BIRDMAN OR (THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE) Review

by     Posted 5 days ago

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[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.

Michael Keaton Talks BIRDMAN, Working with Alejandro González Iñárritu and Emmanuel Lubezki, and More

by     Posted One week ago

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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 NortonNaomi WattsEmma StoneZach GalifianakisAndrea Riseborough, and Amy Ryan.

Last week at the New York City press day I landed a video interview with Michael Keaton.  He talked about what it was like to work with Alejandro González Iñárritu and his amazing director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki, crafting his performance alongside the cinematography, how he immediately said yes to the project, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

BIRDMAN Review | NYFF 2014

by     Posted 17 days ago

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You would think that one movie that blurs the line between reality and fiction to convey the challenges of being an actor would be enough for one week, but Birdman is just as absorbing as Clouds of Sils Maria and also offers up a totally unique experience.  It’s neat that Michael Keaton portrays a former superhero movie star after having played Batman himself and the one-shot shooting style is an absolutely astounding technical achievement, but the best part is that both are used in ways that serve the story, not as alluring gimmicks.  If it were the other way around, Edward Norton’s Mike Shiner wouldn’t approve of it.

New BIRDMAN Clips and Posters Shine a Light On Michael Keaton’s Battle Against Edward Norton

by     Posted 19 days ago

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I’m so exceed to see Birdman, a dark comedy starring Michael Keaton that director Alejandro González Iñárritu staged to appear as one long, continuous shot.  The film stars 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.  Two new clips from the film hit today, and both of them feature Keaton going toe-to-toe with Edward Norton as a smarmy New York theater actor.  And they’re great.  We’ve also got a look at a few city specific posters for the movie.

Hit the jump to check out the new Birdman clips and posters.  The film also stars Naomi WattsEmma StoneZach GalifianakisAndrea Riseborough, and Amy Ryan.  Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) opens in select theaters on October 17th. Just a heads up that the language in these scenes is NSFW.

9 New BIRDMAN Images Fly Online Featuring Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, and Emma Stone

by     Posted 33 days ago

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Now that the year is winding down, there are only a handful of movies I can’t wait to see, and Birdman is near the top of the list.  Alejandro González Iñárritu’s ambitious black comedy, which was made to look like one long shot, 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.  Nine new Birdman images have been released, and looking at the diversity of the images, I have no idea how they can be connected by one shot, but I can’t wait to find out.  The movie has picked up rave reviews at the Venice and Telluride Film Festivals, and we’ll be hearing word out of the New York Film Festival soon.

Hit the jump to check out the new Birdman images.  The film also stars Edward NortonNaomi WattsEmma StoneZach GalifianakisAndrea Riseborough, and Amy RyanBirdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) opens in select theaters on October 17th.

Filming Begins on Thomas McCarthy’s SPOTLIGHT Starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, and Stanley Tucci

by     Posted 34 days ago

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Principal photography on Spotlight, the next movie from writer/director Thomas McCarthy (The Visitor), began today in Boston.  Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci, John Slattery, Brian d’Arcy James, Billy Crudup, and Jamey Sheridan star in the drama.  The script by McCarthy and Josh Singer (The Fifth Estate) centers on the Boston Globe investigative team who in 2001 fought “to expose the Boston Archdiocese’s systemic cover up of sexual abuse of children by ordained priests.”

Hit the jump for the press release with all the details.

Early BIRDMAN Reviews Offer Ecstatic Praise for Michael Keaton, Alejandro González Iñárritu; Oscar Future Looks Bright

by     Posted 63 days ago

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Ladies and gentlemen, the Oscar season has begun.  With the Fall Film Festival season kicking off this week, the awards contenders are about to emerge.  I’ll have a full rundown of the potential players in a new Oscar Beat coming shortly, but for now we have the first Birdman reviews for director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s highly anticipated black comedy, which just premiered at the Venice Film Festival.  For those unaware, the pic 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.  This has been high on my most anticipated list for some time, and I’m happy to see that the first reviews out of Venice are positively glowing, heaping praise upon Keaton’s lead performance and Iñárritu’s ambitious one-take style, and predicting a heavy awards presence for the film overall.

