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 […]


Tarsem Singh Mirror Mirror

When you watch a Tarsem Singh film, you figure out pretty damn quickly that you’re watching a Tarsem Singh film. The auteur filmmaker isn’t the type to play it safe, and he’s clearly not afraid of polarizing an audience. Even with his modern take on the classic Snow White fairy tale, Mirror Mirror, he goes for an unabashedly childlike and wacky tone – which may not be for everyone. Tarsem’s films are rather similar to his persona: unfiltered, without any hint of compromise. This is the third time I have spoken with Tarsem in the past year, and although heaps of ground can be covered with him in mere minutes, courtesy of his rapid conversational style, it was a real treat to finally have an actual conversation with the filmmaker. Tarsem is one of a kind in terms of his filmmaking and demeanor. Whether you love or despise his films, the man is certainly an original. Here’s what Tarsem Singh had to say about polarization, the goal of not being different for the sake of being different, and the glory days of hanging with the college versions of Michael Bay and Zack Snyder:


Tarsem Singh

Anyone who’s seen a fraction of Tarsem Singh‘s work knows the man is about as ambitious as a filmmaker comes. Even with last weekend’s wonderfully kiddie Mirror Mirror, he delivered the unexpected, and not only when it came to defying that hellish trailer. But Mirror Mirror‘s ambitions can’t touch what Singh did on The Fall, a project he sunk his own cash into, took 17 years to get made, and shot in over 20 countries. Whether you love the film or loathe it, you can’t deny that isn’t passion. Singh’s name has been tied to a few projects in the past few years, but when recently speaking with him, I had to ask if he’s got another big passion project similar to The Fall which he would love to make. As it turns out, he does:


Drinking Games

Fans of sword-and-sandal action flicks have plenty of options these days. Whether they’re watching Spartacus or Game of Thrones on television or anticipating the upcoming Wrath of the Titans this spring, there’s a lot of CGI bloodshed happening. The latest thing to hit DVD and Blu-ray is Immortals, which was a surprise hit at the box office last November. Telling the story of commoner Theseus who goes up against King Hyperion to earn his people freedom, this film can also be seen as Superman facing off against Whiplash from Iron Man 2. It can also be seen as a big, oily orgy of abs and nipples. And anyone interested in a big, oily orgy of abs and nipples should really have a few drinks during the experience.



Looks like the Snow White feature film death race of 2012 has kicked off its second leg with a bang – a terrible, gobsmacking, color-dazzling nightmare of a bang. Tarsem Singh‘s take on the tale of the snow-white-skinned princess and her vertically challenged woodland friends is the more comedic of next year’s dueling Snow White features – Mirror, Mirror is the one that stars Lily Collins, Armie Hammer, Julia Roberts, Nathan Lane, and Sean Bean – though after this first trailer, absolutely no one will mix it up with Rupert Sanders‘ darker Snow White and the Huntsman. Tarsem’s take on the Grimm Brothers fairy tale has long been rumored to be a comedic family adventure, though this first extended look at the film looks more like a comedic adventure for drug addicts and people who think Julia Roberts is capable of pulling off an accent that is somehow not totally laughable. Tarsem’s seemingly pulled together all the elements of the Snow White story – evil queen, lovely princess, dumb bunny hunk o’ prince, dwarfs to save the day – without even a smidgen of irony. Take a bite of the acid-laced apple that is Mirror, Mirror and check out the first trailer after the break.


Immortals Director Tarsem Singh

One of my favorite experiences at Comic-Con this year was interviewing Tarsem. I was never scheduled to speak with the man one-on-one, and was only meant to participate in the roundtables for Immortals. Luckily, after the roundtables were coming to an end, I noticed Tarsem standing alone by himself. He mentioned how most people find The Fall to be the biggest piece of shit or the best thing ever made, and I fall heavily in the latter, so I decided to tell him that. Tarsem was so receptive to a basic compliment, he gave me an interview on the spot. Whenever a publicist tried to drag him away, he’d basically tell them to buzz off since I said I love The Fall. I left that encounter with a big grin on my face, to say the least. This time around, my chat with Tarsem started off on the same fun note as our previous encounter, but ended on a more disappointing note. Last week when we spoke, I had not seen Immortals. That type of interview is never ideal, but I didn’t want to miss the chance to speak with Tarsem again, who I guessed was knee-deep in Mirror, Mirror. Once he found at I hadn’t seen the film, he demanded the publicist to reschedule… which, unfortunately, didn’t happen, for one reason or another. Currently, I’m left with another hundred questions left I wanted to ask Tarsem. Then again, any amount of time with the fast-talking director is more than appreciated. Here’s what Tarsem […]



