Tag: Jason Bateman

Thunder Force

“Shit we better get into that super hero genre game” – Netflix, probably, after losing their Marvel Shows. They didn’t want to get bamboozled again, so they figured they would just buy a movie by someone who was making their own. Enter Ben Falcone, ready for his next bi-yearly (usually) basic comedy starring his wife, Melissa McCarthy.

Their last film, Superintelligence, made my worst of the year list. I don’t remember fully how the other ones did, but I don’t recall it ever being met with high amounts of laughter or praise either, so there is that. 

Honestly, based on the cover of Thunder Force, it just seems like a movie they would put out entirely to make fat jokes with their heroes? I fucking hope not. I can hope they can do better than that overall. But I still wouldn’t put it past them given the people involved with it. 

steal
Pickle jokes too. Definitely gotta have some pickle jokes. 

Back in the 80’s, some sun shit happened, that gave some people super powers! Unfortunately, this only went to people who would be classified as sociopaths, which wasn’t a good thing for anyone out there. They were named Miscreants, and began to take a toll on society, and make things unbearbale. 

At this time, young Lydia and Emily became unlikely friends. Lydia was crass, but protected Emily, who was smart. Emily’s parents were killed by Miscreants, and she had to live with her grandparents. Emily dreamed of one day figuring out how to give powers to the good guys, and that was her life goals.

Decades later, these two eventually grew apart. Now barely functioning as an adult, Lydia (Melissa McCarthy) is an adult construction worker and has nothing important to say about her life. Emily (Octavia Spencer) is rich, a scientist, a mom, and really close to getting some super powers. Once they get reconnected, unfortunately, Lydia gets given the special juice to make her super powered, so now she is in the experiment. Their first goal is to just control these powers, but stopping crime seems like a necessity. In fact, the Chicago mayor election is happening, and one of the Miscreants, The King (Bobby Cannavale) has been in charge of the city to put a leash on the other super powers, but he doesn’t like the idea of any sort of super heroes trying to stop them, or him. 

Also starring Jason Bateman, Pom Klementieff, Melissa Leo, Taylor Mosby, Marcella Lowery, Melissa Ponzio, and Ben Falcone, of course. 

science
Actual footage of Cerebro trying to find more Melissa’s to put into this movie. 

This film doesn’t really need a long in depth review to fully understand it, I imagine, but I will still go for it for a bit. First off, on the fat joke department, there was only actually one, which was surprising. I think I only laughed at one joke the whole film, a dinner scene freak out about sea food, because it was a good set up with the characters. At the same time, that scene was very slow and messed a lot with the pacing of the film. Why add that romance at all to the story? Not enough filler?

I was hoping as these two ladies were costars that it would feel like Spencer was getting a bit out of these supporting actress roles where she is there just to help the protagonist realize their true potential, or some shit. But it doesn’t. Despite the costarring, she still feels like second fiddle to McCarthy’s character, and thus is just supporting the crass member of the team into being the star. They also decided to do almost nothing with her powers. One gets super strength, the other can turn invisible and then…taze people. That is about it. Weak.

McCarthy’s character isn’t just annoying, but I have to wonder why she didn’t get powers as a kid. Her character, although not fully a sociopath, is a huge asshole. When this is a movie about good people getting powers to stop crime, but one of them isn’t really good? It is very uncomfortable. McCarthy’s character is showboaty and egotistical. She also uses her powers to get free food from places that were just getting robbed? Like. It left a big sour taste in my mouth, as she prevented a robbery, while then technically robbing at a smaller scale. 

This film has very low stakes, and these people who have superpowers rarely act like sociopaths. Is this something that affected the whole world or Chicago? Because in 20-30 some years, I would expect a whole lot more bad stuff going on than just mostly normal Chicago with the occasional gas station getting robbed. What is happening else where? Actual bad stuff? 

Low concept, low thought out film, but thankfully the humor isn’t completely bottom of the barrel. 

1 out of 4.

Game Night

The first trailer I saw for Game Night, I sort of knew I was hooked.

