James’ Games #15: It’s all movies

Tag (Movie at Home)

Tag is the story of five friends who have been playing the same game of tag for 30 years. Jeremy Runner, Jon Hamm, Ed Helms, Jake Johnson and Hannibal Buress scramble to not be the last person “it”. This is one that I wanted to go see in theaters, but I just didn’t quite make it there. Overall, I enjoyed it. It was a fun movie, it was what you would expect from the trailers. I’d say it’s worth a watch, but probably not something I’d watch all the time.

Kong: Skull Island (Movie at Home)

After seeing Godzilla: King of Monsters I learned of the upcoming Godzilla vs King Kong placed in the same universe as both Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla: King of Monsters. As someone who loves both good and bad monster movies, I was excited to find Kong: Skull Island in a $5 bin at Best Buy. I really enjoyed the movie, and I look forward to seeing King Kong and Godzilla fight it out in 2020.

The Fugitive (Movie at Home)

The Fugitive is a 1993 movie that follows Dr Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) when he’s found guilty of killing his wife. When Dr Kimble escapes custody, he becomes The Fugitive. Deputy Samuel Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones) is on the case, only a few steps behind Dr Kimble, and getting closer every step of the way. I loved this movie when I first watched it with my dad years ago. Now, after years of randomly shouting “I didn’t kill my wife”, I watched it for the first time in a long while. I love this movie. Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones, although they rarely interact, compliment each other perfectly. Even knowing what was going to happen, I found myself on the edge of my seat the entire time. I found the movie to be perfectly paced, with everything I wanted from an action movie. Also, I really enjoyed that it’s a believable story. There isn’t anything too crazy. Dr Kimble being on the run, avoiding the police, finding the killer, and uncovering more, is all presented in a realistic and believable way. This is a near perfect movie for me, I would recommend it to everyone.

Unbreakable (Movie at Home)

Unbreakable is a unique Super Hero movie from M. Knight Shyamalan. It stars Bruce Willis and Samuel L Jackson as David Dunn and Elijah Pierce. Elijah has always had a fascination with superheroes, and the two form a friendship when David is the only survivor of a train accident. Even with the abundance of superhero movies that we have today, Unbreakable is something different.

Reservoir Dogs (Movie at Home)

Reservoir Dogs is Quentin Tarantino’s first film. Honestly, it’s rather tame for him. It’s cool to see some of the things that became normal in a Tarantino film. The movie follows six strangers as they carry out a robbery. However, the actual robbery is not a main focus of the film. The story focuses more on the preparation and aftermath. Quentin Tarantino’s signature non-linear storytelling is on full display, and it works very well. Like other Tarantino movies, there is lots of plot, and heavy dialogue, which is exactly what I wanted from the movie. I’d say it’s one of my favorite Tarantino movies, and it’s a shame I didn’t see it until now.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Movie in the Theater)

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is the newest movie from writer & director Quentin Tarantino. The film follows Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), as they live and work in Hollywood. I love both Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, I love most movies written and directed be Quentin Tarantino, I love plot-heavy dramas, but this movie just didn’t really click with me. I’m not sure what went wrong, because it has all the ingredients of a movie that I’d love, but it just didn’t do much for me. It’s possible that I had expectations, unknown to even myself, that were not met. Many are saying this is their favorite Quentin Tarantino movie, so I know that I am in the minority. I do not think that there is anything wrong with the movie, I didn’t have any issues with it, the acting was great, the story was great, but it really just didn’t click. Since I am in the minority, I’d still probably recommend seeing it, but maybe wait for it to be on Redbox or borrow it from a friend. I’ll still probably buy it on blu-ray since my wife loved it.

