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View Full Version : Birdman (Alejandro González Iñárritu)



Ezee E
09-03-2014, 02:22 AM
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bweh2bqIQAAeQ7p.jpg

IMDB (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2562232/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1)

Ezee E
09-03-2014, 04:05 AM
I can't wait until the Match Cut group sees this as there's so much to talk about with this movie.

Where has this Inarritu been? Gone is the HEAVY drama, and instead is a fascinating approach that puts him with Cuaron and Del Toro (upping anything Del Toro has done). Yes, the movie is told in a series of one-takes that makes the story incredibly frantic. There's a character study here, as well as it being ensemble. I don't really know of anything that's been like that before.

Of course Michael Keaton is the standout here. I've always been a huge fan, waiting and waiting for his comeback. He's been mostly relegated to voice acting and the occasional bad movie, so it's great to see him in his best role since 2005's Game 6. He is top notch here in a role that demands quick-speaking and someone that can act big without looking hokey.

The other actors all work great with each other. It's been a while since there's been so much dialog in a movie that feels like something from the Howard Hawks time. Keaton-Norton and Stone-Norton probably work it the best with the rapid delivery.

The one-shots all deliver here, without REALLY calling attention to themselves. Instead, it feels like you're simply being pulled along as a production assistant taking notes as the play crumbles and shines. Emmanuel Lubezki isn't the only one to be complimented on this. The use of existing lighting, the creativity of the movie set, and the use of props, special effects, etc are all to be commended.

This is something to be seen. Can't wait to discuss further.

Henry Gale
09-03-2014, 05:33 AM
Jealy to my core but so glad to hear you were impressed by it on a similarly profound level as seemingly all the other reactions from the festival ether.

I'm not sure how much more I can want to see this than the state of wanting to jump at the very first chance I get that I've already been at since I saw the trailers, but the anticipation just grows and grows.

Ezee E
09-03-2014, 05:35 AM
Jealy to my core but so glad to hear you were impressed by it on a similarly profound level as seemingly all the other reactions from the festival ether.

I'm not sure how much more I can want to see this than the state of wanting to jump at the very first chance I get that I've already been at since I saw the trailers, but the anticipation just grows and grows.

I also got to see it a day before the rest of the Telluride fellas at the staff screening. Yussss.

Pop Trash
09-03-2014, 05:35 PM
Walter Chaw apparently hated this. Not sure what to make of that.

Ezee E
09-04-2014, 03:18 AM
Walter Chaw apparently hated this. Not sure what to make of that.

Yeah, pretty heated about it too. He responded to a few of my tweets and called it 'middlebrow slop.' Whatever that means. I forgot that he lives in Colorado and programs the Alamo Drafthouse. He also was at the same condo as I this year.

Watashi
10-17-2014, 08:24 AM
This film felt like it was made by a bitter film student who got annoyed anytime someone talked or laughed during an arthouse film shown during Film 101.

It's really pathetic how Inarritu tries to be bold by doing his best Kaufman impression, but falls flat on his face. I'm really beginning to hate this trend of filmmakers being "meta for meta sakes" with no clue how to be subtle. This film feels like a bunch of random angry notes and half-baked character profiles that don't extend beyond the page. It hits every arthouse note and it doesn't know it because it's too busy being about TRUTH and ART and other crap like that.

Fuck this movie.

Pop Trash
10-17-2014, 09:16 AM
I'm really beginning to hate this trend of filmmakers being "meta for meta sakes" with no clue how to be subtle.

What other movies have this trope in your opinion?

MadMan
10-17-2014, 06:10 PM
Wats hated it. Now I know I'll like it.

Philip J. Fry
10-17-2014, 11:53 PM
Wats hated it. Now I know I'll like it.I laughed.

number8
10-27-2014, 07:31 PM
Weird that it took Inarritu making a wink-wink satire with over-the-top goofballs for him to finally have characters in his film that resemble human beings instead of walking misery conduits. Still, he really does not know how to not scream his commentary with twelve exclamation marks. I like that the single-take gimmick actually has a thematic purpose to the story instead of just being something technically impressive.