If anything, I would love to watch a movie about people who like to just play games. Board games and party games. I knew they wouldn’t get into the nitty gritty of great games, but any positive spin on board games is good in my book.

And yeah, sure, comedy and death. The other two things that go great with a nice game night amongst couples and friends.

Policeman
And puppies. All gamers love puppies.

Max (Jason Bateman) met Annie (Rachel McAdams) on a trivia night at a bar. They were both captains of different teams, kicking ass, and knowing the same questions. It was love at first sight.

Over the years their competitive nature took them many places. Mostly to their living room, hanging out with friends and loved ones, playing games of skill and chance, and eventually getting married! But if there is one game they are not succeeding at, it is the whole pregnancy thing. Max cannot perform on that level.

And the doctors think it could be performance anxiety. It turns out that Max has a more successful older brother (Kyle Chandler). I mean, he looks better, he is richer, he wins all of the games against his brother, and just his life is so fucking awesome. And when the brother shows up, he wants to beat him at hosting duties as well.

He throws his own game night, with alcohol, and a game where people will come and abduct one of the guests! They have to follow the clues to find the kidnapped victim first, and the winning pair will win a goddamn car. Yeah, his game night is way cooler. Unfortunately, the brother was into some hardcore bad stuff. And the kidnappers this night are real, just the rest of the party won’t realize it until things are too deep.

Also starring Chelsea Peretti, Danny Huston, Michael C. Hall, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Jesse Plemens, Sharon Horgan, and Billy Magnussen.

Gun
“I throw my hands and guns in the air, like wayooooo!”

Bateman and McAdams play a delightful couple, who really care about each other and generally want each other to succeed. They aren’t perfect and they have disagreements, especially in the family department, but they work through it, they communicate, and they have a good time in the face of adversary.

In many ways, their coupling in this film is one of the best couples I have seen lately, outside of TV. TV usually has a lot more happy couples. Movie couples tend to have divorces. And that is a lot of words on just how great of a couple they are.

The film ended up disappointing me on the levels of shenanigans that were promised by the trailer. Honestly, everyone found out the truth of the situation way too early. If they could have had the characters think it was a game and really realistic for longer periods, there could have have been some much longer and happier jokers. But the jokes were too few and far in between.

Sure the overall movie is still amusing, or even cute. There are intense scenarios, surprise cameos, and twists you might not see coming. But these twists are more done for twist reasons, and don’t really end up making a lot of sense.

Game Night if anything has a lot of heart and can be a good time for those who watch it. It just doesn’t have any sort of repeatability factor and cannot live up to its plot potential.

2 out of 4.

Office Christmas Party

Merry Christmas everybody! Sure, I am publishing this review of Office Christmas Party in January, but I totally saw it before Christmas, so this opening is okay.

I just realized that because I already saw it late, I didn’t have to rush out a review for this film, that most people were already going to ignore. Because yeah, it wasn’t the saving grace of comedy films this year. It was a standard, low effort, comedy movie.

So for whenever this review hits the actual page, let’s just pretend it is Christmas all over again. You know, so we can be disappointed and eat pie.

Work
Bad Sign: Googling the movie name gives more pictures from Christmas Episodes of The Office than this film.

This film is about some lame tech company. In charge of the entire business is Carol Vanstone (Jennifer Aniston), left there by her father after he passed away. However, the Chicago branch is being run by her brother, Clay (T.J. Miller), and he is a big fuck up. So despite it being the Christmas season, he wants them to still get bonuses and have a small gathering to celebrate. But not according to Carol. Carol wants it cancelled, no bonuses, and 40% of their workforce canned in order to meet really high growth rates.

Really shitty. But, the CTO, Josh Parker (Jason Bateman), finally divorced and broke has an idea. If they sign the Walter Davis (Courtney B. Vance) account by the end of the quarter, they will reach the growth and no one would have to get fired! Yeah! Walter likes them, but will go with a bigger company, because of news of their layoffs, branches closing, and it seems like a negative work place.

