REVIEW: Gone Girl

17 11 2014

The gender politic has never been so fun or fierce to observe as it manifests in “Gone Girl,” David Fincher’s wickedly delectable adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s novel.  His eye for detail and intuition for the dark impulses that drive human behavior is a fitting, if not immediately obvious, match for her understanding of the roles available for men and women to assume or subvert in society today.

Together, they perform quite an incisive autopsy of the modern marriage which is every bit as confrontational as it is challenging.  The devilish duo might only be topped ingenuity by Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) and Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike), the crazy couple they breathe into cinematic existence.  In their own distinct ways, they will lie, manipulate, and forge as necessary to get what they want out of the other.

Games that couples play have traditionally been a rich territory to mine for drama, but perhaps only “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” has dared to look this deep into the dark heart of nuptial discontent.  With their marriage plainly turned acrid, Nick finds himself at the center of suspicion when his wife mysteriously and rather suspiciously disappears.  The fact that Amy’s parents turned her life into inspiration for a best-selling children’s book series brings in a mob of overeager television personalities – led by a not-so-thinly veiled Nancy Grace surrogate (Missy Pyle) – going for his jugular.  It’s a trial by media, held in a writer’s room rather than a jury’s deliberation room.

Fincher does slightly overplay his hand in the first act of the film, all too clearly elucidating the unspoken implications and bringing to the forefront Flynn’s undertones of regional differences between Nick’s midwest community and Amy’s elite northeast upbringing.  Through Patrick Fugit’s assisting police officer on the case, whose face Fincher often cuts to after a plot development, the intended feelings for the audience get telegraphed a little too obviously.

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REVIEW: A Million Ways to Die in the West

2 06 2014

According to Seth MacFarlane, there are a million ways to die in the west.  Too bad not a one of them could have come to put me out of my misery while watching his dreadful new film.  It doesn’t just miss the mark of Western comedic great “Blazing Saddles;” MacFarlane pretty much misfires on laughs altogether.

A Million Ways to Die in the West” amounts to little more a bloated reel of MacFarlane kvetching about everything in his life.  At first, it just seems like a long-winded way of setting up the perilousness of the primitive civilization he intends to mock.  Yet after about 10 minutes, it becomes clear that MacFarlane is never going to shut up.  The experience becomes akin to being locked in a room with your annoying friend that can only speak in the form of complaints – for nearly two hours.

MacFarlane’s relentless pessimism is so pervasive that it overpowers the rest of the cast.  Only Neil Patrick Harris, cleverly employed here as a cocky cuckold with a finely-kept mustache, manages to entertain in the slightest with any wit.  Charlize Theron, as MacFarlane’s pseudo-love interest, coasts through the film on autopilot and never really sparks.  Amanda Seyfried and Liam Neeson are mentally checked out as well, but they’re playing such familiar roles that it really doesn’t seem quite as egregious.

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Random Factoid #508

18 12 2010

Eek, I’m really scrounging for factoids … and not finding much.  Honestly, a part of me just wants to say that I caught a really strange pop culture reference in “How Do You Know” today.  On Reese Witherspoon’s mirror, there are all sorts of inspirational quotes about courage and other virtues.  Then, there’s a quote from KeKe Palmer’s song “Bottoms Up.”  You got some swagger, better let ’em know; you got some swagger, better let ’em show.  It belongs right next to Shakespeare and Biblical passages.

(If you want to listen to the line, it’s around 2:10 in the video.)

Yet another part of me wants to tell you that my family’s Christmas tree was dubbed “The Avatar Tree” by me today after these horrific white orb lights we bought from Target make it look like those little dandelion spirits of the forest.  My mom and I were going to dismantle the tree and replace them with new lights, but we decided to live with “The Avatar Tree” rather than waste two hours of our life for a tree that would like pretty for a week.

Or perhaps I’ll just complain about how peeved I am with the ticket-taker at AMC Studio 30, who won’t stop eyeing me as if I’m a 13-year-old trying to sneak into an R-rated movie.  I showed you my ID once, I’M 18 YEARS OLD!

Maybe I’ll just cop out and post this funny cartoon I found thanks to /Film:

Speaking of WikiLeaks, has anyone noticed the resemblance???  It seems pretty obvious who’s going to play Julian Assange in the WikiLeaks movie.  Future Oscar-winning performance right here.

NPH Assange

I’m dog-beat, and this running around in circles trying to entertain you with a new factoid is about the best I can muster right now.  I’ve come up with stories, opinions, and all sorts of other stuff for 507 straight days – today is a sort of reprieve where I just use this post for an open page to express all the stuff running around in my mind.





My “My Best Friend’s Wedding” Cast WON!

29 10 2010

Who, me?  Again?  Oh, stop it.  Seriously, stop it.

Thanks again to every LAMB voter who crowned me king of casting AGAIN.  I really do appreciate it.  Maybe I should go into casting as a career … the other day I recast “The Social Network” using the actors from my school’s acting company.  It’s something I sure like to do.

I’ll offer up a brief bit of rationale behind my casting – and who knows, maybe you can steal my crown!

Rachel McAdams was my choice to take over helming the movie from Julia Roberts.  She’s a fantastic actress with great comedic talent, plus she looks GORGEOUS.  Even if she stunk in the role, I’d forgive her as long as she looked good.  She is in the mainstream consciousness, but a huge role like this could propel her to superstardom.  I have adored her in movies like “Wedding Crashers” and “The Family Stone,” and I just hope the rest of America could catch up with me – er, her.

I had the hardest time casting Michael, the man of her dreams who happens to be engaged to another girl.  I settled on Ryan Reynolds, who has been heating up the rom-com circuit recently and could easily do a pretty good job with this role.

The two biggest no-brainers were the scene-stealing supporting roles of Cammy, Michael’s ditzy fiance, and George, Jules’s gay friend who steps in to make everything more complicated.  It was obvious from the get-go that Amanda Seyfried would have to play the part since she has proven herself so great at playing the dumb blonde type (“Mean Girls”) as well as being someone beautiful that an audience can care about (“Mamma Mia”).

And do I even need to explain choosing Neil Patrick Harris as George?  He’s one of the funniest people at work in the business and this role was practically made for him.  If there’s ever a Broadway version of the movie, he will be instantly cast.

Watch for the next edition of LAMB Casting, when the blogosphere attempts to recast “Forrest Gump!”  (My choice.  We’ll see how it goes.)