Edward Norton Weekend – Fight Club (1999)

Director: David Fincher

Writer: Jim Uhls (Screenplay) Chuck Palahniuk (Novel)

Starring: Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Meat Loaf, Helena Bonham Carter, Jared Leto, Zach Grenier, Richmond Arquette

 

Plot: An insomniac office worker, looking for a way to change his life, crosses paths with a devil-may-care soapmaker, forming an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more.


Tagline – How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?

Runtime: 2 Hours 19 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Modern Classic

 

Story: Fight Club starts as we meet the insomniac known only as the Narrator (Norton) an office worker that starts crashing support groups to help him feel which brings his back his ability to sleep. Here he meets Robert Paulsen (Meatloaf) who is suffering from cancer before learning Marla Singer (Carter) is also treating the supporting group as a cure for her own problems.

This puts Narrator in a position of needing to find something new and here he meets soap salesman Tyler Durden (Pitt) and between them they start a secret underground fight club. As the club gains a following it starts to branch out and the Narrator finds himself in the middle of a much more dangerous world.

 

Thoughts on Fight Club

 

Characters – The Narrator starts his story at the end explaining how his own struggles with insomnia starts turning him into a support group junkie and co-founder of the Fight Club, the more involved in the fighting world he gets the bolder his moves become as he comes out of his shell. Tyler Durden is the outgoing soap salesman, full of confidence and knowledge that starts the Fight Club with the narrator. Bob is one of the men that the Narrator meets at one of the support groups and once he joins the fight club it gives him the new lease on life. Marla is the woman that the Narrator meets doing the same thing as him, crashing the support groups, she is struggling too and sees the escape with the Narrator and Tyler.

PerformancesEdward Norton continued to make his big impact on Hollywood in the mid to late 90s, he shines once again in this role which is one of the memorable leading roles. Brad Pitt is fantastic too, the performance he gives us shows just how twisted the character is and the confidence he shows makes him stand out in every scene. Helena Bonham Carter is great in her role as are the men in the fight club.

StoryThe story follows one man who is bored of everyday life and struggles to get through everyday life, he uses support groups for help before befriending a stranger who wants to help start a new revolution against the system with a Fight Club. This is a story that has the major twist in the final act which surprised the audience at the time and gives us something to look out for in repeat viewing. This shows us how difficult processing everyday life can be for certain people and shows us how they try to cope with extremes moments coming from his mind.

SettingsThe film shows us just where the Narrator goes from his quiet simple life to his much more darker one where the secret fight clubs take place in, the locations show us his descent into madness.


Scene of the Movie –
The Narrators true identity.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is a tad long.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the modern classic movies out there, it has such a big reputation that it deserves if only the twist hadn’t been revealed so often because the first viewing for anyone will not be enjoyed as much if you know the twist.

 

Overall: Modern Classic Filled with Brutality.

Rating

 

 

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Edward Norton Weekend – Primal Fear (1996)

Director: Gregory Hobilt

Writer: Steve Shagan, Ann Biderman (Screenplay) William Diehl (Novel)

Starring: Richard Gere, Laura Linney, John Mahoney, Alfre Woodard, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton, Terry O’Quinn, Andre Braugher

 

Plot: An altar boy is accused of murdering a priest, and the truth is buried several layers deep.


Tagline – Sooner or later a man who wears two faces forgets which one is real.

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Thriller

 

Story: Primal Fear starts when the Archbishop is murdered, all clues point to bloody covered Aaron (Norton) as the murderer, he shy stuttering alter boy. When former district prosecutor Martin Vail (Gere) turned defence lawyer sees this as a spotlight for his new career direction and going against former colleague Janet (Linney) and her boss the district attorney Shaughnessy (Mahoney) the case goes to trial.

When Martin learns that Aaron has a split personality disorder with a much more aggressive Roy doing the dirty work for Aaron and the bigger picture of the motivation behind the murder comes to light.

 

Thoughts on Primal Fear

 

Characters – Martin Vail is the lawyer, he once was one of the biggest prosecutors in the city but has turned his back on that career to become a defence lawyer. He sees this case as the one that will give him his big break as a defence lawyer doing this case for free. He has a strong trusted team, he is made out to be a womaniser, though we never see him hit on anyone, only that he once had a fling with Janet in the past. Janet is the prosecutor that is taking the case, she is the one taking over Martin’s role and with a previous relationship with him. She knows this will be a career maker for her and is enjoying going head to head with her former mentor. Shaughnessy is the District Attorney that wants the death penalty and will not let Janet forget this. Aaron is the shy alter boy that is accused of murder but with him being found covered in blood even if you can’t see him doing this murder, Roy is the aggressive personality next to Aaron that knows the truth and seems to be the release of everything Aaron holds in. Shoat is the judge trying to control the case in what lawyers are trying to pull for their wins. Molly is psychologist that is studying Aaron trying to figure out what his mindset learning about Roy.

PerformancesRichard Gere is fantastic in the leading role, you see here how he shows the desperate he is to win this case. Laura Linney is strong in her role which must go against Richard Gere. Edward Norton gives one of the best debut roles of any actor in the history of film, he is disturbed when needed and calm when Aaron and crazed when Roy. The supporting cast are great too without taking the spotlight of the rest of the cast.

StoryThe story follows the trial of a disturbed young man accused of murdering an archbishop. While the court case unfolds like you would expect with twists coming from every corner and evidence coming to light through nearly every witness. As a fan of courtroom dramas this plays into everything I enjoy and I love watching crimes get solved in a courtroom. The story is very well paced and even being over 2 hours long doesn’t feel like you are giving the film this much time.

