The Definition of a Masterpiece (by andersminor22)
I don't know how to start a movie review off, seeing as I've never written one. I feel my meager rating out-of-ten is enough information to tell those interested what I think of a particular movie. Birdman, however, is the exception.I understand I'm an absolute stranger. Who gives a damn about what I have to think? My only hope is that after reading one fan's fanatic praise for Birdman, you will go and see it. In the interest of not over-hyping this movie which many will feel I'm about to do , I will say it's nothing short of utterly amazing. Every aspect of the film <more>
is masterfully crafted and executed. Emmanuel Lubezki's cinematography only exemplifies this. The brilliant choice of always having the camera rolling lets the viewer see what happens before and after any given event. This added information creates a realism unknown to nearly every other movie ever made. What better way to capture the raw emotion and awkward stumbling of an angry outburst at your father than to show the immediate reaction of the ranter following her outburst; you get to see the anger slowly fade from her face as the reality of what she said sets in. Details like this are so often lost and these often- lost, immersive subtleties are what make Birdman the gargantuan triumph it is. Not to mention some of the transitions and dolly shots are just damn impressive.Even though many movies are yet to come out this pre-Oscar season, I feel it is safe to say no other casting ensemble will come close to the performances given in Birdman. Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Stone, Ed Norton, Amy Ryan, and every single other actor in the production execute their roles with professionalism that most movies are lucky to see in just one of their actors. Each actor didn't wait for their time to shine to pull out the big guns; every moment of screen time was utilized to its full potential. There isn't a second where the audience's immersion is broken by an awkwardly delivered line or a slightly out-of-place facial expressions or emotion. The only criticism I have about the film is that more aren't like it. A smart, satirical movie that is capable of criticizing without being hypocritical is unfortunately rare. However, it's rather nice to have movies like this stand out from the crowd instead of being the norm, because the relative quality only makes them that much better.So, in short, I implore you. I beg you. If you step into a movie theater once this year, let it be to watch this film. It deserves your attention.
I have to say I am shocked and how many bad reviews I have seen on this site for this movie. It seems to me that the majority of moviegoers who have chosen to review here are only capable of viewing a movie at face value.This movie is clearly a satirical look at Hollywood and the constant need to remain relevant in the entertainment industry.I will admit that the film does appear unnecessarily "artsy" in places, but some Hollywood actors love being unnecessarily artsy as they think it gives them depth.That was the entire point of this film, for Hollywood to turn the camera on itself <more>
and expose all of it's own crap.What I took from this film is what I have always felt about Hollywood, which is also what I love about it. Actors are inherently insecure, which is why they choose to be in an industry where there is a need for constant approval. The actors who are worth their salt risk everything to entertain...us. For that they will forever have my respect.Definitely worth watching and worthy of it's Best Picture Oscar.
Using the "M" Word Again...Masterpiece! (by ClaytonDavis)
I think we've all been exceptionally good this year because Christmas came early with Alejandro González Iñárritu's masterful "Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance ," an experience that you won't soon forget. Debuting at Venice and Telluride Film Festivals, the film closed an already impeccable New York Film Festival on Saturday morning for press and industry colleagues. It's a film that resonates profoundly, and may just be the best film of 2014. From its pristine writing by Iñárritu, Armando Bo, Nicolas Giacobone, and Alexander Dinelaris , to its <more>
carefully constructed direction and cinematography, to its genius casting and performances, "Birdman" is just a dream of a movie.The movie tells the story of Riggan Michael Keaton , a washed up actor who used to play a superhero icon called Birdman. In a valiant attempt to reclaim his career, he adapts, directs, and stars in a Broadway play. With problems from one of his very method actors Edward Norton , assistant daughter Emma Stone , emotional co-star Naomi Watts , overly sexual girlfriend Andrea Riseborough , flamboyant producer Zach Galifanakis , and loving ex- wife Amy Ryan , Riggan prepares for the breaking point of his career."Birdman" is so damn enjoyable and one of the most entertaining films in years. It charms not just because of its story, but because of the performances and slick way that co-writer/director Iñárritu plays with tone. It's downright hilarious in parts, probably the funniest film of the year, and then there's the dramatic edge that comes into play, and simply breaks your heart. Above all, Iñárritu's "Birdman" is a celebration of cinema. It's an audacious achievement that floors just about every aspect of film witnessed in 2014. Iñárritu already had vocal admirers from "Amores Perros," "Babel," and "Biutiful," but this is his most accessible. This will move him up in the ranks with the Scorsese's, Spielberg's, and Eastwood's. He