I had a ball with it as a comedy and a Michael Keaton comeback vehicle, but I feel like Bojack Horseman did this story better.

Pop Trash
10-28-2014, 04:37 AM
I feel like Bojack Horseman did this story better.

ha...that looks awesome.

Spinal
11-01-2014, 04:30 AM
It was really weird seeing this days after seeing Game 6.

Spinal
11-01-2014, 04:49 AM
As for the film ... I don't know ... it's one of those things where I liked it and I'm disappointed at the same time. If it exists solely to finally get Michael Keaton an Oscar nomination, then great. It's a convincing, captivating performance. The structure of the film is initially entrancing. But over time, I found it a bit distracting as I found myself trying to spot the 'invisible' cuts. Writing this about an hour after walking out of the film, I realize that I didn't get a whole lot out of the meat of it. Is there anything about the script or the characters that is particularly revelatory or memorable? I'm not so sure. Still, the ensemble's pretty good and it's fun while you're watching it. I like the film best when it veers off into the surreal. There's a few times where I thought, oh, that's pretty neat.

And that's about it. I liked Babel better.

Sven
11-04-2014, 02:42 AM
Is there anything about the script or the characters that is particularly revelatory or memorable?

Loved Keaton, and I think the film is strongest when it is focusing on his psychosis (or, as you say, "veers into the surreal"). The revelations offered by the side characters come off as pat or phony (his daughter's mouthpiecing is particularly annoying), and I too found the single-shot structure distracting, albeit serving a theme that is bolstered by the technique's self-consciousness (ie, it's important that the film looks authentic while simultaneously reminding the viewer that it is not).

Frustrating damn movie, but rapturous and well-performed. Lesbian kiss, Norton's bad boy put-on, and the denouement were my biggest problems, but all significant to the film's extra-diegetic text-pulling. Birdman is pretty serious about being a movie about being actors who sometimes make movies.

Surprisingly loved Galifianakis.

Bosco B Thug
11-06-2014, 12:31 AM
Galfiniakis was expert. I expect something big from him at some point, not to jinx it or anything.

This was a nice paean to the abilities of mediocre people aspiring to big, poetic things. Meta text! The critic is the sympathetic villain, but this communicates the opposite theme of Ratatouille.

eternity
11-09-2014, 08:24 AM
It's really great when it intends to be funny. It's kind of a pain in the ass when it doesn't.

Rowland
11-11-2014, 07:18 AM
Went into this with an anti-Iñárritu axe to grind, greased by the mini-backlash that has been building amidst the critical circles I follow, but I found it to be a surprisingly slippery beast, and an exceedingly stimulating one at that.

Sven
11-13-2014, 04:59 PM
Yeah, there are a lot of reductive readings out there. Chaw's review, for example, is embarrassingly unaware.

number8
11-13-2014, 08:11 PM
I like how critics who would normally forgive the unrealistic portrayals of hundreds of professions across cinema are up in arms and singling out the Lindsay Duncan character.

dreamdead
11-14-2014, 02:12 AM
Not sure this one isn't utterly diaphanous in terms of what it says. And it's not always coherent in its agenda. At times its profundity works--some of the literal transposings of Raymond Carver's story, and some of the Norton/Stone material on the roof--but almost all of the Watts business is just vapid, and the women here do get the short stick a lot.

Also: If so much of the film seeks to make us understand Keaton's grandiose delusions (showing him actively rather than telepathically breaking the items in his room when Galfiniakis walks in; the switcheroo from Keaton's flying to the cabbie who wants to be paid for his fare), then it seems counter-intuitive to close the way it does, especially since it's undercutting (intentionally? surrealistically?) the earlier "suicide."

