Michael Keaton

Spider-Man: Homecoming – Review #78

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spider_man_poster2.jpgCue the jingle.

Spider-Man: Homecoming, directed by Jon Watts, is the sixteenth (Jesus Christ) film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the third goddamn reincarnation of the web-slinger in recent history. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, young Peter Parker returns home to live with his Aunt May. Under the watchful eye of mentor Tony Stark, Parker starts to embrace his newfound identity as Spider-Man. He also tries to return to his normal daily routine — distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just a friendly neighborhood superhero. Peter must soon put his powers to the test when the evil Vulture emerges to threaten everything that he holds dear.

The previous Spider-Man films have had this steady decline of caring within me throughout them. The three Raimi movies I watched in my childhood and will forever be my favorites-yes, even Spider-Man 3 come at me-of the genre; I watched The Amazing Spider-Man once I never cared for it nor that franchise since; and now we have reboot #3, a Spider-Man movie for the modern times.

But, as usual, I try to go into any movie with an open mind. It’a only fair. So how does our newest superhero fare?

Not very great.

Talk about a movie that’s unappealing. No, not that exact word. “Mind switch-off-ing”, there we go. Everything about this movie feels tested and almost manufactured; there’s no soul to it. It’s not a terrible movie by any stretch of the imagination, it just feels like “another movie in the MCU”. It doesn’t shine enough to be really remarkable, which is a shame because you can see there is some potential.

The lack of attracting characters is only magnified when you realize that this is a coming-of-age-film. The interactions between Holland’s Peter Parker and Batalon’s Ned don’t feel like two characters actually talking; it just feels like actors acting out their parts. They’re absolutely trying their best, I’ll give them that, but it just didn’t work for me. I think the main reason for this is the goddamn constant cutting. Holland says a line; cut. Batalon says a quip; cut. When you want to show a character mature and grow in some way, perhaps being spoken to by a mentor figure, can you not cut every single four syllables because you’re scared the audience might lose interest? Get it together, people.

Speaking of the cast, they’re alright. I believe the flaws of the film lay more on the technical aspects of it more than the contents. I could actually get behind Tom Holland as Peter, and the side characters, in better means, would be at least more interesting. Tony Revolori is in this movie, for example, and he’s Flash Thompson. But throughout the movie you don’t think of him as Flash, you think of him as the freaking bell boy from The Grand Budapest Hotel. The movie doesn’t give its actors good material to work with.

And Marissa Tomei as Aunt May was just weird to me. This is completely personal preference, but there’s an innate wrong-ness to me in seeing people being sexually attracted to her. No fault of the actress, she’s actually pretty good, just feels strange to me.

Whatever else I’m gonna say is pretty much just the same thing; the people they have in this movie are actually pretty competent, it’s just the execution that kills any excitement, so I’m cutting this review short. In conclusion, this movie is 2 hours of bland “okay”. I’m going back to my Raimi and J.K. Simmons.

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Birdman – Review #12

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I’ve always wanted to be in the movies. Ever since seeing Robin Williams in Jumanji, I’ve wanted to dabble into that world. Now, in recent years, my interests have turned from acting. I realized that I didn’t have the ‘look’, and thus decided to change it to directing, although that initial spark has not left. Birdman, I shall say as loud as the word will allow, has left me astounded as both an actor and director in the heart.

birdmanBirdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, tells the story of Riggan Thomson, a washed up has been of an actor who was known for playing a superhero called Birdman, but now struggles to keep his Broadway play up. He’s constantly bothered by the voice of Birdman, and may or may not be able to do superhuman feats. The rest of the film focuses on him trying to make the play work, his problems with his daughter, played by Emma Stone, and his internal struggle between himself and the character Birdman.

This movie deals with a lot of issues, mainly the relationship between actor and character. Can the actor, after doing a BIG role, truly steer himself from the repetition of sequels and do something new? One would say of course. All they need to do is sign a contract and there you are. But, is he truly away for good? Even after retiring the character, knowing he ‘made’ you, can it really leave? It still happens today: Chris Evans, for example. Captain America made him into the celebrity he is today, but thus completely overshadowed some of his arguably better work, like Snowpiercer. Am I condemning career-making films? God no. It’s the movie that raises this question, and that was simply my opinion on it.

The performances are downright amazing. The side characters, with Edward Norton as the asshole theater guy; Zach Galifianakis portraying Thomson’s producer and best friend; and even the citizens of New York, all do a great job. They have to step down though, for the unexpected brilliance of Michael Keaton. This may be completely false, but I think that this film was very personal to Keaton. Thomson is basically a exaggerated version of Keaton. Who knows? Maybe Alejandro wrote the part specifically for Keaton. The only person I can really see as Thomson besides Keaton is Christopher Reeve, but sadly he has gone to the big place above. Oh well.

On the directing side, the camerawork is exceptional. Making everything look like one shot is visually enthralling, albeit maybe a bit unnecessary. The music as well is somehow smooth and jumpy at the same time. The soundtrack is a must get for any fan of jazz, with the drum being the prominent instrument.

In conclusion, Birdman is an experience. It is, from a director’s point of view, ground-breaking and from an actor’s point of view, emotional and somewhat epiphanic, and I had the pleasure of feeling both sides.