Ready or Not (Movie in the Theater)

Ready or Not is a black comedy-thriller starring Samara Weaving and Mark O’Brien as a couple getting married. Once married, Grace (Samara Weaving) must play a game with the her new family. The game is chosen at random, but there’s one catch; If the chosen game is Hide and Seek, they must sacrifice her to Mr Le Bail, the mysterious being that they thank for their good fortune. When Grace chooses Hide and Seek, she goes to hide, not knowing that they are actually coming to kill her. I liked this one too. I really wasn’t expecting much. I enjoyed many of the characters. Nearly all of them are over the top, charismatic, and distinct in their ways. I specifically really enjoyed the performance of Adam Brody as Daniel. I feel like he’s the realistic result of what any normal person that grew up in this family would be like. One thing that I didn’t like was the way they used Mark O’Brien’s character. He’s given very little depth and I just didn’t like the way his character was written. Another thing that I didn’t really like was that after the first act, the whole movie hits a plateau. It’s like the creators didn’t know how to keep up the excitement and thrill that was found in the first act, so they just kept doing what they were already doing, but stoped introducing new elements.

Split (Movie at Home)

Split is a movie that follows James McAvoy and his 23 different personalities. Dennis, Patricia, Barry, Hedwig and Kevin are just a few of these alter-egos. I think that the story is presented in a way that is believable and I find it fascinating how you can care for one personality while thinking another is a complete monster. James McAvoy gives possibly the most impressive acting performance I’ve ever seen. Flawlessly switching between personalities, and without words you can tell who he is. Split is a thought-provoking thriller that is a must-watch. I can’t wait to watch this one again.

Glass (Movie at Home)

Glass is another Superhero movie from M. Knight Shyamalan. It acts as a sequel to both Split and Unbreakable, as it has characters from both. We get to see a lot more of Mr. Glass’s character which I think helps develop him and better portrays him as the criminal mastermind. Throughout the movie I found myself really caring for James McAvoy’s character and Anya Taylor-Joy’s character. The way Casey interacted with one of his personalities felt genuine, and they were able to bond as if they had something in common, even though they couldn’t be more different.

2012 (Movie at Home)

2012 was released in 2009, and it’s about the end of the world on 12/21/12, at the end of the Mayan calendar. I had seen this one before, but my wife hadn’t and I decided it was worth picking up for $4.99 at a local store. This movie is really a mixed bag, I didn’t remember it being a particularly good movie, but I guess I enjoyed it enough to want to watch it again. Overall, I enjoyed it, not because of the drama or the incredible acting, but because it is a ridiculous disaster movie, and I love ridiculous movies. That being said, at 2 hours and 38 minutes, it’s too long. In the beginning of the movie Woody Harrelson plays a side character, and by the time the movie had ended, I’d forgotten that he was even in the movie. Early on there is a scene where the main family barely makes it to a plane and takes off just in time, it was a really cool scene and enjoyable the first time, but then there are two more plane sequences that are basically the exact same thing. There’s a subplot about an art thief that I didn’t think belonged in the movie, and overall the movie has a hard time letting us know how to feel about certain characters. At some points, Yuri the billionaire Russian, is depicted to be a cruel character, but there isn’t really any reason for him to be an antagonist, but the film treats him as one. Also, Chiwetal Ejiofor’s character and the Vice President butt heads a lot. However, it’s presented in a way that states who is correct and who isn’t and I think it would have worked a lot better if it was written so that viewers would be torn on who to side with. Overall, all these issues are minor, given the type of movie it is. I’ll probably watch this one again when I’m longing for a good disaster movie.

Don’t Breathe (Movie at Home)

Don’t Breathe is a 2016 crime thriller that follows the story of Rocky, Alex and Money as they burglarize rich families for extra money. When one of their burglaries goes horribly wrong, they must fight for their lives if they ever want to get home safe. This movie very much exceeded expectations for me. Once they got into the house where the majority of the story takes place, I expected the story to plateau, and seem repetitive. The opposite couldn’t be more true. It starts off dark, and slowly gets darker and darker as we learn more about what’s really going on. I will definitely watch this one again, hoping to pick up on more cues with a second watch.

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