Tag Archives: Edward Norton

LULLABY OF BIRDMAN

7 Dec

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1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt.1        Wknd/$ 21.6   Total/$ 257.7
2. Penguins of Madagascar/Fox                     Wknd/$ 11.1    Total/$ 49.6
3. Horrible Bosses 2/WB                                 Wknd/$ 8.6     Total/$ 36.1
4. Big Hero 6/Disney                                        Wknd/$ 8.1     Total/$ 177.5
5. Interstellar/Paramount                               Wknd/$ 8.0     Total/$ 158.7
6. Dumb and Dumber To/Universal             Wknd/$ 4.2     Total/$ 78.1
7. The Theory of Everything/Focus               Wknd/$ 2.7     Total/$ 13.6
8. Gone Girl/Fox                                                Wknd/$ 1.5     Total/$ 162.9
9. The Pyramid/Fox                                          Wknd/$ 1.4     Total/$ 1.4
10. Birdman/FoxS                                             Wknd/$ 1.2     Total/$ 18.9

WHY BOTHER READING WHEN IT WILL BE ONSCREEN NEXT WEEK?
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 1 holds at number one and the continuing success of these Young Adult novel adaptations in pretty much every category (drama, romance, science fiction) has resulted in the odd bit of rational response as the numerous failures are treated as individuals rather than a sign the entire genre is a running down. This isn’t how corporate execs normally think. When their vampire or superhero film fails they immediately think that the whole genre is coming to a close rather than accept they just screwed the property up. Percy Jackson, Eragon, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Ender’s Game, I Am Number Four, Beautiful Creatures, Vampire Academy, Blood & Chocolate Milk, Inkheart, The Host, The Mortal Bones, etc, just blew it, period, because the audience is still clearly very much here.

LEARNING IS FOR SUCKERS
Penguins of Madagascar holds at number two which on one hand is good because it’s a decent movie and deserves success and this hopefully will inspire Dreamworks not to suck so much. On the other hand it’s bad because they never learn and this will inadvertently result in another awful Madagascar film. You’d think watching Disney make money and win awards constantly would give them motivation to do better, but you’d be wrong. And don’t even get me started on the no-talents that make the Ice Age movies.

WILLIAM SHATNER IS STILL FUNNIER THOUGH
Horrible Bosses 2 actually rises to number three which means that grownups desperately wanted something light to watch. All that’s out there right now are Oscar bait dramas and movies for kids and teenagers. Not to mention TV is going into reruns until the new year. They simply had no choice but see this weak sauce. Also in this is Chris Pine making smart moves to build a career outside of the lackluster Star Trek reboot. With something like this he gets to show range beyond being just a pretty boy leading man and the weight of the film doesn’t rest on him. It’s a win-win. But it felt familiar to me having just seen him in Stretch were he plays another horrible boss in the form of a psychotic fare of desperate limo driver who needs one of the fare’s legendary tips to payoff a gambling debt. Pine actually punches himself there as he does here. Now that’s a weird coincidence. At least here you don’t see his (or possibly the stuntman’s) scrotum the way you do in Stretch, which I could have lived without.

YEAH, MORE SPOILERS FOR INTERSTELLAR
Big Hero 6 is down to number four, followed by Interstellar at number five and also in this as Matthew McConughey’s adult son is Casey Affleck which means both Affleck brothers have been in the top ten for the last month in Oscar bait films. Sadly the more successful, more talented brother got the good one. The other brother got Chris Nolan and a story wherein all mention of his character is missing at the end. Matthew McConughey gets to meet his daughter who’s been waiting in hypersleep for two years to see her father once more before she dies. But never once is her older brother mentioned by either her or McConughey. I understand that being older he would have naturally died first, but for McConughey’s character not to even ask about his son’s is as bad as him apparently having no interest in his grandchildren. Bear in mind part of the reason Affleck’s character loses faith in his dad is that his first child dies as the result of deteriorating conditions on earth and his sister actually has to start a fire as a distraction to save the second. It’s in this same scene she discovers mankind’s salvation? That kinda means he has to show up, right? Nope.

A GOOD MOVIE MAKING A LOT OF MONEY STILL STUNS ME
Dumb and Dumber To is down to number six followed by The Theory of Everything at number seven and at number eight with the other Affleck brother, Gone Girl, still here after over two months and holding at number eight for two weeks which is good news for nominations because it means the film hasn’t faded from memory. It’s also good for the box office because this film has grossed $163M from a $63M budget domestically alone. Worldwide it’s $336M, which means more grown up best-selling novels will be adapted into films too. Maybe all those other books that had women in red coats on the cover. You know there’s someone in Hollywood dumb enough to think that way. And he’s making more money than you or me.

