Birdman (Or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance) saw a limited theatrical release back in November 2014, but now you can catch it on the big screen once again as the film is experiencing a special re-release having received 9 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Michael Keaton), Best Supporting Actor (Edward Norton), Best Supporting Actress (Emma Stone), and Best Director (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu). Actors Michael Keaton and Edward Norton both deliver excellent performances, but Emma Stone really deserves a lot of credit for this one; her performance as Keaton’s attention-depraved daughter recovering from time in rehab is easily her best yet, and she definitely makes the jump from pretty-face roles to serious and talented actress, much like Jennifer Lawrence’s performance in American Hustle last year. Director Inarritu’s stylistic approach to the storytelling is also incredibly unique. Rather than cutting from scene to scene to show story progression and time-lapse, he transitions one scene to the next by having characters walk into the current scene or camera view, and then follow that new character into the next scene using the same single camera view, giving the film a sort of real-time flow while covering the course of several days. Birdman has also earned Inarritu and co-writers Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, and Armando Bo an Academy Award-nomination for Best Screenplay and Emmanuel Lubezki a nomination for Best Cinematographer. So if you get a chance try to see this one before it leaves theaters again. It’s definitely worth your time.
Although most of us won’t have the opportunity to see this one unless we’re in New York City or Los Angeles, it is still a project worth bringing to your attention. Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel, Biutiful) released a new film at this year’s Venice Film Festival titled Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance. The film features an all star cast lead by Michael Keaton and also featuring Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, Emma Stone, and Naomi Watts. The story follows an actor who, at the height of his career, portrayed an iconic superhero (Birdman) and now must overcome his eccentric ego in order to reclaim his seat in the spotlight by taking a role in a Broadway play. Inarritu directed the film from a screenplay written by himself and screenwriters Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, and Armando Bo. Birdman has already seen several additional releases in the United States, including the Telluride Film Festival in August and the New York Film Festival, Hamptons International, and Philadelphia International Film Festivals earlier this month. Chicagoans will get a chance to see it on the 18th as part of the Chicago International Film Festival, but a nationwide theatrical release has not yet been announced. Stay tuned for more information.
Director David Fincher is currently watching his latest hit Gone Girl hold the top spot at the box office two weeks in a row, but this year also marks another milestone for the veteran director. October 15th was the 15-year anniversary of Fincher’s psychologically-driven thriller Fight Club, starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. Based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk and adapted for the screen by Jim Uhls (Jumper, Sweet Talk), the film follows an insomniac who finds a way to cope with his inner demons by forming an underground fight club with mysterious soap-maker Tyler Burden. The film also starred Helena Bonham Carter and received an Oscar nomination for Best Sound Effect Editing for Ren Klyce (The Social Network, Zodiac) and Richard Hymns (Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Saving Private Ryan). This was director Fincher’s second collaboration with Brad Pitt. The two had worked together four years earlier on Fincher’s breakthrough film Seven, also starring Morgan Freeman. Since Seven and Fight Club the director has gone on to direct such projects as Panic Room (2002), Zodiac (2007), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), The Social Network (2010), and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011). If you haven’t seen the movie I won’t give away any spoilers, but you definitely need to make an effort to see this one. Fans of Fincher can also still see Gone Girl in theaters now.
This year the Chicago International Film Festival will celebrate it’s 50th Anniversary. Founded in 1964 by Michael Kutza, and recognized as the first international film festival in North America, the organization has gained worldwide recognition for bringing independent and international films and their creators to Chicago audiences. Over the years a number of big names in the film industry have been highlighted or attended, including Al Pacino, Clint Eastwood, Charlton Heston, Martin Scorsese, Mel Brooks, Morgan Freeman, Halle Barry, and Edward Norton. This year the festival will open tomorrow, October 9th with Miss Julie from Scandinavian director Liv Ullmann, starring Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell, and Samantha Morton at the Harris Theater at 205 E. Randolph Street in Chicago. The festival will run from October 9th to the October 23rd. For tickets and ordering information and for the full schedule and theater locations you can check out http://www.chicagofilmfestival.com/festival/festival-guide/tickets/. Enjoy!!
Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg are once again collaborating on a new project after the huge popularity of their last film, This Is The End, which the two co-wrote together and which featured all of their celebrity co-stars playing themselves, including Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Paul Rudd, James Franco, and Danny McBride. Now the two are working on an animated comedy-film, titled Sausage Party, that follows a sausage and his pales who must navigate their way through the super-market and get back to their proper location on the shelf before the big Fourth of July sale. The movie will once again feature Franco, Hill, and Cera, as well as Kristen Wiig, Edward Norton, and David Krumholtz all providing voices for the R-rated characters, but now there is news that Salma Hayek will also be joining the cast. Rogan and Goldberg are currently writing the project, but the two will not be in the director’s chair this time around. Instead, experienced animation directors Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan will be taking over the responsibility, but we’ll have to wait for more news before we know anything else. The movie has not official release date, but it will most likely be ready for release sometime in 2015.
The Catcher in the Rye has had its fair share of time in the spot light. The book by author J.D. Salinger has experienced years of censorship and controversy relating to its counter-culture sex, smoke and drink subject matter and use of adult language. It has also been the “inspiration” of several assassinations and assassination attempts, including Rebecca Schaeffer, Ronald Reagan and John Lennon. This September, however, author J.D. Salinger will be the focus of the new documentary film entitled Salinger, directed by Shane Salerno. The film features appearances and commentaries by Philip Seymour Hoffman, Edward Norton, Martin Sheen and Gore Vidal. The movie is set for release on September 6th.