David Fincher

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 […]

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 […]

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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 […]

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IntroFirstTimeDir

People don’t just get handed million-dollar blockbusters, nor do studios go door-to-door looking for someone to direct the next Jurassic Park. That’s why the following list of first time directors – while seemingly out of nowhere – certainly had backgrounds directing stuff like music videos or commercials.   Still – they were untested in feature filmmaking, and to the un-obsessed public it would appear that studios simply plucked a dude off the street. Like giving a small child a semi truck, the results were mixed.

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This week’s starting off with a particularly weird piece of news. Gone Girl, the latest film from David Fincher, has just cast a major role – the mistress of Ben Affleck‘s lead character- and filled that particular role with Emily Ratajkowski. The name might not be too familiar, but chances are you’ve seen her before. Ratajkowski was one of several women prancing around half-naked in Robin Thicke’s insanely popular (174 million hits on YouTube popular) “Blurred Lines” music video. It’s an unconventional choice (“unconventional” being one of many possible descriptors), but Gone Girl already has several names attached who aren’t known for serious dramatic performances. Both Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry have come aboard the film, and presumably neither of them will be doing the comedic shtick that made them famous in the first place. So perhaps Gone Girl will be a showcase for actors of all stripes to prove their dramatic chops. Or maybe Ratajkowski has some serious acting ability that doesn’t come across in a music video where she dances around without a shirt on.

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Fight Club

Quick! Think of a beloved, bold, classic, cult film with Oscar caliber performance and craft that you’d never want to see remade or reimagined. Now imagine the medium you’d never want to see that film remade or reimagined within. Was your answer Dirty Dancing as a web series? First of all, no, that’s the wrong answer and, second of all, that sounds delightfully terrible. No, the right answer was Fight Club and “graphic novel.” Too bad. In the crush of the weekend’s massive influx of Comic-Con news, an announcement from author Chuck Palahniuk got a bit lost in the fray, and it’s finally managed to get around days later. Palahniuk appeared at the convention for a number of reasons – to sign books for fans, to appear on a panel called “Ode to Nerds,” to clearly be very good to his admirers, and to slyly announce that he’s working on a sequel to his “Fight Club.” The author slipped the news in during his panel when asked what he was working on next, and while it’s heartening that it’s Palahniuk who is working on this so-called sequel, we’re finding it very hard indeed to get excited about the potential for any sort of follow-up to his original vision, particularly in graphic novel form. Collider passed along the news, straight from the author’s official site (called “The Cult”) about the process of the new novel and the bare bones of Palahniuk’s vision for it. If you’re not interested in getting clear-cut […]

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news fincher future

No, I will not be apologizing for that title. David Fincher is having a pretty newsworthy week thanks to the recent confirmation that his follow-up to 2011’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo will be another literary thriller adaptation. He’s heading into pre-production on Gone Girl based on Gillian Flynn’s bestseller with star Ben Affleck and an as-yet unnamed female lead, but while that’s exciting news it leaves a couple questions hanging limply in the air. Will we still see the Dragon Tattoo sequel, The Girl Who Played With Fire hit screens in the near future? And for the love of god can we finally sink the idea of Fincher wasting his time on a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea remake once and for all? Happily, the answer to both questions appears to be yes.

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affleck-fincher

The image you see above you was recently taken when A-list directors Ben Affleck and David Fincher were spotted sitting down to have a high-powered lunch together. What were the two movers and shakers discussing? The finer points of putting together a film? How good the tiramisu was at the cafe that day? No, most likely they were discussing a Gillian Flynn novel called “Gone Girl,” and what it would take it turn it into a movie. If you’ll recall, back in January it was reported that Fincher was quite possibly looking to direct an adaptation of the book, though it wasn’t quite clear where it would fit into his confusing schedule. Well, a report out of Deadline now claims that, due to his shadowy lunch with Affleck, Gone Girl is officially a go, and it’s officially going to be Fincher’s next film.

