Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) Poster

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for once the academy got it right
PIST-OFF19 September 2018
With all due respect to Eastwood's American Sniper, the academy actually got it right with this pick for best picture. Every actor and actress in this given the space to breathe life into characters, every monologue and dialogue hits like a ton of bricks, every scene tries to get towards some fundamental truth of human nature only to have the next scene undermine that character and that purported truth. It's amazing that in the era of comic book universe movies that something like this can get made at all. An absolute must see before you die movie.
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It's satire people!
apbryant24 February 2015
I have to say I am shocked and how many bad reviews I have seen on this site for this movie. It seems to me that the majority of moviegoers who have chosen to review here are only capable of viewing a movie at face value.

This movie is clearly a satirical look at Hollywood and the constant need to remain relevant in the entertainment industry.

I will admit that the film does appear unnecessarily "artsy" in places, but some Hollywood actors love being unnecessarily artsy as they think it gives them depth.

That was the entire point of this film, for Hollywood to turn the camera on itself and expose all of it's own crap.

What I took from this film is what I have always felt about Hollywood, which is also what I love about it. Actors are inherently insecure, which is why they choose to be in an industry where there is a need for constant approval. The actors who are worth their salt risk everything to For that they will forever have my respect.

Definitely worth watching and worthy of it's Best Picture Oscar.
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True Definition Of A Masterpiece
CalRhys1 January 2015
Whilst viewing 'Birdman', I spent the first hour of the film trying to decipher my emotions and opinions towards it, what I was watching was a weird, yet wonderful work of art. Truly though, 'Birdman' is a technical masterpiece. Michael Keaton has generally been undermined as an actor (despite a few notable roles as Batman or Beetlejuice) and has instead faced Hollywood picking more acclaimed and popular actors, 'Birdman' however might just be his ticket to an Oscar nomination, and possibly even a win, his performance is mesmerising. Alejandro González Iñárritu has created a truly spectacular character study that arguably features this year's strongest acting performances, alongside a well- executed script, booming soundtrack and a monumental achievement with cinematography from Emmanuel Lubezki in which he attempts a Hitchcockian approach, reminiscent of 'Rope', and displays the story through a seemingly single and unbroken sweeping shot. This is the true definition of a masterpiece.
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The Definition of a Masterpiece
andersminor225 November 2014
I don't know how to start a movie review off, seeing as I've never written one. I feel my meager rating out-of-ten is enough information to tell those interested what I think of a particular movie. Birdman, however, is the exception.

I understand I'm an absolute stranger. Who gives a damn about what I have to think? My only hope is that after reading one fan's fanatic praise for Birdman, you will go and see it. In the interest of not over-hyping this movie (which many will feel I'm about to do), I will say it's nothing short of utterly amazing. Every aspect of the film is masterfully crafted and executed. Emmanuel Lubezki's cinematography only exemplifies this. The brilliant choice of always having the camera rolling lets the viewer see what happens before and after any given event. This added information creates a realism unknown to nearly every other movie ever made. What better way to capture the raw emotion and awkward stumbling of an angry outburst at your father than to show the immediate reaction of the ranter following her outburst; you get to see the anger slowly fade from her face as the reality of what she said sets in. Details like this are so often lost and these often- lost, immersive subtleties are what make Birdman the gargantuan triumph it is. Not to mention some of the transitions and dolly shots are just damn impressive.

Even though many movies are yet to come out this pre-Oscar season, I feel it is safe to say no other casting ensemble will come close to the performances given in Birdman. Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Stone, Ed Norton, Amy Ryan, and every single other actor in the production execute their roles with professionalism that most movies are lucky to see in just one of their actors. Each actor didn't wait for their time to shine to pull out the big guns; every moment of screen time was utilized to its full potential. There isn't a second where the audience's immersion is broken by an awkwardly delivered line or a slightly out-of-place facial expressions or emotion.

The only criticism I have about the film is that more aren't like it. A smart, satirical movie that is capable of criticizing without being hypocritical is unfortunately rare. However, it's rather nice to have movies like this stand out from the crowd instead of being the norm, because the relative quality only makes them that much better.

