Gone Girl Review


Marriage is a Battlefield


Gone Girl Review

Director: David Fincher

Stars: Ben Affleck/Rosamund Pike

Based on the book by Gillian Flynn

Year Released: 2014

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Running Time: 149 Minutes

How Well Do You Know Your Spoilers

        Who the heck did I even marry? This is the question that so many couples ask themselves and it’s not surprising. Just think of the people you consider yourself close too. What do you actually know about them? It’s amazing how much we let slip in between the cracks of our conversations. Most of us spend so much time talking about issues that aren’t even important at all we never get to anything of substance. In David Finchers 2014 mystery slash battle of wills “Gone Girl” this is best shown when husband Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) is asked his wife Amy’s (Rosamund Pike) blood type and he doesn’t know. It’s not that Nick doesn’t care about his wife; it’s simply that he never thought to ask. In “Gone Girl” this lack of knowledge comes back to haunt Nick as he finds out exactly what his wife is capable of.

“Gone Girl” tells the story of Nick Dunne a former New writer who now makes his living co-owning a small Missouri bar with his sister Margo (Carrie Coon) and teaching at the local college. On his fifth anniversary he comes home to find his home in shambles and his wife gone. Since Amy is beautiful and smart, this triggers a massive search along with an equally huge media circus, as Amy becomes a celebrity. But, a Nicks lies and infidelities slowly start getting reveled to the world, the public turns on him and soon he is the number one suspect in his wife’s disappearance.

It’s about an hour into the movie when we get the big reveal, Amy Dunne is still alive, it turns out that Amy is an extremely cunning sociopath who’s taking revenge for Nick’s crimes against her by making him look like a psychotic wife killer. It’s long until Nick relies this and decides that he will have to resurrect his image to save his life. While Margo and high price attorney Tanner Bolt (Tyler Perry) assist him in the media war, Amy’s pettiness and impatience ruin her escape plan and she is forced to seek shelter with Desi Collings (Neil Patrick Harris) her millionaire ex boyfriend turned stalker who may be even more dangerous than she is.

My enjoyment of “Gone Girl” was almost totally from it’s characters. I knew from the first scene that Nick didn’t kill his wife because that would have been too simple and these types of movies are never simple. The big twist was never in doubt for me, so the only things that would keep me invested were the characters and the ending. I’m happy to report that one of those was really good. While both Nick and his wife were varying degrees of fucked up and awful, they were the kind of awful that inspired fascination rather than revulsion. Amy is a shockingly manipulative sociopath and Nick would be just as bad if not for the fact that he still has love for his family and guilt for his misdeeds. The relationship between the two isn’t interesting just because of how damaged they both are but also despite the hurt they inflicted on each other they can’t imagine a life without each other. It’s not even hatred, it’s the simple fact that they have revealed their horrible inner self to each other and found themselves intrigued rather than horrified. Isn’t that what everyone wants out of a relationship, someone to accept you for who you really are.

The dialogue was what kept me invested over the long running time. Amy’s was especially good. Every line out of her mouth seemed careful crafted to produce the reaction she wanted. Like any good Sociopath she sees most people as puppets to manipulated and she is ready to say or do anything to make that happen. Still it wasn’t perfect as characters actually use the words vagina and feces in casual conversations. Ask yourself, have you ever heard such ugly and clinical words used in anything even resembling casual conversation. Fortunately these are small bumps in an otherwise good script that was supported by “Gone Girls” other strengths

Since this is a David Fincher movie you’ll wont be surprised to hear that the cinematography is excellent. Each shot’s has exactly what the Fincher wants at the forefront. The lighting is another strongpoint, the excellent use of bright lights and heavy shadows brings to mind the detective movies of the nineteen fifties and forties. Sadly with all this in “Gone Girls” favor it all comes apart in the end.

Despite what I’m about to say, “Gone Girl” is worth watching and I’d advise anyone who likes thrillers to see it and decide on it’s quality for themselves, but for me the ending has more than a few problems. It not that Amy’s grand plan was absurdly complicated (I’m used to that in movies) but by the movies end Amy has killed Desi and forged evidence to make it look like he kidnapped, tortured, starved and raped her. While this is a good plan, it’s a shame that she looks perfectly normal. While Amy’s giving this tearful confession to the F.B.I she still looks like a beautiful Hollywood actress. You’d thing the Feds would be curious why some one who has been starved and tortured doesn’t have a mark on her well fed body. That sad part is that this could have been fixed with a good makeup job. I was also sad that some good parts from the book got cut form the script.

In the book we get more background on both our main characters. We learn about Nicks horribly abusive father made childhood hell and how Amy’s writer parents modeled their character Amazing Amy after her and expected her to spend every moment trying to live up to that image. While some of this does make it into the movie, what’s really missed is the narration from Amy that descries her warped worldview. She talks about how she could feel joy like other children and how “all of us are play-acting, there can be no such thing as a soul mate, because we don’t have genuine souls. It had gotten to the point where it seemed like nothing matters, because I’m not a real person and neither is anyone else. I would have done anything to feel real again.” If this doesn’t show how phenomenally messed up the lady is, then nothing will.