So sure. Thanks to Clay and their head tech person, Tracey (Olivia Munn), they decide to throw a giant party at work, against Carol’s wishes. Like, a crazy, old fashioned, people screwing in the copier room type party. They will throw a lot of money into it, show their happy workers, convince Davis they are awesome, and sign him tonight, and no one will have to know!

Sex, drugs, alcohol, gifts, bonuses, and a night people will talk about for ages. Fuck the HR lady (Kate McKinnon)!

Also featuring Jillian Bell, Rob Corddry, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Vanessa Bayer, Randall Park, Sam Richardson, Karan Soni, Jamie Chung, and Abbey Lee.

Party
Look! Santa on a sleigh! How crazy indeed!

I wish I could say I liked this movie. I really do. It has a lot of people I like. Munn seems to mostly make bad film choices after she left Attack of the Show. Miller is usually my favorite supporting character in movies and can usually make a shitty one slightly more bearable, but he did nothing for me in this one. And I love Miller in Silicon Valley.

Aniston still keeps showing up in comedy films while failing to be funny herself. Bateman is playing the exact same role he always does. Mackinnon is forced into an awkward character that is supposed to be an HR exaggeration but every joke is cheap and easy.

It is frustrating because it is a comedy that barely got me to smile, making me laugh maybe twice at a quick joke. It tries to show a crazy and crude party, but doesn’t push the envelope at all. The majority of the party just seems to be Miller rapping over music to very happy employees.

There have been crazy out of control party movies in the past, which is what this one tries to do, but it is surpassed by most of them easily. And the ending where they have to leave he party and deal with pimp problems? It doesn’t help the plot, takes us away from the main focus, and gives us boring action scenes disguised as something interesting.

This is another low effort film, based on a single subject, where the filmmakers really didn’t know where they wanted to take it. Easy jokes, low brow humor, some stereotypes, a penis and some boobs, and I just saved you time explaining what you would see in this film.

Office Christmas Party is not something you’d want to watch with your work friends, as a Christmas tradition, or even as part of a lay party. Easily forgettable, but not easily forgivable for the waste of time it provides.

1 out of 4.

Central Intelligence

It has been well noted that for every movie, there is an at least equal if not better movie out there that would exist if Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was included in that film. Just look at any franchise that didn’t have The Rock in it, then added The Rock to it. It is pure, unadulterated science, like Mathematics.

At the same time, films that add Kevin Hart as a co-lead tend to suffer. Sure, maybe they make some money, but basically everything that has Hart at co-lead has been mediocre at best, and generally terrible. The only films that excel with Hart are those that limit the Hart to a supporting actor role.

So this begs the question. What about a movie that has both Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart in it, as co-leads? Which side will win out? Can Johnson elevate it to greatness, or will Hart drag it down to mediocrity?

Central Intelligence was made just to answer that one question.

Cuddle
Just imagine averaging the two and seeing whose size is more extreme.

Back in 1996, The Golden Jet, Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) was king. Homecoming King and the coolest kid ever, and a nice guy. During a final pep rally, some bullies threw a fat kid, Richard (Dwayne Johnson), naked into the gym and everyone laughed at him. But Calvin gave him his coat to cover him, Richard ran away and was never seen again.

Now, twenty years later, Calvin didn’t go and do anything sexy. He is an accountant (a good accountant), but not one that leads his own company or anything. He is still with his wife, Maggie (Danielle Nicolet), but they never had kids. And tomorrow night is his 20 year high school reunion. He is just not feeling it though.

Then he gets a Facebook friend request from someone named Bob Stone. Turns out it is Richard, from high school, and he wants to hang out! Sure! But now Bob is ripped as fuck. Quirky and weird, sure, but he got fit and he got tall.

But it also turns out he is in the CIA. Or used to be. He might have killed a man. He might be framed, he might be crazy. Either way, Calvin is now involved with Bob, and they are on the run, finding clues, and dealing with international finances. All before the reunion!

Also starring Jason Bateman as old bully Trevor, Amy Ryan and Aaron Paul as CIA people, Ryan Hansen as office coworker asshole, and Thomas Kretschmann as potential terrorist.