So, in short, I implore you. I beg you. If you step into a movie theater once this year, let it be to watch this film. It deserves your attention.
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Alejandro is the Real Deal
frank_gonzalezrivas2 March 2015
This movie really touch my soul in very different ways, I was laughing and crying at the same time when I was watching it. Alejandro's clean smooth directing really states a new canon in the way a movie is conducted, I was blown away with Michael Keaton's perfect performance and the rest of the cast did well around him. I had never seen this kind of genre called "Magical realism" as well as in this movie, it really submerge you inside the head of the main character and the brilliant drum-based score helps to explain the situation by the minute. I am very happy with the Oscars won by Alejandro (well deserved) especially because I am Mexican too. I know that this kind of movie is not for everyone, some people said that it is boring, pretentious, over-the- top, strange, difficult to understand, hideous. But let me tell you this movie is fascinating, touching, funny, sad, eloquent, fantastic and dramatic. I liked very much how it makes fun of big-budget summer-blockbusters hero-movies which easily Alejandro will have done if he had wanted but no, he preferred an artistic low budget movie that make you feel instead of make you eat popcorn.
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Using the "M" Word Again...Masterpiece!
ClaytonDavis13 October 2014
I think we've all been exceptionally good this year because Christmas came early with Alejandro González Iñárritu's masterful "Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)," an experience that you won't soon forget. Debuting at Venice and Telluride Film Festivals, the film closed an already impeccable New York Film Festival on Saturday morning for press and industry colleagues. It's a film that resonates profoundly, and may just be the best film of 2014. From its pristine writing (by Iñárritu, Armando Bo, Nicolas Giacobone, and Alexander Dinelaris), to its carefully constructed direction and cinematography, to its genius casting and performances, "Birdman" is just a dream of a movie.

The movie tells the story of Riggan (Michael Keaton), a washed up actor who used to play a superhero icon called Birdman. In a valiant attempt to reclaim his career, he adapts, directs, and stars in a Broadway play. With problems from one of his very method actors (Edward Norton), assistant daughter (Emma Stone), emotional co-star (Naomi Watts), overly sexual girlfriend (Andrea Riseborough), flamboyant producer (Zach Galifanakis), and loving ex- wife (Amy Ryan), Riggan prepares for the breaking point of his career.

"Birdman" is so damn enjoyable and one of the most entertaining films in years. It charms not just because of its story, but because of the performances and slick way that co-writer/director Iñárritu plays with tone. It's downright hilarious in parts, probably the funniest film of the year, and then there's the dramatic edge that comes into play, and simply breaks your heart. Above all, Iñárritu's "Birdman" is a celebration of cinema. It's an audacious achievement that floors just about every aspect of film witnessed in 2014. Iñárritu already had vocal admirers from "Amores Perros," "Babel," and "Biutiful," but this is his most accessible. This will move him up in the ranks with the Scorsese's, Spielberg's, and Eastwood's. He familiarizes us with the stage and the theater. He makes the surroundings a very palpable character for us to know and enjoy.

At 63, Michael Keaton has been criminally underutilized in his career, despite some iconic performances. The nerd crowd will worship him as the ideal Bruce Wayne/Batman combo, while the same thick will remember his "Beetle Juice" fondly for all-time. Where Keaton was passed over was for his dramatic capabilities. I've beat the horse dead on mentioning his cancer-stricken father-to-be performance in "My Life" or his recovering alcoholic player in "Clean and Sober." In "Birdman," Keaton marries the two with an undeniable sensibility that stands as the actor's finest to date. It's such a studied turn, you feel the accuracy and precision in which he executes every move and mannerism of Riggan. It's the role that Keaton has been waiting decades for. It's the role of his career.

If we're talking about underutilized actors, then Edward Norton needs to be mentioned. Two brilliant performances under his belt, both Oscar-nominated ("Primal Fear" and "American History X") but both passed over for someone else, Norton is back and better than ever. A scene-stealing standout, Norton makes us realize how unspoken dialogue between characters can be just as humorous without the punchline. Emma Stone has finally arrived with "Birdman." Criminally misused and passed over by Hollywood for "bigger name" actresses, Stone finally shows the world what they've been missing. In one single scene, Stone revolutionizes and captures the essence of "Birdman" with a ferocity that you couldn't see from any other performer. She finds the heart and soul of Sam, laying her on the screen meticulously and transparent.

Though brief in screen time, the vivacious Naomi Watts, the sexy Andrea Riseborough, and the seasoned Amy Ryan make their marks exquisitely. Watts gets the most chuckles out of the ladies while Ryan has the greatest arc for us to explore. I hope and pray that Zach Galifianakis continues down a path in independent cinema. Fully realized and delivered, he layers the film with a beautiful sympathy, vocal and restrained, he finds the meaning of Riggan and presents him to us.

