Game Night (2018)

Game Night
Director: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein
Writer: Mark Perez
Cast: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Sharon Horgan, Billy Magnussen, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Jesse Plemons, Michael C. Hall, Danny Huston, Chelsea Peretti
Seen on: 12.3.2018
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Plot:
Max (Jason Bateman), Annie (Rachel McAdams), Sarah (Sharon Horgan), Ryan (Billy Magnussen), Kevin (Larmone Morris) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury) have a regular game night together. Tonight, Max’ brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) is hosting the party, when men come into his house and take him away. Believing it to be a roleplay, the six players set out to get Brooks back. But things may be more serious than they appear at first.

I didn’t expect much from Game Night and basically just watched it because I had a gap in my schedule where it fit perfectly. But I was pleasantly surprised: Game Night is an entertaining film that made me laugh out loud.

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Central Intelligence (2016)

Central Intelligence
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Writer: Ike BarinholtzDavid Stassen, Rawson Marshall Thurber
Cast: Dwayne JohnsonKevin HartAmy RyanDanielle NicoletJason BatemanAaron PaulRyan HansenThomas KretschmannKumail NanjianiMelissa McCarthy
Seen on: 23.6.2016

Plot:
When he was in high school, Calvin (Kevin Hart) was the star for everyone, but still with enough kindness in his heart to not bully the fat Bob (Dwayne Johnson) like everybody else did. But high school is long since over and Calvin may still have his smart and beautiful girlfriend Maggie (Danielle Nicolet) but otherwise he is stuck in a total rut and dreading the upcoming school reunion. That’s when he gets a call from Bob and decides, on a whim, to meet with him. On the surface Bob is much changed: he is still huge, but from muscles and there doesn’t seem to be the tiniest bit of fat on his body. He is still weird, though, and his obvious excitement to see Calvin again is flattering, but strange. And then things get worse: turns out, Bob works for the CIA and he’s in trouble – and Calvin is quickly more involved than he ever wanted to be.

I was very hesitant about wanting to see Central Intelligence. Its humor really didn’t seem up my alley. But then again I think Dwayne Johnson is funny as hell, so I had hopes that he would make the film work for me. And while the film is far from being my favorite, that is mostly what happened.

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Zootopia (2016)

Zootopia
Director: Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush
Writer: Jared Bush, Phil Johnston
Cast: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, Nate Torrence, Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake, Tommy Chong, J.K. Simmons, Octavia Spencer, Alan Tudyk, Shakira, Kristen Bell (in a small cameo)
Seen on: 13.3.2016

Plot:
Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) has always dreamed of becoming a police officer. And although there has never been a bunny police officer before, she fights her way through the academy and into active duty in the capital – only to be relegated to doling out parking tickets. But even then she promptly finds con man Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), although she can’t actually arrest him. But when carnivores start going crazy and threaten the peace of Zootropolis, Judy realize that there are bigger fish to fry – and that she needs Nick’s help to catch them.

Zootopia is a sweet, funny, entertaining film that might not be quite as progressive as it thinks it is. But that’s debatable and it certainly is very good to watch.

zootopia

[SPOILERS]

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The Gift (2015)

The Gift
Director: Joel Edgerton
Writer: Joel Edgerton
Cast: Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton, Allison Tolman, Tim Griffin, Busy Philipps
Seen on: 24.11.2015

Plot:
After a miscarriage, Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) decided that they need a fresh start. So they move from Chicago to California, close to where Simon grew up. By chance they run into Gordo (Joel Edgerton) who used to go to school with Simon. Simon doesn’t recognize him at first and is generally reluctant, but Gordo is undeterred in his friendliness. He brings over gifts and Robyn invites him to dinner. But there seems to be more going on than just Gordo’s friendly strangeness.

The Gift is a sleek little thriller. It probably won’t write cinematic history, but it manages to create enough tension to be thoroughly engaging throughout.

thegift

[Vague SPOILERS]

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This Is Where I Leave You (2014)

This Is Where I Leave You
Director: Shawn Levy
Writer: Jonathan Tropper
Based on: Jonathan Tropper‘s novel
Cast: Jason Bateman, Adam Driver, Corey Stoll, Tina Fey, Rose Byrne, Kathryn Hahn, Jane Fonda, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant, Dax Shepard, Debra Monk, Abigail SpencerBen Schwartz

Plot:
Judd (Jason Bateman) is not in a good place in a moment. He just found out that his wife Quinn (Abigail Spencer) cheated on him with his boss Wade (Dax Shepard) and then he gets the message that his father died. So Judd returns home for the funeral where he sees his siblings Phillip, Paul and Wendy (Adam Driver, Corey Stoll, Tina Fey), and his mother Hillary (Jane Fonda) as well, of course. They don’t spend much time together and that’s for a reason. So when Hillary reveals that it was his father’s dying wish that they sit shiva together, more than just a little tension boils to the surface.

This Is Where I Leave You was mostly enjoyable but a little uneven all around. Some things were great about it, other things annoyed me a whole lot.

