Tag: Edward Norton

The French Dispatch

Seven years, Wes? SEVEN YEARS?

No. Don’t blame this on the Pandemic. The French Dispatch is your first live action movie in 7 years. Honestly, I thought The Grand Budapest Hotel came out earlier than that, so 7 years is a little shocking, because it certainly feels like a decade. Yes, I know we had Isle of Dogs, but that was stop motion.

Come on Wes. You used to churn out these films like buttah.

And it took a long time for this quirky little number to get made and released. This should not have been a 7 year wait. Did you have to wait for Timothée Chalamet‘s schedule to clear up?!

That Timothee, so hot right now.

The French Dispatch is sort of about a newspaper insert from a small town in France, that tells news of the world and Europe in their periodical, specifically for the people in Kansas, due to very specific plot reasons. You know. Quirkiness.

The writers for the paper are great though, and the main editor, Arthur Howitzer, Jr. (Bill Murray), has been running it for 50 years. He wants his writers to not be unlimited in their potential and will not try to limit their word count or cut sections out if it ruins their vision. As long as their articles sound like they wrote it that way on purpose and they don’t cry in his office, he will be fine.

This movie is actually about its final issue, because with Arthur’s death, in his will was to dismantle the paper and cease operations completely. This movie is about the final three main stories of the paper, a smaller city piece, and of course, an obituary.

Starring literally ever actor ever a Wes Anderson movie and more, a whole lot of people are involved in these three stories. Benicio Del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Lyna Khoudri, Jeffrey Wright, Mathieu Amalric, Steve Park, Owen Wilson, Bob Balaban, Henry Winkler, Lois Smith, Tony Revolori, Denis Ménochet, Larry Pine, Christoph Waltz, Cécile de France, Liev Schreiber, Willem Dafoe, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Elisabeth Moss, Jason Schwartzman, Fisher Stevens, Griffin Dunne, and Anjelica Huston.

A lot of people close together staring towards the camera. Classic Wes shot.
Alright, so was the wait worth it? Or did I overhype it?

I probably overhyped it. I went in not knowing anything about the film, and honestly, a few smaller stories is not usually what I hope for in a film. A bigger plot with subplots, sure.

Technically there is one bigger plot, but it is also relatively minor compared to the three main stories. So why do I care if it is three main stories? Well, if two of the stories are great, and the other is okay, then the whole film doesn’t feel really great anymore.

I definitely feel the stories weren’t even in quality or whimsy. The middle story in particular left a lot to be desired for me, despite elements I liked. My favorite would be the first one, in the prison, although narratively, I don’t know how this person became a normal writer for the paper, and why they are telling this story in their issue that is so far in the past. The third story was fine, but confusing for a bit and that is…less fine.

Overall, this might be the most Wes-Andersy film ever that he has made, and it is incredibly weird. Probably his most black and white and just…strange. He did try a lot with this film, and I guess wanted to tell stories he didn’t think were strong enough for a solo film.

The cinematography, colors, and dialogue are superb of course, but that was to be expected.

3 out of 4.

Isle of Dogs

Fantastic Mr. Fox came out in 2009. It was not my first Wes Anderson movie, but it was the first Wes Anderson movie I really, really loved. Not saying I hated everything before it, no. In fact, at that time, I only had seen one of his movies which was The Royal Tenebaums. I maybe saw it too young and was not ready for its quirks, and still haven’t seen it for redemption, but I didn’t love it. The fox though? Yes. Every one of his movies since then? Yes.

But this is something different and special. This is 9 years later, and another goddamn animated stop motion movie. Can he recreate the magic of Fantastic Mr. Fox but with Isle of Dogs? More talking animals?!

At least with his last one, it was based on a previous book. But this is a new idea, based on dogs, a culture that isn’t his, and a sort of throwback to a cinema that he loves. I was certainly excited again, especially given how much shit 2017 gave us for the animated category.

Can I have all of these doggos? Please tell me no doggos actually die.

