Riggan Thomson, unlike the drummer of Whiplash, the year's other film about an artist who beats thimself to prove his worth, is his own sadistic taskmaster. Michael Keaton’s character in Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) lives on the thin line between hysterical delusion of grandeur and the sobering reality that he just might not matter. Riggan is an actor whose success in a series of “Birdman” movies has made him a global star. He decides to test himself by producing, writing, and starring in the Broadway adaptation of Raymond Carver’s short story “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.” Read more . . .
Katy Chevigny and Ross Kauffman have created an excellent documentary portrait of the work of four investigative workers in service to Human Rights Watch. The E-Team or emergency team is made up of Ole Solvang (a Norwegian), his wife Anna Neistat (from Russia), Fred Abrahams (from Brooklyn), and Peter Bouckaert (from Belgium). The film centers its stories on (now) well-known human right abuses in Libya, Syria, and Kosovo. The four team members do not take charge in the Jason Statham/Vin Deisal mode. Their work is quiet, painstaking, and deliberate. Their ordinary civilian lives stand in startling contrast to the suffering of mothers and fathers who for no clear reason are subjected to the kind of loss and heartbreak most Americans will never know. A mother cries: “Our tears could fill gallons and form a river.”
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