I’ve made an attempt to avoid any sort of spoilers in my review. I simply explain its strengths at a distance and, in my opinion, its one major weakness. Having said that, I recommend you see this movie with no presuppositions. Even the few small things I mention here should be seen as simply one critic’s opinion. See it with an open mind. To begin: this is not a superhero movie. I purposely did not use a mock Birdman as an image for my post. Instead I used Michael Keaton in his underwear because metaphorically, this is what you get. I feel bad for the kids that may pay to go see this expecting a gritty sort of superhero that mimics the likes of Batman. This is not a lower Batman, this is a lower person and the anatomy of his breakdown. It just so happens that in this man’s life, he played a “Birdman” in a set of sequels. It doesn’t matter to the point. Birdman is a firing of brain cells in the mind of an actor who has wasted his life living for appearances and not for reality. In his words, he “has not been present” for his life. We can all get some good lessons from this movie. It portrays men as egotistical and highly capable of getting what they want at any cost. It portrays women as victims who men fail to support time and time again. The male brain is sinister at times and women find this sad. In fact, the audience is meant to find it sad. At the bottom right of Riggan’s (character played by Michael Keaton) mirror he has a quote taped on that reads: “The thing is the thing, not what is said about the thing.” Could there be an application to social media? To “getting off the grid?” Maybe. You as a viewer decide to what degree.
There is also a dream element that has already been touched on all over the internet so I won’t get too into it. There is a lot about the brain but not in the way you might think. Some see the film as a death bed reflection, others see it as part dream and part brain firing. I do not feel that this movie was meant to be understood. It was meant to be enjoyed and talked about but never fully understood. One thing I noticed that didn’t seem real was when Riggan pulled a cocktail napkin out of his wallet, showing his daughter Sam (Emma Stome) it’s significance to the play. Raymond Carver had signed it for his while he was in a bar with his dad. I din’t know about you, but receipts in my wallet start to disintegrate after a few months. I thought it was bad writing at the time but now I see it could be part of a dream or trick of the brain at time of death. Perhaos the whole movie is that.
You keep waiting throughout the film for it to make sense but it really isn’t until you’ve seen the entirety of it that you can start to form opinions on what just happened. Hallucinations permeate the film so it’s hard to see what’s really going on. I think in the end, the psychiatrists will have the best read of this film. Go see Birdman if you want to see a creative and beautifully filmed movie. It might also appeal to you that Michael Keaton, Zach Galafinakis, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, and Emma Stone are in it. The acting drew me in like a moth to a light. It was a highly enjoyable movie experience but you have to be willing to fill in the mortar between the bricks. Once again, don’t assume it’s about a superhero. The title is extremely misleading. There is a man in a suit but he is the voice in Keaton’s head that tells him things. He isn’t real. He is, in fact, in the movie only about 10 minutes total. Ok, I’ve said enough about that. This is not a superhero film. I feel it leaves too much up to the imagination. It reminded me of the acclaimed Enemy movie that way. Perhaps the director got to close to the material and forgot the audience couldn’t get the ending. It needed to be explained more. For that reason I think a lot of people will be frustrated with this movie. I know I was. It could have said so much more about “being present” in ones life and social media and art and theater. Instead, it tries too hard to be spooky and vague and achieves it, which is also fun when you’re out at the movies. This is at the cost of a star. I give it 4/5.
I wasn’t pleased with this one but it didn’t suck either. It might be argued the director’s goals were too interstellar. Let me say that my review here is short and does not include much that would spoil the movie plot. I tried to not give anything big away, but I digress. Like many people I was duped by the advertising into thinking it was the next “Gravity.” I guess that’s because they show space and space-suits in the commercials. It’s more akin to Contact, another space movie that also starred Matthew McConaughey. Contact, however, was based more in spirituality and emotion than space and realism. I liked Gravity for its realism so I was a bit disappointed. Continue reading
I waited a while to review this movie because I had a feeling it would age better in my memory. This movie doesn’t show life before our eyes, it puts us among it. I loved this movie for so many reasons, let me set down a few. This film project took 12 years to complete. The director, Richard Linklater, had a vision of using the same actors over a long period of time. The idea was that is would be good cinema, and it is but not for a whole lot more than that. If the film wasn’t so long, I think more people would have found the aging actors thing stunning. As it is, not many people have seen this movie.
Very disgusting descriptions lie ahead. This is not my typical movie post folks. Words and concepts are intended for a 21+ reading audience only. You’ve been warned.
A lot has been said about this film so I won’t do any detailed summaries or plot criticism. It is decidedly GROSS but I feel there’s something going on in this vile movie that people aren’t talking about. It has to do with taboos and social mores. It’s sort of an interesting take. In a way, there is an intellectual undertone if you look for it. Before you read any further, I’d caution you that this is the most disgusting film I have ever viewed and most definitely NOT for children. I’m writing about it because it is unique and has made a definite impact on the horror movie genre.
Occasionally a movie comes along that you discover accidentally and it completely alters your definition of what a great movie is. Take Shelter is a 2011 movie directed by Jeff Nichols and starring Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, and Shea Whigham. Michael Shannon is the protagonist, an ordinary mid-western American blue collar worker dad and husband. He has a series of “end of the world” visions that include a terrible destructive storm. He is thereby driven to make an underground shelter in his backyard. This becomes more than a man cave, as you might imagine it to be. It is his obsession. He ends up losing his job and the trust of friends and family as he pummels away at this shelter. The shelter itself isn’t fancy, it’s basically an industrial sized waste bin that’s he buries with the help of a “borrowed” backhoe. It’s a downhill journey for him but I kept guessing whether he might be right (like Noah) or just mentally ill. Continue reading
Guardians of the Galaxy is one of those movies made after a popular comic. Therefore, the standard statement from a devout fan will be “you don’t get it unless you read the comic.” Suffice it to say, I don’t read the comic. Despite that, the movie raked in well over 90 million dollars it’s opening weekend and that is nothing to sneeze at. The Summer of 2014 has been lackluster for movies and lower than projected in box office sales. Guardians of the Galaxy will probably fare better than anything, including my personal pick Edge of Tomorrow. But, does box office mojo equal entertainment value? Not always.
