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Opinion: Tim Burton tries again, Chris Nolan to release big-name blockbuster in upcoming movie season


While this year’s (and last year’s) crop of movies hasn’t quite been as strong as it arguably could be — especially in comparison to 2012’s terrific roster — it’s still got a number of award contenders and original stories on the horizon. Whether it’s in one bizarre director’s attempt at a comeback in “Big Eyes,” one acclaimed superstar director’s space odyssey in “Interstellar” or a strange take on the superhero genre in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance),” there are a few movies that I know I will be going to see.

“Birdman,” in limited release, opens at AMC Lennox Town Center 24 on Thursday

“Birdman,” directed by Oscar-nominated Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu and starring Michael Keaton (of Batman and “Beetlejuice” fame) Edward Norton and Emma Stone, is a dark comedy about an actor who once played a superhero trying to regain prominence as a stage actor. It has received rave reviews and speculation that it will also receive several Oscar nominations, especially for Keaton’s renowned performance. The film’s unusual premise and acclaim is enough to inspire me to see it when it comes out on Thursday.

“Interstellar,” Nov. 5

Christopher Nolan, one of my personal favorite directors, is back with a new original space epic movie featuring an all-star cast with the likes of Oscar-winners Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and Matt Damon. Little is known about the film’s plot, except that it features a struggling Earth and a number of wormholes. But Nolan has earned audiences’ and critics’ trusts alike with his ambitious direction and vision on blockbusters, such as the Dark Knight Trilogy and “Inception,” so this shouldn’t be an issue. Nolan has certainly not tried to tamp down the hype for the picture, making comparisons to classics like “Jaws” and “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and although the film has gotten positive reviews, so far it’s not gotten the same kind of feedback that his previous pictures have received. Nevertheless, I know I will be seeing this in IMAX, and I recommend that you do, too.

“Big Eyes,” Dec. 25 

Famously eccentric director Tim Burton — of notoriety for “Beetlejuice,” “Edward Scissorhands” and Batman movies — has lately produced movies that have received mixed responses. “Alice and Wonderland” and “Dark Shadows” were met with critical skepticism.

“Big Eyes,” a biographical portrayal of the troubled marriage between artists Walter and Margaret Keane, promises to be a return to prominence for Burton. It features two brilliant actors in Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams as its leads, and as such, Adams has already been highlighted as a potential Oscar nominee. It’s also the first picture that Burton has made in some time that is a “normal” character drama and not something bizarre or supernatural. Count me in.

There are many other upcoming films to look forward to this winter as well. Other notable releases:

  • “Nightcrawler,” Friday — a thriller that is said to have the best performance of Jake Gyllenhaal’s career
  • “Big Hero 6,” Nov. 7 ­— Disney’s latest animated tale of a plus-sized inflatable robot
  • “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1,” Nov. 21 ­­­­— first part of the final installment of the Hunger Games movie franchise
  • “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” Dec. 12 ­— Ridley Scott’s biblical epic
  • “Unbroken,” Dec. 25 ­— the chronicle of a Olympic runner taken prisoner of war during World War II, as directed by Angelina Jolie
  • “Inherent Vice,” Jan. 9 — the next film by critics’ favorite Paul Thomas Anderson is a standout amongst the smaller movies that are set to hit theaters

Simply put, there’s something for everyone at the movie theater in the coming months.

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