Emmanuel Lubezki. That is a sentence, statement, and just pure cinematic meaning nowadays. You can't watch a movie shot by the Academy Award winning Cinematographer and not find yourself more intimately contained and available to the realm of the movies. Just one year after stunning us with "Gravity," Lubezki allows the audience to be in the movie. We are present in every scene, every movement, and every thought that a person is having. We feel as though Riggan and the cast are interacting with us. When they're laughing, we're laughing, when they're crying, we're crying. He is an absolute magician.

This seems to be the year of the drums because Antonio Sanchez composes "Birdman" with a drum score that lays deep in my ear canals. Tapping your feet and bobbing your head, Sanchez elevates the film to new heights. Editors Douglas Prise and Stephen Mirrione may be the unsung heroes because in the film, we are nearly in one continuous take, which hardly ever gives up (at least to the untrained eye). In no way do I call myself someone who can spot a digital edit, but I spotted no more than a dozen cuts throughout. That is amazing. I'm sure there were dozens more, but you couldn't catch them.

"Birdman" is a masterpiece (there goes THAT word). At a time where movies feel like they have to choose to between comedy and tragedy, Iñárritu's beauty works on us from the inside-out. It's a human story, comedy, thriller, mystery, all rolled into one. All told by a master filmmaker and storytellers. The year's must-see experience.
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kulinsky-vladimir28 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
wow, i did not see that coming. unfortunately , it's rare to see this amount of dedication and talent in contemporary mainstream American cinema these days. i was expecting a dull drama with good actors and an OK script, and i got this: pure , unfiltered , proper effort , applied in modern American commercial standards. Alejandro González Iñárritu's brilliant direction creates a mesmerizing blend of genres , it's captivating from first shot,bittersweet and painfully realistic. made with high technical complexity and deep character study - and with so much to say about love , art and the the human soul, "birdman" is still coherent and crystal clear. great performances by all actors ,Michael Keaton is pushing the limits here (in a good way), Emma Stone and Naomi Watts are sharp and enigmatic , and Norton is kicking like it's 1999. with an outstanding script to support their performances ,and original and intriguing soundtrack. no wonder it's the real deal.a new favorite for me.
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Excellent actors in search of a good story
asterhune1 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I left feeling that I had wasted two hours of my life, and I'm not the type who watches pop features like Rocky XVII. I enjoy the art house genre that this clearly belongs to. I don't know if this is a spoiler alert or not, but if you're waiting for the moment when the loose ends are all tied together in any coherent manner, you will be waiting in vain. That said, Michael Keaton and the cast give wonderful if sometimes overacted performances. You can see why critics like it - it's not the pap that they are forced to view day in and day out because it's their job to watch it. Professional critics, for their own sanity, grasp at any opportunity to promote something different or unusual. But just because it's good for them doesn't make it good for us, the casual movie goer. Since this is a play within a movie that is set in a theater, I got the feeling that there are inside jokes that those in or familiar with the business (such as critics) will get but which is over the heads the audience.
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"Art" vs. Commercial Success is the one-joke idea this overrated claptrap attempts to mine, ad infinitum
Turfseer23 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
"Birdman" is the latest overpraised and over-hyped "art" film by the acclaimed director Alejandro González Iñárritu. Michael Keaton, who was known for playing Batman in the late 80s and early 90s, is cast here as Riggan Thomson, a washed-up Hollywood actor, once famous for playing a superhero Birdman character in the movies, now making a comeback on Broadway, acting in an adaptation of a Raymond Carver short story.

The entire film is shot as if it's one long take in a cinema verité style. Perhaps the best thing about the film is the behind-the-scenes peek at the technical aspects of a Broadway theater production. Initially, the narrative takes the form of a black comedy in which we're asked to laugh at the denizens of the theatrical world, all of whom are depicted as deeply flawed.

Riggan's big fault is that he's deeply ashamed of "selling out" years earlier when he took on his superhero role. But now, by attempting to mount a "serious" Broadway play, he has a chance to redeem himself. But his Birdman persona keeps appearing in the form of a disembodied voice (and later hallucinations), telling him that he will fail. The idea that there are those performers who believe that "art" is anathema to commercial success, is mocked incessantly throughout the film, but we get the joke early on, and eventually it becomes tiresome.