It's wonderfully frenetic in its design, and the pacing was dazzling as I was watching it, but at the end there's a bit of me questioning how thoroughly Iñárritu knows what he's doing. I'm afraid I'm going to remember remarkably little of this beyond Keaton's performance by month's end.

dreamdead
11-17-2014, 10:50 PM
A good breakdown (http://www.slashfilm.com/birdman-ending-analysis-discussion/) of the film's ending. This one captures a lot of my reservations toward the finale.

So confused about what the point of the film is, great Keaton aside.

TGM
11-17-2014, 10:58 PM
I thought the cast was great all around, probably the best ensemble I've seen all year. Keaton should definitely get nominated, but I wouldn't at all be opposed to nominations for Norton, Stone, or Galifianakis either.

Pop Trash
11-24-2014, 10:31 PM
Mostly positive overall about this. I'm a sucker for backstage theater antics and the whole 'getting locked out of the theater' thing got a big laugh from me since that has actually happened to me a few times (thankfully not in the middle of a performance.)

I do agree with common consensus that the critic character is really weak (Anton Ego she is not) especially in light of the Roger Ebert doco that also came out this year. Just a really one-dimensional antagonist that has a boring ironic twist everyone could see a mile away.

Inarritu's penchant for overheated acting and dialogue works here more than his other films because of the characters being actors and because of the slippery way the narrative moves from stage to backstage (or 'real' life.)

Obviously the thing is a technical marvel and Lubezki continues to be MVP.

MadMan
12-03-2014, 05:58 AM
On my way home from seeing this tonight I realized that I thought about Robin Williams and his suicide and I determined that I could not recall the last movie he made. That fear of irrelevance, of wanting to make a statement with art and making something that one could truly be satisfied with is a concept I can't relate to. I'm a failed writer and thus I pen reviews (I'm not good at that either) and thus I cannot grasp the artist. However I can all too well understood failure, wanting to be noticed in this world of social media and constant attention whoring.

I loved that opening shot even though I have no idea what it means. The same goes for the wonderfully abstract ending as the film goes full circle and borrows/steals/homages 8 1/2 (1963). The cast is marvelous, adding greatly to the proceedings and I love how this film is shot. That drum heavy score is perfect also. So far this is the best film I've viewed this year and it deserves better than this shitty smartphone writeup and snide comments from message boards.

Sven
12-04-2014, 04:27 PM
On my way home from seeing this tonight I realized that I thought about Robin Williams and his suicide and I determined that I could not recall the last movie he made. That fear of irrelevance, of wanting to make a statement with art and making something that one could truly be satisfied with is a concept I can't relate to. I'm a failed writer and thus I pen reviews (I'm not good at that either) and thus I cannot grasp the artist. However I can all too well understood failure, wanting to be noticed in this world of social media and constant attention whoring.

I loved that opening shot even though I have no idea what it means. The same goes for the wonderfully abstract ending as the film goes full circle and borrows/steals/homages 8 1/2 (1963). The cast is marvelous, adding greatly to the proceedings and I love how this film is shot. That drum heavy score is perfect also. So far this is the best film I've viewed this year and it deserves better than this shitty smartphone writeup and snide comments from message boards.

This is one of my favorite reviews of the movie I have read. Rep, MM.

Spun Lepton
12-04-2014, 05:35 PM
Walked out satisfied, although I had reservations about the "big-budget" moment near the end when Keaton's psyche cracks. I really don't have much else to say about it. Some of the ruminations about fame and success were very interesting.

7/10

MadMan
12-04-2014, 06:33 PM
This is one of my favorite reviews of the movie I have read. Rep, MM.
Um, thanks. And I'm ashamed to admit that I need to see more from a foreign director that has received a great deal of acclaim over the last decade. Although I'm not sure if I would like Babel.

Irish
01-08-2015, 12:50 PM
This was something special. I agree with what everybody said about it.

I think it deserves extra viewings, the same way The Player, Shakespeare in Love, Adaptation, and State & Main do. There's a couple of different levels here that are worth playing around with, and I suspect a few callbacks on top of the obvious ones. More, lots of theater & performance jokes I probably missed.

