The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008, Fantasy Romance Movie) – 5/10 review

Director: David Fincher
Writer (Screenplay): Eric Roth
Writer (Screen Story): Eric Roth
Writer (Screen Story): Robin Swicord
Writer (Original Short Story): F. Scott Fitzgerald
Producer: Kathleen Kennedy
Producer: Frank Marshall
Producer: Ceán Chaffin
Brad Pitt: Benjamin Button
Cate Blanchett: Daisy
Taraji P. Henson: Queenie
Julia Ormond: Caroline
Jason Flemyng: Thomas Button
Mahershalalhashbaz Ali: Tizzy
Jared Harris: Captain Mike
Elias Koteas: Monsieur Gateau
Phyllis Somerville: Grandma Fuller
Tilda Swinton: Elizabeth Abbott

Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The (2008)

Benjamin Button is a most unusual man: he was born old and is growing younger.

5/10

So here’s the thing: if Brad Pitt aged normally, the film wouldn’t be any different. As it is, this is a pompous film that is not as revealing as it thinks it is. It feels like a humourless and ridiculously long version of Forrest Gump. It also feels terribly unconvincing in details (for example, a clock that runs backward is made for a train station and everyone just goes ‘okay’) as well as in the romantic arc of the story and in using characters that have modern sensibilities in period settings. Director David Fincher paces things delicately and has made a technically clever production but is ultimately saved by his star, Brad Pitt. Pitt is the sole reason to the watch as he never puts a foot wrong. He never feels unconvincing, he never feels fake; but everything else does. This isn’t a good film but Brad Pitt is worth watching. If you’re curious.

This movie contains sexual swear words, adult dialogue and strong gun violence and sex scenes.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Advertisements

Superman Returns (2006, Third-Person Action Movie Game) – 5/10 review

Brandon Routh: Clark Kent / Superman
Kevin Spacey: Lex Luthor
Writer (Screenplay): Flint Dille
Writer (Story): Marv Wolfman
Composer: Colin O’Malley

Superman Returns (2006)

Returning to Metropolis after a five year journey to Krypton and back (confirming that it, indeed, had been destroyed), Superman settles back into his day job of protecting the people of Earth from nefarious super-villains and super-henchmen. Well, one city on Earth anyway.

5/10

There is a remarkably nice feeling about flying above the city with the wind adding its own chorus to Colin O’Malley’s rather lovely music. The feeling of flying is really well nailed. Sadly, it’s the only gameplay element that is good. The remainder of the game is spent attacking and it’s mushy and imprecise and Supes regularly doesn’t do as he’s told. You don’t feel like Superman in the action segments. You don’t fell invulnerable or super-strong. Five for the flying, nothing for everything else.

Classified 12+ by PEGI. The game is only suitable for persons who have reached the age of 12 or over.
Classified Violence by PEGI. Game contains depictions of violence.

House M.D. 6.03 The Tyrant (2009, Medical Black Comedy Drama TV) – 5/10 review

Hugh Laurie: Dr. Gregory House
Lisa Edelstein: Dr. Lisa Cuddy
Omar Epps: Dr. Eric Foreman
Robert Sean Leonard: Dr. James Wilson
Jennifer Morrison: Dr. Allison Cameron
Jesse Spencer: Dr. Robert Chase
Creator: David Shore
Olivia Wilde: Thirteen
James Earl Jones: President Dibala
David Marciano: Murphy
Garikayi Mutambirwa: Ruwe
Roger Aaron Brown: Joseph Ntila
Producer: Marcy G. Kaplan
Producer: Sara Hess
Co-Executive Producer: Peter Blake
Writer: Peter Blake
Director: David Straiton

House M.D. 6.03 Tyrant, The (2009)

An African dictator is admitted after violently coughing up blood but his harsh regime back home is testing the team’s duty to treat him impartially. Meanwhile, House has managed to irritate Wilson’s over-grumpy naighbour and his attempts to put things right do not go well. Nothing a bit of duct tape and drugs won’t sort out, naturally.