When the lead actor in the play is mysteriously knocked out by a falling stage light, Riggan is desperate to find a replacement, since previews are about to begin. At first the well known "method" actor, Mike Shiner (Edward Norton), appears to be a godsend that will save the show; but soon it becomes apparent that Mike is exceptionally unstable. We're supposed to laugh at a character who gets drunk during his first rehearsal and later attempts to rape one of the female actors while they're on stage, lying on a bed, under the covers, before an audience who misinterprets the scene as comic.

Later, in a bar, Mike puts Riggan down further by pointing out that the napkin that was given to Riggan and signed by Raymond Carver, was given to him in a bar while he, Carver, was drunk. Mike tells Riggan that he's too untalented for Broadway and introduces him to Tabitha, the vicious Times critic, who later tells Riggan that she'll never give him a good review because anyone who sells out to Hollywood can never do anything good in the "legitimate" theater. The negative Times critic is just another example of the exaggerated caricatures sprinkled throughout the film, which simply aren't funny (a more realistic portrait of theater people should highlight both their positive and negative attributes!).

Also in the mix is Riggan's daughter, Sam (Emma Stone), who has just been released from rehab for drug abuse. Riggan receives a double dose of humiliation: first when he is locked out of the theater in his underwear and is forced to perform before the audience almost au naturel and later when he discovers the slimy Mike, has had sex with his daughter.

By the time we experience the "twist" of a "happy ending" at the denouement, there's nothing left for the audience to laugh at, since Mr. Iñárritu has smugly shot down all of his straw men caricatures. Riggan "triumphs" first when he blows off his nose with a gun loaded with live ammunition and Tabitha then gives him a favorable review, dubbing the performance an exercise in "ultra-realism." His new prosthetic nose appears to resemble Birdman's, and Iñárritu has Riggan fly away, now self-actualized, having had a Broadway hit.

The whole idea that commercial success and "art" is mutually exclusive is not borne out by reality. Even Riggan acknowledges that actors like Robert Downey Jr. can be successful in both worlds. So basically "Birdman" becomes a silly, "one-joke" idea, not based on reality nor worth hammering down our throats, ad infinitum.
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letig199428 August 2014
Great opening at the Venice Film Festival with this must-see movie. The story of an actor persecuted by the role that made him popular, "Birdman", and pressured by the willing of proving himself on stage with his new play.

The characters in the story are all struggling with something: Sam (Emma Stone) with her drug addiction, Mike (Edward Norton) with his sexual problems, Lesley (Naomi Watts) with her self- realization and Michael Keaton with love. What kind of love is he lacking? Is it admiration for his work? The same admiration that chained him to Bridman, who is probably the only one capable of saving him.

The cinematography reminds of that used in Hitchcock's "Rope": it seems to be filmed consequently. The originality of the cinematography, though, may have sacrificed the storyline.

"Birdman" certainly needs to be seen more than one, but likewise certainly it's going to be one of the greatest movies of the year
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At least the public knew to stay away from this
grumpy-39 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
A bunch of very good actors, all wasted in an indulgent pretentious script, and even more indulgent and pretentious directing. the pseudo arts use of a drum soundtrack, the long boring hand held tracking shot, oh look i am doing all this in one take. the absolutely stupid plot, that takes ages to go nowhere, a film where the film maker is saying very loudly and in a very boring way, look how clever i am, why this has been praised by critics is beyond me. Actually to be honest i have now long given up on what critics say and write about a film. Virtually critic on both sides of the Atlantic seem to have lost any sense of what is good or bad. The amount of critically endorsed films that i have thought to be not bad but very bad seems to be growing each year. i have been a serious movie goer for some time now. i also have noticed that after a year or so these lauded films seem to get reconsidered , where the original praise is vastly reduced.
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Amazing! Turbulent, wild, funny, sincere.
snoeren529 January 2015
This is an amazing film! Great acting and strong story, it will keep you on the edge of your seat. Some scenes had me laugh out loud. The film can get a little confusing or even perplexing at times, but in a good way. The soundtrack is original and supports the scenes brilliantly. The film is centered around a play (an adaptation of Raymond Carvers short story "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love", if you haven't read this: it is great). The cinematography couldn't be more spot one to refer to the fact that it is about theater. The magical realism might not be for everyone, and I am usually not a big fan, though in this film it gives the main character just the edge that it needs and it expresses his psyche well.

