The Birthday (I) (2004)
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I mean, I don't know how the guys who made such a THING like this are gonna sell it but I'm afraid is not an easy task. THE BIRTHDAY is the kind of movie that you LOVE or you HATE!!! And that's great, from my point of view.
Leet's see. You can like it or not, but this movie is EVERYTHING but disappointing. You can't expect what's gonna happen, and I'm not talking about the plot it's more about the APPROACHING. Actually, If you read the synopsis, you think you're gonna see a straight to video flick (specially when you discover that COREY FELDMAN is in it!!!) but, man THE BIRTHDAY is a UNIQUE cinematic experience. I'm serious!!! I'm not a film geek!! It's incredible how fast you forget you're supposed to be seeing a "genre movie". The characters (Corey Feldman is GREAT in this one!!!), the length of the shots (the movie follows the real time policy), the sound design (oh my GOD!! You really have to HEAR the last 20 minutes of the movie!!) everything is different. Specially in the first half, where NOTHING IS WHAT YOU EXPECT. We exclusively see just what Corey's character sees but, besides that, we agree or not with his decisions. And that's the most exciting thing about this movie.
THE BIRTHDAY starts with a "PeterSelleresque" Corey that stumbles with everything and everybody he finds across his path and at the end of the movie, he's a HERO. But you don't notice this evolution. It's like when you're living with your parents at home for years: you don't realize they are getting older until you take a look to some pictures of the family album because you've been growing with them. That's the magic of this movie, from my point of view. The real time policy never goes against the movie. Man, we all spend a lot of time watching BIG BROTHER on TV and I can assure you that THE BIRTHDAY delivers a more intense and thought provoking experience, at least.
I must say that sometimes is hard to follow, and I understand that some people get lost, specially with the speed the different dramatic tones change. Sometimes you think you are seeing a black comedy some other times you'd swear Corey Feldman is the guest star in a TWIN PEAKS episode and some other times it smells like a JOHN CARPENTER movie!!! It's weird and exhausting. The atmosphere of the movie owes his flavor to David Lynch (The girl in the movie has a lot to do with Laura Palmer), the Coen Brothers (It's easy to think in BARTON FINK'S hotel) and, Paul Thomas Anderson (specially PUNCH DRUNK LOVE, with a very similar main character).
I think I have a better example: The best and the worst you can say about this movie is that it could be a Brian De Palma movie, with outstanding scenes driven by a "bigger than life" cinematic passion but weirdly disturbing as a whole. RAISING CAIN, SNAKE EYES & FEMME FATALE are good examples. That kind of De Palma movie, where the director explores his obsessions with TOO MUCH passion forgetting he has to deliver a "movie". A good one. But I'd never say THE BIRTHDAY is not a good movie it's a TERRIFIC experience. My opinion.
Well, I don't know what to say. There's something about this movie, no doubt about it. I don't know what's gonna happen, but I hope to see this one in a big screen soon. Happy Birthday!!!
One of the things that I loved the most from it was all the homages to the biggest 80s classic films (Gremlins, Back to the future,etc.)
The birthday, besides its multiple good things, its far from perfect, it is way too long (almost two hours)and one of the main characters in the second half is really disturbing and was near of taking me out of the movie.
Eugenio Mira is a filmmaker to keep an eye on, he just made the geek film of the 2005 (Donnie Darko is one of the films that comes to my mind when thinking about The birthday).
If you are able to check out this film in a festival, don't miss it, you won't be disappointed!
This movie takes you away from the very beginning, it IS a surrealistic Lovecraftian tale and to see Corey Feldman in a new, refreshing role was a bit awkward, which only added to everything else.
I saw this at the Fantasia festival in Montreal and was flabbergasted, on the edge of my seat, smiling or mouth wide open until the end where I burst into applause.
Watch out for the "deaf" scene: it's pure sonhorrific genius!
This film is quirky, campy, unique, super-fun, with a hypnotic and seriously creepy atmosphere. If you're used to traditional Hollywood fare, you might find it a bit puzzling, but give it a shot anyway. I've seen tons of genre films, and The Birthday is one of the most UTTERLY UNIQUE and refreshingly inventive films I have ever seen. It's unpredictable and keeps you guessing, the casting is inspired (the believability Corey Feldman brings to his peculiar but lovable character amazed me), and it uses the perfect mix of horror and comedy. This is a crowd pleaser, and some of the most fun I've had in years. I don't know how many times the audience broke into wild applause, and I nearly went deaf when the entire theater went nuts for the ending.
