Saturday, 28 February 2009

Benjamin Button (Formerly Motski's Oscar Watch Part 5)

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Okay, I failed. I didn't make it too all the Oscar nominated films and I didn't review this one before the ceremony... (or any where near it) but then again it didn't end up winning any of the major awards it was up for so maybe it didn't hurt my review of the Oscars too much... and it's probably out on DVD soon anyway.
but enough of my excuses...

Benjamin Button is a charming, interesting and highly enjoyable film, but perhaps the premise promised more. The concept of a man growing from an old baby into a young man is handled brilliantly to begin with, especially through it's exceptional special effects that only infrequently fail to convince. His early years move along apace and Brad Pitt plays the part with the child-like innocence needed. As he grows older/younger the pace slows to explore his romance with Kate Blanchett's Rose and the quirks of his aging process take a back seat.

plays her role with gusto, but at times isn't the most likable character as Benjamin struggles to win her heart. When they inevitably do get together, the film hits perhaps it's least interesting point, with Button's age stabling out around this point. The anticipation of his de-aging will be handled in the final chapter of the film, also lessens the impact of this scene.


This leads me on to my biggest disappointment. I assumed that as Button began life as an old baby, he'd end it as an adult baby. I was looking forward to seeing some kind of gross weird looking man child. Unfortunately he just turns back into a kid and then into a baby. Not as dramatic as I'd hoped, or as disturbing. The special effects team could have had a chance to fully round off the film with a bizarre creation and director David Fincher could have added a memorable dark moment that would have helped the film stand out from the usual romantic fair.


There are also a few cringe-worthy moments of sentimentalism involving a kingfisher which distract from rather than enhance the atmosphere. The subplot of the man hit by lightening however is very funny and offers regular bouts of laughter.

Overall Benjamin Button is a likable and good hearted film, but lacks the edge that I hoped David Fincher would lend the tale. 7/10

Friday, 27 February 2009

Democracy is Fun

Politics can put a smile on your face can't it?
Thanks to Mr. Laurie Rowan for that one.

Friday, 20 February 2009


This is amazing. I make a great Sagat.

Have a go yourself at -

(btw I Photoshopped myself a tan so that my face would fit better. My tip of the day.)

Thursday, 19 February 2009


How did I not know this existed? Michael Jackson makes Eddie Murphy look a lot buffer than usual. Eddie Murphy makes Michael Jackson look more like a woman. Disturbing.

Friday, 13 February 2009


That Black Freighter is too wide, but I don't know how to solve the problem at the moment, my apologies for the mess.


Here's the first look (in fully animated form any way) at The Black Freighter, made to coincide with the Watchmen film. The Black Freighter is intertwined within the main narrative in the graphic novel, but was dropped from the film due to fears of making the picture too long and complicated. Thankfully it has been made as accompanying animation that may well be included in the DVD of Watchmen when it's released.

Looks like The Black Freighter section of the Watchmen project is on target anyway from what I can see here... let's hope the film works out too...

Sexually Abused Dogs

A slow burner, until you get to the dog rape. Yes, dog rape.

Cool Watchmen game... well Minutemen anyway...

An 8-bit introduction to the world of Watchmen.

Holy Keanu!

My friend Rosie hyper ventilated after finding the website of artist and illustrator Alejandra Vernon (, who seems to see Keanu Reeves as some kind of prophet. She even gives a good review to the Lake House :-/


So the only question left to ask is whether a holy Keanu should be called Jeanu or Je-Reeve...

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Motski's Oscar Watch Part 4

Hi folks, a little delayed as usual, but here my next review, this time it's...


I must admit I was not expecting to enjoy Frost/Nixon. Something about an Oscar nominated film by Ron Howard seemed awfully safe and unexciting. However I have been proved wrong (as often happens).

Frost/Nixon is a riveting film built on powerful performances from the leads, Michael Sheen and Frank Langella. Both actors are exceptional in their roles, in fact when Michael Sheen first speaks, he nails Frost's nasal drawl so well it's hard to fight back a chuckle. The voice effected for Langella's Nixon could never claim to be so faithful, but it is his performance that is the main draw. While Frost's smarmy chat show host takes time to warm to, Nixon is immedietly engaging. Direct and funny, Langella does much to humanise the characature allowing us understand the mentality behind his decision making.

The film is sharp and trim, building to the finale interview with little excess. The faux documentary interviews that intersperse the narrative give gravitas to the situation and add an awareness of the interview's importance to the American public. These interviews also give extra time for the excellent supporting cast to shine ( a cast that includes Sam Rockwell, Kevin Bacon and Toby Jones in the small but memorable role of Swifty Lazar).

Despite this I have to admit I was a little disappointed by the somewhat two-dimensional role offered Rebecca Hall. Little explanation is given of who her character was or what she did for a living, other than that she flies first class and is Frost's love interest. It seems a bit of a waste of a talented actress who impressed in The Prestige and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, especially in such a male centric story.

This is a minor quible however, as the film is an engrossing character study of the struggle between two men at very different stages of their career. 8.5/10

Coming soon... A review of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Motski's Oscar Watch Part 3

Hi folks, I'm slowly catching up, this week...


One day I hope they make a film entitled "Milk" about the history of those "Got Milk?" ads that appear on the back of American comic books, but for now Gus Van Sant's new film will have to do and I have to admit it covers a much worthier topic.

Milk charts the story of Harvey Milk (Sean Penn), the first openly gay man elected to U.S public office, and his SPOILER tragic death. Filmed in an intimate often semi-documentary style, Milk is involving and highly entertaining, managing to match
Harvey's personal relationships and humour with the further reaching implications of his election.

Although Penn is fantastic and wholly believable in the lead role, the whole cast is great, especially James Franco who gives a restrained emotional performance.

Despite this praise, I did feel that the film lost momentum towards the end, loosing pace just as we reach the critical moment. Josh Brolin's role as Dan White SPOILER Milk's killer, is also not given enough screen time, with his frustration not reaching the boiling point I expected before he took such extreme action.

In the end, Van Sant's film offers an entertaining and highly watchable look at an important part of the U.S.A's recent history.

Coming soon... A review Frost/Nixon and this week I'll be watching The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Motski's Oscar Watch Part 2

Hi folks, I've been a bit lame updating my Oscar Watch post, so I''ll endeavour to catch up in the following days.

The Wrestl

I'm going to state this right from the start, this is my favourite of the films I've seen so far this year. This compelling and touching film follows Mickey Rourke's weary wrestler (Randy "The Ram") trying to come to terms with retirement and old age. I don't want to write one of those reviews that details the plot in too much detail, so I won't, but I do want to highlight how tight the story is kept, with Darren Aronofsky's direction showing great economy and restraint. Toning down his usually highly stylised camera work and bereft of the type of relentless soundtrack featured in Requiem for a Dream, this is an earthier film, which I was extremely disappointed not to see at least nominated for Best Director.

The Academy has however recognised
Rourke and Marisa Tomei with nominations for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress. Rourke's performance is nuanced and entirely believable, mirroring his own well documented struggles with fame, fortune and fall from grace. It's a role he was born to play and along with his role in Sin City, it's great to see him hitting his stride again after a long hiatus. It would be a great shame if this role did not earn him an Oscar triumph.

Tomei is also fantastic in her supporting role, coming close to matching Rourke's performance and I imagine that she will also be in the reckoning when the winners are announced.

Overall this is a cohesive beautifully balanced film that I highly recommend. It also ends at exactly the right point, which is not a pleasure to be found in many a film. 9/10

Coming soon... Reviews of Milk and Frost/Nixon and next week I'll be watching The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.