Tag Archives: Edward Norton

Kingdom of Heaven: Director’s Cut (2005) Review

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Kingdom of Heaven

Time:
144 Minutes (Theatrical Cut)
194 Minutes (Director’s Cut)
Age Rating: 860949[1] 
Cast:
Orlando Bloom as Balian of Ibelin
Eva Green as Sibylla of Jerusalem
Jeremy Irons as Raymond III of Tripoli (“Tiberias”)
David Thewlis as The Hospitaller
Brendan Gleeson as Raynald of Châtillon (“Reynald”)
Marton Csokas as Guy de Lusignan
Edward Norton as King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem
Michael Sheen as Priest
Liam Neeson as Barisan of Ibelin (“Godfrey”)
Director: Ridley Scott

In the twelfth century, blacksmith Balian (Orlando Bloom) travels to Jerusalem, a city seething with religious wars. He transforms into a defending warrior who saves the city and its people.

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I have heard about Kingdom of Heaven for a while, mainly about it being another historical epic from director Ridley Scott. I also heard that it’s one of the most infamous instances where the director’s cut is far better than the theatrical cut, with the latter reportedly removing so many important parts from the film. So I sought out the Director’s Cut of Kingdom of Heaven and I’m prepared to say that it’s one of my all time favourite films from Ridley Scott, which is quite something considering his filmography.

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Kingdom of Heaven was a very well-crafted historical epic, it does have fictionalised events but that’s to be expected from most big budget Hollywood historical epics (especially those directed by Ridley Scott). The large scale of this movie is impressive, and the story is grippingly told with high stakes very apparent throughout. It has a complex plot with many well thought out characters and plotlines and with the director’s cut at least, I think it was put together well. On one hand the film is a classic tale about an individual who rises to become something great, but it’s also a movie about the Crusades. I don’t know much about the subject matter but the Crusades sound like a fascinating historical period, so that was interesting to watch. One of the most surprising parts of the movie is that it does a great job at depicting both sides of the fight equally, with Islam and Christianity being represented fairly. It would have been easy to pick one side over the other, but it’s a well balanced telling of both religious sides. It is particularly powerful when you consider this holy war conflict is framed against a post 9/11 backdrop with the film being released 2 years into the Iraq War. And thinking about it, this is probably one of the many reasons why Kingdom of Heaven wasn’t liked by some when it came out. There’s a lot to this movie thematically, especially about hope and redemption, and it has a very humanist view on religion and life in general. The director’s cut includes 45 minutes of extra footage compared to the theatrical cut. I can’t speak for myself about how much the differences matter since I never watched the theatrical cut, but I heard the extended scenes flesh out many of the supporting characters and storylines. As I said before it is a complex and long movie, making it 3 hours long. However I think the runtime was worth it to tell a story of this magnitude. The movie takes its time, it has many subplots it juggles but takes time to develop them and the characters and it really pays off.

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Kingdom of Heaven has one of the best casts I’ve seen in a movie and overall there are some strong performances playing well realised characters. The cast includes Michael Sheen, Brendan Gleeson, Eva Green, Marton Csokas and many more. For me the standouts were Jeremy Irons, Liam Neeson, David Thewlis, Edward Norton (as a character whose face is never seen yet gives a scene stealing performance), and Ghassan Massoud. The one cast member I hadn’t mentioned yet is the actor who plays the lead character, Orlando Bloom. His performance has been criticised by many, potentially partly due to his cut scenes. He definitely pales when put alongside the other actors in the movie and better actors could’ve been cast in his part. However I do think Bloom gives a really good performance, definitely the best I’ve seen from him.

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Ridley Scott’s movies are generally impressive on a technical level and Kingdom of Heaven is no exception. The cinematography is absolutely gorgeous, it’s possibly one of the best looking movies that Scott has made. You really feel the sense of scale with this movie, the production design and costumes are top notch, and get you completely immersed within this time period. As a spectacle it doesn’t disappoint, with some intense battle and action sequences which hold up well today, including the CGI. Finally there’s the great score from Harry Gregson-Williams, which could very well be the best I’ve heard from him.