Fatty
A moment of silence for the CGI crew who lost their lives to create this fat Rock.

And who won in the Rock Hart showdown? Well, apparently a positive beats a negative and I laughed an unreasonable amount of time in this film. That Johnson is just so damn entertaining. And since he played against his normal tropes, it was better than normal. Yes, it was technically the same joke over and over again. Big strong guy, but nerdy and super optimistic and putting Hart on this pedestal. But he went to the extreme and kept it and it totally worked.

And as a comparison, it reminds me of Terry Crews‘ character on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but only in the strange strong man role.

Hart wasn’t terrible either, because despite being the main character, he still felt limited. His character was just along for the ride (not like Ride Along), so he was a very supporting lead character.

The plot? Not the best, but it wasn’t terrible. I was incorrect with my guess on the twists technically, so it got me there.

This isn’t a movie you watch for that. You watch it for laughs, decent action, and because everyone has a crush on that big manly Rock like man.

3 out of 4.

Zootopia

2016 has a sizable collection of animated movies coming out this year. I’d list them, but that makes for a boring read.

A common theme I see is the classic “Animals doing human people things.” We technically had it with Kung Fu Panda 3, but it was at least set in the past. This year there are at least three major films with this theme in modern times. Zootopia, The Secret Life of Pets, and Sing. It seems excessive, so it probably is.

Needless to say, this made me worried for Zootopia. I had only seen the first teaser trailer, and a lot of posters. It looks un-original. It looked like last year’s The Good Dinosaur. Something they slapped together after a few years, but instead they are anticipating their other film to win awards. That one being Moana.

But then again, Walt Disney Studios hasn’t let me down since The Princess and the Frog. Clearly I should just shut up and watch the movie.

Sloth
Obligatory Non-Animated Sloth Related Clip.

Despite most of the advertisements I have seen, our main character is not the fox, but actually a bunny! A female bunny, Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), with big dreams and aspirations. She wants to leave her farm and small village and become a cop! She wants to work in Zootopia, the main mammalian metropolis where so many life forms come together to live and work together to build something great. Of course there has never been a bunny cop before and her parents (Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake) will miss her a lot, but she wants to help other animals!

You see, in this world, humans never happened, all the mammals evolved to be human-esque and resist those primal urges to kill or be killed. Somehow still, despite the hundreds of years, stereotypes still exist for predators and animals. Go figure.

Well she makes it, but Chief Bogo (Idris Elba, an Ox) doesn’t care and makes her a meter maid. After getting herself into trouble and being extremely pushy, she is eventually able to join the big case. Quite a few animals, all predators have gone missing and no one has any leads on any of them. So Judy has only 48 hours to try and find Emmett Otterton, or she will resign from the job. Sucks.

To help her, she blackmails a fox named Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) to help her follow up on some leads. And of course, they become a completely opposite duo that is able to miraculously solve the case and do what no one imagined they could do.

And of course this is a big cast. So let’s not ruin it by talking about who does what and just give the list of names: J.K. Simmons, Jenny Slate, Kristen Bell, Raymond S. Persi, Maurice LaMarche, Nate Torrence, Tommy Chong, Octavia Spencer, Shakira, and of course Alan Tudyk,

Jag
And this guy is our new Olaf/Baymax/Horse from Tangled.

Somewhere, a little cartoon mouse with ears as as big as his head is slowly lighting a cigar, laughing to himself. Walt Disney Animation studios has been in the game for eons at this point and they know what they are doing. Sometimes their advertising may be suspect, but their current main line of films since the CGI era has not had a bust yet, and it was apparently wrong for me to think otherwise.

Zootopia for the most part was a very well done and enjoyable film. Scenes were incredibly detailed, especially during a night time rain storm in the jungle. There was incredible detail put into the streets of the main city and from what it looks like, they may have gotten an accurate scale of all the animals big and small. That is a huge undertaking in a film, instead of everyone just being of similar height ranges to human, a rhino or ox or giraffe appear much larger than our normal bunny point of view. In fact, I first thought something was wrong and things were being exaggerated by the animators because the reality is quite jarring.

