Tag Archives: edward norton

Trailer Time: Collateral Beauty Trailer #1 (2016) *A Matter of Life and Death*

Collateral Beauty stars Will Smith as a man in the aftermath of an unspeakable tragedy.  His way of coping of it is by writing letters.  Not to the deceased.  They tell you to do that in grief counseling and sometimes it helps.  Smith is writing letters to Death, Love, and Time.  And mailing them.  This has his friends understandably concerned, but not as concerned as Smith when Death (Helen Mirren) shows up with one of his letters in hand. Continue reading Trailer Time: Collateral Beauty Trailer #1 (2016) *A Matter of Life and Death*

Top 5: Scenes from Fight Club (IMDB Top 250 #10)

Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Fight Club
Every month (or so) we take a look at a movie on the Internet Movie Database’s List of the TOP 250 FILMS OF ALL-TIME.  These are movies that transcend a simple “My Favorite Scene” column.  These are movies that are hard to just pry five gems from, but we do and examine the film overall.  We’re on our ninth installment in this series.  Click on the links for The Shawshank Redemption, The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The Dark Knight, Pulp Fiction Schindler’s List, 12 Angry Men, The Good The Bad and The Ugly, and The Return of the King to check out previous installments.

Brad Pitt, Tyler Durden, Fight Club

“How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never really been in a fight?” Brad Pitt asks it of Edward Norton shortly after they meet, and people (particularly men) have been asking each other the question ever since David Fincher’s 1999 anarchic masterpiece was released.  Based on the equally (and oddly quite wise) novel by Chuck Palahniuk.  Fincher’s film is a unique and insightful look at the societal neutering of the American male.  I’m going to write this from the standpoint of one…since that’s what I happen to be.  Men are hard-wired for aggression.  We want to punch stuff.  We like to see things blow up, destroyed, and laid low.  We’re hunter-gatherers at our core.  Now we spend 40 hours a week in a sea of grey cubicles, and our weekends at Bed, Bath & Beyond.  There’s something missing.  We’re missing a key part of ourselves and it manifests in bottles of whiskey and Prozac.  We don’t know ourselves, because most of us haven’t been in a fight.  That’s why Fight Club (which didn’t do well in theaters) became a cult sensation.  It touched a nerve with men.  It was a revelation.
Continue reading Top 5: Scenes from Fight Club (IMDB Top 250 #10)

Movie Review: Birdman (2014) *A Reasonable Critic Review*

Michael Keaton, Birdman Riggan Thompson (Michael Keaton) is a washed-up actor famous for playing a superhero called Birdman in three films back in the early nineties. Dogged by his dubious past success, and longing for respect, he mounts a Broadway production of a Raymond Carver story, and struggles to fly from his own self-obsessed insecurity.

The most pressing reason to see Birdman is the way it was filmed. The movie consists entirely of a series of long tracking shots, each one around twenty minutes in length. These, in turn, have been edited together to create the impression of one continuous take. In addition to making Birdman a masterpiece of cinematography, the approach makes the film feel like it’s a stream of consciousness.

Michael Keaton, BirdmanI don’t want to give away too much about the plot of Birdman. Some people will view it as nothing more than a character study of a schizophrenic man, and they are are free to do so, because the film is understandable when viewed through that lens. If, on the other hand, you take all the film’s events at face value—if you want to believe that Riggin is telekinetic, and capable of flying around Broadway—the universal themes remain intact, and are even more obvious.

Micheal Keaton is vulnerable as Riggan, while still retaining his old live-wire edge. Birdman is a comeback of sorts for the actor. He famously donned a superhero’s cowl in Tim Burton’s Batman and Batman Returns, which ushered in the modern age of big-budget blockbuster movies and their sequels. Today that kind of movie is adored by the masses and derided by lovers of serious cinema, who feel the entire medium is on the line. And so, Keaton was uniquely positioned to star in Birdman, which is partly an examination of celebrity, and how it complicates art.

Emma Stone, Birdman

The rest of the cast is solid without exception. As Riggan’s amiable best friend and producer, Zach Galifanakis, surprises by being the one aspect of the film that’s down-to-earth. Emma Stone also caught my attention, as Riggan’s neglected daughter, a recovering addict. When Riggan runs through Times Square in his underpants (I promise there’s a good explanation for that) the video goes viral, and Stone delivers the film’s most memorable line: “This is power.” But the biggest standout in the supporting cast is Edward Norton, hilarious as a famous, ego-maniacal actor.

Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Birdman

Expect from Birdman a pitch-black comedy/drama that takes brief detours into fantasy. Love it or hate it, I guarantee you have never seen anything like it. It puts you out of balance, and it’s almost impossible to predict what will happen from moment to moment. Call it surreal, or call it magical-realist; interpret the enigmatic ending how you like. What matters is emotional reality, not the question of whether the events we’re watching are objective or subjective. Birdman contains almost nothing but character development. If it’s rough around the edges, it’s clearly by design, because it’s also highly disciplined, an almost unheard-of accomplishment for a gonzo film like this that might have been shot inside someone’s head. The soundtrack, consisting mainly of jazz drums, feels both messy and syncopated, and completes the film as a genuine work of art.


Finally, if you have ever been tempted to go into show business, watching Birdman will help keep you far away from the industry. The film feels devastatingly accurate, and I’m pretty sure its depiction of theater people is so universal it would resonate with Shakespeare if he were resurrected tomorrow. Birdman contains relatable themes, but being in the spotlight clearly makes a person’s personal problems a whole lot worse.

Birdman is rated R for nudity, language, and sexual material. Leave the kids at home—they wouldn’t understand the movie anyway.

*Red Band Trailer*


Movie Review: The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)


In a Hollywood landscape that’s gone cookie cutter, franchise-mad, you’re almost forced to admire Wes Anderson for creating a style of film that’s indelibly unique and completely his own.  That’s not to say I like his films.  I’ve found them to be hit or miss, but I really loved Moonrise Kingdom, so with all the great buzz, I was looking forward to The Grand Budapest Hotel. Continue reading Movie Review: The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Update on Thor 2 Director Controversy and More Photos

Thor, Thor 2, Thor 2 The Dark World, Alan Taylor, Chris Hemsworth, Marvel

A few days ago, we first got word of trouble with post-production on Thor 2: The Dark World between Marvel and director Alan Taylor and composer Carter Burwell. Since then, Burwell has been fired from the project (hopefully clearing way for Thor composer Patrick Doyle to return), but as to the exact nature of the friction between Taylor and Marvel, the following comes from Latino Review:

Taylor was apparently butting heads with [Marvel President Kevin Feige] over the run time and final edit. Taylor wants the film to be 2 and a half hours, Marvel says he’s contracted to give them a 2 hour film and he’s breaching his contract. He hasn’t been fired, but editing has stopped for 2 weeks while both parties take some time to cool off before a mediator will be brought in [the] middle of June. Bottom line is that the film is only 5 months from release and a decision is going to have to be made soon especially if re-shoots are required.

If true, this is so dumb that it is all I can do not to take mighty Mjolnr myself and….well, do nothing because I am not worthy to wield it, but you get the rage vector.  American audiences can handle a film that’s 2.5 hours long if it is GOOD.      The last time there was a controversy like this, it was over The Incredible Hulk, which had a good 30 minutes hacked out of its final cut.  I like the Norton Hulk, but I get why he was so angry (Hulk smash) because if you watch the deleted scenes on the Blu Ray, they would have made it a better film, taking it from a 7.5 – 8.0 theatrical to a hard 9.0.  Also, The Avengers is 2 hours and 23 minutes and that seemed to work out okay for Marvel.  If the story warrants the length, Marvel needs to back the hell off.  As one of the four people on earth who was disappointed by Iron Man 3, I really am looking to Thor 2 to get the second phase of the MCU underway.  Two stumbles in a row would really derail the momentum Marvel’s built.  Thor: The Dark World is scheduled for a November 2013 release.

Thor, Thor 2, Thor 2 The Dark World, Alan Taylor, Chris Hemsworth, Marvel, Dark Elves, Malekith Thor, Thor 2, Thor 2 The Dark World, Alan Taylor, Chris Hemsworth, Marvel, Malekith, Dark Elves Thor, Thor 2, Thor 2 The Dark World, Alan Taylor, Chris Hemsworth, Marvel Thor, Thor 2, Thor 2 The Dark World, Alan Taylor, Chris Hemsworth, Marvel