Eric Roth

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It’s now been five years since The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was released. Maybe I’m alone, but it hasn’t felt like five years. That’s fitting for a movie that deals with the power, or curiosity, of time. Upon its 2008 release David Fincher‘s epic was a modest success. The pricey drama was a hit with audiences, but it wasn’t exactly a universally loved film. Some Fincher fans considered it one of his lesser works and, as they were ever so fond of calling it, “Forrest Gump 2.” If The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is one of his lesser works, which it is not, then this Fincher guy sure is talented. It is also no Forrest Gump 2, because Fincher’s film is far more thoughtful, moving and honest than Gump. That’s not to say the movie isn’t without its problems. Eric Roth‘s script is often a tad on the nose  — “you never know what’s coming for ya”  and the hummingbird — but, more often than not, this F. Scott Fitzgerald adaptation is deceptively dark. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is about living life to the fullest, but this is a movie where death is a constant reminder. Nothing lasts forever, not even New Orleans. With that said, Fincher still shows his softer side, and that sincerity opens itself up to easy criticisms, both fair and unfair. What we can all agree on is it’s an extraordinary vision following an unextraordinary man. Benjamin’s a normal man dealing with even more normal problems, despite his disease, and […]

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Remember those trailers for Stephen Daldry‘s adaptation of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close that we all cringed at? Well, how could you forget – they stick with you in a very off-putting way. Disappointingly, most of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close replicates that experience. Daldry’s a fine filmmaker, and with a script from Eric Roth – a writer who’s delivered his fair share of modern classics – one should expect more from their collaboration. What their combination delivered is a mostly stilted, heavy-handed, and, quite often, wrongly manipulative experience. I won’t dismiss the film as being “blatant Oscar bait,” seeing as it’s well-intentioned and earnest. Unfortunately, those intentions, in execution, feel false and empty. A real heart isn’t here to grab onto; only an artificial and cold one. The film constantly says how Oskar Schell (Thomas Horn) affects all these people he meets, but it never shows it. There are little glimpses of the child interacting with people on his quest, and whatever his effect may be holds no weight. The only emotional beat that somehow works is between Horn and Jeffrey Wright, despite the scene leaving one with the thought of, “Well, how’s this going to impact Wright’s character?” Sure, he’s seeing the beauty of a child desperately trying to find an answer, but in the grand scheme of things, the effect will probably be as powerful as a nice Christmas card: makes you smile and maybe makes your day, but a few days later, you’re no different.

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Eric Roth is an outstanding talent, and script work for Benjamin Button, Munich and Forrest Gump have more than proved that over the years. We’ll get another look at his work when Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close comes out this Winter. Now, according to Variety, the screenwriter has entered into talks to write the adaptation of Stacy Schiff’s “Cleopatra: A Life,” whose rights were purchased by Scott Rudin. As previously reported, Angelina Jolie is set up to play the most famous of all Pharaohs. The David Fincher portion of the project isn’t set in stone, but it would be great to see him go all Mankiewicz on everyone, and Roth’s inclusion might be a key to locking him down. Since the pen is about to be put to paper, the only thing left for us is to imagine a world where Fincher forces Jolie to do scenes in the hot desert with thousands of extras 99 times before using the first take. There’s no telling how bombastic this movie might be, or whether Fincher may ultimately choose to do it, but it’s an amazing opportunity to return to spectacle-style filmmaking. How cool would that be?

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Back when Tim Burton was going to direct a biopic of Robert Ripley (the journalist behind Ripley’s Believe It Or Not), I could not wait to see the project get off the ground. With its epic nature and colorful period piece-ness, it seemed like a mixture of Big Fish (a movie he’d just directed) and Ed Wood and Indiana Jones. Burton seemed perfect for the project. Now, that may be a different story. And the script itself will be a different story, because (according to Deadline Dalesville) Paramount has hired Eric Roth to do a completely clean slate script re-write. What does that mean? The screenwriter behind Forrest Gump will most likely make this a sprawling travelogue that focuses on the people more than the oddities. The movie (the script at least) will be huge but feel close to home. Granted, Roth tends to steal from himself a lot, so Robert Ripley (still set to be played by Jim Carrey) might look a bit too much like Gump or Button. It remains to be seen, of course, but Roth is an undeniable talent, and his addition to the project seems like Paramount is making a big move in the right direction.

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Step inside The Curious Production of Benjamin Button, with insights from the producers, actors, and writer of the Holiday Oscar contender.

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An all-star team assembled to bring The Curious Case of Benjamin Button to life, but is the film a Christmas Miracle and an Oscar Contender or an overly long excuse to look at Brad Pitt as an 80 year old manchild?

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Stop the presses! An Oscar winning writer wants to make a big, beautiful original space movie. Not a remake, not a reboot, but something that comes from the depths of imagination.

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You may have heard about all of this Forrest Gump 2 talk that is going on during the Benjamin Button press tour. And well, we’ve got some details — and there somewhat interesting.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B


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