What I loved about it is that the script is an actor's dream, and all of the performers got on board with making fun of their public personas. A few reviews I read dismissed that out of hand, which I couldn't understand. I mean, the things Norton does in this movie require an intense and crazy bravery as well as an astute level of self awareness.

I was surprised most by Faraci's and Chaw's reviews. Both of them got caught up in the superficialities of the story, or its more obvious media criticisms (the camera "gimmick," and superhero movies are dumb, blah). I remember a bunch of critics on twitter squawking about that bar scene and man oh man. I laughed my ass off. It's terribly on the nose and self important because it's supposed to be. But (and this is the important part) it's also not wrong. Chaw took that bar-critic bit and tried to refute it by name dropping Mark Twain and Manny Farber, which strikes me as a massive misread of who the scene was actually addressing (hint: it's online reviewers).

The thing that bugged me about a lot of reviews and left a bad taste in my mouth was that the reviewer assumes Iñárritu is dummy, or that he completely lacks any facility for self awareness. Or they assumed that he has the same sensibility today that he had ten years ago. Given the jokes and the bombastic nature of the writing here, I can't believe that's true.

My biggest impressions were (1) this is a movie about people struggling to be authentic but who have no clue how to do that and (2) the impossibility of doing anything creative, ever, even among the best circumstances, but especially in an environment that only asks you for superficialities, for triteness, and (3) how #2 feeds into #1. This was less about the nature of superhero movie and social media and a lot more about the idea of living in the moment and using performance to do that.

I loved the way this played with fantasy and reality, drama and authenticity. The way the stage moments often felt truer than the backstage moments, and then later the reverse would happen: Riggan pumps up an actress's ego and we know he's full of shit or Mike plays the quiet, sensitive brooder and it's an obvious lie.

The movie is a perfect combination of creative drive mired in self criticism and loathing, and in professional wrangling, and the pound of regret we carry as we age, and the difficulties of producing real, valuable work. I kinda loved that about it.

transmogrifier
01-17-2015, 07:30 AM
Hollow and uninteresting. Loads up the lead character with so much cliched personal baggage (failed marriage! problem child! pregnancy scare! career in the doldrums!) that it weakens the main theme of the importance of art and reconciling the intimacy of creative output in itself with the fundamental human need for that creative output to be recognized and embraced by others. After all, we are saddled with a lead character with little left in his life except trying to get his career back on track, and it makes it all a little bit of a bore; imagine if Keaton's character actually had a supportive wife and family, for example. Then we have a true exploration of the competing importance of the personal and the public. Instead, it is just a parade of comedic misery to slam home a lot of obvious truths. The fact Birdman is a made a literal presence on the screen says all you need to know about the level of subtlety at work. By the end I was just enjoying the actors playing off each other (Norton is excellent, until he disappears) and couldn't have cared less about the play or the lead character.

Dukefrukem
01-21-2015, 12:58 PM
I can't add much more than what everyone else has already said but I loved this. Galifianakis was excellent as was the entire cast. I've never seen 21 Grams or Babel but I've just added them to my short list.

DSNT
01-26-2015, 12:37 AM
I can't add much more than what everyone else has already said but I loved this. Galifianakis was excellent as was the entire cast. I've never seen 21 Grams or Babel but I've just added them to my short list.

I loved this as well, and feel this is the type of movie that will reward with multiple viewings.

That said, it is nothing like 21 Grams or Babel, but they are worth seeing, as is Amores Perros.

