The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
This years biggest Oscar contender with 13 nominations, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a leap of genre for David Fincher, the acclaimed filmmaker of Fight Club and Se7en.
First off, although it has been said many times already, the comparisons to Forrest Gump are hard to ignore, spanning decades of southern US history through the eyes of Benjamin Button, played by Brad Pitt. The character of Benjamin Button is sympathetic yet he offers very little, we never know enough about him and everything dramatic that happens in the film just breezes by him with little emotion shown – and maybe this was the point but it is the major flaw of the film. I was never able to fully invest in the film due to the characters lack of realism.
That said, the film is stunning to look at and definitely is enjoyable to watch and the lengthly running time breezes by. Something that must receive recognition are the stunning, seamless special effects as we see Brad Pitt miraculously aging backwards (surely a shoe in at Sundays Oscar ceremony).
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a gorgeous film that despite its flaws has lots to offer and is a worthy best picture nominee.
Vicky Christina Barcelona
Hailed by many critics as Woody Allen‘s best film in at least a decade, Vicky Christina Barcelona stars Javier Bardem as a Spanish Artist with Woody Allen regular Scarlett Johansson and relative newcomer Rebecca Hall fighting for his affections – not to mention the scene stealing performance by Penelope Cruz as his ex-wife.
The praise heaped on the film is definitely worthy. The dialogue is fantastic, with some of Woody Allens best coming in the scenes with Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardems violent bickering. The film exudes a sexual atmosphere throughout and there are many funny moments (although Allen has again chosen to stay behind the camera). Rebecca Hall is an exciting new actress with performances in The Prestige and more recently Frost/Nixon and shines again here. She is one to look out for. The best performance has to go to Penelope Cruz as the drug addict, suicidal (and homicidal) wife. Although just a supporting role, she is the highlight of the film and deserves the Best Supporting Actress Oscar.
Now that Woody Allen has finished his set of British Films with Match Point, Scoop and Cassandra’s Dream, he now plans on filming his next few films throughout Europe. His next film is an exciting prospect as it features none other than Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Larry David.
Allen is, despite some misses, still one of the most exciting and relevant American filmmakers working today and Vicky Christina Barcelona is definitely vintage.