Posts Tagged ‘Tim Burton’

The Slate: White vs. Hoberman, The Addams Family, The Runaways

March 19, 2010

The high point of Armond White’s Greenberg-iad is also the one statement that approaches actual criticism: “I liked Harris Savides’ image of Stiller barely swimming across a pool—possibly an homage to my joke that Baumbach was the rat at the bottom of Margot at the Wedding’s pool.” This man walks among us. (NY Press)

… and J. Hoberman shrugs the whole tirade off. Is this still fun? (VV)

In related news: “The abiding joy [of writing film criticism] comes of saying what you’ve experienced so truthfully and so well that strangers get your meaning whether they agree or not.” It’s an elusive joy, trust us. (Scanners)

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The Great SXSW 2010 Preview Dump: Festival Favorites, Part 3

March 11, 2010

A lot of quality rounds out the section seeking to capture the best of the fests. Winter’s Bone has already attracted garlands from Sundance and could become a film of the year. Then there’s Harmony Korine’s latest atrocity Trash Humpers. The real gem, though, may well be Det røde kapel, whose trailer implies it could be the looniest caper ever set in North Korea. Skip seeing that lousy R&B band and add these to your checklist. Click on the titles for trailers where available.

Read our SXSW Headliners Preview.
Read the first part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read our SXSW Narrative Features Competition preview.
Read our SXSW Documentary Features Competition preview.
Read the first part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read the second part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read our SXSW Lone Star States preview.
Read our SXSW 24 Beats Per Second preview.
Read our SXSW SW Global preview.
Read the first part of our SXSW Festival Favorites preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Festival Favorites preview.
Read our SXSW Preview: Headliners here.
Read our SXSW 2010 Preview: Spotlight Premieres, Part 1 here.
Read our SXSW 2010 Preview: Spotlight Premieres, Part 2 here.

The Oath

My Country, My Country director Laura Poitras’ new doc reaches SXSW after hitting Sundance and Berlin. Poitras has taken a ride Osama bin Laden’s chauffeur and his brother-in-law. Both were former members of al Qaeda who ended up taking very different turns. In probing their choices, Poitras digs up the roots of fanaticism and hints at a future that lies beyond suicide bombings and online beheadings.

Det røde kapel (The Red Chapel)

Simon Jul Jorgensen and Jacob Nossell wanted to visit North Korea to perform their revue The Red Chapel. They invited director Mads Brügger along. He took a camera. What follows seems hardly believable, not least because one of the Korean-born comics is a spastic and everyone might be insane. Having seen the trailer, one YouTube commentator begs the question, “How did they get out alive?”

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Spring Movie Preview 2010

February 27, 2010

Will Avatar make every successive Hollywood blockbuster look like it’s underachieving? For at least the next few months, the answer’s yes. Studios are responding to James Cameron’s monolith by turning everything into 3D whether it demands it or not. This slash ‘n’ burn blockbuster policy is in keeping with a season filled with retreads, reboots and sequels.

High points? While the prospect of Shrek 4 may no longer seem so appetizing—admit it, you didn’t even know it was being released this year—fanboys are salivating over the already spit-sodden Iron Man 2. The airport paperback set, on the other hand, are looking forward to Bourne Goes to Iraq, aka Green Zone. Carrie and co. will also flounce back onto our screens in a new Sex and the City.

Maybe Squally will stick to the return of Mike Newell and the singular pleasures of Tyler Perry. Regardless of the quality, feel the width. This is a star-laden line-up, with Johnny Depp, Matt Damon, Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett and Anne Hathaway all returning to the screen. While they cash the checks, we’ll continue to tip less mainstream fare in our Must See Movie series. Click on the titles for trailers, etc.

Alice in Wonderland
Release date: March 5
Starring Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter
After damn near 20 years of hit-making, Tim Burton finally found himself as a director by turning to established properties like Willy Wonka and Sweeney Todd. A marriage with Lewis Carroll should be a nice fit. Alas, this “sequel” to the original cockeyed gospel looks like an unholy mess. Depp channels Peter Lorre as the Mad Hatter.
Fun fact: Critic Gilles Deleuze proclaimed that Carroll’s final work Sylvie and Bruno “is no doubt the first book that tells two stories at the same time, not one inside the other, but two contiguous stories.” Heads up, Disney. Get Todd Solondz on it.

Green Zone
Release date: March 12
Starring Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Brendan Gleeson
Damon mans up as Roy Miller, a Chief Warrant Officer whose job sniffing out WMDs in Baghdad is compromised by the U.S. administration. In the time-honored Hollywood tradition, he goes rogue. Hey, if they didn’t want him to make waves, they shouldn’t have put him in the middle of the desert.
Fun fact: Bourne director Paul Greengrass first approached Tom Stoppard to adopt Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s book Imperial Life in the Emerald City, but was turned down.

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Trailerama: Waking Sleeping Beauty

February 19, 2010

Disney likes to release feature-length advertisements about how amazing it is, and anybody interested in animation can’t ignore them. This documentary tells the story of how the studio’s animation division reinvented itself during the mid-’80s, thanks to young bucks like John Lasseter, Don Bluth and Jeffrey Katzenberg. The hagiography will probably get to be a bit much, but footage of Little Mermaid story pitch meetings and a grumpy-looking artist known as Tim Burton exert their own kind of fascination. Directed by Don Hahn, producer of The Lion King. Due to screen at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival.

