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FrostedButts
Dec 30, 2011


The local hipster report on Birdman.

Limited Release on October 24
"This is the most intelligent, well-shot and creatively original movie I've seen all year. Such a great film, hope it wins some Oscars."

Wide Release on November 14
"What an overrated piece of garbage. It wasn't that good. Only dumb people would think this is deep."

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SALT CURES HAM
Jan 3, 2011


I don't think a couple people coming in here to threadshit because they don't like "artsy" movies is indicative of the Local Hipster Report changing.

Gooble Rampling
Jan 30, 2004



I am also one of those that is happy that this is getting a wide release. As I was watching it I kept thinking that it was the best "arty" surprise I had experienced in a cineplex since Being John Malkovich.

KingsPawn
May 22, 2006
E4!

Seriously, this is a good movie. I find that people who use a phrase like "getting" a movie are grappling with two problems.

The first problem is basic enjoyment of the film. That is always a hindrance to taking a film watcher from passive observer to active participant. For example, if we take a look at a movie like Frozen, the amount of people saying they don't "get it" can probably be counted on one hand. People enjoyed the film and they really enjoyed the straightforward message. It's simple. It entertains. We go home and wait for the next movie that catches our eye. If we can't enjoy the film, we are just going to cross our arms and say "this movie is garbage. I can't relate to it and I'm not entertained."

The second problem is one of intellectual curiosity and having a deep well of references and experiences to draw on to make sense of some of the more abstract ideas. Birdman is peppered with references to other movies and some heavy ideas of identity, angst, and family. There's a lot to ingest. Most movie goers aren't going to take the time to reflect on those ideas, but instead sit on something much more comfortable. After watching this movie they will come out and say "this movie is too smart for me. I guess I just don't get it. It must be for the ivory tower highbrows. Well too bad they are so far up their own rear end to understand good cinema. I wonder when that next Marvel movie is coming out?"

FrostedButts
Dec 30, 2011


I always preferred to look at it from this angle.

There are two types of people who watch movies: those who love watching movies and those who only like watching movies they like.

Those who love watching movies are those who like to be challenged and surprised by any and all genres. They want to examine the good movies with a fine-toothed comb and think a little longer about what makes the bad movies so bad. They walk into every movie hopeful that it will give them something entertaining and intriguing.

The people who only watch movies they like are those who fear change. They know what their favorite movies are and don't care for anything else that is either of different or similar design. If they like loud and brainless superhero pictures, they most likely despise quiet and subtle dramas. If they like artsy and avant garde pictures, they most likely hate commercially successful action pictures.

Those who say they don't get it most likely just don't care for it when compared to their personal favorites.

TrixRabbi
Aug 20, 2010

Time for a little robot chauvinism!


I like Zach Galifianakis movies so I liked this one.

oswald ownenstein
Jan 30, 2011

KING FAGGOT OF THE SHITPOST KINGDOM


I like good movies. Sometimes artsy movies are great, and sometimes they're pretentious. This movie wasn't really pretentious, but it was definitely for theater geeks and film school dorks.

It was objectively 'good' - I just didn't enjoy it very much as an experience.

Maxwell Lord
Dec 12, 2008

I am drowning.
There is no sign of land.
You are coming down with me, hand in unlovable hand.

And I hope you die.

I hope we both die.




Grimey Drawer

I thought this was really good. The screenplay definitely has a few hackneyed "movie about showbiz" bits in it, but at its core it's a pretty convincing portrayal of someone desperately seeking validation. The performances are pretty much all great, the atmosphere is engrossing and enveloping, the long take thing never really feels intrusive.

A little overlong (the main problem of shooting a film in this style is that you can't just trim ten minutes in post, I assume) and not quite best of the year, but up there.

The critic part rang a little false for me. I could easily imagine her saying she expects it to be total poo poo and is ready to pan it because it's a Hollywood actor's vanity project, but the "I'm writing the negative review right now and I hope it kills the show" bit was too much. Similarly I did see the bit with the gun coming, though I am glad it didn't end there. Not sure what to make of the proper ending, though.

MisterBibs
Jul 17, 2010

dolla dolla
bill y'all


Fun Shoe

I liked this movie a lot, but I don't think I have the cinematic words in me to explain what stuff worked and what stuff didn't.

