Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Andrew's Cinematic Adventures: Birdman Movie Review

BIRDMAN. The movie everyone was talking about but no one knew anything about. It's that random movie that shows up around Oscar time and steals the show...that movie that no one even knew was being made. Not only that, but it's that movie that strangely includes most people's preferred actors and actresses (Emma Stone, Edward Norton).

Essentially, Birdman is that movie that is tailor-made to receive ALL THE OSCARS.

And it will, for good reason.

I was wanting to see this movie since like early November and I FINALLY was able to catch a showtime a couple weeks ago, late at night.

What an incredible/weird/awkward/strange/amazing experience it was.

The movie follows the struggles of a washed-up actor named Riggan (played by Michael Keaton) who is having a hard time breaking away from his past success as a superhero named Birdman. The entire film depicts him trying to successfully re-launch his career via a Broadway play, while battling his fellow actors, his own personal ego, and the ever-present pressure of moving past the Birdman persona that has defined his life as an actor.

First of all, Michael Keaton puts in a slam-dunk performance. I was scarcely able to look away from the screen as Keaton struggled with his inner-Birdman-demon. It's tragic, it's hilarious, it's incredibly thought-provoking. The thing that struck me most about his performance is that it seemed to come from real-life experiences that Keaton may have had in his aftermath of playing Batman in real life. There was definitely a subtle layer of realism with Keaton playing Riggan. You can feel that Keaton understood this character he was playing on a much more deeper and real level than you even realize. This performance puts Keaton back on the map in Hollywood, which is weirdly the same thing that happens to Keaton's character in the actual movie. Ahhhhh. SOOO MANY LAYERS.

The supporting actors also put in some fantastic performances. I loved Edward Norton as the dooshy actor alongside Keaton in the Broadway play. Seriously, Norton was an actor handmade by God for Indie movies like this (or anything directed by Wes Anderson). He was one of the better parts of the movie, playing a stuck-up actor that also conveys a lost-boy vibe at the same time. He hits his performance out of the park.

At the same time, you can't forget about Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, and Zach Galifanakis. Each was a perfect choice for their respective roles in the movie.

I also can't end this blog without mentioning the cinematography and camera-work of Birdman. It is absolutely one-of-a-kind. Since I'm not very smart with film stuff like that, I won't try to explain it in vivid detail. Essentially, the movie appears to be shot in one long extended camera shot. It's incredible how the director pulls it off. It sounds weird if you haven't seen it, but honestly it works. Just go see it. I can't imagine this movie being filmed any other way.

BIRDMAN. OR THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE (That's the tagline with the title that nobody realizes is there). Go see it.  I give it a 10 out of 10. The best movie of the year, one that will become a cult classic, and will be studied in film classes for decades to come.

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