Paycheck surprised me. It is a good watch. It’s not tedious like Memento but more popular. It is classy sci-fi, testosterone thriller, blow ’em up, but asks questions about knowing the future, in particular Michael Jenning’s (Ben Afleck) past, present and future, the role of technology, and greed. It does go where other sci-fi films have gone before, but it is entertaining.

One problem is that there is much gun-shooting and killing and hardly any blood, so young viewers will need to be reminded of the consequences of violence… Mature teens and adults will find much to talk about though because they will hopefully understand the genre.

Cold Mountain

I was prepared not to like Cold Mountain because I did not care for the book. It didn’t engage me.

However, the film far exceeded my expectations. It’s got a haunting beauty, graphic battle scenes (not unlike other Civil War films we have seen), humor, great kindness and courage with much human weakness – and no cliche’s. Food and “meal” is a stong motif, among many others, as well as faith and religion, without being obvious.

There is so much to say. Rene Zellweger is amazing and provides the humor. She deserves a best supporting actress win on this. We may be almost at saturation point with Nicole, but she carries off her role as Ada (she has a “piano”, too) very well. Jude Law fits perfectly into his role as “Inman”. To the credit of cast and director, it is more an ensemble piece than a presentation vehicle for Nicole. Very well cast.

It’s moving and very much an anti-war film without being preachy.

Some aspects reminded me of The English Patient… but I got over that fast enough.

The only major gaffe is Nicole’s black pant suit that is so out of character for a period piece. And if someone tries to explain it away, I am not inclined to accept any explanation. You can try though …

Cold Mountain IS one of the good ones and I recommend it.