Is The Game Over? Tagging You Into This Review

Tag Poster

            Childhood games and traditions may seem silly, but with them comes a pact that helps solidify the friendships that start with them. Based on true events, today’s review is based on events of a group of guys who played Tag for almost three decades and the craziness that came with it. Another comedy arrives this weekend and yours truly is here to help get your movie going experience on, or not depending on the movie.  Let’s gets started as I review:

 

Movie: Tag (2018)

 

Director:

Jeff Tomsic

Writers:

Rob McKittrick (screenplay by),  Mark Steilen (screenplay by)

Stars:

Jeremy Renner,  Ed Helms,  Jake Johnson

 

LIKES:

Good Pace: A movie about a childhood game requires a good pace to capture that energy and Tag succeeds in securing this.  The movie constantly keeps the gang on their toes, as the crew makes attempts to discover the whereabouts of Jerry (Jeremy Renner) and then execute their plans.  Most of the scenes are high adrenaline bouts of running, with obstacles courses, clever dodges, and a few other moves.  It keeps up the fun of the movie and does little to venture off the course of bringing you back into your youth.

 

Surprisingly Deep: While it is a comedy, Tag somehow manages to take a break away from the silliness by getting into the character stories. As a balance between fun and depth, the movie does a unique job presenting the background history, by using the temporarily lapses in the excitement to interview the crew.  Rebecca (Annabelle Wallis) is an interviewer who gets dragged into the adventure, and to further understand the trend, asks the group how things evolved.  Through this story, the characters evolve, and the relationship dives into something much more emotionally charged than I ever expected.

 

Funny:  Is the comedy funny?  Yes it is, and the movie does a nice job of broadening the comedic styles across the board to not only help each character stand out, but keep the comedy fresh and fun.  I myself enjoyed the physical comedy of the group, which felt like a more ridiculous version of Home Alone’s stunts.  In addition, Hannibal Buressdry, monotone delivery was perfect to offset all the yelling, high drug and angry comedy that the rest brought.  Matched with the energy of the movie, the comedy helped rejuvenate the youthful energy of the movie and keep everything fun to watch.

 

Good Balance of Characters: My concerns for actors getting underutilized was misplaced for once, and Tag was able to keep everyone practically involved in the adventure.  Much of this has to do with the presentation of backstory and modern-day planning, but everyone who gets pulled into the game stays in the game… in a nonthreatening manner that is. And thanks to the blend of comedy styles, every character is very well utilized to further expand the game at hand.

 

 

DISLIKES:

 

Crosses the line sometimes: Some of the styles in this movie are very dark and mature. It’s these elements that sometimes cross way over the line, jumping into topics that aren’t worth joking about.  Super competitive people will relish in the tactics used to win, but for me, the writers sometimes went a little too far in impeding the sanctity of things that needed to be impeded on.

 

Sexual Innuendo Banter: Innuendos are a great device when deployed sparingly and timed right.  Tag accomplishes this goal well, but there are a few moments where the aggressive comedy diverges from the path to just stuff more sexual antics into the mix. One of these times was completely unnecessary, a lead that was doomed to fail and could have been edited out. When the banter about this stuff continues to occur, it got old due to how irrelevant it needed.

 

Over the Top At Times: The whole movie is over the top, I get that, but sometimes it flew sky high into the childish and moronic territories. The game of tag has a lot of stakes to winning, and when competitiveness gets in the way, the adrenaline rush causes one to do stupid things. However, this movie takes it a little too far, leading to yes amusing antics at times, but other times very destructive habits that again crossed a line not only into illegal areas, but stupid territory again.

 

Isla Fisher’s Character: This has nothing to do with the actress herself, but the direction they took her in.  Anna is a firecracker to say it nicely, but the direction had her a little too obnoxious and bipolar for my liking.  At times it came off well, but other times it was just annoying to see her aggressively yell, curse, or sometimes strike a person for no reason. It never got any better for me, and some of my fellow movie goers agreed that her character may have been the weakest link of the group.  Still, you want that firecracker wild woman, you are in the right area.

 

 

The Verdict:

 

            Tag is a movie that doesn’t sell you short on the simplistic, fun, youthful adventure that it is.  It’s a ridiculous, over the top comedy that is incredibly entertaining and should keep you in the film for the entire ride.  With a great ensemble and multiple styles integrated together, one should find a few laughs held in the confines of this game.  Despite the surprising depth to the movie, the ridiculous antics, cursing/dirty comedy still cross the line and Fisher’s character didn’t help to maintain the balance they would have strived for.  Still, the movie succeeds in recapturing the spirit of youth, and is worth a trip to the theater as a group or date movie.  If you can’t catch that together, then save your money for the rental service and wait for next week’s flick.

