Re-Watch: Birdman (2014)

Birdman [aka Birdman (Or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)]
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Writer: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris,Armando Bo
Cast: Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, Naomi Watts, Andrea RiseboroughEdward Norton, Merritt Wever, Amy Ryan, Lindsay Duncan
Seen on: 26.02.2015
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
Riggan (Michael Keaton) came to fame for playing superhero Birdman when he was younger. Now he’s a little washed-up and desperately trying to reclaim his former glory by mounting a play based on Raymond Carver‘s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”. This is made slightly more difficult by the fact that Riggan lost his second lead actor only days before opening night, that the replacement hired – Mike (Edward Norton) – is horrible to work with and that New York’s most important critic Tabitha Dickinson (Lindsay Duncan) hates Riggan. Not to forget, there’s also Riggan’s family, especially his daughter Sam (Emma Stone) who is trying to get back on her feet after rehab. But probably worst of all: in his head, Riggan can hear Birdman constantly berating him.

Re-watching the film, I might have focused on its weaknesses a little more than the first time round, but it’s still a very strong film that entertained me a lot.

birdman

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Birdman (2014)

Birdman [aka Birdman (Or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)]
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Writer: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo
Cast: Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, Naomi Watts, Andrea RiseboroughEdward Norton, Merritt Wever, Amy Ryan, Lindsay Duncan
Part of: Viennale

Plot:
Riggan (Michael Keaton) came to fame for playing superhero Birdman when he was younger. Now he’s a little washed-up and desperately trying to reclaim his former glory by mounting a play based on Raymond Carver‘s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”. This is made slightly more difficult by the fact that Riggan lost his second lead actor only days before opening night, that the replacement hired – Mike (Edward Norton) – is horrible to work with and that New York’s most important critic Tabitha Dickinson (Lindsay Duncan) hates Riggan. Not to forget, there’s also Riggan’s family, especially his daughter Sam (Emma Stone) who is trying to get back on her feet after rehab. But probably worst of all: in his head, Riggan can hear Birdman constantly berating him.

Birdman was funny, sad and cringeworthy all at the same time. Even though it wasn’t completely issue-free, I really enjoyed it a lot.

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The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Director: Wes Anderson
Writer: Wes Anderson
Based on: Stefan Zweig‘s writing (very loosely)
Cast: Ralph FiennesTony Revolori, F. Murray AbrahamJude Law, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Léa Seydoux, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson, Karl Markovics, Bob Balaban

Plot:
Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes) is not just a concierge, he is probably the best concierge there ever was and he has his fans. One of them is his newly acquired protégé Zero (Tony Revolori), another a frequent guest at the Grand Budapest Hotel, Madame D. (Tilda Swinton). When she is f0und dead, though, suspicion falls on Gustave and he has to try and clear his name and to claim his inheritance, all with Zero in tow.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is probably the best film Anderson made since The Life Aquatic, if not his best film so far, period. It is crazy, enjoyable, funny, aesthetic and weird and has an awe-inspiring cast. Wonderful.

grandbudapesthotel

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The Bourne Legacy (2012)

The Bourne Legacy
Director: Tony Gilroy
Writer: Tony Gilroy, Dan Gilroy
Based on: Robert Ludlum‘s novels (kinda)
Sequel to: The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum
Cast: Jeremy Renner, Edward Norton, Rachel Weisz, Oscar Isaac, Scott Glenn, Stacy Keach, Joan Allen, David Strathairn

Plot:
While the events of The Bourne Ultimatum are unfolding, a government group spearheaded by Eric Byer (Edward Norton) tries to get the situation under control by shutting down all programs related to Treadstone. That means that they start killing operatives. But one of them, Aaron (Jeremy Renner), manages to escape and subsequently tries to get back his independence and freedom with the help of Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz) who designed the drugs that gives the operatives a mental and physical edge.

The Bourne Legacy has a terrific cast, but falls flat in pretty much all other departments: The writing is a mess, the camerawork sucks, as does the editing, but worst of all is the direction.

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Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

Moonrise Kingdom
Director: Wes Anders0n
Writer: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola
Cast: Kara Hayward, Jared Gilman, Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Harvey Keitel, Bob Balaban

Plot:
A small island in New England. Suzy (Kara Hayward) lives with her family and spends most of her time looking through binoculars, while Sam (Jared Gilman) is a khaki scout currently at Camp Lebanon. The two of them are very much in love, so they decided to run away together. When Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton) notices the absence of his charge, he informs Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis) and soon the entire island is involved in the search for the two kids.

Since I didn’t like Fantastic Mr. Fox that much, I was a bit worried about Moonrise Kingdom. But my worries were for nothing – I really, really, really loved this film. It was sweet and fun and amusing. Plus, it had a wonderful cast. Perfect.