In this film, all elements work together to create a turbulent, wild story that is both highly entertaining and arty: it is exiting; it is sincere; it is intelligent and amusing. It might make your brain hurt a little.
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Waste Of Two Hours
mboyd198619 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Yes, I know - it's "arty-farty" and if you don't appreciate the ridiculously long takes then you are a Philistine.

I'm proud to be a Philistine.

I kept waiting for something to happen. It didn't.

I kept wondering: "how did they get the camera that was on the roof looking up at the building at night, to then see it in daytime and then slowly go down to the street and backwards through a metal grill and through a window and then..."

Sorry, where was I? Oh, yes, what was the plot again? Forget the plot. just look at all the long takes and the arty-farty "actoring" going on.

Sometimes I just wish I could sue these people for wasting 2 hours of my life.
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Make it stop!
3acts6 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Ha! Where to start?

First of all, I am not a professional critic but I do work in the entertainment business. I am not motivated by politics or corporate positioning and have no vested interest in this or other films competing in the current marketplace. With that said, this is a pretentious experiment that only daft art school students and guilty "professional" critics can appreciate. Fans of the theater will find it amusing for the first hour until it begins to feel like Ground Hog Day meets All That Jazz, orchestrated by Paul Thomas Anderson's nails on a chalkboard.

Performances: Exactly what you would expect from talented actors but the fun ends there.

Creativity: A one trick pony, think Hitchcock's Rope without the fun, that will make you want to get the heck out of the "theater". Keep in mind, you need to avoid seeing this if you get motion sickness. Cotton mouth, here it comes!

Execution: As an example of what can be done in and around a Broadway theater, with a "single" take, it succeeds only as an experimental museum piece. Even then, most folks would walk out before the end.

It's one of the most pointless, sluggish, and taxing experiences you will have in the theater.
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One star and that's for Keaton's effort
aharmas10 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
There's always a slot for a movie every calendar year for the one film that everyone praises but hardly anyone understands, likes, or comes close to fathom why it receives such accolades. "Birdman" and its entire cast and crew (with the exception of Keaton) have taken that spot, dislodging "Boyhood" out of this position. Still, "Boyhood" had Ethan and Arquette, which made it passable.

"Birdman" feels like an inside joke, and it never escapes that categorization for it constantly repeats its wink wink attitude. It keeps calling attention to how much it knows about the world of theater and its actors, so full of insecurity, mental trauma, every possible mental instability you can think of, and most importantly inmeasurable amounts of egocentric devotion. It is always, not so subtly calling attention to how hard it is to be a real actor, how much drama there is, and how special those beings are.

Keaton plays an actor who wants to be taken seriously by giving Broadway a try, and it's not an easy task because for starters, he doesn't trust himself as being anything else but a long-gone matinée idol, and this is in spite of his fans who keep jumping out of nowhere. You'd think that'd keep his ego satisfied, but where would the film go if there was no drama? So the four writers behind this mess keep piling up the tragedies... an addicted daughter, a possibly cheating girlfriend, who might or not be pregnant, a loving ex-wife who can't stay away in spite of the "attack", a manager who seems to offer too much support, a hateful critic, the local bar... I kept wondering when the Thelma Ritter character was going to make an appearance to liven things a little, but we did have an Eve Carrington type in there, somehow modified to make it look fresh and more psychotic. I never thought I would dislike anything Norton did, but this film managed to make him and Watts totally useless, and these two have been formidable, especially Watts in her last films. She's wonderful in "St. Vincent", showing she's capable of delivering great performances, and to make us feel even worse, there's that lesbian kiss, making me yearn for her sublime turn in "Mulholland Drive".

So much is wrong with this film that it would take pages to express the disatisfaction. The dialogue is borderline unbearable, making us wish the fictitious "Birdman" strike them dead. These people can't stop talking about their "problems" because if they didn't have them, their lives would be even more boring. It's just plain unbelievable that all actors carry that psychological weight. Are there any happy Broadway types? Even Watts is not happy she finally made it?

