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Sunday, 11 January 2015

The Barrel Drop

Tonight we visit a new bar in Nottingham, The Barrel Drop in Hurts Yard. Once famous as the home of Way Ahead records (now Seetickets), back in the day. When Way Ahead moved in it was already the home of Rob’s Record Mart. Rob is still there!

It's fair to say that these days Hurts Yard could do with a bit of attention, perhaps this new venture will help.

Barrel Drop has a couple of hand pumps but when we there all the beer is drawn straight from barrel. I have a Porter, can’t remember who from, and very nice it is too. The owner apparently also owns the Brew Cavern beer shop in Flying Horse Walk.

We then head to Broadway to see Birdman. Which is a black comedy of sorts about a man called Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton), a man typecast as Birdman, a superhero type character who pulled in the punters at the multiplexes and presumably ran for several pointless (you would imagine) sequels. Thomson, now ashamed of this 'selling out', wants to reinvent himself as a ‘proper’ actor on Broadway. Keaton, twice Batman of course before quitting to avoid becoming typecast himself, appropriately plays the lead.

In an attempt to prove himself, Thomson directs and stars in his own adaptation of a Raymond Carver short story. It is a bold attempt to be taken seriously but also a doomed one. Throughout he is persecuted by the character that made him famous. His Birdman alter ego keeps appearing in his mind, telling him that he will fail.

The public too do not want him to move on from Birdman and the critics, namely Tabitha of the Times (Lindsey Duncan), will never give him a good review because of who he is.

Then when his co-lead in the play is mysteriously knocked unconscious by a falling stage light, it is thought that his replacement well known method actor, Mike Shiner (Edward Norton), could well save the show. Mike though is exceptionally unstable. He gets drunk during his first rehearsal and later attempts to have sex with the female lead (Naomi Watts) whilst they're on stage.

He fails on that score but is more successful with Thomson’s daughter (Emma Stone), an assistant on the production and straight out of drug rehab.

Thomson’s quest is further derailed by his girlfriend (Andrea Riseborough), who might or not be pregnant, his ex-wife (Amy Ryan) who can't seem to stay away from him and his pushy producer (Zach Galifanakis).

Everyone is depicted as deeply flawed as the film takes a dig at actors in general as well as taking shots at a public that will shell out good money to see action packed rubbish.

Birdman is good but not fantastic and it isn't ground breaking by any means but in what looks like being a meagre year for award contenders it may be one of the best we get.

(Sunday 11th January)

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