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Jason Bateman

Jason Bateman & Rachel McAdams Score on ‘Game Night’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – A game cast elevates what is otherwise a bit of a ho hum affair in the action comedy “Game Night.” Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams are a middle class couple hosting weekly game nights with a group of good friends. But when Bateman’s competitive venture capitalist older brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) comes to town, he promises to take game night up a notch.

‘Office Christmas Party’ is Just Ho-Hum Humbug

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – “Office Christmas Party” summons up a few jolly ho-ho-ho’s, but can’t quite deliver even one decent belly laugh you’d expect, considering the talented cast chock full of funny folks. It’s halfway decent premise is drowned in a sea of unfulfilled potential and weak material that the ensemble can only do so much to save.

‘Zootopia’ is an Odd But Endearing Disney Animated Film

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Walt Disney Studio’s latest animated extravaganza is best viewed as a child’s introduction to the buddy cop movie, since you can’t exactly start a toddler on “Midnight Run” or “Lethal Weapon 2.” But in this case it’s a bunny cop movie.

Joel Edgerton’s Directorial Debut ‘The Gift’ Shows Psychological Thriller Promise

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Of the various genres of films, the psychological thriller is one of my holy grails. A story that highlights the psychology of its characters and their wobbly emotional states, few modern filmmakers dare to compete with the masterminds – Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch and more recently David Fincher and Darren Aronofsky – or fail when trying to.

Unoriginal, Unfunny ‘This is Where I Leave You’ a Poor Man’s ‘August: Osage County’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Jason Bateman and an all-star cast got me there. The unfunny copycat story left me regretting it. If you don’t start with a solid plot that’s at least somewhat new, it doesn’t matter how many “A”-listers you throw into an ensemble. They’re just individuals doing the best they can with weak material. But the film’s fatal flaw is it can’t figure out who it is – a comedy, drama or dramedy? – and it didn’t do just one thing well.

Cussing Doesn’t Spell Out Comedy in ‘Bad Words’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – In his directorial debut “Bad Words”, Jason Bateman plays Guy Trilby, a foulmouthed 40 year old man who aggressively competes in local youth spelling bees. The children are confused, and their parents are furious. However, the isolated Guy has no fear, with all of the rule loopholes in his back pocket (specifically that he never graduated eighth grade).

Contemporary Society is Caught Online in ‘Disconnect’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – “Disconnect” is a punch in the gut, the backlash of our current technology, and a film that could have happened yesterday. It is a trenchant cautionary tale, warning us about the excesses of every blinking screen and “smart” device that supposedly is making our lives easier, but can just as easily become instruments of destructive. It is about how we live now.

Middling ‘Mansome’ Suffers From Skin-Deep Insight

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Morgan Spurlock is an awfully likable guy. I’ll never forget the day when he held a special screening of “Super Size Me” for an auditorium full of college kids. After participating in an extended Q & A, Spurlock spoke with every single student that wanted to shake his hand and pose for a picture. When the building finally had to close up for the night, the Spurlock love fest spilled out onto the sidewalk.

Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds Buried Under ‘The Change-Up’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – “The Change-Up” is an undeniable mess, as any movie that opens with a grown man getting baby crap projected into his mouth would be (and that’s just the beginning), but one of the worst scripts of the year is saved from the depths of comedy hell by a talented cast headlined by the typically-restrained Jason Bateman playing against type.

Talented Cast Carries Dark Comedy of ‘Horrible Bosses’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – There’s a theory that a film that should be judged based on how well it succeeds at what it attempts to do. If it’s a comedy, does it make you laugh? “Horrible Bosses” has some issues but it is an undeniably funny movie. With stellar comic timing from the entire ensemble and a dark streak of edgy humor with just enough wit to make it not seem cruel, this is one of the straight-up funniest movies of the year.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Jesus Christ Superstar, Lyric Opera

    CHICAGO – As a wee lad, I would often go into my parent’s record collection. One day, out of the blue, that brown double album with the gold embossed angels appeared, like a gift from the divine. “Jesus Christ Superstar” began as a record album “rock opera” in 1970, evolved to a Broadway show and film, and then was interpreted through a myriad of stage revivals over the years. The latest is an exciting piece of stagecraft at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The show has a various evening/matinee run through May 20th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Cornerstone, Nothing Without a Company

    CHICAGO – We all need some help. The stage play group Nothing Without a Company realizes that, and has collaborated with the organization “Cornerstone” to provide that assistance. Cornerstone is a seminar and a happening in downtown Chicago, facilitated by “experts” to generate your potential. The presentation has a Thursday-Sunday run at Michigan Avenue’s Artspace 8 through May 6th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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