Gone Girl

2014review_music

2014 has been an exciting and fun time for movie music with a return to the classically styled soundtrack full of popular music to scores going against convention by adding an unexpected element (vocals) or honing in on a single instrument (percussion). We also got a bunch of catchy new songs to sing along with (and get stuck in our heads) along with scores that moved us, upset us, confused us, or simply made us smile. As films and filmmakers stretch themselves to bring audiences fresh, new stories, those creating the music are starting to push the boundaries as well (or return to more “vintage” means) to mix things up and keep audiences guessing. The movies of 2014 had a very distinct sound that spanned a wide range of genres and musical styles. This year introduced us to some new talent, showed us a new side of familiar names, and had favorites working at the top of their game – read on to listen through the film sound of 2014.

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Carrie Coon in Gone Girl

A few months ago, Pete Hammond of Deadline proposed that the Academy should increase the number of Oscar nominees in the lead actor category, because the “traffic jam is just too much.” That’s just the male leads, apparently, as he was focusing on the “just under 30″ possibilities for the actor race and acknowledge that once again the lead actress category is struggling to find worthy contenders (see our response to the claim that there aren’t enough to fill five slots). Obviously there are more male lead roles out there because there are more movies with male protagonists, but never mind the two lead categories, both of which should stay just as they are. The two supporting acting awards, however, should be allowed more names in the ring. There’s never any shortage of great performances in lesser parts, and as usual this year we’re seeing some deserving players go unrecognized. Two actresses that have been mostly overlooked this season are Gone Girl‘s Carrie Coon and Nymphomaniac‘s Uma Thurman. I am among those disappointed that neither has won or at least been nominated for any major awards lately. I personally voted for the two women (alongside my third pick, Tilda Swinton in Snowpiercer) with my Critics Choice Awards ballot, but they didn’t make the cut. Not that any of those actually nominated by the BFCA shouldn’t be there — well, okay, maybe Meryl Streep for Into the Woods, but I haven’t seen that movie yet and can’t judge. The issue is that for […]

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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.

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Avengers12

There was a while where I defended the majority of comic book movies as being fairly original works. Aside from the borrowed characters and origin stories and basic themes, it was still up to the production team to come up with a story and plot, cinematic characterization and dialogue. There was a lot of creativity required there. Far more than a lot of faithful adaptations of novels. But now more and more, perhaps because there are so many of these movies being made and not a lot of fresh ideas to go around, producers are mining from preexisting stories from the comics. Few of them have been too complete in their translation, but each time there’s a title directly lifted from a publication we have to wonder how much will be the same. The announcement that Marvel is tapping its 2006 “Civil War” crossover for Captain America 3 makes the studio seem like it’s getting lazier. Obviously name recognition goes a long way, and fans love to see movie versions of material they’ve already seen in one form — to watch the panels come alive, as it were. But this is Marvel. They’ve gotten away with so many risks that they can’t be thinking they need more familiarity in their adaptations. Even as far as fan service goes, it’s not like the comic geeks and the brand loyal aren’t going to show up anyway. Maybe Fox needs that with their X-Men franchise, especially after proving it could boost box office with such […]

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Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl

Spoilers for Gone Girl follow. Yes, I get the irony of that. Why do I need a spoiler warning when I’m about to argue that we’re currently enjoying an age without twists? Because I’ve been a ghost this whole time. But, seriously, that’s the kind of twist I want to examine for a moment. The Shyamalan Twist. The Turns-Out-It-Was-Man Twist. The kind of twist that makes you rethink everything that came before it. This is exactly the kind of plot twist that Gone Girl and a handful of other recent movies don’t have. That’s not a qualitatively good or bad thing, but it’s fascinating to see cinema toy — or in some cases move beyond — what has become an overly familiar formula. Executing a thrilling twist is near impossible (just ask Shyamalan, whose batting average has dropped over the years as a direct result of becoming known for twists), and it became even harder as we became savvier to the patterns. We’d watch the signposts and think, “They’re all in that guy’s mind,” or “They’re the real ghosts,” or “Ape-raham Lincoln is probably gonna show up later.”

