A fading actor (Michael Keaton) best known for his portrayal of a popular superhero attempts to mount a comeback by appearing in a Broadway play. As opening night approaches, his attempts to become more altruistic, rebuild his career, and reconnect with friends and family prove more difficult than expected. Lindsay Duncan, Zach Galifianakis, and Edward Norton co-star in this black comedy from Biutiful director Alejandro González Iñárritu.~Jason Buchanan
Birdman is a very unique film. Michael Keaton gives one of the best performances of his career. The film itself is like an autobiography of Michael Keaton's career. The film is about an down and out actor who was once famous for portraying a super-hero, but now he wants more dramatic roles that show his range, so he's hoping people will take him more seriously as an actor. Sounds similiar to his career, right? The whole cast brought their A-game for this movie, no one gives a bad performance. The true hero of the film is behind the camera, the director Alejandro González Iñárritu. The movie is presented as being one continuous shot. Although this idea has been done before(Alfred Hitchcock's Rope), the director presents this movie as if the camera never stops(remember, one continuous shot). Note: Birdman is actually a dark comedy. Some people don't like dark comedies, some do. I'll give a quick list of movies with dark comedy: Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, The Family, Fargo, andThe Ladykillers. If you enjoyed those movies, I highly recommend this movie. Some are calling this movie the best movie ever, I disagree to an extent. It's not the best movie all time, but it's a very good movie. Birdman is an excellent film, it's unique with great actors, but it's a marvel to watch the way this movie is filmed. I highly recommend this to anyone who likes Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, or just movies in general. Everyone needs to see this movie at least twice.
Birdman! There is a reason everyone is talking about it. Does it live up to the hype? My answer is a resounding yes. But.... that's right there is a but. Will you enjoy it? The acting is some of the finest I have ever seen. Keaton and Norton put in 2 great performances. Very powerful, convincing and memorable. But there is the question again. Will you enjoy it? I watch films in 2 ways. 1) The Technical prowess of the filmmakers. I am a fan of cinematography. Birdman, well, there are few films its equal. Shot in what seems to be one fluid take, we are taken on more of a dance around a few short days in the complex lives of the thespian cast. Lubezki's photography is flawless. The use of handheld camera is perfection. It is little surprise he has become one of Hollywood's most celebrated Cinematographers. He took the Oscar for Gravity last year, he very well could take home the hardware again. The Director Iñárritu (don't ask me to pronounce that), he is obviously an inspired man. He had a vision and I must say that if it was purely to impress, he has succeeded with flying colors. If it was to evoke thought, again, triumph. If it was to uplift, well..... The sound is wonderful with a score purely of syncopated drumbeats that oddly add dimension and timing to an already impressive pace. So technically, it will be hard to top this.
The second way I watch movies is for inspiration, uplift and good story. This is where I have a little trouble. The story revolves around severely flawed characters, narcissists, cheaters, drug addicts, liars, thieves, critics and bitter lovers. The lead character teeters on the edge of insanity "literally". It is about wasted lives, squandered opportunity, fleeting greatness and the inability to function in ones given station. It is about the lack of commitment to those we love and that unconditional love is chock full of conditions and caveats. The relationships sometimes seem to play out like the terms and conditions of a mortgage commercial. Watching the back and forth dialogue is without a doubt an enjoyable thing, it is dramatic yet un-flamboyant in the way Keaton COULD have played it. But to me, it wasn't inspirational. Perhaps that was a good thing as it isn't a chees fest either but It didn't want to make me want to be a better person, a better husband, father or amateur film critic. This movie is a must watch for those interested in cutting edge film. I would give it 5 stars if it were only an academic exercise but as cliche as it sounds, cinema is more than that. It is supposed to be uplifting, self-identifying and be relevant to ones life. This for me wasn't any of those 3. Technically, Birdman soared to new heights. Emotionally, it sort of left a few little droppings on my head.