What I missed the most was one of the final conversations between Amy and Nick ““My gosh, Nick, why are you so wonderful to me?’ He was supposed to say: You deserve it. I love you. But he said, ‘Because I feel sorry for you.’ ‘Why?’ ‘Because every morning you have to wake up and be you.”” Amy latter admits that she can’t get this out of her head and it bothers her. This shows that Nick really has seen inside Amy and knows why she is the way she is. Amy’s actions may have been monstrous but her motivation was all too human. All she wanted was to love and to be loved in return. Whether it’s because of irregular brain chemistry, a bad upbringing or just because she was born an evil bitch, she just can’t do it. It’s actual sad, here’s this woman who has so much, but she can’t fell that one simple thing that even the most unfortunate person feels at least once. Even worse is that like every other sociopath she’s managed to convince herself that everyone’s as broken as she is. I guess when the good part of a person is gone it never comes back.


Did I like the movie: Yes

Would I watch it again: Yes

Would I buy it: no

A husband get a box with note saying his wife’s been kidnapped and that her fingers in the box to prove it. The husband sends the kidnapper a messages, saying “that could be anyone’s finger, send me her head so I can be sure”



True Love



Boyhood Review


Life Itself



Director: Richard Linklater

Stars: Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater, Ethan Hawke

Year Released: 2014

Genre: Drama

The Life of Spoilers

            Famous French director Jean-Luc Goddard once said that “The cinema is truth twenty-four times per second.” I’ve always believed that the exact opposite was true. After all, most movies are about things that did not or cannot happen. Even if that old familiar disclaimer “Based on a true Story” is used, it just means that instead of the story being a hundred percent fake they’ve managed to shoehorn in a tenth of the true story. This is especially true whenever age or the passage of time is used. How many times has the viewing public been asked to believe that an actor in their twenties or thirties is a “kid” or that ten years have passed despite everyone’s appearances not changing? This lack of realism isn’t necessarily good or bad, it’s just one of the realities of moviemaking. Though, for every rule, there must be an exception.

“Boyhood” is that exception. In 2002 Director Richard Linklater undertook a nearly unbelievable task, he would tell the story of a boy’s childhood in real time. To everyone’s surprise (including mine) Linklater pulled it off. Filming in bursts over a twelve year period, “Boyhood” is a one of a kind movie. Before anything else is said, I have to dedicate a metric ton of respect to everyone who stuck with this film over the dozen years it was filmed. Extra special thanks (with a cherry on top) has to go to Ellar Coltrane who plays our titular boy and Lorelei Linklater who plays his sister. These two kids put the most awkward years of their lives up on the big screen and kept going with the movie despite not having any contract that would force them to keep going (stupid De Havilland Law).

Eagle-eyed readers will notice that I haven’t been talking about “Boyhoods” plot much, and that’s because the movie’s plot is life itself. The story (if you could call it that) revolves around Mason Evans Jr. and his middle class, single parent Texas family and the ups and downs of their lives. Aside from his mothers divorced status and her poor taste in men (she seems drawn to a bunch of drunk assh&%$) Masons life isn’t much different than yours or mine. Mason clashes with authority figures, finds mentors, discovers his passions, dates girls, experiments with drugs, forms his own personal viewpoints and eventually heads off to College.

That’s one of the main complaints about “Boyhood” it’s so close to reality, that it’s not interesting anymore. While the perils of his mothers’ abusive boyfriends add some danger and excitement to the story, the thing that got me invested was seeing a glimpse of my own past. This allowed me to put myself in Mason’s shoes even though we lived different lives (seriously if you grew up during this time prepare for a massive nostalgia rush).

While the almost three-hour running time will likely discourage some, I thought the time when by quickly and I can’t remember being bored during any part of “Boyhood”. Though I also don’t remember being particularly invested either. In that way the story was like life itself, you don’t even notice it while it’s happening. On the character side of things, everyone gave very natural and realistic performances which seemed to be part of the problem for some people. I’ll admit that Mason as a character doesn’t have much agency or effect on the story, which is completely fitting given his age. Remember, most people don’t have much say on what happens to them in the first couple decades there alive. Still, there were a few surprises like Mason’s sister being the more rebellious teen and that Mason Senior (Ethan Hawke) the divorced dad trying to start a music career would be more of a functional adult than mom (Patricia Arquette). While it isn’t really an issue for this kind of movie the camerawork is very good and the Texas scenery looks great.

