Beetlejuice

Harry Belafonte in Kansas City

Proving the Honorary Oscars are not simply lifetime achievement awards given as a consolation prize, two of this year’s four Governors Award recipients are already Academy Award winners. And of those two, there are seven nominations among them. Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki was recognized in the Best Animated Feature category in 2003 for Spirited Away, in 2006 for Howl’s Moving Castle and in 2014 for The Wind Rises. He won the first of those. French screenwriter Jean-Claude Carriere was nominated in 1973 and 1978 for collaborating with Luis Bunuel on scripts for The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (original) and That Obscure Object of Desire (adapted), then in 1989 for working with director Philip Kaufman on the adaptation of The Unbearable Lightness of Being. His first nomination and win came in 1963 for writing and directing the short film Happy Anniversary with Pierre Etaix. As for the other two honorees who’ll receive their statuettes in a special ceremony on November 8th, one is actress and iconic redhead Maureen O’Hara, who was never herself nominated but who starred in Best Picture winner How Green Is My Valley and nominees Miracle on 34th Street and The Quiet Man. Rounding out the foursome is Harry Belafonte, whose previous vicinity to Oscar was narrating the documentary feature nominee King: A Filmed Record…Montgomery to Memphis and starring in Carmen Jones, which received nominations for co-star Dorothy Dandridge and its score. He also performed the nominated song “Unchained Melody” at the 1956 ceremony, though he wasn’t the voice on the soundtrack for its movie, […]

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Beetlejuice

Tim Burton had a bizarre start to his career. He spent over a decade making short films and dabbling in conceptual design and puppetry, but he broke out quick with a big screen adventure for a man-child TV star. He then delivered a ghoul for hire before transforming that same actor into a superhero who has become the center of a multi-billion dollar franchise. Burton graduated quickly, and he did it with some head-shaking choices. Now there’s a rumor that he’s interested in directing a sequel to Beetlejuice (that presumably doesn’t go Hawaiian). It’s not all that surprising considering that he gave his tacit blessing to Seth Grahame-Smith‘s desire to create a blueprint for a new adventure with the animated corpse nearly two years ago. When we spoke to Grahame-Smith shortly after that development, things were all still tentative, but the screenwriter wanted to be careful about engaging both Burton and Michael Keaton to ensure that the project had the bare bona fides necessary not to get laughed out of the room. Common wisdom would seem to say that Burton should and will stay away from the director’s chair on this one. He’ll take a producer credit to keep fans from totally wetting the bed, but his true involvement will be as an old master letting some young pupil snatch the pebble from his hand, and then opening a gallery show of his conceptual set designs at the Bell Lightbox. Common wisdom would also say that a rut-stuck Burton doesn’t […]

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IntroWorstPlacesToWork

Forget Weyland-Yutani or Initech; statistically speaking they are fine places to work. Hell, you think Cyberdyne didn’t have a stellar employee benefits package, or at least decent break rooms? Sure – everyone dies, but day-to-day it’s not that terrible. In the movie world, there are far worse jobs out there. These are places that – from one day to the next – level out as the worst possible places to be employed.

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Tim Burton is not a fan of the horizontally-challenged. That’s the conclusion I reached from watching Frankenweenie, an otherwise very pleasant return to form for for the director. What isn’t so pleasant is how every paunchy character — the mayor, the gym coach, and the chubby kid whose name doesn’t matter — is cackled at by Burton and turned into a visual punch-line. Burton portrays these characters in a way that seems antithetical to how most people perceive him and his films… with a casual dash of mean-spiritedness. The one constant in Burton’s films, aside from Johnny Depp obviously, is that he’s always championed the outcasts and made them the eventual heroes of their worlds. Think of the Goth cutter Edward Scissorhands defeating the jock bully, the goofy Amish kid saving the day in Mars Attacks, the friendless Charlie Bucket outlasting the truly bad kids to win the chocolate factory, etc. Looking back at his work, though, it seems clear that Burton himself has been acting the bully when it comes to even the mildly obese. They’re made to be clumsy, goofy, obnoxious and irritating, and if they don’t exist strictly as a visual gag they’re almost sure to be a villain. Can you think of one overweight hero or true good guy in his films? I can’t. Why would a man so feverishly in favor of defending and uplifting outsiders himself single out a specific group of people to consistently bully throughout his career? Hell if I know, but […]

