Review: GONE GIRL

NO. SPOILERS.

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On the occasion of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne reports that his wife, Amy, has gone missing. Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick’s portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble. Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question: Did Nick Dunne kill his wife?

The last time I reviewed a Fincher film on this website of mine, it was the 2011 Aaron Sorkin scripted, Facebook-flick, The Social Network. Since then he’s directed [a re-make of] The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as well as a couple of episodes of [the rather fantastic] House of Cards.

GONE GIRL, the film of the book (no, I haven’t read it), is Fincher’s latest effort and boy, it is a doozy.

There are few directors that get me frothing at the mouth with every new production – Nolan, Tarantino, Aronofsky, to name but three. Fincher also sits in that list. I fell in love with his work when I saw Fight Club (mind-blowing) back in 1999.

After that I explored back through The Game (mind-f***) and Se7en (visceral) and then worked forward into Panic Room (meh) and then Zodiac (over-long, but good enough to forgive). I didn’t think Dragon Tattoo was superb. Serviceable, yes. Classic Fincher? Certainly not. Social Network was very good – and then House of Cards reminded me that I missed him in film. In short: to say I was looking forward to GONE GIRL would be an understatement.

So much so I’m just happily tweeting typos…

And I was not disappointed.

Let’s start with the cast: Ben Affleck, as husband-in-search-of-missing-wife, Nick Dunne is a masterclass on playing Mr Average.

Gone-Girl

Relationships are weird things and, in every relationship, people behave in different ways and in this, Affleck delivers (nothing about this film makes him a superhero, but the weight of the world that he carries throughout? He will indeed make a great Batman) – I like it a LOT when good actors remind you just how good they are.

Playing the disappeared-wife, whose back story is told through diary entries along the way, Rosamund Pike excels. I’ll be honest, I’ve never really taken to her much in the stuff I’ve seen her in but in this, probably her best and yet most challenging work to date, Pike is on top form. It’s not an easy journey her character goes on and, at times, it’s a tough sell. I can’t imagine anyone else nailing it as well as she does.  

Neil Patrick Harris gets third billing but it’s Carrie Coon who really should be next on the list. Playing Ben Affleck’s ever-supportive / ever-present twin sister, Margot, Coon grounds the movie with emotion and brings the audiences questions to life without verging too much into exposition. That’s not to be mean to NPH, mind. His short but impactful performance is just the right side of sinister – and that’s all you need to know.

About all of it, in fact.

Yes, Trent Reznor’s scoring of the film is outstanding. And yes, the 149 minute run time keeps you gripped from start to finish. But to say any more would be giving hints as to where the film takes you and I’m telling now, going in ‘dark’, without knowing a thing, is probably the best way to see this film. GONE GIRL is a twisting, turning tale of the darkness that occurs in relationships. The stuff you don’t see, the stuff that both deny. The stuff that all of us have seen – or at least heard of.

It’ll push you to your limits of belief and it will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. It will thrill you, make you question those around you, and it will make you feel sick.

But it does it so well.

I really did leave the cinema completely stunned by just how good it was. Writing this now, several hours later, and I’m still thinking about it. At times, it reminded me of Social Network, at others, Fight Club. The dark humour that spills through the celluloid during the film’s third act is to be enjoyed and revelled in.

GONE GIRL is a fantastically dark film.

GONE GIRL is Fincher at his best.

GONE GIRL is my film of 2014.

It might be yours too.

See it.

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Related post: ‘UK Cinema Release Dates for you Calendar

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UK Cinema Release Dates for your GCal/iCal

Presenting –  ‘The COMING SOON Calendar’

coming_soon

Like going to the Cinema?
Use Google Calendar, Outlook, or iCal?
Then you might find this just a little bit useful.

Over the summer, I subscribed to a Google Calendar RSS feed that populated my diary with all the various games from the World Cup. What was great about it was that it kept itself up to date with scores, updated group matches, and even made sure the right teams were in the right spots come the finals.

Smart stuff.

I’m not really a football person (I just like the International stuff) but, as is often the case with these kinds of things, it got my cogs whirring and I set about trying to work out how it was done (it didn’t take long) and then decided I wanted to make my own version.

And I have.

But instead of football matches, what I’ve done is plotted the release dates of all the upcoming films that [I think] might be worth seeing over the coming months.

Calendar example

I write about film a fair bit on this blog of mine and I figured that if you like the kind of stuff that I see, then you might be interested in the stuff that I’m looking forward to too.

Ready?