familiarizes us with the stage and the theater. He makes the surroundings a very palpable character for us to know and enjoy. At 63, Michael Keaton has been criminally underutilized in his career, despite some iconic performances. The nerd crowd will worship him as the ideal Bruce Wayne/Batman combo, while the same thick will remember his "Beetle Juice" fondly for all-time. Where Keaton was passed over was for his dramatic capabilities. I've beat the horse dead on mentioning his cancer-stricken father-to-be performance in "My Life" or his recovering alcoholic player in "Clean and Sober." In "Birdman," Keaton marries the two with an undeniable sensibility that stands as the actor's finest to date. It's such a studied turn, you feel the accuracy and precision in which he executes every move and mannerism of Riggan. It's the role that Keaton has been waiting decades for. It's the role of his career.If we're talking about underutilized actors, then Edward Norton needs to be mentioned. Two brilliant performances under his belt, both Oscar-nominated "Primal Fear" and "American History X" but both passed over for someone else, Norton is back and better than ever. A scene-stealing standout, Norton makes us realize how unspoken dialogue between characters can be just as humorous without the punchline. Emma Stone has finally arrived with "Birdman." Criminally misused and passed over by Hollywood for "bigger name" actresses, Stone finally shows the world what they've been missing. In one single scene, Stone revolutionizes and captures the essence of "Birdman" with a ferocity that you couldn't see from any other performer. She finds the heart and soul of Sam, laying her on the screen meticulously and transparent. Though brief in screen time, the vivacious Naomi Watts, the sexy Andrea Riseborough, and the seasoned Amy Ryan make their marks exquisitely. Watts gets the most chuckles out of the ladies while Ryan has the greatest arc for us to explore. I hope and pray that Zach Galifianakis continues down a path in independent cinema. Fully realized and delivered, he layers the film with a beautiful sympathy, vocal and restrained, he finds the meaning of Riggan and presents him to us.Emmanuel Lubezki. That is a sentence, statement, and just pure cinematic meaning nowadays. You can't watch a movie shot by the Academy Award winning Cinematographer and not find yourself more intimately contained and available to the realm of the movies. Just one year after stunning us with "Gravity," Lubezki allows the audience to be in the movie. We are present in every scene, every movement, and every thought that a person is having. We feel as though Riggan and the cast are interacting with us. When they're laughing, we're laughing, when they're crying, we're crying. He is an absolute magician. This seems to be the year of the drums because Antonio Sanchez composes "Birdman" with a drum score that lays deep in my ear canals. Tapping your feet and bobbing your head, Sanchez elevates the film to new heights. Editors Douglas Prise and Stephen Mirrione may be the unsung heroes because in the film, we are nearly in one continuous take, which hardly ever gives up at least to the untrained eye . In no way do I call myself someone who can spot a digital edit, but I spotted no more than a dozen cuts throughout. That is amazing. I'm sure there were dozens more, but you couldn't catch them."Birdman" is a masterpiece there goes THAT word . At a time where movies feel like they have to choose to between comedy and tragedy, Iñárritu's beauty works on us from the inside-out. It's a human story, comedy, thriller, mystery, all rolled into one. All told by a master filmmaker and storytellers. The year's must-see experience.
Great opening at the Venice Film Festival with this must-see movie. The story of an actor persecuted by the role that made him popular, "Birdman", and pressured by the willing of proving himself on stage with his new play.The characters in the story are all struggling with something: Sam Emma Stone with her drug addiction, Mike Edward Norton with his sexual problems, Lesley Naomi Watts with her self- realization and Michael Keaton with love. What kind of love is he lacking? Is it admiration for his work? The same admiration that chained him to Bridman, who is probably the only <more>
one capable of saving him.The cinematography reminds of that used in Hitchcock's "Rope": it seems to be filmed consequently. The originality of the cinematography, though, may have sacrificed the storyline."Birdman" certainly needs to be seen more than one, but likewise certainly it's going to be one of the greatest movies of the year
This is an amazing film! Great acting and strong story, it will keep you on the edge of your seat. Some scenes had me laugh out loud. The film can get a little confusing or even perplexing at times, but in a good way. The soundtrack is original and supports the scenes brilliantly. The film is centered around a play an adaptation of Raymond Carvers short story "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love", if you haven't read this: it is great . The cinematography couldn't be more spot one to refer to the fact that it is about theater. The magical realism might not be for <more>
everyone, and I am usually not a big fan, though in this film it gives the main character just the edge that it needs and it expresses his psyche well. In this film, all elements work together to create a turbulent, wild story that is both highly entertaining and arty: it is exiting; it is sincere; it is intelligent and amusing. It might make your brain hurt a little.