So this may turn out to be one of the pinnacles of filmmaking. But it isn't a feel good film. If you can live without that, then get it!!
Alejandro G. Inarritu's 'Birdman' is a darkly humorous examination of human nature, art, and ego. Through mocking satire, sincere heart, and an incredible unblinking visual style, the director comes away with a genuine cinematic masterpiece. The video transfer and audio are both exceptional, highlighting the movie's impeccable cinematography and sound design. Though supplements are rather light, the included material offers several worthwhile insights into the film's impressive production. This is a well-deserving Best Picture winner and one of the movie industry's most unique films in years. Very highly recommended.
Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel, 21 Grams), uses magical realism, comedy, satire, and an altogether meta approach to comment on artists, their pretensions, and the evolving nature of celebrity. Cleverly using cinematic artifice to mimic the conceits of theater and a roiling, chaotic, percussive jazz score, the film is also almost an art house superhero story. I enjoyed every single hilarious, angsty, meditative moment of it.
Michael Keaton, purposefully cast with his iconic role of Batman constantly a reminder in the back of your mind, stars as Riggan Thompson, a somewhat washed up movie star desperately trying to put distance between himself and his in-universe iconic role of "Birdman." He attempts to do this by starring, writing, and directing a dramatic Broadway play. Keaton is spectacular. Acting isn't necessarily always a draw for me as a film fan but I definitely notice when great performances are given and Keaton stuns here. I've always found him to be a welcome addition to any cast and he's been relegated to middling roles for some time now. One scene that sticks out is when Riggan confronts the snooty theater critic at the bar. His fierce defense of his work and himself is just gripping. I hope this film corrects this path as he shows his chops here in a role of a lifetime that serves as a commentary on his own career in a lot of ways.
The rest of the cast do admirably, as well. Emma Stone, whose soulful eyes look like they could swallow the whole world, once again shows range in her role as Riggan's addict daughter. Ed Norton, possibly doing a meta version of himself as a driven, gifted, and sometimes difficult actor, provides a great foil to Riggan. Naomi Watts is solid in a somewhat minor role. Zach Galifianakis branches out here with a much more subtle role than what he's usually given and does fine, if unobtrusive, work.
Similar to Hitchcock's Rope, the movie is filmed in such a way as to look like it's one continuous shot. Editing tricks are used to conceal cuts and we are whisked around the byzantine conduits of the backstage area and around the streets of New York. Brian DePalma's predilection for long takes is also an obvious influence. This must have been an extremely precise shoot with timing being of the utmost importance. It really is virtuoso work with crane shots of exteriors miraculously melding into impossibly long tracking shots as we follow characters scurrying about the theater. To my mind, this also mimics the theatrical experience, as well. There are no cuts on stage (or in life), after all. This just a long way of saying the camera work is exceptional.
As for the story, it works on a basic level as it's about a guy who may or may not have superpowers, trying to inject some meaning into what he sees as a sputtering work and personal life. The way the Birdman persona is used here doubly invokes Tyler Durden and the Dark Knight. If you try to argue one way or the other about whether or not he has superpowers, though, you're missing the point. This isn't one of those types of films. While being hyper realistic in many ways, the film also has scenes that would be at home in dreamy fantasy films. It is this mesh of a commitment to high minded drama and surrealistic whimsy that gives the piece its most unique flavor. I think it might also be the most difficult to digest for the casual viewer. With regards to some of the deeper issues the film explores, it is never anything less than thoughtful, subtle, and humanistic work. There's a lot going on here but I don't want to devolve into any of the pretensions that the film itself skewers. Look a little deeper and I'm sure you'll find something to enjoy.