If you want a regularly updated Google Calendar event for the decent films coming out over the coming months then…

This is what you need to do:

  1. Go to your GCAL
  2. Then go to OTHER CALENDARS
  3. Then click on the little arrow next to OTHER CALENDARS
  4. Then click ‘ADD BY URL’
  5. Copy and paste this URL  – https://www.google.com/calendar/feeds/whatleydude.com_ov3oaijc8oa6b2fu0fni8i75sc%40group.calendar.google.com/public/basic
  6. Hit ‘Add Calendar’ and you’re done!

UPDATE – iCal users can use this link to get the same result – (thanks Simon)
UPDATE 2: iCal link works for Outlook too! (thanks Julian)

CAVEATS AND OTHER INFO

1. Its fallible
I’m updating it as and when I see stuff that I want to see. This means I might miss stuff and if there’s that crazy french film that you’ve been DYING to see for months and I’ve missed it out, by all means Tweet me or something and I’ll add it.

2. It’s an experiment
Consider this an open beta. I’ve given it to a couple of people already and they’re finding it quite handy. I’m still dicking about with the settings (currently all events go out with a link to either Empire or IMDb or something, this might change). I also reserve the right to end the experiment at any point.

3. Feel free to feedback
Got an idea on how to make this better? Leave a comment below, send me an email, drop me a tweet – whatever. Just let me know and if I can, I’ll fix it.

Currently the calendar runs up into January.

I’ll add more when I know/see/look forward to more.

Let me know what you think.

 

 

 

 

 

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Goodbye, Robin Williams

“I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone”

Good Morning Vietnam

The news is out.

The memories are amazing.

Personal demons. Depression. It’s all so terribly sad.

I’m on IMDb as I write, reading over Williams’ filmography and trying to work out exactly how many Robin Williams performances I have and haven’t seen. Having watched Insomnia a couple of days ago, I was already in the mood to start the exploration into his body of work but waking up this morning and learning of his passing has only compounded that desire further.

In reverse-chronological order, please find below the list of all Robin Williams’ films that I definitely have seen. Followed by a list of films to watch if you want to do something nice for him today/tonight/this week.

Let’s do this.

ROBOTS (2005).
Surprisingly watchable non-Pixar animated film. Having a kid brother, I’ve seen ROBOTS at least fifteen times – and it still doesn’t bore me.

INSOMNIA (2002).
I picked this up recently after realising it was the only Christopher Nolan film I hadn’t seen. If you’re familiar with Nolan’s work you can see that his efforts here, while good, are still developing. Also a decent point of note: Insomnia marks the second time (after MEMENTO) that Nolan hired Wally Pfister as his director of photography. Against the backdrop of the crisp green and whites of Alaska, you can see how and why these two men have stayed partners for so long.

I digress.

I went for Nolan, was unsurprisingly impressed with Pacino (a man whose entire acting palette can be defined by the weight of the world he is carrying – but it’s still awesome), and then mesmerised by Williams. There’s a play by the name of ‘Our Country’s Good’, I was in it once, and a character in it named Ketch. Ketch is supposedly a killer, but no one thinks it possible – least of all him – but the quietness and the intensity eventually gives him away, both in words and in violence. This felt like that.

Worth seeing if you haven’t already.

A. I. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (2001).
Written by Kubrick, directed by Spielberg, this film should be a mess. And it is really. However, I can neither remember much about it nor for the life of me which part Robin Williams played. IMDb says it was ‘The voice of Dr. Know’. Nope, I got nothing. A re-watch is required.

GOOD WILL HUNTING (1997).
Robin Williams won his first and only Oscar for his turn as Matt Damon’s father-figure / psychologist. I don’t think I’ve seen this since the 90s. I’m going to fix that.

FLUBBER (1997).
Yeah, I’m pretty sure this was terrible.

JUMANJI (1995).
I remember being wowed by the CGI in this film; I wonder if it still stands up? Probably not. But still. Interesting fact: JUMANJI is actually based upon a 1981 children’s picture book of the same name. I don’t remember much of Robin Williams (I’m beginning to realise how young I was when I saw most of his work) but I guess that means it demands a re-visit.

NINE MONTHS (1995).
This Hugh Grant ‘comedy vehicle’ is about a commitment-phobe guy whose girlfriend, Julianne Moore, finds out she’s pregnant. Geez, the 90s. Robin Williams appears in what is ostensibly a cameo performance as the latter’s obstetrician. There’s a funny moment involving an accidental of the gestation period of a cow, but that’s about it.

MRS DOUBTFIRE (1993).
Robin Williams stars as an actor who, after going through quite a messy divorce and only being awarded time to see his kids once a week, disguises himself as a woman (an older Scottish nanny, to be precise) so that he can stay in contact. This film is magnificent. First off: it’s classic Robin Williams. Second, from a cultural standpoint, this film was huge.