Set in the fictional future of some world that is similar to our own, we have to go to Megasaki City to find our story. In this city, the new mayor, Kobayashi (Kunichi Nomura), is from a family with a long hatred of dogs. They are cat people and want to get rid of dogs forever! Well, that is great, because these dogs are gaining some sort of dog virus and snout flu, which has the ability to transfer over to humans! He declares that all dogs in the city must be sent over to Trash Island, in order to quarantine them until a cure can be found. Speaking of cures, Professor Watanabe (Akira Ito) thinks he is really close to getting a cure and hopes everyone will wait. But mobs be mobbin’, yo. And the dogs start getting sent that very night.

And now, a few months later, the island gets a non furry visitor. Atari Kobayashi (Koyu Rankin), a young boy who is ward of the mayor, has crashed a tiny plane in the island, in hopes of finding his old dog Spots (Liev Schreiber) location. Although dogs cannot speak any form of human language, we the viewer are happy to note that the film translates their language into English! Yay!

He finds a group of alpha dogs to help him on his quest. These dogs include Chief (Bryan Cranston), Rex (Edward Norton), King (Bob Balaban), Boss (Bill Murray), and Duke (Jeff Goldbloom).

Can these dogs find the missing dog for this little human boy? Can they also cure the dog flu, and put an end to this corrupt mayor? Well, maybe. I don’t know. Or if I did, I wouldn’t tell you.

Also starring the voices of Courtney B. Vance, Tilda Swinton, Yoko Ono, Ken Watanabe, Akira Takayama, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Scarlett Johansson, Harvey Keitel, and F. Murray Abraham.

The human has thumbs so he can do some interesting things with them.

I loved, loved, loved Isle of Dogs. A lot, very much so. Before I get into those details, lets talk about the controversy.

You see, there is a lot of talk of white savior complex, cultural appropriation, and more going on with this movie. It is set in a fictional future dystopian-esque Japan, or at least one city in Japan. And coming from a place of white privilege and all of that, I can honestly say I really don’t see it at all. The white savior thing just seems like it would be assumed by people who read a plot outline, not watched the film, because it is no where close to the normal problematic levels. The other issues I just also really can’t see well. I can’t say that they aren’t true, because I certainly don’t speak for Japanese people or their culture, but I can say that I didn’t really get that vibe at any point, and didn’t affect me negatively either for this movie.

Back to the film! Holy shit dogs!

What a totally immersive story. There were little quirks here and there that could remind you of it being a film, especially when it came to the various translation methods, but I just wanted to live there and run around and frolic despite all of the bad things that were going down. The dogs in particular all have their own personality and jokes that surround them, for good quick laughs.

I really enjoyed that I couldn’t understand the entire film. The Japanese characters spoke Japanese, and didn’t always have a reason to be translated or subtitled, and during those times, well, if you knew Japanese you could follow 100%. The audience was required to watch the facial expressions and to hear obvious key words to make sure we could follow. It was great to not get everything super dumbed down.

Isle of Dogs is an interesting adventure, a unique tale, and a story that just seems to have so many tiny perfect details that it would be fun to watch over and over again. Until though, I will just settle for a rewatch of Fantastic Mr. Fox.

4 out of 4.

Collateral Beauty

Have you seen the trailer to Collateral Beauty? Well, please do so. Here is one and here is another. They are both great. I saw it first a few months ago and knew I had to see that movie, right away preferably.

It has actors I like in it, the story looks neat, and looks like a perfect holiday film, without being cheesy Christmas. And it looks like it would make me cry.

But man, it turns out this movie is incredibly fucked up and inappropriate.

Ah love, Knightley knows all about that one.

Like I said, please watch the trailer. Now here is the real plot.

Yes, Howard (Will Smith) used to be good at his job. He ran an advertising firm, preached that every ad should speak to three absolutes: Love, Time or Death, and people loved him. And then, he had his daughter die. Now, the majority of the film takes place TWO YEARS LATER. And now, he is still dealing with his grief. He is barely audible, he spends most of the time just making dominoes just to knock them down, not even looking at them as they fall.

And this leaves most of the company to his three main friends/colleagues. Whit (Edward Norton), Claire (Kate Winslet), and Simon (Michael Peña). Whit is recently divorced and his pre-teen daughter hates him. Claire wants to maybe get a surrogate baby. And Simon, well, Simon might be dying.