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The Director’s Cut of Kingdom of Heaven is a fantastic historical epic that’s worthy of being placed among the best. The stellar cast are fantastic in their parts, Ridley Scott’s direction is top notch, and the story is complex and with compelling characters. Of course if you are going to watch it, make sure to watch the director’s cut, it’s pretty much universally accepted by everyone who’s watched it as the definitive version of the film.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) Review

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The Grand Budapest Hotel

Time: 99 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence, offensive language, sexual references & nudity
Cast:
Ralph Fiennes as Monsieur Gustave H.
Tony Revolori as Zero Moustafa
F. Murray Abraham as Mr. Moustafa
Adrien Brody as Dmitri
Willem Dafoe as J. G. Jopling
Saoirse Ronan as Agatha
Tilda Swinton as Madame D.
Edward Norton as Albert Henckels
Mathieu Amalric as Serge X
Jeff Goldblum as Kovacs
Harvey Keitel as Ludwig
Tom Wilkinson as Author
Jude Law as the Young Writer
Bill Murray as M. Ivan
Jason Schwartzman as M. Jean
Léa Seydoux as Clotilde
Owen Wilson as M. Chuck
Director: Wes Anderson

Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes), a concierge, is wrongly framed for murder at the Grand Budapest Hotel. In the process of proving his innocence, he befriends a lobby boy (Tony Revolori).

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I remember The Grand Budapest Hotel as being one of the earlier movies I saw from Wes Anderson, and it was the first movie from him I watched in the cinema. I had previously seen Fantastic Mr Fox and Moonrise Kingdom and while I liked them when I saw them for the first time, I wasn’t really into his work that much. I remember the experience in the cinema back in 2014 watching it because I found myself surprised at just how much I loved it. A rewatch upon watching all of Wes’s movies only confirms to me that it is his best, an unbelievably delightful and charming movie that entertains from beginning to end.

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The Grand Budapest Hotel’s screenplay is again written by Wes Anderson, and I have to say that it has to be one of his most polished and complete works, if not his most. This movie is one of the select number of films which I can say I found genuinely enthralling. Wes Anderson’s strongest movies with the likes of The Royal Tenenbaums and Rushmore had me interested generally throughout. However, The Grand Budapest Hotel had me invested from beginning to end and was endlessly entertaining. The movie feels completely original, and the story is heartfelt and endearing, features quirky and entertaining characters, and some unique and hilarious comedy. The dialogue was great, quick witted and memorable, and it’s perfectly paced across its 100 minute runtime. The plot itself is intricate but never confusing, and is also the largest scale movie from Wes Anderson. The Grand Budapest Hotel really gives you a sense of adventure and escapism, while also having melancholic and darker qualities and themes that you don’t expect at first.

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Wes Anderson is known for his massive and talented ensemble cast, but this may well be his biggest cast to date, and that’s saying a lot. Ralph Fiennes as Gustave H. gives not only one of his best performances of his career, but one of the best performances from a Wes Anderson movie. He’s charismatic, his line delivery is absolutely perfect, he really does handle the dry humour perfectly and fully portrays his well written and memorable character. Tony Revolori is also one of the leads and shouldn’t be overlooked, he’s really great too and shares great on screen chemistry with Fiennes. There was quite a supporting cast including Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Adrien Brody, Saoirse Ronan, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, F. Murray Abraham, Harvey Keitel, Tom Wilkinson, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Mathieu Amalric, Lea Seydoux and Owen Wilson. Everyone is great in their parts and make themselves stand out in their respective scenes, even if they are in just 1 or 2 scenes.

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Wes Anderson’s direction is phenomenal, even when compared to all his past work. His style is instantly recognisable once the movie begins. The cinematography is beautiful and vibrant. It is said with some movies that every shot could be framed as a painting, The Grand Budapest Hotel is one of those movies. The changing of the aspect ratios was also effective, moving to 4:3 for most of the film. The production design and costume design were outstanding too. The score by Alexandre Desplat is unique and amazing, and it really fits perfectly with the rest of the movie.

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The Grand Budapest Hotel is an enthralling and delightful adventure, perfectly written and directed by Wes Anderson, and features an outstanding ensemble of great performances. It’s like he took everything great from his past movies and put it all in here with this one. Having gone through his entire filmography, I can say with confidence that this may well be his magnum opus. It is also firmly one of my favourite movies, especially from the 2010s. It’s an essential watch for sure, and also a great place to start with Wes Anderson if you haven’t seen any of his movies before.

Collateral Beauty (2016) Review

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Collateral Beauty

Time: 97 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Will Smith as Howard Inlet
Edward Norton as Whit Yardsham
Keira Knightley as Amy/”Love”
Michael Peña as Simon Scott
Naomie Harris as Madeleine Inlet
Jacob Latimore as Raffi/”Time”
Kate Winslet as Claire Wilson
Helen Mirren as Brigitte/”Death”
Director: David Frankel

When a successful New York advertising executive (Will Smith) suffers a great tragedy, he retreats from life. While his concerned friends try desperately to reconnect with him, he seeks answers from the universe by writing letters to Love, Time and Death. When his notes bring unexpected personal responses, he begins to understand how these constants interlock in a life fully lived and how even the deepest loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty.

