Tim Burton

Dark Shadows and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter don’t fit the bill of your average summer blockbuster. An adaptation of a slightly obscure soap opera about a vampire? We don’t see those often enough in the summer season. A hard-R actioner featuring one of our greatest presidents shredding vampires to bits? That’s another unheard of type summer tentpole. Although Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s names alone can create money out of thin air, Dark Shadows is not the sort of film we often see as a May release, and the same goes for June’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. The man partly responsible for these two going-against-the-norm pictures is author/screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith. Grahame-Smith had to tackle some difficult tasks when it came to making these two projects – like making an accessible Dark Shadows film and adapting his own epic and tonally tricky novel, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Here’s what Seth Grahame-Smith had to say about writing for the screen, the soap-operatic tone of Dark Shadows, and the straight-faced badassery of Abraham Lincoln slaying vampires:

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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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If Jesus or Tupac ever finally return like we’ve all been saying they will, they should probably do it in a Judd Apatow film or something like that. We love cameos, don’t we? It’s especially delightful when it’s extremely unexpected, and of course extra points if they are playing themselves – or better yet some kind of silly version of themselves. It’s all about recognizing the kind of person you are perceived to be, and then playing off that in a way that makes the audience realize that you are in on the joke. If a celebrity is able to do that, it’s instant coolness.

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Recently, Flavorwire got a kick out of a post from Slacktory where they used that ever-present man behind the curtain called Google to see what our internet age connects with celebrities. Then, we got a kick out of Flavorwire’s answer which involved 25 famous authors and what the search engine had to say. The experiment is simple. Type a name into Google Image Search, and the program automagically suggests more words to narrow down your search. Judging from entries like “white people problems” for J.D. Salinger and “death, oven, daddy” for Sylvia Plath, it seems like Google might be kinder to famous movie directors. Some of the responses fully encapsulate the person’s artistic output while others push toward the fringe, but all are shaped by what we’re searching for. Here’s a few things Google thinks you should add to the names of some of your favorite filmmakers.

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It’s a mystery why Tim Burton gets stuck in the black and white world from time to time because he’s one of the few filmmakers who can make primary colors creepy. Apparently the marketing department for Dark Shadows is pretty good at it too. With Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Chloe Moretz and more popping boldly into the foreground, these posters are a reminder of the idiosyncrasy inherent in some of Burton’s filmmaking: vibrant grays and disturbing, bright colors. Check them out for yourself:

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Over Under - Large

Tim Burton’s Batman wasn’t a movie, it was an event. It spawned a tidal wave of merchandise, video games, roller coasters, an animated series, a ridiculous music video, etc… He dropped that movie on the world like a bomb, and in many ways it could be considered the high point of his career. His artistic approach was finally paired with mainstream material, and his success there has propelled him to being one of the go-to money making directors in Hollywood. But, as an 8-year-old fan that was blown away by the gritty comic book take on the character that was developing throughout the 80s, the release of Batman is forever marked by me as a day of huge disappointment. I hated that boring, goofy movie. It was lamer than that show from the 60s I watched back when I was 6. Pathetic. Batman: Under the Red Hood was a straight to video cartoon that kind of gets lost in the sea of DC straight to video cartoons. Most of these movie are pretty strong, don’t get me wrong, but they’re strong with the caveat that they’re just cartoons. They’re for kids, but they’re good enough to be enjoyed by adults, not good on the level of the best feature films. Under the Red Hood is a step above the rest though. Other than The Dark Knight, I would say that it’s my favorite Batman thing that doesn’t come from the medium of the page.

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Alice in Wonderland tested my love for Tim Burton, a fandom I am fully aware is unpopular to have online nowadays. His Disney remake was garish, soulless, and calculative, all adjectives Burton’s greatest critics have said of him before. Alice in Wonderland felt like Burton at his most bored and expected, with zero sense of passion on-screen. Yet, with the release of the first trailer of Dark Shadows finally online, it seems as if Burton is having actual fun. Check out the trailer below to see Burton’s take on the material, including Johnny Depp turning down sex with Eva Green. Burton and company have had a tough time expressing the tone of the picture, but this trailer does it nicely: dark, tongue-in-cheek, and silly. Nothing about this screams “box-office smash!”, but that same sentiment could be applied to most of Burton’s hits.

