AWFJ Movie of the Week, Oct. 13-19: BIRDMAN

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Opening Oct. 17, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Birdman, which sees the very welcome return of Michael Keaton to leading man status. He takes the deliciously knowing role of a washed up actor who found fame playing a superhero some years before, and is now attempting to recapture those former glories by staging a play on Broadway. Critics are calling it a virtuoso, powerhouse performance and a career highlight for Keaton, who both embraces and commands a dramatic role which allows him to showcase a range of emotions. Read on…

While Keaton’s performance drives the film, he is surrounded by a spectacular cast including Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts; all ably directed by exciting Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Babel), who also co-wrote the screenplay. Throw cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity, To The Wonder, Burn After Reading) and editors Douglas Crise and Stephen Mirrione – all Oscar winners – into the mix, and you have what is essentially a master class in the craft of filmmaking. Knowing, sharp and hugely entertaining, Birdman is also an unmissable treatise on the fickle nature of fame.

AWFJ Movie of the Week Panelists Comments:

Anne Brodie: This brave drama follows Michael Keaton as a movie action hero has-been dealing with life after that. Its searing and painful but Keaton’s performances is Oscar worthy. Emma Stone throws a slam dunk perf as his formidable daughter.

Leba Hertz: Expect lots of Academy Award nominations including Michael Keaton for best actor.

Kristy Puchko: Birdman looks extraordinary, risky and potentially brilliant.

AWFJ Movie of the Week Panel Members: Nikki Baughan, Anne Brodie, Pam Grady, Leba Hertz, MaryAnn Johanson, Loren King, Cate Marquis, Jennifer Merin, Nell Minow, Rebecca Murray, Kristy Puchko, Carrie Rickey, Sheila Roberts, Jeanne Wolf, Sara Vizcarrando.

Other Movies Opening the Week of Oct. 13-17, 2014:

October 15
– Diplomacy (NY)

October 16
– The Town That Dreaded Sundown (limited)

October 17
– The Best of Me
– Birdman (limited)
– The Book of Life
– Camp X-Ray (NY; LA release: October 24)
– The Culture High (limited)
– Dear White People (limited)
– Default (limited)
– Felony (limited)
– Fury
– Housebound (limited)
– Listen Up Philip (NY; expands: October 24)
– Rudderless (limited)
– The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (NY, LA, Toronto)
– Young Ones (limited)

Edited by Sandra Kraisirideja, Associate Editor

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Nikki Baughan

Nikki Baughan is a London-based freelance film critic and features writer. Formerly editor of both Film Review and movieScope magazines, Nikki is currently contributes to various print and online publications, including Screen International, BFI, The List and Film Divider.