ALL MOVIES MUST BE MADE WITH ME IN MIND
The Pyramid opens at number nine and unfortunately the “found footage” genre is also benefitting from being seen as individual films so their failures also aren’t view as signs the whole damn genre needs to die, because it really, really does. I know that seems unfair, but I don’t care. They’re mostly garbage and they make me nauseous with all that camera movement. Not to mention they’re mostly horror films and since I don’t do the scary it’s no big loss for me. And who makes a movie about a pyramid without mummies anyway? Dummy.

IRONICALLY ROBIN WOULD BE THE PERFECT SIDEKICK FOR THIS GUY
Birdman closes out the top ten at number ten and I finally got off my ass and saw it…and it was okay. The crisis of a man trying to put on a show (or make a film) and slowly falling apart is a genre to itself and while this isn’t a bad one, it’s not exactly new either. I believe the filmmakers are aware of this which is why I think they chose a different technique to its approach as it’s done as a series of long takes, ostensibly making the film look like just one long giant shot. It’s befitting the film as it’s about Broadway, which means actors basically had to act like they would onstage, with each scene going on for 10-15 minutes straight. Michael Keaton is an actor best known for playing a superhero called Birdman, which made him a global superstar. Get it? He played Batman (which when adjusted for inflation is still #50 in the biggest films of all time, on the list that includes Gone With The Wind, Godfather, Gone With The Wind, Titanic and Star Wars). But no one really identifies him as Batman, do they? If anything Beetlejuice has stuck with him more. Christian Bale is Batman now and Affleck’s about to replace him. In any case the actor Keaton portrays has put all his money into a Broadway show he wrote directed and stars in based on a Raymond Carver novel and it’s causing him to unravel to the point where the character of Birdman is always talking to him and he hallucinates having superpowers. Not helping is the added pressure of a prima donna actor constantly pushing him and Keaton trying to bond with his daughter who’s fresh out of rehab and working as his assistant. The pretentious actor is perfectly played by Edward Norton in a clearly parody of Norton’s reputation as such. I’d give him credit for being so willing to be in on the joke if I didn’t know somewhere at this very moment he’s actually patting his own back for the same thing. Add to this a needy female lead (who is in fact the pretentious actor’s girlfriend), a co-star girlfriend who may or may not be pregnant (who hooks up with the female lead) and Broadway’s most powerful critic who doesn’t appreciate Hollywood coming to their sacred land and you’ve got a ticking time bomb of a man’s psyche and boom it does go by the end with plenty of tiny detonations along the way. The biggest irony of this is that his performance in this film may do for Michael Keaton what the show is supposed to for his character. In fact there are many levels of irony at work and I’ve no doubt that they were all intentional as the writer/director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu hates superhero franchises and yet has as his main stars people associated with some of the biggest (Batman, Avengers, Spider-Man). This is a well put-together plan.

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YOU KNOW IT’S SCIENCE FICTION WHEN A REDHEAD IS SAVING THE WORLD

23 Nov

kathleen-turner-11
1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt.1    Wknd/$ 123.0  Total/$ 123.0
2. Big Hero 6/Disney                                    Wknd/$ 20.1    Total/$ 135.7
3. Interstellar/Paramount                            Wknd/$ 15.1    Total/$ 120.7
4. Dumb and Dumber To/Universal          Wknd/$ 13.8   Total/$ 57.5
5. Gone Girl/Fox                                            Wknd/$ 2.8     Total/$ 156.8
6. Beyond the Lights/Relativity                  Wknd/$ 2.6     Total/$ 10.1
7. St. Vincent/Weinstein                              Wknd/$ 2.4     Total/$ 36.6
8. Fury/Sony                                                  Wknd/$ 1.9      Total/$ 79.2
9. Birdman/FoxS                                           Wknd/$ 1.9      Total/$ 14.4
10.The Theory of Everything/Focus          Wknd/$ 1.5      Total/$ 2.8

THE WANT OF MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL
Opening at number one is The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 1. Why part one? Well, thanks to Harry Potter and Twilight it has now become the custom to drag out the concluding novel of a best selling book series to two parts. And because you assholes pay for both, they’ve got no reason to stop. But this time around the naked greed may have oddly bitten them in the ass given one important cast member died during filming. See, if you’d just made the movie apropos to the book rather than dragging it out (which meant a longer than average filming time) it wouldn’t have been a problem, but now they’ve got to CGI Philip Seymour Hoffman to finish it. I hope something goes wrong and a dinosaur or a giant robot appears speaking his lines. Maybe then I’ll see it, because there’s no other way I would. As I said before, I haven’t seen a single frame of any of these films because of the initial premise of children being forced to kill other children. I didn’t like it when it was first used as Battle Royale and I don’t like it now. Full grown adults who are horrible and probably deserve it? Sure. Maybe even teenagers who can be equally horrible, but children? No way, no day.

