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W Delivers Brad Pitt's Chuck Close-Up

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Portraitist Chuck Close tackled Brad Pitt for W magazine. I haven't yeet seen The Curious Case of Benjamin Button but from the things I'm hearing folks either think it's a masterpiece or a three-hour bore. Thoughts, anyone? More shots, AFTER THE JUMP...

(images via just jared)

Past Pitt Covers
Brad Pitt to Venice Reporters: "I Do Love a Gay Story" [tr]
Brad "Don't Forget I'm a Sex Symbol" Pitt in Interview [tr]
Brad Pitt Surprised to be on Vanity Fair Cover, May Sue [tr]

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  1. I really enjoyed the movie, despite bawling my eyes out. Some parts I could have predicted the writer would make in order to make it a more sappy love story. This was also the first Brad Pitt movie I've seen where I actually saw him as an actor and not a ploy to draw viewers.

    But all in all, it was a beautiful, well-made movie and I would definitely recommend it.

    Posted by: Tom S. | Jan 7, 2009 9:01:53 AM


  2. the curious case of benjamin button is...alright.

    it's beautifully shot, and the benjamin storyline is fascinating. the cgi and make-up was fantastic. cate blanchett is always amazing and looks incredibly, as well as tilda.

    i didn't like how the story was edited to splice between past and present. it seemed to repeat themes and messages already told by brad pitt during the benjamin button storyline, which felt like a waste of time, and the movie could've been shorter. brad pitt was also not a very impressive actor for the movie, and i think that his lack of range for the character really helped to make the movie feel boring.

    but, for the most part, i didn't feel like it was three hours while watching it. i have to admit i wanted more from the movie when going into it because the director is david fincher.

    Posted by: ian | Jan 7, 2009 9:08:35 AM


  3. Benjamin Button is a very surprising big-budget Hollywood movie because it tackles themes like aging and mortality with an uncommon honesty.

    Getting younger as you move through time is an unsettlingly poignant idea, it turns expectations on their head; you're left with is the desire to hold onto what is truly important (with the knowledge that there's really so little time to).

    The film sends you reeling into the street. You'll want to call the people you love and tell them what they mean to you.

    Posted by: FASTLAD | Jan 7, 2009 9:13:14 AM


  4. I just saw this several days ago and kept my expectations low.

    Initial thoughts: There is much to like about this film not the least of which is Kate Blanchett whom I believe to be the best actress of her/my generation.

    As a love story this movie doesn't really work for me, at least in the romantic sense, although the characters do have a passionate relationship over several years. However the love between these two does work as an example of transitioning meaningings over the course of one's life.

    There are some scenes as he becomes a young child and she an elderly woman that truly moved me to tears.

    An astonishing moment was when he appears as a young man in his early 20's or late teens and I kid you not he looks like he did in Thelma and Louise. I have no idea how the make up artists did it but it was really something else.

    Overall this film was a solid B+ nothing stellar but really enjoyable if you feel like spending the time.

    The best movie of the year so far IMO is Slumdog Millionare.

    Posted by: cmh | Jan 7, 2009 9:22:07 AM


  5. I saw The Tedious Case of Benjamin Button over the Xmas holidays and could not have been more bored. It seemed like a gimmick from start to finish. Being a huge David Fincher fan i went in expecting great things, especially after the near-masterpiece that was Zodiac... but there was more human emotion in Bolt than there was in this flick.

    Posted by: jamesintoronto | Jan 7, 2009 9:30:42 AM


  6. The whole thing was "Forrest Gump" meets "The Time Traveler's Wife" (can't wait for that movie, too), but in a good way. You really want to see how this guy's life unfolds.

    Brad was a little less 'blah' than normal. I thought he was amazing as an old man, but that might've been just my wonder at the CGI.

    Cate Blanchett? Perfect as always. And Tilda Swinton shows up, too! Two of the best actresses around! How could you not love this movie?

    Posted by: Padraic | Jan 7, 2009 9:35:08 AM


  7. A strange choice for director David Fincher. There’s no denying the visual impact of his best work, but there’s also no denying the emotional coldness either. SEVEN and FIGHT CLUB are two of the most famous examples of Bleak Chic, films that revel in their own status as Hip Cynical Bummers. ZODIAC upped the ante a good deal, combining Fincher’s trademark visual finesse with a group of characters that seemed to have some connection to reality. BENJAMIN BUTTON seems to offer Fincher the chance to join the Major Director Club, to move from Chilly Technician to Soulful Visionary. Alas, it doesn’t work. THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON has all the heart and soul and passion and warmth of a Dick Cheney press conference.

