TV Room: Season 2 of ‘Ozark’

Jason Bateman and Laura Linney in ‘Ozark’ (Netflix)

In the second season of Netflix’s Missouri noir Ozark, the Byrd family finds themselves being mired ever deeper in a cycle of moral compromise.

My review is at The Playlist:

Like almost every other show on Netflix, “Ozark” follows the “If Only BBC” rule. (Meaning things would have been a lot snappier if they’d lopped off two, three, even four episodes. Unless we’re talking about the new seasons of “Arrested Development,” in which case full cancellation is the only answer.) The first season started off with a hell of a setup. Early episodes were packed with grit and speed like some godsend of modern noir. Season 1 soon lost its way, not sure just how Southern Midwest gothic it wanted to go. That same schizoid attitude, a little from here and a little from there, prevails in Season 2…

Here’s the trailer:

TV Room: Jason Bateman’s new Missouri Noir ‘Ozark’

In the new Netflix family crime series Ozark, Jason Bateman plays a Chicago financial adviser forced to uproot his family’s entire life in order to save their lives.

Ozark premieres on July 21. My review is at The Playlist:

There are a few things guaranteed to strike terror into the heart of your average Chicagoan. High on that list would be having your family threatened with a cruel and slow death by a drug cartel, as happens to Jason Bateman in the first episode of his new Netflix culture-clash crime series “Ozark.” Nearly as frightening, and definitely more relatable, is the solution that Bateman’s character improvises to save his family: pack up and move to the Lake of the Ozarks in southern Missouri. Set against relocating to the shores of the artificial lake resort region that one character tartly terms “Redneck Riviera,” there would probably be at least a few Chicagoans who would look at the cartel gunmen and decide, nah, let’s play the odds…

Here’s the trailer:

Screening Room: ‘The Gift’

Joel Edgerton, Jason Bateman, and Rebecca Hall get real uncomfortable in ‘The Gift’ (STX)
When we last saw Jason Bateman, he was deadpanning his way through the reboot of Arrested Development and doing (as always) a crackerjack job of it. Now, with actor Joel Edgerton’s debut film as writer/director, Bateman is playing against type as one half of a threatened couple in a stalker story with a twist.

The Gift is playing now. My review is at Film Journal International.

Here’s the trailer:

New in Theaters: ‘Horrible Bosses 2’

'Horrible Bosses 2' (New Line Cinema)
‘Horrible Bosses 2’ (Warner Bros.)

There wasn’t much to know about the comedy Horrible Bosses beyond that it featured three guys (Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day) who hated their bosses and wanted revenge. There isn’t much else to know about the sequel, except that it’s not about plot so much as watching three great comic actors bicker and squall.

Horrible Bosses 2 opened this week and will be playing pretty much everywhere for at least a couple weeks for anybody already sick of Oscar contender films. My review is at PopMatters.

Here’s the trailer:

Now Playing: ‘Bad Words’

Jason Bateman has been crafting comedy genius for so long in front of the camera that it’s perhaps inevitable he would eventually move behind it as well. Bad Words is his directorial debut, a promising and blessedly short if wildly uneven hour-and-a-half of rude comedy about a misanthropic adult who crashes a kids’ spelling bee.

Bad Words is still playing just about everywhere. My review is at PopMatters:

Guy Trilby is custom-made for Bateman’s perfected admixture of laconic sharpness. Instead of the more explosive brand of destabilizers favored by US comedy, your John Belushis and Will Ferrells, Bateman upends the norms of this closed micro-society of over-schooled spelling quants by having Trilby simply plant himself there and refusing to move or explain his motivations. Occasionally he’ll try to get a leg up in competition by upsetting his preteen opponents with some verbal guerrilla warfare. But in the main, Trilby is a stoic pillar of nasty. (Having played the put-upon and exasperated nice guy in everything from Arrested Development to Identity Thief, Bateman gets some mileage here out of going so far to the dark side.) He’s Bartleby, and will not be moved…

Here’s the trailer:

New on DVD: ‘Identity Thief’

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Melissa McCarthy and her terrifying hair in ‘Identity Thief’

identity-thief-dvd-cover-45Seth Gordon’s Identity Thief hit theaters back in February with low expectations that were easily improved upon. In short, it’s a better-than-it-could-be comedy that’s funny enough but could have easily stood to be 10-15 minutes shorter, no matter how much one appreciates the shared genius of Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy.

It’s available today on Blu-ray and DVD.

My full review ran at Film Journal International, here’s part of it:

Jason Bateman (who also has a producing credit) plays Sandy Patterson, a milquetoast mid-level worker at a Denver financial firm. He discovers that his identity has been stolen by a Florida woman who’s been maxing out his credit cards and even got arrested (as him). In one of those only-in-the-movies wrinkles, he decides to drive to Florida and bring the woman back to clear his name. The problem is that when he gets down there, Diana (Melissa McCarthy) has no intention of helping him out. She’d rather punch him in the throat and make a wheezing run for it…

You can watch the trailer here: