Review: ‘Birdman’

There are few actors more perfect to play the role of an aging actor staging a comeback in one last-ditch effort to shed the image he cultivated years ago as a big-screen superhero than Michael Keaton. Yes, the actor doesn’t quite have the high profile he did back in the 1980s and 1990s, and those of viewers may already have correctly guessed that Birdman makes good use of the fact that Keaton is still perhaps best known for his role as the Caped Crusader in Tim Burton’s Batman and Batman Returns.

However, whereas the current crop of costumed heroes focus on taking down baddies and saving the human race (or alien worlds, in the case of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy), Birdman has more contemplative things on its mind. Of course, this isn’t too surprising, considering that the film is the latest offering from Oscar-nominated filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel, 21 Grams). Continue reading Review: ‘Birdman’

Review: ‘Big Hero 6’

Earlier this year, Guardians of the Galaxy proved that even a relatively obscure Marvel Comics property could translate into box office gold. While Marvel’s own productions had previously performed admirably (including the back-to-back billion-dollar releases of The Avengers and Iron Man 3), Guardians took a quirky group of characters without any built-in audience appeal and made household names out of a gun-toting raccoon and a walking tree with a very limited vocabulary.

Disney’s Big Hero 6 then marks the second time this year a little-known Marvel superhero team has been brought to life on the big screen. However, unlike Guardians, the film is not a Marvel Studios project (despite the fact that Marvel has been a Disney property since 2009), meaning that the creative team that has so successfully brought Iron Man and Captain America to theaters had little to do with this animated adventure. Would the film live up to Marvel Cinematic Universe (in terms of quality, at least) or tarnish the Disney/Marvel track record? Continue reading Review: ‘Big Hero 6’

Review: ‘Interstellar’

Thanks to modern classics like Memento, The Dark Knight and Inception, director Christopher Nolan has become just as recognizable a brand in the film community as Disney-owned studios like Marvel and Pixar. In keeping with is reputation as arguably one of the most successful filmmakers of our time (and one of our favorites, to boot), a tremendous amount of anticipation and mystery have surrounded his latest film, Interstellar. But does the sci-fi epic live up to the pre-release hype, or does it serve as Nolan’s first creative misfire since ascending to the ranks of Hollywood royalty (notwithstanding the often-justified criticism of The Dark Knight Rises)? Continue reading Review: ‘Interstellar’