    The movie aims hard at being a fantastic-type meditation on time, love and loss. All the signifiers of Hollywood’s version of Serious Cinema are there: luscious production values, cutting edge technology, Oscar-winning actors from abroad, distinguished literary pedigree, nearly three hour length and all that. The movie is a big fat piece of Oscar bait, perhaps the most blatant since the atrocious COLD MOUNTAIN. Fincher seems to have studied Anthony Minghella closely, as it happens: no film since Minghella’s passing shows his influence so thoroughly. There’s a total lack of passion and energy that the director of THE ENGLISH PATIENT and COLD MOUNTAIN would instantly recognize as his own, combined with that Mingellian Delusion Of Relevance that makes his films such agony to sit through. The film goes through its carefully orchestrated and arranged and computer generated paces, each narrative and technological cog clicking into place like the creation of the blind clockmaker in the film’s opening anecdote. Fincher, alas, is no visionary. He’s a mechanic, more interested in showing off his techno-toolbox than anything else.

    I’ll say it clearly, because nobody else will. At heart, the film’s biggest problem is right there on the poster and above the title. Brad Pitt’s alleged performance is a colossal bore, a great black hole that sucks the energy out of all that surrounds it. There’s a certain possible justification for some of it, I guess. Benjamin Button is after all a freak of nature. He is fully aware of his difference, and aware of how it might be seen by others, and a certain emotional reserve might be an interesting starting point for an actor to build a performance on. For Pitt, this reserve is the final destination, the beginning middle and end of his attempt at a performance. It isn’t just a matter of the digital tweaking to make him look older or younger. There’s just nothing there. His voice is a flat uninflected monotone. His eyes are unlit with any sign of life. Tens of millions of dollars worth of CGI aging technology and a battery of technicians can’t add life where Pitt doesn’t. Just watch what happens when the sublime Tilda Swinton appears onscreen with Pitt. She lights up the screen in a way that poor old Brad just can’t come near, and quite simply obliterates him. It could be argued that Swinton’s performance is also the one in the film least affected by CGI and latex, but it is more than that. She steals the film by sheer acting ability alone, showing more humanity in one single smile than the rest of the film is able to summon in its entirely indefensible three hour running time.

    Life’s too short. Avoid this one. You’re not missing a thing.

    Posted by: Roscoe | Jan 7, 2009 9:43:59 AM


  8. I haven't seen the movie, but I need to comment on the W photo.

    Remember when there was a time that Pitt's age didn't show on his face.

    Not so anymore. This just proves it--heterosexuality can suck the life out of you.

    Posted by: Shirley! | Jan 7, 2009 9:46:17 AM


  9. Wow. He looks haggard in those pics.

    Who knew that being with the hottest woman in the world could age you like that?

    Posted by: S. | Jan 7, 2009 10:12:08 AM


  10. Curious Case of Benjamin Button is worse than a three-hour bore. It's saving grace is wonderful performances by Cate Blanchett and the woman that plays Pitt's adoptive mother.

    But Pitt is in every frame and can't act at all. It's clear in these type of roles (Button, Meet Joe Black) that he really has gotten by without depth. I think he's fantastic when he plays second fiddle (Fight Club, Ocean's Eleven), but he can't carry a film.

    Posted by: David | Jan 7, 2009 10:28:58 AM


  11. i'd rather comment on the W cover than the movie, which i haven't seen.

    Recently--was it on a Vanity Fair daily blog?--there was an evaluation of the rumor Anna Wintour was getting fired from vogue & how she'd included a letter from a reader bemoaning how Vogue readers could expect the same clotheshangers to appear over and over in the issues: G. Paltrow, Giselle, etc.

    And i'm wondering why the magazine publishing industry (and that Vogue reader's letter to the editor)picks on Vogue but give W a free pass. This mag featured quite recently photos of A. Jolie taken by Pitt. And before that, promoting the Mr/Mrs Smith movie, there was that huge photo spread of the 2 of them with a bunch of kids, as the divorce from Aniston happened. W's relationship w/ Pitt's PR flack is quite enough.

    Is it sexism to pick on A. Wintour but not W's editor?! Discuss...

    Posted by: Daniel | Jan 7, 2009 10:34:30 AM


  12. I saw the movie 3 days ago, and it was very disappointing. I thought there was no chemistry between Brad and Cate characters, and even though I normally love seeing Cate on screen no matter what she does, here I found her, and Brad's as well, acting flat and dull. The first part was fun with Benjamin being old, and some terrific supporting actors like the actress who played his mom, and Tilda Swinton. I left the theater bored, and thought the movie was pointless and way over hyped. But, go see it for your self and let us know what you think...

