To all those celebrating, Merry Christmas Eve!
As you may know, it's become a popular thing in the U.S. for Jewish families to spend Christmas Eve or Christmas Day going to the movies and eating Chinese food. I hate to be cliche, but what can I say? This is a pretty great one.
Given today's activities, it feels like the perfect time to share with you a review of the movie I saw most recently, "Birdman."
For those who are unfamiliar, "Birdman" is the story of Riggan Thomson, an actor most famous for playing the superhero Birdman. He tries to change the public's perception of him by producing, directing and starring in a Broadway play.
Riggan is played by Michael Keaton, an actor also well known for his role as a superhero (Batman). In the film, Riggan is haunted by the voice of Birdman. Every move he makes, there's the voice. The voice mocks him, baits him and draws him closer and closer to giving up on his stage dreams and returning to his bird suit.
Keaton plays this man on the edge on a nervous breakdown with a sincerity that leaves you feeling profoundly sad for him. His character is not likable, but he is sympathetic.
Keaton has already received nominations for "Best Actor" at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Golden Globes. We'll see if Oscar comes next.
For me, the actor who stole that show was actually Edward Norton. I've always been a huge Norton fan and he wowed me again in this role. He plays Mike, an arrogant method actor who joins the cast of the play just a day before the first show. He spews venomous criticism at Riggan, forcing him to confront his reality.
For his scene-stealing performance, Norton is also nominated for both a Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe Award.
Norton's character, Mike, also develops an interesting relationship with Riggan's daughter, played by Emma Stone. I love Emma Stone, but this part was so predictable and disappointing for someone of her talent.
One of the things that stood out to me most in the film was the musical score. There is a percussion that beats steadily throughout the film and I can't remember another time I've heard music, drums specifically, used that way in a film. If you saw it or do wind up seeing it, I'd love to hear your thoughts on how the drums add to (or detract from) the film.
When we walked out of the movie, my mom asked, "So, what did you think?" To which I replied, "Well, it was completely strange, but also weirdly captivating."
For tonight, my parents and I are debating whether to see "Into the Woods" or "Foxcatcher" or "The Imitation Game." I will report back on the final decision, of course.
Is going to the movies part of your Christmas tradition?