Posts Tagged ‘Jason Bateman

16
Apr
16

Bad Words, Wild

Bad Words

Jason Bateman stars and directs a movie about a guy who finds a loophole in a national spelling bee. Since he never graduated from high school, he is able to join a bunch of pre-teens in the big competition. As an adult, of course, he obliterates the kids. He psyches them out, screws with them after-hours, and bangs a journalist who is following him around, wondering why the hell he is doing all this. Bateman has a secret, the true reason for joining. It isn’t revealed until the final minutes of the film, and it’s completely out of left field, preposterous, and utterly pointless. The big reveal lets what little air was in this heap of a film out. The bulk of the movie sees Bateman befriending a young Indian kid with absentee parents. They bond over cuss words and some really pathetically forced scenes. This movie fails hard all the way around. It isn’t funny or dramatic or interesting in the slightest. It’s one of those films where the concept is brilliant, but the execution is piss-poor.

Verdict: Shitty

Wild

Reese Witherspoon tried to break out of her rom-com stereotype with this movie, taking on double-duty as both star and producer. I commend her for trying, and I also commend her for turning in a decent performance. She really does have some dramatic acting chops, and I completely believed her in the role. Unfortunately, this is a dog of a movie, with a turd of a script, which tries to force drama down your throat, and ends up being more unintentionally funny than anything else.

Witherspoon plays a sex-addict/drug-addict who is trying to pick up the pieces of her life after her mother dies from cancer. She thinks that hiking 1100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail will be life changing. She struggles in the elements, and she meets interesting people along the way. All of the hiking parts were really good. Sadly, though, the movie focuses on the reasons why she went on the hike. They are doled out in fragmented flashbacks, so you don’t know the whole story until late in the film. 60% of the film is flashbacks to her fucked-up life of fucking random dudes and shooting IV heroin, and 40% of the film is about her shot at redemption. Character motivations are generally more interesting, but they failed to make them so here. They could have easily condensed the flashbacks by half. The way it is now, you feel like you are relentlessly beaten over the head with all her tribulations until you are more exhausted than the character. And, wouldn’t you know it, at the end she is a changed woman. Yeah, sure. You expect us to believe that a depressed, sex/drug-addict suddenly lives a happy life and becomes completely sober because they went hiking? That’s a tough one to buy.

Verdict: Bad

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19
Sep
15

John Wick, This is Where I Leave You

John Wick

Keanu Reeves has been languishing for a long time. Ever since the Matrix trilogy wrapped up over a decade ago, he hasn’t been in much. And what he has been in hasn’t been very good. That all changed when he starred in John Wick. This is a true return to form for Reeves. John Wick is a fantastic, fun film that plays to Reeves’ strengths. Here, he plays the strong silent type who kicks copious amounts of ass. The story has been done a million times before. He’s a former assassin who got out of the business, but revenge pulls him back in. The way John Wick distinguishes itself from the pack is in the action sequences. The shooting and the fighting are like a ballet. They are extremely (perhaps beautifully) well choreographed. They manage to do things I’ve never seen in an action film before. Reeves is like a god of combat who dispatches countless nameless hooligans on his quest for vengeance. Plus, headshots, so many headshots. I was impressed by the visual style and the cinematography. Reeves delivers a good, restrained performance. This was an inventive action film, and it was nice to see Reeves in something good again.

Verdict: Awesome

This is Where I Leave You

This is Where I Leave You is a dramedy of the worst kind. It is rarely funny and it is barely dramatic. The general thrust is that the head of a dysfunctional family has died, and he requests that his family spend a week together to mourn him. His ulterior motive was to get the family to become closer. Basically, this doesn’t happen. Everyone has their heads stuck up their own asses to a preposterous level. Nobody can keep their lives or their relationships together. Everyone flies off the handle at any perceived slight. Everyone is detestable, and there are no characters to root for. In the end, they kind-of, sort-of make amends, but not really. The entire thing was an exercise in futility. Given the tremendous cast they assembled, the whole thing was a big letdown. They should have focused more on the comedy aspect, and maybe then the movie would have been watchable.

