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« Sundance: 'Dear White People' Aims To Provoke | Main | Sundance: Blind, a Playful Stunner From Norway »
Sunday
Jan262014

We Can't Wait #10: Big Eyes

[Editor's Note: We Can't Wait is a Team Experience series, in which we highlight our top 14 most anticipated films of 2014. Here's Julien Kojfer on "Big Eyes"]

Big Eyes
A drama centered on 50’s painter Margaret Keane, whose husband claimed credit for her works after she achieved phenomenal success.

Talent
Tim Burton is directing a starry cast including Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Jason Schwartzman, Krysten Ritter, Terence Stamp and Danny Husto. 

Why We Can't Wait
Sure, the perpetually disheveled auteur famously lost his mojo at the turn of the century, when his unique style suddenly froze into a soulless brand of manufactured gothic whimsy, and his name sadly became synonymous with lazy adaptations, predictably misshapen aesthetics, and the obligatory casting of Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in cadaverous makeup and improbable wigs.

Which is precisely why no one who’s ever loved Burton could fail to be excited by Big Eyes, because it doesn’t sound like anything he’s made since the 90’s. An adult drama free of fantasy elements with a female protagonist, starring actors resolutely out of his comfort zone - one a five-time Oscar nominee who’s at the very peak of her career, the other a two-time Oscar winner badly in need of stretching his (considerable?) talents. With no Depp or Bonham Carter, to boot? Count me in. And if you’re still worried that this might turn out to be Tim Burton’s Lovely Bones, consider this: the original script is the work of Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, who wrote such idiosyncratic biopics as The People vs. Larry Flynt, Man on the Moon, and what many of us consider to be Tim Burton’s greatest film: Ed Wood.

But We Do Have To Wait
A marital drama set in the 1950’s art world, starring Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz? Sounds like classic Oscar material to me, so that means we’ll probably have to wait till the end of the year.

Previously: #11 The Last 5 Years | #12 Gone Girl | #13 Can a Song Save Your Life |  #14 Veronica Mars | Introduction

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Reader Comments (32)

Adam s maywin that momentum ocar they like to hand out for the wrong performance.

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermark

And Bruno Delbonnel is the DP. Very excited for this one.

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Amy is definitely sporting some Cathy Whitaker realness in that picture.

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoey

I feel like I am the only person who did not find Dark Shadows an abomination (it liberally took from the original and I thought it was an enjoyable film that had a very nice 90s film feel).

Christophe and Amy are two people I never really thought about acting together but now that it is happening, I am intrigued. Plus Krysten Ritter, Jason Schwartzman, and Terence Stamp are my idea of a character actor ensemble.

This seems like the type of story that would get Burton fully engaged. Also agree re: Bruno Delbonnel power.

mark- Can we see the movie first?

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

Same writers as Ed Wood? Count me in. That film is in my top 10 of all time.

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAgent69

CMG, we could see the movie first, but it's not neccessary - Amy Adams is winning the Oscar for this.

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThe Jack

Adams' nomination count doesn't correspond with her range as an actress.

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

I love Amy, and maybe this movie can get her the oscar she's already earned a couple of times, but one thing is for sure. This movie will get her into next year's THR Roundtable.

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

Chastain could potentially be a double nominee next year; she might have something like four films released in 2014, so I wouldn't necessarily count on Adams yet. (Blergh, I can't believe I'm posting about the 2014 Oscar race already.)

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I said MAY not WILL win/

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermark

3rtful, tell it to Walter Brennan and Thelma Ritter (or for that matter, James Stewart, Charles Boyer, Gary Cooper and, yeah, Jack Nicholson and Elizabeth Taylor—to name but a few with less "range" than Adams).

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

3rtful - That's an incredibly tired criticism and frankly childish at this point.
If you think performances like ones in Junebug, Enchanted, The Fighter, Her, American Hustle and The Master don't exhibit range, you need to rewatch every single one of them ASAP.

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

It's fun how y'all get all sight unseen with next year's awards by already declaring winners/losers. You would think the era of where Slumdog and The Hurt Locker won Best Pictures out of nowhere would put that mindset on shaky ground. I'm still anticipating this movie but I just want it to be good.

I love me some Chastain but I am not even sure how she can be a double-nominee. We have no idea how Weinstein will distribute Eleanor Rigby, A Most Violent Year being an A24 film, if Miss Julie is still the right size movie to get any traction, and how a Nolan film can get somebody an Oscar nomination.

Amy in Junebug and Enchanted vs. Amy in The Fighter and American Hustle is range. But I'm kind of sick of range and transformation being the key factors for winning awards. Being a strong presence matters the most. I have no idea who Margaret Keane is or was, so mimicry/transformation means little to me for the role.

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

I'm assuming Waltz is the husband?

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

I love Amy but she should take a break. She is in in 3 or 4 movies every year.... too much.

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermurtada

If the project turns out to be good and if Adams gets raves I do not see how anyone could beat her unless someone unknown like a Blanchett performances comes along. Adams would on her sixth in 10 years and third consecutive nomination and we know she will campaign hard for it. I'm excited for the film and to see Burton do something different makes me want to see it. Also the question of Adams range should not be in question. Just because she doesn't have a different accent or different hairstyle does not mean she doesn't have range. Take Charlene and Giselle who are completly different characters as well as Ashley is so different from Peggy Dodd. That is range for me.

