Review: ‘Justice League’

Hot off the wildly successful Wonder Woman solo film, Warner Brothers has released their first DC team-up film, Justice League, bringing together the biggest names in the comic giants universe. A once slam dunk project has been plagued with bad press, a sad and unexpected tragedy that forced Zack Snyder to leave the directors chair and lukewarm fan expectation that have stunted the excitement surrounding the film and has left the finished product in a tailspin. Does Justice League have enough to win over audiences and prove once and for all that the DC Cinematic Universe is back on track?

Following the events of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, our heroes are learning to exist in a post-Superman world. Crime and uncertainty have swept over the world like a tidal wave and Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) is looking towards the coming storm. Fearing something bigger is upon us, Wayne looks to put together a team of extraordinary superheros to defend the Earth from the unknown. Already having fought besides Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) before, the two recruit Barry Allen/The Flash (Ezra Miller), Arthur Curry/Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Victor Stone/Cyborg (Ray Fisher) to defend the three ancient mother boxes from falling into the hands of Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) who intends to use them to destroy the Earth.

Justice League, on the surface, is a fun film with some enjoyable moments, but beneath the surface lies a total mess with a lot of flaws, amateur editing and a convoluted story that is painful to watch. Let’s first tackle what the film got right. Wonder Woman continues to be a bright spot for the DCCU. Gal Gadot is absolute perfection as the Amazon warrior, portraying the character with strength and charm, and providing the leadership this team so desperately needs. Jason Momoa was not my first choice for Aquaman, but after seeing him in this film, I have a better sense of the overall direction they are taking the character. Momoa‘s Aquaman is morally conflicted, but in tune with the sheer power of his legacy and the child-like nature of his personality which makes for amusing screen time. Henry Cavill continues to shine as Superman. Cavill understands the character and what it takes to don the tights and it’s nice to have him anchoring this franchise, along with Gadot, to hopefully help right this ship in future films.

And now, the bad. Ben Affleck’s Batman takes a huge step back in this film. While they try and lighten up the caped crusaders persona a bit, the entire transformation appears unnatural and painful for Affleck, who appears more awkward around his new super friends. Ezra Miller‘s take on Barry Allen falls short of expectations. The beloved character is relegated to comic relief in the film with the filmmakers electing for an immaturity angle which becomes tiresome not long after the bit begins. Warner Brothers election to rush this film to market instead of completing the origin films of each character beforehand, limits the amount of time the filmmakers can spend on setting up the characters in the film. With a short run time, horrific editing and a sub-par script, Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon (who reshot and rewrote some of the film in Snyder’s absense) left the audience handcuffed to just “buy in” to their explanations of the “why’s” and roll with the finished product. Lastly, the inclusion of Steppenwolf as the films protagonist made sense for his link to what we hope will be the inclusion of Darkseid in the sequel, but the election of a full CG portrayal was a horrendous decision. The character has some qualities that could have transitioned to the big screen, but all of that was lost from scene one when we were introduced to an amateur CG depiction that looked like cutting floor fodder from Warcraft.

Overall, Justice League misses the mark in a big way. We can only hope that Geoff Johns can take creative control over all of the DCCU and give back to fans the films that they rightfully deserve.

Stars:

2 1/2 out of 5

After Credit Scene?

Yes. One mid-credit and one post credit

Trailer:

The International Trailer for ‘Justice League’ has Landed

Warner Bros UK has unleashed the new trailer for Justice League and we have it for you below!

Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s (Henry Cavill) selfless act, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) enlists newfound ally Diana Prince to face an even greater threat. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to recruit a team to stand against this newly awakened enemy. Despite the formation of an unprecedented league of heroes — Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash — it may be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.

The movie also stars Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Willem Dafoe, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen and J. K. Simmons.

Justice League is scheduled to be released on November 17, 2017, in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D.