    Posted by: Dutchimport | Jan 7, 2009 10:52:53 AM


  13. Entertainment Weekly hit the nail on the head with their review of BB: "Easy to admire, but a challenge to love." That is to say, if you love movies and really appreciate the art of filmmaking ... by all means, see it. If you're looking for less art and more entertainment, skip it.

    Posted by: Red Seven | Jan 7, 2009 11:09:31 AM


  14. The good:
    Tilda Swinton
    The camera work/art direction
    The last 20 minutes

    The ok:
    Cate Blanchette (I've seen her do much better, but I was distracted by the CGI on her face)
    Brad Pitt (I never thought he was a good actor)

    The bad:
    WTF with the Katrina/Clock thing?
    The whole attempt to be Amelie when Cate is in Paris
    It was 30 minutes too long
    It was a bit too Forrest Gump for my taste

    Posted by: Alex | Jan 7, 2009 11:09:49 AM


  15. there were two things wrong with Benjamin Button:

    (1) it was way too long; they should have shortened the first part of the movie that excluded Pitt; and

    (2) Pitt's acting is so far inferior to his female co-star it was mostly him just staring blankly and acting dumb; he has used that technique before; his acting range is very limited; i think the Academy Awards will ignore all the hype and not give him a nomination

    If you want to see a masterpiece see Wendy and Lucy with Michelle Williams. All three movie reviewers for NYT said she should be nominated for best acress for Wendy and Lucy. It is probably one of the best movies I will ever see. I cried all the way through it and i have never cried in a movie before.

    Posted by: tony the tiger | Jan 7, 2009 11:39:57 AM


  16. My thoughts:
    A - this is practically the same exact move as Forest Gump.This guy does an excellent job of illustrating that
    http://www.scene-stealers.com/blogs/benjamin-button-forrest-gump/

    And that anyone could accuse Brad of acting in this movie is beyond me. He was basically a placeholder for CGI special effects.

    Overall, I didn't hate it. Chop off an hour and rewrite half of whats left and it would be an OK movie.

    Did I mention how incredibly predictable and sappy it is?

    Wouldn't recommend it.

    Posted by: cameron | Jan 7, 2009 12:19:59 PM


  17. The movie is pretty, yes. Other than that, this movie is WAY over-rated, and the fact that some are calling this a masterpiece says more about the quality of movies today than it does about this particular film.

    As others have said the film is way too long. But better editing wouldn't have saved this film; this is one of those concepts that works so much better as literature than as cinema.

    And frankly, I'm surprised at the amount of enthusiasm for Cate Blanchett's performance. The role was not particularly challenging and she didn't add or detract from the rest of the cast in any notable way.

    If you skip this film you won't be missing much.

    Posted by: Paul | Jan 7, 2009 12:23:48 PM


  18. i saw it last week and liked it, but i thought it didn't live up to much of the hype and wasn't as extraordinary as people said. but still good, for those who have seen it i really liked the last half when they "meet in the middle" and i thought all the present day hospital stuff was a little too precious and i thought it could have been directed a little better.

    but overall it was pretty good. Cate Blanchett was good and i liked the part with Tilda Swinton a lot

    Posted by: randall | Jan 7, 2009 1:16:01 PM


  19. I knew people would comment about Pitt looking haggard. I thought the same thing about the recent Rolling Stone photos, which are similar to these but not as stark.

    Give him a break. I'm sure he could have covered the eye wrinkles with makeup. The fact is that he's over 40, has six kids, and is constantly making movies and dodging paparazzi. Even with an army of nannies and asssistants, that kind of life will take a toll. Especially the kids---my brothers aged 10 years in the first few years of having kids. Lack of sleep will do that to you.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jan 7, 2009 3:11:34 PM


  20. I tend to think people go to movies for self validation or some sort of continuance of the narratives of their own lives. For the most part, those narratives exist on externals: status, competition, ego-inflating posturings, the actions in life more than the meanings. That said, Button is an internal movie, something I think the older you are the more you'll relate. Mortality is not something you see as a theme in many films and this one, being so delicate in tracing that contour and so brilliantly deceptive in all technical aspects, gives one reason to celebrate. I understand people thinking it boring, overlong, overhyped but I also suspect those same people would think they're aging 94 years old grandparents were "overlong".

    Posted by: Domo | Jan 8, 2009 4:25:49 AM


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