Gone Girl

Gone-Girl-poster-3-200x300Consider this a sort of dual review of both the book and movie, simply because I finished reading the book literally two hours before I left to see the film. I’m a masochist, I know. When I received the book six months ago from a friend, multiple people warned me that the characters lacked any semblance of likeability. I cracked the book that night and read about fifty pages before sitting it on my nightstand where it would stay unread for the next six months. Not that the book wasn’t intriguing, in fact, whodunit books are usually my favorite genre. However, life was more interesting at the time. Nonetheless, when I read that Ben Affleck was going to star in the film version of Gone Girl and it released at my favorite Seattle cinema (SIFF Cinema Uptown), I knew I better dust off that book. I read the remainder of the hardback in less than 24 hours before my friend and I hit the theater.

Since all the details of the book were so fresh in my mind, I was anticipating the film’s every move and it made all the discrepancies glaringly obvious. I was also expecting possibly too much as far as acting and detail. I felt like there was something severely lacking in both Ben Affleck’s and Rosamund Pike’s performances. I don’t want to say it was a bad film because it wasn’t but in comparison to the book, they lacked sufficient interior lives to understand the motives behind their actions. I don’t think a viewer who never read the book would understand how truly cold their marriage had become and the true anti-hero Nick. I think Affleck brings too much of a “good guy” star persona to adequately portray the novel’s Nick. I think he could have had more depth with; I hate to say this, a better script. Rosamund Pike did a good job as a cold ice queen but her reason for being that way was never really explained. I craved back-story! Neither character had sufficient back-story, in my opinion.

Once you read the book, you will understand how there is no true victim in the story. However, in the film, you immediately take Nick’s side and you never leave it. Albeit, even in the book, I was internally screaming at Nick to commit a murder-suicide, especially considering the bombshell at the end. See what I did there? Gillian Flynn did a brilliant job of painting Nick in an unlikeable, yet not complete villain, way for nearly half the book before you realize Amy’s true character. In the film, they rushed it. I won’t point out everything else that was missing because this review would be extremely long but I will give a few shout outs as far as spot on performances. Tyler Perry, I can’t believe I liked you in a serious role, but I did! Neil Patrick Harris, your demise was by far the best and most shocking scene.

That all being said, the film was good when you think about it less in the “how true did they stay to the book?” and more in the “what is the big picture?” sense. David Fincher did an amazing job, ensuring the audience felt the emptiness of these people and their lives. There was also just enough humor to not make it uncomfortable to watch. However, most people looked away at two scenes – you can’t have a psychopath movie without some gruesome violence, right? That crazy bitch, Amy Dunne, is probably the best psycho “see you next Tuesday” since Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction.

As I’m sure you know, there has been some argument in the press about the feminist issue and this film. Women using sex to manipulate men, going so far as to cry rape to punish them for their mistreatment of the fragile feminine ego. My two cents, it’s a movie. I don’t identify with 80% of the female characters in films and this one is no different. Amy doesn’t represent women in general; Flynn’s book is a satire, hyperbole in the most artful way. If I thought there was a reason to hate this book or film because it disrespected women, I would say it but that is not the case. If you want to hate some books because of their portrayal of women, I implore you to burn the Twilight series in my name.

Overall, I rate this film three and a half out of five spectacles. The book – I don’t rate those, just read it.
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The best of ‘The Walking Dead’ panel at Comic-Con!

BreAna Hansen:

More SDCC coverage – this time with the cast of one of my favorite shows, The Walking Dead! Check out the Season 5 trailer here…can’t wait for October.

Originally posted on The Daily Quirk:

THE WALKING DEAD (Image Credit: AMC)

THE WALKING DEAD (Image Credit: AMC)

San Diego Comic-con wouldn’t be complete with a little zombie action, so it’s no surprise that the AMC hit show, The Walking Dead, premiered the trailer for Season 5 at the convention (If you haven’t seen it, check it out here). After the crowd and MC, Nerdist and Talking Dead host, Chris Hardwick viewed the trailer everyone was stoked to talk with the cast. In attendance for the panel were Andrew Lincoln (Rick), Norman Reedus (Daryl), Emily Kinney (Beth), Lauren Cohan (Maggie), Steven Yeun (Glenn), Melissa McBride (Carol), Danai Gurira (Michonne), Michael Cudlitz (Abraham) and Chad Coleman (Tyreese). Here are a few highlights:

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The best of the ‘Under the Dome’ panel at SDCC!

BreAna Hansen:

Since I’m writing for TDQ and relatively silent here at the moment, I’ll be reblogging my articles. If you’re an SDCC or Sci-Fi nerd, you should definitely check out TDQ’s extensive coverage of Comic-Con.

Originally posted on The Daily Quirk:

UNDER THE DOME (Image Credit: CBS)

UNDER THE DOME (Image Credit: CBS)

Yesterday at San Diego Comic-con, Kevin Frazier hosted a panel with the cast and crew of the hit CBS show Under the Dome, based on a Stephen King novel. As the cast was being introduced it was noted that Rachelle Lefevre and Alexander Koch were dressed appropriately in cosplay outfits for the panel. Lefevre dressed as Battlestar Galactica’s Starbuck and Koch as The Walking Dead’s Daryl. Lefevre also made sure to tease youngster Colin Ford as he was introduced as a teen dream by pretending to be a flummoxed female fan vying for his attention. Here are some highlights from the panel:

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First official ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ trailer promises plenty of steam!

BreAna Hansen:

Although I’m not a huge 50 Shades fan…this is worth watching. Spice up your morning!

