Quick Fire Review: BiRDMAN

Birdman poster

Birdman poster

Here’s The Trailer

Who is in it?

Micheal “BatBirdman” Keaton, Andrea Riseborough, Naomi Watts, Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Stone, Lindsay Duncan

What is it about?

An actor, known primarily for his role as a vigilante comic book film franchise tries to relaunch his career by directing and starring in a Broadway production, he encounters various demons along the way in his struggle to redefine his career.

Why did I want to watch it?

I actually didn’t know much about it except that the trailer is intriguing and Micheal Keaton as Beetlejuice is one of my favourite film characters so I reckoned it would be worth a punt.  I really loved Amores Perros, but found 21 Grams a bit hard going at the time, but knew that everything Alejandro González Iñárritu does is dramatic and interesting so thought it would be worth a look.

Did I like it?

I really did, it kept me intrigued with some pretty fabulous acting and unpredictable flights of fancy mixed with a very solid script which explored the nature of celebrity and acting, as well as the complicated relationships with families – real and constructed.  The entire cast was great,Michael Keaton was thoroughly dynamic  and Edward Norton brought something I’d never seen in him before and showed immense versatility veering between happy go lucky and morose, Naomi Watts was in equal turns sweet, vulnerable and alluring, Emma Stone personified angst, disdain and insecurity (also do any references to Spiderman in a film she’s in count as an ironic shoutout?)

Should you watch it?

As much as I enjoyed it, it isn’t for everyone.  It’s topics include substance abuse & depression, the narcissistic values of the acting profession and has a pretty abhorrent scene at one point, that might leave a bitter taste in your mouth. That said it’s very interesting and pretty unpredictable and in a sea of movies that don’t make you think, this one does.

If you want a more in depth opinion (it’s quite spoilery), this is an alternative review which presents a different take (referenced through the Bechdel test entry). http://www.forbes.com/sites/markhughes/2014/10/24/review-birdman-tries-too-hard-to-say-too-little/

Does it pass the Bechdel Test? http://bechdeltest.com/

This is an interesting debate.  There is a major conversation between 2 actresses borne out of the frustration with their respective partners, which contains a discussion of their careers and ambitions. I would say on balance no in the defense of it’s treatment of women, but there is a pleasing number and age range of actresses, of varying temepraments.

Other films it reminds me of:

Bullets Over Broadway.  Admittedly I rewatched it recently so it’s in my head, but the themes of a troubled theatrical production, the struggles and anxiety of reception and what it is to be “an artist”and what to do when you miscast someone, recur here.

Watch this before/as well/after:

I you’ve never seen Andrea Riseborough in The Devil’s Whore, you should and then you will ask the inevitable question, why isn’t Andrea Riseborough more famous.

Edward Norton as Mike in Birdman (I paraphrase): “Writing, directing and starring in your own play, that’s a bold move” Folks I present you with – Keeping The Faith, a comedy directed by and starring Edward Norton.  Talk about playing against type.

Do you really need me to tell you to rewatch Beetlejuice?

Amores Perros – Love is a bitch don’t you know!

ELC

Quick Fire Review: Moonrise Kingdom

Here’s The Trailermoonrise-kingdom-international-poster-441x600

Who is in it?

Wes Anderson regulars Bill Murray, Jason Swartzman. Also Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Bob Balaban, Edward Norton and a lot of kids.  And Harvey Keitel. No shit.

In short – awesome cast.

What is it about?

An out of place kid with wilderness skills runs away and his scout troupe and a local cop (Bruce Willis!) try and bring him home.

Why did I want to watch it?

A combination of being frustrated that I missed it when it was Oscar nominated (for Best Original Screenplay)  and at the cinema and curiosity to see what Wes Anderson has whipped up after hearing positive reviews.  Usually I like his stuff but I am not a devotee.

Did I like it?

A lot more than expected.  Probably my favourite Wes Anderson Film (sorry Fantastic Mr Fox) and probably my favourite incarnation of Bruce Willis as a Cop.  Yippee Kay Yay you heard me!

I was expecting quirkiness but the central characters are a very likeable and even though they are quite antisocial they are also pretty endearing.  Also there is not a bum note in the entire support cast.

Should you watch it?

Definitely.  I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t like it.  It has plenty of action for an indie movie, the kids are precocious without being irritating, the cast is fabulous and the production design is sumptuous to look at .  It is quirky though, so if that really isn’t your thing then maybe not.

Other films it reminds me of:

Wes Anderson has a very distinctive look, although this didn’t remind me of his other films.  Maybe A Simple Man by the Coen Brothers – another quirky likeable film with a very odd central character.

Watch this instead/as well/before/after:  I’ll just pick a time of day, Sunday afternoon.

ELC