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Entries in Ed Wood (6)

Tuesday
Apr022019

List-Mania: Tim Burton x 5

by Nathaniel R

Since our Dumbo review didn't soar, or even materialize at all (oops), we should definitely turn some attention to Tim Burton today. Instead of a regular Tuesday Top Ten list... we're just going with LISTS plural. To make up for the lack of a proper Dumbo review, we're throwing FIVE of them at you today. While it's true that this decade of his work has left much to be desired, he's actually always been an uneven auteur. All throughout his filmography magic blooms in unexpectedly dire places OR weeds sprout up in otherwise magically lovely gardens if you catch our drift.

Burton is only 60 years old and since he's made films at a roughly one-every-other-year clip for his whole career, we hope he manages to rally his artistic instincts for one more classic before he retires in say, 2031 after another five pictures (spitballing!). He has directed 19 movies and we'd rank them like so...

ALL 19 TIM BURTON PICTURES RANKED


  1. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
  2. Ed Wood (1994) 
  3. Pee Wee's Big Adventure (1985)
    Tier 1. Masterpieces of their genres really...  spectacularly niche genres but still! Few films have this kind of consistent magic and uniquely memorable visuals from first frame to last...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jul182017

Martin Landau (1928-2017)

Landau at an event honoring Tim Burton last yearWith well over 100 credits to his name no one can say that Martin Landau didn't have a fine and enduring career. But for such a fantastic talent, perhaps he remained undersung. After a brief stint as a cartoonist, he found his calling with acting and nabbed his first TV guest spots in the mid '50s. By the end of the decade he appeared in his first classic (Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest) but it wouldn't be his last. For the remainder of his long long career he toggled between TV (most notably three seasons in the mix of Mission Impossible in the 60s and leading the cult favorite Space 1999 in the 70s) and intermittent movie success.

You can't call it his late 80s/early 90s success a comeback, given that he never quit working, but it was a revival and a rediscovery...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb142017

12 Days Until Oscar - Colleen Atwood, Anyone?

With 12 days until Oscar let's focus on 12 time Oscar nominee & 3 time winner Colleen Atwood for today's trivia post. As first reported on this site, and since echoed everywhere on other sites for years now, one of the most delightful if idiosyncratic Oscar facts is that Ms Atwood does not win the Oscar unless she is competing against Oscar's other 12 time nominee & 3 time winner, Sandy Powell, and vice versa. We thought this endearing stat would be dismantled last season via either Carol or Cinderella for Sandy Powell but she lost both bids with her peer Atwood out of the race. This season Powell is sitting one out (she had no films released in 2016) while Atwood returns to the short list with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Curiously the situations are reversed next year when Sandy Powell returns with two likely sartorial showcases...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
May192016

Throwback Fun: Favorites of 1994?

Tuesday's revisit to the essential and apparently sorely underseen Queen Margot (1994) and the comments thereafter had me thinking about favorite films from 1994. This website wasn't around back then of course (I think the internet was just in listserv mode at that point?) but I was already making lists. So what would I have nominated had our Film Bitch Awards been around back then? What would you have nominated had you had an Oscar ballot?

The answers (fluid as they are should rewatching ever occur) are after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Oct102014

This is the one...

This is the one I'll be remembered for.

 

Saturday
Oct272012

Oscar Horrors: Martin Landau in 'Ed Wood'

Oscar Horrors continues was Beau looks at one of his favorite performances of all time.

HERE LIES.. Supporting Actor Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton's 1994 masterpiece, Ed Wood.

Martin Landau. Holla.

Martin Landau's performance in Ed Wood is a joyous celebration of its time period. The manic energy with which Landau performs as Bela Lugosi mirrors Tim Burton's marvelous pacing and infectious love of the genre in this, his career-best. Bela Lugosi was a legend. He is primarily known today for his signature role, Dracula, but Lugosi was in fact a very ambitious actor. (He has said in several interviews that he always wanted to be the lead of romantic comedy.) His failure to diversify reflects a typecasting and stereotyping in 1950s Hollywood that helped set the foundation for how business is done today. It's not a matter so much of whether or not Lugosi was good enough to try different roles. It's about the compartmentalizing of the personality, boxing it up, shipping it out. Maintaining hold.

Landau's gruff drug addicted depiction of Lugosi is a treat. My generation is not well acquainted with the works of Ed Wood or b-movies from the 1950s and I'm no exception, so  I couldn't take as much enjoyment from the reenactment of certain moments as I might be able to, in say, the upcoming Hitchcock in terms of Psycho. The central joy of watching these kinds of mimick'ed performances is seeing an actor that you're familiar with side-by-side with a legendary performer -- two contrasting takes -- but it's not the only joy. Landau understands that to successfully play Bela Lugosi is not to simply imitate or mimicking him, but imbibe him. You can get drunk so easily watching Martin Landau drink a case of Bela Lugosi. His Oscar win is one of the best choices the Academy ever made in Best Supporting Actor.

"Look into my eyes"

Tim Burton's direction eerily mirrors and compliments the ferocity with which Wood approached each and every project. The beautiful thing about Ed Wood, is the fact that this man who was completely oblivious to the fact that he had no true talent still managed to let his passion drive him through his life. In a very interesting way his story is not so much a cautionary tale for storytellers, but a map. In the 21st-century with production values taking precedence over narrative structure and any of the foundational building blocks of great films young independent filmmakers are looking to one another to trust in each other to build themselves up. With the advent of video-on-demand, filmmakers are discovering new outlets in order to release their product and story out into the world. You can market it a certain way. You can advertise a certain way. You can sell it with your passion for the project. One could go so far to abel Ed Wood as much of an auteur as Alfred Hitchcock or Howard Hawks. There are distinct notes, unique trademarks and fingerprints that are over every single frame in his films. Andrew Sarris would drop dead reading this, but it's true. Ed Wood is a hero to the American cinema because of his love for it.

Landau's contribution to the film is the spark that reignites Ed Wood's fire. And for that, in a very roundabout way, I am eternally grateful.

 

Oscar (ACTING) Horrors
[S2]
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Angela Lansbury
Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte - Agnes Moorehead
Shadow of the Vampire - Willem Dafoe
Rebecca - Judith Anderson
[S1]
Rosemary's Baby - Ruth Gordon
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane - Bette Davis
Carrie - Sissy Spacek
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - Fredric March