Hatchet: a boatful of tourists go on a haunted swamp tour and end up coming face to face with a local superstition… the murderous Victor Crowley. There’s some strong horror ancestry in here; Kane Hodder (Jason/Leatherface) is the main baddie, with Tony Todd (Candyman/Final Destination) and Robert Englund (among others) popping up in cameo roles. Even though this is the kind of sloppy horror premise you’ve seen a thousand times before Hatchet is different in that it’s very well made: it’s brilliantly lit, boasts supreme gore FX & inventive deaths, and has a cast full of good performances. It takes everything that people love and expect from a slasher film and turns it up to eleven: e.g. you don’t just get to see one pair of boobs, but are treated to entire line-ups of Mardi Gras waps. It’s also got a cool comedy/horror vibe in that if it wasn’t for the brutal ultra-graphic moments of cartoonishly over-the-top deaths, the film would probably be a 12A, as it’s overall quite playful and funny; the wannabe actresses in particular provide more than their fair share of the LOLz. There’s also a beautiful ‘classic’ orchestrated soundtrack that wouldn’t be out-of-place in something like Indiana Jones. Everything comes together nicely to create a movie that’s surprisingly hard to describe or define, but is undeniably fun… it’s not quite a parody, and it’s definitely not a kids film, but it’s a rip-and-roaring “Old School American Horror” – and for once, a slasher that lives up to its tagline.
B-Movie Score: 9/10
Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead: picking up immediately from the end of Dead Snow, Nazi Zombie Herzog and his army turn to their original objective; wiping out the tiny village of Talvik. This film doesn’t skip a beat and – if anything – feels even better than the original in almost every way; it’s better shot, better put together, better written, bigger budget, and somehow manages to remain original and even funnier – tanking passed the six laugh test, and giving me a sore face and ear-to-ear grin by the end credits sequence. The ‘Idle Hands’ arm-swap angle makes for some great fun, a whole new side story, and some top-drawer comedy performances. It was also exciting to see the addition of Martin Starr as the Zombie Squad leader, a great piece of character casting. In fact, the only thing that I didn’t like about this was the portrayal of a gay character that could have come from a 1960s stage play – however, that aside, there’s little else to complain about. Dead Snow 2 is an absolute delight to watch; a funny and schlocky horror comedy that does both aspects well, and athe movie that now holds my title of ‘Best Zombie Comedy’ (It’s better than Sean of the Dead.)
B-Movie Score: 9.5/10
When a tank missile hits a baby in a pram… obviously.
Pitch Perfect: a cooler-than-thou freshman joins an all-female acapella singing group, and injects some much-needed modernity into their stale routines. For being a comedy the only real providers of laughs are Fat Amy and the inappropriate commentators; which means you only really want to spend time with them, and leaves you wishing that every character was written with more humour. All teenage/early 20s stereotypes are there: quiet one, sex’d up one, uptight one, lesbian one – even the indie geek DJ gal who makes her own mashups. The story arc is probably the weakest part of the film: will they make the finals? Will she get the boy? Will they all be tested in the middle? Duh, duh and duuuuhhh! The musical stuff entertaining enough, but feels a tad too glee-esque to the untrained ear. For a comedy, Pitch Perfect is alright, but there’s not enough aca-laughter to elevate this from good to great; although as a 27 year old dude, the film’s probably not aiming for me – although it did truly cement my aca-boner for Anna Kendrick.
Score: 6/10 (Aca-OK)
The Fly: when a teleporter accidentally fuses his DNA with that of a housefly, brilliant scientist Seth Brundle slowly begins a dramatic transformation into a man-fly! It’s a great testament to Cronenberg that he can have such an obvious directorial stamp on a film, yet keep it feeling like an old-fashioned monster movie; as the plot could have easily been an old Corman B-movie. The SFX department are on fire, with some of the greatest physical, in-camera effects that no amount of CGI could begin to replicate – the fingernails, puss, blood, guts, limbs, and transformations are all so visceral that it makes you feel sick in the pits of your stomach. There’s some other neat technical tricks such as the ‘how did they do that’ camera trickery for wall-crawling antics. Last, but not least, the small cast are all great, particularly Goldblum, who delivers a riotous performance as an increasingly peculiar and demented Brundlefly – but remains believable throughout. Top top it off, the telepods are a great feature for both extremes (fusion/blood/guts) and dramatics (noise, smoke, strobe), and there’s some classic ’80s programming’ going on. A bit of patience is required as the film takes its time to build toward a conclusion that – even after knowing the story – exceeds anything you could imagine. The Fly is one of those films where everything’s just right, and is easily still on of the best horror sci-fi movies around.
