Big Eyes

Selma

The end of any calendar year is traditionally marked by a glut of biopics, the kind of true-life tales that frequently pack an emotional wallop, particularly the “inspirational” kind. It’s easy to feel compelled to action — some action! any action! — after sitting in a theater for two-plus hours, having your heart broken by a story that’s both cinematically rich and personally touching, but it’s far harder to turn that into actual movement. Let’s put it this way: when was the last time you walked out of a movie theater and felt like you’d had the crap kicked out of you? If you’re keeping up with 2014’s staggering rash (not that kind of rash, unless you’ve been tempted to imitate Wild) of dramatically upsetting biopics, it was probably mere days ago. But how can you fix that movie-sized hole in your heart after watching genuine human beings go through terrible, terrible things on the big screen, purely for your entertainment? What if you’re too busy feeling sad about said biopics to get your holiday shop on? Open up your pocketbooks, buddy, ’tis the season!

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Big Eyes Movie

Twenty years after Tim Burton‘s greatest achievement, Ed Wood, he’s teamed up once again with screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszwewski to tell Margaret Keane’s story. Keane’s art was hugely popular in the 1950s and 1960s. Her bold, beautiful and beloved paintings of sad big-eyed children were even sold at hardware stores and gas stations. The problem was, she didn’t receive any credit for them. Her failed artist of a husband, Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz), took credit for her work. He claimed nobody would buy the paintings if they knew they were painted by a woman, so why not instead make a boatload of cash passing them off as his own? The initially timid Margaret (played soulfully by Amy Adams) went along with his story — that he’s the real artist, not her. Walter became consumed by the wealth and acclaim, while the lie ate away at Margaret and, at one point, greatly upset her daughter Jane (Madeleine Arthur), a major inspiration for Margaret’s work. The story grows progressively sadder and stranger. When Margaret finally does stand up for herself, Walter reacts in frightening and ridiculous ways. Most of her husband’s manipulation is played for laughs, but it never detracts from the drama of Margaret’s situation. Alexander and Karaszwewski’s script pulls off a real tonal challenge in that regard. Even when events take an exceptionally silly turn in the third act, the film manages to earn both the huge laughs and emotional catharsis. Like Ed Wood, Big Eyes is often outrageous but totally […]

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stamp

What is Casting Couch? It’s the daily column that’s back with the first load of casting news for July, and if you love the CW’s 90210, then prepare to get excited, because two of the actors mentioned are apparently on that show, which apparently still exists. Tim Burton keeps making his upcoming biopic of Margaret and Walter Keane, Big Eyes, look more and more interesting by branching outside of his usual stable of actors and bringing in more and more talented people who we’ve yet to see him work with. The latest name he’s signed up, according to a report from THR, is screen legend Terence Stamp. He’ll be joining the film as art critic John Canaday, who is said to have been openly appalled at the way Walter Keane used his wife’s work in order to con his way into art world fame.

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schwartzman

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news column that’s actually going to go a day without reporting on any Veronica Mars confirmations. It does have some news about Cillian Murphy though. It seems like Tim Burton’s next project, Big Eyes, is finally seeing him break away from his usual stable of actors in order to work with interesting names he doesn’t have any experience with. For everyone other than the biggest fans of Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter wearing silly wigs, that’s go to be seen as good news. Especially when the names he’s recruiting are exciting as Jason Schwartzman, who The Wrap is reporting has joined the film as a San Francisco art gallery owner named Ruben. Everyone loves Jason Schwartzman, so add him to a cast that already includes Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz, and there starts to be so much love going around that we’re going to have to worry about how to contain it.

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Every bit of movie news has to be taken with a fistful of salt. With so many moving parts, even the biggest players in the game sometimes see their work fall into the tall grass of development hell. That’s the bad news. The good news is that all of those times you shake your fist at a new project (be it remake or reboot) are warranted, but they don’t always get made. Sometimes, the stuff we’re dreading goes down in flames too. So it’s with that bittersweet spirit that we look back on a few announced projects that still haven’t been made. And might never be.

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What Happened to Kate Hudson

There are certain questions in life one puzzles over furiously. Today, we examine a tricky one by asking what the hell happened to Kate Hudson’s career? Cinema Sleuth is on the case.

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katehudson01.jpg

Kate Hudson sets herself up to play Margaret Keane.

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
A-


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