”Bad Words” Grade A-minus: It’s time to break out the thesaurus to find enough adjectives to describe this comedy, which has an adult (Jason Bateman) competing in a spelling bee for elementary school students. We’ll go with this: The film is splendiferous.
Bateman also shows great skill as a director as he mixes in light moments to keep the movie from collapsing into a black hole of comedy. His pacing is just right to make the stagnant world of a spelling bee come across as exciting. He also allows the supporting cast to shine.
For a novice director, Bateman shows tremendous courage by selecting this as his feature film debut. When a film wades so deep into political incorrectness, there is a good chance of getting in over your head.
Bateman, though, has a knack for good story-telling and making it OK to laugh at the most improper situations.
”LeWeek-End” Grade B: This senior citizen answer to “Before Midnight” follows an aging married couple who make a weekend trip to Paris to look for the love and passion that brought them together 30 years ago. Life has taken its toll on their romance and now the pair seek signs of emotional sanity in a world that’s rapidly deteriorating.
Nick (Jim Broadbent) adores Meg (Lindsay Duncan) and wants to show her through the trip. Instead, the couple reveal how they feel about each other, their future and their place as parents.
Director Roger Michell shows complete trust in Broadbent and Duncan, who give the script by Hanif Kureishi the emotional spark needed to hold the audience’s attention. Broadbent and Duncan are so good that they make the tale of love and marriage feel timeless.
Also out on DVD
“Jodorowsky’s Dune”: A look at Alejandro Jodorowsky’s doomed attempt to film Frank Herbert’s “Dune.”
“Nymphomaniac: Volume I and Volume II”: Lars von Trier’s follow-up to “Melancholia” is the story of a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac.
“Prisoners of War: Season One”: Three Israeli soldiers held captive for 17 years try to rebuild their lives.
“On Va Jouer (Let’s Play)”: Newest release in the “French for Kids” series.
“Wings: Sky Force Heroes”: Ace (Josh Duhamel) is a heroic pilot seeking redemption in this animated offering.
“The Raid 2”: Cop goes undercover to work with a powerful criminal.
“Lake Placid”: The horror film starring Bill Pullman is now on Blu-ray.
Rick Bentley, The Fresno Bee