All of them have their own issues, but they are still doing their jobs, and right now their company is failing. They have an offer to sell their company though, for $17 a share, which is more than what they really are worth! They just need Howard’s approval, but he refuses to do anything. So they think, sure, maybe they can just show he isn’t right in the head to make decisions without him.

So they develop a scheme, hire a P.I. (Ann Dowd), and she finds out that he has sent letters to Love, Death, and Time. Whit decides that the best option now is to hire actors to be these three entities, make him look crazy in public, record the display, digitally remove the actors, and bam, they can sell the company and do good things.

Yay morals. Featuring Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley, and Jacob Latimore as the actors, and Naomie Harris as a grief counselor.

Two of these characters are considered more of a main character than Will Smith.

My eyes could not believe what I was seeing. I had to both shake my head and put it in my palms at various points in the film. What trailer did I see and why did it lie so hardcore to get viewers?

Oh yeah. Money.

I haven’t seen a trailer so deceptive of a movie since Hercules, but in that case it was a nice surprise. It didn’t change the plot of the film. In this case, people go in expecting a heart warming tale and get a story about very dickish people and they don’t get punishment. Seriously. There may still be heart warming elements, but they come to people who are not worthy of our sympathy.

Here is a fact. Yes. I teared up a bit in the film. But making me cry does not a good movie make. It is frankly really easy to do nowadays, especially if part of the plot involves a dead daughter. But I cried during Jem and the Holograms and could still see its shitty elements.

Look, trailer lies aside, the main ending after all of it is pretty easy to figure out. Except for one element and that is because it doesn’t make any sense. It could have maybe been considered an okay film, but I have to shake my head about the last final reveal. It seems tacked on and never explained, and makes me question how it even got to that point. Almost as bad as the reveal at the end of Now You See Me.

There are a lot of big names in this film and I was really excited to see it after I saw the trailer. But it is easy work for basically everyone involved. Smith feels like a supporting character until the end of the movie. No one is giving I their all and everyone seems to be collecting an quick paycheck.

Collateral Beauty is emotionally manipulative while being morally terrible. That is not a good combination anywhere. And especially not around the holidays.

1 out of 4.

Sausage Party

I wanted to see Sausage Party, I honestly did. I loved the first trailer, avoided all other spoilers, and wrote it on my calendar. But then real life made me miss it and I had to wait weeks to see it. Having kids doesn’t help.

But I didn’t mean to see Sausage Party for today’s review. No, I went to the theater to see Hell or High Water, everyone told me I had to! Well, word of mouth is powerful and it was in a small dinky theater and sold out. Thankfully, Sausage Party was roughly the same time starting, so I easily went ther and just moved it up my schedule a couple weeks.

Hey. Sweet. Now I can have some laughs and review two animated films in a row this week! And also dick jokes. Dick jokes, sex jokes, death jokes, stoner jokes. Hilarious.

I haven’t seen food party this much since Foodfight!

Frank (Seth Rogen) is a sausage. Not just any sausage. A horny sausage, ready to fuck. He has some other wiener palls, like Carl (Jonah Hill), Troy (Anders Holm), and Barry (Michael Cera), who is a bit deformed and smaller than normal. His package is right next to a nice package of buns, including Brenda (Kristen Wiig), his soul mate.

Or fuck mate. They really wanna screw. They want to get picked together by one of the Gods to go into the Great Beyond, outside of the supermarket. And soon is “Red, White, and Blue” day, so their chances of getting picked are high! And of course, the Gods have spoken, and they were chosen together to live out their wildest fantasies.

But then the unthinkable happens. The Honey Mustard (Danny McBride) was returned and he went crazy. He said the Great Beyond was a lie. Everything outside was terrible. And he caused a cart accident. Food went flying, Disaster. Frank and Brenda were left outside the cart to survive on their own. With Sammy Bagel Jr. (Edward Norton) and Kareem Abdul Lavash (David Krumholtz), who keep fighting.

Can they determine the truth of the Great Beyond? Or were they punished by the Gods for touching tips? How will their friends survive in the outside world? Can I ask more questions about the food sex?

Also featuring Bill Hader as a Native American stereotype, Salma Hayek as a taco, Craig Robinson as grits, Paul Rudd as a nerdy sales clerk/jerk, James Franco as a stoner, and Nick Kroll as a big douche.

