Tag Archives: david fincher

Sam’s Most Anticipated Films of 2010

Not ranked, but just sixteen movies I picked out for my enthusiasm to be aimed at this year. Just a note the following have been excluded for a variety of reasons: Kick Ass/Shutter Island (both coming out pretty soon), The Tree of Life (was on last year’s list and may still not come out this year), Inception/Toy Story 3 (too big to need my advocacy) and Scott Pilgrim vs The World (purely because Tommy was always going to choose it). Also, remember to check out Chris’ list here.

So, here are the sixteen I’ve chosen, in alphabetical order, after the jump:

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Sam’s Top 42 Films of the Decade

Just for the sake of my own sanity and desperate need to have these written somewhere, I give you my favourite forty-two films of the past decade. There are at least fifty-six other films I would like to put onto a list, but I think I need to forcefully prevent any more decade-based listmaking as quickly as possible. So beneath is the top ten list, along with a sentence or two on each film and then thirty-two, out-of-list-order, films which I had to include.

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Enormo Round-Up

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So I’ve been extremely busy with film-watching and outings all this week, so I have had no time to put together nice posts and news for you all to enjoy. Today though, sitting in bed and vegging like a pro, I will provide a round-up of all the interesting happenings from the past week in film.

It’s been confirmed that Jonathan Nolan will not be credited for writing Terminator Salvation. In laterally-related news, Christian Bale said he will commit to the next Batman movie, with or without the presence of Christopher Nolan.

Universal has confirmed plans to remake Drop Dead Fred, the cult classic early-90s movie starring Rik Mayall, with Russell Brand to take over the lead role. This will go alongside the previously announced remake of Dudley Moore-vehicle Arthur for our cheeky chappy.

An interview with Lauren Shuler Donner has seen her say that spin-off vehicles for both Gambit and Deadpool will come, if she has her way. Given the utterly awful Wolverine, that would be something of a result to have a movie which will provide us with easily the two most interesting characters from the film.

Todd McFarlane has entered talks over bringing Spawn back to the screen. It was made before to a very poor reception in 1997. During the interview, with IESB, he also talked a little about the David Fincher-helmed Torso, the adaptation of the Brian Michael Bendis graphic novel. That was dropped by Paramount but McFarlane believes another house will pick it up given the presence of Matt Damon in the lead and Rachel McAdams alongside him.

Some photos have emerged of Megan Fox in Jonah Hex, the adaptation of the John Albano-penned DC series. As you would imagine from a movie about a gonzo version of the Wild West, Fox has eschewed the demure look in favour of chicken house chic. Fox did experience a mild disappointment this week, beat to the FHM 100 Sexiest Women poll’s top spot by Girls Aloud’s Cheryl Cole.

Rainn Wilson, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Natalie Portman have joined the cast of Hesher, an indie dramedy to be directed by Spencer Susser. /Film has a host of extra information on this, including a really bewitching zombie short directed by Susser.

Here’s an odd one. The next movie coming from Zhang Yimou, the helmer of the astounding Hero and House of Flying Daggers, is reportedly a remake of the Coens’ Blood Simple.

McG and Michael Bay could well end up slapping ’em out on the table and bringing out the rulers, should the challenge put forth by the former to the latter become reality. Yes, McG has challenged Bay to a dick-measuring contest.

So apparently Oliver Stone, Michael Douglas and Shia LeBoeuf have signed up to take on a sequel to Wall Street, Stone’s visceral attack on the lack of ethics involved in big money trading. It seems a little late at this point but, praise be, no Charlie Sheen.

On the business side, the merger between agency giant William Morris and Endeavour has been approved. Relativity and Lionsgate have brokered a distribution agreement which will cover around five movies per year. Time Warner has announced a 14 per cent fall in profits in the first quarter, primarily owing to problems with AOL, which it is looking to spin-off imminently, and in Time Inc, the magazine side of the conglomerate.

Cinematical has a review of Departures, the Japanese foreign film Oscar winner from this year.

