Michael Keaton plays Riggan, a guy who used to be a box-office superstar, in part because he played Birdman in three films. (Art improving on life?) Now Riggan (like Keaton) is starring in much artier fare. Sadly, everything is going wrong, and he is routinely haunted by his feathery, famous alter-ego: rumbling about past glories and present humiliations, urging him to become the superhero he once was and maybe could be again. The action covers the preview performances running up to the show’s premiere, and its devotion to showbiz types and clichés is positively wondrous. Director Alejandro Iñárritu (who also co-wrote) is having great fun as he winds his camera through the labyrinthine bowels of the theater, and he wants you to have fun, too. Besides, the clichéd action isn’t the point. The point is the artist and the self he is forever attempting to express, his struggle to slip free of history’s obliterating grip and soar toward heaven and immortality. It’s a hoot. (Mostly, anyway. There are some draggy bits that even the thump-a-drum score cannot enliven.) (2014) — Matthew Lickona
This movie is not currently in theaters.