Birdman VS Boyhood

Ok... 2 new movies to check off that list. I went straight to the top. Forget this "32 out of 50" crap. I decided to spend a day playing the "National Championship" of movies from 2014. Number One "Boyhood" versus Number Two "Birdman." I have to say, I fully support a much needed playoff system.... because they didn't quite get it right.

BIRDMAN!!
 
"Former cinema superhero Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) is mounting an ambitious Broadway production that he hopes will breathe new life into his stagnant career. It's risky, but he hopes that his creative gamble will prove that he's a real artist and not just a washed-up movie star. As opening night approaches, a castmate is injured, forcing Riggan to hire an actor (Edward Norton) who is guaranteed to shake things up. Meanwhile, Riggan must deal with his girlfriend, daughter and ex-wife."
 
WOW. I loved this movie. I can't say that I would recommend this to just ANYBODY. This movie was WAY more of a personal experience than a story that I enjoyed.
 
I loved the story though. I loved the pace and the style... the acting... and the score. It wasn't the BEST acting I'v seen... nor was it the best score... but it was all done so well. It was so different. Unique. Energizing. Entertaining. Now... there IS a certain fantasy element that I wasn't crazy about but... I can live it. Didn't ruin anything for me.

If you consider yourself an Actor... you need to see this film.
 
If you are an Actor who has lived in New York City for any amount of time... you need to see this film.
 
If you are an actor who who has done any theater of any sort in New York City.... you need to see this film.
 
Even if you're not an actor.... far from it.... very likely you will enjoy this film.
 
Birdman is a series of one take scenes. The camera follows characters down out and around the narrow hallways and small rooms of a Broadway theater as they rehearse and prepare for the opening of play produced, directed and starring Riggan Thompson (Michael Keaton). The characters are constantly on the move.... the camera is constantly on the move... and the this crazy cool jazz drummer who creates almost the entire score... is constantly on the move... literally and figuratively. It's all very "New York." They managed to capture the energy of the city and suit her up.... New York City does a great job filling the "12th Man" role in this movie

I was in a play at The Beckett Theater in NY back in 2007. The play was called LEE/Gendary. It featured an ensemble cast (We all played several different roles throughout) and the way I would describe the story is that it was an abstract rendition of what was going on in the Heart, Soul and Mind Bruce Lee the night of his death.

BIRDMAN is kind of like that.... but less abstract.

BIRDMAN also represents an actors experience. Thats why it really resonated with me... why I was sucked in and enthralled the entire time. If you've ever walked the streets of New York.... went to an audition or two.... stopped somewhere for coffee with a friend... then went to your acting class... then knocked off a performance in a play that night. If you've spent weeks working on a stage production... learning your lines.... rehearsing... dealing with the good and the bad people in your cast and crew... dealing with the good and bad elements of your personal life... carrying around this character that you've been developing... this movie will speak to you a little more directly than your average person.

I thought it was fun. I thought it was inspiring. I really enjoyed this movie.

BOYHOOD on the other hand..... hmmmmmm....

The joys and pitfalls of growing up are seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (Ellar Coltrane), his parents (Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke) and his sister (Lorelei Linklater). Vignettes, filmed with the same cast over the course of 12 years, capture family meals, road trips, birthday parties, graduations and other important milestones. Songs from Coldplay, Arcade Fire and other artists capture the time period. Directed by Richard Linklater.


BOYHOOD was good. It was an impressive ambitious achievement. It was fun to watch the characters grow up. It was kind of like watching some family's home movies or a slide show. But it wasn't THAT great. Definitely shouldn't be number one.... on any list. I really don't see why so many of my friends were RAVING about it on Facebook. Again.... like I said... its GOOD... but I don't really feel the need to sign from the rooftops. The movie is all about "Moments" and how we all evolve and exist based on our own unique series of moments... that make up who we are..... and even though we all have our unique moments... they are all oddly similar.... in one way or another.... which is cool.... sure.

Kristen and I enjoyed it... we laughed out loud when outfits and hair styles and attitudes would change with the seasons. We also found ourselves really FEELING the dramatic turns. Ethan HAWKE was really good in this.... but on a solid performance level.... thats about it.

Patricia Arquette... I don't know.. she started out strong... good attempt to portray a strong female character... but I think she dropped the ball towards the end. Marco Perella played a good villian as the drunk abusive "Next" husband.

I often felt like I was watching a documentary BECAUSE of the lack of quality "performance" I guess it was supposed to be that way? The first half of the movie felt less like that than the second half. I felt like the "actors" in the beginning of this film... of this PROJECT.... 10 or 12 years ago... were giving more to their performances.. and that really showed. I also think that when "Mason" got older... the actor and the character... Linklater started giving him more scenes where he needed to ACT... and he is just not very good...  that became distracting for me.... kind of made me cringe. There were a few other performances in this film that made me cringe.

There was a LOT of cringing in this movie... often it was an elicited response.... a lot of cringing came about because the interactions between the characters and the stories that were unfolding were designed to make us cringe.... like we were re-living a handful of super awkward moments in our own life.

Very Ambitious. Impressive achievement in filmmaking. Interesting. Not the best movie of the year.... not even close.



 

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