Seth Brundle’s nerdy clothes reminded me of someone… MR BEAN!!! (at least when it wasn’t one of the 200 shirtless scenes)
Sunshine Cleaning: to ensure her son can get a good schooling, a struggling mum enters the lucrative, but stomach-turning, crime-scene cleanup business. The best part of this is that it’s fairly funny and upbeat considering the grim subject matter; the characters aid this most, other than the most annoying kid in history – If that was my spawn I’d have beaten him into shape by that age. Emily blunt looks great as an angsty goth, nails the accent and steals the show for me. Amy Adams was solid too – but was clearly during her ‘must have a scene in my underwear’ phase. Chloe form 24 once again plays her bread and butter TOTAL WEIRDO role – needs to diversify! The direction and story are both simple and effective, although it goes a little off-chorus in the final third, but enough groundwork was put in at the start to give this a nice indie sleeper-hit feel to it. Sunshine Cleaning cleverly walks the line between funny and serious, and successfully avoids become farcical or gloomy.
Breaking Bad (Season 2): picks up immediately where Season 1 finished, as the two rookie criminals slowly harden and come to terms with murky business that they are now a part of. With almost double the episodes, and the character groundwork laid in S1, there’s much more scope for the story strands to finally go somewhere. You get the feeling that the show is finally changing up the gears in the drama department. The biggest change is that we now see a lot the effects that the duo’s meth is having, in particular the social slant is much rougher than S1, with a proper – no-holds barred – look at the users, their families, and the more ruthless cartels. Both leads remain fantastic while their limits and attitudes constantly evolve, and it’s weird that no matter how horrific or low the things they do are, you’re still behind them all the way. Saul; a fascinating, funny, crooked lawyer, is a solid addition, and good comic relief in parts. Stylistically, it’s still very much unique, retaining it’s punky visual edge and stylistic colouring – which can, and does, liven up the slower sections of storytelling. So the stakes are higher, the operation’s bigger, the rivals are tougher, police more involved, personal lives more strained – what’s not to like about Season 2!? One of the few shows on the telly that manages to strike a great balance between entertainment, drama and comedy.
Piranha 3DD: a year after the Lake Victoria spring break disaster the vicious prehistoric piranha threaten a newly opened water park. It feels more like a glamour model show reel as every five minutes – like clockwork – there’s an exposed, tight, perky body. Almost every girl is also a D+ cup, however the slow-mo running – read as bouncing boobs – couldn’t be more sleazy & leery, or less sexy – same goes for the waves of gratuitous, unnecessary nudity, used as a weak attempt to make you forget how bad the film is. The actual ‘actors’ here are all small-timers (see graph below for acting analysis), and the ‘famous people’ / quick-buck-cameos are beyond cringe-worthy – Hoff’s agent did him a solid: singing, quips, but too much time on-screen. There’s about 10,000 lame puns/innuendo based around the word ‘wetness’. The SFX is worse than before, and the bloodbath finale has absolutely no payoff – it’s just a series of vaguely connected CGI moments. Most annoyingly, for a 70 minute movie there’s around ten minutes of filler/establishing/scenery shots. Whereas Piranha 3D was kitsch and camp enough to counteract some of the shortcomings, this one is just terrible. Really, really terrible. I pity everyone involved because the only semi-smart and semi-funny part of Piranha 3DD is the title.
Naked Killer (赤裸羔羊): a cop that vomits every time he picks up a gun has to catch a killer that targets men, and stabs / chops off their meat & two veg… Really .The film does nothing to hide its terrible editing, camerawork and flaky acting – feels like a Troma/no-budget movie. The ‘plot’ is impossibly ridiculous and the script / translations are just mental – “why are you pointing your pink pistol at me” & “I’ll squeeze your tits ’til they burst” being just a couple of choice lines. There’s unprecedented levels of flirty lesbian conversations and boob rubbing – definitely a film made exclusively for teenage boys. On the upside: the girls are pretty, and hidden amongst everything else, there are some good fight-scenes (although poorly put together)- that’s… about… it. Naked Killer boils to being a standard assassin/thriller story with as much camp, random, slapstick, bawdy, ridiculous, male-fantasy moments the runtime would allow to throw at it – all very Asian and very 90s. Perhaps it’s the UK version, but the film feels so random and disjointed that it has to be heavily cut – either that or it IS just awful. Despite having properly set expectations for a Category III film called “Naked Killer” this was plain disappointing, although, If you have a ‘thing’ for lesbian Asian assassins, then this is definitely one for you.
