Scott Alexander

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2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards - Arrivals

Scott Alexander - 2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards - Arrivals at Santa Monica Beach, Independent Spirit Awards - Santa Monica, California, United States - Saturday 21st February 2015

Scott Alexander
Scott Alexander

10th Annual Final Draft Awards

Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski - A variety of stars were snapped as they arrived at the 10th Annual Final Draft Awards which were held at the Hollywood Center Studios in Los Angeles, California, United States - Thursday 12th February 2015

Big Eyes Review


Extraordinary

Tim Burton combines his sunnier filmmaking style (Big Fish) with his more deranged impulses (Dark Shadows) for this amazing true story about both the nature of art and how easy it is to slip into an unhealthy relationship. This is the true story of Margaret Keane, the painter responsible for those huge-eyed waifs that peered eerily from virtually everyone's wall in the 1960s and 70s. It's funny and shocking, and best of all deeply moving.

The film opens in 1958 as Margaret (Amy Adams) is fleeing with her daughter Jane (Raye, then Arthur) from an abusive marriage. She settles in San Francisco, and as she begins to establish herself as a local painter she meets fellow painter Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz), a fast-talking charmer who not only discovers that Margaret's paintings have an audience, but he takes credit for painting them himself. At first it's a case of mistaken identity, then it becomes a commercial issue. But as Walter innovates with printed posters and postcards, creating a whole industry around the mournful images, he begins to live the high life, hanging out with movie stars and world leaders while Margaret is locked in her studio at home painting to meet the demand. After he threatens her with legal ramifications and physical violence if she tells anyone the truth, Margaret finally snaps.

Burton keeps Adams at the centre of the film, drawing out her feisty personality and deep artistic sensibilities while letting Waltz become an almost cartoonish villain whirling around her. It's a clever trick, because it forces the film's central question about whether Margaret's paintings are indeed art (Terence Stamp's snooty New York art critic definitely thinks not), even as her artistic integrity is never in doubt. Adams is terrific in the role, especially since Burton focusses on her expressive eyes to draw the audience in. By comparison, Waltz is rather over-the-top, but he keeps adding subtle shades to Walter's manic bravura, and he makes the climactic courtroom sequence hilariously ridiculous.

Continue reading: Big Eyes Review

'It's Like A Parallel Universe': Tim Burton Reveals He Knew Keane Before He Knew About 'Big Eyes'


Tim Burton Amy Adams Christoph Waltz Scott Alexander Larry Karaszewski

It seems Tim Burton's forthcoming art biopic 'Big Eyes' was destined to hit the big screen, with the writers having previously admitted to spending a long time on the story and the director himself having already followed the incredible Margaret Keane story.

Tim Burton at 'Big Eyes' premiere
Tim Burton was a fan of Keane before 'Big Eyes' involvement

In all Burton's work you can see the strong influence Keane has had on his on art when it came to his animated feature films. The likes of 'Corpse Bride' and 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' all feature characters with the characteristic 'big eyes' made famous by Keane's paintings. 'It was material I was interested in even before I knew they were writing it because I grew up in that era of the Keane work', Burton explains. 'Then I met Margaret many years later and commissioned paintings from her, and I didn't even know Scott and Larry were working on it.'

Continue reading: 'It's Like A Parallel Universe': Tim Burton Reveals He Knew Keane Before He Knew About 'Big Eyes'

Video - Amy Adams Poses With Artist Margaret Keane At 'Big Eyes' Premiere - Part 3


Amy Adams poses alongside her new friend Margaret Keane at the New York premiere of the latter's biopic 'Big Eyes', held at the Museum of Modern Art.

Continue: Video - Amy Adams Poses With Artist Margaret Keane At 'Big Eyes' Premiere - Part 3

Video - Krysten Ritter And Margaret Keane On The Red Carpet At 'Big Eyes' Premiere - Part 1


'Big Eyes' star Krysten Ritter was among the star arrivals at the New York premiere of the Margaret Keane biopic held at the Museum of Modern Art. Keane herself was also at the event, looking rather shy as she posed meekly on the red carpet.

Continue: Video - Krysten Ritter And Margaret Keane On The Red Carpet At 'Big Eyes' Premiere - Part 1

New York premiere of 'Big Eyes'

Scott Alexander - Photographs from the New York premiere of biographical drama 'Big Eyes' which stars Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz and is directed by Tim Burton. The premiere was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, New York, United States - Tuesday 16th December 2014

1408 Review


Good
You do not have to read the original short story "1408," part of the longer anthology Everything's Eventual: 14 Dark Tales, to know that the central idea comes from author Stephen King. In fact, one must assume that the movie was pitched in production meetings as "The Shining in New York." And while it's true that this cinematic take on "1408" recycles so many narrative strings tied to King's overall body of work, it somehow modifies them into a surprisingly fresh, tight and effective thriller.

