Tag Archives: Jason Bateman

Movie Review: Zootopia (2016)

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Rating: A-/ So, I got to go see a movie in the cinema for the first time in ages the other day. My sister really wanted to see Zootopia and she was afraid her friends at school would spoil the ending for her before she got a chance to watch it. To be honest, I was pretty psyched to see it too, and my dad took us as a family to the movies (except for my mom, who wasn’t feeling well.) And I’ve got to say, Zootopia (or Zootropolis, as it is sometimes called) is a very cute family movie. But among the cuteness and the comedy and the talking animals, there’s a very good message and social commentary afoot. It’s not just a dumb kids film, there’s an emotional and socially conscious core that is rare to find in any family flick, except maybe those that happen to be made by Pixar studios. Continue reading Movie Review: Zootopia (2016)

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Disconnect (2012)

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Every day, untold millions of people will use the worldwide web to chat with friends, watch vines and videos, and reconnect with family. Whether Facebooking, Tweeting, or Skyping, most of these people will not see the truly bent side that sometimes lingers behind the web’s glossy facade. “Disconnect” is a movie featuring a trio of loosely interconnected stories casting the spotlight on three characters  who get a chance to experience the internet’s unsavory dark edges.

Cindy (Paula Patton) is a neglected wife who’s just suffered an unthinkable tragedy. Ben (Jonah Bobo) is an Emo teen who gets Catfished by two mocking schoolmates. Nina (Andrea Riseborough) is a reporter hungry for a story, who finds her pitch on the ‘net in a handsome male sex worker Kyle (Max Theirot.) All three people are, among other things, looking for a way to bond with their fellow man, but they all at once find themselves caught up in dysfunctional, emotionally hurtful situations.

In the wake of disaster, Ben’s father Rich (Jason Bateman) looks for the faceless perpetrator behind a devastating prank, while Cindy and her Ex-Marine husband Derek (Alexander Skarsgard) face a failing marriage and a potential identity thief (Michael Nyqvist.) Nina balances her desire for fame with her need for forgiveness, but when it comes to betrayal, how much can be forgiven?

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Sometimes didactic yet relevant, real, and so well acted, “Disconnect” might do for the vast, mysterious internet what “Psycho” did for showers. Just when you thought it was safe to log into a chatroom… The key element here, though, is not fear, but human tragedy. The cast is uniformly good, even Jonah Bobo as a bullying victim (the annoying little kid from “Zathura”- who knew!) and Alexander Skarsgard, known best as sexy vampire Eric, who- I must admit- was wooden as usual, but in this case his inert acting style fit the character.

The characters here aren’t super well-developed, but they’re portrayed with steady enough brush strokes that you find yourself liking and sympathizing with them. These are people you know. These are people you’ve chatted with, worked with, gone to school with, occupying a mundane and instantly identifiable world but fighting for their sanities, their reputations, even their very lives- their sufferings coldly recorded in the dark halls of cyberspace.

The message presented here is clear- the internet does not fill the void of a life half lived. Also, watch out, you never know who you’re sharing your secrets with in a chatroom or on a message board. It is implied by the three sad yet somewhat hopeful ‘stories’ that we are living in a society that barely notices each other, that passes over meaningful human interaction for conversations with people we’ll most likely never meet, who might not be who they say they are (unlike actual people, who are always %100 legit :P) It’s a message you might not agree with, but the movie is worth watching and pondering.

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Horrible Bosses (2011)

“Horrible Bosses” has a premise somewhere along the lines of the 1999 Mike Judge comedy “Office Space” but “Horrible Bosses” is more brazen, more over-the-top, and in my opinion, funnier. Although “Office Space” had some valid things to say about the ennui of working in a corporate firm, “Horrible Bosses” throws reason to the wind to deliver a hilarious but completely unrealistic story of a couple of immature guys who want to kill their heinous bosses.

Nick (Jason Bateman,) Dale (Charlie Day,) and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) are a none-too-bright trio of friends who have one thing in common- their rude, crude, and downright evil bosses. Nick’s boss Dave Harkin (Academy Award Winner Kevin Spacey) is a manipulative, outrageously jealous psychopath, while Dale, a faithful partner to his fiance (Lindsay Sloane,) is sexually harassed by his whore boss Julia (Jennifer Aniston, playing against type, with side-splitting results.)

When Kurt’s kindly boss Jack Pellit (Donald Sutherland) dies, Kurt is stuck with Jack’s wildly irresponsible, insensitive, coke-snorting son Bobby (an overweight, hairpiece-donning, practically unrecognizable Colin Farrell.) When the men’s jobs become hard to bear, the witless three hire a ‘murder consultant’ (Jamie Foxx) to help them finish the job.

Even though I don’t find Jason Bateman to be a particularly interesting actor, he does fine here and is boosted by a funny script. Overall, the comedic acting is very funny, although the humor might be too crude for some people’s taste. Having a man be sexually harassed by his hot female boss is a creative idea, and the indifference of his friends is relevant too- in society, males are supposed to be the horny ones who are receptive to any sexual signals, wanted or unwanted, coming their way.

Like if a man has sex with a fourteen-year-old girl, he’s a pedophile, and she’s a victim. If a woman has sex with a fourteen-year-old male, he’s a… very lucky boy? It doesn’t make sense, and the film illustrates hypocritical gender politics as Dale copes with his unusual dilemma.

I really think Horrible Bosses’ script is extraordinary, I was laughing throughout. I think “Tropic Thunder,” “Pineapple Express,” “Knocked Up” etc. are really overrated, and it’s nice to see an American comedy movie that’s the real deal, i.e. a really funny mainstream comedy. I also think that Jennifer Aniston and Colin Farrell are better than people give them credit for, and they were hysterical here as two of the three horrible bosses.

“Horrible Bosses” is consistently funny and I recommend it to anyone who likes a good, slightly dark comedy. The cast is great and the dialogue is very quotable. Overall, it is a wildly entertaining diversion and should be watched by comedy lovers everywhere.