Sunday, January 04, 2009

Quick Movie Thoughts

- Saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button on New Year's Day, and I really liked it. A few critics have been sniping about the fact that the film takes a short story and turns it into a movie that is nearly three hours long, but I have to wonder - why is that any worse than taking a 600-page novel and turning it into a movie that is two hours long? The premise - Benjamin ages in reverse - is a good one, and the movie strikes a wonderful tone early on that it manages to maintain throughout its entirety. Never once did the film drag, or did I feel compelled to look and my watch and see how much of its 166 minutes were remaining. Brad Pitt was very good, as was Cate Blanchett. I thought the best performance belonged to Tilda Swinton, playing a much more sympathetic character here than she did in Burn After Reading. And sure, it's sentimental, but I don't have a problem with that if it's done well.

- Also saw Cloverfield, which is about as far on the movie-making spectrum as Benjamin Button as one can possibly imagine. The movie had many fans and many detractors, and you can count me in the former category. The hand-held camera work didn't bother me, and the first scenes after the disaster begins were incredible in their depiction of absolute fear and panic. It actually gets less scary when you begin to glimpse the monster, although you could make a movie about the babies themselves. Not a perfect movie by any stretch of the imagination, but if you like being scared in an intelligent manner, this is the one for you.

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