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I'd say we've pretty much covered it around here as it pertains to "Birdman." Interviews with Alejandro González Iñárritu, Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Andrea Riseborough, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis & Amy Ryan, etc. I've banged the gong for Keaton this season (I have a favorite, sue me) and the Academy seemed receptive enough. We've even gone deep on the costuming of it and the creation of the iconic Birdman superhero suit. The movie is out there in the world now, though, dealing in the court of public opinion. This weekend the film expanded to 50 more locations, so it's certainly closer to some of you now that it was last week. And given that it's been such a hotly anticipated entry this season, I can't leave it without hearing your thoughts. So if you see it this weekend/week, head on back here with a note or two and vote in our poll. »
- Kristopher Tapley
Although Michael Keaton has stated the personality of his character Riggan Thomas is the most dissimilar to himself of any he has ever played, Birdman, it could be argued, is his Jcvd. Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu (Biutiful) and scripted by Iñárritu along with Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo, it chronicles the efforts of a former Hollywood superhero to reignite the spark of his ailing career.
Hoping to regain relevance, pay homage to the hero who inspired him, and put his family life back together, Riggan Thomas is in the final days of launching a Broadway play he has written, directed, produced and stars in. Guided by an inner voice that sounds not unlike the growling baritone of Beetlejuice, Thomas confronts innumerable internal and external crises that threaten to crush the production.
Behind the scenes, his daughter (Emma Stone), fresh out of rehab, is intent on punishing him for being an absent father. »
- Mike Saulters
I love this time of year. The weather starts to cool off, football games start to matter and Hollywood releases some incredible movies that will be in play during Award season. That brings me to Alejandro González Iñárritu’s incredible new film, Birdman. Made to look like one long shot, Birdman stars Michael Keaton as an actor who once played an iconic superhero and now faces troubles with his ego and family as he prepares to mount a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim past glory. While some movies have incredible performances or a great script, Birdman is one of those rare films where everything across the board is memorable. It’s absolutely one of my favorite films of 2014 and it should be seen as soon as possible. Trust me, this is a special movie that you will want to see. The film also stars Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, »
- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub
James Franco has recruited a cabal of pals for his “proto-punk Forrest Gump goes to 1970’s Hollywood” lit adaptation Zeroville, now filming in La. Joining Franco and the recently announced Jacki Weaver are Franco’s The Interview co-star Seth Rogen, Megan Fox, Danny McBride, Dave Franco, Craig Robinson, Joey King, and Horatio Sanz. Franco is directing and stars as a naive loner who’s drawn to the film business, becomes mistaken for a Manson family member and gets hired as a film editor. Paul Felton and Ian Olds adapted the script from Steve Erickson’s 2007 novel. Franco is producing with Vince Jolivette for Rabbit Bandini Productions, Caroline Aragon, and Michael Mendelsohn for Patriot Pictures. Union Patriot Capital Management financed the pic and Embankment is selling internationally next month at Afm.
- Jen Yamato
I've known Greig Fraser for a few years now and have been positively stoked to see him rise through the ranks and become, truly, one of the great DPs of his generation. He's gone from making a big splash with painterly work in Jane Campion's "Bright Star" to taking on major projects from Matt Reeves ("Let Me In"), Kathryn Bigelow ("Zero Dark Thirty") and Bennett Miller ("Foxcatcher"). Oh, and now he's lined up a "Star Wars" movie. But don't expect any details on that one here. Naturally, I tried, but Fraser is mum on just what Gareth Edwards' standalone feature is after recently being tapped to shoot it, and can you blame him? In the meantime, it's not like there isn't plenty to chew on. He's behind the camera on two completely different films this year — "Foxcatcher" and Rupert Wyatt's remake of "The Gambler" — both with striking looks and, »
- Kristopher Tapley
The Viennale is off and running through November 6 and, as Patrick Holzapfel notes at Twitch, there'll be "around 150 feature films and documentaries. Among the highlights are P'tit Quinquin by Bruno Dumont, Winter Sleep by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, From What Is Before by Lav Diaz, Jauja by Lisandro Alonso, Birdman by Alejandro González Iñárritu, Hard to Be a God by Aleksei German or Pasolini by Abel Ferrara…. Further highlights are tributes to the actor Viggo Mortensen, the director Tariq Teguia, the late filmmaker Harun Farocki (who passed away sadly this summer), the work of Fritz Kortner and a special hommage to Jean-Luc Godard." » - David Hudson »
[Birdman expands to more theaters this weekend. Click here for Perri's review from the 2014 New York Film Festival] To paraphrase one of the most famous plays of all-time, Alejandro González Iñárritu Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is "but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage…A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury," and it signifies almost nothing. Macbeth uses this to refer to life, but for Iñárritu—who literally has someone shout this soliloquy off-camera—it applies to the entirety of a picture that rejects subtlety in a misguided attempt to blend the language of film and stage, and address a multitude of topics including acting, celebrity, the New York/L.A. divide, superhero movies, critics, and ego. The result is a cacophony of opinions and half-cooked ideas where the only one that comes close to fruition is an exploration of a nervous breakdown where identity has become consumed by artistic desperation. Riggan Thomson »
- Matt Goldberg
Actually, that might not be the real title of the movie, as journalists received the following message prior to the screening: "Please use the film's full title, "Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance," the first time the film is mentioned in an article. " Meanwhile, on IMDb the title is listed with brackets: "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)."