Some say a big douche is just the roll that Nick Kroll was born to play.

Sausage Party at its core is an insane film. Apparently it came out just wondering what a film would be like if food had feelings (something Pixar hadn’t touched on yet), and Rogen realized it would be an incredibly fucked up film. And a fucked up film is what we got.

It is basically the most adult animated film since South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut and even has a musical number! And by adult humor, I don’t mean sophisticated tax jokes, but you know, sex, language and drugs. So 14 year old humor, if you will.

It will make you cringe, make you laugh, and maybe make you cry. The references are out of control, including an amazing visual from Saving Private Ryan. It was constantly surprising with the direction it went, including two different turn of events near the end. You know, when they fight for freedom and celebrate their potential freedom.

Because like I said earlier, they just wanted to fuck. That’s life in a nutshell.

Sausage Party is raunchy and honestly a film I can imagine watching and hiding from my own kids for years to come.

3 out of 4.

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

I really wanted to do some clever parody of Spoonman to start this review, but those lyrics kind of suck. Didn’t give me a lot to work with, outside of obviously changing Spoonman to Birdman.

But let’s talk about this great title. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance) is the full title and so we should say it every time in public as such. Such a provocative title on its own right, and given that some of the people in here play strange fake versions of themselves, it gets even crazier.

And the movie itself is very pseudo-meta. In the quickest description, it is about a man going through a midlife crisis, who used to play a very famous super hero, but stopped and hasn’t had great work since then. That person is looking for a comeback into the public fame and risking it all to succeed. Michael Keaton of course used to play Batman, and after Multiplicity, well, who cares? And now he is in a very similar situation. Awesome. I am stoked.

And Norton plays a great actor who others can’t stand and is hard to work with. Hey!

To reiterate, Riggan (Keaton) used to be a hot commodity. He played BIRDMAN, the best super hero, people loved him. But then he stopped. He didn’t want to do it anymore.

Now look at him, middle aged, divorced, and putting on a play. A play?? Yes. On Broadway, an adaption of a a short story that he is writing, directing, and starring in. Why? Hard to say, could be the crisis, could be because he likes the author, could be anything. But it is happening and soon. But at the same time, his life is falling apart. His relationship with his daughter (Emma Stone) is strained. He is putting all of his wealth into this production. His lead performers are either bad or egotistical. He might have gotten someone pregnant. He has to deal with critics with a vendetta. And bad things just seem to keep happening!

Did I mention mid-life crisis? Because Riggan is also having trouble, when he is alone, perceiving his own reality. He almost sees reality in a different light than everyone else. They just couldn’t understand.

Also featuring Zach Galifianakis as his lawyer, Naomi Watts, Andrea Riseborough, and Edward Norton as his actors, and Amy Ryan as his ex-wife.

Also starring that guy, played by some Harvey or something like that.

One of the coolest things a director can do is have a few “really long shots” in their film, where the camera never leaves the scene, where there are not cuts, just a lot of dialogue and a lot of acting. The Master had an intense one of those, Before Midnight had a few, Tarantino does it a lot. It is awesome and shows a lot of great acting during these sorts of scenes.

I don’t know a lot about the director, Alejandro González Iñárritu, except that I have reviewed only one of his films, Biutiful, but I am convinced that this man is a genius. The ENTIRE FILM is made up of incredibly long scenes. I’d say the camera must have only cut away under ten times the whole film, which is about two hours long. That is incredible.

And just so we are clear, this is not a movie with only a handful of locations where the camera is just watching a few people talking for 10-15 minutes at a time. No. People walk and people move from room to room of this tiny Broadway theater, from main stage to dressing room, to balcony, to the streets below. So the entire film is so meticulously planned that the whole thing is like a Rube Goldberg machine. Actors have to come into rooms at the right time, also props, sight gags, everything has to fit in correctly. Given that this is a comedy, timing is key for half of the laughs, so it was an incredible feat. It is almost as if they tried to convey this movie as if it was a play, where real acting had to occur.

Speaking of real acting, there were so much incredible talent in this film, but Keaton and Stone knock it out of the park. Obviously Keaton will get most of the fame, and rightfully so, most likely earning a Best Acting nomination nod for his work here. But I want to make sure that people know that Stone was also fantastic and had a monologue or two to convey intense emotions through.