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I remember first hearing about Collateral Beauty when both Hugh Jackman and Rooney Mara were initially attached to it, although they later both dropped out. Still, it had a cast with the likes of Will Smith, Edward Norton, Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren and the like, so even though I wasn’t quite sure what the movie was about, I was definitely open to it. Having seen it though, I can say that Jackman and Mara dodged a bullet by dropping out. In the lead up to watching it, I heard so many surprisingly negative things about it, but watching it, it truly blew me away how bad it was.

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There’s no sugar-coating this, the trailers of Collateral Beauty straight up lied about the movie. According to the marketing, it’s about Will Smith writing to Love, Time and Death after a particular tragedy, and them actually coming in person to speak with him. That’s not quite what the movie is however. I would say spoiler alert, but this is pretty much shown within the first 20 minutes. What the movie really is about is that Smith’s friend/colleagues are worried about losing their jobs, so they decide to hire actors to portray Love, Time and Death, get them to talk to Will, record the conversations and then edit the actors out so that Smith can look crazy. I couldn’t make that up if I tried. I should also emphasise that the employees’ plan was literally recording Will Smith and the actors on an iPhone and somehow editing the actors out. What I said was just the premise, the rest of the movie is weak, melodramatic, or unintentionally silly. Some of the things in the movie including the ending is just truly absurd. It’s not so outrageous that you can have a blast watching it, but it had its unintentionally funny moments. It doesn’t even succeed on an emotional or touching level, you don’t like many (if any) of the characters, and it’s hard to get invested with what’s going on.

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This movie has an absurdly talented cast, with Will Smith, Edward Norton, Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley, Michael Pena, Naomie Harris and Helen Mirren all involved. The cast is by far the best part of the movie, giving decent performances, but they are by no means some of the best performances of their careers, and it’s such a shame that their talents aren’t utilised the best here. Smith is in drama mode here, you can tell that he’s trying, but the material doesn’t leave him anything to work with outside of just moping around and acting sad. While he’s at the centre of the movie, you really get to know the side characters more than him.

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There’s really nothing that special about the direction by David Frankel. It’s competently directed I guess but there’s not much to say about it. At times with the way its shot and especially the music, it’s like Collateral Beauty trying to get an emotional reaction out of the audience (and failing greatly).

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Collateral Beauty is truly astounding. While the cast are alright and it is directed okay, the script is a complete mess, with plenty of questionable choices throughout. By the end you’re not even sure what the point of it all was. I can’t recommend seeing it even as a movie to make fun of, but it’s generally harmless, if terrible.

 

Birdman (2014) Review

Time: 119 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, sexual references, offensive language & drug use
Cast:
Michael Keaton as Riggan Thomson
Edward Norton as Mike Shiner
Zach Galifianakis as Jake
Andrea Riseborough as Laura Aulburn
Amy Ryan as Sylvia Thomson
Emma Stone as Sam Thomson
Naomi Watts as Lesley Truman
Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Former cinema superhero Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) is mounting an ambitious Broadway production that he hopes will breathe new life into his stagnant career. It’s risky, but he hopes that his creative gamble will prove that he’s a real artist and not just a washed-up movie star. As opening night approaches, a castmate is injured, forcing Riggan to hire an actor (Edward Norton) who is guaranteed to shake things up. Meanwhile, Riggan must deal with his girlfriend (Andrea Riseborough), daughter (Emma Stone) and ex-wife (Amy Ryan).

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Best Picture winner Birdman was a movie that I really liked when I saw it, even though I didn’t regard it as a masterpiece like most people. Given that I was rewatching plenty of movies recently to see what I thought about them on a second viewing, I decided to rewatch Birdman, and I definitely got a lot more out of it on a second viewing. Masterfully directed, written well and acted well, Birdman is for sure a fantastic film experience.