I can say - and I know this is sort of missing the point of the movie - I want to see a movie about a guy in a superhero movie that naturally does have the powers he does in the film, but tries his best to avoid using them because just like his movie alter-ego, he grew up being told not to use them.

colonel_korn
May 16, 2003



What do people think about the subtitle, "The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance"? It's not really clear to me how it ties in to the movie or to whom/what it might be referring.

Geekboy
Aug 21, 2005

Now that's what I call a geekMAN!

colonel_korn posted:

What do people think about the subtitle, "The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance"? It's not really clear to me how it ties in to the movie or to whom/what it might be referring.

That was the title of the review at the end.

It's kind of a theme.

Harime Nui
Apr 15, 2008

The New Insincerity


I'm glad at least one other critic noticed the way the camera kept turning and twisting around all those corridors seemed to almost indicate we were walking through Riggan's brain at times, because that's something I thought when I was watching this movie!


e: Also, a review I read pointed out that the burning meteor's twin tails could symbolize Icarus falling---which is more on the spot than what I was thinking, which was just that twin-tailed comets are generally signifiers of doom/armageddon

ee: kinda trite to say maybe but I think this'd be an interesting contrast on a double bill with Super, much like Nightcrawler would be with Drive

Harime Nui fucked around with this message at Nov 23, 2014 around 11:49

TrixRabbi
Aug 20, 2010

Time for a little robot chauvinism!


Birdman being a winged hero makes sense with Icarus flying too close to the sun.

A True Jar Jar Fan
Nov 3, 2003

Diamond


Harime Nui posted:

e: Also, a review I read pointed out that the burning meteor's twin tails could symbolize Icarus falling---which is more on the spot than what I was thinking, which was just that twin-tailed comets are generally signifiers of doom/armageddon
It's both. Riggan also wipes out human history.

al-azad
May 28, 2009



If there's any criticism I can level against this film it's that Norton's character kind of disappears in the last act. After the last rooftop scene with Riggan's daughter I don't think he's ever interacted with directly. He doesn't even visit Riggan in the hospital and Riggan doesn't mentioned him to his daughter.

I wouldn't say the movie is weaker because of it but it's an odd send off to a major character.

I also laughed hard at Riggan at the very end whispering very, very softly to Birdman "goodbye. Fucker."

Maxwell Lord posted:


The critic part rang a little false for me. I could easily imagine her saying she expects it to be total poo poo and is ready to pan it because it's a Hollywood actor's vanity project, but the "I'm writing the negative review right now and I hope it kills the show" bit was too much. Similarly I did see the bit with the gun coming, though I am glad it didn't end there. Not sure what to make of the proper ending, though.

I thought her lines near the end were among the strongest delivery. Coming from someone in the local art scene there are absolutely ivory tower assholes who disparage everything without question because it doesn't conform to what they know and love. Sometimes they have a point, there's certainly plenty of garbage vanity projects but then again who the gently caress are you to label someone like that? If someone put their blood sweat and tears into their art who are you to say "no you didn't?" I've seen people get destroyed by soul crushing "criticism" which is little more than "this sucks, this anatomy is bad, did you really put all your effort into this, try to be more like *list of great names that came before you*"

I have never hated a character more than during that 5-minute exchange. The idea of building everything up to please one person who's going to fail you because they hate you hit too close to home.

al-azad fucked around with this message at Nov 24, 2014 around 14:45

FrostedButts
Dec 30, 2011


TrixRabbi posted:

Birdman being a winged hero makes sense with Icarus flying too close to the sun.

I also think it makes sense that first shot is of the fireball in the sky, possibly implying that he already hit the sun and that there is nothing he can do in his descending status as an actor and a human being.

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.

TrixRabbi posted:

Birdman being a winged hero makes sense with Icarus flying too close to the sun.

He literally calls Birdman Icarus when being interviewed by the reporters.

TNG
Jan 4, 2001

by Lowtax


I think one of the interesting things to me about the film's ending was that he was still Birdman. The Galifianakis character is telling him about all of the success, and licensed performances, and book deals this will result in. Riggan is back on top of the world, just like Birdman told him he would be. The critic's review The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, is interchangeable with Birdman in the film's own title. And perhaps the most telling of all, his bandage is shaped exactly like the Birdman mask.

