David Fincher

The Awful Truth Movie

Gone Girl is a cynical movie. No doubt. It features two sociopaths working out their deeply troubled marital issues in the public eye with just the right amount of bloodshed. Yet in more than a few ways, it could be an unofficial remake of The Awful Truth, Leo McCarey’s 1937 screwball comedy where two assholes realize that they want to stay married. The movie opens with Jerry Warriner (Cary Grant, naturally) lying to his wife about a trip to Florida (complete with sunlamp sessions at the gym and fake letters). When his wife Lucy (Irene Dunne) returns home later than expected, and with her debonair singing instructor in tow, Jerry can’t believe her story of a broken down vehicle. He’s furious. She finds out he was lying about visiting the Sunshine State, and mutual divorce proceedings commence. They both want to keep the dog. The rest of the film involves Lucy’s engagement to the folksy Dan (Ralph Bellamy, naturally), more lies, insinuations of social impropriety, Jerry’s engagement to the high class Barbara Vance (Molly Lamont), the intentional destruction of relationships and an automobile, and a metric ton of snide conversations spat between Jerry and Lucy’s smiling faces.

read more...

Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate

The true first rule of Fight Club is that you have to start a piece about Fight Club by referencing the “first rule of Fight Club” line. After 15 years, it’s more of an impulse than a cliche, like in the way that boys have an impulse for violence that’s not a stereotype. Anyway, it’s time yet again to talk about Fight Club because one and a half decades gone by calls for another anniversary celebration of David Fincher‘s modern classic. And just as I like to do with all modern classics, I’m commemorating this occasion by recommending relevant older classics (and some not-so-classics) that preceded it. Fight Club is another movie from the 1990s that has been highly influential on what has come after and was highly influenced by what had come before. Unlike Pulp Fiction and others, though, Fincher’s movie doesn’t wear its allusions so obviously. There are some direct references (Valley of the Dolls for one), but most of those are to titles that aren’t significant in terms of the ingredients that make up the big picture. This week’s recommendations aren’t all known inspirations for either Chuck Palahniuk‘s novel or Jim Uhls‘s script or Fincher’s direction. A few are, while others are just important movies with similar plots or themes, and as usual there are another few involving members of the cast in earlier roles. After you honor the anniversary by watching Fight Club for the thousandth time this week, follow it with any of the following dozen titles you haven’t already […]

read more...

EW

Warning: Spoilers for Gone Girl (book and film) Boy kisses girl. Fade out. Throughout the canon of classic Hollywood to today’s rom-coms, the beginning of coupledom – and even marriage itself – has been presented as the end of the narrative’s dramatic journey. The long-held institution of “happily ever after” assumes marriage and committed coupledom to be a reliably constant plane of uneventful happiness compared to the roller coaster of getting the couple together in the first place. Movies about long-term couplehood – or, more accurately, movies about breakups and divorce – have, by contrast, been the forte of independent and art house filmmaking, institutions markedly less invested in happy endings. But for a social convention that so many people experience, for a form of human connection that takes up and develops throughout years of peoples’ lives, marriage and other forms of committed coupledom have provided significantly fewer narratives than stories of people getting together or people breaking up. Yet there is as much (if not more) drama, character development and awkward comedy in long-term commitment as there is in getting together. David Fincher and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl offers a notable shift in this direction: an interrogation on the institution of shared living in the guise of a missing person thriller. But this film follows a couple of other, less blockbuster-y titles that share similarly incisive and unique takes on the subject of committed coupledom.

read more...

The great Tony Zhou of Every Frame a Painting has returned with a new video which breaks down David Fincher‘s techniques, specifically the things the director doesn’t do. How do self-imposed limitations strengthen shots? How can people talking become cinematic? How many insides of refrigerators can Fincher show us? It’s an excellent, brief examination (7 minutes) that’s probably fascinating to watch just before seeing or re-seeing Gone Girl, particularly the segments on using empty space to share information. You can imagine how zooming in on a broken coffee table offers a nice emotional kick with only a few seconds of screen time, or how staging a young detective far away from the distraught husband might tell you how he feels about him. There are two notes I’d add to this video essay. One, Fincher achieves a great deal of his impressive visuals thanks to a longstanding partnership with DP Jeff Cronenweth (son of Blade Runner DP Jordan Cronenweth), who has also done excellent, often complicated work alongside Mark Romanek and Kathryn Bigelow. Two, Fincher has spoken before about filmmaking as a ballet whose challenge and objective is to balance a host of moving parts to create something that works on multiple levels. (Granted, he also referred to The Game as guilty pleasure popcorn fiction and Panic Room as a what-you-see-is-what-you-get home invasion thriller, so he’s got perspective.) In doing so, he recognizes that the actors on screen are the focus, but shouldn’t monopolize interest. That’s bolstered by the examination here where empty space, inanimate objects and camera style […]

read more...

