Zootopia (2016) Film Review

Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) is a rabbit who wants to be a cop – the tradition domain of much larger animals with more aggressive natures. And she hates sneaky foxes – until she meets Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) a fox that is more than he appears. Or is he?

It’s a film that explores whether we can change our nature, or whether we should find ways to work within our nature. And I feel like I really should have liked this film. But I found it overly cheesey and annoying, and overall, just a bit crap. Apart from the sloth. He was brilliant.

Zootopia won the Oscar for Best Animated Film of Year.

The Ex (2006) Fim Review

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When Sofia (Amanda Peet) has their baby, Tom (Zach Braff) is forced to face up to the fact that continuing in life getting fired from one job to the next while attempting to write his second novel – that’s not going to take care of the family. So they return to her home town, to her parents Mum (Mia Farrow) and Dad (Charles Grodin) and he starts to work at the advertising company with her dad. Little does he know that he will be working with Chip (Jason Bateman), the horrible, wheelchair ex of Sofia’s.

The cast goes on – there is Josh Charles, Fred Armisen, Amy Poehler I mean really, the director or casting agent or someone must have had some serious favours owing to them to get such a great cast for such a stinking pile of poo. This is one terrible film. It doesn’t work on a humour lever, it doesn’t work for drama, it just does not work. So disappointing – and I got about three-quarters of the way through before I realised that I have seen it before – so no only is it not good, it’s also not memorable.

The Gift (2015) Film Review

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Top job on the writing and directing, Joel Edgerton! I shouldn’t be surprised, he’s one hell of a talent who has been around for ages, and needs to come into his own.

So, The Gift. This is a film where you do not want to reveal much, because it is such a well-paced, well-told story. Let’s just say that when Simon (Jason Bateman) and his wife Robyn (Rebecca Hall) move back to near where Simon grew up and he accidentally reconnects with a schoolmate, Gordo (Joel Edgerton), things do not go the way anyone expects.

I was totally with the characters, and while I wondered why some decisions were being made, I went with it. I was scared, I was confused, I hated each of them at different times, and I was magnificently relieved when it ended.

Don’t read anything about it. Just watch it.

Horrible Bosses (2011) Film Review

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Three guys are mates, and all are in jobs with bosses that are abusive and appalling. Nick’s (Jason Bateman)boss is Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey), a man who is relentlessly cruel, mostly verbally. Kurt (Jason Sedeikis) loved his boss, Jack (Donald Sutherland) but when he suddenly passes away, the nightmare cocaine-addicted son, Bobby (Colin Farrell) steps in, but his plans involved prostitutes and running the company into the ground. And Dale (Charlie Day) is a strange little guy who is being sexually tormented by his dentist boss Dr Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston). So, like Strangers on the Train, they decide that if they all kill each other’s boss, they can get away with it. But they are fools, so it goes wrong. But, of course, ultimately right.

It’s such a nod to The Hangover – three guys, one kind of cool, one sensible and straight-laced and the other a bit odd and irresponsible. I kind of liked it – well, I didn’t hate it. I liked bits… I did like that they had one of the bosses be a woman, and the idea of her doing the sexual harassment, and that it is clearly a power thing, which a lot of people forget in relation to sexual harassment. But, I felt that it was kind of too much story for a 98-minute film, but not quality enough for a longer film.

 

Dodgeball : A True Underdog Story (2004) Film Review

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Geez, isn’t Peter La Fleur (Vince Vaughn) a top bloke? He runs a gym for a bunch of losers and doesn’t even charge them, has no ambition and just lives for, I don’t really know. Fun? He has sex with ladies, but other than that, he doesn’t seem to have any interest in anything ever. Then there is White Goodman (Ben Stiller), a man so stupid he cannot spell his own name, who was incredibly obese and disgusting (eating food semi naked and letting it drip all over his fat chest and belly), but who lost weight and became obsessed with looking good and bullying others into looking good at his gym. Wow, what a prick, having drive to succeed and achieve. So then, as revenge on Peter for having sex with a couple of White’s sexy trainers, White takes out a mortgage on Peter’s gym (is that legal?) and when Peter is going to default, the only possibility is to raise money, and they only way they can do that is a dodge ball contest. Of course.