Then there is the gratuitous nudity. There was something strange about that preview, and it did hint at both something special and something really wrong with the film. To be fair, had the film concentrated on the Keaton character, it would have soared. This happens way too late in the movie, and it's an incredible flight of the imagination, but the road there is just mined with too many pretentious and incompetent attempts at being "original". I haven't heard that many yawns and sighs in one theater as I did this time. It's just an utter mess.

The subject of the theater and acting has been explored and shown with fantastic results, classic performances, and most importantly with superb examples of insight and drama. "All About Eve" and "All That Jazz might be the best of those films, and I can recall O'Toole, Finney, Weist, and a few other very talented actors and directors showing that type of life can indeed be full of drama, wit, insecurity and human comedy. "Birdman" only shows everything that can go wrong with trying to pretend that you do know what is going on.

Finally, don't get me going on those long hand-held shots... There was once a film about some criminals that was praised to heaven for something similar, and that certainly didn't make it a better film. In this case, it's supposed to be intimate; instead it's annoying, intrusive, disturbing and just another example that along with the interminable number of close ups, it only makes us feel extremely nauseous.
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I created this account for the sole purpose of reviewing this piece of junk
kirklandtyler18 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Coming in to this movie, I had heard bad things from people who had seen it but great things from critics. After leaving, the only good thing about it was the acting. This movie definitely was different and unique, but there's a difference from being different and making art and being different and making a piece of crap. The fact that this movie was nominated for best picture above a piece of art, such as Interstellar, is appalling. I do applaud the director for taking a risk and trying to make an unconventional movie, but he needed to first develop a plot in order to make a good movie. I strongly discourage anyone from wasting their time and money seeing this. If you want to watch a movie that is different and considered art, watch any Christopher Nolan, Stanley Kubrick, or Quentin Tarantino movie, not this pathetic excuse for entertainment. And to critics, please learn the difference between unconventional artistic movies and this bloody rubbish.
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THIS won an Oscar?
mcmiller5322 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
For me, a complete and total waste of money and time. My friend fell asleep about 20 minutes into this self-indulgent piece of tripe.

This movie strains so hard to make itself 'important' and 'groundbreaking' that it never stops to see that it has been done before by Masters such as Woody Allen, Hitchcock and any late night black/white '40s movie.

The 'plot' is as old as the hills. Man is successful but inwardly unrewarded. He has also rejected his family in search of California movie gold. So, he wants to redeem himself and try his hand at serious theater. Throw in a disturbed and rehabbed daughter, a long-suffering but understanding wife, and a producer pulling his hair out because the 'play' isn't a success and you've got all you need to know.

The rest is a montage of suspected hallucinations, maybe suicides "who knows?" and you're left feeling empty, cheated and angry because you know somebody's trying to be nouveau and special but simply missed it completely by being too insider and artsy about the whole thing.

Do not waste your time. If you want to see what theater and Broadway are all about and need a laugh, watch The Producers with Zero Mostel instead. If you want deep, head scratching drama that goes nowhere, go ahead, pay up and watch this nonsense.

