I REALLY want to give this movie a perfect rating. I really do, but there are so many things I had issues with, despite my fascination with this film.
The acting in Birdman is fantastic. Keaton deserves at least a nomination for Best Actor, if not a win. His duality between humanism and “super-humanism” is truly fascinating to watch. The supporting cast is great, especially Edward Norton, who plays an unpredictable method actor. Also, the editing is phenomenal.
However, this movie relies on “coolness.” There are really interesting decisions made by the director (the camerawork, the score, the lighting), but none of these decisions add anything to the themes of the film. They are simply done as cool gimmicks; I had similar complaints with Inarritu’s use of non-linear editing in 21 Grams. Despite my nitpicking, I still got a kick out of watching these weird decisions. And that’s Birdman.
Oh wait. Just kidding. There’s more.
This film has no central theme. Things are scattered around and glanced over, but there is no connection or correlation between these themes; they are merely presented.
However, these are simply little nitpicks. Birdman is actually a really enjoying watch, even if there are quite a few glaring flaws.
American Hustle is a hustle itself; it conned its audience in believing it was something substantive. Russell doesn’t pay tribute to the techniques of Scorsese or Paul Thomas Anderson, he straight up rips them off, but he’s not clever enough to employ the same subtleties or nuances that both directors have mastered. At first glance, American Hustle is a more restrained and deeper film than Wolf of Wall Street or Boogie Nights. On closer look, American Hustle is a copy-cat devoid of any heart or brain. Just a carefully created rouse to fool people.
Due to the absence of any character development (backstory doesn’t count as character development), the acting in American Hustle is awfully directed, so that each scene feels like a sketch. Most notable are the scenes between Christian Bale, Amy Adams, and Bradley Cooper. These are all fine actors. But Russell gives them no real direction and they participate in his self indulgent fantasy sketches. Jennifer Lawrence is horribly miscast in a role that really has no reason to exist. In real life, there was no mob threat. So, every scene she’s in is pointless and her accent is awful. I almost walked out during the scene she dances to “Live and Let Die.”
The only reason I’m giving this 2.5 stars rather than 1 is because of two things. 1) Louis CK is in it 2) Jeremy Renner’s performance. The only performance that is not sketchy and all-over-the-place is Jeremy Renner’s. The audience is actually interested in his motives and his goals, thus leading to his downfall to be tragic. Renner is the saving grace of the film. This is ironic because he is the only actor from the film that nobody gushed over at Awards season. I have no idea why not.
While I definitely like this more than Silver Linings Playbook, I still find it an extremely empty and hollow experience. David O. Russell is a hack.
Hey, remember when I posted my favorite movies on here? And then I posted them again? And again? And again?
Well guess what? I’m doing it again.
This time, I edited a supercut of the films from 100 to 1. To summarize, my taste has changed. I am more a fan of the subversive and the irreverent. I am somewhat of a contrarian, but I also love the classics. But, I still have love for mainstream feel-good flicks. I love both the art-house and the blockbuster. Movies are movies.
These 100 films are not carefully constructed. I’ve tinkered with this list for a few years now. After updating it to this video, I’m pretty happy with where it is now. Or rather, I’m as happy as I’ll ever be.
List of films (from 100 to 1):
Putney Swope (1969)
Le Plaisir (1952)
The Fisher King (1991)
Where the Wild Things Are (2009)
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Raising Arizona (1987)
Vengeance is Mine (1979)
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Oslo, August 31st (2011)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Ashes & Diamonds (1958)
The Long Goodbye (1973)
Evil Dead 2 (1987)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Punch Drunk Love (2002)
Die Hard (1988)
Miller’s Crossing (1990)
La Jetee (1962)
Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
Boogie Nights (1997)
Paris, Texas (1984)
Chungking Express (1994)
No Country for Old Men (2007)
The King of Comedy (1983)
The Sacrifice (1986)
Synecdoche, New York (2008)
The Thing (1982)
The Master (2012)
Mulholland Drive (2001)
The Graduate (1967)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)