Better yet, Judy Hopps is an awesome character. She is inspiring, she is funny, she does more than what anyone expects of her. And hey, Nick Wilde ends up being a complete character as well. A great dynamic duo, both with their own dreams and goals and neither being a cheap stereotype (although, yes, a lot of characters are cheap stereotypes).

MM
Your mom’s a cheap stereotype.

And the movie is funny as well, it had jokes for everyone. Meta Disney jokes were there, especially when it came to Alan Tudyk’s character, movie/TV references (Breaking Bad!) and clever puns. I was almost dying during the Sloth scene, but apparently they turned 80% of that entire bit into a trailer. I’d suggest not watching that and letting it happen naturally during the movie.

It also happens to be about racism/prejudice or even a poor/rich sort of dynamic. It handles the topic with care and kids will be able to understand what is going on and the consequences of these sorts of actions.

Despite how much better it was than my imagination, it did still have some annoyances. The Gazelle played by Shakira, named Gazelle, felt incredibly cheap every time she was on screen or playing the new song just for this movie. More of a money grab than the Trolls from Frozen, but they were mostly just boring. The twists in the plot are relatively easy to catch far in advance. Not the minute small details, but figuring out who is behind the disappearing animals. A disappointing amount of time is spent pre-reveal, when an earlier reveal would have done wonders for building up the bad animal.

CGI movies take a long time to make and come out. But I don’t want to wait a long time to see more of these characters. They should turn this into a TV show, but not a cheaply done one. And fast. It easily works as a police procedural, and they’d have great content for years. Zootopia on its own is definitely recommended, and gives me a small amount of hope that maybe some of the other animated films this year won’t suck too much.

3 out of 4.

Horrible Bosses 2

Horrible Bosses 2 came to theaters in November, and I didn’t get to go to a screening because I went to see Rosewater instead.

I actually wanted to see this one more, but I opened it up to a vote, and it was something ridiculous, like 15-1 in favor of Rosewater. Too bad Rosewater wasn’t that special.

I really liked the first Horrible Bosses, despite its ridiculousness. But I also liked at least 2 of the 3 main actors, so it made a bit of sense. However, when I heard about this sequel, I definitely thought that it didn’t make a lot of sense. They had a potential of making it like The Hangover 2, where they told a very similar story and it just felt like a bad rehash. But at the same time, if it has nothing to do with with Bosses being Horrible, then why is there a sequel at all?

And can they make everything sexier this go around? I doubt it.

Nuts
Nothing sexier than showcasing your package in a business meeting. I’ve heard…

Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis), and Dale (Charlie Day) are now in a business together! They made some sort of Shower Buddy item, that not only is a new nozzle for your water to come out of, but also automatically dispenses the shampoo and conditioning when with a timer or something. Yeah it sucks.

Either way, a big company has took notice. Rex Hanson (Chris Pine), CEO or something, wants to buy it all from them for a lump sum. But they don’t want to sell their company. He is a dick to them. Then his dad shows up, Bert Hanson (Christoph Waltz), and offers instead to buy 100,000 units, they just have to get their company off the ground. Hire workers, make the product, and they have a deadline.

And guess what, they do it! But of course shenanigans occur, and they might lose their whole business for nothing instead and get screwed out of all their product. What dicks, these pseudo bosses have been! So they eventually get a plan. Kidnap the son, ransom him for a ton of cash to the rich as fuck dad, save the company, and get away with a new crime. Yay!

Oh hey, and of course, Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey, and Jamie Foxx return as their old characters too. For various humor intended reasons. And Jonathan Banks as the FBI guy trying to solve the crime! Life has been decent to him post Breaking Bad.

Sex
I assume the telescope is innuendo.

I think Horrible Bosses 2 found a nice balance between keeping to the theme of the series, but also giving us something new. Last time they all had different people that they wanted to “kill”. This time, they are united against the same two guys and they don’t want them to die. Killing is scary business. So instead a very complicated plan with many moving parts is the real ideal.

