Building up to my annual Top Ten


countdown

It’s drawing closer to that time of year once again on this blog where I list my Top Ten movies of the year.  As a movie fan who doesn’t get to see everything that is released in one year, I have to pick from those movies I personally got to check out, some of which are left overs I didn’t get around to the previous year.  So in the upcoming list you may see titles that you may have seen on last year’s best of lists.  It can’t be helped and to stick rigidly to release dates would mean some movies just wouldn’t get mentioned at all.

I think this year so far has been the year of the indie movie and movies that have affected me on a more emotional level.  I’ve forgiven some movies that have had plot or acting issues if they have had that special emotional impact … and it’s something few movies, even the most hyped seem to do.  Big blockbuster titles have faired poorly compared to more deeper, character driven movies, and I’ve tried to focus on story and direction and atmosphere over CGI and bike chases (not that there isn’t room for that).  I’ve been tougher I think this year, and only a handful of movies have earned that converted 5 /5 from me … whilst others have been difficult to critique as their positives and negatives have had a different effect on me based on how I think about them.  Horror for example has again been a bit of a let down with hyped movies not fully delivering.  So again, it been about turning away from favourite genres, and looking for something that resonates deeper, lingers in the brain and has a stronger impact, even months after seeing it.

This year’s Top Ten is going to be difficult to compile and I’m still trying to see some of the most talked about movies before I finally compile it.  So roll on December 31st … and then all will be revealed.

Until then, wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and hope Santa or your loved ones get you something nice!

Birdman


Viewed – 05 May 2015  Online Rental

It’s nice to go into a movie with no other expectation than the thought it might be good.  This Oscar winning drama stars (where has he been?) Michael Keaton as a former super hero movie actor turned has-been struggling to make a name for himself in Theatre.  As opening night looms, he is plagued with various problems and misfortunes, such as a recovered drug addict daughter (Emma Stone), actors butting heads with each other (Naomi Watts & Edward Norton) as well as his own issues with being haunted by the presence of his Birdman alter-ego who is constantly telling him to get back to what he was famous for.

Birdman_2014-8

This is very much a come back vehicle for Keaton who’s own career seems to be purposely imitated here and he is superb, complex and bonkers in all the ways that made him a perfect Beetlejuice or Bruce Wayne.  Aided well by a solid supporting cast who all get their moment, with an almost-upstaging Norton and a believably fragile Watts, not to mention a decent turn by the ever likeable Stone.  Yet beyond the decent performances, this is also about the trials and tribulations of being a star, being a has-been or trying to stay relevant without making a fool of yourself.  It’s scarily convincing.  Add to this a script that juggles realism with fantastical surrealism (has Keaton’s character really got super powers?) and excellent direction by Alejandro González Iñárritu backed up by highly creative ‘how did they do that?’ camera work – and I’d say this is one of the most thought-provoking studies of celebrity and celeb-culture I’ve seen in a long time.

This is also a movie that should get people talking.  The ending will get you talking.  The whole fly-on-a-wall structuring leads you to certain conclusions and then still makes you question things (at least it did me).  And I love that sort thing; clever but doesn’t try and be pretentious about it.  Oh and yes, I’d love to see Keaton play Batman again.

Verdict:  5 /5