Monday, January 26, 2015

Birdman (2014)

[My first movie of 2015! And on time, too. It opened here last weekend.]

My interest in the movie stemmed from its premise (a former-superhero actor trying to distance himself from what made him famous and revive his career with a show on Broadway) and its lead actor (Michael Keaton).

A case of art imitating life, perhaps?

Granted, Keaton hasn’t been on Broadway nor has his career in later years been a comedy of errors, but after the Batman movies, I heard some typecasting was to be had, and like the elusive Billy Crystal, he hasn’t been in much in past years.

[Which is why I enjoyed seeing him in The Other Guys. “We're losing him!... HE’S DYING!!”]

Riggan Thomson (Keaton’s character), once famous for Birdman (a superhero in a series of films), has now faded into obscurity and constantly hears his alter-ego (Birdman) talk to him about returning to his action movie roots. He adapts and stars in a Broadway play to gain relevance, but in getting said play to make it through previews and opening night without a hitch, he has mend his relationship with his former addict of a daughter (Emma Stone), and deal with method supporting actor Mike Shiner (played brilliantly by Edward Norton).

Birdman is more dark comedy, with the humour being more comic than your standard kind of funny, and made for some great laughs in the film. It also tries to incorporate some fantastical elements (telekinesis, especially), and though it looks great, it’s almost an excuse to have a special effects department (reminding me of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, a movie that could’ve been just as effective without showing us how overactive Walter’s imagination really is). The much-hyped long takes were woven seamlessly as one, and though very, very cool from a technical point of view, I found it distracted me because I kept trying to spot where one take ended and the next began.

With Keaton’s casting, you can’t help but see the parallels between his and Riggan’s career (downward spiral excepted). The movie even quotes that the last time Riggan played Birdman was in 1992, which was the last time Keaton donned the Batsuit! The long takes worked in his favour, I feel, because even though he’s not physically on-camera (in certain scenes his reflection is onscreen), your attention is still on him because you just can’t take your eyes off his almost-trainwreck of a character.

There is almost a tragic quality to Keaton’s performance, and I’m glad that (his) life doesn’t mirror art at all. A lot of people are saying that this is Keaton’s role of a lifetime, and given the meta-ness of it all, I agree with them. Keaton got a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal, and I hope he wins, come Oscar night.

[Maybe next time, BC.]

Norton almost steals the show as Mike Shiner, a renowned but asshole-ish theatre actor that you get a kick out of watching and eventually sympathise with because Norton manages to make him both likeable and vulnerable. Quite a number of the film’s comic moments come from Norton, and he’s spot on as Mike, which makes me wonder whether Norton was chosen given his own reputation for being difficult when it comes to artistic integrity.

[On that note, my crush on Ed Norton has been renewed.]

There is a sense of impending tragedy in the last part of the film. The first two instances were interspersed with random humour that succeeded in creating some levity, but turned out to be false alarms and left me still on the edge of my seat because I’m rooting for Riggan to pull himself together and make it through the film. The movie ends with the last instance, which is on a positive note, although it’s highly Inception-vague.

This is a movie that requires your full attention, and I blame the single-camera system. Having at least two people on the same screen at the same time all the time means that you may not be able to appreciate fully the performances of the actors on screen because you’d only be looking at one (usually the one talking) and not the other.

Do watch (a few times).

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Saturday, January 17, 2015

OMG, BC got an Oscar nom!

Translation for first part is: Oh my glob, Benedict Cumberbatch got an Oscar nomination!

Congratulations, Ben!

And congratulations, Michael Keaton! I'm rooting for the both of you!!

[But I'm rooting for BatmanMichael Keaton more.]

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Another Avengers trailer!!

More subdued, but hey.



I honestly can't tell what from what, so it's a bit difficult to get excited. Maybe the blistering heat (I'm not outside but I can feel it through my walls!) is getting to me.

The video comments tell me the movie has leaked. Must... refrain... self... from... Googling...

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

2015 Movie List,

and it's not very long because most of them don't interest me.

[Toldja I'd use the comma.]

