Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Chopra ( Rohan Chand ) and Trilby ( Jason Bateman )
Jason Bateman (“Identity Thief”) makes his feature directorial debut with the subversive comedy BAD WORDS. He stars as Guy Trilby, a 40-year-old who finds a loophole in the rules of The Golden Quill national spelling bee and decides to cause trouble by hijacking the competition. While reporter Jenny Widgeon (Kathryn Hahn of “We’re the Millers”) attempts to discover his true motivation, Guy finds himself forging an unlikely alliance with a competitor: awkward 10-year-old Chaitanya Chopra (Rohan Chand of “Homeland”), who is completely unfazed by Guy’s take-no-prisoners approach to life.--- Focus Features 

I applied for the sneak preview passes after I watched the trailer. BAD WORDS looked promising. I find it very hard to find comedies that are actually funny. I went in to this movie with very low expectations. I enjoyed Jason Bateman in HANKCOCK, COUPLES RETREAT, and HORRIBLE BOSSES but his last outing IDENTITY THIEF was a disaster. I blame the extremely unfunny Melissa McCarthy for that bomb. Most of my trepidation was due to the children but the R rating gave me hope.

I am so happy I went to the sneak preview. This is the best ADULT comedy I have seen since TROPIC THUNDER. The laughs start early and do not stop. BAD WORDS is relentless and irreverent. If you have a problem with colorful language, mean intelligent put downs, or the psychological manipulation of children do not see this movie. This is a clever film that will make you very uncomfortable.

BAD WORDS does have a heart but the sensitivity means more here than the standard hit you over the head, pull the heart strings, we are going to make you cry, normal Hollywood fare. Never does this movie get weepy, sappy, or overly sentimental.

BAD WORDS is Bateman’s directorial debut and he has hit a grand slam. I am actually hoping he directs again. We will see Bateman next in THE LONGEST WEEK, THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU, and HORRIBLE BOSSES 2.

Kathryn Hahn plays Jenny Widgeon the reporter who is covering the Guy Trilby’s spelling B story. Her performance of the sexy, desperate, journalist was spot on. Widgeon’s frantic need to get the story at all costs, while trying to control her insatiable sexual attraction she gets toward her subject is painful and hilarious.

The intelligence, humor, and the uncomfortable situations of BAD WORDS make this a must see.  

Tony- When Rick told me about this movie BAD WORDS, I did not know what to think of going to this sneak preview. I was ready to dismiss this as some documentary on the use of "BAD WORDS" in today's society. Not sure why but, not having seen any previews or hearing anything about this directorial debut from Bateman I was apprehensive going in. I was familiar with some of his work, although only seeing his performance in Hancock, I was not sure how Bateman would do in this film. I have to say that after the first five minutes of this film I was laughing and knew this was going to be a home run for Bateman.

The intelligent writing and delivery of the humor was spot on. About half way into this comedy, Bateman throws in a nice mix of sensitivity as he builds a hard but touching relationship with co-star Rohan Chand, who plays one of his rival contestants Chopra in the spelling Bee. I thought that would be the end of the comedic element and that this movie was going the route of a tear jerking sap story about Chopra and his dysfunctional relationship with his dad. I was happily proven wrong. 

Trilby at a Spelling B
Batemans well put together use of comedy and drama give this film just the right feel good emotional content that makes this film, in my opinion, worthy of being nominated for best film for the year.  Kathryn Hahn, who plays Jenny Widgeon, the desperate web reporter covering the story of Batemans character forcing his way into this spelling bee, lends a great performance as the supporting role. Her tenacity in uncovering the motives of Bateman while comically satisfying her needs, addresses the underlying story in this comedy which gives this film it's substance. 

BAD WORDS is a must see comedy for adults who do not offend easily. The jokes can sometimes border on the edge but, it's what makes this such a great film to watch. I was glad to have been invited to watch this sneak preview and would go to the theater to watch this again. 

Monday, March 17, 2014


Martial Arts

ZATO at work
The last few weeks I have immersed myself in the world of Zatoichi the Blind Swordsmen. I started from the beginning.  The 1962 Tale of Zatoichi and The Tale of Zatoichi continues are the story of a blind masseur, yakuza, gambler, and master Muraku kenjitsu / Iaido swordsman.

Maraku kenjitsu and Iaido is a real sword system. Legends about this system are abundant today. Practitioners have been rumored to be able to cut chopsticks that had been thrown in the air several different ways from an initial sword draw. 

The main plot of the Zatoichi films is that the blind swordsman has decided that his life as a yakuza is wrong.  Zato is remorseful of the deaths he has caused and is determined not to kill unless left without a choice.  He still dwells among the gangsters, gambling and getting paid for his massages but uses his time among the yakuza to gather information and help stop the plans of the bosses that would cause harm to innocent people or the gangs that flaunt their criminal status amongst the populace.

The Blind Swordsman has almost superhuman hearing. Zato uses this during dice games spotting loaded dice and for the duration of sword fights finding enemies by the sounds they make throughout their attacks.  One of my favorite scenes is when Zatoichi is walking down the street blowing a constant note on his flute.  He was using the echoes from the flute to find his way through the streets and alley ways.

The sword used by Zato is a Shikomizue or swordstick. This is a forged blade (not folded) concealed in a cane.  Seven films into the series and we have also have been shown that the cane hides a small dagger.

The movies action is done fairly well. I do at times question the one handed reverse style grip Zato uses. I am not a fan of this hold and I have attempted it for tameshigiri and failed miserably.  I also have reservations on his fighting stance and again I have attempted this during sword sparing and find it very difficult if not impossible to use.

The great thing I have found out is that all of the movies are interconnected. Zato’s actions in the previous films have consequences for the future films. I strongly suggest watching them in order. I have yet to discover a bad flick. My next Zatoichi will be FIGHT, ZATOICHI, FIGHT (1964).  I am really looking forward to ZATOICHI MEETS YOJIMBO and ZATOICHI MEETS THE ONE ARMED SWORDSMAN.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom (Bai Fo Ma Nv)

AtemiCast Tony

I don't know what to make of this as there was not much information on it I could find but, this seems to be one of the classic Chinese Love Dramas starring Bingbing Fan and directed by what seems to be first time director Zhang Zhiliang. Looks interesting as far as the action scenes, but it could turn into a lulling drawn out love story like Crouching Tiger. Let's hope not.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


Rick and Tony from CINEMA ABYSS are taking over the ATEMI CAST NETWORK twitter feed for Oscar Night. This could get ugly.