what i'm watching: don't miss edward norton in "leaves of grass"

I'm still in hell week here, two papers due next week, and no break in sight until two days after that.

Most nights, movies are giving me essential R&R, and last night we saw something I have to pass on to you: "Leaves of Grass," written and directed by Tim Blake Nelson, and starring the great Edward Norton in a tour de force, playing two roles of identical twin brothers.

The movie weaves thoughts on philosophy, spirituality, family bonds, the search for self, and nothing less than the meaning of life into a funny - and deadly serious - story full of surprises. Like so many movies I love, "Leaves of Grass" is about redemption, and how it comes in ways we cannot plan.

Edward Norton, as always, is brilliant. He is truly one of the greatest actors of his generation. (If you have not seen him in Spike Lee's 2002 "25th Hour," run-don't-walk to rent it.) We haven't seen the other films Nelson has directed, but now I'm going to look them up: "Eye of God," "O" and "The Grey Zone". Nelson is also in "Leaves of Grass," and Susan Sarandon, looking resplendently natural as a woman of years and experience, plays the mother of the twins.

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I also really enjoyed "The Other Guys": Will Ferrell at his ridiculous best, a send-up of cop-action movies, very funny, a terrific New York City backdrop, and a decidedly anti-capitalist twist. Plus you get to see Derek Jeter get what you may think he deserves.


M@ said...

Instructions received. Rented LoG tonight. I'll let you know how it goes.

The Grey Zone happens to be involved in my "where I was when 9/11 happened" story, oddly enough. (I won't make this about myself, I promise -- I know and understand your pet peeve!) The CBC had a lengthy interview (possibly with Tim Blake Nelson himself, I forget) about the movie, which was coming to the Toronto Film Festival that week, while every other station on the continent was reporting the news about the twin towers. It was kind of freaky. I think the CBC kept on with its breaking coverage of the movie for about 20 minutes -- then I got to work and didn't hear any more radio.

The movie did sound fascinating, but I've never gotten around to seeing it. Someday I guess.

laura k said...

(I won't make this about myself, I promise -- I know and understand your pet peeve!)

Ha! Just so you know, you can tell me your "where I was on 9/11" story anytime. The pet peeve is specifically from someone who has just met me, hears I'm from NYC, and immediately launches into their own "where I was on 9/11" or "how I found out about 9/11" story... which invariably is the same as almost everyone else's.

Definitely let me know how you like LoG. I may have built it up too much, but Edward Norton's performance is extraordinary.

M@ said...

Ah, I get what you mean. I was really intending my story as a "WTF?!" criticism of the CBC more than anything anyhow.

I remember hearing that they actually changed their editorial policy (or whatever the equivalent might be for radio) after September 11 because they were so out to lunch.

We'll watch LoG sometime this week. Norton is one of my favourite actors too.

laura k said...

Out to lunch in a big way. Kind of unbelievable that someone thought that was the way to go.