Posts tagged Edward Norton
This is 40
“This is 40,” is so depressing and irredeemably unfunny that I couldn’t even finish it, and I almost NEVER turn off movies. For a comedy, there are few laughs to be found, aside from some scant one-liners from Paul Rudd. If this is actually what 40 looks like, I’d like a gun and a single bullet to end it all. That way I could avoid experiencing the sad, miserable life that Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) have in this film. At least I wouldn’t have to suffer the same embarrassingly moronic spats or have a marriage suffocate from having spoiled children like theirs.
HOWEVER, I’m not going to bother with the gun because I don’t think this is what turning 40 would really be like. Not only are Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann’s characters way more immature than the average person, but their upper-middle class financial problems are idiotic and self-inflicted. You don’t need an iEverything or a $30,000 neon sign in your office. You also shouldn’t be giving your father $80,000 to finance his ill-conceived second family. After a certain point I just didn’t care enough to see how the movie ended since all of these people suck so damn much.
My Grade: F (Because I had to turn it off)
This kid who can see dead people is way cooler than the one in that M. Night Shyamalan movie. His gift is amusing without being scary, but it does cause him to be stereotypically misunderstood. His family doesn’t get him and neither do the kids at school so the poor guy gets picked on a lot. You better believe everyone will count on him though when a horde of zombies and spirits takes over their sleepy town.
As I watched “ParaNoman” I could tell the filmmakers just had a really good time making this silly film. There are great nods to low-budget horror movies and amusing jokes about zombies, witches, and ghosts littered throughout. The claymation style animation is crazy impressive given the tremendous detail poured into the characters and their tiny props. It’s well-blended with CG to produce an immersive adventure. Another strong point to the film is its tremendous voice work by talented actors with colorful personalities like Anna Kendrick, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin, John Goodman, and Casey Affleck. If I have one complaint it’s that the story and dialogue are too heavy-handed with their messages about accepting others. I’m all for tolerance in real life and I think it’s a great message to teach kids who will see the movie, it just doesn’t need to be so spelled out.
My Grade: B
Even as a Wes Anderson fan, I had a difficult time getting emotionally invested in “Moonrise Kingdom.” Anderson magnificently crafts the fictional New England island community where this tale takes place and painstakingly recreates the mood the 1960s. His aesthetic is unrivaled and his camerawork is superb. He uses smooth sweeping motions and takes his camera to unusual, yet entertaining places inside houses and on the roofs of cars.
Anderson’s breathtaking art direction and cinematography, are wasted however on a mediocre story and bad acting. This tale about two oddball kids who are star-crossed lovers failed to hook me. Neither the characters nor the conflict have enough substance. Plus, you know something is wrong when the finest performance comes from an action star like Bruce Willis and not from Bill Murray or Frances McDormand. Edward Norton isn’t turning in his finest work, though at least he’s amusing. “Moonrise Kingdom” kept me at a frustrating distance like a beautiful diorama that I could look at, but wasn’t allowed to touch.
My Grade: C
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” landed in my top 10 films for 2012 immediately after I watched it because it’s a well-made, uplifting story. For a movie about old people it moves unexpectedly fast in the beginning, and continues to remain well-paced throughout. There’s sharp dialogue, heartfelt performances, and poignant statements about the challenges and opportunities of old age.
I dug the music and the editing quite a bit, however my favorite part about this flick was the amazing ensemble cast of British actors. Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, and Judi Dench all act their hearts out, giving nuanced performances in this picture. The only thing that comes off a bit forced is the nontraditional Indian romance between the hotel’s young owner (Dev Patel) and his girlfriend who works in a call center. His mother tries to meddle in his affairs and as you might suspect he needs the team of older, wiser British folks to come to his rescue.
As Patel’s character says though,”Everything will be all right in the end, and if it’s not all right, it’s not the end.”