I should say that I saw the edited version of this film. It's intended to be a real-time 117 minutes, but they cut out 20 minutes of less intensive material, which made me feel a little cheated. I guess there's always the DVD. In sum, this is one hell of a fun movie, and I would highly recommend giving it a chance.
There were many reasons why this film was appealing to me. As a fan of mid '80s American teen films I was looking forward to a movie featuring the return of Corey Feldman which was described as being like an HP Lovecraft story directed by David Lynch.
Unfortunately the only positive I took from this film was that I now know that I have seen the worst film I have ever, and will ever see in my life. The acting was shocking. In particular Feldman's decision for his character to be some kind of Jerry Lewis style retard was just embarrassing and had me cringing from the first minute.
The story, or supposed story, is that Feldman's character is attending his upper class girlfriend's father's birthday party at a swanky hotel which also just happens to be where some religious fanatic types are just waiting for the re-birth of their god which will signal the end of the world (I'm not kidding, either) and it's up to Feldman to save the day.
I can't criticise this film enough. It was self-indulgent film making at it's worst and the financiers, cast and crew should be ashamed of themselves.
If you go to watch this, you're an idiot. If you liked it, you're an idiot. And if you are Corey Feldman or Eugenio Miro or any of the cast or crew you should turn your backs on film making and go and work in your local McDonalds.
This is quite a strange movie. I didn't know what to expect going in. It starts off with Norman (Feldman) going to a birthday party for his girlfriend's father in a hotel their family owns, which is to be demolished shortly after. The only guests in the hotel are the group for the birthday party and a group of young men who work for a pharmaceutical company partying upstairs at a different location.
The movie starts to transcend into a sci-fi/thriller/horror movie short after. Strange things start to occur. It is told to us through several characters that there is a religious sect in the building who are there to facilitate the birth of a god in their beliefs.
Norman is met by a group of men who are trying to stop the sect from letting the god be born and destroy the world. They try to enlist them into their cause by giving him information that will help stop it and team up to find out how and where it is going to happen.
What starts out as a normal story descends into cult territory. Without giving up any second half plot points, I'd have to say its a very fun journey to the end of the film.
The only actor I know in this film is Feldman, who gives one of his best performances to date. He uses a higher pitch to his voice and sounds like a cross between Peter Falk and Woody Allen as far as accents go. At first it is distracting, but you get used to it and I actually found myself liking that aspect of his character. He has great comedic timing and made me actually care about his character.
Although this does not have any distribution in the US (the only version commercially available is from Germany (no idea why), I think this would make a great addition to any cult collection.
Norman goes to meet his girlfriends parents for the first time at her father's birthday party, finding out only after he arrives that nobody other than his sweetheart Alison is expecting him, on top of which there are some very strange goings on indeed with the waiting staff and another party of Norman's old school pal that's going on upstairs.
Norman is forced to choose between being a bystander or a hero as he tries to impress Alison's parents, find time to give her a present to confirm their commitment and prevent the birth of a cult God.
While the premise is great the storyline of The Birthday is frustratingly hard to make sense of or understand and to some extent it lacks a satisfying conclusion but there are so many great things about this film that it's hard to be upset by that fact.
Shot beautifully in a purpose built stylistically designed and moodily lit set, we got to experience the full depth of colours as the festival screened the original 35mm print rather than a digital copy. The film plays out in real time as we follow Norman about the hotel, witnessing events unfold peripherally as he does and the technique works brilliantly putting the viewer right in there in the midst of the discoveries in a very experiential way.
Corey Feldman is wonderful as Norman creating a surreal character who becomes more and more believable within the escalating bizarreness of events. It takes a lot of craft to pull that off as an actor and Corey flawlessly inhabits his character's skin. The sound design was particularly stunning and affecting too and that alone is worth the trip to the cinema.
Corey Feldman was there at the screening I saw at the Raindance Film Festival 2008. He gave a long talk and Q&A earlier in the day about his extensive film career and growing up as one of the most well known faces of the 80's and he talked before and stayed after the film screening to answer questions about it and meet those who came to see it. Director Eugenio Mira was also there talking enthusiastically about his aims and process in making this film happen and his ongoing push to get it seen as widely as possible. I can see why these guys are so warm and enthusiastic about their film and so appreciative of the people who came to see it. Few first time indie film debuts stretch these kinds of film-making boundaries and The Birthday, though it doesn't hit all marks, is certainly worth experiencing and enjoying for the very fun and unique premise and piece of film-making that it is.