Monday, February 29, 2016

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)

Academy Awards, USA 2015

Best Motion Picture of the Year
Alejandro González Iñárritu
John Lesher
James W. Skotchdopole
Best Achievement in Directing
Alejandro González Iñárritu
Best Writing, Original Screenplay
Alejandro González Iñárritu
Nicolás Giacobone
Alexander Dinelaris
Armando Bo
Best Achievement in Cinematography
Emmanuel Lubezki
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Michael Keaton
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Edward Norton
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Emma Stone
Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Jon Taylor
Frank A. Montaño
Thomas Varga
Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Aaron Glascock
Martín Hernández

Fox Searchlight
Directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu
My rating: 2 stars out of 4
(Blu-ray, Fox)

A Hollywood actor is having a serious mid-life crisis. Michael Keaton, who became a worldwide celebrity by playing a superhero named "Birdman" in the movies, tries to find himself by writing, directing and starring in his first Broadway play. At the last minute he hires Edward Norton, who almost manages to wreck the play with his ego and unpredictability. Meanwhile his personal life is a mess: his daughter is just out of rehab, his girlfriend thinks she is pregnant and his ex-wife shows up in his dressing room. The stress has caused him to hear the voice of his former superhero role in his head, leading him to become delusional at best and suicidal at worst. Unfortunately, all of these characters are so self-obsessed that we don't really care what happens to them. Iñárritu strings together a series of unbroken shots in the style of Robert Altman, but it just seems like a gimmick here to call attention to itself. Other than a couple of scenes, a confrontation in a bar with a critic and a CGI-laced rumination on the emptiness of Hollywood action/superhero movies, it's a pretentious with a capital P mess.

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