Tag Archives: birdman

Lame Adventure 456: Milton’s Academy Award Predictions

As Lame Adventures’ dedicated following knows, all of you in the ones of tens, my dear friend, Milton, is the consummate cinemaniac. I don’t know anyone else who spends as many hours as he sitting in the dark, watching movies while chowing popcorn and quaffing gallons of diet Coke. Because Milton saw 168 films in 2014, including every picture in every category that received an Oscar nomination, I know that he is highly qualified to predict how tonight will unfold. Therefore, I asked him to compile a list for Lame Adventures of the films that he thinks will win the Academy Award as well as a second list of the films that he thinks deserve to take home the shiny naked gold guy. The middle column is comprised of the films/actors that Milton would reward. The column on the right is how he thinks the Academy will vote.

Predictions based on 14 days of solid filmgoing in 2014.

Predictions based on 14 days (336 hours) of film-going fueled by 3.5 days (84 hours) of refreshment imbibing in calendar year 2014.

For all of you rooting for Eddie Redmayne who stars in The Theory of Everything, Milton has a message:

Milton: Redmayne’s schmaltzy turn as Stephen Hawking will be hard for the Academy to resist. But Keaton deserves this one!

I enthusiastically agree.

Milton has an impressive track record of determining how the Academy voters will cast their ballot. For fans of Boyhood, he thinks you will be disappointed. For fans of Birdman (Milton, My Boss and me), he thinks we’ll be pleased.

One last bit of Milton Academy Award-time madness that is now tradition: at his workplace he treats his colleagues to a chocolate layer cake inscribed with a message to an actor or actress he’s cheering.

Go Birdman!

Go Birdman!

Milton is a one very popular guy.

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Lame Adventure 437: Back to the Birds

The New York Film Festival’s closing night feature hit another high note, Birdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), is a pitch black comedy directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. Michael Keaton plays a Hollywood has-been best known as the comic book hero, Birdman, a character that brought him fame and fortune. He is determined to resurrect his sagging career and gain relevancy by adapting a Raymond Carver story for the Broadway stage, even though he is losing his mind to Birdman who has a stranglehold on his identity.

Milton and I doubt that Birdman will come anywhere near the crowd pleasing popularity of Gone Girl, which opened the festival, at the US box office. But Birdman is a beautifully shot and edited film with a great jazz drum score. Michael Keaton, whose own career hit its high mark when he started playing Batman twenty-five years ago (a role he quit before acting in the third film of the series), is terrific as a man who is losing his grip on reality as he directs and stars in a play that is hemorrhaging his life savings. It nails the New York theatrical community with falling props, insecure, egotistical actors and nasty, snobby critics. Adding to the authenticity, much of it is shot at the Saint James theater, where Milton and I have seen many Broadway plays through the years. It’s very entertaining with an ending that’s open to interpretation.

Birdman played eight times on closing night at the festival. Milton and I could not afford to pay the king’s ransom to attend the star-studded gala screening. Our screening at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade theater did not rate an appearance by any of the stars. It was a venue with first come, first serve seating so loitering outside the press tent was not an option. Therefore, the closest we got to rubbernecking the likes of Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts or Zach Galifianakis was this guy vacuuming the red carpet in anticipation of their arrival.

Vacuum-man.

Vacuum-man.

So, how does one follow up sixteen days of intensive film going in Lincoln Center? The first option is to enter withdrawal. The second it to head downtown, specifically to Greenwich Village to indulge in street theater.

Birdboy.

Birdboy.

As a longtime fan of pigeons, I was very excited to read last week in The New Yorker, that Tina Trachtenburg, also known as Mother Pigeon, an animal activist and artist, was conducting a pigeon “flashflock outstallation” in Washington Square Park on Saturday with a rain date on Sunday. Milton and I had tickets to two screenings on Saturday, so I was elated to see rain.

I was even more elated to see Mother Pigeon’s acrylic felt flock on Sunday.

Mother Pigeon's pigeon outstellation.

Mother Pigeon’s pigeon outstallation.

"Why aren't we in MoMA, Mother Pigeon?"

“Why aren’t we in MoMA, Mother Pigeon?”

Flock of feathered felt.

Flock of feathered felt.

She creates these whimsical creatures and gives each unique markings. She explains on her web site, “I like to make them all different because all pigeons are different.” As someone who is quite familiar with the many pigeons in my own midst, that is very true.

Mother Pigeon.

Mother Pigeon with the pigeons in her midst.

Yes, she even created one pecking at a slice of felt pizza.

Mother Pigeon pigeon pecking at pizza.

Mother Pigeon pigeon pecking at pizza.

As I was heading back uptown, I encountered life imitating art.

Mother Nature pigeon enjoying lunch.

Mother Nature pigeon pecking at pizza crust.