Morris Schæffer
02-03-2015, 06:10 PM
Generally not my kinda thing. The word "Meta" puts the fear in me like nothing else, and yet from all the best picture nominees I've seen so far, which is three, I'm putting this ahead of American Sniper and the Imitation game. There's some great craft here, almost to the point that it's imperceptible as some have already said, and damn good to see Keaton back in the spotlight, but, eh fuck, I feel nothing for these characters compared to, say, George Valentin in The Artist who, in coping with the realization that he too no longer mattered, struck me as more human than any of these weirdos. It's a universal story, of no longer being relevant, of being supplanted by someone else (younger) but I didn't see characters here. Actually felt Keaton was strangely off during some scenes, like when he was pissed at his daughter for having pot stashed away. Overacting? Not quite, just vaguely unnatural with regards to his reaction. The funniest bit? When he's naked outside, walks back into the auditorium where the play, his play is going on, and everybody turns around and looks at him, flabbergasted, since one cast member isn't coming from the direction he should. And for discernible reason, Riggan points his finger at a random person in the crowd and tells her to shut up, as if he's going biblical on consumers in general, not just Tabitha Dickinson. My brother and I laughed pretty hard at that.

Fezzik
02-24-2015, 05:19 PM
I finally saw this yesterday.

In short? I'm pretty well blown away. Where Boyhood felt too crafted for my tastes (and that damaged its emotional resonance), this was just the opposite. Despite its obviously incredible direction, it felt more rough around the edges.

Keaton was mesmerizing. The entire film just had my jaw on the floor a few times. It felt as raw as theater sometimes can. And it hit me in the heart as someone who wants to be an artist and as a human being with frailties and insecurities.

The scene were Thompson goes off on the critic in the bar is one of my favorites in some time. Too on the nose? Maybe, but I kind of think that was the point. Everything he said to her in that tirade I felt like came out of my mouth. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I kept hitting my fist against my armrest and silently saying "yes. yes. YES."

I also love that the critic says something about Hollywood being "cartoons and pornography" while coming off as a less developed version of Anton Ego. Basically, showing a "cartoon" version of the same archetype being more real than the one in the live action film. I'm sure it wasn't intentional, but I am choosing to read it that way anyway.

This is easily my favorite film of 2014. I can't wait to see it again.

transmogrifier
02-25-2015, 12:17 AM
I have a feeling people will look back on this the way people now look back on American Beauty.

The more I think about it, the more shallow it seems.

Ezee E
02-25-2015, 12:22 AM
There's no paper bag scene in this.

Pop Trash
02-25-2015, 02:11 AM
There's no paper bag scene in this.

Not to derail this thread, but I always thought the criticisms of that scene were completely unfounded. Once again, people conflate a character's point-of-view with the film's point-of-view.

DavidSeven
02-25-2015, 07:34 AM
I loved this movie.

I think it's one of the greatest meldings of form, structure and concept that we've seen in a long, long time. The camera, cutting and general batshit-edness appear to be at the forefront, but I was really blown away by the film's narrative foundation. The thing just doesn't drag; it's consistently propelled forward in ways that feel effortless and new. I was far from an Inarritu guy, but he's opened my eyes here.

They'd give the whole cast Oscars if this wasn't so centrally a Keaton piece. Wonderful performances. Best thing I've seen Norton do.

baby doll
02-25-2015, 04:52 PM
It's undoubtedly the most entertaining movie Alejandro Iñárittu has made since Amores perros (if the González is unimportant enough that he's willing to downgrade it to a G., then we might as well drop it altogether). Indeed, the style is dazzling enough that it took me nearly half the movie to realize how full of clichés the story is. (I don't mind that he made the reviewer a bitch, but having her write her reviews by hand in a bar while sipping gin and tonic? Come on.) On the one hand, I loved the transition when the camera pans from Keaton alone in his dressing room to the infotainment reporters interviewing him sometime later, but on the other hand, if I see another movie about a show business dad who feels guilty about not being there for his daughter (who's just out of rehab no less), I'm gonna blow my fucking brains out. Also, maybe it's just me but the visual quotations of Pierrot le fou and Stalker bugged me just because this is so much less demanding/awesome than those films.

baby doll
02-25-2015, 04:59 PM
The scene were Thompson goes off on the critic in the bar is one of my favorites in some time. Too on the nose? Maybe, but I kind of think that was the point. Everything he said to her in that tirade I felt like came out of my mouth. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I kept hitting my fist against my armrest and silently saying "yes. yes. YES."There's a lot of dialogue in this movie that's super on-the-nose (Watts' line about being a scared little girl), but I think Keaton adds some nuance to the scene by playing his character as a drunken ass-hole so that one sympathizes more with the reviewer who has to put up with his bullshit.

baby doll
02-25-2015, 05:00 PM
I've never seen 21 Grams or Babel but I've just added them to my short list.Don't bother, they suck.