Review: ‘Arrival’

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Denis Villeneuve (Sicario) is quickly becoming one of Hollywood’s must see directors, with his unique vision of storytelling and character portrayal, Villeneuve is revolutionizing how we watch films. Based on the short story “Story of Your Life” by author Ted Chiang and written for the screen by Eric Heisserer, Arrival explores extraterrestrial contact in a fresh, new way which pays homage to Close Encounter of the 3rd Kind and other greats from the past by taking aspects of those films and using them to enhance this lively new experience. This is a film to be cherished for many decades to come.

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Linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is approached by the military to help decipher an alien language upon the arrival of multiple mysterious extraterrestrial spacecraft around the globe. Assisting Banks are mathematician Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) and US Army Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) each pressured with the task of making contact with the new visitors and understanding their language and their intent. Tensions around the globe are running high as China and other foreign governments discuss the possibility of first strike if contact can’t be made. Banks and Donnelly head a team to enter the ship and use their expertise to find a common ground between our language and theirs to properly interpret the meaning of their arrival and stop global war, but the answer they receive may change everything they’ve come to know forever.

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The cinematography by Bradford Young is exceptional and sets the tone for the film. Director Denis Villeneuve uses these visuals as a supporting cast member as the camera work encapsulates you within the story and keeps you engaged throughout the duration of the film. Amy Adams‘s performance is crucial to the payoff and she is exceptional. Every step throughout this journey is commanded by Adams and, along with co-star Jeremy Renner, provide the human emotional element that drives each character to do whatever they must to complete their mission. Forest Whitaker stands strong as the moral center trying to keep the team on mission and the fate of the world in the front of his mind. The three are a perfect triangle of acting that play off one another to drive home the message.

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Overall, Arrival is a giant step forward for film making and awe inspiring experience like no other I’ve witnessed this year. A film that turns the science fiction genre on it’s head with an ending so unexpected that it will leave you speechless. This is the film to beat for 2016.

Stars:

4 1/2 out of 5

Trailer:

Watch the trailer for ‘Arrival’ starring Amy Adams

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Paramount Pictures has released the trailer for Arrival directed by Denis Villeneuve (Sicario) and we have it for you below!

When mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe, an elite team – lead by expert linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) – are brought together to investigate. As mankind teeters on the verge of global war, Banks and the team race against time for answers – and to find them, she will take a chance that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity.

The movie also stars Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker

Arrival is in theaters November 11th

Review: ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’

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To say Warner Bros. has had a hard time getting their DC Movie Universe off the ground would be an understatement. Failed projects like Green Lantern and underwhelming resurrections like Man of Steel have put the movie studio behind the eight ball as they continue to watch their rivals over at Marvel succeed, but things are about to change, or so they hope, as director Zack Snyder brings two of the biggest comic book heroes to the screen in a head to head battle in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Can bringing these two iconic heroes (well, three actually when you add Wonder Woman) put Warner and DC back on the right track and truly bring the dawn of a new cinematic universe to fruition?

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We begin where Man of Steel ends, at the battle of Metropolis. Superman (Henry Cavill) is in the midst of a furious battle with General Zod (Michael Shannon) and the chaos that ensues from the two combatants leads to much loss of life and the wrath of one billionaire vigilante, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck). The world begins to question the existence of Superman and his unchecked powers; the government demands there be regulations regarding Superman’s unchecked heroics and the general public is has a mixed view on his actions. As Superman continues his crusade, his actions bring consequences that lead men like Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) to look for a solution to stop the man of steel, but Luthor’s plans are much more sinister than just doing the right thing for mankind.

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Luthor is not the only one looking for a solution to stop Superman. Bruce Wayne’s mixed emotions regarding Superman bring him to the realization that he must prepare himself for battle if that moment arises. The Batman must stand against the coming storm with everything at his disposal and he will let no one stand in his way of accomplishing his goal. Wayne, convinced that Luthor may have vital information that he needs, decides to infiltrate the tech genius’ files to find a suitable answer, but Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), a mysterious woman who is also looking for answers of her own, crosses path with Wayne and leads the billionaire to a much larger discovery. As the time line accelerates, Batman and Superman must come face to face, but will their battle lead to an understanding as a larger threat rears its ugly head?

