BIG EYES (2014)


Directed By: Tim Burton
Written By: Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski
Cinematography By: Bruno Delbonnel
Editor: JC Bond
Music By: Danny Elfman 

Cast: Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Jason Schwartzman, Danny Huston, Krysten Ritter Terrence Stamp, Jon Polito, Madeline Arthur

In San Francisco in the 1950s, Margaret was a woman trying to make it on her own after leaving her husband with only her daughter and her paintings. She meets gregarious ladies’ man and fellow painter Walter Keane in a park while she was struggling to make an impact with her drawings of children with big eyes. The two quickly become a pair with outgoing Walter selling their paintings and quiet Margaret holed up at home painting even more children with big eyes. But Walter’s actually selling her paintings as his own. A clash of financial success and critical failure soon sends Margaret reeling in her life of lies. With Walter still living the high life, Margaret’s going to have to try making it on her own again and re-claiming her name and her paintings.

This film could also be known as the Return Of Classic Tim Burton.

The film is almost unlike the sorts of films Tim Burton directs. Yet it plays in his wheelhouse allowing him to show his respect and passion for art. Showcasing An outsider in a classic colorful era. Adding some spice onto a bland palette.

Here Director Tim Burton seems to take pleasure in over saturating the colors in the background and over lighting everything, so that they are over bright and look pale and shiny always yet bringing out the natural textures or any and every basic color they come across (which works as it is a story about at and artists as well as creativity and identity)

The film seems quirky enough to fit as well as a powerful story behind. A popular kitsch hat makes it all the more interesting and powerful. So that it doesn’t just represent a fad or an object gives it meaning and a soul from the story

A nice ride to the middle. Which is an improvement for director Tim Burton. A nice lightweight film. With not too much fat.

You have to understand that when it comes to Tim Burton and his films. He holds a special place within me. As watching his filmography is like reliving my childhood as I’ve grown up with his films. They each reached me at a different time of adolescence and teenage years. So my youth and like all things you grow up with at times you resent them and try to thrown them on the back burner you are too old and sophisticated for them. During that time he also was making films that weren’t my cup of tea. As well as his embracing of digital effects over practical. From a business stand point I can understand, but as an animator who worships dark gothic films and classic film-making it is surprising he doesn’t try harder to use and keep practical effects. But now while I can’t say I love every film he does. I can now look at them and notice his signature more and find bits and pieces of originality that only he can bring to that project.

He was one of my favorite filmmakers even before I followed film obsessively. I believe other then I was a big batman fan. It was also the fact that he had so much dark sensibilities hat to me as a kid were different, dangerous and rebellious. As most of his films were like live action cartoons. They were fun bit also exposed the danger of the situations. He gave the fun with a bit of a scare. As I grew older I might have felt I grew out of his films, but as soon as i see one I find myself feeling like a kid. It is interesting the older I get how many people feel the same way or hold him and his films his creations with so much respect and joy.

I only am sad that the one time I met him I was so in awe I never got the chance to tell him any of this. The really surprising part is how he is portrayed or seems in interviews was the exact opposite of the person I met. Even after signing nightmare before Christmas paraphernalia all afternoon he was energetic, appreciative and excited. I didn’t get a solo picture with him, but a group one of all the workers at the virgin megastore. At least i got to look him in the eye and shake his hand. Out of the few major filmmakers I have met, so far he was one of the nicest.

So it does hurt at times when i have to write some more critical things about his work. It is probably why I seem to take it more personal when his films to me aren’t as good as they could be.

I also believe he is a filmmaker, who leads with his imagination and visuals. So that I believe while he can make adult centered and themed movies. Just as he had the effect with me. I believe his films will always appeal more to a younger generation and as you get older his films appeal to the child in you. Though might not be as powerful to you once you grow out of them a little.

It feels like these days he focuses on brightness in his films as much as he used to rely on darkness.