Watching it a second time, I really noticed that Birdman was written incredibly well. There are plenty of references of Hollywood and has a lot to say about art, movies, the film industry and the like. Most movies about Hollywood that reference other movies and actors existing could easily fail at this but with Birdman they somehow they managed to do it in a way that doesn’t feel obnoxious. It’s an original and weird movie for sure, I mean this is a movie where the lead character can move objects with his mind and fly (or at least thinks he can). It’s a bit of a strange and dark comedy. It’s astounding how they managed to pack so much emotion and depth into 2 hours, and it had me entertained for that entire runtime. Talking about some of the best parts about this movie or explaining why they’re so great would involve spoiling a whole lot of what happened, and honestly it’s best if you go into it not knowing much already. The ending certainly is different, very ambiguous and it’s not going to work for everyone. You really have to interpret a lot of the movie (especially the ending) for yourself.

There is quite the large cast involved here, and they all gave some great performances. While everyone does very well here, it’s Michael Keaton who is the star of the show, really giving a career best performance. The casting choice is definitely meta, since the character is a washed up actor who once played a comic book character decades ago, and is played by Keaton who once played Batman of course. However it’s not just an inside joke, Keaton gives such a layered performance and really brought this character to life incredibly well. Edward Norton is great as a character that seems somewhat based off of his persona, a very talented but volatile method actor, among Norton’s best work for sure. Emma Stone is also great as Keaton’s daughter, giving one of her best performances. There is particularly one monologue with her which was one of the stand out scenes of the movie, and that’s saying a lot. The rest of the cast are all outstanding as well, some of which include Zach Galifianakis as Keaton’s lawyer and producer (in a more dramatic role that he hasn’t really done before), Andrea Riseborough as Keaton’s girlfriend and an actress, Naomi Watts as an actress, and Amy Ryan as Keaton’s ex-wife.

Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s direction of the whole movie is present throughout, and really added a ton to Birdman. Something that is really known was that this movie is made up of a bunch of long takes, making the movie look like it was done in one entire shot, it’s truly fantastic and creative the way they navigated the camera throughout all the spaces. There are parts where the camera goes black, and you can probably tell that one shot ended there and then another shot began, nonetheless the shots go on for so long that it’s nonetheless very impressive. Emmanuelle Lubezki’s cinematography as always is truly fantastic. The music is just a bunch of drums playing, occasionally at a seemingly random beat, and it kind of oddly works for this movie.

Birdman is arguably Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s best film yet, and I loved The Revenant. With his fantastic direction, the weird and original writing, and the great performances (especially from Michael Keaton), it really deserved all the awards recognition that it received. However, I can partially see why it wouldn’t necessarily work for everyone. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, I can’t really set you up for it, but I personally recommend that you watch the movie, just going into it movie with an open mind.

Motherless Brooklyn (2019) Review

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Motherless Brooklyn

Time: 144 Minutes
Cast:
Edward Norton as Lionel Essrog
Bruce Willis as Frank Minna
Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Laura Rose
Alec Baldwin as Moses Randolph
Willem Dafoe as Paul
Bobby Cannavale as Tony Vermonte
Cherry Jones as Gabby Horowitz
Director: Edward Norton

Lionel Essrog (Edward Norton) is a lonely private detective who doesn’t let Tourette’s syndrome stand in the way of his job. Gifted with a few clues and an obsessive mind, Lionel sets out to solve the murder of Frank Minna (Bruce Willis) — his mentor and only friend. Scouring the jazz clubs and slums of Brooklyn and Harlem, Essrog soon uncovers a web of secrets while contending with thugs, corruption and the most dangerous man in the city.

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I had heard about Motherless Brooklyn for a while, I knew that Edward Norton was directing it, I saw that it had a good cast, and it also was a detective story, which I generally like. I heard it received some mixed reactions, but I was still interested in seeing it whenever I could. Motherless Brooklyn was one of the biggest surprises of the year for me, even if aspects of the script could’ve been slightly improved.

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This film is based off a novel of the same name, with the plot in that being based in the 90s but Norton decided to make the shift towards the 50s for the film. Watching the movie, I couldn’t imagine this story being set in any other time period, it seemed like it was tailor made for that decade. As a mystery detective movie, I really liked it, with twists and revelations sprinkled throughout the plot. I was interested in what was going on, even when it was generally moving at a slower pace. This is a long movie at 2 hours and 25 minutes, and it feels a little too long, even if I was invested throughout. The central detective mystery story is interesting, but occasionally it gets a little side-tracked with other aspects. There are some background elements in here that needed to be fleshed out a little more, and some of the supporting characters needed to be developed a little more. I can see how some would find the ending to be anti-climatic, but for a conclusion to the story, I liked it.