5/10

This episode opens with a nice surprise: I thought James Earl Jones was dead. He plays an "evil" dictator and sets up a moral dilemma for, particularly, Chase and Cameron as they are used by the writers to deliver two sides of the argument: to keep the doctors oath or not. The outcome is surprising and the episode thought-provoking but Jennifer Morrison and Jesse Spencer are such wishy-washy on-screen presences that they undermine their characters’ viewpoints and are simply blown away by James Earl Jones’ hurricane-force delivery. The writers have never liked Omar Epps and he keeps getting the short end of several sticks. House gets a better balance as he fights against his old misanthropic instincts and, as always, Hugh Laurie is perfect. Do they only write good lines for him or does he make ordinary lines awesome?

This House M.D. episode contains descriptions of violence and strong gory scenes.

Links

FlashForward 1.03 137 Sekunden (2009, Mystery Serial Drama) – 5/10 review

Joseph Fiennes: Mark Benford
John Cho: Demetri Noh
Brían F. O’Byrne: Aaron Stark
Courtney B. Vance: Stan Wedeck
Sonya Walger: Olivia Benford
Christine Woods: Janis Hawk
Creator For Television: David S. Goyer
Creator For Television: Brannon Braga
Shohreh Aghdashloo:
Kim Dickens:
Thomas Kretschmann:
Lee Thompson Young: Agent Gough
Barry Shabaka Henley: Agent Vreede
Curt Lowens:
Gina Torres:
Jeff Richards:
Gabrielle Union:
Executive Producer: David S. Goyer
Executive Producer: Marc Guggenheim
Producer: Mark H. Ovitz
Writer (Screenplay): David S. Goyer
Writer (Screenplay): Marc Guggenheim
Director: Michael Rymer

FlashForward 1.03 137 Sekunden (2009)

Benford gets contacted by an ex-Nazi held in a German prison who claims knowledge of both the FBI agents name, why the blackout lasted 137 seconds and something else that will prove critical to Benford’s investigation but, in return, wants a full pardon and repatriation to the United States of America.

5/10

There’s a reasonably cunning battle of wits going on here but since Joseph Fiennes’ Mark Benford is such a bland pig-headed dunce, that’s rather over-stating his role in the aforementioned battle. Again, there are interesting elements regarding whether the flash-forwards are truth or not and the effect they are having on people in the present and the final five seconds are expertly bolted on to make you want to watch again but a lack of characters I want to watch and a lack of story development (we are no further forward than immediately after the flash-forward two weeks ago) means that I will not be tuning in again next week.

Links

FlashForward 1.02 White to Play (2009, Mystery Serial Drama) – 5/10 review

Joseph Fiennes: Mark Benford
John Cho: Demetri Noh
Jack Davenport: Lloyd Simcoe
Zachary Knighton: Bryce Varley
Brían F. O’Byrne: Aaron Stark
Courtney B. Vance: Stan Wedeck
Sonya Walger: Olivia Benford
Christine Woods: Janis Hawk
Creator For Television: David S. Goyer
Creator For Television: Brannon Braga
Shohreh Aghdashloo:
Lee Thompson Young: Agent Gough
Lynn Whitfield:
Marina Black:
Michael Massee:
Alan Ruck:
Executive Producer: David S. Goyer
Executive Producer: Brannon Braga
Executive Producer: Marc Guggenheim
Producer: Mark H. Ovitz
Writer (Screenplay): David S. Goyer
Writer (Screenplay): Marc Guggenheim
Writer (Story): Brannon Braga
Writer (Story): David S. Goyer
Director: David S. Goyer
Writer: Robert J. Sawyer

FlashForward 1.02 White to Play (2009)

Using Benford’s flash-forward as their impetus, the FBI investigation starts in earnest but with thousands of D. Gibbons which one is the one referenced on the Mosaic board? Perhaps the one that just walked in the door with some cupcakes.

