Big Fish and Paycheck

Big Fish is a great family feel-good movie with the kind of striking visual style we've come to expect from Tim Burton. Ewan McGregor has a winning earnestness that really sells the tall tales. The framing story is the least interesting aspect of the film, right up until the climax which I felt brought things together nicely. Not a great movie but a good one, and certainly one of the least treacly family films in recent memory.

Paycheck I loved, start to finish. Really, it had me at Hello. How could I fail to love a film that is basically a computer adventure game? If you've seen the trailer, you know the fundamental premise-- Ben Affleck's �berhacker emerges from a job requiring a 3-year memory wipe but yielding a huge paycheck, only to discover that his pre-wipe self gave up the money for 20 mundane items instead. Those 20 items become his inventory, and over the course of the film he uses each one to extricate himself from one situation after another. It all fits together marvelously despite some minor quibbles (the items had to pass corporate scrutiny, yet included a company access card and a bullet; its unclear how Affleck was able to view a different future than his bosses without them knowing about it; none of the viewings of Affleck's ultimate fate showed Uma to be present, yet she was) and the raft of genre archetypes (massive high-tech research lab; a horde of armed security guards who can't hit their target and get beaten by a techno-geek and a biologist; corporate billionaire with no conscience). But for me all of that was secondary. For this Infocom-raised gamer, the gimmick carried the film. Your mileage, of course, may vary.

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