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This movie has a pretty great main cast, with Edward Norton, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bruce Willis, Alec Baldwin, and Willem Dafoe making up the main cast. Norton gives one of his best performances as protagonist Lionel Essrog. It’s a very believable and emotional performance, on the whole he’s great. There’s just one aspect with him that not everyone is going to be on board with, and it is his portrayal of Tourette’s syndrome. It definitely feels overplayed at times, but you settle into it after a while, and for the most part it isn’t overused throughout the movie. Mbatha-Raw is also great, definitely a supporting player, but there is so much nuance and compassion in her performance that she doesn’t let herself get forgotten, she played her role really well. Willis is good but he’s basically a cameo, despite the whole movie surrounding his character’s death. Dafoe is also typically great, and probably even elevated his character with his performance. Baldwin has played many villainous characters, but this role is probably one of his most believable and intimidating, and he really gives a strong performance here and got many chances to shine.

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This is the first film I’ve seen directed by Edward Norton and he’s done a great job with it. Motherless Brooklyn really embraces all the noire elements, from the typical shots seen in the genre, the production design, to the music, and to the protagonist speaking their thoughts over a voiceover. It might seem a little overbearing or blatant at first, but you get used to it after a while, especially if you get wrapped up in the world that the story and the characters exist in. It has some truly stunning cinematography by Dick Pope, and the score by Daniel Pemberton is also one of the standouts of the year, a jazz based score that you really could imagine being in a classic noire. All of these elements work together to get you into the atmosphere and overall story.

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Motherless Brooklyn is clearly a movie that hasn’t really worked for everyone, and it isn’t going to join the ranks of other classic noires like Chinatown or L.A. Confidential, but I actually thoroughly liked it. There are a couple aspects of the script that’s not so great, it can feel slightly bloated and a little messy. On the whole though I thought it was great, with some effective performances, an interesting story, and was directed well by Norton. Definitely worth seeing whenever you can.

The Incredible Hulk (2008) Review

Time: 112 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Edward Norton as Bruce Banner/Hulk
Liv Tyler as Betty Ross
Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky/Abomination
Tim Blake Nelson as Samuel Sterns
Ty Burrell as Leonard Samson
William Hurt as Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross
Director: Louis Leterrier

Scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) desperately seeks a cure for the gamma radiation that contaminated his cells and turned him into The Hulk. Cut off from his true love Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) and forced to hide from his nemesis, Gen. Thunderbolt Ross (William Hurt), Banner soon comes face-to-face with a new threat: a supremely powerful enemy known as The Abomination (Tim Roth).

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I’ve seen every MCU movie released before 2015 at least twice, the exception being The Incredible Hulk, which is a movie I’ve been meaning to rewatch for the longest time (I think I’ve only seen it in 2008 prior to recently). Saying that The Incredible Hulk gets a bad wrap would be an understatement, it seemed to be completely forgotten by the rest of the MCU bar one character, even Thor: The Dark World seemed to be held in higher regard by some people. I was really curious as to how I would feel about it, and I’m glad to say that I liked watching it, even though it’s nothing all that great. It was at least better than the 2003 Hulk movie.

Most of the movie isn’t anything special but it does some really interesting and effective things. First thing I’ll say is that its opening credits is among the best from the superhero movies I’ve seen, it does the origin story of the Hulk and conveys a lot within a couple minutes. It means the movie doesn’t have to spend a lot of time retelling the origin story. Making a Hulk movie is not easy by any means, which you can tell by looking at both this movie and the 2003 film. While the first Hulk movie was an experimental and very slow burn of a movie, The Incredible Hulk is more of a standard action movie, but it overall works better. The film takes a more horror movie approach to how it treats the Hulk. They really make the Hulk feel like this unstoppable force that Banner is trying to get rid of and avoid. The first Avengers might’ve had a bit of that, but outside of that there wasn’t this struggle, so it was at least interesting to see that here. The third act goes into a standard two large characters fighting each other and causing a lot of destruction type of climax, and it’s at this point that the film kind of loses you. Not that it’s terrible, just wasn’t as interesting as what came beforehand. It also really wraps things up really quickly. Parts of the movie can be a little cheesy but that’s I guess it’s a little unavoidable (because again, it’s a movie about the Hulk). While you might’ve enjoyed what you saw for the past hour and 50 minutes, you sort of forgot what you just watched. In fact it’s probably the most forgettable movie in the MCU.

