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DAY FOR NIGHT -another great movie about movies

I'm not sure if I like it more than 8 1/2 or Singing in the Rain, but when the majestic trumpet music plays, it reminds me of why I love cinema in the first place. The actors are terrific in this film as well. However, nothing will top Topsy-Turvy for me about the mystery,repetition, and heartbreak of the artistic process.❞ -Lars

 

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Entries in Tim Burton (32)

Tuesday
Jul292014

A Dame To Shill For

JA from MNPP here. My boyfriend likes to tease me that he loved Eva Green first, and he did - he loved her the first time she showed up on some red carpet wearing long glamorous sleeves in a sea of bared skin. It's not that you can exactly call Eva Green demure - the first time any of us saw her she was taking a bath with her on-screen brother while pawing at Michael Pitt's genitalia after all, and earlier this year she toplessly mounted Sullivan Stapleton while swinging around a sword for god's sake. Not to mention the bizarre throwback moral brouhaha that's currently been greeting every piece of art-work associated with her Sin City: A Dame To Kill For character - hide the children, there are breasts!

So no, demure's not really the word for her. But dive as she does, time and again, into these depths of gorgeous depravity, she still always manages to keep her long glamorous sleeves clean. She's a class act. So my boyfriend might've been there first but am I ever there now - watching Penny Dreadful's first season was for me a contact sport. I cheered and threw my fists in the air like it was the World Cup I was watching whenever she was on-screen. (That seance!) I need to print up a jersey with her name on the back for when the show returns. That's where I am with her.

I figure some of you can relate. So with that Green-flecked giddiness on the tip of our tongue, we greet the news that she's going to work with Tim Burton again. She's set to star in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an adaptation of a children's book (anyone read it?) about a group of super-powered orphans battling evil creatures intent upon their doom. Eva will play the titular Miss Peregrine, the children's guardian.

I know Nathaniel was as big a fan as I was of her first performance for Burton in the otherwise notsomuch Dark Shadows - she brought it and then she brought it ten more times in that movie... far more than was called for, she was bringing it. And I think we all have high hopes for Burton's film Big Eyes with Amy Adams. If that one sticks, maybe he can swing around a dreary few years of movie-making, so let's keep our hopes up. Eva demands it!

Monday
Jun232014

Beauty Vs Beast: Going Batty

JA from MNPP here with this week's batty edition of "Beauty Vs. Beast" - Twenty-five years ago today Tim Burton's Batman opened, and I think it might have maybe had a little bit of an effect on The Movies? Let's see - how many superhero films are set to open in the next five years? I think it's something like [edited because you can't look directly at this number, it is Lovecraftian in its ability to break your brain and instantly render you mindlessly bonkers]. Something like that. Once upon a time though this was not the case. Moreso even than the Christopher Reeve Superman movies that preceded it, Tim Burton's Batman showed Hollywood what a juggernaut these things could be - it was the biggest movie of 1989 by far (nearly 60 million dollars ahead of its closest competition, the third Indiana Jones), and I have distinct memories of everything I owned that year being covered in Bat symbols - my t-shirts, my backpack, my Trapper Keeper.

Generational arguments still break out (see: Neighbors) about who was the best Batman (yes I am old and Team Keaton all the way) but fewer people seem to argue about which Joker they prefer between Jack Nicholson and that dude who won an Oscar for his performance - that's not to say I don't know people who'll argue for Team Jack and his closer-to-the-comics hamminess. Thankfully I'm not dropping us into that mire today (although feel free to express your opinions in the comments on that) - instead we're facing the oldest question in the Bat-pantheon: Are Batman's villains always inherently more interesting, more fun, than the dude in the big black suit himself? Sound off!

 

You have one week to dance with these devils in the pale moonlight and let us know in the comments why you picked which - have at it!

PREVIOUSLY Last week's competition saw the titular Hitchcock blonde of 1963's Marnie facing off against her James Bond savior slash terrorizer slash romantic interest - judging by our comments we all pretty much agreeed that neither of these folks was anybody we'd want to be stuck in an elevtor with, but Tippi snapped the win in her bright yellow purse and sauntered away all the same. Said Tom:

"Voting for Marnie. The movie really is a snore, but Tippi Hedron really is great. This is proof she had the goods to be an actress, and it's kind of a shame nothing really happened after this movie for her."

Wednesday
Jun182014

"Big Eyes" Sneak

Tim Burton with Lisa Marie and her comissioned portraitEarly test screenings of Big Eyes have started, Tim Burton's Christmas movie and the word is very positive.

The film stars Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz as an infamous pair of artists... of sorts. Margaret Keane was the artist but it was Walter Keane who got the credit for the well known paintings of sad children with ginormous eyes. In fact, as "Sage" points out in the test screening review at Head Over Feels in a great piece of trivia I was hardly aware of, Burton is a long time fan and commissioned a portrait of Lisa Marie, his former muse, who once cut such an indelible figure in his movies. (I think she's best in Ed Wood and Mars Attacks!)