Crime/MysteryThe crime focuses on the murder and what gave the killer motivation, the mystery plays into the motivation too and just how the shy timid altar boy could have committed the murder.

SettingsThe film uses the courtroom for most of the scenes, we have the location involved in the crime too which shows how the lawyers are operating on both sides of the case.


Scene of the Movie –
The final twist.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would say the side case Martin worked on being touched on through the main case gets slightly annoying.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best courtroom dramas of all time, with a crime which does balance the line between what would be considered a bigger crime and performances that could be considered the career best for members of the cast.

 

Overall: Courtroom delight.

Rating

 

 

Original v Remake Weekend – The Italian Job (2003)

Director: F Gary Gray

Writer: Donna Powers, Wayne Powers (Screenplay) Troy Kennedy-Martin (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Donald Sutherland, Jason Statham, Seth Green, Yasiin Bey, Edward Norton

 

Plot: After being betrayed and left for dead in Italy, Charlie Croker and his team plan an elaborate gold heist against their former ally.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid but Confusing Remake

 

Story: The Italian Job starts as Charlie Croker (Wahlberg) and his tea John Bridger (Sutherland) Handsome Rob (Statham), Lyle (Green), Left Ear (Bey) and Steve (Norton) pulling of a heist in Venice, an Italian Job if you like. With the job done perfectly the escape looks like a sure thing only for Steve to turn on them leaving the rest of the team for dead.

One year later Charlie brings the team back together with Stella (Theron) John’s daughter in to get revenge on Steve by stealing the gold he stole from them.

 

Thoughts on The Italian Job

 

Characters/PerformanceCharlie is not the character we knew from the first one, he isn’t the womaniser, quick talker we loved but just a dull smart guy, Stella brings us the female character need for the heist and the daughter of Mr Bridger does work but she isn’t anything overly special. Steve is the traditional backstabber greedy villain but again doesn’t have too much about him. The rest of the crew all have the banter they need that get laughs but are no more than you need, the tech guy, the explosives guy and the getaway driver.

Performance wise, I think the word fine is going to be used a lot here, Wahlberg just doesn’t have the charisma that Michael Caine bought to the role and the whole of the ‘good’ team have fine but nothing special performances. Ed Norton on the other hand you can see doesn’t want to be there.

StoryThe story does build on the original story, it has a heist in Italy, but after that first ten minutes it turns into a revenge heist in LA making the title misleading. The story isn’t anything fresh because we have seen this style of heist movie many times before, it just rips off one of the bests ideas.

Action/CrimeThe action is fine as we are left with the final chase being the payoff for the movie but it doesn’t live up to the original. The crime is a heist so we are cheering for thieve whatever happens.

SettingsThe opening setting is Italy great works for the title of the film but the rest is set in LA which doesn’t make sense.

Special EffectsThe special effects are used to show whole the heist will go but it just doesn’t look very good.

Final ThoughtsIf this was a stand-alone heist movie it would be good but nothing special but being a remake it just doesn’t work on the right levels.

 

Overall: Remake we never really needed.

Rating

 

 

Seth Rogen Weekend – Sausage Party (2016)

sausageDirector: Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon

Writer: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir (Screenplay) Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Jonah Hill (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Michael Cera, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd, Nick Kroll, David Krumholtz, Edward Norton, Salma Hayek

 

Plot: A sausage strives to discover the truth about his existence.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Adult Animation

 

Story: Sausage Party starts as we meet all our food in the supermarket as they all wait to get to the great beyond outside the store. We meet the main sausages Frank, Carl and Barry as they are looking to impress the buns on the shelf next to them.

When their moment gets chance to leave Frank and Brenda get left behind in a shopping store accident the pair must work with the rest of the products to learn their existence in the world teaming up with a flat bread named Lavash and a bagel named Sammy.

Sausage Party is a perfectly placed adult animated film that is one of a few that simply should never be watched by children. Every single joke is only for adults which works but it also holds this film back with a series of repetitive sex jokes that get old very quickly. The overall story feels like the first nursey scene in Toy Story 3 as we see the horror of what something innocent will see how humans act. We do get a thin sub-plot about religion going on but doesn’t get enough time to come through.

 

Overall: Fun adult comedy that works if this is the style of humour you enjoy.

Rating70

 

 

Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

kingDirector: Ridley Scott

Writer: William Monahan (Screenplay)

Starring: Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Liam Neeson, Jeremy Irons, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Maron Csokas, Edward Norton

 

Plot: Balian of Ibelin travels to Jerusalem during the crusades of the 12th century, and there he finds himself as the defender of the city and its people.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Long History Lesson

 

Story: Kingdom of Heaven starts as we meet Balian (Bloom) a blacksmith whose wife has committed the ultimate sin, suicide. When his father the great warrior Godfrey de Ibelin (Neeson) arrives offering to take him to the promise land of Jerusalem to become a warrior he takes the chance to escape the past which is haunting him. When his father dies, he must continue on without him across the seas and the dessert.

Arriving in Jerusalem Balian must start to find his faith once again in a town where prays can be had by any religion un the strict leadership of King Baldwin (Norton). Balian finds himself having to lead the armies of Baldwin as he finds himself in the middle of a religious war during the crusades.

Kingdom of Heaven gives us the story of the battle for Jerusalem during the crusades, I am not good with all my history so most of this I had no idea before watching which made this film all the more difficult to understand what was going on. The battles sequences all come off very well without being wow.

The performance all seem to be what you would expect from the stars involved with the elder being good for their smaller roles and Bloom struggle to be the leading man. In the end this feel just like all the other historical war films with nothing special about what is going on really.

 

Overall: Overly long history lesson that we didn’t need to know.

Ratingcard