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Sinister

This article is presented in partnership with SINISTER, in theaters October 5. Don’t forget that you can see Sinister first with Tugg.com and Film School Rejects in Washington, DC (and many other cities) by visiting SeeSinisterFirst.com. Even though movies often get a bad rap for glorifying sex and violence, there’s a lot of lessons that can be learned from various films. Horror films, in particular, have taught people a variety of helpful things. For example, we all know to never split up when being chased by a maniac. We know to never drop your weapon next to a killer’s “obviously” dead body. And we also know not to go out a-sexing and a-drinking in the woods without at least keeping one eye open for a deranged psychopath with a questionable past. Movies have also taught us to ask what might be considered bizarre questions when deciding on a new place to live. Has anyone been killed with a nail gun in the living room? Does there happen to be a gateway to hell in the basement? How many former tenants have gone completely bat-shit crazy and murdered their entire families? (Note: if the answer is more than zero, you might want to reconsider renting or purchasing this home.) These real estate listings below might seem to be a good deal, but read between the lines and discover the wicked deal you’re getting on the purchase price might not be a good deal at all.

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It’s hard to have a wedding in a movie where something terrible doesn’t happen; it wouldn’t really be that fun to watch otherwise. It’s not totally unrealistic – after all, crazy people get married too. If we actually lived in a world of mutants and superheroes, they too would get married and it would probably go as well in real life as it does in the movies. Here are some of the most extreme weddings in films – weddings that, provided the bride and groom survive (and not all do), are going to produce some incredibly crazy offspring.

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Channel Guide - Large

With fall shows wrapped, Mad Men and Game of Thrones winding down, and the Louie and True Blood season premieres still weeks away, it’s the perfect time to curl up in front of your television set or computer (which actually seems really uncomfortable) and indulge in a little vintage TV series binge. While most of your old favorites are probably available to you on DVD, Netflix, or Hulu, several noteworthy classics inexplicably and unjustly aren’t. In some cases, no one even had the foresight to record every single episode back when they originally aired and then do their duty to mankind by illegally uploading the series onto YouTube or selling bootleg copies through shady-looking websites and, honestly, that’s just infuriating. If Emily’s Reasons Why Not – a 2006 Heather Graham snoozer that only aired one episode – is on DVD, then surely the following superior series should be released.

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Seth Grahame-Smith‘s unwritten Beetlejuice sequel is currently a big, fat maybe. As of right now, Smith has only gone as far to discuss the project with the studio, Tim Burton, and Michael Keaton, who all sound game, as long as one small little detail is taken care of: nailing the script. As I spoke to Smith yesterday, it was obvious he knew the stakes involved in doing a sequel to Burton’s beloved classic. I mean, who on earth wants to be the guy responsible for making a lame Beetlejuice sequel? Obviously, Smith doesn’t want that title. “When Warner Bros. first talked to me about it I said there needs to be two things to happen before I would even consider it,” said Grahame-Smith. “For one, it couldn’t be some kind of reboot or remake with a different actor playing Beetlejuice. I wasn’t interested in that. I wanted actual Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice and an actual sequel to the movie. Two, I said I’d only do it if Tim gave it his blessing and guided the process. I got both of those things: Tim to say if there was a good enough script he would help with the development of it and I got Michael Keaton to say, if the script was good enough, he’d be open to doing it.” He continued, “You know, what I keep telling people is I don’t want to do it unless we’re really sure that it’s worthy. The original is one of my favorite movies, so I […]