This was the the early 90s. Everyone’s parents were breaking up. It was just a thing that happened. But MRS DOUBTFIRE was first time, I think, when a film not only addressed the effects of what long-term separation of two parents might do to children but also looked at that separation from the father’s perspective. The emotional impact of ‘You can only see your children at weekends’ puts Williams’ character through turmoil which in turn, drives him through this transformation. A worthy re-watch.

ALADDIN (1992).
The number one box office smash of 1992 (beating Home Alone 2, Batman Returns, and The Boydguard, to name but three) and it’s so easy to see why: this is both Walt Disney Pictures and Robin Williams at the top of their game.

If you’ve not seen this already, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? If you have, I doubt very much you’ve only seen it once. Still laugh out loud hilarious in places, Disney’s ALADDIN is pitch perfect.

HOOK (1991).
The synopsis is wonderful: Peter Pan (Williams) has grown up to be a cut-throat merger and acquisitions lawyer, and is married to Wendy’s granddaughter. Captain Hook (Hoffman) kidnaps his children, and Peter returns to Never Land with Tinkerbell (Roberts). With the help of her and the Lost Boys, he must remember how to be Peter Pan again in order to save his children by battling with Captain Hook once again.

Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook? Sold.
Bob Hoskins as Smee? Sold.
Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell? Sold.
Maggie Smith as Granny Wendy? Sold.
Robin Williams as Peter…? SOLD.

THE FISHER KING (1991).
Christ, I haven’t seen this since the 90s. I will fix that this week. I love Gilliam and this deserves a revisit. Williams’ third Oscar nomination too.

DEAD POETS SOCIETY (1989).
This film means more to me than any other; and there isn’t much else I can say.

THE ADVENTURE OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN (1988).
My Dad took me to the cinema to see this mental, mental acid trip of a film. Terry Gilliam left to run riot with a cast of thousands and sets that seemed to travel through space and time itself. I LOVED it when I saw it and Robin Williams it bat-crazy as ‘my-head-is-detachable-at-will’ King of the Moon. This film is such a huge chunk of my childhood, I might watch it first.

GOOD MORNING VIETNAM (1987).
We have arrived at ground zero, ladies and gentlemen. This is the performance that announced Mr Williams’ departure from TV and that, from now on, Hollywood is where it’s at. Endlessly quotable but of course known best for that title (you couldn’t walk two metres in the playground without hearing another kid yell it) Robin Willams, as ever-so-slightly-based-on-a-real-armed-services-radio-DJ-but-not-really, Adrian Cronauer, is just brilliant.

Unsurprisingly, Williams picked up an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role – and that’s not to be sniffed at for what was fundamentally his breakthrough gig.

A truly great film.

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I’m pretty sure that covers off all the Robin Williams films I have seen. Going through his filmography on IMDb reminded me that I’m still yet to see ONE HOUR PHOTO or THE BIRD CAGE which I’m sure some of you will balk at.

The sad thing is, Robin Williams is gone now.

But to celebrate his life, and the effect on mine that he had, I’m going to work my way through the following list of films as soon as I can:

  • Dead Poets Society
  • Good Will Hunting
  • The Birdcage
  • A.I.
  • Jumanji
  • One Hour Photo
  • Mrs Doubtfire
  • Aladdin
  • Hook
  • The Fisher King
  • Good Morning Vietnam

Did I miss any?

Mork

You’re not alone any more. I don’t think you ever were. But then again, I don’t think you ever knew. All over the world tonight people are going to enjoy you again. It’s sad that it takes a loss to remember the joy. But it is what it is.

Nanu Nanu, Mork.

Robin Williams. 1951-2014.

 

 

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2014: Year of the Raccoon

Rocket Raccoon is coming your way…

Rocket Raccoon Awesome

via Screenrant.

Don’t know what I mean?

Do pay attention.

 

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Basically, I’ve seen Guardians of the Galaxy – and it is AMAZING.

See it.

guardians-of-the-galaxy-trailer-teaser-rocket

 

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NEW TRAILER: INTERSTELLAR

Sometimes, space is the only escapism.

INTERSTELLAR POSTER

Catch me on a particularly passionate day (hint: the ones that end in the letter ‘y’) and ask me about Christopher Nolan and I will gladly tell you that we are extremely lucky to be living in the time of his film. In years to come, his films will be regarded in the same breath as Scorcese, Spielberg, and Kubrick. Such is in influence on modern cinema; he is literally history in the making (argue with me, I dare you).

Nolan’s next project, INTERSTELLAR, is months away and the third (and final?) trailer has arrived and it is beautiful. I can’t wait for this film.

Trailer 2 is below, the third trailer can be viewed at the new website (entry code: 7201969) and it is well worth 180 seconds of your time.

“Mankind was born on Earth, it was never meant to die here.”

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