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Quick Reviews: 'Big Eyes' (2014) & 'Tracks' (2013)

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These double feature short reviews are only temporary. Too darn many potentially great films from 2014 are being ejaculated to local big screens these few weeks. Or do most of you actually prefer to read reviews like this? They aren't as quick and short as I was hoping them to be. Let me know if you do prefer it this way. Anyway, here are two movies that are based on respective true stories and sort of have a similar theme - women - but in total contrast.

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BIG EYES

Malaysia Release Date: 15 January 2015



Verdict: What a surprise, Tim Burton completely abandoned his distinctive dark and quirky direction for the first time ever, perhaps. The down side about this is that it feels that somewhat too conventional, to a point that I think many other directors could've easily taken the story and directed it and the outcome may still be as decent, or maybe even better. The humour is lacking, the final third of the film with a disappointingly weak and rushed the courtroom showdown and the ending could've been a bit more satisfying. Hey, we've seen the extremely naive and stupid non-fictional protagonist suffer the entire movie, why couldn't we indulge just 5 minutes more of her triumph or the consequences of the antagonist's defeat?

The good thing's that we could have a break from Burton's usual collaboration with Johnny Depp, which has been slacking and unfavourable since after Sweeney Todd (2007). Amy Adam's Best Actress win at the Golden Globes for her performance here as Margaret Keane is justified while Christoph Waltz does the job very well as the bad husband Walter Keane although we all know he's capable of so much more. In overall, Big Eyes is a good biopic that's blessed with an interesting true story, which the film is very faithful to, but Ed Wood (1994) still remains as the best biopic Burton's ever directed.

Second opinion: My girlfriend said she liked the film and that she could relate to it (maybe because she is an illustrator).

Malaysia censorship: There are a few noticeable cuts but they were all very minor stuff, I think, like a split second of a character showing a middle finger. Oh well, you know how our beloved film censorship board is.

What I would've named the film: "Big Behinds" (imagine a parody by SNL)

Rating: 3 / 5

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TRACKS

Malaysia Release Date: 15 January 2015 (GSC International Screens only)



Verdict: Officially a 2013 film but its wide release was in 2014, which means that Wild (another film that's also based on a female traveler's memoir) was released in the same year and that one has been receiving a lot more buzz and nominations during the awards season. There's certainly no shortage of films about people who has problems in their lives embarking on a soul-searching, heart-healing or self-satisfying trip to the unknown. Despite all that, however, Tracks is yet another worthy travel picture to be seen.

It's not exactly the type of movie that would excite anyone but the pacing is not too slow and it's never boring although it could've probably been a bit more thrilling, emotional and educational by showing more of her hardships. The visuals is so gorgeous, I've never thought desert and camels can ever be this good looking. Mia Wasikowska delivered perhaps her best career performance here as Robyn Davidson, the petite and socially awkward girl but strong and courageous. She can be an inspiring role model for girls who have fear of marching on alone and doing something despite uncertainties.

Second opinion: My girlfriend thought that the film's beautiful and inspiring.

Malaysia censorship: At the press screening held at GSC Mid Valley Megamall, it didn't seem that there was any noticeable cuts. F-bombs weren't censored at all. Mia's nude in a couple of scenes but she's either far away from the lens, blurred, in the water or only her back can be seen. One big problem to some though, the screening had no subtitles at all.

What I would've named the film: "Into the Wild 2" or "Wild: The Prequel"

Rating: 3.5 / 5

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