BIRDMAN saved by the drum

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Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is a 2014 American dark comedy Wiki writes.      Comedy?

Whatever you do, consider your frame of mind before you watch this sad, getting sadder film. Keaton plays a faded Hollywood actor famous for his superhero role struggling to mount a Broadway adaptation of a Raymond Carver story. (Wiki)
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don’t care how many people like Birdman which is listed as a favorite this year with 9 Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Director, Actor. No doubt about Michael Keaton winning Best Actor (though my choice would be Bradley Cooper!!).  Nominations also for Best Supporting Actor Ed Norton who is always tops, and a stirring role played by Emma Stone, up for Best Supporting Actress. That doesn’t rule out other nominees for me. Not this year.

The problem I had with the film was, when it was over, I knew I didn’t want to see it again—that’s my test of a good film. While the storyline is valid, an older actor trying to find extend his fame when he played Birdman, causes him to miss the, what I consider, the finer things in life. His daughter would like to enjoy him and his wife would not have left if he could get over his “Birdman” role in his life. One does not have to be an actor, even a successful actor, to understand his feelings—or theirs.

Yes, the acting is superb. Yes, the filming is fantastic. But, for me the theme of the story was YUCK. And it led to more of the same. What I did enjoy was the soundtrack!   Antonio Sanchez use of drums kept my attention. However, Wiki writes: On January 7, 2014, Antonio Sánchez was set to compose the music for the film.[12] The soundtrack album was released on October 14, 2014.[13]It was later disqualified for the Academy Award for Best Original Score, due to the ratio of classical music to original score.[14] 

WHAT?  Listen to Sanchez!

Rotten Tomatoes, gave it a rating of 92% based on 251 reviews, with an average rating of 8.5/10. The site’s critical consensus states: “A thrilling leap forward for director Alejandro González

How Sanchez will fare with his soundtrack will tell all.

GONE GIRL reminds him of “Misery”

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Every once in a while a film comes along like GONE GIRL that grabs my attention and, better, keeps it. Typical of director David Fincher (The Game, Fight Club) to do this with a film adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s 2012 novel of the same name.

The surprise for me in this marriage gone bad story was the terrific acting by Ben Affleck as husband Nick Dunne. Nick comes home on the day of his 5th anniversary to find his wife Amy, beautifully played by Rosamund Pike, is missing. What follows is attention by the press becausedetail.22774506 of “amazing” Amy’s fame. The media is suspecting Nick murdered her because of sociopathic tendencies. Amy’s ability to manipulate others to a kind of submission leads to some bizarre behavior. A couple of scenes for us were pretty rough to watch (blood and sex), surely not a surprise to those who read Flynn’s book.

“Misery,” my husband Mike whispered, “this is like Kathy Bates in Misery, quirky and suspenseful.”   Misery  was Stephen King’s 1987 psychological thriller and a 1990 film directed by Rob Reiner. Wow. In fact, Mike didn’t know it then but Bates won the Academy Award for Best Actress for that role. Pike may do the same.

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I won’t be reading Flynn’s book even with some compelling comments from friends. Director Fincher’s style was my attraction to see the film. The movie had great casting and was riveting. That was enough “Amazing Amy” for me.

Gone Girl had a budget of $61 million and box office of $365 million and counting. The film received positive reviews with  Rotten Tomatoes giving an approval rating of 88%, based on 280 reviews, with a rating average of 8/10.  List of accolades received by Gone Girl (film). Regardless of the films wins or losses by the Academy, it’s a winner with its audiences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTERSTELLAR is no “Close Encounters”

About Interstellar: Please don’t make me see it again to see if I missed something (like havingth-1 another tooth drilled for the experience). Only this: I enjoyed the soundtrack, naturally, because I am a fan of Hans Zimmer–he has done no wrong. But, my husband Mike said: Now you know how much I love you–I didn’t leave. And leave others did.

Interstellar, a 2014 science fiction film directed by Christopher Nolan, starring Matthew McConaughey, and Michael Caine disappointed us in more than one way. Astronauts travel through a wormhole searching for help for humanity. Lucky you if you could understand McConaughey’s easy drawl—I couldn’t. Quite frankly, even if I did, I don’t know that I would care.

The film had a whopping budget of $165 million and so far box office is $662.5 million. Maybe you will want to see it for yourself to decide.   Not me. I honestly don’t care if it is the tenth highest-grossing film of 2014.[91] According to Wiki, “Interstellar is the fourth film to gross over $100 million worldwide from IMAX ticket sales. It trails AvatarThe Dark Knight Rises and Gravity in total IMAX box office revenue.[92][93][94]

Wiki reports that “Screenwriter Jonathan Nolan was hired by Spielberg to write a scriptth for Interstellar, and he worked on it for four years.[6] To learn the science, he studied relativity at the California Institute of Technology while writing the script.” WOW, all that and I’m looking in space at a view of nothingness when suddenly Matt Damon appears. I don’t think so.

HOWEVER, Interstellar has at the 87th Academy Awards, received five nominations including Best Original Score. It is the winner of the Golden Globe Best Original Score Hans Zimmer along with several other Best Score awards. Zimmer is amazing.

I got a kick out of this:

Zimmer also said that director, Christopher Nolan, did not provide him a script or any plot details for writing music for the film and instead gave the composer “one page of text” that “had more to do with [Zimmer’s] story than the plot of the movie”.[43] Nolan has stated that he said to Zimmer: “I am going to give you an envelope with a letter in it. One page. It’s going to tell you the fable at the center of the story. You work for one day, then play me what you have written”, and that he embraced what Zimmer composed. Zimmer conducted 45 scoring sessions for Interstellar, which was three times more than for Inception.” (Wiki)

By the time the film was wrapping up, (spoiler!) whether he saw his aged daughter, was superfluous to me. I was glad it was over. Maybe it will be better as a TV show. We’ll see. But believe me, Interstellar was no Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).

 

 

 

 

INTO THE WOODS IS ANYTHING BUT GRIM(M)

Director Ron Marshall with Into the Woods cast.

Director Ron Marshall with Into the Woods cast.

News that Into the Woods celebrated the biggest opening weekend ever for a movie adapted from a Broadway musical must have director Rob Marshall celebrating once more. Marshall was also the director of Academy Award winning Chicago (2002).

 

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I loved Into the Woods as a play with memorable quotes/music/lyrics the first time I saw it. Like so many movie aficionados, I couldn’t wait for it to open on the big screen and it didn’t disappoint. Casting and costuming with Disney settings made this fairy-tale themed musical an easy candidate as an Oscar nominee.

Yes, expect to laugh out loud as the witch, Red Riding Hood, a wolf and a couple of princes learn life’s lessons the hard way.  Though the woods are eerie and dark, the characters are anything but grim (yes, pun intended). So, don’t be surprised if you start humming the tunes next time your off “to grandmother’s house.”