By his act of shooting off of his nose, he has gotten back to the heights he enjoyed in the late 80s and early 90s. It's just that this time it's in the "other" spectrum of mass-consumed commercial entertainment: The theater world. And Riggan's entire arc has been hating himself for what all the "Birdman success" led to. The shooting isn't transforming himself into some sort of liberated and erudite artist, it's rocketing him right back to where he was before he tried to kill himself with the drowning: being Birdman.

The fire and water imagery is interesting, in that they're both the origins of these two incarnations of Birdman. He's either flaming downward as some sort of Icarus in a billion dollar pyrotechnic extravaganza, or being stung by a bunch of jellyfish in an emotionally charged intimate drama shared by him and his estranged ex-wife. They're both two sides of the same coin however, designed to evoke something in the watcher of all of this: you. Some may prefer giant CGI birds and lasers, and others may prefer character vignette's showing "real" human emotion. But at the end of the day, Riggan is still the big mess of a star, right back where he started from.

I consider the ending a happy one. As others have alluded to before, it's a liberating one. Not from his past, but from his current present. Everything about this play was just about becoming Birdman again, and he became it with gusto. By taking off the Birdman mask, and telling the Birdman in the bathroom "goodbye, Fucker" he can finally just step out of being Birdman altogether.

HUNDU THE BEAST GOD
Sep 14, 2007

everything is yours


Nose mutilation is symbolic castration. JCVD is a way better movie than this.

HUNDU THE BEAST GOD
Sep 14, 2007

everything is yours


Also, Keaton is so "up" it's hard to look at him. Super strong performance from him.

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.

HUNDU THE BEAST GOD posted:

Nose mutilation is symbolic castration. JCVD is a way better movie than this.

Or, you know, attempting to remove his beak.

HUNDU THE BEAST GOD
Sep 14, 2007

everything is yours


feedmyleg posted:

Or, you know, attempting to remove his beak.

There's a long jag in the movie about his rival being afraid that he can't get it up if he's not on stage.

HUNDU THE BEAST GOD
Sep 14, 2007

everything is yours


Vertigo Ambrosia posted:

I absolutely adored this film, and I got a somewhat different message from it than it seems most people did. The first thing I thought of when I walked out was this Calvin and Hobbes strip:



The point isn't that Reagan deserves to be taken seriously as an artist and not just as a blockbuster superhero actor, but that the concept of high art vs. low art (dramatic theater vs. titillating film) is complete loving bullshit. The critic character is really obnoxiouisly on the nose about the debate (she's a real weak point of the film, particularly the scene where Reagan confronts her), but remember what she ends up writing; after deriding the entire genre of action films, she ends up praising a dude actually shooting himself in a scene where he commits suicide. She, and the theater community in general, enjoys cheap violence and gore just as much as the people who saw all the Birdman films to see him fly around and beat up monsters. We're all watching an independent film by a famous director where Michael Keaton flies around in the air and walks around in his underwear, and that doesn't make us philistines.

I agree with this BTW.

It comes up twice, when Ed Norton is hitting on Emma Stone the first time. He seamlessly becomes a different character to get what he wants from her (pretty blatantly), but because she doesn't know where the line is, she only has this defense mechanism and retreats into the familiar. Keaton pulls the same trick on Ed Norton when they have their big tussle, really he has dozens of "performances" depending on who he's talking to. Naomi Watts does this seamlessly with what little she's given, as her entire role is just an homage to Betty Elms, particularly where she acts "for real" in audition with Chad Everett.

Now that I think of it, Whiplash kind of goes for the same thing, attacking the conception of jazz as staid American Classical, something you do before going out to eat at a two star restaurant.

HUNDU THE BEAST GOD fucked around with this message at Nov 30, 2014 around 22:18

Jake Armitage
Dec 11, 2004

+69 Pimp

Advice posted:

See, this is what I hate most about movies like this. They're almost immune to criticism because every psuedo-intellectual takes a break from jerking each other off about how deep the movie is to inform me how I must not have "got" it.