I will admit I haven’t seen the first Terrible Supervisors film since it came out, but I think I enjoyed that one more than the sequel. This one wasn’t necessarily bad, as it definitely had quite a few hilarious moments, but I also think it didn’t as great of a plot behind it. There were scenes that produced no laughs at all.

But the most important aspect of a buddy comedy is the chemistry, and it is pretty darn good between these guys. I have talked before about Bateman fatigue, but even he wasn’t too terrible, although it was clearly Sudeikis/Day’s movie for the maximum lols. You might not trust my word on that, because I love almost everything Sudeikis does. I think he’s the best part of SNL the last few years.

Also, I practically died laughing every time they used their fake voices. Just it is probably more forgettable unlike the first movie where they did the…things. And stuff.

2 out of 4.

This Is Where I Leave You

This Is Where I Leave You is one of those movies that I really didn’t care about seeing right away. I knew I could wait for it, despite liking quite a few members of the cast.

What was my beef? I call it Jason Bateman fatigue. A lot of people in this movie, but his character gets to be the main character, and for the most part, his last several years of roles have been very very similar. The Switch, The Change-Up, Identity Thief, Bad Words, Horrible Bosses. He is generally an asshole character who likes to make fun of others and has bad things happen to him. Sure he is a dick, but people are usually bigger dicks, so his dick-ness is justified.

Either way, I am super tired of him because he always gets lead guy status, thanks to Arrested Development I guess (which is also the same character).

I am tired of what feels like him lazily acting on the screen. It was fine the first few times, but now I really don’t know why I expected anything other than the dead dove.

Punch
But we have female on male violence, so I guess it can’t be too bad.

Can we look at that image closer? I think I got a stunt double in here or something, because man, that looks nothing like Tina Fey or what I would imagine Tina Fey looks like mid punch.

Mort Altman is dead. He is survived by his wife (Jane Fonda) and four kids. He was an athiest, but apparently he wanted a Jewish ceremony at his death and have his family sit shiva. That is an older tradition where the family literally sits for a week (outside of food/sleep/etc) to talk and honor the dead. People are meant to visit them throughout the week as well, to allow the stories to be said in a more natural way and to pass on the legacy of the individual. I learned about it at first from Weeds.

So we have Judd (Bateman) who is about to get separated from his wife (Abigail Spencer) because he found her in bed with his boss (Dax Shepard). Wendy (Tina Fey) is upset over her husband (Aaron Lazar) for being too busy with work, not able to stay, but also having to deal with kids and former lovers. Paul (Corey Stoll), the oldest, who wants to take over the family business cannot seem to get his wife (Kathryn Hahn) pregnant. And Phillip (Adam Driver) is younger, reckless, and dating a much older woman, a psychiatrist (Connie Britton), who actually was inspired by their family to go into her field.

What? Oh yeah, their family was written about by their mother in a book, so people know all about their lives. In a way, this makes it very similar to Peep World, but no one watched Peep World.

And yeah. Shenanigans. Also with Ben Schwartz, Debra Monk, Rose Byrne and Timothy Olyphant.

Sit
Shenanigans I say!

Overall, This Is Where I Leave You is a typical dysfunctional family comedy film. Maybe with more physical punches between and from siblings, but nonetheless, a lot of this is pretty typical.

TIWILY does attempt to do some things differently. With Bateman’s story line, there are unexpected elements behind it and they were a bit refreshing. But Driver’s plot was incredibly standard, Fey’s seemed like filler, and Stoll’s was underdeveloped.

The best part of the film is actually Jane Fonda! Her character is hilarious and really helps mesh the whole movie together. If you needed a reason to check this movie out at some point, Jane would be your reason.

A lot of it is predictable, a lot of it is okay. Overall, it just feels like too much. None of it feels realistic, to have so many things happen this way in a week, so it is hard to relate to any of the characters, at least from my point of view.

Shh. Go away. Review is over~.