Edward Norton plays Bruce Banner/Hulk, I’m not going to go into whether he should’ve been kept for the later MCU movies, but I do think he did a really good job. He really sells the idea of Banner as a fugitive hiding from the government and wanting to find a cure. He doesn’t really go through much development, but Norton elevates his role quite a bit. What I will say is that in this movie, Bruce Banner seemed to be more of an action hero kind of character instead of the scientist, and it might’ve been nice to see a little more of the latter, because on the whole he seemed to fit the role a lot more than Ruffalo did. Liv Tyler plays Betty Ross and she was really good, the moments that Norton and Tyler get together are effective enough. Even though I know that Mark Ruffalo is now playing Banner and nothing that happened in this movie is referenced in the other movies, it would’ve been nice to see Betty appear again somewhere in the MCU. William Hurt was good as General Ross, who’s really going after Banner/Hulk for a large portion of the movie. He’s also the only actor from this movie to make it into other MCU movies. Tim Blake Nelson is good in the brief role, he’s hinted at becoming a significant character from the comic (that I’m not familiar with), though as you probably guessed it never amounted to anything in the future movies. Tim Roth is the main antagonist, firstly as Emil Blonsky and later as Abomination. As Blonsky, Roth is really effective as a power hungry soldier really going after Banner, the character himself doesn’t have a lot to him but it’s his performance that made him work very well. When he becomes Abomination, he becomes more of a standard monster for Hulk to fight but as previously mentioned, was at least enough of a physical challenge.

Louis Leterrier’s direction of The Incredible Hulk worked well enough for what it is. It really does feel like a superhero movie from the 2000s, it’s rough and grimy and like the first Iron Man doesn’t feel like it’s in the MCU. Most of the action scenes worked well. The parts with Edward Norton being front and centre in the action scenes instead of the Hulk were good, especially one where he has to escape while keeping his heart rate down so he doesn’t Hulk out. The action scenes involving Hulk were mostly decent. The visuals haven’t exactly held up well but parts of it are alright. The design of the Hulk is a bit of a mixed bag and the visual effects on him can be a bit hit or miss. On the other hand, the ugliness really worked for this monstrous take on him. On the other hand he can look really dated (still much better looking than the Ang Lee Hulk however). As for the design of the Abomination, it was a departure from the comics but considering how silly looking the comic version was, it’s not surprising they made the change. I just wish they made the design a little more interesting as it was very generic looking. The score by Craig Armstrong was also quite good.

The Incredible Hulk is for sure one of the weakest movies in the MCU. If it came to marathoning the Marvel movies before Endgame and you had to skip one movie, it would be this one. It’s not bad, just nothing really that special and a little forgettable. With that said, The Incredible Hulk was still entertaining enough, and it was at least interesting to see how they handled the Hulk here. Outside of its datedness, this is probably the best that a Hulk movie could really be. Worth a watch if you’re curious about it but by no means essential viewing.

Isle of Dogs (2018) Review

Time: 101 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence and Coarse Language
Cast:
Bryan Cranston as Chief
Koyu Rankin as Atari Kobayashi
Edward Norton as Rex
Bob Balaban as King
Bill Murray as Boss
Jeff Goldblum as Duke
Kunichi Nomura as Mayor Kobayashi
Akira Takayama as Major Domo
Greta Gerwig as Tracy Walker
Frances McDormand as Interpreter Nelson
Akira Ito as Professor Watanabe
Scarlett Johansson as Nutmeg
Harvey Keitel as Gondo
F. Murray Abraham as Jupiter
Yoko Ono as Assistant Scientist Yoko Ono
Tilda Swinton as Oracle
Ken Watanabe as Head Surgeon
Mari Natsuki as Auntie
Fisher Stevens as Scrap
Nijiro Murakami as Editor Hiroshi
Liev Schreiber as Spots
Courtney B. Vance as the narrator
Yojiro Noda as News Anchor
Frank Wood as Simul-Translate Machine
Director: Wes Anderson

When, by executive decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island, 12-year-old Atari sets off alone in a miniature Junior-Turbo Prop and flies across the river in search of his bodyguard-dog, Spots. There, with the assistance of a pack of newly-found mongrel friends, he begins an epic journey that will decide the fate and future of the entire Prefecture.

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I was looking forward to Isle of Dogs, it was one of my most anticipated films of 2018. For whatever reason, I’ve been having to wait for this film to release here when it was already released a couple months prior everywhere else, however it’s finally here. I’ve seen a few films from Wes Anderson (Grand Budapest Hotel, Fantastic Mr Fox and Moonrise Kingdom) and I liked what I’ve seen from him. With this being the second time he stop motion animated a movie (with the first being Fantastic Mr Fox), I was confident that this would be a solid movie, and that it was. It was pretty much what I expected and maybe a little bit more.