 

My scores:

 

Comedy: 8.0

Movie Overall: 6.5

 

Quality Sci Fi has Arrived

arrival

            Science fiction is a genre that gets a bad rap by many often because it is mixed in with science fiction/fantasy (e.g. Star Wars, Star Trek, and etc.). However, there are occasions where, if you give the series a chance, you’ll find a film that is a work of art.  Tonight, a few friends and I checked out Arrival to see what all the hype was about.  Is this movie truly worthy of the praise, or is it just overhyped advertisements?  You know the drill, read on to find out…please.

 

LIKES:

  • Strong acting chemistry
  • Awesome Science Fiction story
  • What a twist

 

You want to make a strong movie; you need strong cast to act the tale out.  Arrival has all that and a bag of chips with the crew assembled for this movie. Amy Adams leads with a stellar, or interstellar, performance that was one of her strongest performances in a long time. She played scientific and emotional, crafting a character that was very admirable to watch as she worked to decipher the alien language. Jeremy Renner plays the supporting scientist, whose expertise adds another dynamic to the mix to not only provide some clues, but also a potential friendship to Adams life.  The two together feel like a scientific team striving to help the world, and their chemistry mixes well that you would expect of the lead actors. In regards to Forest Whitaker, his military colonel performance is strong, rugged, and a bit suspenseful to help add some antagonism that also fits well with his costars.

But the acting isn’t the only thing you are looking for in a Sci Fi movie right?  You want a good story that blends reality with some advanced science concepts, right?  Good news, Arrival delivers on this aspect crafting a fairly realistic tale that is believable and not loaded down with special effect explosions.  The tale has mystery behind it, which will hook you into the film and carry you for the ride as one tries to figure out the aliens’ purpose. An added suspense is brought in by the time constraints placed by our overzealous military humans who strive to attack if a message cannot be conveyed.  As for you character developing folks, don’t worry there are plenty of sequences to illuminate the mystery behind our group, helping to add some depth to what would otherwise be a stereotypical role And the twist, well our story writers managed to surprise a number of people with a revolution that was both mind blowing and emotionally satisfying.  I was able to pick out a few “big” reveals, but they paled in comparison to the main revelation in store for you.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Alien Design
  • A few unanswered questions
  • Slow at points

 

   It is really hard to find errors for me in this film, so much of this is simply picky things that really won’t ding the scores.  The first is the alien design.  Our mysterious visitors were not that impressive for me, lacking any threatening features. Without revealing anything, they seemed to be a simplified copy of another creature seen in a movie series a few years ago.  Nevertheless, the things they did were really well animated and cool to watch, and despite not looking impressive were certainly intriguing to watch. Again a small weakness

In addition to all the good things I said about the movie, Arrival is a movie that will warp your mind and keep you asking questions.  Yes, it is a movie you have to pay attention to and will keep you thinking as you try to fathom the plot.  With the constant moving pieces and the multiple stories, you might wonder if they cover everything.  And for the most part they do as our writers make sure the film comes together in the end to deliver the messages and punch it has.  Pay attention America and you might just learn something.  Despite everything coming together though, there is one question my mind craved to know (which I can’t reveal) and I have to wonder what the whole point of the visit was when the ending finally came.  Again another small dislike for me.

 In fact, the only dislike that I may have to dock off is the pace of the movie.  Arrival isn’t the fastest moving film, and there are times where the movie seems to unnecessarily drag at times.  The movie sometimes dives a little too deep into the details (e.g. traveling to the ship, traveling the ship’s hallways, or seeing some of the character developing scenes). While these moments certainly bring the setting to life, the repeated scenes and extra details may not have been as necessary as they thoughtWhen the ending wraps up nicely though, these extra details feel welcome.

 

THE VERDICT:

I got to hand it to Arrival for delivering on the promises the trailers built up. The film is a true science fiction masterpiece that is intriguing, thought provoking, and suspenseful in one package. Those who aren’t big fans of alien films ought to give this one a whirl not only to have a good mystery, but also for the emotional backstory of our lead character.  Despite the slow pace of the film, our team brought a fantastic story together, one that I hope will be recognized for the intelligence behind it.  And if you are looking for a good twist, well get ready to have your mind blown.  Small weaknesses aside, this movie is definitely worth a trip to the theater for many people.

 

My scores:

Drama/Mystery/Sci Fi:  9.5

Movie Overall: 9