2 out of 4.

Bad Words

Alright, cool, Spelling Bees are still a thing. I never got into spelling correctly. You probably knew that from my reviews. But to be fair, I have enough problems with the English language as it is, which is why I kind of hate spelling bees. I just consider most of those words made up, basically.

So we have Bad Words, which for whatever reason got a limited release as if it was some po-duck indie movie. Took it a few weeks to come out in my town, up against Captain America: The Winter Soldier, so clearly they didn’t expect anyone to come see it.

Sportmanship
I don’t know if the words are bad, but the sportsmanship definitely looks bad.

Guy Trilby (Jason Bateman) seems to be an unreasonable asshole. He is mean, condescending, doesn’t want to talk to interact with others and is extremely vague. He also has been entered into the Golden Quill national spelling bee.

Making his way through the ranks, pissing people off along the way, he is finally going to nationals. He had found loop holes in their guidelines, and since he never finished the eight grade, he is eligible. Hell, he even has a sponsor, an online news paper who has lawyers at their disposal to help fix any issues. Jenny (Kathryn Hahn) is his personal reporter, who gets to have the exclusive interview/article after it is all over and done with the hopes of finding out just why this man needs to do this.

Is he just really bitter? Did he fail at spelling bees as a kid? Rough upbringing? Does he hate children? Well, you won’t know until the last third or so.

But there is a cute kid character of course, Chaitanya Chopra (Rohan Chand) who seems to lack a caring home. So sad.

Also starring Philip Baker Hall as the president of the Golden Quill, Allison Janney as the also high up member of the organization, Ben Falcone as a reporter, and Steve Witting as the proctor.

Crowds
If you missed it, he literally pisses everyone off.

If anything, I can definitely say that Bad Words was different. It was Bateman’s first time at the directing chair for a movie, so presumably he put a lot of himself into this movie and really made it his way. It was pretty short, less than 90 minutes, going for a simpler story to tell.

But there were times when I still felt like it was a bit too long. Strange, I know. They had a lot of him hanging out with the kid, doing crazier and crazier things, and I was just sitting there wanting the next stage of the competition.

There were definitely times I laughed a lot, but technically all of the jokes were the same. It was Guy Trilby being an asshole to the people around him. He was good at insulting, but there was literally no other outlet for humor which just kind of annoyed me.

The ending was chaos, had some technical issues from what I could see, but still ended basically the way I would have expected.

I guess aspects of this movie were a bit on the Black Comedy route, but they didn’t go too far with that either. Overall, I think the movie was just okay. Had some laugh out loud moments, a lot of technical errors or goofs, and just something that probably wouldn’t interest me the second time I tried to watch it.

2 out of 4.

Disconnect

Disconnect was one of the many films to come out in the spring of 2013 to theaters, but never to my area. It is such a shame, really. However, this one was never given an advance V.O.D. treatment either, so I didn’t have it on the backburner for months stewing either. Nope, this review is coming out the first week I could literally get my hands on it. Boo yah.

Rainn
I also literally got wet during this scene.

Technology. I love it. Some other people love it. Some people avoid it at all costs.

In today’s world, we are all really connected in some way or another. Social media has made connecting with someone incredibly easy, expanding social circles to sizes never before seen, even if they are structurally weaker than before.

This is all gibberish now. Disconnect tells three or so stories about technology, the dangers of too much information, and how the littlest thing can affect another human being without realizing it. How people looking for human contact might find themselves too hooked up to really meet they’re goal.

We have Kyle (Max Thieriot), an internet webcam model, potentially part of a large child smuggling operation, and the news reporter (Andrea Riseborough) who wants to bring light to his situation and rise further in her own work place.

We have Jason (Colin Ford), who with his friends, like to make practical jokes. They target another guy in they’re grade, Ben (Jonah Bobo), because he looked at them weird. What transpires eventually brings their families together in ways they would have never imagined, or liked in the first place. Jason Bateman and Hope Davis play Ben’s parents, and Haley Ramm his older sister, while Frank Grillo plays Jason’s dad, a detective.