Christoph Waltz has the more flashy role. Amy Adams has the more strength and heart of the film while early in the film her story but seems pushed out and made small barely noticeable in her own story and in life as it is overtaken. Like Cinderella kept in attic made to do all the work while he celebrates the spoils

I used to not really get Amy Adams never noticing her performances though I finally realized that she immerses herself so into a role that it seems like she more is the character or Person rather than her own identity or skills. She isn’t showy, she does what the role requires without any fireworks. The roles she usually takes don’t require it. She seems to take more strong female roles who are richer rather than stars even in their own stories and films. Not quite as powerful. For all her celebrated and noted roles Amy Adams this is the role that really made me at least take notice. It’s not the showiest of her roles but it’s the subtleties that work and make her feel more like a real character rather then a big screen one. Though If not her just going by the title I would definitely have suggested Christina Ricci or Aubrey plaza in the lead role though that might be too obvious

Kate Hudson and Thomas Haden Church were previously attached to play the lead roles. They were replaced with Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Reynolds. After a year in development, Witherspoon and Reynolds dropped out and Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz took the lead roles. Amy Adams replaced Reese Witherspoon in the lead female role. She previously replaced Witherspoon in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian and The Master.

Christoph Waltz brings his energy and charisma to the role yet you never quite trust or believe him as his character seems like a salesman always seems to have a plan. It comes through in his performances it never seems quite believable all suspect. His character allows him to showcase his acting style that seems more showman like at times as his character is a self made con-man who tends to believe his own lies. Who is insufferable and shows no depth ever. He plays the role lie. A used car salesman

Terrence Stamp Definitely makes his mark in a a rather small but crucial role

Just as lightweight and fluffy yet fun. Happy to see Burton reach out from his usual. He continues to wear his influences. Where as before he explored his interests, Now he indulges into them try by to recreate or create homages to them as they are worn like a sleeve.

It seems like his work was once outsider and underground themed accessible, but popular so much so that now his own work seems derivative of his own style that he seems to have lost his passion and trying to get back to his original more classic stories. Burton’s films once at least felt personal and now they seem more like products not necessarily of innovative invention. More about marketability.

I Used to love his films, but cannot say I thoroughly enjoyed one of his films since BIG FISH his last truly inspired film. While his other films after seem Inspired for the wrong reasons just not original. Though I can admit, Here not as distracting when it comes to style and direction as his other films tend to be. The film is one of the most unlike his usual typical type. Yet fits into his type and trademarks

This isn’t necessarily Burton’s best film but certainly one to be proud of and a change of pace for the better. With a certain budget he manages to create a world, time period and epic celebrity filled fame and success story.

Tim Burton and cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel wanted to shoot on 35mm film, but due to budget restrictions and the Vancouver Deluxe laboratory closing in 2012, they had to shoot digitally.

That is familiar for him but at least better and more rewarding that his more big budget studio effects. The film might feel lien artifice and recreation, but at least he feels like he’s onto something working with his old collaborators the screenwriters of one of his masterpieces ED WOOD another film that moved his style and range forward.

This is the first feature film directed by Tim Burton to not feature actors with whom he had previously worked. Though Batman was the first Burton film to feature a recurring actor in a major role his early films featured recurring actors in minor parts.

This is Tim Burton ‘s first film since EDWARD SCISSORHANDS not to be edited by Chris Lebenzon. What is interesting is that while going back to material he was more known for, Here he seems to have set aside his usual crew and collaborators which might be because more budgetary reasons then by choice.

This is a drama with a certain level of underlining humor. That ultimately while good doesn’t feel strong at times.

I really enjoyed the writing in the film making it feel classic yet modern like the art of display.

The film for all of it’s serious moments comes off lightweight, Almost sing song like a classic Disney film while tackling some serious subjects. Unfortunately it feels like a familiar story we might have seen before on screen. Almost like an example movie to show a struggle during unfair social politics of the time.

Though it is worth watching and fun. It just never feels as strong or powerful as it seems to want to.

Grade: B

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