Rob Watches Movies

Reviews of every film I watch. The Good, The Bad and The Mothman Prophecies.

Tag: Brad Pitt

Twelve Monkeys – 8.5/10

“I want the future to be unknown. I want to become a whole person…”

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Snatch – 8.5/10

‘You should never underestimate the predictability of stupidity…’

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RANKED: David Fincher

After ranking Quentin Tarantino‘s films, I have turned my attention to David Fincher. It is almost impossible to separate his work when you get to the business end of the list such is it’s quality but I have tried my very best.

10. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)

‘Hold still. I’ve never done this before, and there will be blood.’


Despite the huge success of the book upon which the film is based and also the critical acclaim it received, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo did nothing for me.

Sparse and colourless sets as well as a typically wooden performance from Daniel Craig combine for a grim and lifeless adaptation. A well made film it may be but I can’t imagine ever watching The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo again.

9. Panic Room (2002)

‘I spent the last 12 years of my life building rooms like this specifically to keep out people like us’


Kristen Stewart staring blankly into space. Standard.

Probably the most neglected film in Fincher’s body of work, possibly because it followed the all conquering Fight Club, Panic Room is still a tense thriller and a mostly enjoyable film.

Notable for the first appearance of Kristen Stewart and her three facial expressions as well as an excellent lead performance from Jodie Foster, Panic Room is unlucky to be sandwiched between Fight Club and Zodiac.

8. Gone Girl (2014)

‘Everyone knows that ‘complicated’ is a code word for bitch.’


Ben Affleck was the bomb in Phantoms.

Never has a film filled me with such mixed feelings before than Gone Girl. Amazingly acted and containing some great scenes, Gone Girl should be a classic but the normally focused direction of David Fincher jars with the sprawling, ethereal third act.

Gone Girl is David Fincher’s most recent film and one of his most successful and despite all it’s flaws (of which it does have many) it can’t be denied as a memorable piece of work.

7. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

‘It’s funny how sometimes the people we remember the least make the greatest impression on us’


Based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story of the same name, Benjamin Button is sometimes dismissed by Fincher fans as his attempt to make a sappy Hollywood flick. Whilst there is some truth to that, Benjamin Button is still a touching and beautiful film and a more poignant update on the massively overrated Forrest Gump.

6. The Game (1997)

‘They fuck you and fuck you and fuck you, and just when you think it’s over, that’s when the real fucking begins!’


The Game is a paranoid neo-noir thriller that sees Michael Douglas immersed into a live action video game. Years before it’s time and boasting a pair of excellent performances from Sean Penn and Michael Douglas, The Game is perhaps the most forgotten of all of Fincher’s work which is unfair for such a well realized film.

5. ALIEN3 (1992)

‘Why? Why are the innocent punished? Why the sacrifice? Why the pain? There aren’t any promises. Nothing’s certain.’


David Fincher’s directorial début was roundly hated on release with underwhelming box office results and Aliens director James Cameron commenting ‘Hated it. Simple as that. I hated what they did…. I couldn’t stand ALIEN3′

To paraphrase the great Hunter S. Thompson it is time for an agonizing reappraisal of ALIEN3.  Fincher stated he didn’t want to rehash the first two wildly successful Alien films so he stamped his own inimitable film making style on the third Alien entry and when judged on it’s own merits and not against it’s predecessors, ALIEN3 stands up by itself as a brilliantly twisted sci fi film.

4. The Social Network (2010)

‘A guy who makes a nice chair doesn’t owe money to everyone who has ever built a chair.’


The Social Network is not only the best thing that Aaron Sorkin has ever written but also Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timerblake’s finest hour. Stealing every scene though is Andrew Garfield who showed his potential to be the next Ed Norton with a vulnerable yet charismatic performance.

It may have played fast and loose with the facts at times but facts are boring. Facebook would be a whole lot more interesting if Mark Zuckerberk was closer to his on screen counterpart.

3. Se7en (1995)

‘Wanting people to listen, you can’t just tap them on the shoulder any more. You have to hit them with a sledgehammer, and then you’ll notice you’ve got their strict attention.’


David Fincher recovered from the critical bashing of Alien3 to produce one of the most unforgettable films of the 90’s in Se7en. A grotesque twist on the buddy cop genre sees Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt nurture a wonderful chemistry and of course the conclusion is one of the most iconic film endings ever. Also who wouldn’t to spend two hours listening to Morgan Freeman quote poetry.

2. Fight Club (1999)

‘I am Jack’s… complete lack of surprise.’


