Avatar (2009)
Director: James Cameron
Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver
Running Time: 2 hrs, 42 min
Rated: PG-13

Review by Brother Reed

The story for James Cameron’s record-breaking 3-D adventure extravaganza, Avatar, is a mosaic of elements from countless different movies; including but not limited to Pocahontas, The Last Samurai, Fern Gully, this year’s Surrogates (though the idea for Avatar likely pre-dates that film), and even Cameron’s own Aliens. Yet despite not having an original bone in its 10-foot-tall blue body, Avatar is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. READ FULL REVIEW

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
Director: David Fincher
Starring: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Taraji P. Henson

Running Time: 2 hrs. 46 min
Rated: PG-13

Review by Brother Reed

Thinking back on my viewing of Benjamin Button, I like it a bit less than I originally thought. It seemed engaging enough at the time. It even seemed pretty good. However, it quickly becomes apparent that qualifiers such as “engaging enough” and “pretty good” are faint praise, damning a film that sought to ignite our imaginations. This is the latest Fincher/Pitt combo, the duo that turned out hits like Se7en and Fight Club. It garnered a staggering 13 Academy Award nominations and picked up 3 wins. A movie with such accolades ought to blow our minds, not settle for being merely acceptable fare. FULL REVIEW

Being John Malkovich (1999)
Director: Spike Jonze
Starring: John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener
Running Time: 1 hrs. 52 min
Rated: R

Review by Brother Reed

Charlie Kaufman is a man who finds truth in absurdity. His screenplay for Being John Malkovich is a goldmine of radical concepts, and director Spike Jonze brings it to life before our eyes as an almost dream-like parade of strangeness. Lifelike puppetry, an office with a four foot ceiling, a chimp with post traumatic stress, people entering the minds of others… this is just the beginning of the oddities to be found in this film. However, it is no conceit. Being John Malkovich may have the trappings of an obscure art film but it is made so accessible – and so funny – that I think audiences will love it if they give it a shot. FULL REVIEW