Films directed by
Tim Burton

Beetlejuice

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So, the story is: One day Adam and Barbara Maitland died and things sort of went downhill from there. The end result is a movie showcasing director Tim Burton at the top of his game. It also helped launch the careers of both Alec Baldwin and Winona Ryder (and introducing me to Winona Ryder is more than enough for me to forgive Burton for that Planet of the Apes remake).

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Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride

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The visual imagination of Tim Burton is probably unequalled among today’s filmmakers and when he brings it to bear on a project suited to his particular talents, the results are almost always unique and special. Corpse Bride, like Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas, is an example of Burton playing on his home turf and swinging for the fences.

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

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I dimly remember reading Roald Dahl‘s book as a child but, for the life of me, I can’t recall if I ever saw the 1971 adapatation with Gene Wilder. I almost rented it to watch a few weeks ago but the only copy I could get from Netflix was the original pan-and-scan “full” screen edition. I’m sorry, but if there is one thing that this writer does not abide, it’s the butchering of a film’s original image to fit the confines of a TV screen. Thus the Wilder version will go unreviewed here until I can track down a widescreen copy.

Tim Burton‘s other films based on other people’s material have been a mixed bag. Continue reading

Batman Returns

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Following the huge success of Tim Burton’s Batman, a sequel was inevitable. It’s also clear that Burton was allowed a lot more creative leeway in directing Batman Returns than he had on the first film. The 1989 film had scattered touches of the director’s off-center visual sensibilities, but the 1992 sequel was set in a world that was Burton-esque from wall to wall.

To try to top Jack Nicholson’s balls-to-the-wall portrayal of the Joker, Returns gives us three, count ’em, three villains for our movie-going bucks. The Penguin (Danny DeVito), Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Max Shreck (Christopher Walken). You would think with this kind of A-List talent on hand, however, that Batman Returns would bat better than .333 in the villain department. Of the three, only Catwoman manages to emerge as a full-blooded character.

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Batman

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In the late 1980s, Batman was enjoying quite a renaissance, mostly on the strength of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One, along with Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke which rescued the character from the campy 1960s television show and returned him to the dark, gritty streets from which he came. When it was announced that Warner Brothers was producing a motion picture version, the comic’s legions of fans could scarcely contain themselves. The film attracted A-List talent, most notably Jack Nicholson as the Joker and was Warner’s big film of 1989.

What the fans got, however, was a bit of a mixed bag. Continue reading