Birdman is a very good film. Maybe not the best picture of the year as oscar voters made it but interesting nontheless. Michael Keaton gives a great performance as an actor known only for his role as Birdman in 4 super hero movies, and is not recognized as the actor he feels he is. He is attempting to revive his career by directing and starring in a Broadway play meant to re-establish his credibility as an artist. Shot and edited in a way to make it appear as if the film is one long continuous take it can be disorienting at times as there are no real establishing shots, but that is part of the fun and there are no herky jerky camera moves that were popular a few years back. This blu ray looks great and should be heard thru a surround system or at the very least a stereo system. Dialogue is crisp and clear, and the sound effects bounce around from speaker to speaker and that is lost if listened to with just the TV speakers. This movie is not for everybody and the best picture winner tag may leave viewers expecting more than it actually is, and I felt there were a couple of movies that could have been given the award, but Birdman is an interesting film and in the end one that is recommended.
This movie is not quite like any other movie I've seen. It stars Michael Keaton as a washed-up celebrity best known for playing a superhero in the early 90s, who tries to revive his career by directing, producing, and starring in an artsy Broadway show. The characters are all extremely eccentric "theater people", and most of the movie is about the conflicts between their strong, offbeat personalities. Keaton attempts to both manage them and deal with his own inner demons, primarily manifested in his superhero character, Birdman, who appears as a voice in his head urging him to give up on his artistic integrity and go back to giving people what they want. The movie doesn't pass any judgements on whether Keaton is doing the right thing or not, and leaves a lot of other things ambiguous as well. It also is very fast-paced, which may make it hard to follow for some, and contains a very large amount of harsh language. Still, for those inclined to appreciate it, this is a quite thought-provoking film, and I'd recommend seeing it.
This film is a must-see for all cinephiles. It takes one actor’s fight for relevancy in today’s world and turns it into a perfectly flowing, wonderfully orchestrated and expertly acted film. Much has been made about the tricks of cinematography that were used to make it look like the entire film is shot in“one-take”, but I felt that it was effectively used here to make the film feel more like a stage production, which heightened the drama. Amazing cast… Michael Keaton and Edward Norton in particular were amazing, as were Naomi Watts, Emma Stone and Zach Galifianakis. Watching the rehearsals and the behind the scenes stuff in the bonus features, really made you realize how perfectly orchestrated everything had to be for the film to work and it drove home how much of a high-wire act it was for the actors and crew. But beyond the mechanics of the movie, it tells a great story that is equal parts twisted drama, dark comedy and fantasy. It just won Best Picture and it’s hard to argue against that win based on the merits of this film. Bravo.
Alejandro González Iñárritu's brilliant tour-de-force, "Birdman", is a most audacious dark comedy about a cinematic ex-superhero trying to make a comeback with a Broadway play, but that's only the setup. It's unorthodox to a flaw: many will find getting up to speed difficult with its hyper-kinetic madcap burst of verbal fencing amongst its cornucopia of stars (all at the top of their game), headed by Michael Keaton playing the title character. I deeply love Iñárritu as a filmmaker. His best work conveys a cinematic exuberance that comes close to a Mahler symphony in its scope, forming a synthesis of despair and joyfulness in rendering the human experience. He's made five films to date, each of which won countless awards at Cannes, Venice, the Golden Globes and Academy Award nominations. His first three films comprise a trilogy utilizing intersecting stories, the best of which, "Babel", won Iñárritu Best Director at Cannes, and is still Iñárritu's masterpiece. "Birdman", however, is a complete about-face from the triptych epic to a simpler, more focused drama with tour-de-force directing that shows him at the peak of his powers. Iñárritu's camera moves everywhere, gliding and flying about (as if the entire film is virtually one long single take), following actors' movements, going through doorways, behind stages, into the street, even up to the roof and beyond -- while a soundtrack of drums underscores the action like the nervous approach of an intracranial hemorrhage. This is a film that demands much of its viewers, but the intelligent ones who allow themselves to sink into the marvelous mosaic of the experience will find something to revel in, and eagerly want to revisit after getting their breath back. A rich, extravagant celebration in cinema that fully deserved the 2015 Oscar for Best Picture.