If this seems a mix of confusing and pedantic, then that's in keeping with the tone of much of the film. There's a lot to admire about this work, but it also feels like it's trying too damn hard at times to be quirky and different, right down to the convoluted title.
What's it about?
Plot-wise, we follow a Hollywood star that's looking for a bit of authenticity by staging a Broadway adaptation of Raymond Carver's »
- Jason Gorber
“A thing is a thing, not what is said of that thing.” That’s a message on a postcard displayed on the dressing room mirror of Riggan Thompson (Michael Keaton) in Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance). With that phrase in mind, I feel it’s best to simply say, “Go see the movie. Then we can talk about it.” I could leave this review at that considering the film brings into question the role of the critic when an actor, director, or artist puts their heart and soul on the line for his or her art. But just plainly urging you to see the movie is also counter-productive when there is so much love, effort, and ideas pulsating from this work of art. And it is just that. Birdman is a work of art. Don’t take my word for it though, go and see it for yourself. »
- Michael Haffner
Chicago – There are parts of “Birdman” that are absolutely breathtaking, in dialogue, performance and visual acumen. Even its subtitle, “The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance” has a wonderful payoff. Michael Keaton provides an Oscar worthy performance as the title character.
The film is cut as if it were one long take, with cinematic coolness from director Alejandro González Iñárritu (“Babel”). If you’ve heard about the film, with Michael Keaton portraying a character that once starred in a huge superhero franchise, then you may think it’s autobiographical – substitute Batman for Birdman. But this is a fully realized and complex character that is mostly unlike the real life and affable Keaton. The performance is up close and personal, it goes places that are both dark and light, it mingles with the energy of the supporting cast with vivid and glorious insight. This is the Michael Keaton that proves he can »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
Oscar winner Christian Bale will play the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs for Sony, Aaron Sorkin confirmed Thursday. “We needed the best actor on the board in a certain age range, and that’s Chris Bale,” Sorkin told Bloomberg News. “He has more words to say in this movie than most people have in three movies combined.”
The Newsroom creator and Oscar-winning Social Network scribe Sorkin adapted his script from Walter Isaacson’s book Steve Jobs. Sony entered talks with Danny Boyle to helm the fast-tracked biopic in April with Scott Rudin, Mark Gordon, and Guymon Casady producing.
- Jen Yamato
It would take a bit of effort and some fairly tortuous reverse engineering to see "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)," which continues in limited release this week and expands next week, as anything but a departure for director Alejandro González Iñárritu, or Alejandro G. Iñárritu as his current incarnation is called. Indeed, formally it’s almost the Platonic opposite of his previous films, seemingly unfolding in one breathless, unbroken take and moving ever forward in time in a manner that, compared to the shifting perspectives and jumbled chronology that characterize the majority of his films, feels refreshingly linear. Still, one element of his directorial approach remains constant, despite occasionally disheveled structures and blunt thematics: his ability to get very strong performances from his cast. Michael Keaton, whose turn in "Birdman" is truly of the career-relaunching variety (check out our 10 »
- The Playlist Staff
I love this time of year. The weather starts to cool off. Football games start to matter. And Hollywood releases some incredible movies that will be in play during Award season. Which brings me to Alejandro González Iñárritu’s incredible new film, Birdman. Made to look like one long shot, Birdman stars Michael Keaton as an actor who once played an iconic superhero, and now faces troubles with his ego and family as he prepares to mount a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim past glory. While some movies have incredible performances or a great script, Birdman is one of those rare films where everything across the board is memorable. It's absolutely one of my favorite films of 2014 and it should be seen as soon as possible. Trust me, this is a special movie that you want to see. The film also stars Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Emma Stone, »
- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub
Somehow I haven't gotten around to talking to legendary costume designer Albert Wolsky in my time, but "Birdman" presented the opportunity and here we are. With seven Oscar nominations and two wins, Wolsky is one of the titans, with a legacy on both stage and screen. Alejandro González Iñárritu's latest, then, was a fascinating project for him in that it bridged the gap between those two disciplines. But as Wolsky says in the lengthy interview below, the work in movies like this is "invisible." By design, of course, but often that leads to a lack of appreciation for what goes into outfitting a movie like this. Nevertheless, Wolsky has tried his hand at a number of extravagant productions in his day, so of course we carved out plenty of time to talk about some of those. From Bob Fosse's "Lenny" and "All That Jazz" to Sam Mendes' »