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, on the surface, seems like a can’t lose film, but looks can be deceiving. Director Zack Snyder learns very little from his short comings with Man of Steel and continues to wrap chaotic action sequences around poorly written dialogue and tries to sell it to audiences as a complete film. The first half of the movie is a jumbled mess with too many side stories jam packed into an hour and a half. The premise is there and you can see that there is a really good story there somewhere, but Snyder proves that he is not the director to bring it out.The second half picks up and brings some amazing action sequences, but the damage is already done and you’re left trying to piece the film together on your own.

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Each of the stars battled fan boy anger over their casting and knocked their roles out of the park. Ben Affleck is fantastic as Batman and brings the darkest version of the character to the screen to date. Gal Gadot is breathtaking as Wonder Woman. She is elegant and powerful and a perfect casting for the Amazon princess. Henry Cavill‘s performance is a bit hollow, but I believe that has more to do with his character arc and less to do with the actor himself. Jesse Eisenberg was fantastic as the menacing Lex Luthor. His portrayal is very different from previous incarnations of the character and he creates a perfect version for this new dark cinematic universe. The one low point in the cast is Amy Adams as Lois Lane. Her sole purpose in the film was to show up and be rescued and denied this wonderful actress a chance to help move the story forward. This is a far cry from the character we were give in Man of Steel.

Overall, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a good film, but not a great film. There are elements of an epic movie underneath the chaos and that’s unfortunate because the actors were giving it their all. Should you see the film? Absolutely. Draw your own conclusions as we will all experience the film differently, but for this comic book lover, I was left wanting more.

Stars:

3 out of 5

After credit scene?

None

Trailer:

The Final ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ Trailer is Here!

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From director Zack Snyder (Man of Steel) comes Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, starring Oscar winner Ben Affleck (Argo) as Batman/Bruce Wayne and Henry Cavill (Man of Steel, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) as Superman/Clark Kent in the characters’ first big-screen pairing.

Fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs.  And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.

Directed by Zack Snyder, the film also stars Oscar nominees Amy Adams (American Hustle, Man of Steel) as Lois Lane, Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) as Lex Luthor, Diane Lane (Unfaithful, Man of Steel) as Martha Kent, and Laurence Fishburne (What’s Love Got to Do with It, Man of Steel) as Perry White; Oscar winners Jeremy Irons (Reversal of Fortune) as Alfred, and Holly Hunter (The Piano) as Senator Finch; and Gal Gadot (the “Fast and Furious” films) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince.

Snyder directed from a screenplay written by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer, based on characters from DC Comics, including Batman, created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger, and Superman, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.  The film is produced by Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder, with Wesley Coller, Geoff Johns and David S. Goyer serving as executive producers.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will arrive in theaters on March 25th

New Trailer for ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ Features a Familiar Foe

Batman-v-Superman-Dawn-of-Justice-LogoWarner Bros and DC Entertainment released the new trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice during Jimmy Kimmel Live! last night and we have it for you below!

From director Zack Snyder (Man of Steel) comes Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, starring Oscar winner Ben Affleck (Argo) as Batman/Bruce Wayne and

Henry Cavill (Man of Steel, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) as Superman/Clark Kent in the characters’ first big screen pairing.
Fearing the actions of a god-like Superhero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war
with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.
The film also stars Oscar nominees Amy Adams (American Hustle, Man of Steel) as Lois Lane, Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) as Lex Luthor, Diane Lane (Unfaithful, Man of Steel) as Martha Kent, and Laurence Fishburne
(What’s Love Got to Do with It, Man of Steel) as Perry White; Oscar winners
Jeremy Irons (Reversal of Fortune) as Alfred, and Holly Hunter (The Piano) as Senator Finch; and Gal Gadot (Fast Five) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince.
Snyder directed from a screenplay written by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer, based on
characters from DC Comics, including Batman, created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger, and
Superman, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. The film is produced by Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder, with Wesley Coller, Geoff Johns and David S. Goyer serving as executive producers.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens worldwide on March 25, 2016.