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEoin Daly

I know the great Larry Karaszewski only vaguely (he's better friends with my father), but I do know that this has been a passion project for him for a long, long time, and that Weinstein already has people gearing up for the campaign. (One woman working on it has already said that they're working on Adams' run already and that they're confident in the part/performance). Needless to say, I am STOKED.

@Murtada - Ummmmm what? If you look at her IMDb page, she only does about 2.5 a year on average. Why does it matter if she's making smart choices and she's good in practically all of them?

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJordan

yeeees, I'm not alone on this one. Hoping for something even approaching the quality of Ed Wood, which gotta be an improvement over everything else he's done this past decade or so

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohnny

This could really turn out to be something great.

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

Mike in Canada - LOL. That's so true.

As for the movie:
I reserve judgement. I also thought he was getting his mojo back with BIG FISH but alas... I hope Burton nails it... Nevertheless, I'm not certain this will be it for Amy Adams. She looks like she belongs to the group of Pfeiffer/Moore/Bening/Close 'RESPECTED but not ADORED' by the Academy (she's never the it girl despite being in weak categories in several years) - like I imagine Chastain will belong one day. Those ladies just aren't made to win Oscars (but Amy go for it girl, I hope you get it!)

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJay

god i love how the amyfans come out of the woodwork whenever her immaculate amyness is even slightly impugned. and one of them goes on about her next oscar campaign as if it's completely normal that the amypackage is almost entirely pr. (another roundtable or viral video anyone just in time for the oscars?) like ben affleck, she may be a smart good person offscreen, but she is a complete drip as an actor. the worst thing about the otherwise wonderful "her" is her utter inability to build a believable human character. dull dull drab nasal monotone ringlets. and while the amybeauty is real, the amycharisma is absolutely lacking except to her hypersensitive amyfans. walter brennan and thelma ritter and all the actors on paul's list may have their limits, but they have way more charisma and vividness. the other day i was thinking that there must be a hundred *television* actresses who are better. julianna margulies, for example, never makes me think "this person is visibly trying to act."

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterxander

I would call myself a rando amyfan who gets notifications of any insult to her name and I wouldn't describe the other commenters as such. They're more frequent here than I am.

How evil to even compare her acting to Ben Affleck. He failed as a leading man for a reason.

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

about ben, the academy adoooored him as they do amy, which is precisely my point. isn't the boy- or girl-next-door template for acclaim a little outdated, a little 1950's? and i don't keep tabs on the dreaded society of amyfans. for my purposes, anyone who thinks it's an ok world where she can have five nominations and lupita will be lucky ever to receive a second nomination is an amyfan.

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterxander

"about ben, the academy adoooored him as they do amy, which is precisely my point. isn't the boy- or girl-next-door template for acclaim a little outdated, a little 1950's?"

Not for acting. He and Damon were fresh-faced new kids and the 'snub' narrative was more of a consensus thing which got him a producing credit Oscar. Not in the same realm at all, mainly because if a woman failed in the way Affleck did commercially and critically, she would cease from begin able to work in this town again. Stop acting like Amy Adams is in any way comparable.

Why bring Lupita Nyong'o into this? They're not in the same age-group, so why bring her up if you're acting like roles are being taken from her?

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

ben and amy are comparable in the sense that they have both been generously rewarded by the academy--i would argue overrewarded. and though my point wasn't about amy taking away roles directly from lupita, come to think of it, lupita is 30 and amy is almost 40: there is no reason why she shouldn't get roles in movies by spike jonze or david o. russell. she might have made "her" and "american hustle" even better. the fact that this is unlikely and unthinkable strikes me as strange. and every slot that amy adams gets for less-than-stellar work reinforces a dynamic where she continues to get more oscarbait roles and someone else, someone better, does not. for me, it has started to feel like undeserved privilege.

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterxander

wasn't aware of the film or the artist before now; a little googling reveals a fascinating life - there's a courtroom scenario that begs to be the climax of the story; i hope burton has the restraint to end it there

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpar

I think we need to see more than a single Lupita Nyong'o performance before circling her as a performer who would instantly make a film better.

Also, capitalization.

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

par, i'd love to imagine what a restrained tim burton would look like! ;)

January 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterxander

xander, I wouldn't argue about the charisma comparison (although "hypersensitive amyfans" might), but that wasn't what I was rebutting anyway. If a broad acting range were a prerequisite for multiple nominations, the entire history of the Oscars would look a lot different.

January 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Adams is boring. An actor who makes generic choices regardless of the pedigree behind the camera.

January 27, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

I would erase the "?" after "considerable" and I would add a "n" to "Danny Husto".
If you have seen only 2 films in Waltz's nearly 40-year-old career it's *your* problem, not his.
I would recommend "Carnage", "The Zero Theorem" and "The Gravy Train". Looks like range to me.

January 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJules

I have very mixed feelings about Burton, but my grandparents' apartment was full of Keanes, and I'm utterly fascinated.

January 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

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