The film had a great plot, it kept me guessing, and shit, even the soundtrack of “mostly just drums” worked really fucking well. Go see Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance) and then maybe go see it again.

4 out of 4.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Hah. Wes Anderson. For those that don’t read every post I make, Wes Anderson is a strange guy for me. Every movie I reviewed for the site that he directed, I have love love loved. But that was only two movies. The other one I saw I just didn’t really get, and thought it was weird. Yet still, I was excited for this new one.

So excited, I am pretty pissed off that they forced The Grand Budapest Hotel to be a limited release. It broke some records for its release. Like, most money gained from a super super limited release. But only two cities? That is crap. There is no reason for that. I am lucky I even got to see it so soon as I had to drive three hours to see it, weeks after its “release date”. Maybe I am more annoyed because it wasn’t even advertised as a limited release, so I have to imagine it was just a last minute change.

But I guess I expected Anderson to be a dick if he could, so there is that.

This story in a story is about The Grand Budapest Hotel, as you might have guessed. It used to be a…grand old place, but recently, it has gone under some bad times. The clientele is no longer the elite, the staff is no longer extremely efficient, and really it is in shambles. That is why a young writer (Jude Law) is so interested to meet its current owner, Mr. Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham), to hear his story about he acquired the hotel and his vast fortune.

M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) is a man amongst boys. He used to be the concierge, a god amongst men. Working morning to night, every day, he made sure the rich guests felt welcome at the hotel and would do anything to please them. Including the extremely rich Madame D (Tilda Swinton) who stays at the hotel for weeks every year.

Well, she dies, mysteriously. Also, her will was changed last minute as well it seems. Apparently M. Gustave was left her priceless painting, pissing off the ungrateful and evil family. Now, they also think M. Gustave killed her!

It is up to the help of his Lobby Boy, Zero (Tony Revolori) to help prove his innocence, get him out of jail, and in general, save the day!

Also featuring a shit ton of people. Here they are, roughly, in order of importance: Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldbloom, Saoirse Ronan, Mathieu Amalric, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, and Owen Wilson.

This scene represents birth.

Ahhhh, quirky Wes Anderson movie!

This one took a little bit to get going, trying to figure out just what the movie would be about. It takes place over three time periods, technically, so the story needs time to get started.

But when it does? Man. This movie was hilarious. Ralph Fiennes, although I don’t know how to say his name, is a terrific actor and a charismatic character in this film. You can’t take your eyes off of him whenever he is on the screen. And it works so well. Much laughter, much ridiculousness.

This film has a lot of Anderson standards, with his camera work and use of colors.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is also a bit more crass than his other recent movies. Some nakedness, some death scenes, all a bit extreme. But I think that made it a little bit better.

Definitely as good as the trailer made it seem to be, and one of the best early movies of 2014.

4 out of 4.

The Bourne Legacy

Confession time! From the original Bourne Trilogy, I only really saw the first one and I am pretty sure that was ten years ago. I just didn’t care that much, thought it was too slow. But you know, okay. So I had to rewatch it last week, and for the first time the second and third ones to make sure I was prepped for the newest installation, The Bourne Legacy.

Smile beard
Smiling Bearded Jeremy Renner wants to be your friend. Not really a joke, just a fact.

Remember everything from the first three films? Well too bad, not much of it matters. Basically, this movie takes place around the same time as the events of Ultimatum. Jason Bourne scared a lot of people when he showed up out of nowhere in NYC and started messing with them all. So much, the CIA went into lockdown.

Potentially a spoiler, but I think knowing the next part helps a lot.

A different program, called Outcome, was similar to the Treadstone program of the first three films. Instead of taking individuals who were already skilled to turn them into agents, they are taking individuals on the bottom of the totem pole and enhancing them artificially with pills.

Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) is currently fucked, because he is almost out of pills. On a random mission in the Alaskan mountain range, he lost a bunch of his blues/greens, and is almost out. Even when he gets to the outpost and meets another agent (Oscar Isaac), he can’t get any extra from them. Have to file a report. Without the pills, his body will go crazy and crash. No good.

