Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Reel Facts & Opinions: Everything You Need to Know About BIRDMAN

Now that Awards Season is gaining some momentum, one of the films flying just under the radar is Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s newest film, BIRDMAN. Here is everything you need to know about it…
What is this about? – BIRDMAN (subtitled THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE), is about an actor (played by Michael Keaton) who once played a superhero in the movies, but has struggled to find work since the role ended.

Who is in this? – Michael Keaton, who once thrilled audiences as the Caped Crusader in Tim Burton’s BATMAN films, is joined by Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough (OBLIVION), Emma Stone (ZOMBIELAND), Naomi Watts (KING KONG), and Amy Ryan (GONE BABY GONE).
Who is directing? – BIRDMAN is directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who was the first Mexican director to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director and the Directors Guild of America for Best Director. This feat was accomplished with his Oscar-darling film BABEL (2006). His other credits include 21 GRAMS (2003), and BIUTIFUL (2010).

Random Facts – This is the first leading role for Michael Keaton since 2008 * The film’s camerawork and editing were manipulated to give the appearance that the movie is one continuous long take * The continuous-take work in BIRDMAN is helped along by famed cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who did similar work in Alfonso Cuaron’s CHILDREN OF MEN (2006) and GRAVITY (2013). Lubezki has also worked on Terrence Malick’s THE TREE OF LIFE (2011), and THE NEW WORLD (2005) * Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, and Emma Stone have all played comic-book characters in their careers * Keaton, Norton, Amy Ryan, and Naomi Watts have all been nominated for Oscars in their careers * BIRDMAN won four awards at the 71st Venice International Film Festival this year.
What to expect? – BIRDMAN is listed as a black comedy, so right away expect some darkness with a fair amount of laughs. Michael Keaton has proven in the past that he has some serious range; the guy can go from funny to dramatic to batshit crazy in the blink of an eye…and with this being his first time in the spotlight in six years, expect him to give it his all. The geek-side of this story (Keaton playing an actor who once played a superhero on film), is the most interesting. BIRDMAN feels a little auto-biographical, as Keaton never really did maintain his A-lister status after his BATMAN role ended. You honestly have to wonder if BIRDMAN could have been a post-mortem BATMAN film if the rights could have been attained. Either way, this seems like a very brave role for Keaton to take, and this Blogger can’t wait to see what he does with it.

BIRDMAN or (THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE) reaches wide-release October 23rd.


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