War of the Arrows (AKA: Arrow, the Ultimate Weapon): [No points for guessing which of the titles is American]. In the second Manchurian invasion of Korea a talented archer has to evade capture, and save his sister from the aggressors. At a glance this looks like just another historical Asian film, but don’t be fooled. It’s far more engaging than the run-of-the-mill, politically skewed, national pride / anniversary movies we’ve seen lately; the central character is developed beyond simply ‘the hero’; it’s also both character and action driven, and is centered around a simple story. Most importantly, it’s unbelievably well-directed: looks great and very stylish, with intense & bloody fights (it has some of the coolest action scenes in a loooong time), and great use of multiplying many small locations together and making this feel like a huge story. All of this makes the story more immersive, which is most evident during a fist-pumping underdog uprising and final act. Having become turned off by the though of watching another historical Asian flick, War of the Arrows is a great film that re-instated my interest in the genre – it hits the target, bullseye! South Korea does it again.
21 Jump street: two useless police officers are assigned to a revived ‘undercover‘ branch of the department. The film’s lucky in that it has two genres to mashup and play with – buddy cop and high school – which it does effectively, although the school element is far, far funnier. The first hour is fantastic, catches you off guard, full of well-observed school humour, and ‘random’ comedy (Korean Jesus, trippy drug scenes etc) – I almost choked at one point. It does however deflate and lose its magic in the second half as it frantically ticks all of the boxes you’d see in a bog-standard cop-buddy story arc. Jonah Hill is funny, but well within his comfort zone; Channing “is there anything he can’t do” Tatum is comedy gold – he hinted at this by being the only good thing about last year’s Dilemma, but this is a whole other level – show stealingly good. For additional smartness there’s a nice run of meta jokes about recycling ideas & humour, and loads of movie tropes – these can be found in the car chase and party scenes. With an emphasis on off-the-wall humour, and a genuinely funny script paired with some great improvisation, 21 Jump Street is a solid contender for comedy of the year.
Jennifer’s Body [Blu Ray]: when a slew of horrific murders hit a sleepy town, Needy starts to think her best friend is a blood-thirsty vampyre. On the surface this appears to exists as a Megan Fox bootay appreciation vehicle, which is fine by me, especially because she plays a sexy femme fatale – with some brilliantly lewd lines. Fortunately, there’s more here than just foxy Fox. The film is laced with a good dose of black humour and absurdity; just enough to confirm that it’s not taking itself too seriously – 8675309 / Goths at a Funeral / Emo band story arc etc. It’s also ‘teen horror’ to the core: with an emphasis on ‘hip’ music, high school setting, sexually charged ‘teens’, pop cultural references, slang vocabulary… right down to the Prom Night finale. The direction’s strong, and BD picture and audio quality are both very good – also the directors cut is apparently far superior to the theatrical version. I was more than surprised as I watched this with a constant smile, and some proper belly laughs; it’s one of the best in its genre since the likes of the Faculty and Idle Hands. After its initially poor cinematic reception Jennifer’s Body will hopefully shine a lot brighter on DVD/Blu Ray as it’s far better, runnier, sexier, more violent and smarter than it looks, and you’d expect.
Misfits (Season 1): 6 Episodes. Imagine a British X-Men/Heroes but with hooligans as the superheroes – this has the beneficial side effect of everything being sexed up and overly emotional. The first episode’s quite timid and a steady buildup but the 2nd episode kicks in full-speed until the end of the season. The superpowers are mostly normal; invisibility, turn back time, mind reading, hulking out, making people you touch go bald, and having anyone you touch want to rape you… actually, some of the powers are rubbish… The main Irish indie kid brings most of the entertainment, and has the best lines / comic delivery. The last few episodes lean toward a serious / drama bias, but it’s still very good and boasts a surprisingly dark funny side. Character development’s great, as the episodes roll on we find out more about the situations and how they’re connected. The pacing is spot on, it never really stops or slows down, as the story unravels, and plenty of new characters and side-stories are introduced. It’s pretty much a shot in the arm for UK teenage TV – fresh, original, edgy, dark, good characters, trendy, and entertaining.