Francis Ford Coppola’s Tetro will open the Director’s Fortnight at Cannes.

Benicio del Toro is reportedly in talks to play Brett Easton Ellis in an adaptation of his Lunar Park.

Here’s a first look at Robert Downey Jr in Iron Man 2.

The Forgotten, the indie comic series by Evan Young and Jareth Grealish, has been optioned for a movie adaptation.

Bruce Willis is reportedly being courted to star in Red, an adaptation of the Warren Ellis-penned series.

The BBC has commissioned more The Thick of It from Armando Ianucci, coming on the back of the success of In the Loop.

Warner Bros has acquired the rights to Death Note, the manga series written by Tsugumi Ohba.

Mike Newell is in talks to direct a new version of The Lone Ranger.

Fox Searchlight has picked up Whip It, the directorial debut of Drew Barrymore starring Ellen Page.

Iran’s About Elly has won the jury prize at Tribeca.

Trailers: Transformers 2: Revenge of the FallenDistrict 9Mother

Fincher’s Goon Emerges

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David Fincher, hot off his disappointing if admirable Benjamin Button, is coming close to unleashing his vision of Eric Powell’s fantastic The Goon comic series on the world. The project also marks Fincher’s first foray into feature animation. AICN has a host of first pictures from the pic, one of which is above, and I’m pretty hyped to see how Fincher will enter the animation world.

Alternatives to the EW Twenty-Five Directors

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Entertainment Weekly recently posted a list of the top twenty-five active film directors. These lists will forever cause disagreement and controversy but some of the inclusions, and subsequent exclusions, on this list are pretty unforgivable. Even if you don’t find it too irratating, as a film fan and blogger I feel it only necessary to present some arguments both against the inclusion of some and against the exclusion of others while I would also like to take some time to argue for the inclusion of a few that I think may brook argument elsewhere.

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Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Starring: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Tajari P Henson, Tilda Swinton, Jason Flemying, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali, Julia Ormond, Elias Koteas
Director: David Fincher
Writer: Eric Roth

Much talk amongst movie reviewers from the blogosphere in the run up to the 2009 Oscars has centred on the praise and focus being given to Slumdog Millionaire. So little has questioned the startling thirteen nominations given to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, a film which has managed to plough through the past few months without ever worrying over getting itself into the key categories in all ceremonies. That’s not to suggest this isn’t a good film, but there seems to be little in the way of questions being asked as to how a film almost universally considered something of a disappointment has managed to so sturdily entrench itself among the best films of the year.

It is certainly ambitious, basing its near-three hour narrative on a short story by F Scott Fitzgerald concerning a gentleman who is aging backwards, and visually stunning. That much seemed true before its release given the trailers and the presence of David Fincher, maybe the most visually proficient auteur working in Hollywood. His presence here both reassures and causes anxiety given the subject matter, something tailor-made for grand American filmmaking in a tradition stretching well into old-Hollywood. He is a brilliant director, capable of understanding the need to project bigger ideas whilst also maintaining a perfect attention to detail, reaching his synergetic apex with Zodiac two years ago. This film seems half perfect for him. The visual aspects and the attention to both period detail and the need for the actors to dive into their portrayals work well for him, but he never seemed right for capturing the deep emotional bonds between the two lead characters and, indeed, this is where the film fails.

This can’t all be laid at the door of Fincher. He does create a spell-binding world for the film to exist in and carries forward the narrative at a reasonable pace, managing to avoid you feeling the length too much. The problem primarily comes from Brad Pitt. He is fine as usual but he works better in films where he has to have a short-attention span and puppy-dog demeanour, even if it’s a particularly deviant puppy dog. Here, he has to carry emotional weight which he is unable to do. It seems somewhat as through he has failed to heed the advice exhibited by George Clooney who understands both his limitations and strengths. Pitt seems to think he has the ability to pull of a role like this when in fact he occupies a similar space to Clooney, only eternally younger. It makes him a very difficult and awkward forty-year-old. Cate Blanchett is better, managing to be quite elegant and strong in her scenes but never exhibits what the charm is that Button so falls for. Easily the best member of the cast is Taraji P Henson as Button’s surrogate/adopted mother figure. She exudes love and motherly compassion for her children, lending her scenes a weight which the writing doesn’t really deserve.