GEEK WORLD PROBLEMS
Big Hero Six holds at number two and even though this isn’t a Marvel Production it is nonetheless based on a Marvel comic book which means one thing: an appearance by Stan Lee. And make sure you stay through the end of the credits to get the payoff of that cameo. Now, given this is animation and they can put Stan Lee in the movie, why they hell couldn’t they have added Jack Kirby somewhere? 90% of the Marvel Universe is impossible without him. And don’t tell me he had nothing to do with Big Hero 6. Stan Lee flat out said he had no idea what the hell Guardians of the Galaxy was, but he’s still in the movie.

SPOILER ALERT: IT’S THE SAME DAMN GINGER
Holding at number three is Interstellar and also in this is Jessica Chastain and given how they were making a big deal about keeping the last third of the plot from being in the trailers or the commercials, they probably shouldn’t have shown her or acknowledged her being the movie (the way they did another Oscar winning actor who only shows up for the third act). Seeing Matthew McConughey’s little redheaded 10-year old daughter then seeing full-grown redhead Jessica Chastain tells you a lot about how the movie unfolds. Showing her talking with Michael Caine, made it abundantly clear.

ONCE HEIR TO THE LAUREN BACALL THRONE
Dumb and Dumber To is down to number four and also in this is…Kathleen Turner? Holy crap. Where the hell has she been? You kids won’t know this, but once upon a time she was the hottest thing on two legs. Just watch Body Heat, the movie that put her on the map. It will explain everything. As for what went wrong? Well, bad choices (VI Warshawski for one) and unfortunately twists of fate (she suffers from rheumatoid arthritis), but she’s appearing more and more recently (it’s in remission and hopefully she has a new agent) which is a good thing. It almost makes me forgive this because it helps her. Almost.

A SUCESSFUL SITCOM IS THE BEST REVENGE
Gone Girl holds at number five, followed by Beyond The Lights at number six and also in this as the domineering stage mom is Minnie Driver, who’s experiencing a bit of a comeback herself between this, the About A Boy series and she’ll be the voice of the adult Wendy on the live Peter Pan show coming up. And it’s no coincidence that all three have a musical component as she’s been making music in her time away from the center ring with no less than four albums under her belt. But do you think she’s still pissed at Matt Damon? Yeah, me too. But look at it this way, you’re doing better than the woman he dumped you for: Winona Ryder.

CHRIS EVANS HAS PROBABLY SEEN THIS TWICE
St. Vincent is down to number seven followed by Fury at number eight and Birdman moves up to number nine and as I mentioned last week also in this is Edward Norton who had a falling out with Marvel after The Incredible Hulk which is why he wasn’t in The Avengers. But if you know anything about Marvel or Edward Norton it means an irresistible force met an immovable object, aka, they were too cheap for his ego. I know it looks like Marvel won, but there’s no actor in the Marvel films who wouldn’t change places with him to constantly be in in so many prestige indie flicks like this one. Except, ironically, the man who replaced him, Mark Ruffalo, who is always a mainstay in prestigious indie flicks.

THE HAT TRICK OF OSCAR WINNING
Finally, The Theory of Everything enters the top ten at number ten and there’s an old saying in Hollywood that if you want an Oscar “play drunk, crippled or crazy” especially if said portrayal is of a real person. It’s been amended to add “gay”, but still the same (for women it’s “play drunk, crippled, crazy or a whore” also with the gay amendment). And here’s your proof. There’s already Oscar talk about Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Professor Steven Hawking, who suffers from a debilitating disease. Real person? Check. Mentally or physically crippled? Check. For bonus points, are there English accents involved? Check! We could have a winner.

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STUPID MOVIEGOERS GET THE STUPID MOVIES THEY DESERVE

16 Nov

ryanpotter

1. Dumb and Dumber To/Universal     Wknd/$ 38.1    Total/$ 38.1
2. Big Hero 6/Disney                               Wknd/$ 36.0    Total/$ 111.7
3. Interstellar/Paramount                      Wknd/$ 29.2    Total/$ 97.8
4. Beyond the Lights/Relativity             Wknd/$ 6.5      Total/$ 6.5
5. Gone Girl/Fox                                       Wknd/$ 4.6      Total/$ 152.7
6. St. Vincent/Weinstein                         Wknd/$ 4.0      Total/$ 33.3
7. Fury/Sony                                              Wknd/$ 3.8      Total/$ 75.9
8. Nightcrawler/ORF                               Wknd/$ 3.0      Total/$ 25.0
9. Quija/Universal                                    Wknd/$ 3.0      Total/$ 48.1
10.Birdman/FoxS                                      Wknd/$ 2.4      Total/$ 11.6