Isle of Dogs is an hour and 40 minutes long and from start to finish I was entertained. You can tell that it is definitely a Wes Anderson story. It has a very unique and original story with quirky characters, deadpan humour which is really funny and unique and is just entertaining overall. I didn’t really have too many faults with it, though there might’ve been a slight overuse of flashbacks, which does halt the story at times. Also some places and characters that the film at times cuts to (AKA characters that aren’t the main characters) really weren’t as interesting as the main storyline/characters. Isle of Dogs is kind of a kids movie, though it does go a little unexpectedly dark at times, so if you have some kids thinking that they’re going in expecting a cute film about a bunch of talking dogs, let’s just say that it won’t be what they are expecting. Aside from some minor faults, Isle of Dogs has a pretty solid story.

There is a lot of voice actors involved (Wes Anderson always seems to have a large and talented cast in his films). Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Liev Schreiber and much more consist of the voice cast, and they all did good jobs as their characters, with Cranston being a particular standout.

As I said, this is the second time that Wes Anderson has directed a stop motion animated movie and once again he did a great job. Fantastic Mr Fox was good, but his handling of stop motion animation was even better here with Isle of Dogs, it is a great looking film. Also on top of the movie feeling like a Wes Anderson written movie, it also feels like a Wes Anderson directed movie. Everything from the framing, camera position, editing, everything here really feels like his film. Now if you’re not familiar with Wes Anderson’s style in his films, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about. It’s really difficult to describe because you can’t compare his movies to anyone else’s. If you haven’t seen any of his movies before, I do recommend giving this a go. If you can’t get into Wes Anderson’s other movies because of his style, chances are Isle of Dogs won’t win you over. There was an interesting decision made, all the dialogue from the dogs are in English, however most of the dialogue by the humans are in Japanese, and a significant amount of it isn’t translated into English. It works most of the time to show the language barrier, but I only say that it works most of the time because often times someone else has to translate what they are saying in English because some of the dialogue contains plot details that we the audience need to know. The film tries to have a mix of untranslated dialogue that we don’t hear (and yet convey the message visually so we still understand what’s going on) while having English exposition explaining everything to us and it didn’t quite work as well as I think it was intended to. I think it would’ve been better sticking with one way, whether that be all human dialogue in Japanese, Japanese dialogue with subtitles or all the dialogue in English, because it felt jarring when they kept changing their method of human dialogue. It’s not a major flaw with the movie, just something that stands out that is worth addressing.

On the whole, Isle of Dogs really worked well. It was entertaining, I could get invested in the story and I just enjoyed watching it from start to finish. If you’re a Wes Anderson fan, I think you’ll definitely dig this. If you haven’t seen any of his movies before, I’d say that Isle of Dogs is a good place to start with his movies. His films may not appeal to everyone but I recommend giving it a go at the very least.

Red Dragon (2002) Review

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Red Dragon

Time: 124 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Horror Scenes and Violence
Cast:
Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter
Edward Norton as Will Graham
Ralph Fiennes as Francis Dolarhyde
Emily Watson as Reba McClane
Harvey Keitel as Jack Crawford
Mary-Louise Parker as Molly Graham
Philip Seymour Hoffman as Freddy Lounds
Director: Brett Ratner

A set of grisly murders brings FBI Agent Will Graham (Edward Norton) out of retirement and puts him in search of an atrocious killer (Ralph Fiennes) who’s driven by the image of a painting. Yet his only means of survival and success are to seek the help of another madman, whom he himself captured, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). Marked by past scars and quickly running out of time, Graham finds himself tangled in a heap of madness, sacrificing his work, his family, and above all his own life, to put an end to pure evil.

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When people think of great Hannibal Lecter movies, most people think of Silence of the Lambs and in the case of lesser Lecter films, Hannibal and Hannibal Rising. However I’ve noticed that Red Dragon has often went under the radar, I don’t know whether it’s because of director Brett Ratner’s involvement or the fact that it has competition against a great film. I have to say that in my opinion, Red Dragon is one of the most underrated movies of all time. It’s got great acting, an interesting story and the movie really should have more notice than it has.

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Brett Ratner is directing this movie and that could’ve had some cause for concern has he hadn’t made a lot of great movies but he actually did the movie quite well. I thought that the Francis Dolarhyde storyline was well handled, it showed his layers and elevated Ralph Fieness’s great performance (I’ll get to that later). I think one of the only flaws I can find in the movie is the fact that aside from his scenes with Hannibal, Will isn’t given as much depth as he should have. The film was mostly focussed on Francis Dolarhyde and while it was understandable, I felt that a lot of Will’s qualities should’ve also been shown in this movie. You don’t really see these events affecting will as much in other Will Grahams like in NBC’s Hannibal, he’s still quite in control of himself. I still do think that he was written fine, it’s just that they could’ve handled him a little better.