Trailerama: Alice in Wonderland

July 23, 2009

Having approached Gothic degree zero with Sweeney Todd, there really was nowhere else for Tim Burton to go. The prospect of adapting Lewis Carroll’s mathematically-minded kids classic certainly sounded appealing. A shame, then, that this version appears to opt for a Return to Oz approach. This might be the tightest visual control Burton has taken of a film since The Corpse Bride. It still looks airless and ugly. The script was penned by Linda Woolverton, who has been pretty quiet since co-writing 1994’s The Lion King.

Yours for $150,000: The Blade Runner Gun

April 11, 2009

blade-runnerThe New York Times brings news that what’s been described as the “holy grail” of sci-fi movie memorabilia is going under the hammer at the end of the month. The star lot in Profiles in History‘s auction of Hollywood junk treasures is Harrison Ford‘s gun from Blade Runner, which is expected to make between $100,000 and $150,000. We think the “Maria” robot from Metropolis should be considered slightly holier, but then we’re clad only in cobwebs and using a steam-powered computer.

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Hollywood 1, DVD 0

March 23, 2009

dvdHere’s all the news that fit to print: The DVD market is in the tank. Blockbuster is currently growing at a snails pace. And all the studios hate Netflix. So the New York Times is reporting that the studios are going back to what they think they know best: making films that will actually turn a profit at the box office.

Brooks Barnes aligns the statistics. Ticket sales are up 14% for 2009. (Watchmen not withstanding.) Sales for new-release DVDs, on the other hand, are down 40%. The reasons are myriad: a movie is still considered a cheap night out, there are simply too many DVDs out there (Howard the Duck just hit stores, accompanied by the sound of a barrel being scraped) and most of youse is downloading films from t’Internet. The result: studios have lost that retail safety net, or what one producer calls the “downside protection.”

iron-man1The new strategy is getting bums on seats, which may account for the absolute traffic jam of big tentpoles being released in 2010. Among them are Tim Burton‘s Alice in Wonderland, Jon Favreau‘s Iron Man 2, Christopher Nolan‘s Inception, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Toy Story 3, Eclipse, Thor, Green Lantern and a Harry Potter installment. As of this reckoning, we’ll see . Barnes also elegantly sums up the bigger picture:

“In addition to big “tent pole” blockbusters, that means movies that are fun to watch in groups: at least 10 musicals are in full-steam-ahead development, including a remake of “My Fair Lady.” And it means more pictures that are pre-branded: “Monopoly” and “Candy Land,” the movies, are on the way. Most of all, it means a strong return by major studios to middle-of-the-road, genre pictures.”

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The Slate: Green Lantern and Dark Shadows are Going the Distance

March 21, 2009

green-lantern

  • Turns out Green Lantern is a go! The green DC superhero who isn’t Green Arrow (or The Riddler if you’re short-sighted) will be brought to the screen by Casino Royale director Martin Campbell. According to producer Donald De Line, locations are being scouted in Melbourne and Sydney and shooting is due to begin in mid-September. Previously mooted as Hal Jordan: Jack Black (back when the film was a comedy), Anton Yelchin, Chris Pine and … that’s it. More news once our power ring recharges. (Dark Horizons)
  • Sign of a slow news day: the Internet is quivering over the news that Tim Burton may not begin shooting the Dark Shadows movie with Johnny Depp this summer. He might have to wait until … this fall! Can we possibly do without our Barnabas Collins fix for a few more months? Actually, yes. The production has been delayed because Burton is still slaving on Alice in Wonderland, footage of which drew audible gasps of wonderlandishness at a recent Disney/DreamWorks shareholders confab. Work faster, Burton, work faster! To hell with quality! Depp is due to begin shooting The Rum Diaries on schedule at the end of the month. (Deadline Hollywood Daily)
  • Tommy Lee Jones and Kevin Costner are joining Ben Affleck in John Wells’ The Company Men. The film will be a fascinating exploration in the effects of petrification on three Hollywood actors in the guise of a drama about corporate downsizing. Because there’s nothing unemployed people like better than watching films about unemployed people. Affleck is the laid-off high-flyer who crashes to earth at Costner and Jones’ laconic construction firm. (Variety)
  • The latest film from the team behind Takenhas been picked up for release by Lionsgate. From Paris With Love finds John Travolta “hooking up” with Jonathan Rhys Meyers. It’s a thriller, natch, with Travolta’s special agent and Meyers’ innocent embassy employee fighting terrorists and, if screenwriter Luc Besson has anything to do with it, engaging in some inappropriate Gallic slapstick. The film, directed by Taken‘s Pierre Morel, is due to open Feb. 19, 2010. (Variety)
  • The resistible rise of the Mac mensch continues. Justin Long has signed to star in Going the Distance, a romantic comedy about a long-distance relationship that’s been stretched to breaking point. Long will play the man who realizes he’d rather date somebody who lives around the corner. Expect lots of Skype product placement and Facebook gags. (Variety)