Birdman (Keaton)

There’s a lot of hype brewing about this one. Anyone see it yet?

I wanna see it so badly. Keaton is a favorite of mine.

This looks suitably weird.

Buster Keaton is awesome! Sign me up for this!

Ive heard nothing but good things about this movie. Theres even been oscar talk for Keaton on this one. Im looking forward to seeing it.

Some are saying it might be his best role as an actor ever. I can’t find any theaters in my area showing it. :(

After reading this scorching review by Scott Tobias, I’m wary.

I love Michael Keaton and the rest of the cast is excellent… but I also find Inarritu’s films insufferable and self-indulgent. I don’t like that Birdman is made to look like it was shot entirely in one long take because I don’t trust his motives for doing so. I read that he sent the cast a photo of Philippe Petit walking the tightrope between the twin towers and told them their upcoming performance would be just like that. Ugh. I just get the sense this guy would bug the shit outta me in real life.

Then again, 92% on Rotten Tomatoes is really hard to argue with!

Thats not so much a review of the movie as it is a character assassination piece on the director. It almost seem like the reviewer has a personal axe to grind or something. Im not really familiar with the director so Ill withhold my judgement and not read too much into this guys review.
It seems no matter how good a movie is theres always a few people trying to make their rep by ripping it to shreds and saying “Look world. I hate this movie! Can you see how much smarter I am than you, to see all these flaws?” Im not an art critic so I dont put much stock in what they say, I prefer the opinion of the average man on the street.

I don’t think it is out yet. It has been on the festival and preview circuit. Earliest release date the Alamo shows is Nov 6th. I think the release is going to be very wide, so it should surface for you.

I heard there’s a tracking shot in this that even Alfonso Cuaron raved about.

The whole film is pretty much one long tracking shot. From what I’ve read, there’s exactly one obvious cut in the entire movie. The rest of it is a seemlessly patched together series of 7-15 minute shots stitched together so artfully that most viewers can’t find the transitions.

(Note: haven’t seen it yet, but I read a long interview with Keaton today discussing the shoot)

Managed to see this over the weekend.

Regarding the camerawork, it is presented as several long tracking shots, as noted. There are several obvious transition shots of full black (zoom into a black corridor), etc. It’s also interesting that long tracking shots don’t imply real-time. There are several what I would call “time dilation” shots, where he pans away from actors and then holds the shot for 30+ seconds, which represent several hours of film time. Which is to say, there are several obvious cuts, but only one explicit cut (that I can remember).

I don’t know how I feel about the film overall though (I don’t think I’ve ever seen an Innaritu film). It’s explicitly a film about acting and the theater / film industry, and I always have trouble with those. It bleeds between real good acting to fake bad acting to fake good acting to real bad acting in a way that I can never unravel because I’m bad at determining when acting is good.

The film in general is very “clever”, and I generally use that as a pejorative. In addition to the central Batman / Keaton conceit there’s a bit of synecdoche stuff where Keaton’s character’s play mirrors his life, and there’s a whole bit about critcism and bravery and another bit about truth and fame, and a whole other meta layer with Stone and Norton having their own superhero film backgrounds. So there’s at least 3 layers going on all the time. I don’t know if the movie would be any good outside of those casting and context jokes. I.e. if you don’t know who Keaton is, don’t know who Norton or Stone are, if the movie holds up at all on the strength of its script and performances. I don’t think it would.

I feel like the form of this movie suggests a gradual unraveling and crescendo towards the finale, but I didn’t feel any crescendo, it was just all fortissimo, all the time. I also can’t tell if the ending is supposed to be ambiguous or what. I feel like it’s the distinction that Tom likes to make about ambiguous vs. subtle, but there’s nothing subtle going on here, so I feel like it’s neither. It just seems like it’s pretending to be obscure, but isn’t really.

There’s also this whole thing about the bravery of creation and the cowardice of criticism that read almost exactly like the end of Ratatouiile. I don’t know if that was intentional or not.