Gone Girl Tyler Perry

Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl” opens with a quote from Tony Kushner’s “The Illusion” saying, “Love is the world’s infinite mutability.” David Fincher’s film adaptation also begins with this idea of mutability as he shows us dampened images of the Missouri landscape while Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ score whispers against it through moderate instrumentation. This subtle and underplayed approach to the music gives the feeling that you are embarking on a slow burn of a journey – which is exactly what happens in the novel and the film. As Gone Girl begins, Reznor and Ross’ music gives a pulse to the toned down, almost bleak surroundings we’re seeing, but never overpowers them. It’s this balance of having the music present while not overly influencing what’s happening on screen that makes Reznor and Ross’ score so successful.

read more...

Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl

The first rule of Gone Girl is you don’t reveal spoilers about Gone Girl. At least not without warning or proper cover for where those spoilers might be found. So, more than most weeks’ editions of Movies to Watch, this one really urges you not to look at the list of titles without having seen the new film in focus. I’m not even tagging the post with any of my selections as keywords. On the other side of the table, there is a possibility that I could spoil some of the movies on the list by including them here. I’ve tried to avoid doing so, and I’ve tried to avoid elaborating on any connections between movies that ruins those I’m recommending, as the assumption is that you haven’t seen the 12 picks (there’s one movie from last year that I wound up eliminating on account of the reason for linking it probably spoils it). Anything really old, though, is fair game. There’s one in particular here that is such a classic that its plot twist is quite common knowledge. This week I’ve kept the recommendations linked by director or actor to a minimum since the theme and plot of the Gillian Flynn adaptation is a more interesting angle than the careers of Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike and David Fincher. I shouldn’t have to waste slots to tell you to watch Gone Baby Gone, The World’s End or any of the director’s prior, better films, most especially Fight Club and Zodiac. Once again, you should […]

read more...

Aaron Sorkin

Remember way, way back in 2012, when it seemed as if we were due to get not one, but two whole Steve Jobs biopics? There was going to be the super-serious, well-researched one with a bold script by Aaron Sorkin, and then also an indie feature penned by a total Hollywood outsider that starred a dude from That ’70s Show. It was a wonderful time, one that offered something for truly everyone. It didn’t pan out. Sure, the Ashton Kutcher-starring Jobs was made (even opening at Sundance!), but Sorkin’s film is still in limbo, thanks to a slow cycle through directors (as of this count, just two, but two big ones) and its inability to lock down a leading man. Last set to be directed by Danny Boyle with his Beach star Leonardo DiCaprio on board to play Jobs, the Sony film has now lost DiCaprio (the one actor who was ever officially attached to the film), yet another bump in an increasingly beleaguered road. So what happened? Well, all this stuff.

read more...

David Fincher

David Fincher likes his TV. First came his executive producer stint on House of Cards, then that film noir series he’s been bandying about with James Ellroy. And here comes another- Fincher’s just announced that he’ll be doing the director’s version of a TV bingewatch through the entirety of 2015- directing every episode of his planned remake of the BBC conspiracy thriller, Utopia. Please, for yours and everyone else’s sakes, do not confuse the Fincher-approved Utopia (coming to HBO) with the Fox reality series that puts the immense responsibility of building a perfect society in the hands of a group that contains a raw vegan chef, a tantric sex enthusiast and the “Hillbilly MacGuyver” (good luck with that).

read more...

Ben Affleck in Gone Girl

“She’s not above her material. She’s not making fun of these people, even the nosy neighbor. She’s not making fun of even those archetypes. And she’s interesting in that way. I kind of held my breath and waited to read her first draft and I was so emboldened by it. She was not only capable of slaughtering the darling, she took a peculiar pleasure in offing those extensions of her own imagination.”  Bestselling author Gillian Flynn didn’t pull any punches when it came to the script for David Fincher‘s Gone Girl — a script based on her own blockbuster book and her first produced attempt at working in that medium — slicing and dicing and cutting and crafting without prejudice. In fact, even Fincher was stunned by her ability to “off” bits and pieces (and even whole people) from her script, sharing with FilmComment the above quote about Flynn’s interest in keeping things neat for the sake of a good script. This is not a novelist beholden to her own material, and that might be why Fincher and Flynn are teaming up for yet another project — and why the duo is making a claim to be Hollywood’s next big dream team.

read more...

