All posts by Joan Bedinger

Big Eyes, Blurred Focus

Big Eyes, Tim Burton’s latest biopic, brings to mind that quote nebulously attributed to Mark Twain: “It is no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.” While the life story of artist Margaret Keane is fascinating, and Burton adapts it more accurately than you might expect, the film as a whole doesn’t cohere. Simple chronology plays a larger role than narrative craft in its structure. Big Eyes is far from senseless, but its themes and storylines conflict in ways that are more acceptable in life than art. Continue reading Big Eyes, Blurred Focus

Camp X-Ray Fails to Look Below the Surface

Camp X-Ray is a film that becomes less interesting as it goes forward. The premise seems bold: a troubled connection develops between a young soldier and a detainee at Guantanamo Bay. The opening scenes draw you in with compelling performances and cinematography. In the end, however, this movie has very little to say. Camp X-Ray is the cinematic equivalent of a “Coexist” bumper sticker slapped on an SUV. Continue reading Camp X-Ray Fails to Look Below the Surface

Interstellar: In Space, No One Can Hear You Yawn

There is no shortage of memorable images in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. From a dust storm in the ecologically devastated future United States to distant planets circling a black hole, the cinematography is expertly rendered and often magnificent. The frequent use of practical effects gives an effective patina of stark realism to the sci-fi scenery. Yet it’s one of the humbler shots from the beginning of the movie that really captures its wasted potential. Continue reading Interstellar: In Space, No One Can Hear You Yawn

Gone Girl: Less Than Meets the Eye

Gone Girl, much like its characters, puts on a false front. It has all the trappings of a sleek psychological thriller and the heart of a confused dark comedy. If you believe deeply in the hellishness of marriage, or suburbia, it might hit close to home. But for the lucky few who don’t, this movie offers little more than a twisted, and sometimes fun, ride into absurdity. Continue reading Gone Girl: Less Than Meets the Eye