SATURDAY DIRECTOR SPOTLIGHT
This week's post is going to be about a well-known director movies of the 1990's : Tim Burton. Tim has been working on movies ever since 1981 when he was a animator on The Fox and The Hound. The first film he directed was Pee-Wee's Big Adventure and has directed numerous other films including 2 Batman films. Today I will talk about 3 of my favorite films he made in the decade of the 1990's.
Ed Wood (1994) - I know this isn't a completely accurate portrayal of Ed Wood's life/career but this movie is just so fun. Originally not the director, Burton makes this his homage and tribute not only to Wood but the terrible exploitation films of the 50's. Johnny Depp delivers one of his best performances as Edward Wood, a man making some of the worst films in cinematic history but thinks he's making masterpieces. Depp and Burton always do their best to show Wood not as a tragic figure but a man who loved movies and loved making movies no matter how bad they were. Martin Landau won a Oscar for his portrayal of a aged, profane Bela Lugosi. Landau adds a clear vision of a man who knows he's past his prime as a actor only remembered for being known as Dracula but also knows that this is all he has left - fighting a giant mechanical squid in a inflatable pool.
Boosted by Bill Murray, Jeffrey Jones, Sarah Jessica Parker, George Steele and Patricia Arquette as Ed's future wife, this is a really enjoyable film to watch. You always root for Ed and his friends to succeed even when making horrible films and you feel the happiness Ed does when his showing of "Plan 9 from Outer Space" is sold out. I love that it doesn't make fun of Wood but celebrates him and his passion for movies.
Sleepy Hollow (1999) - Tim Burton's take on the classic "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" story is a very interesting one. Tim stays true to some of the story while adding more witchcraft and grittiness into the story making it very much a horror drama film. A visual delight to the senses is one way to describe the film. Very much like the Hammer films of the 1970's, it transports you into the period era it is set and also keeping the drama going throughout.
Johnny Depp plays Ichabod Crane, the "hero" of the story. Johnny does a nice job of playing Ichabod not as a macho hero but as a man out of his element and scared to death of what he is finding out in the small town. Christina Ricci is very good as Katrina Van Tessel who hides secrets while falling for the young constable from upper New York. A tremendous supporting cast as well from Michael Gough to Christopher Walken as the Headless Horseman who will scare you guaranteed. This film is one that if you are a fan of the Victorian era and a fan of horror movies , you will love it.
Mars Attacks (1996) - Tim's love letter to B-movie sci-fi films, disaster films and black comedy all in one exceptional and cheesy movie. Not critically beloved but a definite cult classic, exactly the way Burton probably wants it to be. The basic plot of the film is simple : Aliens from Mars arrive to Earth and cause havoc and destruction.
The cast is a all-star one from Jack Nicholson to Glenn Close to a young Natalie Portman to Danny Devito (in a role that is the beginnings of the one he will play on Always Sunny) to Michael J. Fox (brilliant in this) to Sarah Jessica Parker to Pierce Brosnan to...I better stop. If I keep rattling off names I'll be here all day. Three of the best roles though are played by Pam Grier, Jim Brown and Tom Jones. Brown and Grier in particular steal all the scenes they are in and add a lot of heart to the zaniness. I will say if you are looking for a very fun and wacky sci-fi film with extra cheese, I highly recommend this film.