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The Invention of Lying (2009)

The Invention of Lying is a movie by Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson, starring Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Louis C.K., Rob Lowe, Jonah Hill, Jeffrey Tambor, Tina Fey, John Hodgman, Jimmi Simpson, Martin Starr, Jason Bateman, Stephen Merchant, Christopher Guest, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Edward Norton. [Seriously, this movie is like Where’s Waldo?, only with known faces.]

Plot:
In a world, where no human knows how to lie, things can be pretty cruel for a guy like Mark (Ricky Gervais): Not particularly attractive, successful or intelligent – and the world keeps telling him directly. After going out with the beautiful Anna (Jennifer Garner) who shoots him down the next day, being fired and about to be evicted, Mark is ready to just quit. That’s when he tells the world’s first lie. Unsure how he is able to do it or what exactly to do with that new ability, he jus tknows that his life is about to change.

I haven’t heard any good things about this movie beforehand [and it was again one of those films that even get a cinematic release in Austria]. But this movie was actually pretty good – good concept, good jokes and a fantastic cast.

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Leaves of Grass (2009)

[Viennale started! Yay!]

Leaves of Grass is the newest film by Tim Blake Nelson, starring Edward Norton, Keri Russell, Melanie Lynskey, Richard Dreyfuss and Susan Sarandon.

Plot:
Bill Kincaid (Edward Norton) is a successful philosophy professor who’s completely turned his back on his family in Oklahoma; his mother (Susan Sarandon) and his twin brother Brady (Edward Norton), a drug dealer. Brady has got himself into some financial troubles and calls Bill for help and home by telling him that he died. But that’s only the beginning of the mess they’re in.

Leaves of Grass has some very funny moments but the film has two major flaws: One, it tries too hard to be deep and meaningful and two, the film keeps getting away from the director.

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Pride and Glory (2008)

Pride and Glory is a rather typical police story about corrupt police men, drugs, and family. It stars Edward Norton, Colin Farrell and Jon Voight and is directed by Gavin O’Connor.

Plot:
The Tierneys are a family of cops  – father Francis (Jon Voight), his two sons Ray (Edward Norton) and Fran (Noah Emmerich) and their brother-in-law Jimmy (Colin Farrell) all work in the police. After the gruesome murder of four colleagues during a raid, Ray takes over the case and finds corruption not only in the police force, but also in his family.

I love Edward Norton. I really really really do. He’s a great actor, he has good taste when it comes to movies [well, almost always], he’s intelligent, he’s good looking. He’s the kind of guy I would love to spend an evening with. So, I expected a lot from his performance. But this movie made me wonder… Is he in financial troubles? Should I start a fund so he’ll be able to keep his artistic integrity? Does he need help with anything?
[Colin Farrell, even though he makes me want to get naked and dirty, is not famous for his great movie choices. (With a few exceptions.) So, no grand expectations here.]

new-pride-and-glory-poster1

[SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS]

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Green Action

Deadra and me went to the movies and watched The Incredible Hulk. Before I plunge into my point of view on the movie, let me say this: I’m not a Marvel girl. I don’t know much of the Marvel universe. And I’m not much of a Hulk fan, either. I watched the last Hulk because of Ang Lee, I watched this one because of Edward Norton and Tim Roth.

Deadra, on the other hand, is a Marvel girl (and doesn’t understand my obsession with Batman and Superman) and the film did for her, what it couldn’t achieve for me: One fan girl orgasm after the other. [NICK FURY!!! POSSIBLY DR. STRANGE!!! IRON MAN!!!] [Okay, I enjoyed Robert Downey Jr.‘s appearance as well.]

Apparantly, meaning imdb says, (almost) all the small hints to the Marvel universe (which were really nice as far as I got them) were Edward Norton’s idea, who worked on the script (talented bastard…).

Oh, Sweetie...

Oh, Sweetie…

Not so sweet

Not so sweet

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Motherless Brooklyn (Jonathan Lethem)

Motherless Brooklyn is the first really successful novel by Jonathan Lethem. It’s about Lionel Essrog, a PI with Tourette’s. When his boss and father figure gets killed, he sets out to find out what happened to him.

It was a fascinating read – when I was younger I always dreamt of becoming a neurologist and curing Tourette’s. Those dreams abruptly ended when I discovered that I had to know chemistry for it to come true. Nevertheless, I still retained a fascination with it (and other neurological disorders). My curiousity was pretty satisfied by the read.

Lionel’s case of Tourette’s rather severe, his tics range from shoulder-tapping over counting to echolalia. You get used quickly to his tics and it gets weird when he doesn’t have to do them. You keep thinking that something’s missing.
The echolalia was the perfect “excuse” for Lethem to make some experiments with language which were amazing, opening up new layers of meaning just beyond what would have been written without it. [And I love the phrase dickweed. Just waiting for a chance to use it.]

The story itself is thoroughly thought through [(c) Stephen Fry] but not really surprising.

It definitely made me want to read Fortress of Solitude. And it also made me look forward to the movie even more. Additionally to Edward Norton.