NOW PLAYING

in theaters



new on DVD/BluRay


review index

HOT TOPICS



Welcome

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R


 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

Powered by Squarespace
Comment Fun

COMMENT DU JOUR

Keep TFE Strong

Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference to The Film Experience in terms of stability and budget to dream bigger. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience

THANKS IN ADVANCE

For those who can't commit to a dime a day, consider a one time donation for an article or a series you are glad you didn't have to live without.

What'cha Looking For?
Subscribe

Entries in Edward Norton (7)

Sunday
Oct192014

Review: Birdman, or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

An abridged version of this review was originally posted in Nathaniel's weekly column at Towleroad. It is reposted here, with their permission.

 

A card in the bottom right hand of the star's mirror reads:

"A thing is a thing. Not what is said of that thing." 
-Susan Sontag

Which immediately complicates or maybe simplifies celebrity and art, two major themes (among a handful) of Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu's one of a kind new film experience. It's destined for major Oscar nominations and you should see it immediately. The movie has the simple and then complicated title of Birdman, Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) as befits its duality perfectly. This quote is never addressed in the film but it's always stubbornly lodged there in that mirror, defying or playfully encouraging conversation about what this movie actually is. And what is film criticism or its more popular cousin, after-movie conversation over dinner drinks or online other than conversation that attempts to interpret and define?

Critics are often treated with petulant hostility in movies about show business, as if the filmmakers have an axe to grind and need to do that with grindstone in hand while their critical avatar/puppet hangs there limply, waiting to be struck with the sharpened blade. Birdman is no exception, immediately insulting its formidable theater critic Tabitha (Lindsay Duncan) as having a face that 'looks like she just licked a homeless man's ass,' before she's even spoken a line. But Tabitha is a slippery mark, portrayed as a voice of integrity in one scene and then a vicious unprofessional monster in another. This calls into question the reality of her scenes altogether

... which is not unusual in Birdman.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Oct122014

Birdman Conference & Party: Egos, Creative Challenges and "A Critical Presence"

Choosing Birdman as the closing night film of the 52nd New York Film Festival was a smart move. Premiering in the slot right after it would have been a truly humbling experience for another film. Not that I wish to inflate Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu's ego any further.

Iñárritu, Norton, Watts and Amy Ryan at the premiere

In the press conference that immediately followed our screening yesterday he admitted that it's already enormous. "Inquisitor. Tyrant. Dictator" are just three of his names for his own ego and the idea for Birdman was to explore the inner struggle with ego and the creative process. Innaritu says he starts most creative projects thinking  "This is great, fantastic, very genius!" and shortly thereafter has a bipolar switcheroo "You're a stupid asshole. This is a piece of shit, no one would care about it!" He thought this creative struggle would  be a cool thing to dramatize on film though he didn't mean it to be specifically about the ego of actors. He actually thinks they don't have big egos. "Politicans have bigger egos...even my dentist!" he added spontaneously to much laughter in the room. "He's an asshole. He makes me suffer and I pay him."  

Michael Keaton's internal creative struggle takes a slightly different turn "I go through, 'Oh you're the greatest, you're wonderful. And then 20 minutes later... no, you're actually more than that Michael!"

Throughout the conference the actors found ways to keep the mood light and funny. Somehow Naomi Watts became the favorite member of the cast to tease, which was interesting because the actress she plays onscreen is riddled with insecurity. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jun132014

Yes No Maybe So: Birdman

How did we end up here? In this dump. You were a movie star, remember?

Surely one of the year's most intriguing features in concept and casting alone, is Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu's Birdman. The director collaborating with the great cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (fresh off his Oscar win for Gravity) trains the movie camera on the best Batman (I'm with Seth Rogen's in Neighbors on this one) as he plays a has-been movie star famous for playing a character named "Birdman". Now he's on stage years later trying to rejuvenate his career.

Concept and casting alone were enough for a "maybe so" tilting yes. And then came advance word from test screenings that the film really delivers across the board in performance so "yes". And then came the teaser which begins with a 41 second continuous shot like its asking me to marry it. So now I'm at 'Yaaaaas! I will. I will. I do!"

Making the traditional Yes No Maybe So a more lopsided formality than is healthy after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Apr042014

Posterized: Marvel Cinematic Universe

This weekend sees the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the third film in Marvel's Phase 2 of movies seemingly designed to introduced an expanding roster of comic book figures into a multi-film universe for the rest of human history. Confirming this latter point, Marvel film impresaro Kevin Feige mentioned (jokingly? seriously?) in an interview published this week that his brain trust has a line-up of films planned, potentially, up to 2028. Now, whether anybody genuinely things that having that kind of long game planned out is remotely practical, if Marvel is just thinking out loud, or if they're genuinely just that hubristic, nobody can say at this point. And cannot say for 14 years. But the fact that Feige can even joke about it says that Marvel plans to be in it for the long haul.

