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Entries in David Fincher (31)

Monday
Aug252014

The Best Film of 1989 That Wasn't

Glenn here to discuss a lil something from 1989, but first a divergence to the modern day.

Last night’s MTV Video Music Awards were like stepping into a pop culture gulag. It’s easy to get misty-eyed thinking about VMA ceremonies of years past, when the network actually showed music videos and the form felt truly like art. Despite being aware of last night’s winner, “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus the icky Terry Richardson, I don’t claim to have near enough knowledge of modern music videos to truly complain. It does seem harder to imagine Neil Young, Peter Gabriel, or Pearl Jam winning these days though, doesn’t it? Are there brilliant works that just aren’t being recognized?

It’s been some time since videos were genuine pop culture moments and the internet certainly doesn’t help. Beyoncé appears to be the only one who’s been able to recreate the buzz of sitting around to watch the premiere of a new Michael Jackson or Madonna video. Most importantly, however, formative years are no longer spent watching music videos hoping to find our new favorite song and reveling in visual genius, rather we leave that to YouTube, iTunes and Spotify while we binge-watch sitcoms on Netflix instead.

Which brings me to 1989. If it weren’t for 1989 we wouldn’t have David Fincher. The future Oscar-nominated director had successes before ’89, but his two collaborations with Madonna that year – “Oh Father” and “Express Yourself” – as well as “Vogue” a year later feel like true moments of breakthrough genius. Whenever I tell fans of David Fincher that they should thank Madonna they balk, but isn’t it kind of true?

“Express Yourself” lost the video of the year award to Neil Young’s “This Note’s For You”, but much like a lot of Madonna’s music career, time has proven that she wasn’t just a momentary flash in the pan spurred on by a public wanting what’s new and shiny. Fincher’s video took liberal inspiration from Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent sci-fi classic Metropolis and gave it a slick and sexualized make-over (before blue filters were over-used). For mine, it remains the best thing David Fincher has ever directed – although, ever the contrarian, I don’t quite know if his maturing directorial instincts are for the better. Rather I find myself getting less excited for each new Fincher film and the very insular heterosexual male worlds they appear to inhabit. Will Gone Girl will change that?

Madonna has always been obsessed with cinema, old and new. She and Fincher would prove that again most famously one year later with “Vogue” with its recreations of the Golden Age of Hollywood as well as Isaac Julien's Looking for Langston. Every cent of Express Yourself's then record-breaking $5mil budget is on screen and it’s heightened, boldly stylized aesthetic is the exact kind that Baz Luhrmann was recreating with Moulin Rouge! over a decade later. From the rain-soaked underclass below to the sensual art-deco with modern twist of Madge’s world up top, “Express Yourself” surpasses even some of the work nominated for art direction and cinematography Oscars that year. Who remembers the sets of Driving Miss Daisy, you know? In a neat twist, Tim Burton’s Batman won the former category, itself also inspired by Metropolis. And remember when they went via satellite to present awards in England? Yikes!

The overt homoeroticism. The power of the pussy. The rally cry of the woman. It’s certainly a video that informed my early years a lot, and would go on to inspire my predilection for excessively stylish cinema as well as bold interpretations of eras. The “Express Yourself” video holds up better than most films of 1989, but perhaps works best of all as a beacon not only for Fincher’s career, but as an encapsulation of where cinema could and eventually would go in the following decades from Quentin Tarantino to endless remakes and reboots. By repurposing Metropolis, everything old was new again. Something we still see the effects of today.

Wednesday
Jun112014

Linkenstein Monster

The Wire has a funny report on new Chris Martin / Gwyneth Paltrow rumors
i09 the greatest Bride of Frankenstein poster ever
/Film Andrew Stanton on the John Carter sequels that will never be 
My New Plaid Pants suggests that we all rewatch Alexander because Oliver Stone's new cut vastly improves it

Guardian Sigourney Weaver will appear in all three Avatar sequels continuing her fruitful collaboration with James Cameron 
CHUD on the Dumb and Dumber To poster
Guardian the trailer to the beautifully shot Lilting starring Ben Whishaw and one of the most handsome actors you've never heard of (I reviewed it at Sundance)
Antagony & Ecstasy one of our most loyal Best Shot supporters finally got around to Pocahontas!
The Dissolve sees a statue of Napoleon Dynamite
Vice's summer fiction issue features a short story about Lindsay Lohan by James Franco
Empire Josh Brolin will co-star with George Clooney in Hail Caesar!  a new comedy for the Coen brothers about 1950s Hollywood about scandal coverups of the stars
/Film David Fincher and Rooney Mara may reunite for Red Sparrow, a spy thriller 

Today's Watch
Though perhaps you saw it late last week (what? I can't be everywhere at once). Matt McGorry, the adorable confused soon-to-be father from Orange is the New Black "auditions" for Magic Mike 2

 

Saturday
Apr192014

YNMS²: Foxcatcher & Gone Girl

Unless you count the LEGO Movie's probable Best Animated Feature bid and the Sundance bow of Love is Strange (I'm still hopeful - it's playing Tribeca right now) 2014 hasn't seen much in the way of Oscar contenders just yet. Recent trailers are changing the collective shrug to raised eyebrows - between The Homesman (previously discussed), Jersey Boys (if you're feeling very generous), the Cannes lineup announcement and these two trailers from past nominated directors Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher) and David Fincher (Gone Girl) the body is ready for the first wave of Oscar predictions. We'll manage them before April wraps.

