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Birdman (2014)

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I'm not a fan of this director, but the premise for this, not to mention the casting, has me very intrigued.

Edward Norton Joins Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Ensemble Comedy 'Birdman'


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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It's really hard for me to imagine the director of 21 Grams and Babel making a comedy. I haven't seen Biutiful, though; is it a laugh riot?

Honestly my first thought when I saw the headline:

3547-chris-andersen.jpg

And my second:

harvey+birdman.jpg

Edited by Tyler

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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For searching: Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts and Zach Galifianakis.

Also worth mentioning: Based on a Raymond Carver short story, although none of the articles I've found mention which story.


It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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There's speculation that Birdman is shot to look like one continuous take (like Hitchcock's Rope, which had strategic edits that tried to look seamless), and that there's an "awe-inspiring 40-minute tracking shot."


It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
Twitter Blog

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Keaton's character is adapting a stage play of "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love," which is apparently where the Raymond Carver connection comes in.

Edited by Tyler

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
Twitter Blog

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"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Scott Tobias:

 

 

Alejandro González Iñárritu is a pretentious fraud, but it’s taken some time to understand the precise nature of his fraudulence...Iñárritu, for all his technical bravado, is such a terrible filmmaker: He’s incapable of modulation. He deals in intensity, in conflict, in grand poetic flourishes. He’s a goddamn artist!


It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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With a filmmaker as despised as Innaritu is among some critics -- and the feeling has seemed to stem more from an outsized praise among others (I include myself as a big fan of his) than it has from his filmmaking tics, although those have come in for heavy criticism as well -- a Birdman backlash was inevitable.

 

However, I decided after the initial gush of praise for Birdman not to read additional reviews of this film, positive or negative, until I can see it myself. It screens here Monday, but I won't be able to make it. I'll probably see the film opening weekend in D.C. (Oct. 24).

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Just for the record, the film's actual title is Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance. That's what the publicists are calling it, at any rate.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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This is definitely a YMMV film, but for what it's worth, I really liked it.


"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

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More and more I'm using Letterboxd as a place to work on, revise, and expand reviews until they're worthy of posting on my blog. So you can see my first-impression review taking shape here, if you're interested.

 

I admire a lot of things about this film. But it feels like an ambitious experiment that has as many problems and strengths.


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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I assume you're referring to the very last frames, which is one of two reasons I kept this at 4 stars rather than 4 1/2.

 

Here's my first stab at answering, although I would really need to see this again to get a better handle on that ending.

 

Possible explanation #1: It's a genre shift, or at least, a confirmation that the film has been nearly as much a fantasy as a drama.

 

Possible explanation #2:

It's the ultimate fulfillment of Riggan's wish to be relevant.  He has conquered Broadway, receiving a review most actors only dream of, but he is still most famous for playing Birdman, a role which enables him to fly as his art triumphs.  When Sam goes over to the window and smiles, it signifies Riggan's cynical daughter has come to accept her father and recognize the value of his work and career.

 

I'm not completely sold on either, but I'm sure there are more possible explanations.


"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

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Yeah, both of those seem possible, and both fall flat for me.

 

It's also possible, I suppose, that

he, realizing he's done it -- he's achieved something more memorable than his Birdman adventures -- actually does commit suicide, and his daughter, looking out the window, sees something that causes her to find a peace  and some kind of transcendence, in that (a la American Beauty).

 

But that would be THE WORST.

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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I considered that, but I dismissed it, because Sam looks up and then smiles.  If he had committed suicide, and she was supposed to find solace in it, she should have looked down and then smiled.

Edited by Evan C

"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

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Well, that's why I said that maybe

"she sees something that causes her to find peace..." She looks down first, but then... what? Does she see his spirit rising up like Birdman? Does he transform like a phoenix? Or is this just symbolic: She sees that he really is the stuff of superhero fantasies after all?


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Yeah, I just don't see that the ending makes any sense or possesses any coherence, no matter how you slice it.  I hadn't even thought of that, when I wrote my own ambivalent review:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tinseltalk/2014/11/birdman-is-one-strange-creature/


To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

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But why must we have to settle for one explanation?  Why not accept all possibilities

(Riggan dropped to the ground dead or he is clinging to something just outside the window or he actually is Birdman and Emma Stone sees him flying around or she sees/senses his soul rising etc.)

at once? 

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The narrative doesn't earn any of those possibilities.

How do any of those earn the ecstatic look on her face? He just began to step in the right direction, the bringing together of his family... and he flings himself out a window in a suicidal way or totally abandoning his family and community and opportunities? That's like saying a bunch of lame conclusions is better than one.

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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 I decided after the initial gush of praise for Birdman not to read additional reviews of this film, positive or negative, until I can see it myself. It screens here Monday, but I won't be able to make it. I'll probably see the film opening weekend in D.C. (Oct. 24).

It took a few weeks longer for me to catch up with the film, which I saw tonight at a 9:50 (late for me!) show, with six other people, and found to be one of the most pleasurable films of the year to watch and listen to. The score is so integral to the film's success that I can't imagine the story without it. 

 

I've seen some great ensemble acting this year, but I don't think anything tops Birdman for that honor.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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