Too bad, thanks to CIA head person Eric Byer (Edward Norton), they have decided to wipe out the existence of all of the Outcome agents. Gotta kill em all, most by switching their pills, but, wouldn’t you know it, Aaron Cross escapes! Still needs the Blue/Green pills though. So he does the only thing he knows, kicking ass, to find Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) who might know how to get more pills.

Or even better, a way to not need the pills anymore. Can he survive long enough to find a solution, when people with guns and other super agents chasing him? Can he stay ahead of the entire CIA and all of its surveillance long enough? Does the fact that Stacy Keach and Dennis Boutsikaris play other head of operation people actually matter to Edward Norton?

Two Guns
Whoa, two guns Renner? Amping up the violence here, eh?

Fuck. Not even a spoiler, but Extreme Ways by Moby does end this movie as well. Gah, when I first heard that note, I had a silent rage in my seat. I really don’t like that song.

But hey, other than that, I really like it. There were issues of course. I didn’t like the way it was spliced in the beginning, making sure you had no real knowledge of what was going on for awhile, and setting it up. Bump that, just tell me. I liked Aaron Cross better than Jason Bourne. Jason Bourne was almost emotionless, while, as you saw above, Aaron Cross at least smiled. The relationship between him and Marta also made more since than Bourne’s relationship.

When they are eventually in the Philippines, there is one chase scene that is incredibly long. Way too long. They split it up to involve different aspects (foot, vs motorcycle, vs what is chasing after them) but I felt like it got above ridiculous at that point. Either way, besides that, found it all pretty entertaining. Even the parts where Renner had that bad beard.

3 out of 4.

Moonrise Kingdom

I saw probably two trailers for Moonrise Kingdom, with neither of them answering really anything at all. I did know that it was a Wes Anderson movie, of which I have only liked one. But to be fair, I have only seen two…

I am sure someone is reading this review because they heard I disliked Bill Murray and heard I only like him in cameos. Well. I won’t let any perceived actor hatred from giving this movie its full attention and chance to wow me. No fear good sirs.

Uh oh, famous people alert.

Honestly, I have a hard time trying to explain just what this movie is about. The easiest way is to just explain some of the characters and location.

The setting is in 1965 at a fictional New England island of New Penzance. Pretty small. Nearby is a few other islands too. But small, has a ferry system, and no paved roads.

The first family introduced is the Bishops, Walt (Murray) and Laura (Frances McDormand). They have three young boys, and an older daughter at twelve named Suzy (Kara Hayward). She may be dysfunctional, and likes binoculars.

There is only one police officer for the whole island, Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis) and not the smartest man out there. There is a local camp set up for some Khaki Scouts, lead by Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton), who is a math teacher normally. He runs his camp with authority, and makes sure not too many shenanigans occur. But when it is found out that Sam (Jared Gilman), an orphan kid who no one likes has retired from the Scouts, run away and stolen a canoe, it drives the Island into panic!

Mostly indifference, but still, he can’t have gone that far.

This leads to a grand adventure of love, and longing. Where adults act childish, and children act like adults. Where books are read, and where coves are named. Jason Schwartzman also appears as “Cousin Ben” and Harvey Keitel as Commander Pierce, head of the Khaki Scouts and working on the local Hullabaloo.

Still don’t know what this movie is about? Bitch, she’s a raven!

Fucking Wes Anderson! How dare he do an amazing movie like this.

Everything felt top notch about this movie. Everything was so weird and I love weird. The music? It was both in your face, and felt appropriate. But the real level of amazing would be the camera work here. Lot of longer scenes where the camera would just move from left to right as people walked, and things happened in the background, and the movie carried on. The color schemes between the scenes, they were noticeable and overpowering, but yet it also added so much to the island of New Penzance.

I can’t even tell if the acting was that good? The main kid performances was full of “awwww”, and I love movies that give me stuff like that. You know, like Flipped.

The movie is really hard to explain, but I really loved it. Was on the edge of my seat for a while. I did find it odd that I was pretty much the only one laughing in my theater of 12-15~ people for most of the jokes. But those guys are just jerks I guess.

4 out of 4.


