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Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) [Blu-ray]
(Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2014)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: New Regency
Video: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 47,830,623,568 bytes
Feature Size: 40,266,418,176 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.18 Mbps
Case: Red Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase
Release date: February 17th, 2015
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3770 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3770 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 /
48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Descriptive Audio: Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
English, Spanish, French, Dutch, Portuguese, Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Korean, Chinese, Polish, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Turkish, none
•Birdman: All Access - A View From the Wings (33:28 in 1080P)
• A Conversation with Michael Keaton and Alejandro González Iñárritu (14:03 in 1080P)
•Gallery of On-Set Photos
Description: A fading actor (Michael Keaton) best known for his portrayal of a popular superhero attempts to mount a comeback by appearing in a Broadway play. As opening night approaches, his attempts to become more altruistic, rebuilt his career, and reconnect with friends and family proves more difficult than expected. Lindsay Duncan, Zach Galifianakis, and Edward Norton co-star in this black comedy from Biutiful director Alejandro González Iñárritu.
At one point during Birdman, Michael Keaton’s Riggan Thomson, a former
movie star-turned-wannabe artist, deludes himself that he is his
superhero persona, Birdman, skimming through the skyscrapers of
New York at a dizzying speed. It’s an image that could stand for the
film itself: untethered, a feel for the slightly ridiculous, completely
exhilarating. Escaping the heavy gloom of
Alejandro González Iñárritu (credited here as Alejandro G. Iñárritu) has
conjured up something that takes on board Huge Issues — sanity,
narcissism, parenthood, marriage, creative integrity, artistic legacy —
but with a directness and lightness rarely present in his back
Directed, written and produced by Alejandro González Iñárritu, BIRDMAN tells the story of Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton), (Batman Returns, Clean and Sober) – famous for portraying an iconic superhero – as he struggles to mount a Broadway play. In the days leading up to opening night, he battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career, and himself. The film has enamored critics and audiences alike with its technical achievements using a single shot concept and captivating performances from an all-star ensemble cast, which include Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover, Due Date, Dinner for Schmucks), Edward Norton (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Primal Fear, American History X), Andrea Riseborough (Oblivion, Shadow Dancer), Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone, Win Win), Emma Stone (The Help; Crazy, Stupid, Love, The Amazing Spiderman franchise) Naomi Watts (St. Vincent, The Impossible, King Kong) as well as breath-taking cinematography from Academy Award-winner Emmanuel Lubezki.
Featured on over 168 Top Ten lists, BIRDMAN has garnered attention worldwide and has received more than 200 nominations from such esteemed groups as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, receiving nine Academy Award nominations, including “Best Picture,” won two Golden Globe awards (“Best Performance by an Actor,” “Best Screenplay”), recipient of the Darryl F. Zanuck, Producer of the Year Award for Best Motion Picture as well as a Screen Actors Guild award (“Best Ensemble,”) and has also been nominated for six Spirit Awards, including “Best Feature.”) BIRDMAN has also earned nods from the American Film Institute, the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Online.
Excerpt from the Fox Press Release HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Birdman appears as strong as you might anticipate on Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox. The image quality looks pristine. This is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate. Colors and hues are rich, deep and authentic without embellishment. It is transferred in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. This was shot with by Emmanuel Lubezki, DoP with an Arri Alexa ('M' and XT products, 'Plus' used for the steadicam) and the camera in the film is extremely fluid, handheld steadicam shots - often going 360, with extensively long takes following the characters around. The HD has no noise or artifacts of any kind. This Blu-ray has captured the theatrical feel well. It is very artistic, bold and ambitious. The 1080P is totally flawless - representing the film as perfectly as this medium can.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Fox use a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at a whopping 3770 kbps. Effects exist and often very surprising adding further to the robust punch of the track. Separations are rife. Birdman has a kind of beatnik drum score by Antonio Sanchez running through the film. The brushes sound very crisp - like they are in the room. It works very well and you can also find samplings of Mahler, Tchaikovsky, Ravel and Rachmaninoff - all sounding wonderful but the drum solos dominate. There is a 'Descriptive Audio' audio track available and many foreign-language DUBs and subtitle options.My Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
Extras include the 1/2 hour Birdman: All Access - A View From the Wings featurette with director/writer Alejandro González Iñárritu speaking to the cast/crew and a lot of interesting behind-the-scenes process. It is fairly extensive. There is also a 1/4 hour Conversation with Michael Keaton and Alejandro González Iñárritu going over some of the production minutia, opinions and emotion. Lastly we get a 'Gallery of On-Set Photos' with the option of running manually or automatically.
February 5th, 2015
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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