Born to Raise Hell [Blu Ray]: an Interpol agent assigned to Eastern Europe gets a replacement partner (his last one died on the job) to help him take down a Gypsy gang. The first time director constantly misses the mark with a poorly handled rape/burglary, then laugh-out-loud ‘intimate scene’, and a ton of woeful action moments. My biggest gripe surfaces with entire minutes of filler shots and blurry cam montages between the scenes. It’s amateur hour behind the camera, and in front of the camera we have Seagal (!!) with an ominously lit face and awkward gun-holding poses. He and his crew do the script justice, with classic lines like “lemme see yo hands bitch”, “wat the fuck is wrong wit chu boy” and every other Seagal sentence ending with “maaaaan”. His new colleague even dares to whisper the line “I’m one month away from becoming a father” – I WONDER IF HE WILL MAKE IT TO THE END?!?!!? Written solely by Seagal, It’s little surprise that he penned himself as a one-man-army cop with an unfeasibly hot girlfriend and mad fighting skillz – despite being a big oaf. The Bucharest setting is in more bad taste than you could imagine, everyone’s has a crazy Russian-esque accent, but talks English, is involved with drugs and works as a gangster or stripper. The entire film just reeks of cheap and is possibly the flattest and most uninspired Seagal flick you could imagine – it makes his ‘Lawman’ TV show look like Oscar Bait. The Blu Ray’s decent enough, but there’s nothing here worth watching. Proof if proof be needed that Seagal definitely is a
one-no-trick-pony-tail. Why are people still letting him do films?
The Assassin Next Door: when her only way out of prostitution is to carry out a few hits, a desperate woman jumps at the chance. Set in an Israeli slum, and opening with a couple of prozzies being beaten and stabbed up, you know this one’s going to be a gritty affair. What you don’t expect from a film called “The Assassin Next Door” is a well-acted foreign drama about women fighting against the odds, that just happens to have a few action scenes. In a way it’s reminiscent of Leon in that you actually care about properly developed characters and their predicament. Kurylenko is shockingly good in this, but you kind of feel that she’s wasted in the part, and should be appearing in more heavy-hitting films. You know the film’s good when things like a sexy Bond Girl holding a big gun, Bond Girl getting her lungs out, and lesbian undertones are only minor distractions from the dramatic story! Despite being a mid-budget affair this boasts decent script and solid acting by all involved.
Fulltime Killer: A couple of hitmen, ‘O’ and ‘Tok’, become intertwined in a battle to prove who is the best in Asia. Turns in to a bit of a ‘two hitmen and a cleaner’ story, and while the lady was central to the story, the film would have been much more exciting and faster-paced without all of the terrible characterisation scenes she facilitated. The narrator changes between the 2 killers for the most part, then a random crazy policeman towards the end – bizarre. There’s some very cool action & shootouts and it’s visually sumptuous in parts, although nothing’s really that memorable. Andy Lau’s the standout as the cocksure shoot-form-the-hip dangerman. While this film’s decent enough it never really takes off of goes into top gear, even with its Metal Slug inspired ending. For those that enjoy style over substance, this one’s ideal.
South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut: Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny get their first feature-length musical where they must save the world, watch their language, and find the clitoris. Musically, this film’s got so many great and memorable songs: Uncle Fucka, Blame Canada, What would Brian Boitano Do?, I’m Super and my personal favourite, the La Resistance medley. And it’s not just the musical numbers – the entire score is top-notch. It wouldn’t be South Park without an endless string of satirical stabs at pop culture and celebrities – it even parodies the backlash against the TV show. BLU takes vulgarity to the next level, but it’s always tongue-in-cheek: reaction to lines like “I just don’t trust anything that bleeds for 5 days and doesn’t die” is a rarely experienced contrast of horror and laughter. This is one of the best things that Matt and Trey have written – with gag after quotable gag that puts the current, churned out, episodes to shame; and while the gags are rapid-firing there’s so much attention to detail in the background. They ran wild with it and it totally worked, I guess it was a build-up of ideas they wanted to put on TV but couldn’t. It’s a great film, and well over 10 years later it’s still hilarious
The Matrix: Action. Adventure. Sci-Fi. Technology. Love story. Tragedy. Mythology. Drama. Explosions. Chases. Fighting. Guns. Lots of Guns. Style. Homage. Technological Advances. Solid acting. Vision. Betrayal. Great characters. Fantastic Soundtrack & OST. Tight script. Mouth-watering visuals. Slick editing. Stunning concept… Absolutely everything about The Matrix is pitch perfect, right down to Reeves’ vacant, and emotionally retarded acting – it just fits the film so well! (Will Smith/Nicholas Cage were first choices for Neo!) Hugo weaving is also brilliant as the borderline pantomime baddie. The fight scenes are outstanding, especially given that none of the actors are martial artists. Unlike 99% of films out there The Matrix is absolutely all killer – every single scene has a purpose. It’s been a career-defining film for everybody involved, and rightly so: cast, directors, tech teams etc. Even over ten years on everything about this is still so, so, so cool. It’s a modern Alice in Wonderland, but where Alice cartwheels while firing a machine gun and bends some spoons with her mind! The film also raised the bar for action / sci-fi and special effects, and the wider cultural impact is enormous. Despite an unhealthy number of viewings over the years (guessing at least 40) this film never gets boring and never loses the awe-factor. I’m struggling to find a single fault in it!
