Director: Clint Eastwood Cast: Forest Whitaker, Diane Venora, Michael Zelniker
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Bird 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
TinaTawdre More than 1 year ago
This movie does a fascinating job of portraying the short, complicated and, utimately, tragic life of bop musician Charlie Parker. Parker was a seminal musician instrumental (pun intended) in developing a post-WW II style of jazz music called "bop". This movie tries to give a sense of both the man and musician during his short life. (He died at 34 of a heart attack after a life marred by alcohol and drug addiction.) In this movie, you see many sides of his life: loving father and husband, self-destructive addict, innovative musician. This is certainly a dark movie that ultimately sadly with Bird's death, but there are also a few light moments. I particularly enjoyed the scenes of Bird playing with his children and the humorous side story of Bird's band of black (and one white) musicians traveling to play in the Deep South. The movie includes many great scenes that illustrate the environment for black jazz musicians of this time, particularly touching on racial segregation and the commercial decline of jazz in the 50s as rock and roll rises in popularity. There is naturally a hefty dose of Parker's music in the movie soundtrack. From the credits, I was suprised to see that Parker wrote the main theme to so many of his now-classic jazz recordings. The DVD has a special feature of showing the movie while only playing the music soundtrack -- very nice. This Clint Eastwood Collection DVD has no other special features except for brief synopses of cast members' professional bios.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mr.Eastwood who directed "Bird" is a devoted jazz fan using jazz in the soundtrack of several of his earlier films. He has had a long collaboration with ex-Kentonite Lennie Niehaus in the musical scoring of several of his projects."The Gauntlet" for example featured alto saxophonist Art Pepper and other prominent West Coast jazzmen throughout. This hommage to Charlie "Bird" Parker acknowledged to be a giant figure in 20th. century contemporary music, is a dark film literally as their often appears to be minimal lighting adding to the somber mood of the story line. Forest Whitaker is convincing in his portrayal but, the criticism by those who actually knew Parker personally was that he was portrayed solely as a tragic one dimensional figure leaving us with an incomplete study of this complex, articulate, highly intelligent, towering musical genius who changed improvised music (jazz if you must) forever much as did Louis Armstrong and Lester Young before him. Dizzy Gillespie collaborated with Parker surely but "Bird" codified the language. Those of us familiar with the life of Charles Christopher Parker would have wished for a more factual story line but, Mr.Eastwood is to be commended for dealing with the subject knowing it would have a limited commercial audience and was free to take artistic license. Perhaps it will make some viewers curious to discover the "real" Bird (Parker's actual solos were incorporated in the soundtrack) through his recordings which in the end is what it's all really about. Indeed, "Bird Lives".