Alejandro González Iñárritu’s ‘Birdman: or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)’ (2014)

Birdman

Welcome to the most lucid of dreams. Or: Living a few blocks away of ‘Synechdoche, New York‘ (2008).

A review by Bastian Gottbehuet

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Starred Up (David Mackenzie, 2013)

Review by Adam Clayton

Very violent, but surprisingly sensitive and patient in its portrayal of horrible circumstances in a high-security prison, Starred Up focuses on the struggles of a troubled young offender who, ahead of normal time, has been put in with the adult prisoners.

Jack O'Connel is brutal/seething as  young offender Eric "I'll take you all on" Love, while David Mackenzie's artistic sensibilities elevate this prison drama above the cliches of the genre.

Jack O’Connel is excellent as young offender Eric Love, a character that seems to seethe with rage constantly. The acting is generally of a very high level, while director David Mackenzie’s artistic sensibilities elevate the film above the cliches of the prison drama genre.

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East of Eden (Elia Kazan, 1955)

Review by Adam Clayton

In 1955, a year after On the Waterfront and four after A Streetcar Named Desire, director Elia Kazan released East of Eden, a slick, if pompous, adaptation of the bloated Steinbeck novel, and the last film featuring James Dean to be released prior to his death. It was also Dean’s debut as a leading man. Rebel Without a Cause and Giant were both released posthumously.

Dean's brooding gestures are as much of a constant as his character's anxiety in his dealing with his parents, understandable given that they represent the Bible's so-called original sinners, Adam and Eve. The passions he feels is supposed to be ancient. Tragedy, looming in the background of the narrative all the while, seems inevitable.

Dean’s brooding gestures are a constant. His character’s overcome with anxiety when dealing with his parents, understandable given that they represent the Bible’s so-called original sinners, Adam and Eve. The passion he feels is supposed to be ancient. Tragedy, looming in the background of the narrative all the while, seems inevitable.

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Pre-review/Adjective List: Nobuhiko Obayashi’s ‘Hausu’ (House, 1977)

This is not a film that can be summed up by words like ‘good’ or ‘bad’. It is unlike any film you’ve seen before, unless you’ve already seen it. Find another film like Hausu and you’ll have found an imitation. All of the following adjectives can be applied to Hausu:

inventive, magical, ridiculous, baffling, nightmarish, manic, colourful, brilliant, surreal, original.

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