Goodfellas: (Blu Ray) A semi-fictional take on the life of Henry Hill; notorious American Mobster from Brooklyn. The chemistry between all the characters is fantastically played, sure there are some stereotypes, but the main three are very believable and realistic, yet completely different. Liotta’s acting is great, but his commitment was even more noteworthy; starting off naive and weedy but becoming a fat, ruined, coked-up mess for the last 30 minutes. Women don’t get much of a look-in, and it’s a good job because Bracco’s acting and ‘jewish accent’ are unforgivable. Scorsese shows he’s a master of the craft with many great, long, signature single-take shots – in particular the journey from the car to the table at the front of the club and from the skies to the meat truck – very powerful directing for the duration that backs up the story. The only anomaly is a bizarre breaking of the fourth wall at the very end of the film. The elegance of the direction is contrasted with a lot of brutal, no-holds-barred violence: beatdowns, bitchslaps, chest-stabbing, face shots, and a lot of gun-butts to the nose! Unfortunately, the Blu Ray doesn’t do the movie justice; the picture’s mediocre and the audio track is pretty lifeless – not once does it make you think “wow”. As divisive as this statement may be, I truly believe that this is the ultimate gangster movie and does in one film what The Godfather fails to do in three – an interesting and highly-watchable epic about the rise-and-fall of an ordinary man, that was accurate and true to the Italian Mafia.
War Inc.: spiritual sequel to Grosse Pointe Blank – same actors playing similar characters etc. This film managed to take some of the weaker aspects of GPB and beef them up; script, story, jokes & characters… in general terms I found to be War Inc. a lot funnier and more memorable. The political satire / wit is this film’s strong-point and although it’s not quite as polished as films like ‘Charlie Wilson’s War‘ it does share a lot of the sentiments, and has moments that match the edginess and drama. There are a few sections when the satire turns into ridiculous slapstick, which doesn’t match the tone of the film: songs & 3D theater for the press. Another aspect that jumped out was that Cusack is pretty good at action! Surprisingly smart political satire romp that has more to say than meets the eye.
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist: 3 gay guys try to set up the ultimate band-nerd guy with the ultimate Indie Cindy, for double the awkwardness. Michael Cera plays himself again but to balance it up there’s loads of shots of Kat Denning‘s extraordinary, super-sized, super-bouncy, jiggly-and-beatuiful… lips. The first hour has a drunken side-story that Ke$ha seems to have based her career on, although it’s got the most rancid (toilet) gross out I can remember. Samberg & Burrell get blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameos. The film only just loses out to (500) Days of Summer on the quirk score leader board, no mean feat! There’s some good running gags (chewing gum/Taxi) and a few good scenes; the romantic moment where the camera follows the mic leads through to the studio is great. It’s enjoyable but totally vapid and inoffensive with a predictably boring N.Y. based indie/art rock soundtrack.