- Kristopher Tapley
Legendary costume designer Albert Wolsky was tasked with outfitting Alejandro González Iñárritu's latest film, "Birdman." But perhaps the film's most stand-out piece of wardrobe ended up landing in a different industry realm: special effects. Mike Elizalde is the owner of Spectral Motion, a creature and prosthetic makeup design studio in Glendale, CA that has plenty of experience in the superhero realm. The company was behind distinct looks in films like "X-Men: The Last Stand" and "Fantastic Four," and Elizalde himself picked up a Best Makeup Oscar nomination for his work on Guillermo del Toro's "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" in 2008. It was that connection to del Toro, in fact, that got him the gig on "Birdman" as his team was tasked with creating the Birdman costume actor Benjamin Kanes wears as a young Riggan Thompson in the film. If you're interested in hearing what a titan like Wolsky »
- Kristopher Tapley
There is a scene near the end of Birdman’s second act where Riggan Thompson (Michael Keaton) delivers a brutal tirade against the idea of theater criticism. He talks about how safe the life of a critic is and how audacious it is of them to judge the work of actors. This puts me in a bit of a precarious place as a critic because these are words coming out of a strong character in a brilliantly executed film and they’re basically calling me an asshole if I have a problem with any of the performances in this film. Fortunately I have hardly any complaints about Birdman, acting or otherwise, and I can continue my life as a critic free from fear of the ire of Michael Keaton.
- Arthur Tebbel
After recently declaring that Hollywood's superhero obsession was "cultural genocide," it's probably not a surprise that Alejandro González Iñárritu doesn't have much interest in making a superhero movie. But with respect to his latest movie "Birdman," the filmmaker did have to dip his toes into the genre, albeit in a sideways manner. With the story following an actor who had once played a superhero deciding to revitalize his career on Broadway, the film does feature one blockbuster-esque action sequence. But don't think for a second Iñárritu has aspirations to do a full blown comic book film. "I would do the fucking worst superhero movie. So depressing," he told Indiewire. And it's the process of doing setpieces that would drive him crazy. 'I love it. I love it for it two minutes, not more. [Laughs] If I made 90 minutes of that, I would kill myself probably," the director continued. "But, »
- Kevin Jagernauth
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has announced the first of this year's many award recipients for the upcoming 30th anniversary edition of the event. They've kicked things off with their most prestigious honor, the Modern Master Award, and hey — when you've got a guy like Michael Keaton in the thick of an Oscar hunt, who better to receive such an accolade? The "Birdman" star will be honored with one of the festival's patented evening tributes on Jan. 31, 2015 at the historic Arlington Theatre. These are always wonderful affairs, deep dives into an artist's career with clip packages and the whole spiel. It's a stark contrast to other events that aim to get as much talent on and off the stage during a given event as possible, and with Keaton, there will be so much to chew on. Keaton's performance in Alejandro González Iñárritu's latest "is tremendous, showing the range of decades-long experience, »
- Kristopher Tapley
Through long takes and immersive tracking shots, films and TV shows like Goodfellas, Boogie Nights, and True Detective have given viewers the impression that they're watching drama as it unfolds in real time. Birdman continues in this tradition, immersing viewers in the tortured headspace of Michael Keaton's emotionally disturbed, has-been actor through one seemingly uncut two-hour shot. It’s the latest triumph for cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who pulled off last year’s 12-minute opening shot in Gravity and several memorable long takes in Children of Men. But Birdman’s Alejandro González Iñárritu isn’t the first filmmaker to attempt a feature-length tracking shot/long take, nor is he the first director to include several invisible cuts that divide his film's action into multiple smaller takes. Here are nine other very long movie shots.9. The Passenger (6:31)The second-to-last scene in The Passenger perfectly encapsulates why it's somehow even more »
- Simon Abrams
Plot - Birdman is a dark comedy that follows a former actor, who once played an iconic superhero, as he mounts a Broadway play based on a Raymond Carver short story in a bid to reclaim past glory. However, the play’s egotistical leading man threatens to throw everything down the tubes. Birdman is being directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu ("21 Grams"). He also wrote the script with Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo. The cast includes: Emma Stone ("The Amazing Spider-Man 2"), Zach Galifianakis ("The Hangover"), Edward Norton ("The Incredible Hulk"), Naomi Watts ("King Kong") and Michael Keaton ("Batman Returns"). »
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