Listen Up Birdman (This Week’s Movies)

Michael Keaton, Edward Norton: Unexpected Ignorance in Birdman

Michael Keaton, Edward Norton: Unexpected Ignorance in Birdman

Links to my reviews published this week in the Herald and Seattle Weekly, and etc.

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). “Keaton is a splendidly weathered, human presence.” (In case of Herald paywall, Seattle Weekly version.)

John Wick. “Ridiculous but satisfying action.” (Weekly version.)

Listen Up Philip. “Philip is self-centered, vindictive, and – worst of all – articulate.” (Weekly version.)

Stonehearst Asylum. “Even for genre fans, the action will feel hackneyed.” (Weekly version.)

Saturday October 25, I’ll be reading at Elliott Bay Book Company in support of Frankenstein (see below), my book from Columbia University Press. The free event begins at 7 p.m.

frankensteinelliottbay

At the Overlook Podcast, Steve Scher and I talk about Birdman and Michael Keaton. Spend a little time with us here.

 

Movie Diary 10/23/2014

Citizenfour (Laura Poitras, 2014). The documentary about Edward Snowden focuses on the days when his information about the NSA spying went public. That is frequently fascinating stuff, and Snowden is a real study – articulate, quick, paranoid. (full review 10/31)

Movie Diary 10/21/2014

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Alejandro G. Iñárritu, 2014). Long unbroken takes, showbiz satire, magical realism, spirited cast – whatever else you say about this thing, there’s certainly a lot to watch. Michael Keaton plays an actor, formerly typecast as a caped superhero, now trying to make a comeback in the legit theater. (full review 10/24)

John Wick (Chad Stahelski, David Leitch, 2014). Unaware that grown men faint at the mention of the name John Wick, some Russian gangsters kill Mr. Wick’s dog. Many are slaughtered after. Keanu Reeves is still around doing these. Ludicrous in many ways, but …. (full review 10/24)

Listen Up, Philip (Alex Ross Perry, 2014). Nice casting for Jason Schwartzman as a near-sociopathic author who repels people; Elisabeth Moss and Jonathan Pryce are aces in support. (full review 10/24)

Stonehearst Asylum (Brad Anderson, 2014). It’s a Poe story, but nobody thought to include Roger Corman as a producer? Can’t tell you which Poe, because that would give it away. An old-fashioned enterprise. (full review 10/24)

The Passionate Friends (David Lean, 1949). Had not watched this one in a while: former lovers Ann Todd and Trevor Howard get older and occasionally meet, which is complicated after she marries successful and stable Claude Rains. Lean’s precision is something to marvel at. But he is no mere technician, as the sympathies in the storyline suggest.

St. Fury of Me (This Week’s Movies)

Brad Pitt, a rare moment of calm in David Ayer's Fury

Brad Pitt, a rare moment of calm in David Ayer’s Fury

Links to reviews I published this week in the Herald and Seattle Weekly, and etc.

Fury. “A distillation of hell.”

St. Vincent. “If it were a better movie, this would be a signature role, because it’s all about the Murray persona.”

The Best of Me. “A truly ludicrous scenario that gets more face-slappingly incredible as it goes on.”

Rudderless. “Casual verisimilitude.”

Sunday October 19 I’ll present a free talk in the Magic Lantern series at the Frye Art Museum. It’s called “Hitchcock Re-mastered: The Many Lives of Psycho,” a look at how the 1960 masterpiece has reverberated through culture, including Gus Van Sant’s remake, a batch of sequels, the TV series Bates Motel, and installation works such as Douglas Gordon’s 24 Hour Psycho and James Franco’s Psycho Nacirema. The talk begins at 2; more info here.

Speaking of which, here’s an exchange I had with Charles Mudede of the Stranger, talking about the Psycho event at the Frye.

Saturday October 25, I’ll be reading at Elliott Bay Book Company in support of Frankenstein, my recent book from Columbia University Press. The free event begins at 7 p.m.

At the Overlook Podcast, Steve Scher and I talk about the unusual career of Bill Murray; listen in here.

On last week’s “Mark Rahner Show,” on KIRO Radio, we talk about Dracula Untold and play a round of “Focus Group.” Tune in here.

Movie Diary 10/15/2014

Monster on the Campus (Jack Arnold, 1958). Bringing a coelacanth into the lab is a recipe for disaster, especially if blood from the fish drips into your pipe right before you smoke it. Three or four genuine shock moments made this movie a treasured title back in the “Nightmare Theatre” days. The science scenes have the expected Arnold smarts.

Movie Diary 10/14/2014

Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960). Sunday afternoon I’m giving a talk at the Frye on the subject of Hitchcock’s masterpiece and the imitations and echoes that have followed in its steps. More info here on the event, and more on the movie here.

Movie Diary 10/13/2014

Fury (David Ayer, 2014). A World War II picture, in which the conflict adds up to a slaughterhouse. I still think Ayer is talented, but this is one gruesome movie. (full review 10/17)

The Best of Me (Michael Hoffman, 2014). Another Nicholas Sparks novel comes to the screen, with Michelle Monaghan and James Marsden as reunited high-school lovebirds. The movie’s incredible in the true sense of the word. (full review 10/24)

Rudderless (William H. Macy, 2013). Billy Crudup as a grieving father, finding something in the songs left behind by his dead son. A strong air of Sundance hangs about the project. (full review 10/17)

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