Episode 29 - Birdman

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Arthouse cinema is probably one of the last things you'd expect to see recommended on this website. Reason being, that art films rarely offer the sort of entertainment we enjoy. But sometimes, gems like Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers comes along and we get to praise arthouse cinema. And now, there is Birdman.

Birdman stars Michael Keaton as a former Hollywood star made famous by his superhero movies (no shit) who is trying to break into theater on Broadway. He has to put up with pretentious method actors, snobby theater critics who hate his guts, the rocky relationship with his daughter, and the voice in his head (we'll get to that in a moment). Everything is trying to prevent him from succeeding yet he keeps moving towards his goal, or if you will, his doom. The black comedy that permeates the film makes it a rather enjoyable watch despite the grim outlook of the characters.

While this is a layered art movie with heavy symbolism and deep messages, it is not pretentious in the least and does not require a degree in film studies to enjoy. The cinematography is very impressive to look at no matter what kind of films you're into. In particular, most of the movie is presented in what looks like a single continuous shot following the events in real time. It's a thing of beauty to look at, especially thanks to how well the actors nail their performances. A blooper reel of Birdman would probably be fun to watch.

What we enjoy the most about Birdman, unsurprisingly, is its black humor. Much of this stems from the interaction between our protagonist and the evil voice in his head, the voice of the Birdman character, who constantly whines about his fall from grace and gives our hero bad advice. Their banter is a constant source of entertainment, as is our hero's perceived use of telekinetic powers to, among other things, destroy his dressing room in a brilliant sequence that once again is presented as a single, unbroken shot.

Bear in mind that this is a dialog-heavy movie, but don't let it scare you off. The dialog is fluid and enjoyable, things speed up when you least expect it, and the movie keeps you guessing where it's going. Even at the climax where you think you know what's going to happen, chances are, you probably won't, and that's always a good thing.

We could go into more details, but we don't want to spoil the experience. Just trust us when we say that Birdman is a fun flick to watch. Go check it out!

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