This is not specifically for kids. The cute raccoon had me thinking it would be good for young kids. While there is nothing abhorrent in it that might confuse kids, it has long stretched where nothing to engage children happens. It’s a comic book geek movie, not a family/children’s one. It has a goofy protagonist trying to make a living outside the norms of his society. He reminded me of Han Solo. There is a band of characters who are all out to make their own ends meet. They get together and battle an evil force who threatens to destroy all that is good. Comic book anyone? It has some fun throwbacks to 70’s and 80’s music which offsets the space war activity happening throughout. You’ll have to see it to see how they make that work. In conclusion, I was entertained but not blown away. This is another Green Lantern or other recent cgi space action movie. Nothing overly creative or innovative. The box office is being kind now but not so sure the march of time will remember this one so well. I give it 3/5.
I love movies that inspire me. After watching them I feel like I can take on the world. They say those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, usually do. By that logic, movies change the world when they bring out that “craziness” in us that we can make the world better. If you look at history, inspired people have changed the world, even when thought crazy. Here are 14 inspiring movies that I really enjoyed and got inspired enough to write reviews. They are in no particular order or category. I’ve seen many more but these made the publish button. Here they are for your inspiration. For information on them, check out my reviews. For inspiration, I recommend watching them and you will be, guaranteed ;) Got a recommendation? Leave it in the comments, I’ll watch and review it.
I have to tell you about this movie, it’s a breath of fresh air in a 2014 Summer of mostly dull movies. This one flies above the rest. It’s concept is not unique but if you see this movie, you’ll be talking about it for days. It’s a bit like Groundhog day in concept. By that I mean, the same way Bill Murray’s character has to keep reliving the same day over and over again until he gets it right. In this case, the conflict is fighting aliens, and scary ones at that.
We see a funny Tom Cruise for a change. I recently saw “Oblivion” and absolutely loved it. He was the rough and tough sci-fi action hero. In “Edge of Tomorrow” it’s a lot of that but with laugh-a-minute deadpan humor thrown into the mix. Much of this humor consists of Emily Blunt beating him to a pulp to train him day after repeated day: hence the title “Edge of Tomorrow.” I liked this movie for many reasons and therefore highly recommend it. I am going to try and avoid spoilers on this blog because I know a lot of people like to leave the movie a mystery as they watch it unfold. Suffice it to say, the critics of all the major movie sites are saying the same thing I am.
One final note: This is not playing at the Cinemarks in the High Desert where I live. This is a crime! If you want to see it, I recommend heading to an AMC or Regal down the hill. I saw it with my wife at Ontario Mills Mall. Below you’ll see those high scores I was telling you about. Have you seen this film yet? What are your thoughts?
Movies about space always freak me out but documentaries showing real footage are worse! Gravity looks like both. I watched a documentary of the Hubble telescope a few years back and the space walking really had me taken aback. Imaging weightlessness. Now imagine momentum that doesn’t stop! In other words, in space if you start twirling, there is no resistance so you keep going at that same velocity. Gravity makes us all too aware of this law of physics. It also takes us on a terrifying journey to the satellites, unencumbered by the title.
Sandra Bullock is mystifying. She is dedicated to her tasks in space and that keeps us hopeful she may get home. Still, we are reminded by George Clooney and her failed attempts that the ship cannot re-enter the atmosphere. Without giving spoilers, I will say this is a movie you cannot turn your eyes away from. I had the notion it might be boring when I saw the previews: no way man. Besides stellar effects like you have never seen, This is a thriller, adventure, and drama experience. What’s more, it’s all done with only two characters! I highly recommend this flick.
Cyrus is a lot like the film Step Brothers except that it’s serious and the protagonist and antagonist are not family. It’s a simple little story about power and step-parenting. As I say that, please know that the character played by Jonah Hill is no child, he’s 22 years old. John C. Reilly’s character is the interloper. He begins dating a woman almost instantly after meeting her and he finds out he got more than he bargained for with Cyrus. There are indications that he and his mother, played by the beautiful and wondrous Marissa Tomei, are close in an almost unhealthy way. There is no incest but you can tell Cyrus controls his mom. Like many children in single parent situations, he doesn’t want to let her date. The intensity of Reilly and Hill is incredible. It’s not a family movie and when the issues of power are performed on screen, it’s hard to know whether to laugh or shake your head in ridicule. You can see Cyrus is frightened of losing his mom but the fear is just as evident in his mom and the new suitor. Cyrus is not a typical Hollywood comedy, it’s a look at people we know, or people like them anyway. At the parties and weddings, we are participants among the dialog. There is some romance here and it is a good film for date night but I romance is not the backbone. It is simply part of the backdrop. And there is the question of whether the romance is healthy.
Cyrus is entertaining because it starts with a simple premise and develops an amazing script through brilliant, talented actors. It’s not a “la la la” blockbuster film because it is different and simpler than those. I liked it though and I give it a perfect 5/5 because of the raw simple reasons I have stated. It delivers and fulfills what it aims to be: a people study. It’s one of the best movies I’ve watched this Summer. There are no expensive props or CGI. If you’re in the mood for some incredible acting that holds your interest to the credits, watch Cyrus.