Posts Tagged ‘jason bateman’


The Gift (2015)

August 10, 2015

Starring: Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton
Director: Joel Edgerton

Bottom Line: The Gift is a surprisingly solid thriller from first time writer/director (and co-star) Joel Edgerton. Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall play a seemingly normal and happy couple buying a new home in his old home town only to have things turned upside down when an odd man from the husband’s past (Edgerton) shows up with an unhealthy fascination with getting involved in their lives. It’s a pretty simple plot that is unraveled masterfully by Edgerton in his feature film directorial debut. The Gift is the ultimate slow burn – at times it can feel like the pacing is snail-speed, but it’s all worth it, as there’s an undeniable tension throughout the film, even during scenes of what seems like banal dialogue. For a movie with very few obligatory scare moments – there is one scene that made the entire theater jump in terror and then laugh at how silly we all are – The Gift is patently chilling.

It’s refreshing to see Jason Bateman play against type in The Gift. While he provides some moments to chuckle at, his character is no comedian and his dramatic, sometimes mean, performance is pretty impressive. Even though Bateman gets top billing, Rebecca Hall is quite obviously the film’s star and her performance is top notch. She shifts gears with ease and displays a wide range of emotions throughout the film; this is a fully realized character with an acting job to match. Joel Edgerton is wonderfully mysterious and creepy as the old schoolmate, but his work off the screen as writer and director is what he should really be praised for.

I thought The Gift was going to be in the horror genre, but it’s clearly in suspense/thriller territory. Though my expectations were dramatically raised by strong reviews by the time I watched it, The Gift is a very pleasant surprise for 2015. Several months ago, I would have never guessed I’d even want to see this movie. It’s certainly worth the overwhelmingly positive praise it’s been receiving and gets a strong recommendation from me.

Replay Value: I would watch it again because it was good, but a lot of the film’s strength is based on the suspense of not know what’s going to happen.
Sequel Potential: There is some remote chance of a sequel, but I think it would be a bad play.
Oscar Potential: Rebecca Hall gives a strong performance, but it would surprise me to see this type of movie get awards attention.

Grade: 7/10 (Must See)


The Change-Up (2011)

December 19, 2011

Starring: Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds, Olivia Wilde, Leslie Mann
Director: David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers)

Quick Thoughts: The Change-Up is really just a rehash of things Freaky Friday, Trading Places, and, to some extent, Big have all already done more successfully. In the film, family man Jason Bateman and womanizing, weed smoking, and soft-core porn star Ryan Reynolds switch bodies after urinating in a magical fountain together and wishing they had the life of the other. After the film opened with Bateman’s character getting a mouthful of diarrhea while changing diapers, I was fully expecting to hate this movie, but wound up finding it moderately endearing and somewhat watchable. We’re not breaking new ground here and the level of comedy doesn’t make up for that, but the film isn’t the train wreck I was anticipating. The best aspect of the movie is being able to see Bateman play against type when his body is possessed by Reynolds’ foul-mouthed, free living persona. The film has some funny and charming moments, and while it’s nothing I’d really recommend, it’s not a total waste of time either.

Viewings: 1
Replay Value: Questionably worth one viewing.
Sequel Potential: Shouldn’t have any.
Nudity: Leslie Mann gets naked. Oliva Wilde does not. Bad beat.
Grade: 3.5/10 (Skip It/Netflix It)
RottenTomatoes Scores: Critics: 24% Audience: 52%
IMDB Rating: 6.4/10
Recommendation: A decent comedy that is a little better than expected, but probably still not worth your time.


Horrible Bosses (2011)

July 11, 2011

Starring: Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell
Director: Seth Gordon (The King Of Kong)

Quick Thoughts: A solid, but underwhelming comedy, Horrible Bosses asks the question: how far would you go to get rid of your asshole boss? While the premise makes sense for Jason Bateman’s and Jason Sudeikis’ characters–Kevin Spacey is the epitome of the jerk boss and Colin Farrell is a drug-addled psychopath–I doubt any straight male would have much of a problem with Charlie Day’s situation. Jennifer Aniston has never looked better and she plays the dentist to Day’s hygienist, where she spends most of the work day trying to get him to have sex wit her. Sounds terrible! Sure, Day is engaged to be married, but the only thing we know about his fiance is that she isn’t half as good looking as Jennifer Aniston is in this movie. It’s a hard situation to sympathize with. Plus, what would you rather have on your record? Murder or adultery with an incredible looking woman? Tough choice. Risk going to jail for a long time or HAVE SEX?

For a comedy, it’s odd that Kevin Spacey’s very serious, very jerkish boss gets most of the screen time. Colin Farrell is mostly funny in his role, but is underused and Aniston takes a back seat as well. Who knows why Jamie Foxx was in this movie. Other than having the novelty of being named “Motherfucker” Jones, Foxx’s role is basically pointless and mostly unfunny. Charlie Day is definitely the film’s saving grace. Stepping up to the big leagues after numerous seasons on the hilarious FX comedy “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia“, Day is by far the most consistently funny actor in Horrible Bosses and should have a solid comedic future on the big screen.

Horrible Bosses isn’t a disaster, but it’s not going to find a place amongst the great R-rated comedies of the past few years. It’s only modestly funny and the plot gets too ridiculous at times, plus it’s a shame that it’s two best characters, Aniston’s dentist and Farrell’s coked out lunatic, are criminally underused.

Viewings: 1
Replay Value: Possibly worth another watch.
Sequel Potential: I would guess not.
Nudity: C’mon Jen… you’ve never looked sexier… just take it…one…step…further.
Grade: 5.5/10 (Worth Watching/Recommended)
RottenTomatoes Scores: Critics: 73% Audience: 80%
IMDB Rating: 7.7/10
Recommendation: Horrible Bosses isn’t a waste of time–I did find it enjoyable–but it’s more of a DVD rental than something you have to rush out and see in theaters.