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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

A movie directed by David Fincher

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Long, but it doesn't seem long

  • May 26, 2009
  • by
2 hours and 45 minutes, be prepared. It's a long movie, no doubt about that. Aside from a bit of wandering at about 30 minutes in, the film really moves along at a good pace and, in the end, doesn't seem almost 3 hours long. It's a very enjoyable movie.

The bad about this film, the DVD transfer. This is one of the poorest DVD transfers I've seen in a very long time. In fact I'd almost forgotten what compression artifacts looked like. Oh my, they are present in this film. There's about 5 scenes, moderately dark scenes where pixellation is so obvious, it's hard not to be distracted by them. They are at very strange places, not the common problem places (midnight skies full of stars, sunsets or sunrises, inky dark black scenes); no they are at these moderate light level areas. Somebody was just asleep at the wheel during the conversion process.
The other bad - this single disc edition. Darn it, there's just the movie, nothing else. So they've used the full almost 9Gb of resolution for the film (no director commentary, very few previews, and only spanish and french alternate soundtracks), and they've managed to muck up the transfer - shame on the dvd manufacturer.

The great - this movie. Oh yes I enjoyed it. Brad Pitt is wonderful. He actually manages a credible New Orleans accent that he keeps consistent through the film. Kate Blanchett, oh what an incredibly gorgeous actress. Those blue piercing eyes. Probably the role of a lifetime for her. Queen, oh she had some of the best lines in the film. I loved her so much. And the man that is struck by lightning 7 times - yes he finally does tell the 7th time - the clips are actually very funny.

The mediocre - this is a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Several years ago Salon dot com offered this and many other Fitzgerald short stories as a download. Bill Irwin, a wonderful voice talent reads this story on that edition. It seems that the script writers took some liberties with the story and tried to modernize it a bit. This is actually where I think the film falls apart a bit. The Katrina backdrop was a bit needless. The floating back and forth between Caroline, Daisy's daughter, reading the story and Benjamin, Brad Pitt, telling the story in his own words was a bit hokey. Blending the two voices together was not very good. Caroline, played by Julia Ormond, does not have a very good reading voice. Brad Pitt is infinitely better.

The other bits I didn't care for as much were the blending in of the Great Gatsby here and there, that sense of there's the haves and the have nots. The have nots will always look up to the haves. And poor Benjamin is an orphan, so he must be envious of the haves.

Overall this is a very touching love story between Benjamin and Daisy. I'm certain you've read or heard all about this film. It's all true and all wrong. It's a long movie that is a pleasure to watch. There are some good funny moments, and you'll be touched by the film.

Technically, the sound is outstanding. So many moments where the room felt like those things were really happening. The cinematography is very good. Kate Blanchett is in gorgeous light all the time, and her eyes stand out more than I've ever seen in an actress (short of Venessa Redgrave in Blow Up; or Jacquline Bisset in Day for Night). The pacing is generally good. It might have been better to edit down the first half hour or hour - tighten things up about 15 minutes.

Rated PG-13. There's one f-bomb for those counting. There's a few scenes with prostitutes (no nudity), and several references to going to brothels. There's a bit of violence on the tugboat where several men are killed. Overall, if this had been a foreign film with subtitles, the MPAA would have rated it R, hands down. But since it's Brad Pitt and an American production, it got a PG-13, just barely.

It's The Great Gatsby meets Forrest Gump without the speech problem; overlayed with a beautiful love story. This is a movie well worth watching and committing the time to watch.

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More The Curious Case of Benjamin B... reviews
review by . August 05, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Brad Pitt plays Benjamin Button, a man born old who ages backwards as the years pass, so that when he dies, he's an infant. Cate Blanchett is his love interest but there didn't seem to be much chemistry between the two. I also didn't like her character - she seemed too self-absorbed. I guess I thought this would be along the lines of Forest Gump, showing historical events that coincided with Button's life, and it does this only in a minor way. Pitt does a good job with the role and his narrative …
review by . June 20, 2009
For all his good looks and great physique, Brad Pitt has an uncanny ability to pick great movies that explore the human experience and human psyche. With movies such as Se7en, Jesse James, Babel, Seven Years in Tibet, and now this hit from late 2008, Mr. Pitt has established himself as one of the top actors over the past 2 decades with great performances in multiple genres. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is probably Pitt's best work, as he carried the film. Unlike previous movies, he shares …
review by . April 24, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Very loosely based upon a short story by the great American author F. Scott Fitzgerald, THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON is a beautiful movie that is both personal in focus, but epic in scope. Set mostly in New Orleans, the film follows the life of a baby boy whose mother dies during his birth on Armistice Day, the end of WWI, November 11, 1918. The baby is so deformed that his father considers killing the child by dropping him in the river, but is stopped by a policeman. Startled the father …
review by . April 07, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
In short... zzzzz... Oh, it wasn't a bad movie, but it was quite boring and way too long. The last fifteen minutes were almost enough to redeem it, but not quite.    You know the plot by now. Brad Pitt plays a man who ages backwards. Born as a wrinkly, ugly baby, his father abandons him, and he's raised by a black woman who works/lives in an old folks home.    We follow Benjamin through all the stages of his life in great, great detail. You see him working …
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Dan lebryk ()
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The technical dazzle ofThe Curious Case of Benjamin Buttonis a truly astonishing thing to behold: this story of a man who ages backwards requires Brad Pitt to begin life as a tiny elderly man, then blossom into middle age, and finally, wisely, become young. How director David Fincher--with makeup artists, special-effects wizards, and body doubles--achieves this is one of the main sources of fascination in the early reels of the movie. The premise is loosely borrowed from an F. Scott Fitzgerald story (and bears an even stronger resemblance to Andrew Sean Greer's novel The Confessions of Max Tivoli), with young/old Benjamin growing up in New Orleans, meeting the girl of his dreams (Cate Blanchett), and sharing a few blissful years with her until their different aging agendas send them in opposite directions. The love story takes over the second half of the picture, as Eric Roth's script begins to resemble his work on Forrest Gump. This is too bad, because Benjamin's early life is a wonderfully picaresque journey, especially a set of midnight liaisons with a Russian lady (Tilda Swinton) in an atmospheric hotel. Fincher observes all this with an entomologist's eye, cool and exacting, which keeps the material from getting all gooey. Still, the Hurricane Katrina framing story feels put-on, and the movie lets Benjamin slide offscreen during its later stages--curious indeed.--Robert Horton

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Genre: Drama
DVD Release Date: May 5, 2009
Runtime: 166 minutes
Studio: Paramount
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