The script from Roth is so close to Forrest Gump – even included a line about his mother, Henson, saying to him that ‘you never know what you’re gonna get’ – that you feel certain sense of déjà vu in places but, in fairness to Gump, that film is visually less exciting but far more emotionally impactful. The big beats in Roth’s script just don’t earn the kind of emotion they seek from the audience and therefore there is little to take from this outside of admiring the brilliance of the technical filmmaking.

That’s not to say this isn’t worthwhile. Fincher’s direction is confident throughout, even if he failed to understand the strengths of his regular collaborator Pitt. A more powerful actor in the lead role would likely have pulled Blanchett’s performance up to scruff too and made a truly emotional, very-near masterpiece. Unfortunately, Roth’s screenplay and Pitt’s performance just don’t have what’s needed to prevent the moments of schmaltz from ruining what should have been something special.

MOD Rating: ♦♦♦1/2

BAFTA Predictions

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So, here in print, are our predictions for this year’s BAFTAs. Please check out the podcast in which we discuss what you will find here. Also, here is the full list of nominations for your perusal.

Best Picture – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader, Slumdog Millionaire
Sam: Slumdog Millionaire
Beth: Slumdog Millionaire
Tom: Slumdog Millionaire

Best British Film – Hunger, In Bruges, Mamma Mia, Man on Wire, Slumdog Millionaire
Sam: Man on Wire
Beth: Slumdog Millionaire
Tom: Slumdog Millionaire

Best Director – Clint Eastwood (Changeling), David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Ron Howard (Frost/Nixon), Stephen Daldry (The Reader), Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire)
Sam: Danny Boyle
Beth: Danny Boyle
Tom: Danny Boyle

Best Actor – Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon), Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire), Sean Penn (Milk), Brad Pitt (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)
Sam: Mickey Rourke
Beth: Dev Patel
Tom: Mickey Rourke

Best Actress – Angelina Jolie (Changeling), Kristin Scott Thomas (I’ve Loved You So Long), Meryl Streep (Doubt), Kate Winslet (The Reader), Kate Winslet (Revolutionary Road)
Sam: Kate Winslet (The Reader)
Beth: Kate Winslet (The Reader)
Tom: Kate Winslet (The Reader)

Best Supporting Actor – Robert Downey Jr (Tropic Thunder), Brendan Gleason (In Bruges), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt), Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight), Brad Pitt (Burn After Reading)
Sam: Heath Ledger
Beth: Heath Ledger
Tom: Heath Ledger

Best Supporting Actress – Amy Adams (Doubt), Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), Tilda Swinton (Burn After Reading), Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler)
Sam: Penelope Cruz
Beth: Marisa Tomei
Tom: Amy Adams

Best Original Screenplay – Burn After Reading, Changeling, I’ve Loved You So Long, In Bruges, Milk
Sam: In Bruges
Beth: Milk
Tom: In Bruges

Best Adapted Screenplay – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, The Reader, Revolutionary Road, Slumdog Millionaire
Sam: Slumdog Millionaire
Beth: Slumdog Millionaire
Tom: The Reader

Best Foreign Language – Baader Meinhof Complex, Gomorrah, I’ve Loved You So Long, Persepolis, Waltz with Bashir
Sam: Waltz with Bashir
Beth: Persepolis
Tom: Waltz with Bashir

Best Animated – Wall-E, Waltz with Bashir, Persepolis
Sam: Wall-E
Beth: Wall-E
Tom: Wall-E

Orange Rising Star – Michael Cera, Michael Fassbender, Noel Clarke, Rebecca Hall, Toby Kebbell
Sam: Michael Fassbender
Beth: Toby Kebbell
Tom: Michael Fassbender