OVERVIEW: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Regency Enterprises invite audiences to take flight with a New Regency / M Productions / Le Grisbi production, BIRDMAN or (THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE) – winner of two Golden Globes® Awards and 9 Academy Awards nominations, including Best Picture, the critically-acclaimed film soars onto Blu-ray™ and DVD February 17 and is now available on Digital HD™. “Daring, devastating, and howlingly funny; [with] Michael Keaton delivering the best performance of his career” (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone), BIRDMAN has been hailed as one of the most exciting and talked about films of 2014.
Featured on over 168 Top Ten lists, BIRDMAN has garnered attention worldwide and has received more than 200 nominations from such esteemed groups as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, receiving nine Academy Award nominations, including “Best Picture,” won two Golden Globe awards (“Best Performance by an Actor,” “Best Screenplay”), recipient of the Darryl F. Zanuck, Producer of the Year Award for Best Motion Picture as well as a Screen Actors Guild award (“Best Ensemble,”) and has also been nominated for six Spirit Awards, including “Best Feature.”) BIRDMAN has also earned nods from the American Film Institute, the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Online.
SYNOPSIS: Directed, written and produced by Alejandro González Iñárritu, BIRDMAN tells the story of Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton), (Batman, Robocop, Need For Speed) – famous for portraying an iconic superhero – as he struggles to mount a Broadway play. In the days leading up to opening night, he battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career, and himself. The film has enamoured critics and audiences alike with its technical achievements using a single shot concept and captivating performances from an all-star ensemble cast, which include Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover, Due Date, Dinner for Schmucks), Edward Norton (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Primal Fear, American History X), Andrea Riseborough (Oblivion, Shadow Dancer), Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone, Win Win), Emma Stone (The Help; Crazy, Stupid, Love, The Amazing Spiderman franchise) Naomi Watts (St. Vincent, The Impossible, King Kong) as well as breath-taking cinematography from Academy Award-winner Emmanuel
I think there’s an interesting argument that this flick, presents. It’s an argument about acting versus celebrity, about fame versus art, about truth in performance versus lies in life. However, in my humble opinion, the argument would probably be better served in some sorta essay or print media. In fact this flick feels like it was adapted from an essay, in that it’s a movie where characters walk around declaring who they are, what they represent and what the movie is about. It’s as if the group of writers on the movie (Alejandro González Iñárritu [Babel, 2006], Nicolás Giacobone Alexander Dinelaris, Jr., Armando Bo) decided that they didn’t have time to write a movie, so they wrote a script about putting together a stage play (Actors playing the part of stage actors – how annoying!?!). Consequently, the final product clearly shows that this writing collaboration is an absolute failure in it of its own. So much so that it is very much an overdone confusing piece of art.
Michael Keaton (Need for Speed, 2014) does a reasonable job as the main character, Riggan Thomson, performing on his own work as “Birdman.” However, he’s not great, and as the central performer in a movie where everybody’s going on and on about performance and truth he never gives a completely honest moment; This, despite the constant bombardment of up close facial expression shots, showing every wrinkle and sunspot on the aging actor’s leathery-skin. Fellow ex-superhero Edward Norton (The Grand Budapest Hotel, 2014) fares a little better, playing a heightened version of him-self, though he’s always behind a thin cover of phoniness. On the other hand, the actor giving the best performance in this movie and would stand up to the movie’s own standards of acting is Emma Stone (The Amazing Spider-Man 2, 2014); her eyes so big I sometimes wondered if they had been CGI augmented. Stone is raw and alive on screen, infusing a painful and youthfully awkward character with true life need for immediacy of attention (the junkie daughter of the washed up movie star).
Here’s the problem with the writing in this flick: It’s not entirely clear how serious the movie is being with these performances. The film is, on many levels, a dark satire of the arts, and it’s the kind of satire where it’s never quite clear if things are meant to be weird or mal-adjusted or simply off. To that end, if in fact one is an avid fan of works done by Woody Allen or 2010’s Black Swan then this is definitely right up that alley, but if one is hoping to find fun, interesting and modern storytelling, then this is certainly not the movie to look toward. It has too much of a Shakespearian element to be considered interesting, too little character development on the supporting characters and an absolutely awful excuse for a movie score (of which is borderline down right annoying). Two and a half stars out of five is probably my way of giving the movie some credit for effort toward art. However, having said this, I would not rush out to theaters to see this flick unless I had an elderly “performance-arts” grandmother who would probably appreciate what the movie is trying to achieve in that arena.
By Movi-Man Stan
The film is
presented in widescreen in a 2.35:1 aspect ration preserving its
theatrical format. The picture is just flawless. Not only the
picture looks great in this release, also the sound it is good,
a 5.1 Dolby Digital in English that provides a good complement
to the picture. It also includes English,
and Spanish subtitles.
Widescreen (2.35:1) 16x9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Descriptive Audio 5.1
Spanish Surround Dolby Digital 2.0
French Surround Dolby Digital 2.0
English SDH, Spanish, French
Blu-ray™ unleashes the power of your HDTV and is the best way to watch movies at home, featuring 6X the picture resolution of DVD, exclusive extras and theater-quality surround sound.
DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet™ lets fans watch movies anywhere on their favorite devices. Users can instantly stream or download.
A Conversation with Michael Keaton and Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Gallery: Chivo’s On-Set Photos