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Disconnect (2012)

Disconnect
Director: Henry Alex Rubin
Writer: Andrew Stern
Cast: Jason Bateman, Hope Davis, Frank Grillo, Michael Nyqvist, Paula Patton, Andrea Riseborough, Alexander Skarsgård, Max Thieriot, Colin Ford, Jonah Bobo, Haley Ramm

Plot:
Ben Boyd (Jonah Bobo) is a bit of an outcast in school, especially Jason Dixon (Colin Ford) picks on him and even goes so far as to create a fake facebook profile of a girl in love with Ben. Meanwhile, Jason’s dad Mike (Frank Grillo) investigates the identity theft that happened to the Hulls after Cindy Hull (Paula Patton) chatted with somebody about the loss of her child. Nina Dunham (Andrea Riseborough) is also involved in chatting – with young sex worker Kyle (Max Thieriot) who she’s trying to win for a story for her news station.

Disconnect thinks that it’s a film about the disconnect caused by technology. But as technophobia gets the better of it, it loses coherence and works against its own point.

disconnect

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The Switch (2010)

The Switch
Director: Josh Gordon, Will Speck
Writer: Allan Loeb
Based on: Jeffrey Eugenides‘ short story “Baster”
Cast: Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, Thomas Robinson, Patrick Wilson, Jeff Goldblum, Juliette Lewis (and about 30 delicious seconds of Scott Elrod)

Plot:
Wally (Jason Bateman) and Kassie (Jennifer Aniston) are best friends and both long-time singles. When Kassie decides that her being single is no reason that she can’t have a baby, Wally is a bit taken aback, gets completely drunk at Kassie’s insemination party and then spills the chosen donor Roland’s (Patrick Wilson) semen. As drunk as he is, he figures that the best thing he can do is to donate his own sperm instead – and immediately forgets it ever happened. 7 years later, after Kassie moved to the suburbs and back again, Wally is confronted with Sebastian (Thomas Robinson), her son, and discovers eerie similarities.

I was extremely hesitant to see this movie. The idea that somebody hijacks somebody else’s pregnancy is far from funny and more really icky. But in the end, curiosity won me over and they did handle the concept way better than I thought they would. It still remains an average movie, though.

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Paul (2011)

Paul is the newest film by Greg Mottola, written by and starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and also starring the voice of Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jason Bateman, Jeffrey Tambor, Jane Lynch, Blythe Danner, Bill Hader and Sigourney Weaver.

Plot:
Clive (Nick Frost) and Graeme (Simon Pegg) are two nerds on a big tour of alien sites in America. Even though both of them are very serious about their alien stuff, neither of them expects to stumble upon an actual alien – much less one with the name Paul (Seth Rogen). But that’s exactly what happens. Paul is running and trying to get home and he quickly enlists both Graeme and the more reluctant Clive to help.

I expected much from Paul, since I absolutely loved Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. I don’t think that Paul is quite up there with these two film, but it is a movie that works very well and is very funny, especially for fans of Science Fiction movies who will be delighted by all the references Pegg and Frost get into the film. But also if you’re not completely brushed up on Science Fiction Movie History, you’ll enjoy it.

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The Invention of Lying (2009)

The Invention of Lying is a movie by Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson, starring Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Louis C.K., Rob Lowe, Jonah Hill, Jeffrey Tambor, Tina Fey, John Hodgman, Jimmi Simpson, Martin Starr, Jason Bateman, Stephen Merchant, Christopher Guest, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Edward Norton. [Seriously, this movie is like Where’s Waldo?, only with known faces.]

Plot:
In a world, where no human knows how to lie, things can be pretty cruel for a guy like Mark (Ricky Gervais): Not particularly attractive, successful or intelligent – and the world keeps telling him directly. After going out with the beautiful Anna (Jennifer Garner) who shoots him down the next day, being fired and about to be evicted, Mark is ready to just quit. That’s when he tells the world’s first lie. Unsure how he is able to do it or what exactly to do with that new ability, he jus tknows that his life is about to change.

I haven’t heard any good things about this movie beforehand [and it was again one of those films that even get a cinematic release in Austria]. But this movie was actually pretty good – good concept, good jokes and a fantastic cast.

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Up in the Air (2009)

Up in the Air is the newest movie by Jason Reitman, starring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman, Melanie Lynskey, J. K. Simmons and Zach Galifianakis.

Plot:
Ryan (George Clooney) works for a company who fire people for other companies. He’s good at his job and he loves the life that comes with it – loads of travelling, no real responsibility for anybody, barely any contact. When his young colleague Natalie (Anna Kendrick) proposes a system to fire people via webcam, he takes her on the road to show her the reality of the job. Around the same time he meets the attractive business woman Alex (Vera Farmiga) and starts an affair with her. Slowly he begins to question his whole lifestyle.

Up in the Air is probably not the best movie you’ll ever see (like the various award nominations would have you believe). Nevertheless, it’s a very nice movie, full of vivid characters, wonderful performances and a good sense of humour.

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