I guess I do know how I feel about it, actually. It’s too impressed with it’s own cleverness.

Saw this movie today and loved it. Keaton is great, as usual, and Norton and Stone go really deep, but in different directions. Keaton’s Batman voice is just so much better than Bales that it is almost a comic undercurrent of thi film. Not quite sure what to make of all of the telekinesis stuff, but it sure did make trashing an office easier. Zach G is so restrained here that he is almost unrecognizable. Truly amazing visual style that goes well beyond “one long shot”. This is a must see, IMHO.

I thought the acting was top-notch but overall the film felt like it was trying to hard to be significant. I can’t say I understand the virtue of the one long shot thing, or the telekinesis stuff either. I think the telekinesis stuff could have been dropped without hurting the movie. Seems like there’s more than enough material there without tossing in that odd stuff.

The continuous shot thing bugged me after awhile. It felt self-conscious and pretentious.

Just saw it on the weekend. I can agree with a lot of the individual criticisms made so far here (except for that Scott Tobias review linked above, which really has me scratching my head). But I loved this movie. Loved it. Yes, it is a little ostentatious and over-the-top. Yes, a few individual scenes are clunkers. Yes, it feels a little confused by the end as to what exactly it’s trying to communicate about art vs. life or artifice vs. honesty. But I find all of that eminently forgivable given just how thrilling and affecting an experience it is. And for something so boisterous and occasionally manic, I’m surprised by the light touch and by how much nuance there was in the performances, the writing and the direction. (Can’t wait to see it again). I’m still undecided about the ambiguous ending, but I would say it’s that good kind of ambiguity that opens outward rather than the bad ambiguity that closes things off.

I don’t know that it really meshed with the film in general, but the telekinesis stuff was an interesting side-note.

First, I have to say that I don’t cotton to anybody claiming that he may or may not have telekinesis. From what I could read of the film there is absolutely no reason to believe that he does not.

However, I couldn’t tell if the manifestation of those abilities was supposed to be tied to his Batman-voice. I think that’s the obvious interpretation: that those powers came out of his untapped potential: his anger and dissatisfaction and whatnot. (Which makes it basically a grown-up version of Matilda?) But I don’t really think the film communicates that, so I don’t think I can draw that intent there. (Among other things, while it is often manifested in moments of stress suggesting a break with reality, the opening shot has him floating while meditating fairly peacefully, which is actually the most impressive use of his powers we see for most of the film.)

So, if it serves no purpose, what’s the point of it even being there? My wife is reading the Lev Grossman Magician series, and from what she tells me, the themes of those books are basically: “Even if you’re Harry Potter, so what? In real life, nobody cares. Your kids still hate you, your job still sucks, and you still have to pay the goddamn mortgage.” That’s the only way I can read the telekinesis thread. Even if Michael Keaton had super powers, he’d still just be Michael Keaton. It doesn’t do shit for him where things actually matter: in his career, with his family, or anywhere else.

Anyway, that’s my read. Like I said, I didn’t really get a good sense for it, but it could certainly be I’m missing something.

Given that I don’t think there’s any question that he has super powers, I also don’t think there’s much ambiguity to the ending either.

I really like that interpretation. I can definitely buy into it. It makes the final shot real and Emma’s joy understandable.

Thanks for sharing.

As a side note: Fuck all those people who come into a thread and shit on it by saying it is worthless to discuss a song, joke, movie, TV show, movie, whatever. The people involved in the discussion are just trying to come to an understanding of the material and sharing thoughts/impressions is part of the process. It may be anal retentive to you, but I see it more as an appreciation of both art and craft.

/: Steps off of soap box. (I don’t really know MMO action codes, so I probably messed that up.)

Saw this - Keaton really shows his range I think. Supporting cast was very good, though the female roles except for the daughter did not feel like they had much depth.

Kind of like how there’s absolutely no reason to believe that Terabithia doesn’t exist.