Ein Jahr vogelfrei! (2011)

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Ein Jahr vogelfrei!: Directed by David Frankel. With John Cleese, Jack Black, Zahf Paroo, Stacey Scowley. Two bird enthusiasts try to defeat the cocky, cutthroat world record holder in a year-long bird-spotting competition.

“The Big Yearu0026#39;s low IMDb rating and box-office take had me worried that this film would be a u0026quot;lame-duck.u0026quot; Turns out, this movie is really good.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eI am not a u0026quot;birderu0026quot; and know very little about birds other than what I find on a typical restaurant menu. The beginning of The Big Year made me think I would learn a little bit more about birds, but was pleasantly surprised to learn that the film is not about birds at all; it is about people, how we relate to one another, and the things that drive us to do the things we do. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe characters were more three-dimensional than those of any other movie I have seen in a long time. I think a lot of people are thrown off because we often donu0026#39;t know who to u0026quot;root foru0026quot; in this film. The characters seem like real people, albeit participating in a sport most of us do not understand and have never even thought about trying. I hesitate to even call birding a sport because there are no spectators, trophies or prizes involved.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eJack Black gives his finest performance ever imo, playing an average working-class guy named Brad who has a crazy obsession with birds. His dream of spending an entire u0026quot;Big Yearu0026quot; spotting and photographing as many birds as possible seems odd to us (and Bradu0026#39;s family), but we soon learn that he is not alone with this obsession. All throughout the film, Brad offers glimpses of how birds and humans are more alike than different. Jack Black nails the dialog which manages to be insightful while avoiding any semblance of pretentiousness. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eOwen Wilson plays a married contractor named Kenny who takes more pride in his world record u0026quot;Big Yearu0026quot; than anything else in the world including his trying-to-conceive wife. He gives a believable, nuanced performance as someone who will go to any length to protect his record, yet he is far from an average scumbag villain. He reminds me more of a prescription drug addict that I might feel sorry for. Kenny is so blinded by his addiction to u0026quot;birdingu0026quot; that he cannot see the proverbial forest for the trees.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eSteve Martin gives a beautifully balanced performance as an aging business owner who has always dreamed of trying for the Big Year birding record. Martin is known mostly as an on screen u0026quot;wild and crazy guyu0026quot; but in The Big Year, he remains subdued as he has in previous films such as Grand Canyon and Parenthood. If you liked him in those movies, you will like him in The Big Year as well.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe Big Year was not meant to be a gut-busting comedy, but there are several humorous moments. This movie also manages to be quite touching, thought-provoking, sometimes uplifting, occasionally heart-rending, and beautiful throughout. A lot like life except with better direction, better actors, great dialog, and fantastic cinematography.”


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