And, I might add, Michael Keaton, to me, was trying too hard, had few acting chops and it was embarrassing to watch him in this. He, like the character he played, was trying way too hard.
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What a load of tosh
mikekisil9 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Less than a week into the new year and we have a prime candidate already for the worst film of the year. Inarritu has shown that his view of creating a production for the theatre is so hackneyed it is a rival for Mel Brook's "The Producers" but without the laughs. Here, as the director, he is self-indulgently showing off his abilities to the audience - watch me use time-lapse photography instead of cutting to move the time of the action along; see how I have learnt how to move my actors around the set from my regular viewing of the"live" episodes of "Coronation Street"; aren't I clever in the way I track my camera from the outside of a building into the inside via a balustrade and a window; what about the way I position my camera within the confines of a dressing room so that you don't see it recording what's going on inside - all this trickery highlights his inability tell a story in a way that involves the audience. I was looking forward to seeing Michael Keaton show his acting chops in a role that he was born to play - washed-up TV star trying to make a comeback into celebrity and the acting game in general but flirting with madness whilst trying to do so but his "Birdman" alter-ego kept getting in the way at the behest of his director. But his was not the only talent that was wasted. The rest of the cast were similarly handed caricature-driven roles that they could do nothing new with - Edward Norton playing a "prima donna"actor brought in to bolster the box- office appeal of the play and who has his own ideas on how to play his role; Naomi Watts playing an actress given her first role in a Broadway show and being crippled by nervousness to the extent that she is sick prior to the opening night performance; Andrea Riseborough as Keaton's new girlfriend possibly impregnated by him and not sure how to deal with this; Zach Galifianikis as the producer only worried about the money and the show's success; Emma Stone as Keaton's ex-drug addict daughter trying to keep Keaton and herself stable as Keaton goes off the rails - is there anything new here? I don't think so. The only reason I give this film one star is because of a short scene between Keaton as actor and Lindsay Duncan as Broadway theatre critic were she attacks him as a Hollywood invader of the "High Art" of Broadway and he attacks her for just being a labeller of theatrical types. This scene happens towards the end of the film and sadly comes too late to save it from its crassness. What a film it would have been if this had been the theme running through it. "The Sweet Smell of Success", "Topsy-Turvy" and even "The Producers" need not worry about their reputations for examining the theatre and the folk that work within and outside it. They are classics. This film is decidedly not.
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2/10 bad
scifiactionfan16 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
It is the most boring film ever. I wonder why so many people love it. Every time I started to get interested, they would play that annoying jazz drumming. My friend said it was better than "The Judge", not even close. From start to finish, that moving is an interesting story. From start to finish, I didn't care about any of the characters in this film. It won't get wide release because it won't appeal to most people. I have a theory that it will appeal to people that like jazz. It'll win awards because it appeals to critics. Oh, a spoiler, the plot is boring. I will say the actors did a really good job. I didn't have a headache when I went in but by the end of the film I did.
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Outstanding - Academy Award Winner for Sure
picturesplus26 January 2015
I can't understand all the negative reviews on this site by "movie-goers". From some of the comments, I can only assume some of these folks must have ADD, or just need a few good car chases or were expecting this to be one of those mindless, predictable super hero movies we are afflicted with ad nauseam these days. Thank god it wasn't one of those.

The actors are marvelous, especially Keaton. Perhaps he finally gets the credit he is due with that little gold statue. Edward Norton is great as usual. Emma Stone will certainly be recognized as well and probably be in line for meatier parts in the future. Iñárritu's scene transitions are especially wonderful giving the impression of one long take that seamlessly takes you through the story. The story kept my undivided attention the entire way.

Great movie! A must see.
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I kept waiting for this to get better....
kfichtler13 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
It took me two nights of sheer will power to get through this piece. Masterpiece? I don't think so. I had a lot of hope for this movie, given the stars. And I don't need a lot of action or special effects... but a good storyline will win me over every time. Sad to say this lacked in all categories, even the acting was not believable. Even the so called super hero Birdman is laughable. I guess judging by the reviews, you are either going to love this or hate this. My advice to you, if you like the first 15 minutes, then keep watching, you might even consider this a masterpiece. However, if after 5 minutes, you think it's going to get better? You best turn it off and don't waste your time.
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Nice counterbalance/complaint against the superhero movies
r-oomen-246-10904527 February 2015
This movie is widely criticized here because of its supposed lack of story. Indeed, if you've got your head stuck in the a** of the superhero movies and cellphone culture that Iñarritu is vehemently complaining against with this movie, it's got a definite lack of action. But, if you can appreciate a bit more subtlety and have some patience, can tie up some of the loose ends by yourself instead of having everything spelled out for you, then you'll see this movie is a nice little puzzle. It shows an actor that is depressed, passed his high days, going insane- some of the scenes really blur the line between reality and the main character's imagination. Definitely not an easy watch, but both the story, camera-work and acting have been worked out in detail really well- however none provide the viewer with everything on a silver platter. Watch if you're in a mood to think, not if you want an easy cheesy comedy.
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Sweeping cinematography mixed with brilliant performances makes Birdman one of the very best of the year.
trublu21516 October 2014
Birdman is a brilliant, mind blowing experience that is filled with grand performances, Hitchcock-esque camera movements and a brilliant way of storytelling. Above all, Birdman's all star cast featuring Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone and Zach Galifinakis propel this film to greatness, telling the story of a has been actor, Riggan, who was once known for a comic book franchise from yesteryear as he struggles to regain the stardom he once had through an off Broadway play. This proves to be harder and harder for Riggan as he deals with the disappointments of his own life while dealing with the difficulties of making this play his ticket back to stardom. This film serves as a somewhat personal film to Michael Keaton, giving the mere fact that he was known for playing Batman, a comic book hero eerily similar to Birdman. Keaton is an actor that proved time and time again that he can play virtually anything from heavy and hard hitting dramatic roles to silly and funny comedic roles as well. In Birdman, he strikes a perfect balance between the two and turns in the best performance of his entire career. He is firing on all cylinders and truly rises to perfection especially in scenes with an equally great Edward Norton. Another highlight of Birdman is the cinematography. First off, WOW. This film has some of the best cinematography I have seen in quite some time. Focusing on extremely long and spiraling takes, it submerses you in the scene, giving you the type of voyeuristic experience that Birdman calls for. We very much follow these actors as if we're watching a documentary on LSD. The camera movements are slow and bouncy, the tracking shots are nothing short of amazing and it gives an overall, dream like experience when watching this film, something that really benefits the film towards the latter half of it. I fully expect the film's Director of Photography Emmanuel Lubezki to score a Best Cinematography nomination come Oscar time. Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has given us some new age classic films such as Babel, Biutiful, and 21 Grams. Birdman is no exception and, to be honest, this very well may be his masterpiece. He directs his actors with grace and never lets them miss a beat and with some extreme long takes throughout the film, it shows just how good of a director he is and just how good his actors can be, especially Michael Keaton. Overall, I could go on and on about this film and just how great it is but nothing of what I say here can really do Birdman justice. It is a film that you need to experience for yourself. With that being said, Birdman features amazing performances including a jaw dropping turn from Michael Keaton, along with some of the best cinematography I've seen in years. If there is one film to see during the Awards season, it is Birdman.
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Johnny is a joker....
paultreloar7523 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
So going to see Birdman the night after it's just won the Oscar for best movie has to be a bit of a gamble hasn't it? After all, there's nothing that Hollywood likes more than something that sucks up the juices and shows it how it really is. And we all must know already that Birdman was the reason why our hero had been famous previously and is now trying to capture something of that lost fame and glory right? Well yes, as far as it goes, that may be true. Yet despite my slight trepidation at what was to come, I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised this evening and walked away feeling quite content.

