“Hotshots” looks at a movie!

Birdman - Movie PosterBIRDMAN has the full, awkward title of BIRDMAN OR (THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE), which sums up the whole movie.

It is long, it is unnecessary, it is complicated, and in the end it is obtuse and doesn’t mean anything.

Michael Keaton stars as Riggan Thomson, an actor who is trying to rejuvenate his career by mounting and starring in a play on Broadway after he used to be somebody in the movies.

You see, some 20 years ago Riggan starred in three popular movies as a comic-book superhero known as Birdman, but after those successful movies playing the superhero, Riggan said no to making BIRDMAN 4.

Remind you of anyone?

Yes, Keaton himself starred as Batman in the 1989 BATMAN and the 1992 BATMAN RETURNS movies, but not in the third Batman movie in the series, although I am not sure why, but there was controversy about his starring in even the first one, with some critics complaining that his chin was too “weak” to be Batman, who wears a mask, remember?

At any rate, a voice in Riggan’s head says, “We had it all; we gave it away.”

Later in the movie, that voice in Riggan’s head becomes significant.

So, Riggan has written an adaptation of a short story called “What We Talk about When We Talk about Love,” he is directing the play and also starring in it, and the action in the movie takes place mostly in the theater where the play is going to be produced.

The camera work is made to look as if the whole movie was shot in one continuous take, but the long shots sometimes end in a different location and at a different time in the story, which is another example of unnecessary and complicated, right?

The story takes place before the previews of the production, and also appearing are Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, and Naomi Watts, but when scenes turn surrealistic, such as when Riggan floats and flies above the streets of New York City, you might wonder what is going on and why are you there watching this confusing piece of whatever you want to call it.

We see rehearsals for the play, and the acting is terrible.

BIRDMAN goes on way too long, and it is too unusual and boring for my taste.

I’m Dan Culberson and this is “Hotshots.”