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Boiling Point

John Carter lightly transported itself into theaters this past weekend, securing a relatively meager $30m opening domestically, though it managed to secure another $70m internationally. While I will eventually make a defense of the economics at play here, it is hard to argue that John Carter isn’t a domestic failure, considering it came in second to The Lorax, which debuted a full week earlier. On top of that, John Carter has a suspected $250m budget with marketing costs guestimated in the $100m range, for a total investment of around $350m. The critics have been somewhat kind to the civil war veteran’s debut – while the average review seems to be “it’s alright,” there have certainly been some hyperbolic highs and very few hyperbolic lows. Consensus is you’ll probably think the movie is okay, but you might want to wait for DVD. Scattered among those are bold claims that film will live on with your children as a classic, which are probably a bit off the reservation. There is little doubt that in at least several ways John Carter failed, ways that were easily avoidable and ways that make me fairly angry with the system.

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For a film that reportedly got a young Tim Burton fired from Disney, that same studio sure seems set on making Frankenweenie a big event film for them this autumn. Burton’s film, an expanded version of his 1984 live-action short that apparently didn’t go over so well the Disney honchos way back when, will now be getting an IMAX release on its already-announced wide release date of October 5. The film will be both the first black and white film and the first stop-motion animated picture to hit IMAX screens. Like Burton’s original short, Frankenweenie is a family-friendly spin on Mary Shelley’s classic novel “Frankenstein.” In Burton’s world, Victor Frankenstein isn’t a doctor driven to extremes by his desire to reanimate the dead, however, he’s just a kid who has lost his beloved pet dog Sparky. Young Victor takes it upon himself to bring Sparky back from the dead and some sweet and clever hijinks ensue. I don’t think Sparky kills anyone, and I am pretty sure he’s not concerned with learning to read, but who knows just how deeply Burton committed to his source material. Nathan showed us the teaser trailer for the film last week, and I’m still cooing over how perversely cute it looks (not to mention how cuddly Sparky, a dead animal brought back to life, appears to be). While I’ve never identified myself as a Tim Burton fan in the least, Frankenweenie looks to be both cute and clever, and I can’t stop myself from […]

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While Tim Burton’s recent live-action films have still been raking in gobs of cash, they’ve also taken a bit of a downturn in quality that have left longtime Burton fans feeling a bit cold. Affection for his stop-motion animation efforts seem to still be ever-present and warm, however, so this new trailer for Burton’s Frankenweenie should play as a fun, bow-wrapped surprise to a lot of people. Check it out after the break, you might just be in for a pleasant shock.

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Unlike our own Kate Erbland, I don’t loathe Seth Grahame-Smith‘s writing with every fiber of my body. In fact, I quite like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, a book that’s less tongue-in-cheek than you’d expect. Tonally, it’s challenging material. And based on this first trailer for the book’s cinematic adaptation, it’s slightly difficult to tell which way the film’s going to go. This could either be another Van Helsing or (probably) something we haven’t quite seen before. If one thing’s for sure, director Timur Bekmambetov has nailed the atmosphere of the book. The director’s got a great eye, so it’s no surprise this trailer has visual ass-kicking going for it. Take a look at Abe kicking some unholy arse:

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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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Robert Downey Jr

It’s been a long time since we’ve talked about producer Dan Jinks trying to get a live action version of Pinocchio together over at Warner Bros. So long that many people probably assumed that the project was dead. That’s not the case though. As a matter of fact, it’s probably about to get quite a bit of attention. THR is reporting that none other than Tim F’n Burton has taken an interest in the Pinocchio script, which was written by Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller. And I know what you’re thinking already…who wants to see a version of Pinocchio starring Johnny Depp as the puppet and Helena Bonham Carter as Geppetto in drag? Don’t be so quick to judge. Early reports don’t say anything about Depp or Carter at all. As a matter of fact, apparently Burton wants Robert Downey Jr. to come on board to be his Italian puppeteer. How’s that for a switch?