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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.

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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.

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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 […]

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Birdman Movie

Hopefully you got all of your exercising in last month because October is determined to plant your ass in a theater seat for days on end. It’s our entry point into what we lovingly know as “Awards Season,” but there’s plenty here beyond prestige pics. The variety is commendable, from movies that have no business seeing a podium to slick future contenders to films too good for Oscar. Let’s look for the movies with the most potential to be great. We can even look for Ben Affleck’s missing wife while we’re at it.

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Gone Girl

This post is in partnership with Cadillac  This summer, Cadillac and the Producers Guild of America launched Make Your Mark, a short film competition that challenged producers to create compelling content with limited resources. Contestants made a short film over a single weekend in late June, and you can watch the semi-finalists’ films at the Make Your Mark website. The 30-second Cadillac spot featuring the grand prize winner’s film will air during the 2015 Academy Awards. To mark the occasion, we’ll speak with short filmmaker Josh Soskin about the benefits and challenges of going the festival route, and the best way to take the next step after completing a film. Plus, we’ll have an Interrogation Reviewification of Gone Girl, and we’ll cover our favorites from Fantastic Fest. You should follow the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis. Please review us on iTunes Download Episode #72 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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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.

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Ben Affleck in Gone Girl

Doesn’t it feel like we just finished up covering the Toronto International Film Festival and Fantastic Fest? Well, it should, because we did, but that’s festival season for you, and now we’ve got a whole other festival (in a whole other city) to get to work on. This year’s New York Film Festival (the fifty-second!) kicks off later tonight with the world premiere of David Fincher‘s Gone Girl (side note: we cannot wait), followed by a hefty number of hyped and highly anticipated features. This year’s festival boasts a solid mix of festival favorites — Whiplash! Pasolini! – and some brand new stuff that’s yet to rock audiences — Inherent Vice! CitizenFour! – all combining into one hell of a fun slate that should quite easily send its attendees into Oscar time feeling quite prepared. Festival season is here, and here’s what we can’t wait to see at this year’s NYFF.

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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 […]

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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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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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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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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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Ben Affleck in Gone Girl

Now that 2013 is coming to a close, let the opening salvo of 2014 be a slew of furrowed brows. In the first looks for their upcoming roles, some of 2013’s most talked about actors look very concerned. Two of them may be concerned because they are taking on roles for major names in the field of directing. Ben Affleck can be seen in the first still from David Fincher’s drama Gone Girl, while Christian Bale is playing Moses is Ridley Scott’s upcoming epic Exodus. And while master detective and part-time dragon Benedict Cumberbatch may not be getting the same directing pedigree in The Imitation Game, he does get to play famed codebreaker Alan Turing for the immensely talented Morten Tyldum, who directed the underseen Headhunters. All in all, there is great cause for concerned glances as we gaze upon these first looks.

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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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Gillian Flynn

Bestselling author Gillian Flynn is a unique position – while she’s only penned three novels in her relatively short career (and, man, are all three of those novels damn good), all three of her books are currently in active movie development. Flynn could knock off her novel-writing career now and still be way ahead the curb, but let’s hope she doesn’t. If there’s anything both books and movies need right now, it’s truly thrilling works that rest on the shoulders of extremely complicated leading ladies. The three upcoming Flynn adaptations – Dark Places, Sharp Objects, and Gone Girl – are all coming to us from very different talent teams and studios, but there are plenty of common threads between each novel to make them just a wee bit confusing to readers and watchers (I’ve often gone searching for the Flynn book “Dark Objects” on the Internet, obviously to no avail). So what’s the difference between Gone Girl and Dark Places and Sharp Objects? We’ll tell you.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B


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