Since the film doesn’t open stateside until October 17th, we’ve rounded up some highlights from a few of the very first Birdman reviews for your perusing pleasure.  Hit the jump for an overview of the reaction.

New Posters for BIRDMAN, THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU, ALEXANDER, and ABCS OF DEATH 2

by     Posted 84 days ago

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We’ve got a few new posters to share this evening.  Briefly:

  • Birdman – A new Birdman poster for director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s ambitious drama shows a flying Michael Keaton amidst a stark black-and-white pattern.  The film opens in theaters on October 17th.
  • This Is Where I Leave You – A series of rather unfortunate character posters for Shawn Levy’s otherwise promising drama highlight the dynamic ensemble cast, which includes Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, and Adam Driver.  The film opens in theaters on September 12th.
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day – Two posters for Disney’s children’s book adaptation show the before and after of the film’s titular day.  Starring Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner, the pic opens on October 10th.
  • ABCs of Death 2 – The official poster for Magnet’s second anthology collection of horror shorts portrays a rather menacing-looking Death.  The film will be available VOD on October 2nd and hits theaters on October 31st.

Hit the jump to check out the posters and synopses for the aforementioned films.

New Full-Length BIRDMAN Trailer: Michael Keaton Is About to Destroy What’s Left of His Career

by     Posted 90 days ago

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Fox Searchlight has released a new international full-length Birdman trailer for director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s ambitious black comedy.  The film 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.  The previous trailers have all been fantastic, but they’ve simply teased the plot without giving much away story-wise.  This new international trailer digs deep into the descent of Keaton’s character, and the actor looks to be giving a truly tour de force performance as a man on the brink of a career meltdown.  Moreover, it’s fantastic to see the kinds of camera tricks that Iñárritu uses to make the film appear to be one continuous shot.  I seriously can’t wait to see this movie.

Hit the jump to watch the new Birdman trailer, which is slightly NSFW for a couple of f-bombs.  The film also stars Edward NortonNaomi WattsEmma StoneZach GalifianakisAndrea Riseborough, and Amy RyanBirdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) will premiere at the Venice Film Festival and opens in theaters on October 17th.

Alejandro González Iñárritu’s BIRDMAN to Close New York Film Festival

by     Posted 100 days ago

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There’s no doubt about it, the 2014 New York Film Festival is on fire.  First they nabbed David Fincher’s Gone Girl as their opening night film, then they set the world premiere of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice as their centerpiece film.  Now they’ve announced that Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance will close out the festival on October 12th, just five days before the film opens in limited release on October 17th.  The black comedy 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.  NYFF director Kent Jones describes the pic as “consistently surprising and inventive”, which is no surprise given that Iñárritu shot the movie to look like it’s one giant continuous take.

Birdman will have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on August 17th.  The NYFF press release makes no mention of this being the film’s North American premiere, so a Telluride or TIFF debut in September seems likely.  NYFF 2014 runs from September 26th – October 12th.  Read the press release after the jump.

BIRDMAN, Starring Michael Keaton and Edward Norton, to Open the Venice Film Festival; Early Awards Contender

by     Posted 111 days ago

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Alejandro González Iñárritu’s new film Birdman, starring Michael Keaton, will be the opening film of the 71st Annual Venice Film Festival.  This move obviously conveys a high amount of confidence in the film not only on the part of the Fest, but on behalf of distributor Fox Searchlight as well.  So far everything bodes well for what looks to be a truly original work.

Hit the jump for more on Birdman opening the Venice Film Festival.  The film also stars Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, Andrea Riseborough, and Amy RyanBirdman (aka The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) opens October 17th. And if you haven’t checked out the trailer, please do so. It’s wonderful. 

