Burton has had it rough in the 21st century, delivering an occasional minor hit, accompanied by many misses. This year, he returns to isolated drama with Big Eyes, a biopic about Margaret Keane starring Amy Adams. While I eagerly await that film, I thought I’d take a look back through Burton’s career. Here’s what worked and what didn’t, all within the confines of Burton’s distinctively obscure area of the sandbox.
Monday, April 28, 2014
James L. Brooks’ As Good as it Gets is one of my go-to films. I can go to it anytime, for any reason. If I’m down, it brings me up. If I’m up, it makes me feel even better. I watch it at least once a year, marveling at its perfect acting, tight script, and fluid narrative. It’s just a damn entertaining film; certainly one of the best romantic comedies ever made. Here are only a few reasons why.
April is National Poetry Month, and while I’ve procrastinated commemorating it until the very end, Wendell at Dell on Movies has been celebrating poetry all month via his Poetry in the Movies Blogathon. Throughout April, Wendell asked fellow bloggers to “post a review of a movie that either has a poet as a major character, is inspired by/based on a poem, or uses poetry as an important part of the film.”
Below is my contribution, which highlights the raw teenage angst film, The Basketball Diaries. I hope you enjoy my thoughts on the film, and the flawless lead performance that anchors it. Props to Wendell for cooking up such a cool idea!
Thursday, April 24, 2014
There’s a reassurance that instinctually accompanies a fruitful director/actor collaboration. As soon as we hear that one of our favorite directors is once again teaming up with one of our favorite actors, an immediate excitement takes hold. Even if we don’t end up liking their most recent effort, we take solace in the fact that they’ve delivered before, and will surely deliver again.
This is a good time to reiterate the purpose of lists on this site. Every single list on post here is simply my opinion. I would never insist that, for example, the 15 collaborations listed below are the 15 best director/actor collaborations of all time. These are simply my favorite director/actor collaborations. Which, of course, I hope you enjoy. And as there are many others to choose from, please feel free to share your favorite pairs as well!
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Monday, April 21, 2014
How far are you willing to go to make a buck? That’s the area explored in the new pitch black comedy, Cheap Thrills. Initially, the film is a send-up of truth or dare; except truth is absent, and if the dare is completed, the participant is paid in full. But as Cheap Thrills evolves, it becomes an unexpected morality tale of the societal demands of class structure. It’s about fun and games being just that, until money decides it’s not.
Friday, April 18, 2014
The road of cinematographers becoming film directors is a bumpy one. For every director of photography (DP) who directs a great film, there are three who deliver subpar films and instinctually revert back to cinematography. In the wake of Oscar-winning DP, Wally Pfister, releasing his first directed film, Transcendence, I thought it’d be fun to list a few of the DPs who’ve successfully crossed over to the director’s chair.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Breathe In begins with an absolutely perfect display of intelligent filmmaking. Drake Doremus, who co-wrote and directed the film, knows that if you’re fortunate enough to cast Guy Pearce in your movie, the only thing you really need to do is put the camera close-up on his face. Pearce will do the rest. The actor is a master of emotional control, and in these opening scenes, we watch as Pearce’s character, Keith Reynolds, suffers through taking an annual family photo with his wife, Megan (Amy Ryan) and his daughter, Lauren (Mackenzie Davis). It’s all in his eyes, which display a man of broken dreams and shattered spirit. Keith Reynolds is a man who gave up on himself, and Breathe In is an exploration into the dangers of taking your life back.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Darkness. Through the darkness, births light. Small at first, barely there. A white circle the size of a needle tip, slowly growing. Sound creeps in. A mesh of incomprehensible auditory measures layered with incoherent words. The light grows. The sound clears. Without warning, the screen is filled with white. A giant eyeball appears. It’s a perfect eye, void of redness. The sound even louder, the words slightly clearer.
It is born. And so it begins.
Monday, April 14, 2014
When executed properly, few things are more exciting than a cinematic dual role. Watching an actor expertly play two (or, in the case of a few performances below, several) characters never fails to amuse. The dual role concept is routinely impressive from a technical standpoint, while often boasting the finest aspects of a great performer. I hope you enjoy my picks, and do feel free to share yours as well!
Last week, amidst a massive Los Angeles blackout, I was fortunate enough to participate in Ryan McNeil’s exceptional weekly podcast, the Matineecast. The subject of our conversation was Lars von Trier’s latest film, Nymphomaniac. Ryan and I discussed both volumes of the film in-depth, so for those who haven’t seen von Trier’s latest trip into psychological hell, be cautious for spoilers.
Friday, April 11, 2014
What’s so interesting about Gary Cole is that he can play it all, without changing his appearance. Save a few minor costume alterations (suspenders, after all, really do go a long way), the man almost always looks the same, yet his characters are wildly diverse. From the shady FBI agent to the low level Chicago thug, from a guy to one of comedy’s most entitled douchebags, there is no end to the satisfaction I get from Cole’s work.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Nostra over at My Filmviews has cooked up another great blogathon relay, this time asking fellow bloggers to weigh in on the 10 most iconic film characters of all time. Sati from Cinematic Corner was kind enough to pass the baton to me, but before we get to my pick, here are Nostra’s terms of the relay:
Monday, April 7, 2014
Dom Hemingway wants you to know that his cock is exquisite. He’s staring at the camera, naked, arms raised in a Christ-like pose, telling us. Telling us how big and epic and otherworldly it is. His adjectives know no bounds, his metaphors no peaks. Then he’s finished. A prison bitch gets up off his knees, receives a swift apology from Dom (because, no warning), and from there, Dom Hemingway is off and running.
Nymphomaniac: Vol. II is a descent into hell. Where Vol. I was a (mostly) safe and playful story of a young girl exploring her sexual impulses, Vol. II is a brutal, unflinching depiction of addiction consuming a lifelong addict. There are no montages of joyous sexual discovery, no “chocolate sweeties” to be won for marathon banging; instead, there is a brightly lit torture dungeon of pain, and wet towels used as tools of agonizing restoration. Vol. II is an exercise in chaos – as in, chaos reigns, and Lars von Trier couldn’t be happier.
Friday, April 4, 2014
Thursday, April 3, 2014
here). Until then, I hope you enjoy my insight into the wonderful career of this most talented character actor.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Today seems like an appropriate day to post videos of movie characters doing the same exact thing over and over and over. Clichés are funny that way – they’re almost always nonsense, but they keep appearing in movies anyway. Below are a handful of popular, realistic clichés that I’ve never actually experienced in real life. This is not to say that no one has experienced them, but, sadly, not me. Enjoy!