What lies ahead is an unedited jumble of words, thrown onto a blank sheet of paper late at night after seeing a movie. Enjoy at your own risk.
I just got home from seeing the film that will win Best Picture at the Academy Awards in two-and-a-half months time.
I don’t care that there are still several worthy films still to come (or, rather, films that think they’re worthy, like what I imagine Ben Affleck’s Live By Night thinks of itself, so it pushes for a limited release on Christmas 2016, but isn’t released wide until January 13, 2017, so it obviously cares but like, sorry, Ben, you already got your Oscar and you have yet to prove you deserve another one so moving on…). La La Land will win Best Picture. You can quote me. You can etch that quote into my grave stone if you want. There’s no way a film that is this dazzling and grand, while also playing to the Old Guard so well through its musical numbers and interest in exploring Hollywood culture itself doesn’t win.
It’s just too bad I think it’s only just a good movie.
With the Academy Awards upcoming on February 22nd, ‘More Critical’ hopes to review the 8 films nominated for Best Picture. We will look more closely at why each particular movie might not be deserving of film’s highest credential.
Birdman is unquestionably ambitious and undeniably accomplishes its visual goal: to present itself in a single take. From a filmmaking standpoint, this achievement needs to be celebrated. Furthermore, Birdman does not sacrifice aesthetics for the effect, as Hitchcock’s Rope (1948)––another one-take project––arguably did. Due to the contemporary era’s mastery of handheld camera technology, in comparison, the Master of Suspense’s thriller looks, at best, like a play whose set is too wide for the stage. Alejandro González Iñárritu so meticulously lights and frames Birdman, that the amount of thought put into every motion must have been immense.
From a storytelling point of view, the single take promotes a pressurized, claustrophobic environment, trapping the viewer in the world of a lone theater alongside the film’s protagonist, Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton). Birdman filters everything through its main character, as the audience emotes, acts and evolves with him. Without room to breathe, the only way to escape the film’s world is to stand and walk out of one’s own theater. Continue reading “Academy Awards Preview: Best Picture Nominee ‘Birdman’”