In this (short) thread two negative reviews were posted basically with the comment that the negativity alone made them comically worthless. One of those reviews put the film into context simply by pointing out who the director is and what he did before, and honestly that's a legitimate thing to do. I walked out of the film entertained, and a little baffled, thinking I would have to think about the film for a while to decide what I thought it was trying to say, etc etc. Then when I realized it was made by the same guy who made 21 Grams I decided not to waste time overthinking it.

In the end it was a very fun movie to watch, but it was filled with misfired symbolism and stylistic choices that were mostly style and very little substance -- notably the "one long shot" which was neat, and well done, but didn't add anything to the narrative and in fact confused the audience unnecessarily in a couple places, and the telekinesis eye candy stuff which was really just draped over the film to make you go "hmmm". If the telekinesis was saying anything, it was echoing the idea that the audience needs poo poo to be supernatural and explodey in order to stay interested (Birdman basically comes right out and says this in the 3rd act). I'm happy that people who took one film class in college and watched Eraserhead all the way through or whatever have something to talk about with their pseudo friends, but I personally think its pretty dumb to overthink this film. I think even if you dug deep into it, or tied the director down and made him explain everything to you, you'd just find out its a movie about a washed up actor that doesn't really have much more to say on the subject of celebrity and has-been-ism than any of the hundreds of other films that have covered the same ground.

But that said, it was fun to watch and I would definitely recommend it.

Jake Armitage fucked around with this message at Dec 4, 2014 around 01:10

Anonymous Robot
Jun 1, 2007

Lost his leg in Robo War I


Haha, holy poo poo, "their pseudo friends".

Criminal Minded
Jan 4, 2005

Spring break forever


TrixRabbi posted:

I came away with the reading that it's not about the quality of art, it's about honesty. In order for his play to work, he has to spill real blood. Like the Rolling Stones song, "If I could stick my pen in my heart, spill it all over the stage." It's a film about pouring yourself into your work and giving the truth to the audience, and how loving hard it is and how vulnerable you are doing it. The audience isn't cheering when Riggan shoots himself because they want blood and gore and spectacle, it's because they just witnessed an artist literally spilling his blood, sweat and tears in front of them. It's not cheap at all.

The superhero movies he had been doing were inauthentic. They were for pay, soulless works. And so the play is a challenge for Riggan to create something that truly expresses the weight he feels everyday of his life. And the tension is about whether he's actually capable of that or not. Note how his line readings at the beginning of the film are forced, weak acting. By the end we believe every word he's saying. It's an amazing transformation.

I'd tweak this slightly and say it's about the tension between artistic integrity and actual integrity. Like, Mike (Norton) is a totally brilliant stage actor who takes his craft seriously and wows everybody on stage, but he's also a condescending, inauthentic bastard who is a total pain to deal with personally and professionally: we might admire his craft, but we don't respect him at all. Riggan struggles with the dichotomy throughout.

tokenbrownguy
Apr 1, 2010



How's this as a date movie? Nightcrawler was a bad choice in retrospect.

Axeface
Feb 28, 2009

He Who Walks
Behind The Aisles


HUNDU THE BEAST GOD posted:

I agree with this BTW.

It comes up twice, when Ed Norton is hitting on Emma Stone the first time. He seamlessly becomes a different character to get what he wants from her (pretty blatantly), but because she doesn't know where the line is, she only has this defense mechanism and retreats into the familiar. Keaton pulls the same trick on Ed Norton when they have their big tussle, really he has dozens of "performances" depending on who he's talking to. Naomi Watts does this seamlessly with what little she's given, as her entire role is just an homage to Betty Elms, particularly where she acts "for real" in audition with Chad Everett.

Now that I think of it, Whiplash kind of goes for the same thing, attacking the conception of jazz as staid American Classical, something you do before going out to eat at a two star restaurant.

I kind of agree with this, but I thought the emphasis was more on collapsing the boundary between art and "real life". The one take gimmick equates the play and the actors' personal lives as identically performative, their transition to the stage pretty literally seamless; Riggan tries to kill himself at the same time as his character, even, and the fact that he chose to channel his suicidal impulses through that fiction is compelling in itself. That read also helps account for the social media emphasis.

GonSmithe
Apr 25, 2010

Perhaps it's in the nature of television. Just waves in space.


Verr posted:

How's this as a date movie? Nightcrawler was a bad choice in retrospect.

Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad.

