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

by     Posted Yesterday

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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 22 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 28 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 38 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 49 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 69 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 77 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 167 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 194 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.

Gary Oldman Talks ROBOCOP, How He Got Involved, How Soon Could Robocop be Real, Working with Michael Keaton, and More

by     Posted 197 days ago

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Opening this week in theaters and IMAX is director Jose Padilha’s new take on RoboCop.  For those unfamiliar with the film, it takes place in the near future where a company called OmniCorp has pushed drone technology to new levels, and they now want to mix the technology with a human operator.  When police officer Alex Murphy (Kinnaman) is gravely injured, OmniCorp takes the opportunity to use him as their prototype cyborg police officer.   The experiment on Murphy is meant to be the first of many RoboCops the company hopes to put in every U.S. city.  The film also stars Abbie CornishGary OldmanMichael KeatonJackie Earle HaleyMichael K. WilliamsJennifer EhleJay BaruchelMarianne Jean-Baptiste, and Samuel L. Jackson.

At the recent Los Angeles press day, I landed an exclusive video interview with Oldman.  He talked about how the film has a strong social and political point of view, how he got involved in the project, what it was like to work with Michael Keaton, how soon a “Robocop” could become a reality, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

ROBOCOP Review

by     Posted 198 days ago

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Trying to do a beat-by-beat remake of a classic film is usually a recipe for disaster, and to his credit, director Jose Padilha doesn’t do that with the new iteration of RoboCopPaul Verhoeven‘s 1987 original is a mix of biting satire and ridiculously gratuitous violence, but Padilha turns RoboCop into a blend of familial bonds and social commentary.  Unfortunately, both efforts never reach their full potential as the emphasis on the family relationship lacks depth, and the story casts too wide of a net on its commentary, so it never really finds fresh insight into any particular issue.  Although it ditches the extreme violence of Verhoeven’s film, the new RoboCop manages to be at least a serviceable action movie with admirable goals.

Joel Kinnaman, Michael Keaton and Gary Oldman Talk ROBOCOP, Challenges of Acting in a Suit, Joining the Picture, Finding Their Characters, and More

by     Posted 199 days ago

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From director José Padilha, this re-imagining of RoboCop is set in 2028, with OmniCorp as the world’s leader in robot technology.  When loving husband, father and honest cop Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) nearly dies, OmniCorp sees an opportunity to build a part-man, part-robot police officer that will not only stop crime and corruption in Detroit, but reap billions for their company.  The film also stars Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael K. Williams, Jennifer Ehle, Jay Baruchel, Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Samuel L. Jackson.

During a press conference at the film’s press day, actor Joel Kinnaman talked about the challenges of acting through such a heavy suit, what sold him on this particular remake, what it was like to get to say some of the lines from the original film, and working with The Wire’s Michael K. Williams, while Gary Oldman talked about how he found his character, and Michael Keaton talked about his own experience acting through a suit for Tim Burton’s Batman.  Check out what they had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers

Watch 5 Clips from José Padilha’s ROBOCOP Starring Joel Kinnaman, Abbie Cornish, Gary Oldman, and Michael Keaton

by     Posted 218 days ago

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In advance of its February debut, we have five clips from José Padilha’s RoboCop reboot to share with you.  The new take on the Paul Verhoeven 1987 classic sees Joel Kinnaman (The Killing) taking on the title role as a cybernetically enhanced cop in 2028 Detroit.

The film also stars Abbie Cornish, Gary OldmanMichael KeatonJackie Earle HaleyMichael K. WilliamsJennifer EhleJay BaruchelMarianne Jean-Baptiste, and Samuel L. Jackson.  RoboCop opens in traditional theaters and IMAX on February 12, 2014.  Hit the jump to watch the clips.

Watch OmniCorp’s 2027 CES Keynote Presentation in New ROBOCOP Viral Video; Plus New High-Resolution Images

by     Posted 232 days ago

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Sony Pictures has released a new viral video for director Jose Padilha’s upcoming RoboCop remake by way of a CES Keynote Presentation from OminCorp in the year 2027.  The film takes place in 2028 and finds the sleazy OminiCorp putting its drone technology to use on domestic grounds by way of taking blown-apart cop Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) and turning him into a cyborg police officer.  The experiment on Murphy is meant to be the first of many RoboCops the company hopes to put in every U.S. city, but things don’t go as planned.  This viral video teases OmniCorp’s development of the RoboCop, but it’s done in a haphazard manner that just feels like a cheap ripoff of the excellent Prometheus TED Talk viral that featured Guy Pearce.

Hit the jump to watch the new viral video as well as a batch of new high-resolution images.  The film also stars Gary OldmanMichael KeatonJackie Earle HaleyMichael K. WilliamsJennifer EhleJay BaruchelMarianne Jean-Baptiste, and Samuel L. Jackson.  RoboCop opens February 12, 2014.

Three TV Spots for ROBOCOP Starring Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, and Michael Keaton

by     Posted 233 days ago

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Three new TV spots have popped up online for the remake of RoboCop.  The film takes place in 2028 and finds the sleazy OminiCorp putting its drone technology to use on domestic grounds by way of taking blown-apart cop Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) and turning him into a cyborg police officer.  The experiment on Murphy is meant to be the first of many RoboCops the company hopes to put in every U.S. city, but things don’t go as planned.  After watching these TV spots, I’m still not excited for this movie.  I’m trying to hold out some hope, but I have to keep reminding myself that the film is coming out in February.

Hit the jump to check out the TV spots.  The film also stars Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael K. Williams, Jennifer Ehle, Jay Baruchel, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, and Samuel L. JacksonRoboCop opens February 12, 2014.

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