not We Own The Night). The ending gets confusing, since Rachel is apparently alive again (Wikipedia says it’s her twin sister but whatever) and poor Dani gets murdered by either Noomi, Rachel, Rachel’s sister or maybe a ghost or it didn’t happen at all, I dunno. I figured it as a twist on the twist ending, not actually revealing how the final murder happened.
De Palma’s still got the smoothest moving camera in the business (shot by veteran DP JosÃ© Luis Alcaine, who did at least six Almodovar movies), an excellent looking and sounding movie. I feel like I should’ve liked it more – not that anyone else did (A. Tracy’s takedown in Cinema Scope is the most amusing of the bunch).