So it's undoubtedly premature, but with CA: TWS coming in as the ninth film in the overall series, it gives us the exact right number of titles so far to run the series through the Film Experience's patented Posterized system.

How many have you seen?

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb062014

"Budapest" in Berlin: Fun Press Quotes from the Cast

The 64th Annual Berlinale began today and though The Film Experience can't be there (we're still recovering from Sundance) we are watching from afar. The events began early today with jury introductions and the press conference for Opening Night Gala film Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel. The conference was fun if not exactly informative. Wes Anderson kept getting questions about the aspect ratio (it's apparently square like a 30s movie) and questions about his influences and where his ideas spring from that he didn't really answer but for generalities. He watched a lot of Ernst Lubitsch for this one and admitted that he loves Stanley Kubrick and his "systems", too, whatever that means. I wouldn't have ever grouped Lubitch and Kubrick, myself, but I'm pleased that someone out there can alchemize them. 

Herewith the best moments featuring Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, and more...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Sep082012

Podcast: I Know What You Saw Last Summer (Pt 1)

The podcast returns for another Oscar season! I'm your host Nathaniel R and my ol' podcast mates Joe Reid & Nick Davis are joining me to discuss Summer Movie Season 2012. That's a wrap on summer so we're tying it off with our idiosyncratic messy multi-colored bows...

This podcast was inspired by our Summer Report Card series. Topics include but are not limited to:

  • What's Wrong With Virginia? (no, really)
  • Compliance
  • Killer Joe 
  • Best Picture Choices, Favorite Scenes, Summer Crushes
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild and Oscar's Music Branch
  • Hope Springs and Steve Carell
  • Steven Soderbergh pros and cons & Magic Mike
  • Sparkle
  • Joe's hilarious ongoing obsession with Oliver Stone's Savages
  • Bachelorette
  • Moonrise Kingdom and  Red Hook Summer Double Feature
  • Lesbian longing in Farewell My Queen
  • Michael Fassbender as the next Ed Norton?

You can download the podcast on iTunes or listen right here at the bottom of the post. There's more coming in Part Two tomorrow!

I Know What You Saw This Summer (Pt. 1)

Friday
Apr292011

April Showers: Edward Norton x 2

Hope you've enjoyed the April Showers series. There are SO many films we could have covered. (Tangent: I'm dying to know, for example, when the first shower sequence ever filmed was. The earliest I personally know of is Marilyn Monroe in Niagara (1953) which I meant to write about. Oops. But there has to be something earlier, right? I've searched but can't find any definitive info.)

Though I hate to end on a disturbing note I haven't been able to get Edward Norton out of my mind recently so we have to look back at American History X (1998).

Edward Norton as "Derek" in American History X

I'm not sure how Mr. Norton became lodged in my brain recently but if I had to guess it'd be the combo of Mark Ruffalo taking over the Hulk (they just started filming The Avengers) and a random flashback to The Painted Veil. Then at some point last week I said to myself "Edward Norton was Ryan Gosling before Ryan Gosling was Ryan Gosling" i.e. the actor that everyone thought was The Actor of His Generation, The Future. And then I really couldn't get him out of my head.

Norton famously gained much of his Great Actor reputation from American History X (1998), and won a longshot Oscar nomination for Best Actor. In the film he plays Derek, a loathsome racist who, after realizing his world view is full of shit while serving time in prison, tries to turn his life around before his younger brother follows his same dark path. It's disturbing to note how much acting cred can come from playing racist skinheads; Russell Crowe (Romper Stomper) and Ryan Gosling (The Believer) had similar artistic breakthroughs.

I've never known quite what to make of American History X -- it's one of those films like, say, Natural Born Killers, that seems to struggle with its own theme merely by addressing it. If you keep visualizing something awful through strong visuals and hugely charismatic acting, aren't you actually glorifying what you're supposed to be condemning? So this post is also a call for your opinions. I'm just curious how readers feel about the movie because it's one of those key late 90s Oscar players that I don't believe we've ever discussed. (I was in the Sir Ian McKellen camp that year but I was enormously pleased that Norton managed a nomination.)

As Derek begins to form a tentative friendship with a black prisoner, his neonazi counterparts turn violently against him. Showers are always bad news in prison movies. More after the jump [NSFW]

Click to read more ...