Posts Tagged ‘Jason Bateman’

The Change-Up – Really Changes Nothing Up

Posted 10 Nov 2011 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Scott Martin

The Change-Up is a movie that tests the attention span – and maturity – of its audience. The Change-Up, USA, 2011

Directed by David Dobkin

The Change-UpAt seems that at least a few times a year, movies are released that test the attention span -and maturity – of their audience. I’ll be the first to spoil the big surprise here: there’s a projectile poop scene. The review almost writes itself. Take Jason Bateman, who seems to be one of the busier actors this year, and put him with Ryan Reynolds, who seems to be one of the busiest actors in general, and put them in a Freaky Friday rehash, and you might expect some comic gold, right? Well, your head is in the right place, but your expectations might be too darn high. What we’re given instead is one of the raunchiest (for the mere sake of being raunchy) comedies I’ve seen in a long time. This makes Reynolds’ work in Van Wilder (2002) seem like The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland (1999). And that’s being kind. Read More

Horrible Bosses

Posted 05 Sep 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Horrible Bosses is a hilarious new film from King of Kong director Seth Gordon. Horrible Bosses, USA, 2011

Directed by Seth Gordon

Cheap and (especially) predictable as they sometimes are, the jokes in Seth Gordon’s Horrible Bosses work, and at its best, it made me laugh harder than any movie I’ve seen so far this year. A good example is a scene early on in which Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman), who has been working so hard to get a promotion that the only thing still in his home refrigerator when he actually has a moment to check is an old lime (“Could have been a kiwi; no way to tell”), has said promotion brutally ripped out of his hands by his evil boss, Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey) so that Harken can take the position for himself, along with its attendant salary boost and the office Nick has been coveting. When Nick screams a profanity and drags Harken across the floor by his own necktie, any halfway-educated film viewer will immediately realize that this is a fantasy sequence, but the sheer brutality and enthusiasm of its execution manages to garner laughs despite the cliche. Read More

Juno – Worst Hipster Movie Ever (So Far)

Posted 08 Jun 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Ezra Stead

Juno, USA, 2007

Directed by Jason Reitman

Juno is an insufferable and overrated quirk-fest.

Juno is, in my decidedly non-humble and belligerent opinion, not only the most overrated film of the last decade, but also one of the worst. Before we go any further, let me assuage any accusations you might be formulating that I’m just trying to espouse an unpopular opinion for the sake of doing so, or that I didn’t want to like the movie: the second part is true. But I also went into Little Miss Sunshine (2006) expecting and wanting to hate it, and it won me over. I didn’t think it deserved to be regarded as one of the best films of that year, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Let it also be known that I like all of Wes Anderson’s films (to varying degrees), The Squid and the Whale (2005) and Napoleon Dynamite (2004), so please don’t think I just hate quirky indie movies. That said, let me expound upon why this is the most insufferably cutesy and irritating film I’ve seen since Zach Braff’s Garden State in 2004 (and I think this one just might be worse).

The first thirty minutes or so of Juno are almost unbearable, as Ellen Page (an excellent actress who, like the rest of the cast, is completely wasted on this tripe) struggles to bring life to a character whose every line sounds like it was written by an angry, dumb teenager who thinks the audience callbacks at The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) are the height of wit. Worse than that, some of those lines are uttered into a hamburger phone that the character admits is awkward to use, but it’s all part of the ironic facade she uses to mask her true vulnerable, compassionate humanity. Sarcasm doesn’t translate well in writing, so I should probably point out here that the film spends another hour unmasking this facet of the character, all the while indulging in the kind of dialogue that would get you a “D” at best in any self-respecting screenwriting program. Read More

Paul

Posted 21 Mar 2011 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Scott Martin

Paul, Spain / France / UK / USA, 2011

Directed by Greg Mottola

Paul is the new feature from director Greg Mottola.

Paul is the simple story of an alien with an attitude and a heart of gold. In fact, the entire point of the film is so sweet that it seems almost impossible to believe that most of the film itself is crude, and partly cruel. Unlike Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007), which were helmed by Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have brought us an eager “who said it” film filled with countless references and … political poignancy. All this, from Superbad (2007) and Adventureland (2009) director Greg Mottola. Mottola’s filmography is small, but consistent – he’s a comedian’s director with a lot of his own to say. That’s a form of direction I’ve always appreciated; the ability to let others shine while imbuing your own specific messages into the forefront. But here, Paul has mismatched its intent with its delivery. And that, in retrospect, hinders a positive remembrance of the film.

When I saw this film about a couple of weeks ago, I remember that I laughed throughout. It’s a funny, sharp, and deliriously rich comedy. With the talents of Pegg, Frost, and Mottola, we also get Bill Hader, Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Sigourney Weaver, David Koechner, and Seth Rogen’s voice as the alien Paul. Outside of Pegg, Frost, Rogen, and Wiig, all of the other actors have borderline cameo roles, but are given enough material to stretch their legs and get the ball rolling. Read More

Hancock – I Know, Let’s Make Him A God!

Posted 28 Oct 2009 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Corey Birkhofer

Hancock, USA, 2008

Directed by Peter Berg

will smith

Will Smith is on fire: a big blockbuster nearly every year for as long as I can remember, and it doesn’t seem like he’s going to stop anytime soon. Now for any of you who follow his work, you’ll know that Smith has played the last-action-hero or beaten-down-nice-guy-against-the-rest-of-the-world role before: I, Robot (2004), I Am Legend (2007), The Pursuit of Happyness (2006). Personally, I have loved him in every one of these roles because there was always something unique about his character that compelled me to watch him succeed through all the struggles put before him.

Earlier this year when I finally had a chance to see Hancock, I have to say I felt more than a little giddy to see what Smith would bring to the role. To me, there’s something about Smith’s whole aura that just makes me want to watch him do what he does. He has a full range of emotions at his disposal, not to mention his consistency in picking interesting characters that have unbelievably difficult obstacles put before them.

On the surface of I, Robot, Smith is a detective bent on solving the murder of a leading scientist who was also his friend. Underneath the surface of this detective exterior is a character that hates robots. This is a problem for him in the overly robot-reliant society in which he lives, and it makes his struggle all the more difficult and, as such, compelling to watch. In I Am Legend, Smith is again the lone man (in this case, literally) trying to find the cure to a disease that has killed and/or mutated the remaining human population into vicious, zombie-like carnivores. Throughout the film, we see the protagonist’s clockwork routine that he has undoubtedly developed through near-death experiences fighting the once human, now zombie-like creatures that only come out at night. This routine is what has kept him alive, and the meticulousness of it is real and tangible, thus making him an interesting protagonist to watch succeed. In The Pursuit of Happyness (which was based on a true story), Smith plays a salesman trying to sell these ridiculously difficult to sell x-ray machines, all while his family is falling apart at the seams. Despite this, his strange knack for memorizing numbers and his insanely driven work ethic are character attributes that make him incredibly interesting to watch as he struggles to get what he wants. No surprise that this, too, was a film I loved. Now let me get to Hancock.

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