Wednesday, October 22, 2014

BIRDMAN OR (THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE)

Cast: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Amy Ryan, Zach Galifianakis, Andrea Riseborough, Naomi Watts, Lindsay Duncan, Merrit Wever, Damian Young, Paula Pell, Bill Camp, Stephen Adly Gurgis

Riggan Thomas, once known quite well to movie theater goers as an iconic super hero called "The Birdman" had recently turned down a third installment of the franchise. Now washed up, he attempts to reinvent himself as a director by staging a new retelling of a classic Broadway dramatic play called "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love". The events leading up to the Saturday night premiere prove to be one disaster after another as the original lead actor is injured while on set and Riggan scrambles to find a replacement, but the replacement proves to be exactly who he needs - a method actor who takes the job way too seriously. But Riggan has a hard time juggling between the set, his replacement actor, his equally washed up daughter, and a host of other disasters that prevent a proper staging of the play. Meanwhile, a New York Times critic who Riggan has to woo threatens to shut down production of the play before it even starts with a scathing review of the dress rehearsal. Does Riggan have a hit on his hands or will he even make it to opening night?

I am not going to write a birdman review at least not an official one. This is more my thought on the film.

As to me this is a movie that is hard to sum up in paragraphs, sentences and words. It is a movie more to experience then to define and suggest. I an sure it's not for everyone more experimental and some will call it pretentious. Though to write it off so simple shows a small vocabulary and an unwillingness to explore their imagination for pinpointing what exactly they didn't enjoy. If you didn't like the film and can say why in more than a common off the wall expression then I will give you props. Though of course you are fully entitled to your own opinion.

Yes I drank the kool-aid and it is so delicious and mouth watering on this side. And quite refreshing. So yes I am going full on fan boy for this film.

It's small scale yet makes everything in it feels alive with energy and dangerous with very little caution. It says so much about many things especially art and creativity and psyche. Commerce versus passion

This is one of the few times i have felt transcendence throughout a film. Though it was a packed house I never sensed the audience or noticed them. And for those who know how going to a movie with me is, that is rare. It just felt like it was only me and the movie. Just as when you make a connection romantic or not as the world goes on around you. You never notice it's just the two of you, In your own little universe.

It has been a long time since a films whole third act had my heart beating out of my cheat with anticipation as the suspense of what happens next emotionally and in the film, feels that important. Not since natural born killers actually have i sat in an audience and felt so anxious that I started having chest pains. My saying this will be a universal experience for all who see it. It's a film I am still trying to wrap my head around. It's Like Watching a trapeze artist or a high wire walker. That danger is always there even though they are all professionals. Even a magician where you want to know all about the tricks, but then t would kill the magic.

Technical aspects are excellent the cast is too made me appreciate Emma Stone as an actress more. Michael Keaton has always been the man but never so open and vulnerable and riffing a little on his own acting tics. This is truly a defining role and also you can see this as an appreciation for him and his talents. Though this film hews close to GAME 6 a film that Keaton starred in that was set around the NY theater world and a midlife crisis. In fact Michael Keaton said this movie was the most challenging he has ever done. He also said that the personality of his character Riggan is the most dissimilar to himself of any he has ever played. He is having fun vie as an appreciation of him. As an actor a gift to really let him show off his chops again,

Edward Norton where have you Been. He is so strong, demanding, soulful and fun in this film.

In fact all 3 of them have all played in Superhero film Michael Keaton obviously The title Character in BATMAN and BATMAN BEGINS, Edward Norton As Dr. Bruce Banner in THE INCREDIBLE HULK and Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy in THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN and THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN 2

According to Alejandro González Iñárritu, he had dinner with director Mike Nichols in New York two weeks before he began shooting the movie. Inarritu told Nichols of his plan for how he was going to shoot the movie as one long take. Nichols predicted it would be a disaster because not having the ability to use cuts in editing would inhibit the opportunities for comedy. Inarritu said the meeting didn't deter him, but was instead helpful in raising his awareness level of the difficulty of what he was about to do.

It has been awhile since I have enjoyed a Alejandro González Iñárritu, I believe BABEL was the last one I enjoyed though not completely That would be 21 GRAMS. Here I fell in love with his films d his filmmaking as once again it feels like he has put a soul or soul Into cinema.

The movie was largely shot inside Broadway's St. James Theatre - Michael Keaton and the rest of the cast had to adapt to Alejandro González Iñárritu’s rigorous shooting style, which required them to perform up to 15 pages of dialogue at a time while hitting precisely choreographed marks.

Even the great Emmanuel Lubezki outdoes himself, his work is amazing the composition of shots, the close ups to make is get intimate with the characters at all times. The framing and slow pans. Though they try hard to make it look like one continuous shot. There are plenty of places where you can see the cheat or cuts. Though only really of you are looking for them.

It might not be the top of my best of the year burnt is a hard film to beat completely.

Grade: A

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