Its amazing how non observant I am in the real world. I recognized all the names on the movie Stone, but I must have gotten lazy after the first two and wandered off each time. Had I known this was a movie with Edward Norton, I would have watched this much sooner.

Doesn’t mean it is good. Just means I like his acting.

Corn rows
And his hair style choices. I have always wanted corn rows. Edward Norton is now saying I should try it out.

The story is actually about Jack (Robert De Niro), a parole officer who is a few weeks from retirement (of course). His next and last case involves the prisoner who wants to be called Stone (Norton), and has been in Prison for about five years in a nine year sentence. He claims to be on a new path, spiritually, and got put in prison for arson. He also describes his wife, Lucy (Milla Jovovich), as an Alien from another planet due to how hot she is. She is depicted as someone super active, sexually, and a elementary school teacher. Wooo.

Eventually, through some prodding, Lucy finally convinces Jack to meet up with him to talk about releasing her husband. And she seduces them and sex happens. Jack, who has never broken a law in his life, and never cheated before, but isn’t necessarily a good guy, just good at seeing through bull shit. He has been married for 40 years (to Frances Conroy), but the marriage is loveless and stale, mostly his fault, and she feels trapped in the house.

Eventually Stone gets out of jail, per Jack’s permission. BUT WILL I MEAN DIRE CONSEQUENCES?

Also, Milla is a lot more naked in this movie than you’d have guessed.

So, what starts off as a movie in the thriller suspense genre, at some point turns into straight drama, sort of spiritual based, sort of fate based. Sort of something else. I was definitely interested in the beginning of the film, but found myself bored and not liking the way it was going.

The acting in it, don’t get me wrong, it was good. Even Milla. But the story? That felt weak. Not only that, but unfinished to me, and then at the end, pointless.

I like there to be a point to my time watching movies, and I feel like I wasted 2 hours. Good acting is not the only important thing to a good movie.

1 out of 4.

Leaves Of Grass


am surprised it took me this long to review Leaves Of Grass. I generally have a stand against downloading movies on the internet, but I took exception for both this movie and The Joneses. Why? Because they took forever to go from being made and out, to being actually out on DVD. I wanted to buy both and watch them, but just could not. Since then, I have bought both movies at least. Woo guilt!

It also features one of my favorite movie tropes. One guy playing twins.

Yep. Movie starts off with Bill (Edward Norton), a professor at Brown teaching Latin. After a student tries to seduce him (which he definitely puts an end to), and a meeting with the board about Harvard/tenure, in walks Bolger (Tim Blake Nelson) with the news that his brother is dead!

But not really. His brother, Brady (Edward Norton. Twins I tell ya. But he has long hair, no worry) is actually having some trouble with the law. He grows all natural marijuana! But he isn’t trying to get rich from it, just does a small farm, small sales, no reason to expand his market. Even if he owes money to Richard Dreyfuss. Bill of course goes back to Tulsa to visit the funeral, but en route to his home, he is mistaken for his twin and beaten up. He awakes to find, well damn it, Brady isn’t dead.

But he is getting married (to Keri Russell) and is having a baby, so Bill is guilted into staying. Especially since he too really finds the soon to be wife attractive. But Brady convinces Bill to pretend to be Brady and take care of things at the home (and his wife!) while he goes to deal with Richard Dreyfuss. And thus, alibis can be falsely made. Hooray!

After that, things go from mild comedy to real dark comedy. Shit goes down. Excessive violence, death, and extremely unlikely scenarios. None of which involve Susan Sarandon, who plays the mom, but might involve Josh Pais, a failed orthodontist.

Blake Tim Nelson Kick ass
Way too much swag for two guys from Tulsa.

Tim Blake Nelson is more well known as Delmar from O Brother, Where Art Thou? and playing “dumb characters” but he actually graduated from both Brown and Julliard. Why do I mention this? Because he was also the director of the movie, and whenever you are a character in a movie you are directing, your character is generally pretty awesome. And it is true. That characters amazingness made me enjoy the movie that much more.

I was shocked by the end how violent it actually got, not expecting it with a Edward Norton twin comedy. Shit happens, and that shit sucks. My vague descriptions might be enough to convince you to watch it, but I figure just saying Edward Norton is in it is enough for the rest of you.

3 out of 4.