“Boyhood” is a confusing film because it’s like life. There are a few great moments and a few bad moments but mostly it’s just normal. That’s not saying that it wasn’t consistently watchable, just that the story wasn’t as extraordinary as how the movie was made. I suspect that the making of “Boyhood” might be more interesting than the movie itself. Despite all of this “Boyhood” is a phenomenal movie that deserves respect for reaching for the stars with its premise. I encourage everyone to go see just so creativity is encouraged and you see how close a strangers life is to your own.


Did I like the movie: Yes

Would I watch it again: Yes but only with other people so we could discuss it

Would I buy it: Yes, but the deluxe edition so I could see all the extra stuff

Facts of Life: Your right hand has never touched your right elbow; imagine how sad it must be.



12 years well spent


Blue Ruin Review


A Man Must Dig Two Graves


Blue Ruin

Director: Jeremy Saulnier

Stars: Macon Blair

Year Released: 2014

Genre: Thriller/Drama

Running Time: 90 Minutes

This review isn’t crazy it’s just got spoilers

             How far does a man have to go before he can say that justice has been done? The fascinating new revenge thriller “Blue Ruin” asks that and many other questions as it gives us a new spin on one of the oldest stories, the story of a man seeking revenge. The man in question is Dwight Evens (Macon Blair) who appears at first to be another lost and broken homeless man, who lives out of his car on the beach. This all changes when a local police officer informs him that Wade Cleland Jr. (Sandy Barnett) has just been released from jail. At that moment a terrible change comes over Dwight, he packs up his battered blue car (one of the possible meanings of the title) and  goes to kill Wade Cleland. After a failed search for a gun, Dwight decides to just ambush Wade at his release party with nothing more than a pocket knife. Then in a twist that separates “Blue Ruin” from most revenge movies, Dwight actually kills Wade. This would be the finale of most movies, but in “Blue Ruin” it’s only the beginning, as new facts come to light and the lives of Dwight and everyone he knows spiral out of control.

“Blue Ruin” is subtly different from its first frame. Not only does it not have any opening credits but it also throws the audience into Dwight’s hobo life without any explanation of who he is. Most of the film is like that, instead of explaining things; it relies on the audience to figure things out for themselves. Some people might get confused by this, but I could follow it and I think anyone who pays attention won’t have any trouble

What’s also different is the subtle tweaks “Blue Ruin” puts on the typical revenge story. Most revenge movies go like this: main character guy’s Family/Friend’s/Second cousin twice removed gets killed/raped/kidnapped and the killers avoid punishment so main character guy must now use/learn badass commando ninja skills in order to f#$% up the lives of the poor dumb basta#$% who messed with his loved ones. These usually star someone who looks like a badass so it won’t be too much of a stretch when he slaughters a dozen people. Take the “Death Wish” the granddaddy of revenge films for example. The main character in that movie is supposed to be a simple architect, but because he’s played by Charles Bronson, the jump from grieving family man to ruthless vigilante is easy for the audience to accept because Charles Bronson could look like a badass even if he did the whole movie in a dress.

“Blue Ruin” takes every critical part of the revenge move and warps it. Dwight’s family has been hurt but the killer was caught and punished. While Dwight does go on a rampage of revenge, he begins and ends it as nothing more than an especially clever homeless guy without any combat skills. Most important is how Dwight looks. In the begging of “Blue Ruin” despite sporting tattoos and an impressive beard, Dwight never looks tough; he just looks sad, lost and confused. Then after he cleans himself up he looks like a suburban wimp who couldn’t be less threatening if he tried. All these factors help create one of the rarest things in a film, realism. I actually found myself being believing “Blue Ruin’s” story and for a guy who’s seen as many movies as me, that’s a rare occurrence.

Fortunately, “Blue Ruin” doesn’t only need to rely on just its story. The acting is good overall, but the special focus should be given to Macon Blair who manages to communicate Dwight’s broken spirit from his first scene to his last. “Blue Ruin” is shot very well and it’s clear that the cinematographer knows how to frame a shot right and present a long take without overdoing it, sadly this is a skill that’s vanishing in modern films. While “Blue Ruin” isn’t an action movie when the bloodshed does start it’s quick, brutal and fit’s the movie’s tone perfectly. “Blue Ruin” is a rare thing, a movie that provides a new spin on a classic genre without being obvious about it. That alone is a good  reason to see it, but even without that “Blue Ruin” is tense tragic and very engrossing.




Did I like the movie: Yes

Would I watch it again: Yes

Would I buy it: Yes

Put a new twist on an old joke: A man goes to see a Psychiatrist. He tells the Psychiatrist that he’s overwhelmed with life and he doesn’t know how long before it will be before he hurts someone he knows. The Psychiatrist tells the man “you should go see Pagliacci the clown, he’ll cheer you up.” The man starts to look very embarrassed and the Psychiatrist asks him what’s wrong. The man says “well I’m really starting to regret strangling that clown I met on the way over here.”



Paybacks a Bitch