Spanning from WWI to the 21st century Eric Roth’s screenplay (based loosely on a 1922 short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald) tells the unique story of a man named Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt). He is born in New Orleans as a very old baby the equivalent of a man in his 80s who then ages backward into youth over the better part of a century. The film is told in flashback by a very old dying woman Daisy (Cate Blanchett) who recounts her tale to her daughter (Julia Ormond) from a hospital bed during Hurricane Katrina. Left on the doorstep of a retirement home one night by his father (Jason Flemyng) Benjamin is brought up by Queenie (Taraji P. Henson) who runs the place. While there he meets a young girl Daisy who will become a key figure -- romantically and otherwise -- in his life. Ben does have some grand adventures: He goes to work on a boat sees sea battles during WWII finds love with an older married woman (Tilda Swinton) -- and gets progressively younger as the decades fly by. It all manages to be alternately haunting romantic funny epic emotional and incredibly moving and will likely to stay with you a lifetime. Brad Pitt manages to deliver a thoughtful and subtle performance through all the special effects makeup and CGI. He does so much just by using his eyes. Cate Blanchett is equally fine as she plays Daisy from a teenager to an old woman and matches Pitt in bringing an entire lifetime skillfully to light. Her aging makeup is completely natural and she’s very moving in the hospital scenes opposite Ormond. Henson is just marvelous as Queenie a warm and understanding soul. Swinton is elegant and memorable in her few crucial encounters with Ben and plays beautifully off Pitt. Jared Harris (TV’s The Riches) as the colorful Captain Mike who hires Ben on his tug boat and Flemyng (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) as Ben’s father are also effective in their brief screen time. Interestingly Benjamin Button has been gestating for decades in the Hollywood firmament but needed time for the proper technology to catch up to it. Director David Fincher (Zodiac Fight Club) with his early background at George Lucas’ ILM proves to be the perfect choice to marry a compelling story with spectacular visual effects achievement. He did not want to do the film unless the technology allowed one actor to play the role throughout the course of the film. Remarkably they were able to achieve this superimposing Brad Pitt’s face and eyes into all the incarnations of Ben Button. In one sequence Pitt looks just like he did in Thelma and Louise. It’s an amazing feat. He has seamlessly created a unique universe without ever bringing attention to it advancing the art of screen storytelling leaps and bounds ahead of everything else that has come before. Benjamin Button is a plaintive and provocative meditation of life death and what we do while we are here. It’s the stuff of dreams.
Judge throws out Hilton lawsuit
A Los Angeles judge has thrown out Paris Hilton's $30 million invasion of privacy lawsuit against the Internet company that owns the rights to One Night in Paris, the infamous sex romp video of the hotel heiress and her ex-flame Rick Solomon. Reuters reports the reasons for Friday's dismissal against Florida-based Kahatani Ltd. were unclear. The New York Daily News, however, reports Hilton herself dropped the lawsuit in return for a cash sum plus a percentage of profits on sales of the video, which she would then donate to charity. Salomon, meanwhile, has dropped a lawsuit accusing the Simple Life star and her family of slander. The 45-minute video circulated on the Web before Red Light District Video, a suburban Los Angeles porn production company, bought the distribution rights from Salomon in April. Salomon and Hilton made the video in May 2001, but the socialite claimed in the lawsuit the night-vision videotape had been "intended only for personal use."
Marc Anthony pays unpaid tab, staves off lawsuit
Singer Marc Anthony, who was sued in a Puerto Rican court last week by an El San Juan Hotel & Casino club owner for an unpaid bill, has offered to pay the $20,000-plus tab. According to the AP, the suit stemmed from a bill for a private party thrown by Anthony and his then-wife, former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres, after the 2002 Miss Universe pageant. A report in the Puerto Rican paper Primera Hora alleged the singer had declined to pay the $21,067 bill "due to personal problems." Holly Taylor, a spokeswoman for the singer, told the AP Monday Anthony's representatives had been trying to resolve the matter for the last several months. Anthony divorced Torres June 1 and reportedly married Jennifer Lopez days later in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Lindsay Lohan to launch singing career
Following in the footsteps of Disney constituent Hilary Duff, 18-year-old Mean Girls star Lindsay Lohan has signed a record deal with Tommy Mottola's Casablanca Records. "It's a long-term recording contract," Peter LoFrumento, a representative for Casablanca's parent company, Universal Music Group, told The Associated Press on Monday. "Right now she needs to get into the studio and get down to work." Lohan is no stranger to music. The actress's pop vocals were heard on the Freaky Friday and Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen.
Eminem, Sirius launch new hip-hop station
Sirius Satellite Radio has teamed up with Eminem, his label Shady Records and Interscope Records to launch a hip-hop channel. "Once upon a time not too long ago, the Feds wanted all my music off the air," Eminem said in a statement. "Now we'll be on Sirius 24 hours a day." The channel will feature hip-hop from across the spectrum, not just the two labels. According to Reuters, Eminem's DJ Green Lantern will host a weekly show, with the rapper himself and other Shady Records artists hosting occasional shows. The station, which is expected to launch this fall, does not yet have a name.
Fox News criticized in new documentary
Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox News Channel went on the defense Monday after a new documentary accused the cabler of tailoring its coverage to back President Bush, Reuters reports. Outfoxed, by Robert Greenwald, uses testimony from ex-Fox employees, footage from broadcasts and internal news planning memos to make its case. Fox News said in a statement that the film did not seek comment from the station and showed copyrighted material out of context to make partisan points. "If any news organizations decide to make this an anti-Fox News story, then all of their material becomes fodder immediately for possible out of context and biased documentaries," Fox News said. Outfoxed, sponsored by liberal advocacy groups including MoveOn.org and the Center for American Progress, is set to premiere Tuesday at New York University. There are no plans for a theatrical release, Reuters reports.
Franken changes radio show name
Al Franken's daily three-hour Air America Radio show, The O'Franken Factor, is changing its name to The Al Franken Show, the AP reports. The 53-year-old comedian's liberal talk show was dubbed The O'Franken Factor as an obvious jab at Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, but Franken told AP he's changing the name because "no matter how hard we tried, conservative entertainer Bill O'Reilly wouldn't sue us." Last year, a judge threw out Fox News' request to ban Franken from using the slogan "Fair and Balanced" on the cover of his book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.
Baldwin wants to Scare some people
Sci Fi Channel has signed actor Stephen Baldwin to host the third season of Scare Tactics, replacing original host Shannen Doherty, who left to pursue other projects. According to Variety, the cabler has ordered up 14 new episodes of the reality show, which sets up elaborate and terrifying pranks to play on unsuspecting participants.
Actors, Broadway producers reach agreement
Actors' Equity Association and the League of American Theatres and Producers reached a tentative settlement Monday on a new four-year production contract, CNN.com reports. Specific details may not be known until Wednesday, League spokeswoman Kelly Sullivan told CNN.com. The negotiations had taken an ugly turn after the union's contract with the League expired June 27, with threats of a strike. The major concern was the question of non-Equity tours, which have been gaining in number over the last several years.
Kit Bowen contributed to this report.