Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Michael Keaton in Birdman

I opted to see this at the last minute, instead of Interstellar, because I worried that Interstellar might have too much of a feeling of self-importance about it for an early Saturday matinee. Hoo boy. There is no doubt in my mind that I made the wrong choice. Birdman wants to say something about what it means to be an artist — what it means to invest your heart and your soul in a project and to be racked with anxiety over the potential outcomes: fame! fortune! ruin! mockery! — but the chosen method of delivery is a hoary old backstage drama bereft of ideas.

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Fight Club


Edward Norton and Brad Pitt in <em>Fight Club</em>

Grubby, grimy, scary, bloody, cynical, violent, dangerously whacked-out and very, very funny, Fight Club is itself an act of provocation. It’s a blast at staples of late 20th century life — everything from the Ikea catalog and air travel to Blockbuster Video and the auto industry. It’s also a blast in the face of state-of-the-art Hollywood, putting megabucks to work supporting a study in hallucination. And it’s a challenge to the mainstream audience, which is asked to sympathize with subversion and keep up with a storyline that demands a fairly substantial leap of faith on the part of the viewer. Fight Club is a pitch-black comedy and a phantasmal psychological thriller about the end of the world as we know it, and it’s several times fresher and more exciting than anything I’ve seen this year.

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