Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, John Perich, and Matthew Wrather overthink contemporary prestige pictures, including Inherent Vice, Birdman, and TAK3N.[audio:http://podone.noxsolutions.com/launchpod/overthinkingit/mp3/otip341.mp3]
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- Question of the week: What shoudl get taken in Taken 4?
- Taken 4: Double Takin’
- Adjusting for Ticket Price Inflation
- Inherent Vice
- Thomas Pynchon
- Every Frame a Painting
- Commedia dell’arte and lazzi on Wikipedia
- Thomas Pynchon Names
Taken 4: Manhattan
Taken 5: Berlin
For me the purpose of making Birdman appear to be all in one shot was to give its transitions the feeling of theatre transitions. The camera moves off of some characters and then onto those same characters in different clothes in a slightly different place, and we understand from dialogue that several days have passed, but there was never any cut in the camera. In the theatre we accept stuff like this all the time, when characters walk from one side of the stage to the other during a lighting change, and clearly it’s now six weeks later, and our gaze was never broken. I loved the stage-play feeling it gave to the movie, and it was actually nice to see a movie with extremely long takes that actually felt motivated, as opposed to just showing off.
The ending…yes. For pretty much the whole third act I was hoping they didn’t end it with the lazy ambiguous maybe-magic-maybe-suicide cop out, and it was a disappointment when they did. But I loved the rest of it so much that I was able to forgive that for the most part. I couldn’t come up with a better ending at any rate, not that that guarantees this ending was the proper one.
Some other things I liked:
The significance of Michael Keaton’s character to his actual life is pretty clear, but Edward Norton’s character was SO funny. Besides the fact that he was also played a hollywood superhero, his reputation for often stealing control of the films he’s a part of translated beautifully into the douchebag-Brando-wannabe actor, who is a kind of stock character of the Commedia troupe of the modern world.
And looking for more comic book movie connections, Emma Stone played Gwen Stacy of course, and they keep putting her on top of the freaking building!
As far as the voice in Keaton’s head, it seemed less like Bale’s Batman so much as the overheated voice-over from Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns. Which reminds me, the reconstructive surgery that Keaton gets at the end, I guess it’s supposed to make it look kind of like he has a bird’s beak, but did anyone else think it might be a reference to Mickey Rourke? It kind of looked to me like they just gave him Mickey Rourke’s nose.
And of course, how funny is it that the only way to get a good review from a New York theatre critic is to literally tear off a chuck of your body and present it to them? I don’t know, I went into this movie expecting it to be super weird, but I didn’t expect it to be SO MUCH a theatre movie, and that was a pleasant surprise.
I mean, Michael Keaton turning dramatically into the spotlight to deliver his line that contains the play’s title? Simply delightful.
Finally, w/r/t Inherent Vice, did anybody catch the trailer for the book that came out a few years ago? Supposedly that’s Pynchon himself on the voice over, doing his best Jeff Bridges:
PS: Yes to an Overview of The Wire, please! Or even just a series of recaps on the Youtube channel like you do for Mad Men and Game of Thrones.
Between the 1 hour mark and about a minute later there are two occurrences of the word “Discourse”. These are established drinking offences.
Furthermore Matt Wrather did not identify either of them as required by the new rule instantiated earlier in the episode. Furthermore these violations were not identified either.
PS. Yes please, Wire please.
Big yes on The Wire (doesn’t matter whether you do Overviews or recaps, just talk about it!). Especially since I now got my husband watching it :)
And for anyone, podcaster or listener, who’s a Wire fan, watch The Good Wife! It’s basically The Wire: the sequel. Or The Wi2e, if you will.
If me saying it isn’t enough to convince you, here’s Alyssa Rosenberg from the Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/act-four/wp/2014/09/26/what-the-wire-and-the-good-wife-have-in-common/
And here’s Todd VanDerWerff from The AV Club http://www.avclub.com/article/ithe-good-wifei-has-proven-itself-a-worthy-success-56168
And, well, this http://www.vulture.com/2011/04/watch_vultures_compilation_of.html
So which one do y’all think is a better version of this story? Birdman or the 90’s Batman The Animated Series episode Beware the Gray Ghost?
Watching an episode of Animal Horders a few months ago provided a whole new level of respect for dogs and wolves in general. I immediately thought of Liam Neeson from “They Grey” as well as other movies. These shows are so intellectually stimulating. Thank you!