Dukefrukem
02-25-2015, 05:13 PM
Don't bother, they suck.

Too late. They're already on my Netflix queue. And a movie is in the queue they never come off.

Barty
02-25-2015, 06:35 PM
I loved this movie.

I think it's one of the greatest meldings of form, structure and concept that we've seen in a long, long time. The camera, cutting and general batshit-edness appear to be at the forefront, but I was really blown away by the film's narrative foundation. The thing just doesn't drag; it's consistently propelled forward in ways that feel effortless and new. I was far from an Inarritu guy, but he's opened my eyes here.

They'd give the whole cast Oscars if this wasn't so centrally a Keaton piece. Wonderful performances. Best thing I've seen Norton do.

Yes. Yes. YES.

Spinal
02-25-2015, 07:08 PM
It will forever annoy me that, of all things, this film's screenplay won an Oscar, but Keaton didn't. Insanity.

max314
02-25-2015, 09:28 PM
Haven't seen Birdman yet (the Wachowskis said it was the last great film they saw) but it must have been one hell of a movie to beat the sublime Boyhood to the little gold man.

transmogrifier
02-26-2015, 07:02 AM
Haven't seen Birdman yet (the Wachowskis said it was the last great film they saw) but it must have been one hell of a movie to beat the sublime Boyhood to the little gold man.

Yeah, that's not how the Oscars work.

max314
02-26-2015, 02:23 PM
Yeah, that's not how the Oscars work.

http://s24.postimg.org/5k2whk1nn/Touche.gif

Ezee E
02-26-2015, 03:43 PM
I watched it a third time, and Emma Stone's performance sticks out the most for me now.

Spinal
02-26-2015, 06:49 PM
I watched it a third time, and Emma Stone's performance sticks out the most for me now.

In a good way or a bad way?

Ezee E
02-27-2015, 03:18 AM
In a good way or a bad way?

Good way.

Philip J. Fry
02-27-2015, 05:10 AM
It will forever annoy me that, of all things, this film's screenplay won an Oscar, but Keaton didn't. Insanity.Eh, it's not the travesty of Imitation Game winning Best Adapted Screenplay.

baby doll
02-27-2015, 03:08 PM
I watched it a third time, and Emma Stone's performance sticks out the most for me now.Sticks out of my pants is more like it, am I right?

Ezee E
02-28-2015, 03:40 AM
Sticks out of my pants is more like it, am I right?

lawl.

Grouchy
03-17-2015, 04:23 PM
I finally saw this. I've had it on my computer for months but something told me it would be better if I watched it on theaters.

Well, it's good but a bit overblown by its fans. I think it's a pretty conventional, familiar story made better by the awesome techniques it employs and by the admittedly brilliant casting. Keaton has always been one of my favorite neglected actors (and the same goes for most film buffs I know) so it's great to see him finally shine. Norton, Watts and Zach are also great. Stone isn't bad, but her character is the most clichéd of them all and in addition to that she has some pretty embarassing monologues.

Ultimately, I think the best part of this movie is the ending. Everything starting from the critic scene at the bar is irreverent and creative. Everything before is cool, just sort of been-there-done-that.

EDIT: Regardless, it's the film that brings back my faith on Iñarritú, so there's always that. I hadn't liked one of his films since Amores Perros.

Grouchy
03-17-2015, 04:52 PM
It's funny because what I'm about to say sounds like something out of a dismissive review, but this struck me as a big budget, Hollywood version of Opening Night.