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When a major filmmaker decides to tell a story about a renowned artist, one expects that the director is painting a kind of self-portrait. That is the case with Mike Leigh’s splendid, thrillingly acted Mr. Turner (also out this month), and that may also be true for Tim Burton’s latest film, Big Eyes. Take a glance at Margaret Keane’s sweet, painted children with their milky, enveloping, entrancing eyes, and you get a feeling of sadness and youthful wonder, as well as a bit of kitsch – all factors omnipresent in Burton’s offbeat fantasies, films like Beetlejuice and Big Fish.
However, Burton is no longer such a gauche visionary, his films more about the inventiveness of their atmosphere than the depth of the performances in them. Big Eyes’ opening credit sequence, which shows several of Keane’s paintings going through a press to make thousands of copies, could »
- Jordan Adler
Soul Windows: Burton Returns to the Biopic with Flagging Interest
Long judged as a director clearly intent on recycling the same motif, themes, and styles, generally with the same few cast members, Tim Burton throws an interesting curveball with his latest film, Big Eyes, a reenactment of the art world Keane scandal of the 1960s. Scripted by Burton’s Ed Wood (1994) scribes, the title that remains the sole point of comparison with which his latest will be compared, many will be disappointed to find a rather basic film, devoid of Burton’s customary flourish or that earlier, celebrated title’s ingenuity. And though the film’s greatest challenge will be to breathe under the weight of its creators’ own reputations, it’s a likeable recapitulation of 1950s era America and the strange mutations that occur involving those humans attempting to buck the wrongly conditioned trappings of gender based social mores. »
- Nicholas Bell
Like all Tim Burton movies, “Big Eyes” is a visual/aural treat, with quirky humor, heart and a zippy pace. Cult status seems assured, and it could get attention at the Golden Globes. But Oscar is another question.
For a respected director who has been making big, successful movies for nearly 30 years, his track record with Oscar is surprisingly hit and miss. His films do best in the Academy’s artisan categories, and that’s likely to be true with “Big Eyes” as well: Bruno Delbonnel’s cinematography, Rick Heinrich’s and Colleen Atwood’s respective production and costume design, Jc Bond’s editing and Danny Elfman’s score.
The Globes seem likely to recognize the Weinstein Co. release it in the comedy/musical best-picture race, and lead actress Amy Adams could also score. Christoph Waltz once again steals the show in a supporting role. There is also terrific work by co-stars Jason Schwartzman, »
- Tim Gray
The eyes may be the windows to the soul, but they wind up revealing far too little in “Big Eyes,” an unpersuasive, paint-by-numbers account of the fraud perpetrated by Walter Keane, who succeeded in fooling the public and amassing a fortune by passing off his wife Margaret’s paintings as his own. Despite Amy Adams’ affecting performance as an artist and ’50s/’60s housewife complicit in her own captivity, this relatively straightforward dramatic outing for Tim Burton is too broadly conceived to penetrate the mystery at the heart of the Keanes’ unhappy marriage — the depiction of which is dominated by an outlandish, ogre-like turn from Christoph Waltz that increasingly seems to hold the movie hostage. Still, the tale’s colorfully entertaining veneer and the name talents involved should draw an appreciative number of arthouse patrons to the Weinstein Co. release, set to open Christmas Day.