New BIRDMAN Images Hint at Epic Fight between Michael Keaton and Edward Norton and More

by     Posted 131 days ago

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Fox Searchlight has released five new Birdman images.  Michael Keaton plays Riggin Thomson an actor, who once played an iconic superhero, and now faces troubles with his ego and family as he prepares to mount a Broadway production of Raymond Carver’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Love in a bid to reclaim past glory.  Edward Norton co-stars as an actor in the play and Emma Stone plays Thomson’s daughter.  Birdman is already one of my most-anticipated films for the remainder of 2014, and these images (the one with Keaton and Norton preparing to fight, in particular) make me want to see the movie even more.

Hit the jump to check out the Birdman images, and in case you haven’t seen the great teaser trailer, click here.  The film also stars Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis, Andrea Riseborough, and Amy RyanBirdman opens October 17th.

BIRDMAN Trailer: Michael Keaton Looks for a Revival in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Latest Film

by     Posted 139 days ago

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Fox Searchlight has released the first Birdman trailer.  Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) 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.  Aside from the biographical implications of the story, this teaser trailer has some gorgeous shots, and looks far more fantastical than anything director Alejandro González Iñárritu has done before.  I’m also a huge fan of Keaton, and I can’t wait to see him a dramatic role that puts him front-and-center.

Hit the jump to check out the Birdman trailer.  The film opens on October 17th, and also stars Edward NortonNaomi WattsEmma StoneZach GalifianakisAmy Ryan, and Andrea Riseborough.

NEED FOR SPEED Review

by     Posted 229 days ago

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Need for Speed helped me understand why I like the later Fast and Furious movies and not the first few.  While I don’t necessarily have anything against car chases in movies, their purpose matters.  If it’s a cop chasing a criminal, then reckless driving is in service of a greater good.  If it’s a good guy trying to get away from bad guys, we’ll understand not obeying the speed limit and traffic signals.  But street racing is selfish, and its callous nature of putting innocent people at risk for the gleeful joy of fame and glory is somewhat despicable depending on the tone.  If your characters are going to be oblivious and self-indulgent, then the movie should follow suit.  Unfortunately, Scott Waugh takes his material far too seriously, and even though lead actors Aaron Paul and Imogen Poots give the film some life without winking at the camera, Need for Speed is too blind to check the periphery and too slow to have a good time.

TOP 5: ROBOCOP, TRANSCENDENCE, Paramount to Release Darren Aronofsky’s Cut of NOAH, TAMMY, JODOROWSKY’S DUNE Trailer

by     Posted 256 days ago

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The best thing I can say about director Jose Padilha‘s RoboCop remake is that, for better or worse, it tries to do its own thing. It makes an honest attempt at updating the scathing social critique of the original to fit within our immediate corporate and political landscape and I respect it for that. The most condemning thing I can say about the film is that I found it painfully boring. Aside from the original music playing over the opening title card and watching Samuel L. Jackson‘s spot-on depiction of the pure theater that cable television sells as honest political discourse, I rarely mustered so much as a grin throughout the film’s 108 minutes. To be fair, I don’t envy anyone who is tasked with making a PG-13 reimagining of Paul Verhoeven‘s subversive classic. It’s like Verhoeven was allowed to work with a sledgehammer and Padilha was asked to make due with a Q-tip. It was never a fair fight to begin with.

Opening thoughts aside, we’ll talk more about the RoboCop remake in this week’s Top 5 including an official review and interviews for the film. We’ll also cover the new trailer for Wally Pfister‘s directorial debut Transcendence, Paramount’s decision to release Darren Aronofsky‘s cut of Noah to theaters, the first trailer for Melissa McCarthy‘s Tammy, and a trailer for the excellent looking doc Jodorowsky’s Dune. As is so often the case, a brief recap and link to each of the above can be found after the jump.

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