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« The Honoraries: Maureen O'Hara in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) | Main | Box Office Dies. Nightcrawler Shoots It. »
Sunday
Nov022014

Podcast: Birdman, Pride and Nightcrawler

In this episode of the podcast, Nathaniel, Nick, Joe and Katey are charmed by Pride's ensemble balancing act and political smarts. Then we're adamantly split on the merits of Birdman and but (mostly) thrilled by its craft wizardry. The acting also impresses with special attention paid to Michael Keaton's closeups, Andrea Riseborough's surprise facility with "fun" and Nick's Edward Norton problem. We wrap up with Nightcrawler's duet between eye-popping Jake Gyllenhaal (who splits opinion) and Rene Russo who deserves more good roles immediately. "Get it bitch!"

You can listen at the bottom of the post or download on iTunes tomorrow (it generally takes 24 hours to show up there). Continue the conversation in the comments! 

Birdman & Nightcrawler

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Reader Comments (16)

Always love listening to you guys discuss films and I loved the conversation on Birdman (so many different points of view, love that!). Like all of you, I thought the cast was top notch and was technically brilliant (also loved the drum score, which went unmentioned here), but I do feel it over-states its themes. I know it's not a subtle film, but having a scene where there's a guy on the street reciting the Walking Shadow speech from Macbeth is laying it on way too thick, and I also would have ended it earlier, about 10 minutes earlier. Those last minutes of the film are where I was most reminded that the film was directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu and apparently he can't stand not having closure, no matter how forced that closure might be. There was just so much in that final scene that simply felt too neat and tidy, when the earlier ending (if you get what I'm saying) probably would have been a stronger note to end on. I also thought the lesbian kiss was pointless, but I loved just about everything else (this is some of the best work I've seen from just about everyone).

Also, just out of curiosity, I noticed you guys didn't mention Zach Galifianakis at all (unless you mentioned him at the end, I skipped the Nightcrawler discussion because I haven't seen it yet), which brought me to a realization. He's the least talked about actor in this film so far. Everyone talks about how great Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Emma Stone, Andrea Riseborough, Lindsay Duncan and Amy Ryan are, but never mention Galifianakis. Do you think it might be because he has the least showy role and kind of blends in the background, or maybe because his part features a lot of the more problematic parts of the film? I thought he did okay, but he didn't really stand out. Maybe that's why. What do you guys think?

November 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

Richter -- i know Katey really liked him. I had to edit out a few tangents to make the podcast short enough for upload but she did mention that she loves that he's not resting on hangover style comedy.

November 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

OMG another podcast so soon from my favorite group? God I hope we can have more of these more often. These are my FAVORITE podcasts.

November 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJase

Are there many spoilers? I want nothing spoiled about Birdman and Nightcrawler. :(

November 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

I love this podcast because I love it when you guys disagree amongst each other. The dialogue always becomes more interesting.

Sorry, Joe, but I don't agree that BIRDMAN doesn't say anything. Maybe the reason you might have that reaction toward the movie is that everything about it, from the hazy atmosphere on screen, to the camerawork feeling so serene and willing to stop and just watch the actors be anything BUT serene, to the whole reality-versus-imagination thing going on all make it feel so ambiguous. But I actually thought it had a lot to say about how we as individuals try to make sense of ourselves in a world where everyone feels so interconnected and disconnected at the same time. Interconnected because we have such immediate availability to the rest of the world via the internet, and disconnected because we perceive ourselves as one dot in such a vast human population where topics always feels so larger than yourself. Like Nathaniel mentioned, perhaps the biggest theme is the problem of ego. Even Norton, who feels the most comfortable and self-assured character in his importance, constantly has to fight to remind Riggan and others about just how important he is, which tells you his ego is something he protects so much. Everyone in the movie is so scared about losing importance, whether it's Riggan feeling important to the artistic community and audience members, whether it's Norton feeling important on stage, whether it's Watts or Riseborough feeling important to Riggan, they're all afraid of being unimportant, of being irrelevant. And then there's Stone's character, which I think is fascinating in that she feels like the only one who has realized her insignificance and maybe hasn't necessarily made peace with it but at least knows and admits it.

Sorry for the rambling on, but I just really responded to the movie. I think everyone's game. I don't think Watts is MVP, but she was my favorite partly because I was so surprised to see her give me something so interesting and invigorating since Mulholland Dr. Loved her in it.

November 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

Pride is totally the sequel to Velvet Goldmine - there's a significant passing on of a brooch scene and everything! But seriously, love that you guys talked about this film despite the fact that there's probably no Oscar future for it. I just saw it so it was great to hear my favourite film podcast discuss it and nod along to all the "yes! that!" things I agreed with.

November 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlice

@Jase: Thanks!

@Sad Man: We do try not to give away the whole ghost, but the podcast will still be here after you've seen the movies.

@BVR: I also think Watts is darling and refreshed in this. Every review seems to gloss her character as a "neurotic actress" but I'm not sure why. I guess wanting to do well on Broadway and not get boned by your partner in front of 800 people is the new "neurotic."

@Alice: So glad to hear this! Pride did really well at the British Independent Film Award nominations this morning, which satisfies. Of course now it's up to Tom Hooper to choose wisely...

November 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNick Davis

@Richter, I'm right there with you on Galifianakis! I feel like he's got a great supporting career ahead of him the longer he takes understated roles like this and knocks them out of the part. I'm also with you on the "Walking Shadow" speech, though the fact that it ends with that great button of him turning to Keaton suggests it's there as a joke-- a very broad one, but still.

November 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKatey

Question on Tabitha in Birdman: Am I the only person who didn't think she was an actual person at all? She seems so clearly to be a sounding board with a personality that shifts with every conversation in this tucked away bar the actors seek out, almost like a physical manifestation of criticism in their minds. I think she represents critics in the mind of the person who's speaking to her. This is why she so clearly adores and playfully banters with Norton, then dispatches helpful, insightful advice to Keaton, then later comes after him full force. I thought she was literally voicing criticism's role - potential ally, potential enemy, potential advisor. It also explains ***SPOILER*** why she's the only one sitting during that late scene - she is the impartial critical eye - but then the last we hear from her doesn't match that physical act, unless you assume she is a projection of what's going on in Keaton's head.

Also, love these every time guys. If I could hire you guys to narrate my life, I'd totally do it.

November 3, 2014 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

Joe's complaint is punishing of the filmmaker. Artists should not alter their world view (no matter how antiquated) for the sake of appeasing the new sensibility of viewers like himself. Film continues to be patriarchal and the vision will be overwhelmingly hetero-normative.

November 3, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Just when I thought I couldn't be looking forward more to Birdman I listen to you guys and now am anticipating it even more. Problem is it'll be MONTHS before it opens here in the UK :(

November 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarlos

Andrea Riseborough was in Made in Dagenham, and she was fun in that.

November 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

Arkaan -- this is true. I want her to show that more often.

November 3, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I hesitate to ask but: which complaint? I had a few, and I'm not sure I understand this statement about why said complaint was wrong.

November 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Reid

It's funny, because I saw her in Party Animals (BBC tv show about political staffers) and Made in Dagenham and she's very light in both - I never saw her as anything other than fun.

November 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

Joe Reid: Forget about it. I'm happily surprised you replied.

November 3, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

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