Battle of The Actors FINAL FIVE!

Untitled-1Last week, Julia Roberts, Amy Adams. Kevin Spacey and Helen Mirren made it to the final five along with Robert Downey Jr who beat Charlize Theron to move on. Only three more weeks of voting to go! This week we pit our staff against each other…Brad vs Jeremy and Liz vs Melissa! Robert Downey Jr will take on the winner in the finals

Brad vs Jeremy Bracket:

Brad's vs Jeremy- Julia Roberts vs Amy Adams

  • Julia Roberts (57%, 13 Votes)
  • Amy Adams (43%, 10 Votes)

Total Voters: 23

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Liz vs Melissa Bracket:

Liz vs Melissa Bracket: Kevin Spacey vs Helen Mirren

  • Kevin Spacey (64%, 16 Votes)
  • Helen Mirren (36%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 25

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Battle of The Actors Round 4 Match-Ups! Actors vs Actress Round

Untitled-1Last week, Julia Roberts, Amy Adams, Emily Blunt and Helen Mirren moved on as well as Charlize Theron in the bonus bracket. This week are the finals of each bracket! Actors vs Actress! Let’s get it on!

Brad’s Bracket:

Brad's Bracket- Julia Roberts vs Marlon Brando

  • Julia Roberts (62%, 16 Votes)
  • Marlon Brando (38%, 10 Votes)

Total Voters: 26

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Jeremy’s Bracket:

Jeremy's Bracket- Daniel Day Lewis vs Amy Adams

  • Amy Adams (52%, 13 Votes)
  • Daniel Day Lewis (48%, 12 Votes)

Total Voters: 25

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Liz’s Bracket:

Liz's Bracket: Kevin Spacey vs Emily Blunt

  • Kevin Spacey (65%, 17 Votes)
  • Emily Blunt (35%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 26

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Melissa’s Bracket:

Melissa's Bracket- Helen Mirren vs Michael Fassbender

  • Helen Mirren (77%, 20 Votes)
  • Michael Fassbender (23%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 26

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Michael’s Bracket:

Michael's Bracket- Charlize Theron vs Robert Downey Jr

  • Robert Downey Jr (59%, 16 Votes)
  • Charlize Theron (41%, 11 Votes)

Total Voters: 27

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Battle of The Actors Round 3 Match-Ups! Actress Round of Sweet 16!

Untitled-1Last Week, Marlon Brando, Daniel Day-Lewis, Kevin Spacey and Michael Fassbender moved on to the round of 8 along with Robert Downey Jr who beat Robin Williams to advance. This week is the women’s match of the Sweet 16! Let’s get it on!

Brad’s Bracket:

Brad's Bracket- Julia Roberts vs Melissa McCarthy

  • Julia Roberts (68%, 19 Votes)
  • Melissa McCarthy (32%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 28

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Jeremy’s Bracket:

Jeremy's Bracket- Cate Blanchett vs Amy Adams

  • Amy Adams (52%, 15 Votes)
  • Cate Blanchett (48%, 14 Votes)

Total Voters: 29

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Liz’s Bracket:

Liz's Bracket: Robin Wright vs Emily Blunt

  • Emily Blunt (76%, 22 Votes)
  • Robin Wright (24%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 29

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Melissa’s Bracket:

Melissa's Bracket- Helen Mirren vs Julianne Moore

  • Helen Mirren (59%, 17 Votes)
  • Julianne Moore (41%, 12 Votes)

Total Voters: 29

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Michael’s Bracket:

Michael's Bracket- Charlize Theron vs Judi Dench

  • Charlize Theron (61%, 19 Votes)
  • Judi Dench (39%, 12 Votes)

Total Voters: 31

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Next week is actors vs actress!!