Last month the Oscar season officially kicked off, and this month we’ll be getting plenty more Oscar baiters and real contenders to add to the mix. We’ll get another Brett Ratner film, the 25th film of the decade from Clint Eastwood, another upbeat audience friendly film from Lars von Trier, and the most expected and clichéd, a Martin Scorsese “kids” film. A fairly promising month, right? I’ve already seen a few films coming out this month, and there’s plenty of good-to-great films to see, even one or two that didn’t make it on this list. Honorable Mentions: My Week with Marilyn (an extremely enjoyable film with a great performance by Kenneth Branagh), Elite Squad: The Enemy Within, and London Boulevard (a solid anti-cliché gangster film). But here are the names who made it all the way to the top ten:


Machine Gun Preacher

Machine Gun Preacher is a biopic that does not sugarcoat its violent lead. Unlike most bio films, this is not about a common man rising to become a perfect hero, but instead, a true anti-hero. Sam Childers — biker turned preacher turned freedom fighter — is not the most likable man in the film. Not only would you never want to hang out with him on a weekend, but even after finding Jesus, he commits inexcusable acts. The violence of Childers, at least when he is in Central Africa, is not part of those inexcusable acts. Many critics have said the film takes a very right-wing stance — and perhaps it does, at times — but the methods Sam uses are very black-and-white. He’s an eye for an eye guy. When Sam uses violence to save children, that’s when he becomes his true self. However, when he’s asked to be the father of his own family, that doesn’t come as easy. Again, not your average hero. Recently I had the opportunity to speak with screenwriter Jason Keller about his dynamic lead’s acts, as well as the themes of the film, not making a lifetime movie, and the process of writing for a true visionary.



On the final big movie day for Comic-Con, Cole, Robert and Jack had their sanity tested and almost passed. Proof of this came at the end of the night when all three ended up delirious in a fancy hotel room watching the Resident Evil movies. What on earth could cause anyone to watch those movies? Exactly. This year’s Con was subdued in a great way. The movie content suffered because of it (in terms of blockbusters and big moments) but it also triumphed because smaller films were able to have their day in the sun. Day One was full of great toys and strange Twilight moments, Day Two had R-rated pizza guys and a Spielbergian explosion, so what did Day Three have in store?


"Immortals" 2010

“Coming this fall: an action event from the director of The Cell and The Fall.” Yeah, it still sounds odd to me, too. Once it was announced that Tarsem would be tackling a big swords and sandals epic, it elicited a feeling of both excitement and confusion. As for the exciting part — wouldn’t it be interesting to see how such a visionary can put a spin on this genre and what he could do with an action beat? As for the confusion — isn’t this a big studio picture? With epics such as this, directors have countless people to answer to. But Tarsem didn’t seem interested in answering to those people. This a director that couldn’t have a greater distaste for by-the-numbers filmmaking. As he says below, he’s a polarizing filmmaker. Both The Cell and The Fall received both wild appraise and heaps of venom. Can Tarsem still bring that interesting polarization to a sizable fall release? From the sound of it, yes, he can. When I approached Tarsem to discuss The Fall and wish him luck on Immortals, the very funny and honest filmmaker ended up giving me a quick and unplanned 1-on-1 about not dealing with studio suits, his work ethic with actors, and the methods of Mickey Rourke.



Foreign Objects travels the world of international cinema each week to highlight films worth visiting. So renew your passport, get your shots, and brush up on the local age of legal consent, this week we’re heading to… err Everywhere!

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published: 01.29.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015

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