5/10

I’ll give this one more week as, just like Lost, the makers are proving expert at the final five second hook that makes you want to see the next episode. However, the body of the show is merely competent with no peaks and troughs and the D. Gibbons story element is a naughty impossibility. The episode isn’t about anything or, rather, what it is about is not made clear. I can’t even remember the lead character’s name which is a dreadful sign after two episodes. There’s also a distractingly shocking moment of photography later when a light in the bedroom has an actor pass underneath it. That said, Courtney B. Vance does get the only fun or interesting scene when he reveals what happened during his flash-forward (SPOILER He was on the toilet when the flash-forward occurred and was on the toilet in his flash-forward and, when he returned to consciousness, had to mouth-to-mouth resuscitate a dude who was drowning in an urinal).

This FlashForward episode contains adult dialogue and violence.

Links

FlashForward 1.01 No More Good Days (2009, Mystery Serial Drama) – 5/10 review

Joseph Fiennes: Mark Benford
John Cho: Demetri Noh
Jack Davenport: Lloyd Simcoe
Zachary Knighton: Bryce Varley
Peyton List: Nicole Kirby
Brían O’Byrne: Aaron Stark
Courtney B. Vance: Stan Wedeck
Sonya Walger: Olivia Benford
Christine Woods: Janis Hawk
Creator For Television: David S. Goyer
Creator For Television: Brannon Braga
Alex Kingston: Fiona Banks
Barry Shabaka Henley: Agent Vreede
Lee Thompson Young: Agent Gough
Rachel Roberts: Alda Hertzog
Genevieve Cortese: Tracy Stark
Executive Producer: David S. Goyer
Executive Producer: Brannon Braga
Writer (Screenplay): David S. Goyer
Writer (Screenplay): Brannon Braga
Writer (Screen Story): David S. Goyer
Writer (Screen Story): Brannon Braga
Director: David S. Goyer
Writer (Original Novel): Robert J. Sawyer

FlashForward 1.01 No More Good Days (2009)

For two minutes and seventeen seconds, everybody on Earth blacks out and experiences "a memory of a future event." FBI Agent Mark Benford reveals he was investigating the phenomenal event in the future and is so tasked with investigating it in the present. Everyone has their own flash-forward but, remarkably, they all seem to be of the same time in the future: April 29, 2010 at 10pm PDT.

5/10

This pilot episode only just does enough to pique your interest and a desire to watch episode two is more about the promise of the premise than the quality of the show. The knowledge that it’s based on a novel makes one hope that the series will be have a distinct resolution and be self-contained and not the drag-it-out-a-thon that Lost turned into. The acting is fine, the writing and direction are okay but using off-the-shelf characters such as an unconvincing family (endlessly saying ‘I hate you,’ even if you don’t mean it, does not contribute to a successful relationship) and creepy all-knowing kids ("there are no more good days" and "I know, Olivia") just wearies the heart (children are not insightful or wise).

This FlashForward episode contains unpleasant scenes and a sex scene.

Stealth Fighter (1999, Cheap Action Movie) – 5/10 review

Director: Jim Wynorski
Ice-T: Owen Turner
Costas Mandylor: Ryan Mitchell
Ernie Hudson: President Westwood
Andrew Divoff: Roberto Menedez
Erika Eleniak: Erin Mitchell
William Sadler: Peterson
Executive Producer: Ice-T
Producer: Jim Wynorski
Writer (Additional Material And Dialogue): Roger Wade

Stealth Fighter (1999)

An ace pilot fakes his own death and re-emerges several years later working for a disgruntled someone-or-other who is attempting to extort the release of political prisoners from the United States.

5/10

What we have here is a vaguely competent direct-to-video movie (by erotic movie director Jim Wynorski as Jay Andrews) and a better-than-average spot-the-borrowed-movie-footage-and-sets game. The movie ends up being surprising fun with gleefully awful dialogue, a President with a Depressing Rectangle Office, a hilarious stealth fighter / F-16 duel and Ice-T looking more like a bad-tempered plumber than an ace fighter pilot. I enjoyed it, but I was probably in the right mood.

This movie contains sexual swear words, adult dialogue and violence, some strong but no gore.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.