Both of these trailers have been around for a bit and both blissfully play more like teasers despite their length; the job of a trailer is to sell a future ticket, not to make you feel like you've already seen it so you don't need one.  Foxcatcher's traiser was actually released last year and then swiftly pulled before we could get to it but it recently resurfaced and Gone Girl has been kicking around for a week but I've heard your plea to discuss so a couple of quick notes follow

GONE GIRL

Yes. What's not to love really? Remarkable use of music and uncomfortable juxtapositions in the montage. Plus, Rosamund Pike's gorgeousity turning to the camera just in time for the vocals of "She" is just a marvelous 'we're-making-a-star here' relief given that her career, though healthy, deserves more fame and a richer choice of scripts. That final shot of her in the water is so disturbing. (Yikes). And though they aren't prominently featured in this trailer the supporting cast is really good with a lot of underused faces like Sela Ward and Missi Pyle. 

No. I got nothing though I guess I hope Fincher takes a break from crime thrillers soon and that greenish color palette which was fun for a couple of films but three in a row. It's approaching Eastwood's inky black and Soderbergh's yellow as a default rather than an artistic choice.

Maybe So. Casting Ben Affleck as your leading man has to be considered kind of risky, right? Aristically speaking. He's not the terrible actor some say he is but neither has he ever proven himself a great one. 

FOX CATCHER

Yes. Another minimalist peak at a crime drama, this one being a horrible and super weird true story. It has a very good chance of being riveting given the cast, the story and the writer/director (Bennett Miller of Capote and Moneyball fame). The "A coach is..." speech here is beautifully judged as a teaser framing device, especially with that pathetic shuffle into the gym with the pistol out. Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum seem like a pretty great trio to hang a movie on. And did I just spot Vanessa Redgrave?!? ( "Yes, please" times so so so many.)

Also Yes. Channing Tatum in a singlet

No. I dread any potential "sweepers" in any of the acting categories -- just on principle because there are ALWAYS more than four great performances in a film year -- so though I've long thought Steve Carell was an Oscar calibre actor (I nominated him right here for Little Miss Sunshine) I don't relish seeing him win everything because he went the prosthetic and vocal affectation route. He looks good in the trailer, don't get me wrong. I just know that no matter how brilliant he is, he'll be wildly overpraised merely because of this and the meat of the role. 

Maybe So. I suppose the ultra specific details of this tale might not help it with accessibility for the masses, or even to feel potent thematically. But we'll worry about that later if it happens.

 

Are you a Yes, No or Maybe So ?
And does the strength of your answer coincide with your faith in their Oscar play? 

 

Friday
Mar212014

Hand Jobs To Christian Bale

JA from MNPP here - you've probably heard by now that David Fincher is being lured towards making a movie about Apple co-founder Steve Jobs via a script by Aaron Sorkin; the big news yesterday was that Fincher told Sony that the only way he would make their silly little computer movie is if he could have the actor Christian Bale handed to him on a platter to play the leading role.

They say the film "consists of three long scenes regarding Apple's buzzed-about product launches" - sounds like a jazzy spot for a serious thespian to play around in (DiCaprio certainly relished those sequences in The Wolf of Wall Street) and Bale's nothing if not serious.

Indeed hearing their names together just now I wonder why they have never worked together before - Fincher's hundred-take slogs seem like just the sort of punishment Bale's inclined towards. They'll make the best sado-masochist duo since Dan Ackroyd and Rosie O'Donnell went looking for an Exit To Eden. (I hope that makes the posters.)

And yes Bale's pretty perfect casting looks-wise... but so was Ashton Kutcher, so let's gauge such things via talent, and Bale's surely proven more than enough of that over the years. (Patrick Bateman Forever.) What do you think of this possible movie? Do you think these guys can squeeze more juice from the fruit (groan) of technology, or was the anti-charm of the Zuckerberg clan too much for you already?

Saturday
Jan252014

We Can't Wait #12: Gone Girl

[Editor's Note: We Can't Wait is a Team Experience series, in which we highlight our top 14 most anticipated films of 2014. Here's Deborah Lipp on Gone Girl.]

Gone Girl

Loosely based on Gillian Flynn's best selling noverl of the same name, the film tells the story of a woman who mysteriously disappears on the day of her wedding anniversary.
 

 

Talent
Directed by a modern master of American thrillers, David Fincher, and starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, and Patrick Fugit.

 

Why We Can't Wait

Click to read more ...