Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

If we must get these Disney remakes of their animated features done in unattractive, narratively slack live-action/CGI hybrids – and 2019 is making a particularly loud case that we must – I would say that you could honestly do a lot worse than picking up 1941’s Dumbo as a target. The original film is pure […]

It’s certainly more common knowledge 25 years later than it was at the time of the film’s premiere in October 1993 (when Disney did everything in its power to hide the information), but it still bears mentioning that the film which has been marketed since Day 1 as Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is […]

It’s not very hard to imagine a different version of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – only a slightly different version, even – that’s a wonderfully imaginative and full of no end of cinematic marvels. For a film that could be described, in fact very nearly demands to be described as “Harry Potter meets […]

The impressive thing about Big Eyes, the most sedate film directed by Tim Burton in over a decade, maybe even two, is how many different ways its creative team came up with to interpret one script, written by Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski. I count at least five totally different movies jockeying for attention in […]

Frankenweenie is the story of a little boy who can’t deal with the fact that the one thing he loves most of all is gone forever, so he devotes a great deal of time and resources to reviving that thing, creating something weird and foreign and upsetting, but so personally important to him that it […]

Every week this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: at the time of this writing, Premium Rush has already spectacularly failed to be a blockbuster or even a […]

This isn’t even an actual binary: but let’s say you wanted to figure out whether somebody was ultimately a fan of Batman, or ultimately a fan of Tim Burton. They way you do this is by asking their opinion of Batman Returns, which is, honestly, kind of a lousy Batman film, and also kind of […]

I would like to begin, if I could, by restoring to Tim Burton’s 1989 adaptation of Batman some of its dignity. Nearly a quarter of a century after it was released to an amount of hype that had not at that point in history been matched by any film without the words “Star Wars” in […]

Calling Dark Shadows a return to form for director Tim Burton would be a damnable lie. It is, however, the first Tim Burton film in ages and ages that suggest that a return to form might even be possible. If I were looking for a pithy one-liner to describe the film, it would end up […]

The pair of surreal children’s fantasies written by Charles “Lewis Carroll” Dodgson, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, have been adapted for cinema and television as often as any other work of English literature I can name outside of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. Yet, despite a tradition of adaptation stretching back […]

Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd.His skin was pale and his eye was odd.He shaved the faces of gentlemenWho never thereafter were heard of again.He trod a path that few have trod,Did Sweeney Todd,The demon barber of Fleet Street. I cannot pretend to naturally have the proper critical distance from Tim Burton’s undeniably successful film […]

How unexpected and lucky we all were to get two Johnny Depp/Tim Burton collaborations in three months (Author’s Note, 2017: My God, 2005 was a different place). And unlike in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Depp is really on fire in Corpse Bride, pretty impressive considering that he’s nothing but a voice. All of the […]