Although this independent production qualifies »
- Justin Chang
Los Angeles — It's been 20 years since Tim Burton committed "Ed Wood" to film, from a script by writers Scott Alexander Larry Karaszewski. A romantic portrait of a man and his art, it's probably the best work of the singular filmmaker's career. So the promise of "Big Eyes," a story dabbling in similar thematic ideas from the same writing team, was significant. The film saw its world premiere Thursday night at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Lacma) as part of a Film Independent film series, while up in Hollywood AFI Fest was wrapping things up with the La premiere of "Foxcatcher" and Paramount was showing off Chris Rock's Toronto hit "Top Five" across town. But "Big Eyes" brought with it the potential for a new contender (Amy Adams) in a sorely lacking lead actress race and all the design considerations that come with a Burton experience. The crowd »
- Kristopher Tapley
Commentators have noted that this year's Best Actor race is stacked with way more than five outstanding candidates. And they are right. But compared to Best Cinematography, Best Actor is positively paper thin. As usual, an embarrassment of riches is present in this category, which awards a film's director of photography (Dp). The cinematography branch is partial to gorgeous looking films, black-and-white films and war films. After years of resisting digital photography, the branch has also embraced 3D work this decade. Being a Best Picture nominee can also help immensely, but so can being a foreign-language film; the branch has an international eye like few others. In any particular year, most of the nominees tend to be returning contenders. Moreover, many first-time nominees (such as Philippe Le Sourde and Phedon Papamichael last year) tend to be veterans awaiting their first nomination. Having said that, there hasn't been a year with »
- Gerard Kennedy
Always the bridesmaid and never the bride, cinematographer Roger Deakins is one of the greatest working DPs today, having earned 11 Oscar nominations and never won. He’s like the Susan Lucci of the technical categories.
But he got that way because for years he’s been consistently collaborating with the Coen Brothers on some of their most iconic films, everything from Fargo to O Brother Where Art Thou, The Man Who Wasn’t There, True Grit, The Big Lebowski, Barton Fink and No Country for Old Men. The man is a master, most recently making sinister, wintery chills in last year’s Prisoners.
Thanks to Blag Films, you can now see a short supercut of some of Deakins’ finest shots among his collaboration with the Coens (with the unfortunate exception of The Ladykillers and The Hudsucker Proxy). While only limiting it to Coens films eliminates the chance to see some »
- Brian Welk
Three new stills for movies about complicated marriages among brilliant people. Expect trailers very shortly. First up is Theory of Everything coming November 7th and based on Jane Hawking's autobiography "Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen"
A few thoughts I had... uncensored as they come to me.
• This might easily fall into the stock "supportive wife" role syndrome (not that Oscar will mind. But we might) even if it is from her perspective?
• Is Eddie Redmayne the best-looking gawky nerdstar ever? There's something about him that shouldn't really work as a leading man onscreen and yet he sure does... work it. You know?
• ♥ Marius
• I'm glad this isn't named after the book... people might be expecting a sci-fi time »
- NATHANIEL R
If you're interested in an anniversary conversation that really has some bearing on today's film industry, I highly recommend American Cinematographer's recent chat with "Collateral" Dp Dion Beebe. It's been nearly a decade (if you can believe it) since Beebe and Paul Cameron carved out a serious place for digital with that film, earning an American Society of Cinematographers (Asc) nomination in the process. It got me thinking about the history of the industry's acceptance of digital as reflected in the nominations handed out by both the Asc and Academy's cinematography branch over the last 10 years. Academy members were a bit slower on the uptake, as you might recall. Beebe and Cameron were snubbed by the branch despite the Asc nomination. Of course, that was still a dicey time for the technology. The first feature films shot digitally were Lars Von Trier's "The Idiots" and Thomas Vinterberg's "The Celebration, »
- Kristopher Tapley
The Chinese industrial revolution has been very good for a lot of people. It just so happens that many of them are not the laborers and villagers that personified the nation of one billion people for centuries. It’s perhaps ironic that this capitalist boom has been so good for the nation’s filmmakers – political upheaval being a common factor in many a nation’s cinematic resurgence – and the dichotomy between rich and poor has allowed filmmakers like Black Coal, Thin Ice’s Diao Yi’nan to prosper and foster global recognition. It’s this same reason than Jia Zhangke has risen to the stature that he has, frequently hailed as China’s greatest filmmaker, or certainly on his way to being so, after little more than a decade of festival and arthouse prominence.