Gone Girl

Gone Girl is not about love. It’s not about marriage or even about a missing person. It has all of those elements, but they are background noise to an exploration of how we judge, en masse, things we know nothing about. Thoroughly and profoundly cynical, David Fincher‘s movie comes in the middle of a thriving gossip culture that’s been amplified by technology. Royal babies, Benghazi, Michael Brown. Millions of instantly formed opinions are screamed far beyond the back porch. We seem to be under the delusion that we’re somehow missing out when the rest of the pack tweets, posts and shares their uninformed impressions. We need someone new every day (celebrity or temporary celebrity) to be mad at. Normally, something like this would be subtext in a film, but with almost every important sequence and character decision launched or colored by what large amounts of strangers will believe, spitting on the court of public opinion stands just as tall as the whodunnit element. It’s given voice in the film by a noisy neighbor who’s desperate for attention (Casey Wilson), a front lawn camping press corps, bloviating media figures stirring the pot, a chorus of anonymous people whose takes randomly fill the air, and a general spectre that clouds every decision. These figures all feed at the trough when Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) goes missing on the morning of her 5th wedding anniversary. She’s smart, engaging, accomplished, and she was once the young inspiration for a beloved children’s book character. Already a minor […]

read more...

Eraserhead

I love looking at filmmakers’ early work. Sure, it might be juvenile or lacking the grace of experience, but it’s also the artistic eye before fame, celebrity personas or narrowly honed visions. It’s the work they made before output was partially (if not totally) influenced by investors, studios and critics. First films can be like cinematic diaries of the directors’ vision – like David Lynch’s iconic Eraserhead, which is now on Criterion Blu-ray with almost all of his short films – or whiffs of artistry before the mainstream. Some, sadly, are still out of reach to the Internet masses, though they’d be fascinating first glimpses at cinematic themes and techniques. Long before 12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen debuted with a revealing video installation, Bear, which only makes the rounds at live events. Kathryn Bigelow “plays down” her first film from 1978, The Set-Up, where Gary Busey and another guy fight each other as semioticians deconstruct the images – a film that certainly speaks to her future work, but hasn’t been released for modern audiences. And though someone who thinks they’re clever put up a slave scene on YouTube, insisting it was Spike Lee’s first film, his debut – the Super 8 film Last Hustle in Brooklyn – is actually about “Black people and Puerto Rican people looting and dancing.” Those three might remain out of reach, but here eight filmmakers’ early visions that speak to humor, darkness, unexpected twists, and for one – an artistry before an obsession with […]

read more...

Zodiac

Please read the following sentence: Look here, sister, start usin’ them getaway sticks or you’ll be takin’ a pill from this roscoe here.* Did that make any earthly sense? Yes? No? Well, either way we’ll be learning the ways of the noirish gentleman (and lady) soon. Hopefully. Because David Fincher and James Ellroy are in talks with HBO to start up a film noir TV series. From the Playlist, we’ve got a scant few details: it’ll be set in Los Angeles and steeped in the same general ’50s backdrop as previous Ellroy works (they cite “L.A. Confidential” as a biggie). And that’s about as far as “scant” gets us. The Playlist stresses that there’s “no deal in place,” but given the talent involved, HBO would be foolish to pass this one up. Fincher’s never made an out-and-out film noir (unless you count a couple of ads for The Gap), but he’s dabbled in things with noir-ish vibes to them. Like Se7en, which was kind of a horror movie and kind of a neo-noir but still had Morgan Freeman in a three-piece suit, trenchcoat and hat. Totally counts in that regard. Ellroy, by comparison, is 100% gumshoe, having written two of the best noirs in recent history: “L.A. Confidential” and “The Black Dahlia.” Also, here’s a salient quote that should be mentioned every time his name comes up — Said by Ellroy, about Ellroy: “declarative and ugly and right there, punching you in the nards.”

read more...