YOU GET THE CINEMA YOU DESERVE, AMERICA
Dumb and Dumber To opens at number one and honestly who wanted this? Seriously? Who are you so I came come to your house and make sure you don’t procreate. The first one (which I admit to having seen though I’ve successfully blocked any of its details from my memory) wasn’t funny so I sincerely doubt a 20-years later sequel will somehow correct that. But how happy is Jim Carrey for this? His first hit in how many years? With him actually on the screen I mean and not just a voice. Well that would be Bruce Almighty in ’03. Since then it’s been Fun With Dick & Jane, The Number 23, Yes Man (which I actually enjoy watching at 3 am) I Love Your Phillip Morris and Mr. Poppers Penguins. And unlike Jeff Daniels he doesn’t really have a solid dramatic career to fall back on. Carrey suffers from the same affliction as Eddie Murphy in that he can only springboard from his material. If it’s good, he’ll take it to another level. If it’s shit then he’s just this guy acting painfully weird for no reason whatsoever.

NO EASY ANSWERS
Big Hero 6 is down to number two and is it good or bad that we’re making no notice of the fact that the lead in this is Asian? Granted, the fact that his aunt is Caucasian means he’s only half-Asian, but that’s like saying the president is only half-Black. That’s not how he’s seen or treated, so for all intents and purposes he’s Black and Hiro Hamada is Asian. Now, with all the attention given to Disney’s princesses rarely being other than White don’t they deserve a little credit where the credit is due? Disney even went the extra mile and had their voices also done by Asian Americans (Ryan Potter as Hiro and Daniel Henney as Tadashi and Jamie Chung as Go Go). Or does it not count because Hiro’s gift is being super-smart and building robots and we expect that from Asians? Discuss amongst yourselves.

DON’T HATE THE PLAYER HATE THE GAME
Interstellar is down to number three and word of mouth is going to kill this because the more I think about it the dumber it gets and it was pretty dumb to start with. That said, also in this is Anne Hathaway as the smart scientist daughter of smart scientist Michael Caine. Or should I say, Academy Award Winning Actress playing the daughter of an Academy Award Winning Actor? In fact there are no fewer than five Oscar-winners onscreen in this film…and not one of them recognized how dumb this script was, which proves they got their Oscars through dumb luck, not smart choices. At least Michael Caine is open about it. He’s flat out said that he’s made many of his choices based solely on the fact his character was alive at the end.

MOTHER, YOU HAD ME, BUT I NEVER HAD YOU
Beyond The Lights opens at number four and this is from the writer/director of love & basketball, Gina Prince-Bythewood and while I enjoyed that film, I felt it was derailed a little about a subplot involving the character fighting with her mother. Guess what’s a major plot point here as well? In this case it’s a domineering stage mom. While there are no new stories and it’s all in how you retell them I didn’t see anything about this that was all that new to motivate me into seeing it. I mean, another rich person being saved by the love of a working class person? Seriously? You gotta give me more.

THE STANDARD BY WHICH ALL DICKS ARE JUDGED
Gone Girl is down to number five and there have been complaints that I buried the lead of this particular movie. Actually, just one complaint from my sister that I didn’t mention there’s a shot of Ben Affleck’s dick. Sigh. I’m sorry, people, but it’s just it’s so brief it barely merits a mention. I mean it’s not a Richard Gere in American Gigolo or even Jason Segel in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I guess what I’m saying is it’s not really full frontal male nudity to me if there are no balls present.

IRREPLACABLE? NOT SO MUCH.
St. Vincent is down to number six and also in this is Naomi Watts, aka, Blonde Clone of Nicole Kidman and this actually means she has two films in the top ten (Birdman being the other). In fact, she’s so much like Nicole Kidman that in my memory it was Nicole Kidman in The International, not her. And they both recently played dead blonde princesses to scathing reviews. Kidman as Princess Grace and Watts as Princess Diana. Though you probably thought it was Kidman both times.

THE OTHERS
Fury is down to number seven, Nightcrawler to number eight and Quija down to number nine.

IF ONLY IT WERE BIRDMAN HE HAD ACTUALLY PLAYED
Quija is down to number nine and entering the top ten at number ten is Birdman: or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), which has gotten good reviews and is definitely on my radar. Contrary to popular opinion, I don’t hate Michael Keaton. I just hated him as Batman. How ironic that he’s getting the best press in years for playing an actor trapped by playing a superhero. More ironic that I really want to see it. And look at his supporting cast members. Edward Norton from The Incredible Hulk and Emma Stone from The Amazing Spider-Man. And the ironic cherry on top is that writer/director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu hates superhero movies and think they’re a danger to filmmaking.

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