Gone Girl [Spoilers!]: on their 5th wedding anniversary an American Sweetheart goes missing, and it doesn’t take the public long to turn on the husband. This is a film of two halves split right down the middle: the first part is a dramatic and gripping missing person case that leads you down one path. The second half is where the film unravels – it would have been better if Amy had just stayed in the wind, followed her plan, or the plot just followed the downward spiral of Nick, but when Amy meets up with the demented ex, it opens up so many ‘that’s silly / the police would totally be all over it’ aspects and undercut the hard work of part I. It’s almost as if the longer the film goes on, the more silly it becomes – to the point of TV/B-movie. As with all Fincher movies it looks fantastic, it’s beautifully shot, well acted, but it’s all rather low-key, with none of the flare you’d expect from a director this good. The Blu Ray sound mix is also pretty shocking; music and soundscapes dominate and dialogue is completely lost in the mix. Had to watch with subtitles on. There’s a good critique of the media and how dangerous their clout is, paired with some minor social commentary – but for the most part it feels bolted on. All in all, an unremarkable David Fincher film is still way above your average movie – and for that reason alone, this is worth checking out – just dont’ watch it if you’re in a new relationship, or about to get married!
Side by Side: documentary explaining the different ways in which digital and film reel images make their way from the director’s lens and on to cinema screens. It’s a film made specifically for film nerds, about the technical aspects of the end-to-end process of film-making – yet it’s all very high-level, with simplistic explanations that only really cover the basics – parts remind you of school educational videos. Still, it’s a great excuse to sit down with the cream of Hollywood directors, editors, DPs & various industry names, and hear their professional opinions on it: cast list below. It’s also packed with some of the greatest shots from over 100 years of Cinema – starting with ‘Man with a Movie Camera’ through to Avatar. As an interviewer, Keanu is quite good (although we only ever see short sections) but he gets surprisingly blunt and animated with big Hollywood figures: he also pulls off every look imaginable from genuine tramp, through to rockstar and everything in between. The most interesting part was seeing how the digital switch moves the emphasis away from the DP (director of photography) and towards editors and colour timers. Side by Side is a good look at the Analogue Vs Digital debate; however, it’s a fight that’s been raging on for well over 15 years now, and one that digital has all but won – as the new shooting and projecting standards. Because of this, it doesn’t really shed much more light on the subject. Lucas and Cameron championing digital Vs Nolan and Pfister who are unsympathetically anti-digital – anyone interested in cinema will already know this. Still, it’s worth watching, if only to see your favourite directors with the gloves off, hammering into the format they don’t like.
Robert Rodriguez and Salma Hayek discussing Once Upon a Time…
Interviews include: Keanu Reeves, George Lucas, Steven Soderbergh, James Cameron, David Lynch, Richard Linklater, Robert Rodriguez, Martin Scorsese, Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski, Christopher Nolan, Walter Pfister, David Fincher, Lars von Trier, John Malkovich, Danny Boyle, Joel Schumacher, FULL CAST HERE
The Social Network: Pretty much everyone with an internet connection has a Facebook page, so here’s the story of how the site came around. The film starts off at 100mph – setting the scene at Harvard; the socialites and outcasts – but it gradually slows to a crawl throughout the remainder of the film, as it gets bogged down with cross-examinations, lawyer oneupmanship, and fairly boring intellectual property debates – in this area, I’ll take The Good Wife any day. Eduardo (Andrew Garfield) is totally standout here, giving a great performance and setting pretty high expectations for anything else he’ll do. The Winkelvii were well-played and brilliantly done (one guy CGI’d). Eisenberg‘s good at walking the tightrope between likeable and loathable, and Timberlake is more of an effeminate pansy cameo than anything else. The scripts pretty tight and razor-sharp for such a wordy affair; there’s also a lot of really deadpan/witty humour throughout – more than the film’s been given credit for. There’s some pretty good moral undertones about power, money, popularity and the whole ‘social networking’ aspect being carved out and placed online. While it is well done, and it contains classic story elements like betrayal, pathos and all the things that should make a story good – the subject matter just isn’t as gripping a story like Zodiac – there’s only so much drama you can pump into the story of Harvard guys arguing over the theft of an idea. Good film, but doesn’t really grab you by the balls.
The Fall: (Blu Ray) With a ‘to watch’ pile this big it’s uncommon for me to re-watch a film, even rarer viewing one several times within a year, but after subjecting many a friend to the DVD I couldn’t pass up a loan of this Blu Ray. The Fall is pretty impossible to pigeonhole but would probably fall more under the Art realm than just a plain ol’ Movie. In saying this, the mythical storyline is pure cinema escapism that you rarely see these days: much like the magic Cinema would have had like in the 1920s. There’s more eye-popping locations on display than the finest travel brochure – so many that some get no more than 1/4 second glimpse: Colosseum, Eiffel Tower… Both lead characters are fantastic; Pace should be a much bigger star and the young girl Catinca Untaru will be, mark my words! The scenery, costumes, textures and detail of the picture is phenomenal, it’s what BD was made for! The Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra ensure the soundtrack’s epic, making the BD a must see. There’s a few spells of trippy visuals and the story won’t be for absolutely everyone but I would encourage anybody to give this a shot. Reining in my initial score from a 9.5 to an 8, although the first viewing DID blow me away that much.
Kaispace: Films you didn’t know you needed to see
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: A man lives his physical life backwards, from a pensioner to a baby while his mental age increases as normal – interesting premise. This reminded me a lot of Forrest Gump: extraordinary life, laced with American history, boats, war, walking troubles and romance all told in flashback. The main difference is that BB doesn’t rely on being fluffy and funny; it tackles the topic of death from the start, and was just a more modest, and believable (!) story. It does have some humour with the lightning strikes, Irish sailor, and general growing young antics. Every possible effect must have been used to make Pitt & Blanchett look young & old, and the scary pensioner-baby and man-child are like something from a horror film. My only big problem was the thick southern accents (particularly the mumbling woman on her death bed) a lot was lost in translation for me. The heavy symbolism and long runtime were also minor nags. Fincher’s on top form here and it could arguably be his finest film to date – tough call though. It’s a great story, brilliantly acted, powerful, engrossing and tugs at the heart strings.
Zodiac: this is a pretty damn good film. Great story, especially if you’re in to your crime/thriller films. The one thing that stood out for me is the acting, all the main characters are absolutely superb; Gyllenghall and Rufallo especially proving that they’re good enough to be proper leading men & Downy Jr playing his typecast ‘crazy guy’. The only real problem for me was that it wars a touch on the long side, at just under 3 hours, it seems pretty dragged out – which isn’t helped by a slump around the 110 minute mark. Despite this it remains interesting and looks really retro / authentic. It’s also amazing how slow and fragmented old-school investigations were – this will definitely go down as one of the best cop films of the naughties!