  1. Marvel's The Avengers: Age of Ultron - May 1st
  2. Ant Man - July 17th
  3. The Fantastic Four - August 7th
  4. Peanuts - November 6th
  5. Inferno - December 18th
  6. Star Wars: The Force Awakens - December 18th
No, the Avengers is not number one because it's my number one movie to watch, it's because there surprisingly wasn't anything interesting (to me) to watch before May 1.

Also, methinks Inferno is oblivious to Star Wars.

I have only six(!!) movies to watch, this year. Like usual, links lead to trailers on YouTube. I can't believe almost half of these movies don't have trailers yet. Whut.

So, six movies mean six reviews, which would be one less than what I achieved (so far) last year. Must... adhere... to... publishing... weekend reviews....

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Man Of Steel (2013)

[You might be thinking that I’m waiting for Batman vs. Superman so that I can do a double feature, but no. Since it’s been a long while (two years!), my recollection of the film's plot in some parts mightn’t be accurate.]

(Probably) in line with the Nolan Batman movies, Zack Snyder gives us a more logical approach to the mythology, in that Lois actually finds out who Superman is first (and without any fanfare), so when Clark finally goes to work for the Daily Planet at the end of the film, it’s like nudgenudgewinkwink.

[Which makes far more sense, really, because how can you not recognize someone just because he took off his glasses.]

The first hour or so of the movie is surprisingly subdued, focusing more on Clark finding about his heritage, and flashbacks to when he was growing up. Far from the rosy childhood that we all thought he had (as rather implied from the Christopher Reeves’ films), I was stunned when Jonathan Kent chooses to die in a tornado rather than to let Clark reveal his powers to save him.

[I teared up at that scene.]

I was also surprised to see Jor-El have more direct involvement (having grown up with Marlon Brando’s disembodied head) with things, especially in the scenes where Zod has taken over Supes’ Kryptonian ship and was using it as a base of operations

It’s a bit of a frenetic mess in the last hour, with full-blown CGI and a slightly short-lived death match between Supes and Zod, but in Zack Snyder’s hands, well, I can still see what’s what, who’s who and where’s where.

I also don’t get why everyone got worked up about Supes killing Zod. Yes, Supes doesn’t kill people (he doesn’t even lobotomise), but in this instance, Supes didn’t have a choice – Zod was going to obliterate those people with his heat vision. And I understand Supes’ pain/agony about his decision, because Zod is the last of his kind (that he knows about) and by killing him, Supes will be the last of the Kryptonians.

Man of Steel is certainly a step-up from the really boring Superman Returns, but tries to over-compensate the lack of action in the latter with far too much destruction and city-levelling in the final hour. I mean, there’s barely any city left at the end.

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2014: So Many Movies, So Little Reviews.

I saw quite a bit of movies on TV as well, so it and cinema seem to blur together (because I didn't get a chance to draft-post my TV movies).

  1. I, Frankenstein
  2. The Lego Movie
  3. Robocop
  4. 300: Rise of an Empire
  5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  6. The Amazing Spider-man 2
  7. Godzilla
  8. X-Men: Days of Future Past
  9. Maleficient
  10. Transformers: Age of Extinction
  11. Guardians of the Galaxy
  12. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  13. The Expendables 3
  14. Sin City: A Dame to Die For
  15. Dumb and Dumber To
Apart from those on-list, I also saw The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies and The Monkey King, and after excluding #2, #9, #12 and #14, I saw an overall total of 13 movies in 2014.

[I would make a quip about watching 14 movies in 2015, but wait till you see my post on 2015 movies.]

Out of these 13 movies, I've completed seven reviews (links on the names - the rest to come later), which is rather surprising (to me) because I thought that number would be a lot lower.

This makes me slightly elated.

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Friday, January 2, 2015

2014: Resolutions I Didn't Even Renew.

So it's presumed that my resolutions for 2014 are the same as 2013's, since I didn't even draw up a list.

Out of my 20134 resolutions, I think I managed to make time to watch films.

Other than that, I bombed my other resolutions.

As recent readers would know, I've already drawn up my 2015 resolution last year, so I'm not gonna double post on that.

[I keep linking back to that post because the picture is so cute. Bite-size one to the right ->]

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