With a wink to his past and a subtle nod to his future, Michael Keaton captivates in his comeback performance as Birdman. The existential undertone of Keaton’s own career makes him perfect to play “Riggan Thompson,” a washed up actor who walked away from the third installment of his iconic superhero role. His hope to revitalize his career comes in the form of a Broadway play beside some major power players, including Ed Norton (Mike Shiner), Naomi Watts (Leslie), Emma Stone (Sam), and Zach Galifianakis (Brandon).
Director Alejandro González Iñárritu executed the daunting task of actually simulating a play, making the entire movie appear as if it’s shot in one continuous take, a magic trick much like Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Rope.’The backstage drama boosts the film, with Thompson’s depression-driven turmoil beautifully juxtaposed against Shiner’s thespian antics, Sam’s rebellious rants, and Brandon’s failed attempts to temper the trouble. And for the folks who need a little extra entertainment inside this circus of delight, there’s some great shots of Norton in his underwear, who is near-naked for most of the film.
Each character is crafted with many layers, often wavering between confidence, depression, desperation, heroism, kindness, humor, and love. It’s clear that Keaton carries the film, and the actor takes no issue with the irony of his legendary Batman status. And though everyone is on the record as saying the film was not written with Keaton in mind, it’s a fitting mental conundrum, considering there’s a play inside a film that’s shot like a play that stars a guy who once played a bird on screen and in real life who is also launching a comeback on screen and in real life. GOT THAT?!!!
Let’s party like it’s 2002: Wimpy high-schooler Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), is bitten by a radioactive spider, giving him the ability to sling webs and fly about the city, but putting his burgeoning relationship with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) at risk, while battling Gwen’s police chief dad (Denis Leary) and the nefarious Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), who has the ability to morph into a giant lizard and release clouds of noxious gas over NYC.
Many said this “reboot” came along too soon, only 10 years after Sam Raimi’s original, and I’m among them. Too much focus is put on the relationship between Pete and Gwen, and the movie spends much too much time setting up Spidey’s origin and doesn’t introduce the bad guy until over an hour into the film. There’s nothing here that wasn’t done better before. Every story element is almost exactly the same, and – although I never thought I’d see myself writing this – Tobey Maguire’s goofiness easily trumps Garfield’s introspective angst. The effects are solid, the 3D is well employed, and as a whole it isn’t bad, but it’s unnecessary, and smacks more of a cash grab than a legitimate attempt to revitalize a floundering franchise.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. When you’re a Hollywood A-lister, you have a responsibility to maintain your mystique. When you start to make too many appearances and make poor professional choices, you ruin your brand, and you border on becoming an accessible reality star. Such is the case with Jim Carrey. Watch below.
Love is crazy. And it’s also stupid. And only the acting prowess of Julianne Moore, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and Emma Stone, could properly show why anyone in their right mind would engage in such an emotionally tumultuous activity. At the opening of this film, Cal (Steve Carell) gets dumped by his long-time wife, Emily (Julianne Moore), and in an effort to avoid her apologetic monologue, he literally jumps out of their moving car. She had an affair, and she leaves their marriage because it’s “broken.” Cal subsequently spends an inordinate amount of time lamenting to a bartender. It’s during these rants that Cal meets Jacob (Ryan Gosling), who can only be defined as a “pick-up artist.” Jacob takes an interest in Cal, and gives him a makeover to “get his manhood back.” The transformation becomes both external and internal, and the emotionally vapid Jacob unsuspectingly adopts some of Cal’s love-struck ideology in the process. There are some enjoyable sub-plots in this movie, which I won’t ruin, but let’s just say that Cal learns a thing or two about soul-mates from his un-jaded son. This movie proves that you don’t need a high-concept gimmick to keep a film afloat. When you have great actors who execute what is often thought of as ‘cheesy’ material, then you get an enjoyable movie that doesn’t feel like a chick-flick. My favorite line of this film came from Cal, who said, “I’ve loved her even when I hated her.” If you’ve ever been cursed and blessed with being in love — then I’m sure you can relate. OVERALL RATING: DISHTASTIC