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20000 Leagues Under the Sea

Despite persistent reports that director David Fincher was looking to again team up with Brad Pitt for his 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, THR now reports that those rumors were “incorrect” and Pitt is not attached to the project. The outlet blames “local reports” which, paired with the news that the project may film in Australia, conjure up images of charming small-town Oz papers filled with breathless buzz that Pitt might be coming to an ocean near them, though the first news of potential casting came out of Variety. The news that Pitt is not set to lead the project doesn’t come with any further casting speculation, but with such a giant potential tentpole production at stake, it’s reasonable to assume that Disney and Fincher will still be looking for another big star to lead the project. THR also reports that the Australian government is on deck to offer up Disney a generous locations rebate that would amount to nearly $20m in savings for the massive project. Disney executives are reportedly finalizing the deal before giving the long-gestating project the green light.

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House of Cards

The similar structure of their titles isn’t the only thing Game of Thrones and the new Netflix series House of Cards have in common. The first is set in a brutal Medieval-style fantasy world, and the second is set in present-day Washington, DC, but the scheming and lustful grabs at power are pulsing wildly at the heart of each. Of course they have their differences as well. Since Cards focuses on House Majority Whip Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey), it’s maybe more exact to call it a version of Game of Thrones told almost explicitly through Tywin Lannister’s point of view. The congressman is aggressive and shrewd in his search to become President, but as the complete 13-episode season of the show (or 13-hour movie-you-have-to-keep-pressing-play-to-see) proves, there are other combatants willing to protect their interests just as fiercely and just as intelligently.

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HOUSE OF CARDS

Television-after-television had to happen at some point. Of course, television-like content that is exclusively available on the Internet isn’t anything new – webisodes have been a thing for quite some time now. What is new about Netflix’s House of Cards is the fact a program under the rubric of “quality television” – a category of prestige televisual entertainment established by HBO, Showtime, AMC, and some broadcast programs – has now been made available exclusively on the Internet. Not only is House of Cards exclusively on the Internet, but it’s only available via a single subscription outlet. Now that it’s premiered, what could its existence (and potential success) imply for the future of both television programming and what’s now expected of audiences? Furthermore, if a program exists independently of televisions altogether, what exactly do we consider to be “television” now? House of Cards has all the trappings of a heavily promoted HBO program. It’s got high production value, a name cast, and a well-known director at the helm. In other words, like anything from Luck to Boardwalk Empire, House of Cards has cinematic credentials: sleek, medium-shot-heavy cinematography, and marquee names like Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, and David Fincher. It’s television tailor-made for the age of letterbox HD broadcasts and DVR. It just isn’t on television.

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dragon tat

The Girl Who Played With Fire hasn’t exactly been a fast-tracked project over at Sony. Since the 2011 release of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, things have been slow on the sequel front. Screenwriter Steve Zaillian has a ready-to-go script, but Sony hasn’t been keen on sinking another $90m into the project. That was the cost of the first movie, and while it did make over $230m worldwide, it wasn’t the major hit everyone was hoping for. Now Sony has another reason – or possibly an excuse – to stall. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Daniel Craig ‘s asking price for the sequel is too high for their taste. They didn’t specify how much Craig wants, but coming off the billion dollar success of Skyfall, it’s logical to guess he wants a good chunk of change. Billion dollar box office aside, why would Sony give in? Craig isn’t exactly a box office star, he’s James Bond. Looking over his recent filmography, Dream House, Cowboys & Aliens, The Golden Compass, Defiance, and The Invasion, none of those films proved Craig’s presence equal success when he’s not playing an iconic spy.

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David Fincher

Have you been wondering where David Fincher has disappeared to since he directed the English-language version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo? Well, you can thank Disney for that. The A-list director was supposed to be putting together a new version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea for them, but the process has proved to be more challenging than anyone would have liked. According to Variety, Disney has had a hold on Fincher for the last three months as they try and decide if they still want to go forward with the film. A large part of the problem seems to be securing a big name star to anchor the project, with Fincher wanting Brad Pitt and not yet being able to land him. The good news is, our wait for the next Fincher movie may soon be over. While it’s possible that 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea could still be his next job, he’s now started looking around for something else to do. More specifically, he’s negotiating with Fox to direct their upcoming adaptation of the Gillian Flynn novel “Gone Girl.” The rights for this one were so hot that Fox had to pay seven figures to keep it out of the clutches of Universal when it went on the market last summer, so it would make sense that they would look to one of the industry’s top directors, like Fincher, to bring the whole thing together.

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