Gone Girl (2014 film)

No love for Rosamund

She is definitely GONE.

Despite social media’s best efforts, I somehow managed to avoid all the massive spoilers for Gone Girl before seeing it on opening day today. Thank goodness I’m like most Americans, and don’t read books very often, so I didn’t have any expectations from the original source either. I felt like if I waited even one day to see it, it would get ruined immediately over the weekend by some soccer mom while waiting in line at Einstein Bagels. It was worth the effort.

Going into this film, I already liked what I knew about director David Fincher as a man. While I’ve only really enjoyed The Social Network artistically, his intellectual honesty and ambitious spirit as an individual has impressed me. From directing a commercial featuring a smoking fetus, to admitting his hatred for how Alien 3 turned out, I find myself rooting for David to succeed. His resume is filled with incredibly challenging subject matter – Fight Club, Seven, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and perhaps his most daunting task: directing multiple music videos for Paula Abdul. His penchant for avoiding predictable Hollywood storylines/endings has produced a myriad of films capable of holding my full attention for 2+ hours. How much I end up enjoying them(or not) is a separate issue.

This movie was certainly worth seeing. Maybe it was the Fincher and Trent Reznor / Atticus Ross (soundtrack) combo collaborating together again(The Social Network), but this movie had a similar enduring background tension that proved to be gripping throughout. With every plot reveal, you can’t wait to see what’s coming around the next corner. A run of the mill “thriller” typically makes me roll my eyes in bored disgust as I am subjected to hackneyed writing, cheesy sound effects, and uninspired cuts from the edit bay. Gone Girl instead, provides the viewer with a genuine guessing game that easily translates into riveting entertainment.

Ms. Direct

Ms. Direct

The acting is terrific. Rosamund Pike will probably get an Oscar nomination for her bipolar performance as “Amazing” Amy Elliott Dunne. Ben Affleck does a solid job as her enigma of a husband, Nick Dunne. And Neil Patrick Harris turned his standard result of perfection. Seriously, this fucking guy is something else.

What if God was one of us?

What if God was one of us ?

From playing a hetero frat version of himself in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, to the nerdy leader in Starship Troopers, to being the sole highlight in an endless sea of terrible dick and shit jokes in A Million Ways to Die in the West – NPH can do it all. He is some kind of acting mutant who never lets crappy projects drag him down, and doesn’t get outshined by even the brightest of talents.

Now comes the turn you didn’t see coming. I walked out of the theater feeling pretty shitty. The whole thing just left an acrid taste in my mouth. I know the ending wasn’t supposed to have a bow on it. That wasn’t what bothered me. I still can’t put my finger on what precisely makes me wrinkle my face when I try to talk about it. It was like describing to a police officer exactly what bothered you about the strange old man ogling your niece at the playground. Maybe that what the intended reaction, and the movie succeeded in making me feel yucky. Whatever the case, I would not sit through this movie again. But, I don’t regret watching it, and would definitely recommend that you see it at least once – preferably without any spoilers to ruin it. I would have dropped this rating down a full 2 points if I had to sit through the movie knowing any of the twists ahead of time. It is for that reason that I have decided to show mercy to you, my loyal readers, and not end my review with a one sentence spoiler that would fuck up your whole ride. In the words of John Hodgman : “You’re Welcome”.

Overall Rating :  7.3/10

– JA

Argo (2012 film)

I can direct the balls out of myself.

Argo is exactly what it’s been hyped up to be : a good movie. Is it one of my favorite movies of all time? No. Is it fun to watch? Nope. Actually, it was kind of stressful most of the time, and not the kind of escapist cinematic experience most movie goers seek out. But, the bottom line is that Ben Affleck did a terrific job in directing and starring in the retelling of this harrowing true story(recently declassified from the Iran hostage crisis of the early 1980’s). The casting and acting were solid across the board. Especially, for the hostile Iranian militant characters. I was genuinely terrified of them. But, I’m kind of a pussy, so I’m not sure how much the provocation of my fear is a true indicator of quality acting. So this review is kind of useless, since I’m basically just affirming what most other critics have already been saying.

If the Iranian tourism industry was suffering before this movie was released…..

Even though you probably already know that everyone makes it out alive, it doesn’t detract much from the overwhelming tension that is palpably infused from start to finish. And if you didn’t already know that… Then, retroactive spoiler alert, motherfucker!

You’ve come a long way, baby!

This movie is a really interesting and compelling story, and was delivered to the audience in a very engaging and effective manner. You’re all grown up now Ben. So, belated Mazel Tov!

Overall Rating : 8.8/10

      –  JA