Ben Affleck in GONE GIRL

We already know that David Fincher‘s Gone Girl will be slightly different than author Gillian Flynn‘s original novel — at least, different when it comes to some third act tweaks — but that doesn’t mean that the filmmaker and writer have abandoned all the stuff that made the bestelling tale of a missing wife (Rosamund Pike) and her maybe-guilty husband (Ben Affleck) so good. That would be, in simple terms, really stupid. Most of our looks at the film so far — and there have been plenty, thanks to two juicy trailers — have focused on the film’s basic premise, which sounds like an obvious thing to do, but one that doesn’t exactly reflect the twisting and twisted nature of Flynn’s book. Yes, Amy Elliott Dunne (Pike) is missing, but no, this isn’t a film about a husband (Affleck) who offs his wife and tries to get away with it (and, no, that’s really not a spoiler). The latest trailer for the film finally starts layering on the creepy, weird mystery that starts to seep through in Flynn’s novel somewhere around the hundred page mark, and it just doesn’t let up. Basically, for people who loved the book, this is catnip (and assurance that the final film won’t be too far off the mark from the original). Let’s break it down.

read more...

20th Century Fox

David Fincher‘s Fight Club wowed audiences with his typical technical brilliance and sharp use of CGI, but it remains an amazing piece of work fifteen years later for its narrative, social commentary and fantastic black humor. Misunderstood and under-appreciated by many upon its release, the film has gone on to earn legions of fans over the years, and listening to the commentary track featuring Fincher, Edward Norton, Brad Pitt and Helena Bonham Carter (one of four commentaries on the disc) opens up an even more detailed appreciation of the film. It’s actually one of the very first commentary tracks (or “auxiliary tracks” as Fincher calls them) I ever listened to many years ago, and the discovery that we had yet to cover it here made it well worth a second listen. Keep reading to see what I heard on the commentary for Fight Club.

read more...

Ben Affleck in Gone Girl

Is it that weird to not know your wife’s blood type? Never mind, I just found out. I wouldn’t want to wind up an easy suspect the way Ben Affleck does in the new trailer for Gone Girl. David Fincher‘s upcoming adaptation of Gillian Flynn‘s best seller seems at first to be just any whodunit thriller, but I have to say that the spot does a good job of making Affleck’s character sound pretty guilty of murdering his wife. There’s the matter of him not knowing her blood type, for one, but we also hear passages from her diary (read by the actress who plays her, Rosamund Pike). One particular phrase she’s written — “this man of mine may kill me” — sounds pretty incriminating, albeit circumstantially. I haven’t read the book, nor do I know how it turns out, but regardless of whether Affleck’s character did it or not, the point seems to be that he’s immediately an easy target. And in cases like this, people tend to pass judgment on a suspect as being guilty before proven so. Or proven innocent, of course. The trailer is like a news report, the kind that makes us presume an arrest equals a conviction and reasonable suspicion equals culpability. Now we have to watch the actual movie, as if it were a trial, and see if our presumption is true. Or, maybe, it’s that mysterious Neil Patrick Harris who shows up in the trailer just enough to make us wonder. Watch the second trailer below.

read more...

1970s Spider-Man TV Show

Marc Webb is a lucky man. Not just because of the lucrative The Amazing Spider-Man 2 paycheck that’s headed his way. Or the fact that he has finally put an end to the hotly debated “nuh uh, Spider-Man could totally beat Rhino, Electro and the Green Goblin if he wanted to” standoffs of his childhood. Webb’s lucky that he’s even been able to make a Spider-Man movie at all. Because slingin’ ain’t easy. Not for Spider-Man, and not for the trail of corpses that dot his long and troublesome road to the big screen. Not human corpses, obviously (if there actually was a trail of bodies left in the wake of a Spider-Man movie, you’d probably hear about it on a site slightly more serious than this one), but the desiccated remains of countless Spider-screenplays and Spider-pitches, which for one reason or another just couldn’t cut it in the big leagues. Our story begins in 1976.

read more...

Ben Affleck in GONE GIRL

You can have your Paul Thomas Andersons and Terrence Malicks, your Richard Linklaters and Friedberg/Seltzers. For my money the most consistently fantastic and exciting director working today is David Fincher. Even perceived “bottom tier” Fincher thrillers (Panic Room, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) are better than a large percentage of other suspense films out there, and it’s his work that I most look forward to every couple years. His latest is once again an adaptation of an immensely popular novel, but unlike Stieg Larsson’s Nordic thriller Gillian Flynn‘s book lacks a distinct visual style that plays so well into Fincher’s wheelhouse. The film, scripted by Flynn herself, is a mystery set in suburban America that follows a man’s (Ben Affleck) attempt to find his missing wife (Rosamund Pike) and convince the world that he’s not somehow responsible. Check out the first trailer for Gone Girl below.

read more...