This tale takes you centre stage to a quite wonderful turn from our slightly saggy, slightly down at heel Micheal Keaton as the eponymous hero, aka Riggan. We are given to understand from the off that the star turn may be experiencing some kind of psychotic episode, although this is never really confirmed either. Hey, after all, this is the movies isn't it? Except that it isn't, it's the thrill of the greasepaint and the creaking of the boards. And that's what scares him. Why's he doing this? It's not at all apparent that he even knows. Except that he's put everything on the line for a Raymond Carver play.

His ally Jake is impeccably played by Zach Galifianakis, with a quite beautiful mixture of encouragement and fear. Emma Stone does the moody daughter to a tee, sparky when required and distant for the majority. And Andrea Riseborough as the pregnant (or not) passionate partner outdoes herself in my opinion, really solid in her screen time, probably slightly overshadowing Naomi Watts into the process. As for Edward Norton, he nails it as the method man whose priapic ways on stage are in stark contrast to his troubles off. Our Lindsay Duncan does a great star turn as an embittered critic with unwieldy power.

If you've heard about the continuous shot style, then enjoy it, as it adds a layer to the movie, both stylistically and chronologically, that impressed me greatly. We're mainly stuck inside the twisting confines of the theatre and at times one can feel lost as to precisely where we are. Which probably isn't something that's happening by default, but rather by design. The script is excellent, many laughs to be had, and some real scenes of tenderness too, which is quite a trick to pull off I feel. The plot shifts along effortlessly, never feeling like you're watching a two-hour production. And the score is to die for, it almost felt like Whiplash Redux.

Worth the Oscar? Who cares, all I want to know is, did he fly?
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That's four hours of my life I'm never gonna get back! Felt more like five!
mickstudden7 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Self absorbed, self obsessed, pretentious luvvie sh*t. "Look at us, we are actOrs and you're not. We shall shoot this one take. We, are, going, to, show you, just how clever we are." I could have stayed at home and gazed at my own navel.

I really can't see why we have to write a minimum of ten lines. Surely short, succinct reviews are easier to read, but I'll continue in an effort to save other people from wasting their hard earned on such luvvie drivel. If you are pretentious, then please go and see this film. If you aren't........then don't. Spoiler alert! If only Lindsay Duncan's character could have reviewed the film instead of the play, she could have saved us all a lot of trouble. Ten lines, I'm done.
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