Sometimes the only way to really get clarity on an old idea is to see someone else do it first.

While Christopher Nolan directed Christian Bale in three Batman films that push a screen vision of the character that will likely be the defining one for some time, those movies would likely never have happened without Tim Burton and Michael Keaton. Burton directed Keaton in Batman, released in 1989, at a time when that sort of major studio superhero movie was quite rare. The film was a resounding success, and the pair went on to make Batman Returns, released in 1992.

For a while after the release of that sequel, Keaton was in the mix for a third film, but ended up walking away when it became clear that he and new director Joel Schumacher wanted to make a different sort of movie. Keaton now says that he wanted to make a film very much like Batman Begins, but walked away because  Schumacher wanted something else.  Read More »

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There’s a lot to be said for timing when it comes to film awards, and in that respect things couldn’t have worked out better for Kathryn Bigelow‘s Zero Dark Thirty. While most audiences won’t even have a chance to see the film until early next year, the first screenings of the movie have drawn rave reviews. And now it has picked up what will likely be the first of many awards.

Today the New York Film Critics Circle voted on awards for 2012, and Zero Dark Thirty and Lincoln were the big winners, with nothing scored by The Master, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, or other potential awards faves. Kathryn Bigelow took Best Director and her movie won Best Film, which is the same dual wins the filmmaker enjoyed in 2009 before The Hurt Locker went on to Oscar success. Get the full list of recipients below. Read More »

While doing press for his latest film, Frankenweenie, Tim Burton said he wasn’t sure if the rumored Pinocchio film he was circling to was going to happen. That was not a lie. However, those chances have just increased as the project has attracted a talented and proven screenwriter.

Jane Goldman, best known for her work alongside Matthew Vaughn on Stardust, Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class, is in talks pen the film which has Robert Downey Jr. attached as Geppetto. Bryan Fuller wrote the first draft of the script. Read more after the jump. Read More »

Briefly: Earlier today we ran the completed banner created to advertise Sam Raimi‘s Oz: The Great and Powerful. Since the first footage of the film premiered this past summer at Comic Con, we’ve talked about the degree to which it looks like Tim Burton‘s Alice in Wonderland, which was a monster hit for Disney. The similarity is due in part to a common factor: production designer Robert Stromberg, who is now directing Disney’s Maleficent.

But it is also due to another common factor: those at Disney who very evidently hope the film will replicate the billion-dollar success of Burton’s movie. If you had any doubt, just check the image below, which shows they’re not taking any chances with the marketing.

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Recently Threadless has teamed with Walt Disney Pictures for a series of art contests, resulting a series of Disney-themed t-shirt collections that are cooler than your typical Disney merchandise. We posted about The Muppets and Disney Villains collections when they were released. The latest contest asked artists to create a design based on Tim Burton‘s holiday classic The Nightmare Before Christmas. 325 designs were voted on, and 12 t-shirts were printed. Check out the designs after the jump, or head on over to Threadless to buy them now.
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In 1992 Danny DeVito released his third directorial effort, Hoffa. That summer, he also appeared in Tim Burton‘s Batman Returns as a sludgy, grotesque version of the Penguin. What many people don’t realize is that the films connect through a talent beyond DeVito, as Burton was recruited for a very small cameo in Hoffa. Appropriately, DeVito had his Batman Returns director play a corpse.

Check out video below featuring Burton’s prep for the scene, and an alternate take of the cameo. Read More »

With Frankenweenie, Tim Burton goes back to a couple periods of his own history. One is his childhood, during which he was alienated from average school life, and found solace in monsters and movies. Another is his early career, when he created a short film for Disney that, creatively, was his first big success, and professionally his first major failure. Meant to run before the re-release of Pinocchio, the original Frankenweenie, about a boy who reanimates his dead dog, was deemed too dark and weird, and shelved for years.

Today Burton sees the release of a new, feature-length version of Frankenweenie in which the characters are gloriously rendered via stop-motion animation. The film is a nostalgia trip on many levels, but it is a loving one. Burton came to Fantastic Fest a couple weeks ago to present the film, and he and I sat down for a conversation about going back to your past, and the reliability of memory. Read More »

Frankenweenie is an unusual film, which is the sort of thing that people always used to say about Tim Burton movies. In this case it is unusual because unlike Burton films such as Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice, which seemed like uncontrollable explosions of the director’s own childhood impulses, Frankenweenie feels like a very calculated trip back down memory lane. It’s less a meander than a guided Star Tour.

To an extent, the calculated feel is pretty typical of Burton’s recent output. It is also an unavoidable byproduct of the stop-motion animation employed to recreate Burton’s early story of a boy who reanimates his fallen dog, Frankenstein-style. Stop-motion, particularly when using models and sets as intricately detailed as those in this film, requires meticulous planning, and while it can create stories that feel spontaneous and uncontrollable (see A Town Called Panic), Frankenweenie simply isn’t that sort of film.

Instead, this is a movie about gaining control. As a return to the story idea that famously saw Burton fired from Disney, Frankenweenie is more than ever a movie about doing things right the second time, whatever the consequences may be. In Burton’s case, the consequences are likely pretty good, as this is his first movie in some time that points directly to what people liked in his films in the first place. Frankenweenie is a pleasing, endearing movie, even when it fails to follow through on some of its own best ideas. Read More »

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