Zach Galifianakis

Best Picture Nominee: Birdman

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BirdmanCast:
Michael Keaton
Emma Stone
Edward Norton
Zach Galifianakis

Birdman is the story of a man who was once famous for playing a Superhero trying to reclaim some respect and fame 20 years later, while also trying to reconnect with his daughter. I went into the theater with pretty low expectations for this film, because I had a feeling it probably wasn’t going to be my kind of movie, and I was right.

This was a strange movie, with a lot of dark humor. To be honest, while Emma Stone and Edward Norton were great (and I love both of them) I’m not entirely sure what about their performances made them Oscar-worthy. The only scene where Stone showed some range was when she was lashing out at her father, telling him exactly why he was no longer relevant in a modern, social media world.

Michael Keaton, on the other hand, was fantastic. While I may not have been a huge fan of this film on the whole, his performance was terrific. He wonderfully depicted that measured calm that hides the slow descent into insanity. His performance was the one that made this movie worth watching. I also really enjoyed Zach Galifianakis’s character as well. I always like seeing Galifianakis when he’s not playing a completely off-the-wall goofy character. It reminds me of his days on Tru Calling, before I even knew how funny he could be.

The other thing I really loved about this film was the flow. With the exception of the very beginning and the very end, there were no cuts between scenes. It was a constant flow and transition, following characters around the theatre where most of the action was taking place, or some other clever transition that didn’t actually involve a cut to the next scene or location (for example, zooming in on a news broadcast in one location then zooming out on┬áthe same broadcast somewhere else). This method really helps set it apart from almost any other film you watch, and it really helped set the atmosphere of the movie. The camera angles and movement made it feel like the viewer was actually there with the cast watching all this taking place – at times you were even in the place of the actors, as the camera became their point of view.

Between this technique and Keaton’s performance I can see why the film was nominated for Best Picture, even if it’s not a film I would normally enjoy.

Rating: 7.5/10

Favorite Moment: I honestly don’t know if I had a favorite moment, which I feel like I’m saying with a lot of the films this year. The scene where Stone’s character finally lets go and yells at her father was a good scene and well done by both actors.

Ranking:

1. Whiplash
2. The Theory of Everything
3. The Imitation Game
4. American Sniper
5. Boyhood
6. Birdman
7. The Grand Budapest Hotel