By Steve Fisher
IT’S COMMON KNOWLEDGE the year has
four seasons. If you enjoy quality films and television shows, add a fifth: awards season.
Various critics’ awards, the Film Independent
Spirit Awards, Academy Awards, Golden
Globes, Emmys—the list goes on and on. The
following titles, featuring outstanding performances by male actors in a central role, are on
many nominee lists, and they’re also on the list
of Blu-rays/Digital HD combo packs available
at Costco on February 17.
Birdman. Michael Keaton has always been
an effective actor, but never more so than
here. This dark comedy follows an actor who
earned stardom as a movie superhero and is
now trying to stage a comeback in a Broadway show.
Some critics have tried to link the role to
Keaton’s own story—he played Batman in the
Tim Burton–directed films Batman and
Batman Returns, then walked away from the
role when Burton left the series—but, in interviews, Keaton denies such a personal link. In an
interview in The Hollywood Reporter, Keaton
says about Birdman, “I’ve never related less to a
character. … This movie is thick with humanity.” As to any correlation, he says, “It’s not me at
all.” What it may be, though, is the actor’s chance
to win awards—he’s already won several—
including an Academy Award and a Golden
Globe this year for best actor. R. (Item #967972)
St. Vincent. Bill Murray stars as a cantanker-
ous old war veteran who develops an unusual
friendship with a 12-year-old boy, Oliver
(Jaeden Lieberher), who lives next door.
Maggie (Melissa McCarthy), a single mother,
has to work long hours. Without affordable
child care, she is forced to leave Oliver in the
care of their new neighbor, Vincent (Murray),
whose main interests are alcohol and gam-
bling. Vincent takes Oliver on his daily stops at
the racetrack, a strip club and a local dive bar,
helping him to become a “man.” An intriguing
approach to child-rearing.
Along the way, Oliver sees something that
others have missed: Vincent is a misunderstood
man with a good heart. As for the man playing
him, Peter Travers, in a Rolling Stone review,
says, “Is there an Oscar in his future? … There’s
nobody like Bill Murray. Never has been. Never
will be. He’s indispensable. Stay in your seat for
the end credits, in which Murray waters a dying
plant and karaokes to Bob Dylan’s ‘Shelter from
the Storm.’ That alone is worth double the price
of admission.” Or, in this case, adding this Blu-ray to your library. PG. (# 967974)
The Theory of Everything. In Les Mis-érables, British actor Eddie
Redmayne impressed audiences
with his powerful singing. Here,
he shows fantastic acting chops.
Redmayne doesn’t merely play
renowned astrophysicist Stephen
Hawking, he becomes him.
The film, based on the memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life
with Stephen, by Jane Hawking
(played by Felicity Jones), shows
Hawking as a young student at
Cambridge, falling in love, then
developing a devastating motor
neuron disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) that eventually
In our digital editions
Click here to watch a trailer
for St. Vincent. (See page 12
The Costco Connection
Birdman, St. Vincent and The Theory of
Everything as well as Big Hero 6, Nightcrawler
and Olive Kitteridge are available at Costco.
leaves him quadriplegic and unable to speak.
Though he is given just two years to live,
Jane’s love keeps Hawking fighting.
Redmayne’s transformation reaches amazing levels, first as the young, energetic genius,
finding love, then grappling with the devastating effects of the advancing disease. His performance earned him a Golden Globe.
Reviewer Ann Hornaday, in The
Washington Post, says, “Redmayne is understandably
getting most of the accolades for an excruciatingly demanding physical performance that
also manages to be surprising[ly] expressive.
… At its best, The Theory of Everything portrays its central love story not as the stuff of
soap-opera melodrama or zero-sum ultimatums, but as a relationship between recognizably imperfect adults, fraught with many
familiar complications, contingencies, flaws
and fatal setbacks.” PG- 13. (#967832) C
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