The works of Jia Zhangke linger over the proceedings of the Berlin Golden Bear winner Black Coal, »
- Glenn Dunks
We’re nearly fifteen years into the 21st century and despite the frequent predictions of the implosion of cinema, the industry and medium is still going strong. While much has been made recently about the end of celluloid, a great deal of the best cinematic work in the past decade has been captured photochemically in addition to digitally as a new video on Vimeo can attest. Edited by Erick Lee, this roughly six-minute long video pays tribute to some the best cinematographers working today. In an attempt to maintain uniformity throughout the video as well as not wishing to crop any of the images, Lee culled shots from films with an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 by luminaries that include Christopher Doyle, Pung-Leung Kwan, S. Ravi Varman,Frank Giebe, John Toll, Wally Pfister, Roger Deakins, Anthony Dod Mantle, Paul Cameron, Emmanuel Lubezki, J. Michael Muro, Robert Richardson, Florian Ballhaus,John R., »
- Cain Rodriguez
Chicago – “Inside Llewyn Davis” shows the strength of the Coen brothers’ authorship, and the vitality their vision gives to different time periods, locations, and life experiences. This freewheelin’ bildungsroman of destiny? coincidence? trails a scraggly singer/songwriter (Oscar Isaac as the title character), daring to spread olden tunes in a period of American artistry that is pre-Dylan.
And yet, “Inside Llewyn Davis” is a modern a film as it may seem the period. Give the title character an iPhone, and he’s a Millenial, maneuvering his way through the world while trying to survive bad luck.
Similar to how Michael Stuhlbarg was tossed around in the Coens’ previous ode of bad luck “A Serious Man”, Isaac is quite a curious discovery in this film. Featured in almost every scene, he certifies his potential as a lead. He can truly sing and strum as well, even if we have to »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
Oscar 2014 winners and nominees (photo: Oscar winners Lupita Nyong’o and Jared Leto chat at the 2014 Oscar ceremony) Best Picture: American Hustle, Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison, Jonathan Gordon; Captain Phillips, Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca; Dallas Buyers Club, Robbie Brenner, Rachel Winter; Gravity, Alfonso Cuarón, David Heyman; Her, Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze, Vincent Landay; Nebraska, Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa; Philomena, Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan, Tracey Seaward; 12 Years a Slave, Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, Anthony Katagas; The Wolf of Wall Street, Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joey McFarland, Emma Tillinger Koskoff. Best Foreign Language Film: The Broken Circle Breakdown, Belgium; The Great Beauty, Italy; The Hunt, Denmark; The Missing Picture, Cambodia; Omar, Palestine. Best Actress: Amy Adams, American Hustle; Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine; Sandra Bullock, Gravity; Judi Dench, Philomena; Meryl Streep, August: Osage County. Best Actor: Christian Bale, American Hustle; Bruce Dern, Nebraska; Leonardo DiCaprio, »
- Steve Montgomery
Alfonso Cuarón's space thriller takes seven awards, but loses out to 12 Years a Slave for best picture
• How the night unfolded
• Full list of winners
Gravity may be set in space, but it achieved a landslide at the 86th Academy Awards, taking seven Oscars, while 12 Years a Slave went home with three.
Through its UK producer, David Heyman, Gravity qualifies as a British film, and its Oscar wins come in the wake of the best British film award at the Bafta ceremony. Amanda Nevill, CEO of the BFI, the UK's lead film agency said: "We join the whole British film industry in congratulating Steve McQueen on the awards for his remarkable and important film, 12 Years A Slave, and Alfonso Cuarón whose astonishing film, Gravity was made right here in the UK. Our industry continues to punch above its weight, with exceptional creative talent and world-leading practitioners, infrastructure and facilities »
- Catherine Shoard, Andrew Pulver
The morning after the Oscars is always a strange feeling. We've been covering this process in earnest for months, and now it's over. And for the first time ever, I'm pleased to say that I scored a perfect 10 in predicting the winners in the crafts categories! (I went 21/24 overall, missing Best Live Action Short, Best Animated Short and…Best Picture.) To be fair, however, I'm hardly the only person to have gone 10/10 in this respect. In that sense, we had a night without surprises, which is not to say we didn't have stories. The big story in the crafts categories is, of course, "Gravity's" dominance, as it won six of the 10 below-the-line fields, with the obvious (and highly deserved) win in Best Visual Effects being a foreshadowing of things to come in Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing and Best Original Score. Visual effects supervisor Tim Webber, »
- Gerard Kennedy
Hard-hitting slavery drama starring Chiwetel Ejiofor becomes first film from black director to win top Academy award
• How the night unfolded
• Full list of winners
12 Years a Slave has won the best picture Oscar at the 86th Academy Awards, defeating a nine-strong field that included Gravity, The Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle for the headline prize at this year's ceremony. 12 Years a Slave becomes the first film from a black director to take the best picture Oscar.