Hot Rod: a wannabe stuntman has to pull off the biggest jump in history to save his terminally ill step-dad; just so he can kick his ass and win his respect before he dies… Ace! This is one of the few comedies I’ve seen lately that remains consistently funny throughout, with too many laughs to list, and a great script’s that throws up obvious and subtle jokes. Some of the humour’s pretty silly and offbeat but works because of the deadpan delivery. The cast are great with Samberg as the standout (unfortunately the Lonely Island are unheard of in the UK). Danny McBride and his usual posse also put in some good face time, Isla Fisher‘s also on good form. The laughs slow up in the third quarter and a few of the visual gags are predictable but it’s forgivable because the retro 80s hair metal / synth music soundtrack that compliments (and compensates for some of) the humour so well. For me the entire film just worked, and the production values were great. It will get bashed by any serious movie goer but Hot Rod totally exceeded my expectations and was genuinely funny throughout. Will definitely be watching again. Cool beans!
Hot Tub Time Machine: 3 middle-aged guys and a nephew go on a Ski Trip, and get transported back to the 1980s via a malfunctioning hot tub; partial hilarity ensues. It’s essentially a mish-mash of several tried and tested movies: American Pie, High Fidelity, Back to the Future, The Hangover, any ‘Buddy Comedy’ you can think of and the Butterfly Effect. Additionally, the characters are all pulled from the ‘Familiar and Safe’ cupboard; the cool / normal guy, Mr under the thumb, the wildcard and nerd loser. The strangest aspect was that it’s essentially a teen movie, but starring adults… weird to watch. There’s puke, piss, shit & many a gross-out but the ratio of hot tits to saggy men’s asses was disappointingly even (note to the director, this shouldn’t even be a ‘ratio’) HTTM is funny, and by no means a bad film, but it’s exactly what you expect a film called “Hot Tub Time Machine” to be and nothing more. Inevitably suffers from trying to be to broad and tick a huge bunch of ‘safe’ boxes, stick to the Hangover.
Blades of Glory: started off very strongly by backgrounding the characters and fierce competition, paired with commentators on the BASEketball level of awesomeness. Unfortunately it fizzles out a little when the focus shifts off the rink and a fairly uninspired underdog / unlikely friendship story plays out. The characters definitely have their moments but they’re no Ron Burgundy or Napoleon Dynamite. Even Will Arnett couldn’t muster up many laughs, an indication of the patchy script. I’ll buy a meal to the people who made Jenna Fischer look that hot! The rest of the film relies on the innuendo of male skaters and there’s a whole load of skating stars & references throughout. Probably more for fans of the sport than Joe Public but there are some good bits scattered throughout.
5ive Girls: Q: What do you get when you mix the following: a sadistic (borderline lesbian) head teacher, Alcoholic (touchy feely) priest, five hot-but-too-old-to-be-real school chicks, a dead ex-pupil and a creepy janitor? A: Yet another unnecessary horror movie. Poor script, terrible acting, and a generally pants story about witches. “Possessive nouns” did get a laugh, and why is the devil always so nasty in horror films? To top it off, the soundtrack was so upbeat it felt like it was lifted from an American Pie film. Even Hellboy couldn’t save this. Shockingly bad.
The Hangover: (Blu Ray) a trio of buddies waken up after a stag night, minus the stag and all memory of the evening. It’s pretty entertaining as the details unfold but you get the feeling the writer polled a thousand guys and put the best ‘crazy nights out’ tales together to make a story. The brother Alan was probably the best part of the movie and although other guys were funny in parts the ‘one-man wolf pack’ totally stole the show. In saying that the overall humour hit home with me, but isn’t for everyone and is probably more for guys than girls – it’s pretty much Superbad for men. Mike Tyson must be skint at the moment, there’s also an outlandish Asian and maths montage worth noting. The picture’s brilliantly detailed but the surround mix is disappointing, with little action in back speakers. Despite being let down by the cheesiest of endings this is definitely worth a watch.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: A man lives his physical life backwards, from a pensioner to a baby while his mental age increases as normal – interesting premise. This reminded me a lot of Forrest Gump: extraordinary life, laced with American history, boats, war, walking troubles and romance all told in flashback. The main difference is that BB doesn’t rely on being fluffy and funny; it tackles the topic of death from the start, and was just a more modest, and believable (!) story. It does have some humour with the lightning strikes, Irish sailor, and general growing young antics. Every possible effect must have been used to make Pitt & Blanchett look young & old, and the scary pensioner-baby and man-child are like something from a horror film. My only big problem was the thick southern accents (particularly the mumbling woman on her death bed) a lot was lost in translation for me. The heavy symbolism and long runtime were also minor nags. Fincher’s on top form here and it could arguably be his finest film to date – tough call though. It’s a great story, brilliantly acted, powerful, engrossing and tugs at the heart strings.