I didn’t realise until I started writing the above quite how much I disliked the premise for this film. I’ve mentioned before that I am often disappointed by Vince Vaughn, and he’s fine in this, just quite boring. Not offensive, just boring. Ben Stiller is a bit the same for me – I can absolutely hate him in some things, and love him in others. This is a hate for me – there was not enough comedy in his White Goodman, he was just nasty and self-obsessed and pretty crap.

Having said all that, I really liked the dodge ball tournament side of things – ridiculous, and with wonderful commentary from the ever fabulous Gary Cole and Jason Bateman. It is almost worth watching just for the commentary. Not quite, but almost.

 

Hancock (2008) Film Review

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John Hancock (Will Smith) is an alcoholic superhero with a severe attitude problem. He saves people, but causes a lot of damage to infrastructure along the way. Then he saves Ray (Jason Bateman), a PR man who wants to rebrand Hancock. Little does anyone know what will happen when Hancock begins to spend time with Ray, his wife Mary (Charlize Theron).

I don’t think this is a great film, but I really enjoyed it. I loved see Will Smith being all grumpy all the time, I like the ridiculousness of the story and I was entertained. I don’t think I’d sit down to watch it again, but if I was flicking and it was on telly, I’d probably watch it.

Juno (2007) Film Review

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Juno (Ellen Page) is sixteen and pregnant. She decides to have the child and adopt it out to couple she finds in the Pennysaver (I’m fairly certain this is like the Trading Post), Vanessa (Jennifer Garner) and Mark (Jason Bateman). The film follows Juno, the couple, Juno’s father (JK Simmons) and step-mother (Allison Janney) and the father of the child, Paul (Michael Cera) through the pregnancy.

Written by Diablo Cody who later went on to write United States of Tara. I know there are people who can’t stand this film – the whole extremely witty banter and constant sarcasm. I love it. I think the cast is marvelous, especially Ellen Page. The writing is marvellous. The only thing I find a little odd is the fact that Vanessa and Mark really seem to have absolutely nothing in common. I get that they kind of have to, given the way the plot unfolds. That and, like in The Easy A, the parents are ridiculously cool, supportive and delightful. But, I love them, and I love the quirky, silly music and the nifty little animations and all of that stuff.

Diablo Cody won an Oscar for Best Writing, Original Screenplay. Juno was nominated for Oscars for Best Achievement in Directing (Jason Reitman), Best Motion Picture of the Year and Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Ellen Page)

Arrested Development -TV Review

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It’s going to be a big call, but I think that Arrested Development may well be the best television comedy I’ve watched. Hmm, could that statement actually be true? If it is not definitively true, it is close. I just love it.

The show follows Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) as he attempts to run the family company after his father George Bluth Senior (Jeffrey Tambor) is jailed. Michael is trying to save the family business from the clutches of his money hungry family, mother Lucille (Jessica Walter), sister Lindsay (Portia de Rossi) and brothers Gob (Will Arnett) and Buster (Tony Hale).  At the same time, he is single-father to teenager George-Michael (Michael Cera), who struggling with an inappropriate crush on his cousin, Maeby. Maeby is struggling with the ridiculous marriage between her parents, Lindsay and Tobias (David Cross).

It is wonderfully clever. From the strange love affair that Buster has with his mother’s friend Lucille (Liza Minnelli), who is referred to as Lucille 2 (or possibly Lucille Too), to the attempts Tobia makes to get away from his career as an analrapist (combination of analyst and therapist) and break into acting following Carl Weathers.

Despite critical acclaim and lots and lots of award nominations and wins, the show was cancelled after the third season. For years, there has been a rumour of a film to come, and looking at the IMDB entry, it shows that director Mitch Hurwitz has said there is no movie deal yet. However, there has been a fourth series which is to be released in one block on Netflix in the US, UK, Canada, Ireland, Latin America, Brazil and the Nordics on May 26, 2013. No mention of Australia. I’ll keep my ears open.