My Grade: A
Hello I Must Be Going
Initially I was very fond of the sentiment for “Hello I Must Be Going.” I liked the premise of Amy (Melanie Lynskey), a middle-aged woman whose life is in disarray, meeting a younger person who gets her to come out of her shell. The theme of a young lover teaching an older woman things about herself and helping her get everything back on track was appealing because usually it would be the other way around. Once I started watching the film I realized that the plot is pretty meandering and has other elements to it that distract from that main idea.
All of the terrible nagging and passive aggressive behavior from Amy’s status obsessed mother (Blythe Danner), and arrogant judgement by her brother just made me realize how much status-obsessed family members suck. Their mean behavior really started to wear on me as did the incredibly stilted dialogue spoken by all of the characters. Lynskey anchors the movie, with a heartbreaking performance that perfectly embodies the crushing despair of a divorcee with nothing left. However I found myself frustrated at the end by her inability to fully learn from her mistakes and to move forward with her life in a more positive manner.
My Grade: C
“Bourne” is in the name, but that doesn’t mean “The Bourne Legacy” could pass as a sibling to the films starring Matt Damon. Tony Gilroy’s spy flick isn’t close family. It’s more like a less interesting distant cousin.
Considering Gilroy’s work as a scribe on all three previous “Bourne” movies, he seemed like the logical candidate to pen this tale and to helm “The Bourne Legacy.” So what did he change with “The Bourne Legacy” to make it much less interesting than its cousin? Gilroy abandons the heady plot that kept you on your toes during the original trilogy, while still retaining all the tense chase sequences. And as much as strong action scenes are integral to a good “Bourne” film, they can’t replace a compelling, complex narrative.
“Bourne Legacy” focuses on Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), an operative in a U.S. Department of Defense secret program called Operation Outcome. The operation enhances the physical and mental abilities of its field agents with special pills that they call “chems.” After Jason Bourne’s actions in “The Bourne Ultimatum” cast a glaring public spotlight on the CIA’s recent shadowy activities, higher ups in organization decide to eliminate programs similar to Bourne’s while the heat dies down. That includes taking care of any loose ends like agents and scientists involved.
The CIA calls in Eric Byer (Edward Norton), head of CIA clandestine operations to clean up the mess. Byer dispatches measures to kill all Operation Outcome operatives including Cross. But he doesn’t count on Cross surviving the assassination attempt and seeking help from a pharmaceutical company doctor Marta Sheering (Rachel Weisz) who can help him maintain his enhanced abilities. The two go on the run together in the hope of living long enough to get their information into the protection of the public eye.
Rachel Weisz does a fine job in her role, but her character is a confusing mix of naive and knowledgeable about her company’s involvement in dirty dealings. For a smart person it’s hard to believe that she would be so in the dark. Renner’s Aaron Cross on the other hand is a blast to watch. He’s strong and quick on his feet, with a lot more personality than Jason Bourne. He’s compassionate and protective, yet also really sarcastic and funny in a couple of instances.
With its shift in theme from recovering fractured memories in the original series to investigating superspy meds, “The Bourne Legacy” frustratingly swaps psychological intrigue with murky science. It’s not a worthwhile trade because the lack of full explanation on how the meds work doesn’t suck you in, it just annoys you.
Instead of unraveling mysteries about Aaron’s past or gathering counterintelligence, the pair can use against their oppressors; the main characters only worry about survival. They spend the majority of the film running, with absolutely no offensive plans, something that makes their story much less engaging Jason Bourne’s. This absence of a strategy or a resolution to their persecution leads to a very anticlimactic and disappointing ending.
Probably the most obnoxious aspect of “The Bourne Legacy” is its arrogance. It automatically assumes that its audience saw the Matt Damon films, so it drops names like Operation Blackbriar and Treadstone constantly with zero background. Like “The Bourne Identity,” this film is not the strongest start to a new series. However there is the possibility that with sequels that Aaron Cross could become a more compelling character like Bourne did. Let’s not wait around to find out though.
My Grade: C