The Incredible Performances, Total Confusion, and Zero Apologies of Birdman

Could Iñárritu's Latest Be a Huge Ball of Ambition Wrapped Around Nothing?

Comments

1
One of the best part of Birdman is it makes a very good argument for critics being hacks that don't risk anything.
2
I actually thought Galifianakis held his own.
3
Great movie; thoroughly enjoyable



But when did Keaton morph into Jon Voight?
4
he flubs lines

This is so silly. If he "flubbed" a line, the director would have addressed it. Galifianakis is actually a very respected actor, among other actors. Among writers with opinions about movies, maybe not so much.

But suggesting that he "flubbed" a line is so ignorant of acting and film making, I'm surprised the assertion is in the review. Because the author certainly did flub that sentence.
5
@4: The way Iñárritu chose to shoot this film required some intricately choreographed and very long takes, and the director himself has said that in some cases this limited the number of takes that could be shot.

I haven't seen Birdman yet, but I can absolutely imagine a "flub" (or more likely just a less-than-stellar line delivery) making it into the finished film, if the take containing it were otherwise the best take. Line flubs and continuity errors and accidental reflections of crew members and liquid splashing on the lens has made it into complicated shots in films by any number of top-tier directors. The hope is that if enough elements coalesce well enough to fully absorb the viewer, then one's mind will be predisposed not to notice minor mistakes. But sometimes one still does.
6
@5, one of the themes that keeps coming up again and again throughout the movie is that of giving an honest performance. Of not "acting" but being the character. In that sense (and I did catch a couple of times when Galifianakis delivered a perhaps less-than-perfect line), Galifianakis actually gave a superior performance. Rather than being actorly, he actually delivered the lines as if a real human would, tripping over his words a bit through the emotion he was experiencing. The other actors might have delivered cleaner lines, but I think Galifianakis' performance was just fine in its own way.
7
Is it really "it so postmodern" Paul Constant? That sounds a little pretentious on your behalf. I think you I and have different definitions of what postmodern means and when to use it. Yes, I could just open a new tab and get the definition and look it up myself. Or do it like we did it when we were kids and find a dictionary. There I had to write these latter two sentences AND this one just to keep us from having a thought process orgy of diabolical proportions. Back to my critical review of your critic review.
Postmodern film(or art for that matter). What is postmodern? Some say the Seattle Central Library. When does the title of postmodernist for something end? When something is postmodern, to me-it means something that is from the future, could not be theoretically made, but engineered into something that fits the present. Usually you end up with something-like the downtown library.
Yes, it is from the human mind that this image was manifested and then created into a living thing. Happens all the time. Recording film that seemed like it was recorded nonstop is not postmodern. It is a master filmmaker with master tricks of the trade. One minute of film or thirty minutes of film, to me is the same thing. Splice and dice, cut the film strip and tape those bad boys up.
Postmodernism keeps us alive. It keeps things interesting and dazzles the eyes. Film, architecture, painting-it all works. Bolsheviks wanted present proletariat art shown to it's people and the world to show what is here and what is now. The struggle that binds us. It can be done with postmodern tendencies, but you end with something too complicated, too many zig zag lines, and too much head bending.
We need postmodern as much as we need Tarantino. See the conflict even with postmodern and Tarantino.
Paul, you may have been looking for the word avant-garde instead of postmodern. Cheerio.
8
@7, you should probably just go look up what postmodern means.
9
When I read this review, I thought it was fucking right on! On every aspect. Now after reading these comments I'm not as sure, but I'm still going to stick with my original impression. Fucking right on!
10
When I read this review, I thought it was fucking right on! On every aspect. Now after reading these comments I'm not as sure, but I'm still going to stick with my original impression. Fucking right on!
11
This is one of the most interesting and inventive films I've seen in ages. Ages, I say.
12
Jude Fawley, you're an idiot. A word is still just a word. I've looked up postmodern many times, sometimes just for fun(oh my god). I feel you don't have the sense of interpretation. Black is black. White is white. If I saw the color red and said it was purple, would you tell me to look up red? 5000 years from now, when they dig up our computers, they're not going to say, wow look at this new shit. I do and I don't know what postmodern means. Instead of telling me to go look it up, why don't you tell me what it means, since you seem to know everything. You are the quintessential passive aggressive person this town doesn't need anymore. Go look it up. That's all you got. Did you read my comment. I clearly stated I know what postmodern means by using the downtown library as an example. I do not have a profound and deliberate idea to what postmodern means. You seem to think a compound word is simply self explanatory.
13
@12 I might have misunderstood your post, but I did read it. It seemed to me that you did not want to look up "postmodern", yet you didn't know what it meant. Quote: "When something is postmodern, to me-it means something that is from the future, could not be theoretically made, but engineered into something that fits the present." I don't think that this matches the general meaning of the term, or maybe I just don't understand what you are saying.

Thus, I suggested you review the standard definition before critiquing it's use in this review, which I think was a pretty standard usage.

I would summarize the term "postmodern" as "self-referential". Based on Paul's summary (I have not seen the movie), the movies is self-referential, and thus, "postmodern": Example 1) Michael Keaton (best known for playing Batman in the 90s) plays an actor who is best known for playing a superhero in the 90s. Example 2) "Birdman" sounds like "Batman" and stars the star of "Batman". These are self-referential because anyone who knows about movies will not be able to avoid seeing the connection between "Batman" and "Birdman", and it is apparently intentional.

By the way, you need to develop a thicker skin, like Batman.

Or maybe you are making a clever, post-modern parody. Your suggestion that I am a "quintessential passive aggressive person this town doesn't need anymore" sounds like a reference to Batman kicking the villains out of Gotham!

Have a good day (seriously).
14
Oh my goodness Jude Fawley. I apologize. I don't think of you as an idiot. Now I think of you as a pretentious know-it-all. You're obviously well educated in the film arena. Well good for you.



You say the review usage of postmodern was standard. That's the thing. Why does everything have to be postmodern now? I love the term, but it's used so much today and so recklessly. What next-a latte, nightclub or a bike line that is postmodern?



When you say standard usage, postmodern becomes just modern.



Postmodern should be explicitly used for architecture and philosophy. It could also have relevance to art and music. Films, can be ahead of it's time too.



You say the connection to Batman and Birdman is self referential and that makes it postmodern. NO! It makes it a good storyline. It's been done before. You just love Batman and Michael Keaton and soon Birdman(which I haven't seen as well). My critique being on the over usage of the word postmodern.



After I see Birdman, I will probably think what a great film. Not postmodern. The Matrix(1999) was not postmodern. It was based on information we already knew. The cameras used, cinematography, and stunts were merely innovative. Blink. Things just don't happen over night.



I need thicker skin. What does that mean(rhetorical question)? That description is really out of date.



Oh, you mean like when UW students throw coins at people at a bus stop and don't do shit. Except me, who tried to fight back for the innocent woman who was a target and the men and women who boarded and looked at me like I was crazy. That thick skin. Sure, ok I'll just sit back and enjoy the show. Your description of a villain is probably a little different than mine.



I know you, Jude Fawley, will not let people run over you-but Jude Fawley, don't let people run over you in real life. Try and be a wolf more. We need more. Bahahahahahah.