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When it was first reported that David Katzenberg and Seth Grahame-Smith were going to begin their producing partnership by working on a sequel to the Tim Burton film Beetlejuice, it didn’t really sound like a good idea to me. At first glance it seems like Beetlejuice is a very specifically Tim Burton movie, and the idea of somebody else working in that universe feels strange and off-putting. Why would you even want to make another Beetlejuice unless you were Tim Burton?  That would be like somebody who wasn’t Quentin Tarantino saying they were going to make a sequel to Pulp Fiction. But when Grahame-Smith said that he would only do the movie if he got Burton’s blessing and if Michael Keaton came back to star as the titular ghost with the most, the idea started to sound less crazy. I mean, seeing somebody else working in this world that is so visually Burton’s vision would still be a little weird, but who wouldn’t be interested at the possibility of Keaton slipping back into one of his most outlandish and iconic roles? I’ve found my skepticism about a Beetlejuice sequel waning over time. And that continues now that there’s some confirmation that Burton is, in fact, going to be involved with this movie in some way. While talking to the people at MTV about his current projects Dark Shadows and Frankenweenie, Burton took a minute to address his own feelings about the developing sequel. On doing another Beetlejuice he said, “I […]

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If it were up to me, every movie would be required at least one musical number. Seriously, every movie. Children Of Men would have a song in it, Sophie’s Choice as well. Why? I don’t know – it would be funny I guess. Fine, so it’s probably not a great idea. I take it back. I just get excited when a song becomes the center of a scene – especially in comedies. People rarely have the nibs to stick a good musical sequence or two in their non-musical genre films, so let’s take a moment to pay our respects to those who did it so well by arbitrarily judging them in list form.

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After it was announced that David Katzenberg and Seth Grahame-Smith were forming a production company whose first order of business was to develop a sequel to the Tim Burton comedy Beetlejuice, the biggest question on everybody’s mind was whether they would be casting a newer, younger actor in the title role and treating this film as something of a reboot, or if they would be getting Michael Keaton to once again don the zombie makeup and green hair of the iconic ghost with the most. As it turns out, Katzenberg and Grahame-Smith are very wise men who understand that Michael Keaton, quite frankly, is Beetlejuice. It didn’t even feel right when somebody else voiced him for the animated series and I was 8 when I watched that.

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David Katzenberg and Seth Grahame-Smith, now together known as Katzsmith Productions, have signed a new feature producing deal with Warner Bros. Who are these guys? Katzenberg wrote and directed a short film about a teenage nerd with a big unit that he later developed into the MTV series The Hard Times of R.J. Berger, and Garahame-Smith is the guy who wrote Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. The two have been working together for a while, and Warners likes what they see; so much so that they’re expected to be handed the reigns of a sequel to the 1988 horror-comedy Beetlejuice as their first project. Warner Bros. production president Greg Silverman explains the new deal, “We first got to know Seth through his fantastic work on Dark Shadows, and it immediately became a priority to expand our relationship with him. Seth introduced us to David, who greatly impressed us with the vision for KatzSmith from the very first meeting. We firmly believe in their talents and are extremely excited to welcome them to the Warners family.”

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Severed heads, bondage-inspired costumes, sinister creatures doing terribly evil things: there’s no better way to get in the holiday spirit than to spend an afternoon wandering through the twisted psyche of the master of the macabre, Tim Burton.

Whether or not it’s possible to actually get into the mind of a man fixated on eccentric social outcasts; confused man-children; torture and torment, scarecrows; skeletons and striped clothing is debatable. But one thing is certain; this exhibit will get you closer than you’ve ever been and possibly closer than you’ve ever wanted to be.

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threequellessonheader

Dr. Cole Abaius does an in-depth study of some of the worst threequels in order to divine some fantastic filmmaking lessons. What elements of filmmaking should be avoided at all cost and which are only mildly toxic? Find out inside. But bring a barf bag.

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80sfilmheader

Rejoice! It’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to remakes. There’s a ton of 80s movies that aren’t being remade, and here’s just a handful of the ones we’re most thankful for.

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We’ve got your shot and bringing Beetlejuice home at no cost, and you don’t even have to say his name three times…

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Don’t know whether to check out Ghostbusters or Ghost Dad next time you’re in the mood for a spooky comedy? We’ve got some flicks you should check out and others to leave on the rental shelf.

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DVDs I Bought This Week!

Brian Gibson loves to buy DVDs. Come with him on his weekly journey into the depths of credit card debt as he tells you what to buy, rent and avoid.

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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