Tag Archives: Zach Galifianakis

Birdman (2014) Review

Time: 119 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, sexual references, offensive language & drug use
Cast:
Michael Keaton as Riggan Thomson
Edward Norton as Mike Shiner
Zach Galifianakis as Jake
Andrea Riseborough as Laura Aulburn
Amy Ryan as Sylvia Thomson
Emma Stone as Sam Thomson
Naomi Watts as Lesley Truman
Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Former cinema superhero Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) is mounting an ambitious Broadway production that he hopes will breathe new life into his stagnant career. It’s risky, but he hopes that his creative gamble will prove that he’s a real artist and not just a washed-up movie star. As opening night approaches, a castmate is injured, forcing Riggan to hire an actor (Edward Norton) who is guaranteed to shake things up. Meanwhile, Riggan must deal with his girlfriend (Andrea Riseborough), daughter (Emma Stone) and ex-wife (Amy Ryan).

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Best Picture winner Birdman was a movie that I really liked when I saw it, even though I didn’t regard it as a masterpiece like most people. Given that I was rewatching plenty of movies recently to see what I thought about them on a second viewing, I decided to rewatch Birdman, and I definitely got a lot more out of it on a second viewing. Masterfully directed, written well and acted well, Birdman is for sure a fantastic film experience.

Watching it a second time, I really noticed that Birdman was written incredibly well. There are plenty of references of Hollywood and has a lot to say about art, movies, the film industry and the like. Most movies about Hollywood that reference other movies and actors existing could easily fail at this but with Birdman they somehow they managed to do it in a way that doesn’t feel obnoxious. It’s an original and weird movie for sure, I mean this is a movie where the lead character can move objects with his mind and fly (or at least thinks he can). It’s a bit of a strange and dark comedy. It’s astounding how they managed to pack so much emotion and depth into 2 hours, and it had me entertained for that entire runtime. Talking about some of the best parts about this movie or explaining why they’re so great would involve spoiling a whole lot of what happened, and honestly it’s best if you go into it not knowing much already. The ending certainly is different, very ambiguous and it’s not going to work for everyone. You really have to interpret a lot of the movie (especially the ending) for yourself.

There is quite the large cast involved here, and they all gave some great performances. While everyone does very well here, it’s Michael Keaton who is the star of the show, really giving a career best performance. The casting choice is definitely meta, since the character is a washed up actor who once played a comic book character decades ago, and is played by Keaton who once played Batman of course. However it’s not just an inside joke, Keaton gives such a layered performance and really brought this character to life incredibly well. Edward Norton is great as a character that seems somewhat based off of his persona, a very talented but volatile method actor, among Norton’s best work for sure. Emma Stone is also great as Keaton’s daughter, giving one of her best performances. There is particularly one monologue with her which was one of the stand out scenes of the movie, and that’s saying a lot. The rest of the cast are all outstanding as well, some of which include Zach Galifianakis as Keaton’s lawyer and producer (in a more dramatic role that he hasn’t really done before), Andrea Riseborough as Keaton’s girlfriend and an actress, Naomi Watts as an actress, and Amy Ryan as Keaton’s ex-wife.

Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s direction of the whole movie is present throughout, and really added a ton to Birdman. Something that is really known was that this movie is made up of a bunch of long takes, making the movie look like it was done in one entire shot, it’s truly fantastic and creative the way they navigated the camera throughout all the spaces. There are parts where the camera goes black, and you can probably tell that one shot ended there and then another shot began, nonetheless the shots go on for so long that it’s nonetheless very impressive. Emmanuelle Lubezki’s cinematography as always is truly fantastic. The music is just a bunch of drums playing, occasionally at a seemingly random beat, and it kind of oddly works for this movie.

Birdman is arguably Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s best film yet, and I loved The Revenant. With his fantastic direction, the weird and original writing, and the great performances (especially from Michael Keaton), it really deserved all the awards recognition that it received. However, I can partially see why it wouldn’t necessarily work for everyone. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, I can’t really set you up for it, but I personally recommend that you watch the movie, just going into it movie with an open mind.

The Lego Batman Movie (2017) Review

Time: 114 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence
Cast:
Will Arnett as Bruce Wayne/Batman (voice)
Zach Galifianakis as The Joker (voice)
Michael Cera as Dick Grayson/Robin (voice)
Rosario Dawson as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl (voice)
Ralph Fiennes as Alfred Pennyworth (voice)
Director: Chris McKay

There are big changes brewing in Gotham, but if Batman (Will Arnett) wants to save the city from the Joker’s (Zach Galifianakis) hostile takeover, he may have to drop the lone vigilante thing, try to work with others and maybe, just maybe, learn to lighten up. Maybe his superhero sidekick Robin (Michael Cera) and loyal butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) can show him a thing or two.

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The Lego Batman Movie was one of my most anticipated movies of 2017. I liked 2014’s The Lego Movie, so I was interested to see what this spin off would be like. I really liked the movie when I first saw it, however I’ve noticed that my thoughts on it have changed. While it’s not bad, over time its quality has definitely dropped. There’s honestly not much to say about this movie, it’s quite enjoyable when you see it but it’s rather forgettable. There’s not a whole lot that this movie does bad but there’s also not a whole lot that this movie does great.

It’s difficult to be bored during this movie, it’s paced pretty well so adults and children alike are at least paying attention to what’s going on. This movie does pay tribute Batman well, there’s references to Batman interpretations, from the movies to the comics books. This movie also pokes fun at clichés and the situations that many of the characters find themselves in, the movie is self aware. When the jokes are good, they are really good. So that’s what the movie does well. Now onto the mixed parts of the movie… The humour is unfortunately a bit of a mixed bag, a lot of the jokes are hit and miss. As I said, when the jokes are good, they are really good. The other times it just falls flat. The wit and humour in The Lego Movie was great and it feels like the writers for Lego Batman was trying to replicate that here but it just doesn’t work as well, especially as there are just way too many jokes. This movie does have balancing issues, at one point it is throwing endless amounts of jokes all at once and then suddenly the tone changes and it suddenly wants us to care about what’s going on. That’s another aspect that wasn’t done that well. Batman in this movie does have some subplot about him being too scared about having a family (which by the way has been done hundreds of times over) but aside from that, there’s not much reason to care about what’s going on. The emotional aspect of the movie didn’t work well, which is as a result of way too many jokes undercutting it and lack of development, these ‘emotional’ moments really didn’t feel earned when they actually happened. As for other gripes I have, this movie really milked the amount of properties and franchises that they had. Yes, The Lego Movie had that but it never felt overwhelming, here that definitely is the case and it was too much. The movie is entertaining, but that’s all I can really say about it.

The voice cast was all around really good. Will Arnett was great as Lego Batman, Zack Galifianakis surprisingly worked well as The Joker. Other voice cast with Michael Cera as Robin, Ralph Fiennes as Alfred, Rosario Dawson as Barbara Gordon and others were really great as their respective characters. I had no problems with the voice cast.

The animation is pretty much the same quality and style as in The Lego Movie, stop motion mixed with CGI and it is great. The action is fast paced and entertaining, it is enjoyable to watch. Personally I never had any issues in how this movie was actually directed.

The Lego Batman movie was pretty much what I expected it to be. If you didn’t like The Lego Movie, you probably won’t like this movie. Otherwise, like the first movie you’ll find this to me an entertaining movie for both kids and adults to enjoy. That’s something I can say, I had a fun time with the movie but it’s the type of movie that gets worse the more I think about it. I must be a minority, most people really enjoy it quite a lot. Make no mistake, it is a decent movie. Give it a watch at least, just lower your expectations a bit.