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Edward Norton makes for a great Will Graham, even though I said that a lot of his character’s qualities could’ve been handled better he still does good work with what he has. Ralph Fiennes also makes for an interesting and complex villain, giving him many layers and allows us to get into his character’s head. Anthony Hopkins returns to the role and as usual is great as the creepy and calculating Hannibal Lecter. I personally like the connection between Will and Hannibal in this movie more than the one between Clarice and Hannibal in Silence of the Lambs, that’s just me. Other actors like Harvey Keitel, Emily Watson and Phillip Seymour Hoffman do great work as well, particularly Watson, who has a major part in the Francis Dolarhyde story.

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This film is shot and directed greatly, everything has such a sleek and stylish look. The sets and production designs are fantastic and while they’re very similar to Silence of the Lambs, I thought it elevated the movie. I also love Danny Elfman’s soundtrack, it really added to all the scenes and infused all of them with suspense.

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Red Dragon has excellent acting, a great story, a pretty good story and after watching it a second time I can’t believe that it flew so under the radar. I know that this is a big thing to say but I honestly consider Red Dragon on the same level as Silence of the Lambs. If you liked Silence of the Lambs and haven’t checked out Red Dragon yet for whatever reason, do so as soon as possible, you won’t be disappointed.

Fight Club (1999)

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Fight Club

Time: 139 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Graphic violence and offensive language
Cast:
Edward Norton as The Narrator
Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden
Helena Bonham Carter as Marla Singer
Meat Loaf as Robert ‘Bob’ Paulson
Jared Leto as Angel Face
Director: David Fincher

An insomniac office worker (Edward Norton) forms an underground fight club with Tyler Durden, a soap manufacturer. This fight club grows bigger over time, as does its scope. It eventually starts growing bigger than he could ever think it would. This film is based on the novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk.

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Despite the title, Fight Club isn’t just a movie about people fighting. Fight Club isn’t a movie like you’ve ever seen before; it’s a psychological journey and presents social commentary about many things such as consumerist culture. It’s also a movie that somehow can still be relevant today. With outstanding performances and many meanings behind it, Fight Club is definitely one of Fincher’s best films and has continually held up for 15 years.

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It is best watching this movie with as little background information as possible because it’s best experiencing it without knowing much about the plot. Don’t even watch the trailer; just watch it as soon as possible. As for the messages to be taken away by the viewer; there are many different opinions I’ve heard from different people. Whatever the ‘true’ meaning of this movie is however; is completely left up to the viewer and that can lead to interesting discussions with other people who watched it. As for the comparison to the book, in my opinion the movie manages to take the story from the book into many places that it never originally went. The ending of the movie is brilliant and the last shot of the movie is beautiful. Actually, the second to last shot of the movie is good also.

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The characters are really interesting and well played by the actors. Edward Norton plays our unnamed main character and narrator throughout this story as we follow him through these crazy events. Another shining point is Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden, this is one of the best performances that have been put on screen. He is entertaining to watch but also has a philosophy which makes this movie unique and mostly defines this movie. This performance is Brad Pitt’s best and no other actor could have given a better job than him portraying this character. He is definitely one of the most memorable parts of this movie. Helena Bonham Singer plays a character called Marla Singer who becomes a key character in the story and she is also played very well.

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One of the best things about David Fincher is his ability to make a movie look incredible. The style of the film is really engrossing and eye catching, especially when there are scenes narrated by Norton. I also really like the intro animation which really gets the audience ready for the movie. I’ve noticed that all of David Fincher’s movies’ intro animations are always good. I also love the soundtrack by The Dust Brothers which fits in so well with the movie. Also, without spoiling anything, the last song in the movie is absolutely perfect for the ending and makes it even better.

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This movie is very memorable; even months after watching it for the first time I was still thinking about it. This film has a lot of re-watchability and has many hidden gems in the movie that viewers might not get the first time watching and there are many meanings to be interpreted. Fight Club is a movie to see as soon as possible, even to just have an opinion on it. This movie is one of, if not David Fincher’s best work that he’s ever done, I’ve so far liked everything that he’s done. Whether your interpretations of it are, Fight Club is a brilliantly acted, visually stunning masterpiece that you will never forget. It is one of my all time favourite movies.