Battle of The Actors Round 2 Match-Ups! Actors Round of 32! Girls Rule!

Untitled-1Last Week Christopher Lee, Daniel Day-Lewis, Johnny Depp, and Edward Norton advanced into the Sweet 16 with Robin Williams beating Denzel Washington to move on. This week is the last matchups of the round of 32…ladies! You’re up

Brad’s Bracket:

Brad's Bracket- Melissa McCarthy vs Amanda Plummer

  • Melissa McCarthy (54%, 13 Votes)
  • Amanda Plummer (46%, 11 Votes)

Total Voters: 24

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Jeremy’s Bracket:

Jeremy's Bracket- Jessica Chastain vs Amy Adams

  • Amy Adams (64%, 16 Votes)
  • Jessica Chastain (36%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 25

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Liz’s Bracket:

Liz's Bracket: Jessica Lange vs Emily Blunt

  • Emily Blunt (65%, 15 Votes)
  • Jessica Lange (35%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 23

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Melissa’s Bracket:

Melissa's Bracket- Glenn Close vs Julianne Moore

  • Julianne Moore (71%, 17 Votes)
  • Glenn Close (29%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 24

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Michael’s Bracket:

Michael's Bracket- Eva Green vs Judi Dench

  • Judi Dench (76%, 19 Votes)
  • Eva Green (24%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 25

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Battle of The Actors Round 1 Matchups Part 2!

Untitled-1Brando, Newman, Hiddleston and Fassbender moved on in the brackets and Denzel Washington beat Leonardo DiCarpio in the bonus bracket by a slim margin..this weeks matchups we switch gears and have our first actress showdowns!

Brad’s Bracket:

Brad's Bracket- Lindsay Lohan vs Amanda Plummer

  • Amanda Plummer (83%, 25 Votes)
  • Lindsay Lohan (17%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 30

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Jeremy’s Bracket:

Jeremy's Bracket- Amy Adams vs Tilda Swinton

  • Amy Adams (61%, 20 Votes)
  • Tilda Swinton (39%, 13 Votes)

Total Voters: 33

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Liz’s Bracket:

Liz's Bracket: Emily Blunt vs Olivia Wilde

  • Emily Blunt (75%, 24 Votes)
  • Olivia Wilde (25%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 32

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Melissas’ Bracket

Melissa's Bracket- Juliette Binoche vs Julianne Moore

  • Julianne Moore (81%, 26 Votes)
  • Juliette Binoche (19%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 32

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Michael’s Bracket

Michael's Bracket- Anne Hathaway vs Emma Thompson

  • Anne Hathaway (55%, 18 Votes)
  • Emma Thompson (45%, 15 Votes)

Total Voters: 33

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Jeremy Renner and Amy Adams to Star in Sci-Fi Film ‘Story of Your Life’

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The Hollywood Report is reporting that Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner are teaming up to star in a big screen adaptation of Ted Chiang’s Story of Your Life with Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners) set to direct. The two recently starred opposite of each other in David O. Russell’s American Hustle.

After aliens land around the globe, an expert linguist, to be played by Adams, is recruited by the military to determine whether they come in peace or are a threat. As she learns to communicate with the aliens, she begins experiencing vivid flashbacks that become the key to unlocking the greater mystery about the true purpose of their visit.

According to the report, Renner will play a physics professor paired by the government with the linguist, played by Adams, to help communicate with the aliens.

No release date has been announced

Keep it here for all your movie news!

‘Big Eyes’ Interview: Liz’s chat with screenwriters Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski

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I was lucky enough to attend the press junket for Tim Burton‘s new film, BIG EYES (review coming soon!). Afterwards, I had the opportunity to sit down with the incredibly talented and successful writing partners Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander. Read More →