Edward Norton

Film Review: Isle of Dogs

by Chris Piper on March 23, 2018

Anderson’s new film stumbles

From l-r: Bryan Cranston as Chief, Bob Balaban as King, Koyu Rankin as Atari Kobayashi, Bill Murray as Boss, Edward Norton as Rex, and Jeff Goldblum as Duke.

Early in Isle of Dogs, Wes Anderson’s ninth feature film, the troubled but resolute stray dog Chief (Bryan Cranston) exhorts his pack to persevere despite extreme difficulties. “You’re Rex,” he says to Rex (Edward Norton). “You’re King,” he reminds King (Bob Balaban). “You’re Duke,” he cajoles Duke (Jeff Goldblum): “We’re a pack of scary, indestructible alpha dogs.” We the audience are now helplessly under their sway, and will follow them through this film anywhere.

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Collateral Beauty is steeped in laughable melodrama, and not much else.

Will Smith and Edward Norton aren't too happy about anything.

Will Smith and Edward Norton aren’t too happy about anything.

Collateral Beauty could’ve been a great comedy. I have an untested and non-researched theory that ensemble casts are always better suited for comedies, and not dramas. Having numerous A-list stars in a film means that the story will attempt to give each one of them ample time for their characters to develop, change, and come to a satisfying conclusion. You don’t require those per-character time commitments in a comedy, and therefore ensemble dramas suffer from an abundance of promise and not enough deliverables. There are many other things that went wrong for Collateral Beauty. It’s a bad movie, for one. It’s an embarrassing script that somehow made it to the desks of Hollywood execs, who in turn should be embarrassed that they green lit the project. With a total overhaul of the story and characters, the film could’ve and should’ve been a hilarious new spin on the classic Christmas Carol story. Instead, Collateral Beauty is a plodding, preachy, melodramatic piece of manipulative filth. The more I think about it, the more I’m mad at myself for initially thinking that a few scenes were acceptable to watch.

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A profound examination of religious faith — buried deep, deep within a hilariously crude, offensive, foul-mouthed animated film.

Oh, sh*t, these foods are f**cking foul-mouthed!

Oh, sh*t, these foods are f**cking foul-mouthed!

Imagine if Toy Story was written by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and then sprinkled with a dash of Caligula. Even that probably doesn’t quite capture just how far Sausage Party goes in terms of it’s R-related language and content (supposedly it came close to an NC-17 rating, until they toned it down — yes, toned it down!). As advertised, the cast and creators of This is the End are back, this time to infuse their stoner, ultra-sexualized, black comedy into an animated feature. Sausage Party goes a step beyond just shock-value to deliver its laughs, serving a healthy does of side-splitting puns, curse-words, pop culture references, and hilarious characters. But Sausage Party is also an incredibly clever film. It disguises it’s more contemplative themes of divinity, the existence of an afterlife, and the triviality of religious tensions within the entertaining muck of a hilariously perverse one-note culinary joke — that anthropomorphic foods discover that they’re all doomed to be devoured by humans.

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Film critics Carrie and Chad on who will – and who should – win the 87th Academy Awards

The 87th Academy Awards air this Sunday, February 22nd on ABC at 5:00pm PST (red carpet coverage begins at 4:00, if you want to dish on fashion highs and lows). There are some tight races this year – Best Picture and Best Actor are especially hard to call. Here are Carrie and Chad’s predictions – and hopes – for the major categories:
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Film Review: Birdman

by Carrie Kahn on October 24, 2014

What We Talk About When We Talk About Birdman

Riggan (Michael Keaton) is shadowed by his alter ego, BIRDMAN!

Riggan (Michael Keaton) is shadowed by his alter ego, BIRDMAN!

Much of the recent press coverage of writer/director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s new film Birdman has focused on the film’s meta aspects concerning the casting of actor Michael Keaton in the lead role as a former big screen superhero trying to restart his career. Keaton himself famously played Batman in two films over 20 years ago, only to find his star fading as new actors assumed the role. In interviews, Keaton has been asked repeatedly about being cast in a role so close to his own reality, and he has steadfastly distanced himself from speculating on any deeper meaning of the coincidence. I think it’s important, then, to look at the film on its own terms, and not just as some sort of reflection of Keaton’s career arc. And, indeed, the movie is one of the fall season’s best so far – a highly entertaining, wickedly funny, brilliant black comedy.

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Anderson’s old fashioned adventure tale captivates, delights

Ralph Fiennes as Gustave H. and Tony Revolori as the Lobby Boy Zero contemplate their options in The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Ralph Fiennes as Gustave H. and Tony Revolori as the Lobby Boy Zero contemplate their options in The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Wes Anderson is one of those polarizing filmmakers whose films are either loved or hated. His legions of fans delight in his highly stylized artistry, whimsical storytelling, and quirky characters, while his detractors deride his pictures as pretentious at worst and lightweight at best. Anderson’s newest offering, The Grand Budapest Hotel, however, should satisfy his fans and critics alike, as it melds his trademark fairy tale sensibility with an undercurrent of melancholy and solemnity that keep the picture from being too cloying or precious. [read the whole post]

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Film Review: “The Bourne Legacy”

August 10, 2012

starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton written by: Tony Gilroy and Dan Gilroy directed by: Tony Gilroy MPAA: Rated PG-13 for violence and action sequences

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Film Review: “Moonrise Kingdom”

June 1, 2012

starring: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Harvey Keitel, Bob Balaban written by: Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola directed by: Wes Anderson MPAA: Rated PG-13 for sexual content and smoking

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Spinning Platters Interview: Edward Norton on “Stone”

October 15, 2010

Edward Norton does not seem like much of a movie star in person. When he first walked into a small Ritz Carlton conference room to discuss his new movie, Stone, with a handful of sweaty, panting, near-hysterical online journalists (okay, that was mostly me), he didn’t exactly blow the roof off with “star power” magnetism. […]

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