January 18, 2017

Tag Archives: Jason Bateman

Jason Bateman continues his directorial progression with “The Family Fang”

A few years back, Jason Bateman made his directorial debut with the amusing yet filthy comedy Bad Words. This year, he has a sophomore feature that just hit screens in The Family Fang. I saw this movie a couple of weeks ago at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival and found it to be only decent, but regardless of my thoughts, it shows off an interesting direction for Bateman as a filmmaker. He seems to be moving towards prestige fare, which is not exactly where you’d initially peg his projects to go. For that, I can’t help but show admiration for his choices so far.
The movie is an adaptation of Kevin Wilson’s novel. The plot centers on the adult lives of the children of noted performance art mavericks Caleb Fang (Christopher Walken) and Camille Fang (Maryann Plunkett). As kids, Baxter Fang (Bateman) and Annie Fang (Nicole Kidman) enjoyed the gimmicks that doubled as games for them, but as grown ups, they’re profoundly damaged. Baxter is a struggling author and Annie is an actress more known for offscreen antics than onscreen ones. They’re estranged themselves, but when an accident brings them together, they then come back into contact with their parents. Then, Caleb and Camille disappear. Is this a tragedy or one last piece of performance art? Annie and Baxter are determined to find out. Bateman directs here, while David Lindsay-Abaire wrote the adaptation of Wilson’s book. The rest of the cast includes Michael Chernus, Kathryn Hahn, Josh Pais, Harris Yulin, and more. On the technical side, perpetually underrated composer Carter Burwell handles the score.
Even though I have some issues with the flick, I definitely can appreciate where Bateman is going. The maturation from Bad Words to The Family Fang is impressive. Moreover, I found more fault in the story and screenplay by Lindsay-Abaire than with what Bateman shot from the director’s chair. He’s a stronger actor when directed by himself to boot, so I’m all for him continuing down this road. In fact, if this continues and he finds some better material to work with, I really think that Bateman can be one of the next actors turned filmmakers to be cited by the Academy. He’s probably a ways away, but an Oscar one day could certainly be in his future.
I doubt this will be an awards player, but anything is possible. Academy Award campaigns could be put forward though, […]

Jane Fonda in “This Is Where I Leave You”: What’s Up with the 2015 Awards Race

Directed by: Shawn Levy
Written by: Jonathan Tropper
Main Cast: Jason Bateman, Rose Byrne, Adam Driver, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Kathryn Hahn, Corey Stoll, and more…
Past Oscar relations: Jane Fonda is a two time Academy Award winner, taking home statues for Coming Home as well as Klute
Today we have another article in this ongoing series of mine concerning the 2014 releases hoping to compete for some sort of actual Oscar attention as a contender at the upcoming 2015 ceremony. Next up for us here folks is the ensemble dramedy This Is Where I Leave You, which hopes to be the latest dysfunctional family to appeal to the Academy. Can it actually do it? Let’s discuss that possibility a little bit below…
This film follows the Altman family as they’re forced to be under one roof for the first time as adults in the wake of their patriarch’s death. All manner of comedic, dramatic, and emotional beats are subsequently hit between siblings and their significant others, as well as by their mother, played by Jane Fonda. The cast also includes the aforementioned Jason Bateman, Rose Byrne, Adam Driver, Tina Fey, Kathryn Hahn, and Corey Stoll, in addition to the likes of Connie Britton, Debra Monk, Timothy Olyphant, Ben Schwartz, Dax Shepard, and Abigail Spencer, to name a few. They all interact with each other in both zany and oddly believable ways. Comedy filmmaker Shawn Levy went lower budget and more serious here than usual in directing novelist Jonathan Tropper’s winning book. Tropper himself even wrote the adaptation himself. It all adds up to something that I was very interested in seeing, being a fan of the novel. Luckily, the core of the story has been successfully translated to the screen.
What this flick has going in its favor is the chemistry between cast members and the screenplay. Tropper’s script is very clever and a faithful, if streamlined, adaptation of the book. The cast, especially Driver and Fonda, are excellent, hitting beats across the whole emotional spectrum. The tone here is a tricky thing, but Tropper and the cast really do hit it. In a perfect world, both that screenplay and Fonda’s scene stealing turn would be up for awards consideration.
Working against This Is Where I Leave You is the fact that reviews out of the Toronto International Film Festival were lukewarm and frankly the Academy doesn’t usually jive towards something like this. Family dramedies have […]

