All That Jazz and Birdman seem like an interesting comparison. Very self-reflexive. Do you like Birdman?
I'm gonna attach my review because a lot could apply to Birdman;
Audacious, original construction with plenty of reflexivity; peering into the heart of the artist, the artistic process and the art of musical theatre and film-making. Actually, today I heard the opinion of a critic who I consider pseudo-intellectual to the point of fault, who invoked these audacious, original, reflexive qualities as what he looks for in film. To which my reaction is, if you are bored with film as an art UNLESS it is audaciously original and/or reflexive then read a book or just go out a bit more; because "hating" films that don't want to reach for the stars is uncool. I've seen specific quotes about All That Jazz that have that giddy, slightly sweaty euphoric air of "look it's different! HURRAH" of the cineaste. I've seen Lenny. Fossé is clearly sending a message about what he thinks of that film, with his chagrin at how his stand up comedy film is turning out. I know stuff like this really excites film buffs, because it connects point A with part B. That's like stamp collecting though isn't it? "I've got a full set! Mum MUM!" I just did it, I said "I've seen Lenny", see what I mean, I got that badge, eh? As much works in Bob Fossé's navel gaze as fails, some truly electric dance sequences and some righteously caustic deconstructions of the obsessive nature of the artist. Fossé shows a commendable blunt disdain for his own behaviour; success as a key to the door of the liquor cabinet, the drugs cabinet, and every bedroom.
Roy Scheider seems to be very much enjoying taking his interpretation of the man behind the camera to 11. Obviously hard for the director to rein in any excess, for fear it be taken as ego-protection. It's an outstanding piece of acting, even if he looks a little bewildered when he joins in the finalé; stick to acting Roy, you're the king.
I'm not a lover of musicals. "Why are you watching a musical?" Was my partner's bemused reaction. As beautiful as the physical extremes of the dancers are, the songs get stranger and more self-indulgent as the film progresses until Roy gets the microphone and it tips over into camp-hilarity before tipping over again into sheer embarrassment. It is a remarkably original attempt at autobiog-cinema. The only film that comes close is JC Mitchell's Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which properly embraces the campness of the premise. I see why the film has the "essential" tag attached, and fantasy elements, like Jessica Lange's majestic Angel of Death, and the smart twisting of the "putting on a show", certainly should earn a recommendation. There is so much that is self-indulgent. The great artist needs the equivalent of the voice in Caesar's ear; whispering "you're not god, you know. Cut that stupid erotic dance bit in the middle for starters."
Kind of fits with the other conversation I'm having even though it's 3 years old. I don't much like musicals, not the film's fault is it? Further why was I watching it in the first place since I don't like musicals much? All me.