Anyway, you should read the post if you're interested since there's a lot of Oscar talk (Amy= sure thing / Christoph = probable category fraud) but I like this part:

The story of the Keanes is so bananas that there’s nothing to do but keep it and the ’50s themselves center stage. Burton’s stylistic touches are there and all the more effective for their restraint. We first meet Margaret as she and her daughter are frantically packing up to escape, we assume, her first husband. She piles her things into a big boat of a pastel car and drives it down her calm, colorful, and symmetrical suburban street – very Edward Scissorhands. Vancouver streets are transformed into a swinging, San Francisco drag. Margaret pushes her shopping cart through cartoonishly perfect grocery store aisles. She locks herself away in her studio to paint in secret, like a princess in a tower. The costumes and styling are truly breathtaking...Burton adds touch of the fantastical that I won’t give away; it works and does nothing to downplay the drama of Margaret’s real story.

Hearing words like "a touch of" and "restraint" is really weird in this era of Burton films. Perhaps I should pick back up that BurtonJuice retrospective I started but only just barely before abandoning?

When I was in Boston in May worrying about my then half completed Oscar charts,  I ended up eating brunch with friends in a tiny charming restaurant that had a Keane print ("The Waif") on the wall. I immediately thought "I should tweet this for Big Eyes omen/countdown sake" but forgot.

(The girl in the foreground is one of my best friend's sisters. But I apologize to the oblivious strangers behind her but they were in the shot!)

Do you think Big Eyes is Burton's Oscar ticket or another Big Fish with large holiday hype and some ardent fans but no Oscar love? 

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

Thursday
Oct312013

Movies that go bump in the night

Happy Halloween, everybody! It’s Tim, here to celebrate the high holy night of horror movies, when even the most squeamish can steel themselves up to watch a scary movie, and scary movie lovers stock up all our best and blackest to watch in marathons of unendurable dread.

But let’s not go prattling about every random horror film that comes to mind (which is, I’m a little sorry to admit, the way that I assembled my movie playlist for the night). Instead, I’d like to ask everybody to pitch in their suggestions for a question always on my mind this time of year:

What movies best capture the spirit of Halloween?

That question already has a lot of wiggle room baked into it – do we mean Halloween as a night of ghosts and witches, Halloween as a night of trick-or-treating and costumes, Halloween as a night of crisp autumn air and fallen leaves? I don’t know, and that’s why I want to throw it out to all of you. But before I do that, I want to offer three suggestions of the movies that best capture what enters my head when I hear the word “Halloween”. (And I’m not including John Carpenter’s Film Experience-endorsed slasher film Halloween. There’s such a thing as too damn easy).

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
Absolutely not a joke. The third of the seasonally-arranged film’s four chapters takes place in its entirety on Halloween night, and there’s not a film out there that better evokes a the feeling of dressing up and hunting for candy on a cool fall night. Not many directors in Hollywood history ever had a better grasp of what to do with color than Vincente Minnelli, and in this sequence, he and cinematographer George Folsey gorgeously capture the variations of browns and yellows that dominate the landscape during a Midwestern October (in fact, Carpenter and his DP, Dean Cundey, looked to this film as the inspiration when making Halloween). The warm nighttime lighting is just spooky enough to evoke the feeling of being a child who secretly wants to be scared, and it all couldn’t be more pleasantly nostalgic. Bonus: one of only two films that’s both a terrific Halloween movie and a terrific Christmas movies (the other, of course, is The Nightmare Before Christmas).

Kill, Baby… Kill! (1966)
Because, first, I’d be falling behind in my mission if I didn’t use an article about horror films as an excuse to talk about Mario Bava and the wide world of visually florid, narratively bonkers Italian horror cinema. And second, because my Halloween always needs a stop-over in foggy cemeteries and decaying, haunted Mitteleuropean villages, and some of the absolute best ever put to celluloid can be found in this story of a ghostly little girl making life awful for an isolated Carpathian town has some of the best. The normal rules of Italian horror apply: if you’re hunting for mood and blissed-out color cinematography, this will do you up right, and if you need a tight piece of storytelling… but hey, look at that cinematography! Still, there’s probably no place that approach is more objectively defensible than in a ghost story, where the uncanny and inexplicable is part of the fun. Nor do many movies about ghosts understand so well the primal, bedtime story impact that a good Gothic set can have when it’s been lit to be this creepy.

Sleepy Hollow (1999)
I can remember as vividly now as the day after it happened, the first time I saw Tim Burton’s last completely successful movie and thinking to myself, “That’s it! That’s autumn!” Not bad for a film shot entirely on a soundstage, without a whisper of natural lighting, for which we can credit both Rick Heinrichs’ just-exaggerated fairy tale woods, and Emmanuel Lubezki’s absolutely gorgeous lighting palette, beautifully evoking the yellow haze of light filtered through dying leaves (Heinrich won an Oscar, Lubezki was nominated. Frankly, the visuals would be enough to secure the movie a spot on my annual Halloween-time viewing schedule even if it wasn’t a pretty great ghost story, or didn’t have its own Halloween scene with quintessentially Burtonesque jack-o’-lanterns flickering in the background. There’s an atmospheric creepiness to the film that has everything to do with setting and place, not with plot (which, given the things the plot does, is for the best), and few things have ever colonized my feelings about walking in the woods quite so effectively.

What about the rest of you?

What's your favorite Halloween movie? Let us know in comments!