Verdict: Shitty

05
Apr
14

Identity Thief, The World’s End

Identify Thief

I hate this movie so much.

This is a classic, stupid, road-trip, piece-of-shit movie that Hollywood loves to produce and defecate on the masses every year. The set-up is as generic as possible. Jason Bateman plays an average, everyday schmuck who has his identity stolen by brash, morbidly obese Melissa McCarthy. She has stolen his identity, racked up huge credit card bills, and put him in trouble with his employer. He travels across the country to set things right. What happens next is a prolonged road-trip where he uses her to clear up all the problems with his employer. Of course, in typically cliche fashion, they learn from one another and becomes friends in the process. This story has been told a billion times before, and this movie brings nothing new to the table. The characters are completely bland and one-dimensional. McCarthy uses physical “comedy” to elicit laughs from the audience. She punches a lot of people in the balls and runs away. This, I think, is the primary gag in the movie. It is also a sad commentary on what this film is. It’s a punch in the balls to the audience. If you paid money to see this shit, you got punched in the balls. If you saw it for free on Netflix, you still got punched in the balls, because this movie sucked 111 minutes of your life away. Don’t waste your time with this stinky piece of shit.
Verdict: Shitty
The World’s End

British culture summarized in a single picture.

The World’s End is directed by Edgar Wright, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and written by Wright and Pegg. It features the exploits of 6 childhood friends who return to their hometown to complete a famous pub crawl called “The Golden Mile.” The final pub on the crawl is the aptly named “World’s End.” The movie also forms the third act of the loose thematic “Cornetto Trilogy.” It’s one of those trilogies where none of the movies have anything in common except for the actors, director, and some thematic elements. I call bullshit on the fact they planned this as a trilogy. I bet they never had any consciousness of a trilogy back when they made the first or even second installments, but it only dawned on them when this movie went into production. In any case, the movie shows how different each of the 6 friends have become. Five of them have grown up, but one, Gary King played by Pegg, is still living life like he was 18 years old. He’s a drunk, a drug-addict, and an all-around loser. He revels in the nostalgia the pub crawl brings, while his other friends are wary of it. As the pub crawl goes on, the comedy becomes greater, and the characters warm up to each other. It seemed like things were really going to get deep, with serious character introspection, when the film throws a sudden curveball. It turns out that the town has been overrun by alien/bodysnatching robots. They started with this small town, and have plans for global domination. Only the 6 friends stand in their way. Things go balls-out crazy from this point forward. There are zany action scenes, chase sequences, killer robots, and heaping doses of comedy throughout the final act. The film turns itself into a commentary on our modern society and how everything has become homogenized (essentially all the pubs are identical) and how we have become like zombies, enslaved by our own technology. Zombies, hmm, yes, the alien robots are pretty much exactly like zombies. Which brings me to my biggest complaint about the film. The first film in the “Cornetto Trilogy,” Shaun of the Dead, was a spoof on zombie movies. The second, Hot Fuzz, was a spoof on cop movies. This film, sort of backtracks and does the zombie thing again. The town is overrun, the heroes are outnumbered, and slowly they are all turned into alien robots. They already did this before, and it seems like the filmmakers are spinning their wheels. The other problem was that the character depth we were just on the brink of experiencing was thrown away in favor of chases and fights. The characters do show growth by the end, but only in the most superficial ways (Gary quits drinking). To be perfectly honest, I greatly preferred the first half of the film. I want to see more of that, I want to see where those characters go in an organic way, without all the gimmickry of alien robots. Alas, we’ll never know. Overall, though, this was a fun movie. It was about something, had a deeper message, and had great action and comedy. Of the “Cornette Trilogy,” I’d say it’s my second favorite entry. Here’s how I would rank all three films:
Hot Fuzz > The World’s End > Shaun of the Dead
Verdict: Good



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