Visually impressive 'Button'

2009-02-27 00:00

THE Oscar-winning film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button opens in Pietermaritzburg this weekend.

Adapted from the 1921 story by F. Scott Fitzgerald and starring Brad Pitt in the title role, Benjamin Button begins shortly before Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans with elderly Daisy Williams (Cate Blanchett), who is on her deathbed, asking her daughter, Caroline, to read aloud the diary of her lifelong friend, Benjamin Button.

The diary recounts his extraordinary life, starting with his being born an old man with several diseases associated with age. Despite being given little chance of survival, Benjamin survives and gets younger with time.

Directed by Oscar-nominated director, David Fincher, the film — which can be seen at CineCentre — also stars best supporting actress Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson, Tilda Swinton, Jason Flemyng, Elias Koteas and Julia Ormond.

Also new at CineCentre this weekend is Pink Panther 2, in which Steve Martin reprises his role as the intrepid, if bumbling, French police detective, Inspector Jacques Clouseau.

Set in Paris and Rome, the film sees Clouseau joining a team of international detectives to track down a host of stolen treasures from around the world, including the priceless Pink Panther diamond.

The film also stars John Cleese as Chief Inspector Dreyfus (the role was played by Kevin Kline in the first film), Jean Reno as Clouseau’s partner, Ponton, and Emily Mortimer as Nicole, the object of the detective’s awkward affections.

Playing the investigative dream team are Andy Garcia, Alfred Molina, Yuki Matsuzaki (Letters from Iwo Jima) and Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.

Martin says he loves playing Clouseau: “This role gives me a chance to do broad physical comedy; Clouseau is truly an exaggerated character, innocent and childlike. At the same time, he thinks he’s on top of every situation, which I think is always funny.”

The third new film opening this weekend is The Secret Life of Bees, which can be seen at both NuMetro (Cascades) and Ster Kinekor (Scottsville).

Set in South Carolina in 1964, the film is based on the 2002 bestselling novel of the same name by American author Sue Monk Kidd.

It tells the story of 14-year-old, Lily Owens (Dakota Fanning), who is haunted by the memory of her late mother. When Lily’s black “stand-in mother,” Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson) insults three racists in town, they escape to Tiburon, South Carolina.

They are taken in by the intelligent and independent Boatwright sisters —August (Queen Latifah), May (Sophie Okonedo) and June (Alicia Keys) — and Lily finds solace in their world of beekeeping.

In the only other change to the city’s film listings, RocknRolla, Guy Ritchie’s British gangster film, moves to NuMetro. — Arts Editor.

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