Directed by Steve McQueen, the landmark slavery drama stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as a free man kidnapped and sold to slaveowners in 19th-century Louisiana. It was based on the bestselling memoir by Solomon Northup, first published in 1853. 12 Years a Slave follows McQueen's award-winning dramas Hunger and Shame, and was produced by among others Brad Pitt's Plan B outfit. Pitt also takes a small but pivotal role as abolitionist carpenter Samuel Bass. »
- Andrew Pulver
So, the ceremony has just finished and Gravity turned out to be the big winner on the night with no less than seven awards at the 86th Academy Awards. Best Picture did Not go to the space drama, but to Steve McQueens superb 12 Years A Slave. We have a ton of fun stuff for you to read over at our official Live Blog of this year’s ceremony, so be sure to check it out here.
Here’s the full list of this year’s Oscar winners.
** Winners in bold **
- Paul Heath
The Oscars took place on Sunday with "12 Years a Slave" ending up being the big winner of the night, with a total of three awards for best picture, best adapted screenplay and best supporting actress. But it was "Gravity" that took home the most prizes, a total of seven. Most of the awards were for achievement in the technical department, except for Alfonso Cuaron, who won in the best director category. Meanwhile, Matthew McConaughey won the best actor award for "Dallas Buyers Club" and Cate Blanchett won the best actress award for "Blue Jasmine." Check out the full list of nominees and winners (marked in red) below. And let us know if you think the academy got it right. Best Picture: * 12 Years a Slave * American Hustle * Captain Phillips * Dallas Buyers Club * Gravity * Her * Nebraska * Philomena * The Wolf of Wall Street Directing: * Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity) * David O. Russell (American Hustle) * Alexander Payne »
After a lengthy awards season that lasted three long months, the race for the Oscars came to a conclusion tonight at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
This year’s 86th Academy Awards saw a split between Best Picture and Director. 12 Years A Slave won three, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress for Lupita Nyong’o.
Backstage, producer/actor Brad Pitt said, “ I love this movie. I ‑‑ just as a film, as a lover of film, the filmmaking, the ‑‑ this heroic story of a man in this inhumane situation trying to get back to his family. I love this film. I love the filmmaking. It’s counterintuitive to the way we’re making films today. It’s a real achievement by Mr. McQueen here. I love this movie. I think it’s important. I think it’s important because it deals with our history that we haven »
- Michelle McCue
The 2014 Oscar Awards have been handed out and it to no real surprise... there were few surprises as 12 Years a Slave took home Best Picture as well as Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong'o) and Best Adapted Screenplay (John Ridley) while Gravity, unsurprisingly, ended up taking home the night's largest number of wins with seven, none bigger than a Best Director win for Alfonso Cuaron. In the acting categories the only category that seemed up for grabs was Supporting Actress, but as I said, that went to Lupita, which may have something to do with Jennifer Lawrence wearing red... I learned on E! that no one wearing red has ever won the Oscar. Yeah, that's hard-hitting journalism right there. Dallas Buyers Club co-stars Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto won Best Actor and Supporting Actor respectively while Cate Blanchett took home her second Oscar, winning Best Actress for Blue Jasmine. One of »
- Brad Brevet
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