The following group of blogs are going to be out of a little skewed time-wise cuz I'm starting with the movies I watched most recently and going backwards, but there are a lot to discuss. Stay with me. SPOILER ALERT! Not too much though. In both reviews. You've been warned. :)
The Seventh Son. What to say. It was good enough but it almost felt like a made for TV movie. The cast was good - Julianne Moore as the villain dragon queen was gorgeous but I would have liked to had more depth of feeling from her. A little more of the romantic conflict could have gone a long way. Ben Barnes was yummy. Jeff Bridges was cool. I wish his voice would have sounded like less of an affect. The special effects were decent. I guess it was the storytelling that was lacking for me. I get that it's based on a book (maybe a series... I dunno...) but the plot in the movie was too compressed and so I didn't really buy into 1) the villains being so bad-ass cuz they were beaten fairly easy 2) the romantic twist between Master Gregory and Mother Malkin (weird name that I'd like some explanation for) and 3) the rapid romance between Tom and Alice. Overall - it was okay but I could have waited to watch it on cable.
Now Birdman was cool. Cool and weird and thought-provoking and weird and kind of awesome in this artsy way that I don't normally care for but did in this movie. Michael Keaton is playing Riggan (the main character), Riggan's past-famous superhero character, Birdman, and the character (Mel or Ed or both - I can't remember or have no clue, so we'll stick with 'the character') he is playing in his Broadway play. Keaton is brilliant as this uber-conflicted actor/celebrity.
I saw the movie as a man vs self type tale. Riggan is trying to overcome his celebrity as Birdman so he can be recognized as an actor. A serious actor. But he has demons. Demons that tell him how worthless and useless he is... except as Birdman. And the demon whispering these things is none other than Birdman who doesn't want to be a just a poster on the wall. The persona of Birdman haunts poor Riggan and has him convinced of his superpowers throughout the movie (telekinesis and flying and such). But Riggan is also a shadow of the stage character he is playing. A character who at the end of the play kills himself but not before expressing he doesn't exist, he is nothing.
The character, Riggan and Birdman all want to be more than what they are - loved, acknowledged, validated, respected. It's sad, really, how tortured this guy is in any of his incarnations. And Keaton plays all of them like a virtuoso plays a violin - with grace and crazy mad skill.
The supporting cast is astounding: Zach Galifianakis (who looks great - really, really great in his new slimmer form), Naomi Watts, Emma Stone and the ever amazing Ed Norton, who, as a foil to Riggan, is his own kind of hot mess but brilliant too. And his character's brilliance brings even more depth to Riggan's tortured abilities as an actor.
I found Birdman to be a thinking movie. One you'll be chewing on for a while mentally. An exercise in possibilities of why any of the characters act as they do. I'm still puzzling it over in my head.