A film so emphatically superior to its source material that it forced Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk to comment:

Now that I see the movie… I was sort of embarrassed of the book, because the movie had streamlined the plot and made it so much more effective and made connections that I had never thought to make’.

Endlessly quotable and with another wonderful double act in Brad Pitt and Ed Norton, Fight Club is perhaps the biggest film of its generation and has been homaged and ripped off countless times since it’s release as the last great film of the 90’s.

1. Zodiac (2007)

‘I need to know who he is. I need to stand there, I need to look him in the eye, and I need to know that it’s him.’


As well as being possibly the most underrated film ever made, Zodiac also boasts an array of incredible performances from Jake Gyllenhaal’s obsessive Robert Graysmith to Robert Downey Jr’s enigmatic and drunken Paul Avery.

The jewel in the crown for Zodiac though (other than Fincher’s peerless direction and pacing) is Mark Ruffalo’s astonishing turn as David Toschi. I often try and swing conversation at parties to Zodiac just so I can talk endlessly about how good Ruffalo is in this film. I don’t get invited to parties too often…

Fascinating subject matter and endlessly watchable, Zodiac is about as good as acting and direction can possibly be. One of my all time favourite films.





Fury – 8/10

War is Hell…

After the recent success of of hyper realistic but super boring war films such as Zero Dark Thirty, End of Watch director David Ayer goes back to basics to make an old school war film.

Fury focuses on one five man crew and it is the ensemble cast of Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena and The Walking Dead’s Jon Berthal that elevate this gripping WWII tale into a minor classic.

Brad Pitt has hardly been on a decline recently, appearing in 12 Years A Slave, World War Z and Killing Them Softly but Fury is without a doubt his best role since 2011’s Moneyball. A more nuanced and toned down version of his Aldo Raine character from Inglourious Basterds, Pitt gives a gritty and memorable performance.

The supporting cast are on the top of their game as well. Berthal is genuinely loathsome, Logan Lerman as rookie soldier Norman is a revelation and finally fulfils the potential he showed in Perks of Being a Wallflower and Michael Pena is dependable as ever.

This brings us on nicely to Shia LaBeouf…

Shia LaBeouf;Logan Lerman;Michael Pena

Actual cannibal Shia LaBeouf

LaBeouf has been more in the headlines for his erratic behaviour than his acting in recent years, indeed he reportedly pulled out one of his own teeth and refused to shower during the making of Fury, but for an actor who is often inconsistent it is safe to say this is one of his finer performances.

After years of boring Band of Brothers imitations Fury and American Sniper (which also came out in 2014) are a breath of fresh air.

At ease.

The Mexican – 5.5/10.



A hapless accidental criminal has to transport a cursed gun across Mexico.

The big question here is how has a group of people as talented as director Gore Verbinski and cast Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini and Gene Hackman have contrived to make a movie as messy and poor as this. It doesn’t know if it wants to be a comedy or a gangster film and ends up just hanging limply in between. There are a few decent moments as you would expect from such a bright cast but they are far too few to save a confused and unconvincing movie. Possibly the worst film Pitt has ever done?

12 Years a Slave – 7.5/10.

A free man is abducted and sold into slavery.


A quite frankly astounding supporting cast (Brad Pitt, Paul Giamitti, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, Paul Dano) frame a solid but not Oscar worthy performance from Chiwetel Ejiofor. The real stars are Michael Fassbender who froths with indignation one minute and charms the next and relative newcomer Lupita Nyong’o as luckless slave Patsy.

I am not really familiar with Ejiofor’s previous work but he didn’t have enough screen presence and almost faded into the background when up against heavyweights such as Pitt and particularly Fassbender.

One thing that 12 Years a Slave does indicate is the versatility of director Steve McQueen, coming as it does after the vastly different Shame. This will probably win Best Picture but it probably wouldn’t make my top ten of 2013.

IMDB TOP 250 #178

Won 3 Oscars (9 nominations):

Best Picture

Best Supporting Actress

Best Adapted Screenplay

World War Z – 7/10.

Brad Pitt is the former UN worker tasked with saving the world in this straightforward, formulaic, zombie thriller…
world war z 2
The start of the zombie apocalypse is normally one of the more exciting parts of these films and World War Z’s opening twenty minutes are right up there with 28 Days Later and Zack Snyders Dawn of the Dead in terms of shock and terror. After that it all unfolds as you would expect. There is nothing to differentiate World War Z from the countless other recent zombpocalyse flicks other then the massive budget and the star power that Brad Pitt brings. Pitt is reliable as ever but every other character is forgettable.
A worthy addition to the genre but nothing ground breaking.

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