Review: Tim Burton’s “Big Eyes”

bigeyesThe anarchic id of late-20th-century Hollywood with a funhouse of singular films to prove it, Tim Burton hasn’t, alas, been regarded with much favor of late. Indifferent to the notion of growing up, he’s become the whipping boy for critics who’ve mistaken an auteur’s variations on a theme for lazy career repetition. Yet respectability has never been Burton’s mandate, and even recent work like 2012’s flop Dark Shadows—a misunderstood oddity that rekindled his tonally schizoid earlier stuff—has demonstrated nothing if not an artist determined to amuse himself first and critics later. Predictably, the news that Burton was to direct a low-key biopic from the writers of Ed Wood was met with relief from those pining for the mythical “return to form,” or just hoping he’d try something different, lest he deliver another refraction of tacky pop cinema that doesn’t align with prevailing critical tastes. Continue reading

Review: Chris Rock’s “Top Five”

chrisrockIt’s often said that comedy is the hardest thing for a performer, and it must be hard to be a comedian in the celebrity bubble of Hollywood. Sure, there’s the potential for big franchise paychecks and the adoration of countless fans, but with them comes the eroded sense of self that drives so many to want to be taken seriously—or at least pause to take stock of their identity. Continue reading