Apr 7 2012

What’s your favorite Tim Burton movie?

Mine is that one where Johnny Depp plays that weird pasty guy, and all that creepy stuff happens and Danny Elfman’s music is all ‘oompa OOMPA oompa OOMPA.’

I’m just kidding.

Really my favorite Tim Burton movie is Big Fish, probably the least Burtonesque movie he’s done. Second favorite? Probably Ed Wood, though I don’t watch either movie except in my Clearplay DVD player.┬áBoth of them certainly have a lot of weirdness to them, but each of them is about a real character you actually care about, despite their oddities. Each of the movies focuses on telling the story, and telling it well.

I honestly don’t remember the music from Big Fish, but the music in Ed Wood was amazing. It was done by Howard Shore, years before he did Lord of the Rings. Plus, the movie has so many classic lines, like this:

Dolores Fuller (Sarah Jessica Parker): “Do I really have a face like a horse?”

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Aug 12 2010

Review: The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus

It was Heath Ledger’s last film (he died during filming), and it was directed by Terry Gilliam (Monty Python’s Flying Circus, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The Brothers Grimm). It also stars Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell and Christopher Plummer.

I realized going in that Terry Gilliam films are guaranteed to be weird, that the storytelling is kind of a crapshoot, and that my favorite, Munchausen, is probably low-proof Gilliam. Still, the movie was so many kinds of weird, and most of it for no real reason other than the sake of being weird. The plot was hard to follow, and it was hard to figure out who the movie was about. So much of the weirdness detracted rather than enhanced the plot.

I really wanted to like Imaginarium. The overall visual look of the film is beautiful. Besides singing sad songs like Cookie Monster wearing a blood-stained shirt stained with whiskey,┬áTom Waits was born to play the Devil (complete with Waits’s trademark bowler hat). The funniest moment was probably when Verne Troyer (Mini-Me) was describing midgets.

Unfortunately you find out virtually nothing about the characters, and you don’t care about them. You don’t really want to root for anyone, don’t want to see any of the characters really succeed.

It just isn’t good storytelling. Also, if you’re already sick of CGI overuse, you’re in for a bad time.

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Mar 16 2010

Review: Alice in Wonderland (movie)

The new Alice in Wonderland movie is not terrible, but it is not that great either. The basic premise is that 13 years after her original adventures, as recorded by Lewis Carroll, Alice falls down a rabbit hole and returns to Wonderland, finding it a much darker place, and must fight to save it from the clutches of the Red Queen. Somehow this became a boring movie.

All of the characters except one are rather flat and uninteresting, and you don’t care about any of them. The sole exception is Helena Bonham Carter’s Red Queen, who is the only character that seems to have any depth and is interesting to watch.

Overall, the movie is just more Tim Burton (everything kind of goofy-creepy and corpsey) and more Danny Elfman (oopa-OOPA-oopa-OOPA).

And yes, in case you heard, there is a pretty dumb breakdancing scene at the end.

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