Kevin Smith’s “Tusk”: Ten Films to look forward to in September

Believe it or not, we’re now into the month of September, which is insane if you ask me. I’ll be updating my Oscar predictions later on this week, but right now, I’m going to preview the films of the month ahead. There’s no shortage of interesting flicks hitting screens, so we’re entering the start of the very best season for cinema. Tis the season for high quality movies, with the upcoming New York Film Festival really kicking off Oscar season for me. That’s not to say that the next week or two won’t have plenty to talk about, but once we’re in October it’s really the heat of the moment then, as it were. Even so, the whole month of September has plenty to be excited about, I assure you of that much. There’s no shortage of quality coming our way, so be excited folks.
Below you’ll see a total of ten titles (plus a pair of honorable mentions) that I feel represent the best of the month. I’ve seen a handful of the films to be discussed, so I can vouch for those personally. The rest? Well, I’ll be reporting in on them real soon. In the meantime, here you go:
10. The Guest – A throwback thriller, I saw this film from up and coming genre filmmaker Adam Wingard (who blew me away with You’re Next last year) recently and liked it a lot. It feels like a B movie from the 1980’s, a slow burn through and through. If you like the sort of thing where you laugh and cringe in equal measure, this one will be for you. It hits on the 17th.
9. The Zero Theorem – Any new work from filmmaker Terry Gilliam is worth taking note of. Even if this isn’t my favorite one of his (I’m currently embargoed from saying too much more), it’s far from boring and has a top notch cast (led by Christoph Waltz). This one comes out on the 19th and likely will divide audiences. Something tells me that Gilliam wouldn’t have it any other way though…
8. Two Night Stand – Another movie I’ve already seen, this romantic comedy is actually a lot better than the ads would lead you to believe. The flick is really charming, with winning turns from Miles Teller and Analeigh Tipton. Ignore the mediocre trailer and trust me here when I say this is rather good. […]

The Best of the First Quarter of 2014

Believe it or not, we’re now three full months into the 2014 movie calendar, which means we’re a quarter of the way through. That got me thinking about what the best of the bunch so far this year has been. Since now is the time when the film slate begins to transition into summer flicks and counter programming independent fare, I thought it was the perfect time to praise the best of 2014 so far. Basically, anything that hit screens between January 1st and March 31st will be up for grabs here for my personal honors. There are some April and May releases that are wonderful too and would have otherwise cracked my top ten to date, but I’m excluding them here since they’re not first quarter releases.
Below you’ll find my top ten of the year so far, along with my awards for the the first quarter of 2014. Here you go:
10. Bad Words – Jason Bateman’s directorial debut is one of the funnier movies of the year so far. Hardly a masterpiece, but thoroughly enjoyable, it shows that he has a future as a comedic filmmaker. Crude and intentionally lowbrow at times, this is still a very fun flick.
9. Like Father, Like Son – A fascinating look at Japanese fatherhood, this was at one time considered a potential Best Foreign Language Feature contender at the Oscars last year. That never came to pass, but this is still one of the better things to hit theaters this year.
8. Noah – I’ve yet to dislike a Darren Aronofsky flick, and this alternate take on the biblical story continues that perfect record for him. Incredibly ambitious and visionary, the good far outweighs the bad here. Though far from perfect, it’s the first must see epic of 2014 in my mind and a great conversation starter as well.
7. The Grand Budapest Hotel – I’m not usually a big Wes Anderson fan, but something about this latest film of his really clicked for me and I fully embrace it. Ralph Fiennes is really terrific here, while the scope of the work really managed to catch my eye and appreciation. His quirkiness finally found a proper outlet, at least according to my tastes.
6. Breathe In – Drake Doremus is one of the more interesting young filmmakers in the business, and he continues to show why with this domestic drama. With a strong visual palate and […]

Melissa McCarthy is officially a comedy mega-star

‘Identity Thief’ cements Melissa McCarthy’s stardom while Side Effects clarifies Channing Tatum’s box office drawing power.
Melissa McCarthy is officially a comedy mega-star. There can be little dispute of that after this weekend. Identity Thief topped the box office this weekend with an astonishing $36.5 million and I’m at a loss to think of any reasons it would do so well aside from Ms. McCarthy.
Jason Bateman is a terrific actor and a fine foil, but he’s box office poison as a lead (The Switch opened with $8.4 million, Extract opened to $4.3 million, and The Change-Up debuted with $13 million). The film’s simple and self-explanatory title, along with the clever expository tagline (“She’s having the time of his life.”) surely helped, as did the lack of any big comedies in the current marketplace. Parental Guidance and This Is Forty are both doing stealthy strong business, with $74 million and $67 million thus far respectively, but this is the first big star comic vehicle in awhile and it delivered in spades.
This was McCarthy’s first big test of her alleged stardom. Identity Thief was completely sold on McCarthy’s new-found stardom. The core imagery was basically her face on the poster, slipping a Slurpee next to a befuddled Jason Bateman. This is a much larger debut than Bridesmaids, the film which catapulted her to fame and proverbial glory back in May, 2011. This is among the ten-best R-rated comedy debuts ever and the fifth-best for a non-sequel. Heck, it opened bigger than the PG-13 Couples Retreat, which had a proverbial whos-who of comedy players (Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, Malin Akerman, Kristin Davis, and Kristen Bell) and managed a $34 million debut back in October 2009.
Fox has to be thrilled at the moment, knowing that they have a plausible gold-mine in the Melissa McCarthy/Sandra Bullock action-comedy The Heat waiting in the wings for June of this summer.
To read more go to Mendelson’s Memos
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Jason Bateman and wife have welcomed a new daughter