Originally posted on The Daily Quirk:

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY (Image Credit: Universal Pictures and Focus Features)

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY (Image Credit: Universal Pictures and Focus Features)

I just watched the trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey and I’m already a little inappropriately excited to see this film and I hate the books! I know, you’re all balking at me for disliking the books but that’s why my recommendation to watch this trailer (and eventually patron the film) means even more. I genuinely thought I’d be relatively underwhelmed by the teaser but I was definitely mistaken. Here are a couple reasons why I found it so tantalizing:

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The Keeper of Lost Causes (Kvinden i buret)

KeeperFinalPoster-thumb-300xauto-41015The first in what appears to be a series of Danish detective films based on novels by the same name, The Keeper of Lost Causes follows police inspector Carl Morck (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) and his assistant Assad (Fares Fares) as they solve cold cases. The reason Carl Morck is relegated to department Q was due to a fateful case a few months prior that ended with Carl injured and his partner dead. Unfortunately, his partner was the only police inspector that could stand working with Carl due to his unique personality or lack thereof. The story sets us up to know that Carl has no personal life to speak of, he is recently separated and living alone with nothing to do but think about work. Does this mean he plays by the rules? Of course not.

I’d classify this film as a fairly typical detective film with well-timed humor delivered by the two polar opposite protagonists creating an irresistible pair of heroes. If it weren’t for the Danish humor, I wouldn’t have enjoyed this film. However, I’ll give credit where credit is due. The screenwriter, Nikolaj Arcel, and novelist, Jussi Adler-Olsen, put together an interesting story that wasn’t too bland for the seasoned viewer. Beyond the relationship between the partners, which was definitely my favorite element, I also thought they fate of the woman they are searching for was unique. I won’t reveal anything other than to say it wasn’t something I’ve seen in recent memory.

Just a FYI, you may recognize the actor playing Assad from Zero Dark Thirty or Safe House. Fares Fares (yes, this is his real name) has an impressive resume of films of different languages from around the globe but mostly sticking to Scandinavia and the U.S. His character, Assad, makes up for all that Carl lacks including compassion, fortitude, and sociability.

Overall, I thought the film was definitely worth watching and who knew the Danish were so funny? My two viewing companions also enjoyed the film. As with any film involving violent crime, I wouldn’t recommend this film to anyone under 16 but it’s fairly tame in the grand scheme of things. I rate this film three out of five spectacles.

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The Trip to Italy

The-Trip-TO-Italy-Poster-518x740A sequel to The Trip (2010), The Trip to Italy is about Steve Coogan (as himself) and Rob Brydon (as himself) who are tasked by The Observer to write about their tour of Italy as they dine at fine restaurants. WARNING: this is not a documentary. My unsuspecting roommate bought a ticket to this film thinking it would be a documentary about Italy and its food so she could take notes for her upcoming trip. Little did she know this was a comedy where the two main characters are indeed quasi-accurate versions of themselves who have humorous conversations over their delicious Italian meals but is in no way educational.

Honestly, there isn’t a ton of substance to this film but it is definitely a good time especially for Italiaphiles and cinephiles alike. Their humor includes numerous impressions of actors or characters, quoting lines from famous films, which we all do in our own circle of friends. Admit it – you’ve shove bread into your cheeks and proceeded with a Marlon Brando Godfather impersonation. It is a very chatty film with lots of back and forth between the two silly Brits, if you’re into slapstick or other physical comedies – you won’t enjoy this. If you like Steve Coogan’s style of humor in any of his previous roles, you’ll probably find this funny as well.

If you want to see a light-hearted film for a date or just can’t get enough of Steve Coogan, go see this in the theater. Otherwise, it’s not really worth the exorbitant ticket price – you can wait for Netflix. I give this film two and a half out of five spectacles.

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Life Feels Good (Chce sie zyc)

Life Feels Good movie posterI saw this film on its premiere night at the festival and with a packed house it touched nearly everyone in that theater. Countless sniffles, eye wipes, and teary laughter occurred throughout the 112 minute film. A Polish movie based on the true story of Matuesz, a man who has lived through Cerebral Palsy for over twenty years before a doctor devised a way to help him (and others like him) communicate and prove he in fact was not a vegetable (tear).

The film follows Mateusz from early childhood living with his mostly loving and supportive family in a modest apartment. Until his mother’s age and physical health leaves her unable to care for Mateusz properly and he’s sent to a home. Once in the home, he is cordoned off with the other disabled residents with low cognitive functioning. His inner dialogue about boobs, love, hate, etc. is simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking. He manages to have a couple of love affairs with women without saying a word.

The caretakers at the home are indifferent to Matuesz’s attempts at communicating until a fateful day at physical therapy when he meets a doctor interested in helping him communicate. That poignant moment in the home for the mentally disabled when he tells his mother and sister, “Not I vegetable,” threw the SIFF crowd into fits of sobs. Beware, you’d have to be heartless not to feel for this guy, so have Kleenex on hand.

Dawid Ogrodnik’s performance as Matuesz was stunning, absolutely worthy of awards. I immediately exited the theater and wrote in Dawid Ogrodnik for the Best Actor Golden Space Needle Award. He won! In the running credits the audience gets to meet the real Matuesz while he meets Dawid and it is almost as touching as the film itself. I can imagine that Dawid Ogrodnik will never be the same after knowing Mateusz and learning his story then going on to depict him on film. It really puts life into perspective. Although I’ve mostly outlined the tear inducing moments, there is plenty of hilarity as well. Matuesz definitely has a great sense of humor. I highly recommend this movie to anyone, it was brilliant. I give this film four out of five spectacles.

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