Renowned travel writer Mike Enslin (John Cusack), like most characters in King's ouvere, is haunted by his own demons. Hiding behind alcohol and a refined cynicism, Enslin scours the country for legitimate haunted habitats, rating rooms on a "shiver scale." A bed-and-breakfast with good food but moderate mood gets five skulls, in his opinion. This movie, based on Enslin's most terrifying encounter, would receive a solid eight skulls.

Continue reading: 1408 Review

Auto Focus Review


Weak
Making stories about celebrities who mess up their lives has become a kind of cottage industry these days. Tabloid magazines have thrived on it for years. The E! True Hollywood Story and Behind the Music have extended celeb-thrashing to TV.

Finally the big screen has embraced such tales, but Auto Focus proves, once again, there's too little tale in these stories to merit more than 15 minutes with Barbara Walters.

Continue reading: Auto Focus Review

The People vs. Larry Flynt Review


Excellent
What a huge gamble, to make a movie about "Hustler" magazine founder and die-hard porn king Larry Flynt and his turbulent life.

Whether or not it's successful, the filmmakers deserve every bit of praise for having the guts to make a movie like this, especially in an age where Washington constantly cries foul over Hollywood's depictions of sex and violence. And believe me, The People vs. Larry Flynt has plenty of both.

Continue reading: The People vs. Larry Flynt Review

That Darn Cat Review


Grim
Barely amusing, this remake of the Disney kiddie flick features an (inadvertent) crime-fighting cat, Christina Ricci, and the near-instant cinematic meltdown of Doug E. Doug. The story and the performances are universally appropriate for The Disney Channel fare -- which is to say, they are far from good. I suppose this would be fine to plop a kid in front of for an hour and a half, but is that saying much? Try something with animated animals instead.

Agent Cody Banks Review


Terrible
I recently read an article that argued TV shows like CSI and James Bond movies are primarily responsible for young people's increased interest in criminal forensics and special military forces. Since Hollywood is both smart and shameless, it uses these notions to its advantage, devouring the success of Bond and vomiting up films like Spy Kids and Agent Cody Banks. Although the original Spy Kids worked, Agent Cody Banks proves that things seldom taste as good a second or third time.

Agent Cody Banks was made just to make money, and to stock Toys 'R' Us shelves and McDonald's Happy Meal boxes with cheap action figures. The script, which feels like the cheapest writers available threw it together in a week, is actually quite impressive in how every mind-numbing scene attempts to manipulate the minds of susceptible adolescents. It uses every trick in the book, from pre-teen humor and Bond rip-offs, to busty secret agents, phony special effects, and, of course, Frankie Muniz. If -- God forbid -- the movie is a hit, the producers have even secured an easy sequel with its carefully formulated ending.

Continue reading: Agent Cody Banks Review

Auto Focus Review


Weak
Making stories about celebrities who mess up their lives has become a kind of cottage industry these days. Tabloid magazines have thrived on it for years. The E! True Hollywood Story and Behind the Music have extended celeb-thrashing to TV.

Finally the big screen has embraced such tales, but Auto Focus proves, once again, there's too little tale in these stories to merit more than 15 minutes with Barbara Walters.

Continue reading: Auto Focus Review

Ed Wood Review


Excellent
If you go into this biopic expecting lots of laughs, you may be disappointed. The film's premise is the joke -- that the hapless director Ed Wood, Jr., the most inept figure in the history of the creative arts, would be the subject of a hagiography.

Keeping this disclaimer in mind, Ed Wood is a quietly hilarious movie. Every actor is in on the joke, especially Johnny Depp, who plays Wood, and Martin Landau, whose amazing portrayal of the aged Bela Lugosi won him an Oscar. Every frame of this movie conveys the tragicomedy of Wood's life (director Tim Burton made this film after scoring big with Batman; he seems to view Wood's career with an ambivalent "there but for the grace of God go I" attitude).

Continue reading: Ed Wood Review

Man on the Moon Review


Good
How do you make a Serious Movie about someone who never took anything seriously at all?

This Andy Kaufman biopic has been in the works and has been talked about for so long, it's become as cultish as the man himself. Will Carrey get the Oscar nod he didn't get for The Truman Show? My prediction: yes. Will viewers of the film finally come to understand the infamous comedian? No, and he wasn't a comedian, it turns out. Andy Kaufman, in what may be the greatest revelation Man on the Moon has to offer, was a self-stylized "song and dance man."

Continue reading: Man on the Moon Review

Scott Alexander

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