HollywoodNews.com: Actor Jason Bateman and his wife, Amanda Anka, are proud parents to a new baby girl, Maple Sylvie Bateman.
A rep for Bateman just recently confirmed the exciting news that his wife gave birth to their second child and daughter on Friday, February 10th in Los Angeles, states People.
The two already have one daughter, Francesca Nora, who is five years old.
Bateman and Anka have been married since July 2001.
Do you like the baby’s name?
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“Arrested Development” to return with ten episodes and a movie

By Kim Palacios
hollywoodnews.com: The critically acclaimed “Arrested Development” will return to television, its creators have finally announced. Ten episodes will be produced as precursors to a series-ending film. Rumors of the show’s return have swirled for upwards of a year, with the actors and other sources close to the production offering vague, skittish clues in recent months. Though few concrete details are known, a flood of confirmations from insiders over the weekend verifies that the project is underway.
Tweeted star Jason Bateman today, “It’s true. We will do 10 episodes and the movie. Probably shoot them all together next summer for a release in early ’13. VERY excited!”
So, what will we see in the new episodes, and how much time has passed since the third season? Creator Mitch Hurwitz told the New York Times: “I have been working on the screenplay for a long time and found that as time went by, there was so much more to the story. In fact, where everyone’s been for five years became a big part of the story. So in working on the screenplay, I found even if I just gave five minutes per character to that back story, we were halfway through the movie before the characters got together.”
The series was cancelled in 2006, in its third season.
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Jason Bateman apparently expecting 2nd child with wife

HollywoodNews.com: It sounds like Jason Bateman is about to be a dad again as his wife is reportedly pregnant with their second child.
Bateman’s father-in-law, Paul Anka, recently broke the news that his daughter is pregnant, states RadarOnline.com. “I’m going to be a grandfather again. It’s another baby girl,” Anka commented.
Bateman has been married to Amanda Anka since 2001. The couple has one four-year-old daughter together.
Do you think he seems like a fun dad?
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Ryan Reynolds’ divorce brought up by Jason Bateman on ‘The View’

HollywoodNews.com: In a somewhat uncomfortable moment, Jason Bateman brought up Ryan Reynolds’ recent divorce from Scarlett Johansson on ‘The View.’
The actors were promoting ‘The Change-Up’ when Bateman was asked if he had learned anything new about his costar while filming, states RadarOnline.com. Instead of responding with a joke, Bateman got a little serious: “This guy, if you read the papers, he went through some tough stuff. Not once did anybody have any sniff something was wrong … he went through a divorce while we were shooting.”
Luckily, Reynolds lightened the mood when he responded to a question about how he was able to keep his composure during that difficult time: “It’s because I’m dead inside.”
Do you think it should have not been brought up?
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“Horrible Bosses” box numbers trigger sequel talk

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Audiences turned out this weekend to support the star-studded comedic ensemble “Horrible Bosses,” which finds Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day plotting to kill Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston and Colin Farrell. The comedy nabbed an estimated $28 million in its opening weekend, giving it the No. 2 slot in the box office Top 10.
But would more people have turned out if the comedy starred Ashton Kutcher, Ryan Reynolds, Philip Seymour Hoffman or Johnny Knoxville, as originally planned?
In an interview with “Bosses” producer Brett Ratner, he revealed that the above actors all, at some point, were attached to the comedic premise. Casting options come and go in Hollywood, so it’s no surprise that these names were floated (and eventually flopped).
But in the piece (which you can read HERE), Ratner also admits that sequel talk has begun, and the franchise could go in wildly different directions. Ratner, perhaps jokingly, said that while no plans for a follow up are in development at this time, titles like “Horrible Wives” and “Horrible Children” appeal to him.
What do you think? Is this a concept you want to see expanded? Or was “Bosses” a one-and-done hit? Let us know.
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