[[image:090505_ben.jpg:The Curious Case of Benjamin Button:right:0]]David Fincher is an incredibly talented director of cinema. Coming from the world of music videos, Fincher had an ignoble start in features with the much maligned Alien 3. Since then, we’ve learned just how much the studio meddled with the film, and most Fincher devotees don’t consider the theatrical release reflective of what Fincher’s vision for the film actually was. Still, if all he was known for were a terrible Alien sequel, no one would discuss his work today with any reverence. Luckily, his next movie put him on the radar of film fans the world over; Se7en was helped by a solid premise and even better actors, but it was Fincher’s technical mastery behind the lens that elevated it to instant-classic status.
His next film, The Game, disappointed more than a few people who were looking for more of the same. Fincher wasn’t eager to rehash him work, though, but The Game has come to be well-regarded — even if it’s not held on quite as high a pedestal as some of his other works. He followed it up with an incredibly divisive film that didn’t make much of a splash at the box office. Still, Fight Club had an enormous impact on pop culture. Working from Chuck Palahniuk’s incredible novel, Fincher brought to screen an adaptation of the novel that reinforced its themes and, to my mind, improved them — the film’s Tyler Durden does a better job of getting across his anarchic philosophy than the same character in the book. Fincher’s deft hand with the material made it easier for me to identify with both the narrator and Durden for the first half of the film, which made seeing how far Tyler ended up taking things that much more effective.
Next came the thriller Panic Room, a decent ride that’s ultimately unremarkable outside of how it’s shot — unusual for Fincher, and quite a contrast from his next work. Zodiac is the true story behind the still unsolved case of the Zodiac killer, and while it doesn’t necessarily work as a traditional crime genre film — the lack of real closure on the crimes something you probably couldn’t get away with if you were making a fictional film — it does work incredibly well as a character study of the people whose lives were indelibly touched by the events portrayed.
Fincher is a filmmaker whose work is always interesting regardless of his subject matter. So… why haven’t I taken the time to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button? I’ve had several opportunities to see the film but let them all slip past. Fincher has had a strong partnership with Brad Putt, and I’m confident that Button is well-made and features strong performances. I’ll probably see the movie now that is on Blu-ray, but the fact is that the trailers did nothing for me. Worse, some critics compared the movie to Forrest Gump, a movie I detest. In other words, it’s a film I’m only going to watch because of the director. Were a different name attached to the film, I’d pass it over without hesitation.
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I don’t hate Twilight. I don’t love it either. Truth be told, I find I don’t have very strong feelings one way or the other. I can’t be too mad at the kids of today for liking this stuff — after all, is it any more shameful than the Anne Rice books I read when I was an impressionable adolescent? Still, I can’t recommend you go out of your way to see the film. Unless, that is, you know about the wonders of Rifftrax. Having witty smartasses commentate on the film as you watch offers a definite improvement in my book.
Long-time readers of this column are already well aware of my love for Dexter. I’m happy to see the second season of this friendly serial killer drama hitting my favorite home video format. I’m also happy to have an excuse to revisit Dog Soldiers, a surprisingly good low budget horror film from a few years back. Neil Marshall, the director of Dog Soldiers, went on to create the completely insane Mad Max-meets-King Arthur genre picture Doomsday, so check it out if you liked that one.
Thanks for reading Add to Queue, GameSpite’s weekly round-up of US Blu-ray release highlights. Sorry, rest of the world; region locks are the industry’s way of saying they still don’t understand the Internet. Happy Cinco de Mayo! Cover art courtesy of Amazon. Follow Levi Tinney on Twitter, or add him to your PSN or XBL friends list: VsRobot. You can also contact him via e-mail via levivsrobot [at] gmail [dot] com.