A Potpourri of Vestiges Review: The Expected Virtue of Unrestrained Brilliance (by murtaza_mma)
Alejandro González Iñárritu's Oscar nominated film Birdman, aka The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, is a departure from the contemporary style of filmmaking. Iñárritu uses a technique that gives an illusion as if the entire film were shot in a single extended take. Birdman's strong albeit bizarre dialogue and impeccable slapstick timing on one hand hark back to the works of the American screenwriter and playwright David Mamet, particularly Glengarry Glen Ross, while on the other, it strongly reminds of the films like Barton Fink and The Player in that it deglamorizes Hollywood <more>
while exposing its hypocrisies.The movie tells the story of a washed up Hollywood actor—once famous for playing an iconic superhero called "Birdman"—as he battles both his inner demons and outer enemies in a desperate attempt to reinvent himself as a Broadway director by staging a new adaptation of a Raymond Carver short story called "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love".Birdman offers a nice blend of realism, surrealism and magic realism. Vintage Iñárritu, Birdman doesn't feed any definitive answers but rather allows the viewers to engage at their own intellectual planes. While the entire cast puts up a brilliant show, Michael Keaton and Edward Norton deserve special mention for their sublime performances. For Norton, Birdman marks a return to form. As to Keaton, he delivers a performance so emphatic and complete that it can be easily described as the performance of the decade. One wonders what kept him from unleashing himself on the celluloid all these years. A must watch!For more on the world of cinema, please visit my film blog "A Potpourri of Vestiges".
I saw the preview for this a few months ago and I must say that all I could think was, "This looks weird." After seeing it last night at the NY Film Festival as the closing film of this year's festival , I came out more than pleasantly surprised. I don't know what type of film the preview was trying to make "Birdman" seem like, but it's not anything like I thought it would be.Inarritu, the editors, and the cinematographers incorporate a style of editing which would have been impressive without any plot whatsoever. It kept me on the edge of my seat the entire <more>
time, almost to a fault. It's almost exhausting having to keep up with it all. The score by Sanchez is bare but works great for the film, and is aided by a few visual representations mixed in throughout. The cast is more than up to the challenge as well, especially Keaton and Norton who have a few scenes where they each get to flex their acting chops. The rest of the cast doesn't seem to get as much of a chance to show off, but does not make their performances any less impressive. Awards for the four mentioned by name here could be forthcoming.An entertaining film well worth the price of admission. Don't let the strange preview fool you.
So going to see Birdman the night after it's just won the Oscar for best movie has to be a bit of a gamble hasn't it? After all, there's nothing that Hollywood likes more than something that sucks up the juices and shows it how it really is. And we all must know already that Birdman was the reason why our hero had been famous previously and is now trying to capture something of that lost fame and glory right? Well yes, as far as it goes, that may be true. Yet despite my slight trepidation at what was to come, I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised this evening and <more>
walked away feeling quite content.This tale takes you centre stage to a quite wonderful turn from our slightly saggy, slightly down at heel Micheal Keaton as the eponymous hero, aka Riggan. We are given to understand from the off that the star turn may be experiencing some kind of psychotic episode, although this is never really confirmed either. Hey, after all, this is the movies isn't it? Except that it isn't, it's the thrill of the greasepaint and the creaking of the boards. And that's what scares him. Why's he doing this? It's not at all apparent that he even knows. Except that he's put everything on the line for a Raymond Carver play.His ally Jake is impeccably played by Zach Galifianakis, with a quite beautiful mixture of encouragement and fear. Emma Stone does the moody daughter to a tee, sparky when required and distant for the majority. And Andrea Riseborough as the pregnant or not passionate partner outdoes herself in my opinion, really solid in her screen time, probably slightly overshadowing Naomi Watts into the process. As for Edward Norton, he nails it as the method man whose priapic ways on stage are in stark contrast to his troubles off. Our Lindsay Duncan does a great star turn as an embittered critic with unwieldy power.If you've heard about the continuous shot style, then enjoy it, as it adds a layer to the movie, both stylistically and chronologically, that impressed me greatly. We're mainly stuck inside the twisting confines of the theatre and at times one can feel lost as to precisely where we are. Which probably isn't something that's happening by default, but rather by design. The script is excellent, many laughs to be had, and some real scenes of tenderness too, which is quite a trick to pull off I feel. The plot shifts along effortlessly, never feeling like you're watching a two-hour production. And the score is to die for, it almost felt like Whiplash Redux.Worth the Oscar? Who cares, all I want to know is, did he fly?
The problem isn't the film, it's you. (by apettah)
You know what the problem is? You expect all the wrong things from the wrong places. You yearn mindless action when it gives you profundity, you expect hapless simplicity when it gives you intellectual complexity. And you expect to be spoon-fed when it wants you to ponder.Do not let expectations rule your decisions. This isn't a film for the meagre minds who expect to clap their cymbals in harmony with some of the drivel that are shown on today's silver screen. If it is your heart felt opinion that The Avengers deserves an Oscar, then don't bother watching this film.Birdman is a <more>
heavily nuanced yet eloquent visual art form. It is different. And it requires the audience to flow with the unconventional rhythm of the film rather than expect rigid logic and conventional storytelling. We are allowed to explore the character's purlieu while empathising with his inner mediocrity. It aims to express the level of malaise one experiences when he fails to achieve what he feels he deserves. The film may not answer all the questions it creates, but that's the beauty of it.Watch it without petty expectations, and appreciate it for what it is. A cinematic ballet; an experience. However, not everyone can comprehend it. The thing is, if you think that it's beyond you as to why this film is so critically acclaimed, then it probably is and there might be a problem. While it's certainly not the film's.