REVIEW: Frankenweenie

Frankenweenie
Directed by: Tim Burton
Written by: John August (screenplay), Tim Burton & Leonard Ripps (story)
Starring: Charlie Tahan, Catherine O’Hara, Winona Ryder and Martin Short

Frankenweenie is Tim Burton’s second bad movie of 2012, a tragically misguided comedy that is marketed at children but may have trouble finding an audience outside of Burton’s die-hards.  As its title suggests, it is that infamous story of creating life out of body parts, with man’s best friend replacing discarded human remains.

Various parts of other old horror movies creep their way into Frankenweenie’s black-and-white stop-motion world, though the lightheartedly morbid humor and Burton’s stock character types mark it as his.  The emo avatar standing in for him this time is young Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan), a curious scientist-in-the-making whose dog Sparky is hit by a car after retrieving the home run ball in the game Victor’s dad (Martin Short) made him play.

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ARCHIVE REVIEW: Fantastic Mr. Fox

Fantastic Mr. Fox
Directed by: Wes Anderson
Written by: Wes Anderson (screenplay), Roald Dahl (book)
Starring: George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, and Bill Murray

The world of awkward young males and disapproving father figures often associated with the world of Wes Anderson is polarizing.  You have those who absolutely despise his style and those who absolutely love it.  Typically I fall into the former.  For all his faults, though, he does have a style.  Had I seen Fantastic Mr. Fox before Mr. Anderson’s other features, I’d have wondered what he was getting at with all of the others.  This is his best, most assured, most mature work , and it’s a stop-motion animation adaptation of a children’s novel.

It becomes perfectly clear in this film that all of the characters in Anderson’s other movies really were just cartoon characters.  Now that they are in the literal sense, their absurdest actions look and feel right.  The stop-motion techniques of the animation greatly help flesh out the emotion and style.  The camera work is amateur in the best sense of the word, making this feel like chaos that came together at the last minute.

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