A True Jar Jar Fan
Nov 3, 2003

Diamond


Verr posted:

How's this as a date movie? Nightcrawler was a bad choice in retrospect.

If your date likes watching good movies these are both good choices.

Gatts
Jan 2, 2001

Goodnight Moon


Nap Ghost

I really, seriously loved this movie. By the end of it I was pretty captivated. It was so beautiful, like the lighting and scene when he's out on the street drinking and then the end it made me want to hug Emma Stone so bad and she's so drat striking in the last shot. Keaton was awesome. It had a great comedy moment when he and Ed Norton are fighting and he pulls out his acting card. It's loving hilarious and so petty and so on but loving I liked that it takes the piss out of a lot of stuff but also that what gets lost is the people's lives.

Gatts
Jan 2, 2001

Goodnight Moon


Nap Ghost

HUNDU THE BEAST GOD posted:

Nose mutilation is symbolic castration. JCVD is a way better movie than this.

He sorta shot his nose off to spite his Birdman face.

That being said, JCVD was pretty drat good.

FrostedButts
Dec 30, 2011


Verr posted:

How's this as a date movie? Nightcrawler was a bad choice in retrospect.

Depends on the date.

If she didn't like Nightcrawler, chances are she'll despise Birdman. Just play it safe and take her to either Mockingjay or Horrible Bosses 2.

Jeedy Jay
Nov 8, 2012


I love the body language of the Birdamn persona in the hospital bathroom scene at the end - he's sitting silently and almost demurely, just kind of defeatedly shrugging when looked at. It's a waiting-room posture. Riggan hasn't killed his alter ego, despite the elaborate shooting-the-beak-off metaphor, but he has certainly put it in it's place (which happens to be on the toilet).

Ace movie, by the way.

New Leaf
Jul 24, 2013

Dragon Balls? Are they tasty?


Late to the party, but this movie was loving excellent. Easily my favorite movie of the year, and now on my list of all-time favorites. I saw it with my dad and brother, which was great- the three of us don't get together enough, so we had a lot to talk about over drinks after.

Sub Rosa
Jun 9, 2010



The thing I've not seen commented upon so much is how much of a sponge for validation Riggan is. And the person he wants that admiration from more than anything is his daughter who he neglected when he was a movie star. I think that's why the final shot is her looking up at him, after just having brought the right sort of flowers.

Ayudo
Mar 29, 2006


Gatts posted:

He sorta shot his nose off to spite his Birdman face.

That being said, JCVD was pretty drat good.

Late to the party, but I just got to watch this last night. In response to the above: I thought it was pretty ironic that the act that finally gave him the artistic respect he had craved both literally put him in a mask AND gave him a beak for a nose.

Where has Keaton been all this time?

Great film.

Alan Smithee
Jan 3, 2005


He was the CEO in the lovely Robocop remake, which did no justice to Michael Keaton or Robocop

Birdman was a good movie

jcvd is a good movie

nightcrawler is a good movie

let us all be friends

Doctor Candiru
Dec 23, 2004
Umbrella Monkey Sand

Geekboy posted:

That was the title of the review at the end.

It's kind of a theme.
It's also one of the primary themes of What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Love -- or at least the one that resonates the most with me.

I've gotta re-read that play now. There were several weird touches that Riggan put into it that might have been ridiculous attempts by Riggan to be an honest and genuine artist and weird subtextual things.

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Uncle Boogeyman
Jul 22, 2007



Great movie. scattered thoughts:

-neither Edward Norton or Inarritu have been this interesting in 15 years (Inarritu honestly maybe hasn't been this interesting ever), and it didn't hit me until the movie was over how funny it is that they cast Norton as an obnoxious primadonna who insists on rewriting the script.
-I've never seen Andrea Riseborough in anything before but she was great.
-Emma Stone was iffy at times but mostly good and nailed her big Oscar clip.
-the one bit I'm not totally sure about is the very ending - like, the last 30 seconds. I get that it's a metaphor for Birdman finally gaining his daughter's respect, and I think it works on that level, but I'm just not sure the movie needed not one, not two, but three scenes of "oh no, he killed himself - but maybe he didn't!" in such rapid succession.
-I also agree that Norton disappears from the movie too abruptly. still, one of the best of the year, def.

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