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Why Watch? Early Tim Burton, late Vincent Price, and a stop-motion nursery rhyme for the gruesome ones. This 1982 team-up between Burton and Price was one of the director’s last short films before landing the directing gig for Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure and going down the path we all know he followed. It came 11 years before The Nightmare Before Christmas, but the tones and design concepts are all there (just no Henry Selick). Instead of a skeletal hero, it’s a little boy who wants to turn his dog into a zombie. What does it cost? Just 6 minutes of your time.

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How to Catch Santa Claus

In schoolyards around the world, the debate continues to rage: Is Santa Claus real? Or is he just some concept concocted by parents to keep kids in line year-round? Even us adults can remember having knock-down, drag-out arguments over this. Our parents told us that if we waited up for Santa on Christmas Eve, we’d be quickly relegated to the dreaded “Naughty List,” and we’d get nothing but coal in our stockings. As a public service, this installment of the Holiday Survival Guide will help you win those arguments. Keeping up with the tradition of every child’s desire to capture jolly old St. Nicholas, here are some tricks we can dish out, courtesy of the big entertainment machine called Hollywood. Use them wisely, and be sure to only target the real Santa Claus. Failure to do so may result in injury or even death.

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It’s one thing when we’re talking about Alfred Hitchcock having a walk-through in every single one of his films, including one that exclusively takes place on a lifeboat (he appears in a newspaper ad for that one). Sure it’s eccentric but it’s not surprising because, well, they’re his films and he can appear in them as he pleases. What does strike me as weird is when a director shows up totally unexpected in someone else’s film. Usually there is a good reason – either they are producing the film or friends with the cast. However despite the later explanation, it’s still a bit jarring to see, say… the director of Kill Bill in an Adam Sandler comedy…

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Throughout his now lengthy career director Tim Burton has always had an attraction to darkness, to the macabre, to using his unique visual style to bring to life the peculiar. So it doesn’t come as much surprise to hear Deadline Burbank reporting that he’s negotiating to direct a movie about a dilapidated orphanage that once housed strange children with mystical powers. The project is an adaptation of a novel by Ransom Riggs called Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. The book is a mixture of both prose and vintage photography that it uses as illustration, so a peek inside its covers should give a good clue as to how Burton would be approaching this material visually should he end up taking on the project. Well, and a peek at Burton’s past films should be a good indication of how he would approach it visually as well; this guy kind of has a wheelhouse that he stays in. As far as the story goes, the book’s Amazon description says, “ … As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.” So […]

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Alice Cooper has long been considered one of the preeminent denizens of the dark. With his lifelong commitment to horror makeup, heavy metal music, and golf, it couldn’t have happened any other way. So when director Tim Burton needed a music act to appear in his upcoming adaptation of the old, spooky soap Dark Shadows, Cooper seemed like an easy fit. Hero Complex reports that the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is set for a cameo in the film where he will be performing his hit song ‘No More Mr. Nice Guy.’ The setup for the scene is that Johnny Depp’s character, wealthy vampire Barnabas Collins, is throwing an elaborate ball at his palatial estate, and he hires Cooper to be the musical entertainment. To bring Collins’s home to life, Burton and his crew have constructed an elaborate series of sets that includes a gothic mansion and a harbor city complete with piers and boats floating in an artificial ocean. Cooper was so impressed with what he saw that, while at a Universal Studios Halloween event, he opined, “They should take that set and make it a haunted house next year.” He also had some kind words to say about Burton, and how he and the director relate to and understand one another very well, “Rock and horror and comedy work together, that’s something I’ve known a long time and people like Rob Zombie know, and Burton knows that too …  I just saw Final Destination 5 and I was […]

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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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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s all about movies, and television, and comics, and literature, and photos of hot women. Such as Miss Piggy, yo. We begin tonight with perhaps the most interesting twist of the fall movie season. In recent interviews, the likes of Frank Oz and other original puppeteers and writers from the Jim Henson school are speaking out about how The Muppets might not respect the characters they helped create. “I wasn’t happy with the script,” Oz told Metro. “I don’t think they respected the characters. But I don’t want to go on about it like a sourpuss and hurt the movie.”

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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