Birdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Hey friends, welcome to another swinging night at the Tagline! Today I'm gonna be talking about Birdman, a movie that shockingly is not based on a Hanna Barbera cartoon. Is that disappointing now that I think about it? Well... maybe a little. At any rate, we're talking about Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, starring Michael Keaton as Riggan Thomson, a Hollywood Has-been who was best known for his portrayal of the superhero Birdman, in blockbuster films of days gone past (Michael Keaton in real life was, as you may all remember, the original Batman on the silver screen). In an attempt to make a comeback, Riggan is putting on an adaptation of Raymond Carver's What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, and has invested essentially everything he has left in the effort. Also involved in the production are his girlfriend Laura (Andrea Riseborough apparently destined to always be the other woman), first time broadway actress Lesley (Naomi Watts) and through Lesley the eccentric and off the rails Mike (Edward Norton), who is a Broadway veteran that Riggan hopes will lend credibility to his show in the eyes of the critics. Also on the production are Riggan's lawyer Jake (Zach Galifianakis) and Riggan's recovering addict daughter Sam (Emma Stone being as mean as she can be), Jake as production manager/Riggan handler and Sam as Riggan's assistant/surly daughter not doing much. That's the players assembled, and basically the movie centers around Riggan's attempts to prepare the show to open, leading up to its first full performance for the public.


The Cable Guy

"There's No Such Thing as Free Cable"

A point I feel Comcast is constantly trying to establish by alternatively letting my cable go out and then increasing rates. I feel like I should pay them for 2/3rds of the month, which is the percentage of the time that I actually have functioning service. BUT THAT IS A STORY FOR SOME OTHER TIME. Welcome back to the Tagline, where I am the submissive and you are all my dominant. Or something. I assume there will be a point in the future where I stop ridiculing 50 Shades for being the worst piece of garbage ever, but that time friends is not now. In the meantime let's talk about something else. Have you folks ever seen the Cable Guy? You know, that movie about the guy and the cables? Well we're talking about that today, so tune in and listen up. The Cable Guy is weird from beginning to end, and goes to a dark place... a place many of us have been really. For starters, this movie was directed by Ben Stiller (who also appears in the movie... twice technically) and produced by Judd Apatow, which probably explains why Leslie Mann is here. Also Jack Black but back to the movie. The Cable Guy stars everyone's... favorite guy Matthew Broderick as Steve Kovacs, who following a failed proposal is on the outs with his girlfriend Robin (Mann) and so moving into his own apartment. He gets some questionable advice from Jack Black about convincing his cable guy to let him steal some movie channels on the cheap, but his cable guy Chip (Jim Carey) hooks him up, making him a "preferred customer". He also convinces Steve to hang out with him the next day. Shit pretty much goes all downhill from there.


50 Shades of Grey

I'm very important and stare out the window.
"Mr. Grey will see you now."

Hello friends and welcome. After a brief hiatus, I did some soul searching, and then decided that there was only one right thing to do on the night before Valentines Day. Call up my male friend, and go see 50 Shades of Grey. You fucking people asked for it, so I did it, god help me I did it. Before I even talk about the movie... and I have plenty to say there, let's talk about the experience of physically attending a showing of this film, which was surreal in and of itself. For starters, having to actually buy a ticket to see it was the first time I'd experienced real embarrassment over such a thing in approximately ever. I felt a mixture of shame and annoyance, because I was actually paying money to see what I knew would be a pile of garbage, based on its premise alone. Once inside the theater I found myself no less unsettled. My friend turned to me and asked "Notice anything interesting about the audience? Like there's... a certain kind of person here?", and right he was. I would say the theater was composed roughly 50% of what I would describe as tweens, girls who one would have to imagine were almost certainly there with a mom chaperon. Every part of that sentence makes me feel seriously grossed out. Worse yet I noticed these girls were dressed like... what I imagine a 15 year old might think was sophisticated (one girl kept stumbling in high heels down the stairs to leave the theater, it was awkward). So now I'm sitting in a theater with my friends and mostly teenage girls and their moms, watching a movie presumably about a man having sex with some girl and hitting her until he cries. What a Friday night.


If I Stay

Ghost Girlfriend: The Movie.
"Live for Love"

Hello friends, I know you must have been concerned that I died, and then had flashbacks in limbo about my daring and tragic life filled with love cut too short, but actually I was just really backed up with work, and that cut into the time I normally use to watch movies about exploding Draculas and girls crying about boys they like. Rest assured however that this doesn't mean that crying exploding Dracula girls are not still number one in my heart. With that out of the way, welcome back to the Tagline, where we are still in the middle of Romantic Romance Month, don't think you're off the hook. Last week we looked at the Fault in Our Stars, a movie about having cancer sort of, but mostly a movie about using the cheapest methods possible to elicit an emotional response from the audience. This week we visit a movie which is... well frankly not much better in that regard. I'm talking about If I Stay, a film based on, you guessed it, a young adult novel, and also about out-of-body experiences. This adaptation in particular stars Chloe Grace Moretz (you know the one who is going to murder you) as Mia Hall, a girl who really likes classical music, and plays the Cello all the time. She is your regular girl music prodigy-who-might-go-to-Juilliard and part of a regular kind of hippie former punk rocker family. Okay so nothing about her life is ordinary, but at least they're not trying to convince me everyone has cancer! Anyway, her life is changed forever when she meets Adam, the frontman for a local up-and-coming band that has prospects of blowing up. The two begin one of those super intense high-school relationships, but their own extraordinary lives begin to pull them apart. One day Mia goes on a trip with her family, and then they get in a super bad car accident and Mia wakes up outside of her body. Yeah that's a little out of left field right?


The Fault In Our Stars

Fortunes fools?
"One sick love story"

I picked the above tagline because nothing says "taking things seriously" like making a pun about cancer. That's the sort of quality you can expect out of today's Tagline, in honor of the spectacular commercial romance that is Valentine's Day, I'm starting off the month of February with TEARJERKER SADTIME ROMANCE WEEK. To that end I started off by choosing The Fault in Our Stars, a movie that critics and moviegoers wet their pants over when it was released, and starring my favorite galpal Shailene Woodley. The Fault in our Stars presents the age-old story, told time and again, of a girl who falls in love with a boy, only they both have cancer. Also Willem Dafoe is there as a drunk guy who wrote a book they like. There are nuances and wrinkles to the story, but I have just encapsulated the big picture. The boy in question in this case is Augustus Rivers (played by Ansel Elgort, who I last saw when he was being brutally killed in a paranormal bloodbath in Carrie, the remake one), who lost his leg to cancer but now is on the mend and living life bravely and eccentrically, as any good movie boy who explodes into the life of a hopeless girl. His offbeat outlook and lovable quirks initially cause friction with Hazel (Woodley) but naturally over time and wild antics the two come to love one another, despite the dire circumstances of Hazel's life.
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