294 – Birdman (2014)


Well my survey of Alejandro González Iñárritu’s directorial oeuvre stalled out around the halfway point. That would be a more impressive statement if his filmography up to this point had not been solely four films. I just ran out of time to watch Babel and Biutiful before González Iñárritu’s newest film, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), was released, but from what I have seen, I am (perhaps prematurely) prepared to declare him a pretentious filmmaker with a very strong eye for the technical aspect of cinema. Birdman has finally roosted in the cultural consciousness, and it is time to determine whether the film represents the hatching of a new era for the auteur; a “molting,” if you will.

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075 – Need for Speed (2014)

need for speed

The Fast and Furious franchise is a triumph in disposable summer entertainment; the most recent entry was my eighth favorite movie of 2013. The series began a little too self-serious, the way that most action movies tend to. But eventually the filmmakers realized that they weren’t making high art, which ironically lifted the quality of their output. Those films stopped being about racing a long time ago, rightly choosing instead to focus on the superhero Vin Diesel has become both on- and off-screen. Need for Speed attempts to fill that racing-based void, while trying to capitalize on the established films’ popularity. Early box office reports don’t look good for a potential franchise, but that is not necessarily indicative of the film itself.

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