Finally, we have Cindy (Paula Patton) and Derek Hull (Alexander Skarsgard). They lost their baby boy about a year ago, and they have been grieving ever sense. Cindy has turned to an online grief group, because her husband has become incredibly distant, while Derek has turned to online gambling. But when their identity gets stolen in the process by one of the sides, they have to finally work together and learn a lot about their other half. Michael Nyqvist pops up here, as the identity taker in question.

Thoughts
This is Jason Bateman discovering Rule 34.

You can probably guess a lot of the ways these plot lines unfold, from my brief descriptions. That is what I thought too. And sure, the obvious stuff does happen. But I was constantly surprised with where they took this movie, from conflict to conflict. With how they connected their various stories. With the range of emotions displayed by everyone in the cast, there will be someone you can relate too.

Shit, I was surprised that the “random sister role” by Haley Ramm ended up being really good as well. Her major scenes came completely out of nowhere, and she kicked ass with very little to work with.

All of the plot lines are not equally powerful. The webcam one is clearly the worse of the three. I think they spend less time with it as well. Early on I liked it, but I think it was a bit more dragged out than the other stories. Despite that, the “climactic ending”, which had very well done cinematography, brought out the best of every plot line. Yes, even the weakest one. Well done, making me care and all.

This is definitely a movie that will stay with you for some quite some time, so when you watch it, I suggest you put full effort into watching it. A lot of “text” appears on the screen throughout, because internet yo, so you will have to pay attention. The movie may feel a bit preachy, but even this guy here, who loves all of this technology shit, could still enjoy the hell out of it.

4 out of 4.

Identity Thief

Identity Thief came out the same day as Side Effects in theaters, yet they went the opposite route when it came to advertisements. Side Effects had barely any, and Identity Thief drowned the market with with TV spots and promos.

That’s right. So many ads, I am surprised I have enough energy to tread water still.

Kenyans
Run as fast as you’d like, but you cannot escape the ad train.

Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman) is your normal Colorado living individual with a funny name. He is also a bit naive and a bit of a pushover, which is why no one is surprised when he gets his identity stolen by a “Diana” (Melissa McCarthy) in Winter Park, Florida!

Thanks to all of her shit, he now finds himself with a criminal record, failing to show up to a court date, and several thousands dollars of credit card debt. Hooray! It doesn’t help that he just started a new law firm with his buddy (John Cho) and when people¬†Google¬†his name, they only see pages of bad. The detective on his case (Morris Chestnut) can only help him if he can get Diana on his own to come back to Colorado and admit to her crimes. Clearly not too hard!

Amanda Peet plays his wife, Jon Favreau a jerk boss, T.I. and Genesis Rodriguez are hitmen after Diana, Robert Patrick a bail bondsman, and Eric Stonestreet as a rich Texan.

Stonestreet
A rich and sexy Texan, of course.

The problem with a lot of advertisements is that each one is going to be different. The problem with that? I think only two or so scenes really felt surprising or new to me. I’ve seen the jokes, the gags, the violence, and the entire plot in their ads. I feel like that probably lessened the experience.

But lets talk about the plot. Identity theft on its own is relatively simple idea, and I am pretty sure hasn’t been done in this way before as a comedy. But the writers decided to make this movie anything but simple! She is a con artist, who was a foster child, who has made problems worse by bad dealings with local gangs, and being drunk in public. That means they are running from multiple groups while hating each others company and constantly lying about their intentions.

I think there is a fine line between annoying side character and misunderstood side character. What made Planes, Trains, and Automobiles so much better than Due Date is by humanizing the weird character and not just making them an asshole. Although they attempt to humanize Diana, I don’t think it works at all, and just see her as miserable person the whole movie.

The humor itself isn’t too well thought out. I laughed during a few scenes only, but I will note the theater as a whole seemed to laugh throughout.

Overall, I just feel bad for Jason Bateman. He kicked ass in Dodgeball and Arrested Development, but he has been on a slow decline since then.

1 out of 4.