David Fincher

Think back all the way to 2013, when a biopic about a man named Steve Jobs surfaced starring Ashton Kutcher. Okay, now forget that Jobs ever existed because David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin would like to make another biopic about the Apple co-founder like right away, please, if that’s okay with everyone. After tackling the story of one petulant billionaire technology boy king of Silicon Valley with The Social Network, the writing and directing duo would like to conquer the tale of Jobs, based on the best-selling biography written by Walter Isaacson that Sorkin has already finished adapting. Though the story of Apple’s creation and Job’s rise to relevance is already pretty much public knowledge at this point, even if you didn’t see Jobs last year or one of its thousands of inspirational promos, here’s a refresher: Jobs and his friend Steve Wozniak were free-wheelin’ visonaries for a technological industry, who built Apple from the ground up — only for Jobs to have it all taken away when his power became too polarizing. Under Apple and throughout his pretty remarkable life, the tech giant helped revolutionize personal computers, cell phones and music. His volatile personality got him in trouble fairly frequently over the years, getting him ousted from his own company at one point, as mentioned, but he maintained an unapolagetic stance for all of his actions.

read more...

Ben Affleck in Gone Girl

If you’ve so far resisted reading even just one of author Gillian Flynn’s bestselling novels, now is probably the time to give in and give over to the twisted charms of any of Flynn’s three books and get sucked into her cleverly engineered worlds, especially since you’re about to be inundated with all sorts of material from the David Fincher-directed take on her most recent novel, “Gone Girl.” Fincher’s version of Gone Girl features an interesting and varied cast of talents (which is a nice way of saying that I’m not entirely sold on a few of his picks), including Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Missi Pyle, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Casey Wilson, Patrick Fugit, Scoot McNairy, and Carrie Coon, and it attempts to translate Flynn’s complicated story of a young wife (Pike) who goes missing and what that means for her embattled husband (Affleck). As is the case with all of Flynn’s works, it’s difficult to truly explain what the film is about without giving a whole mess of stuff away. It’s best to spout off a common-sounding storyline, and pair it up with the assurance that it’s only a tiny bit of a big, dark, winding, insane iceberg. Basically, Gone Girl sounds like a TV movie – and it’s not. This is pure Fincher territory. The new film also boasts a script from Flynn herself – one that the author has apparently already sliced and diced up into something new, making her old third act disappear right along […]

read more...

extrait_the-curious-case-of-benjamin-button_5

It’s now been five years since The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was released. Maybe I’m alone, but it hasn’t felt like five years. That’s fitting for a movie that deals with the power, or curiosity, of time. Upon its 2008 release David Fincher‘s epic was a modest success. The pricey drama was a hit with audiences, but it wasn’t exactly a universally loved film. Some Fincher fans considered it one of his lesser works and, as they were ever so fond of calling it, “Forrest Gump 2.” If The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is one of his lesser works, which it is not, then this Fincher guy sure is talented. It is also no Forrest Gump 2, because Fincher’s film is far more thoughtful, moving and honest than Gump. That’s not to say the movie isn’t without its problems. Eric Roth‘s script is often a tad on the nose  — “you never know what’s coming for ya”  and the hummingbird — but, more often than not, this F. Scott Fitzgerald adaptation is deceptively dark. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is about living life to the fullest, but this is a movie where death is a constant reminder. Nothing lasts forever, not even New Orleans. With that said, Fincher still shows his softer side, and that sincerity opens itself up to easy criticisms, both fair and unfair. What we can all agree on is it’s an extraordinary vision following an unextraordinary man. Benjamin’s a normal man dealing with even more normal problems, despite his disease, and […]

read more...
NEXT PAGE  
Some movie websites serve the consumer. Some serve the industry. At Film School Rejects, we serve at the pleasure of the connoisseur. We provide the best reviews, interviews and features to millions of dedicated movie fans who know what they love and love what they know. Because we, like you, simply love the art of the moving picture.
Fantastic Fest 2014
6 Filmmaking Tips: James Gunn
Got a Tip? Send it here:
editors@filmschoolrejects.com
Publisher:
Neil Miller
Managing Editor:
Scott Beggs
Associate Editors:
Rob Hunter
Kate Erbland
Christopher Campbell
All Rights Reserved © 2006-2014 Reject Media, LLC | Privacy Policy | Design & Development by Face3