Gone Girl

GG poster20th Century-Fox (2014) 149 min. R

Director: David Fincher Screenplay: Gillian Flynn; based on the novel Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Cinematography: Jeff Cronenweth; Editing: Kirk Baxter

Production Design: Donald Graham Burt; Set Decoration: Douglas A. Mowat; Costumes: Trish Summerville; Score: Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross

Stars: Ben Affleck (Nick Dunne), Rosamund Pike (Amy Elliott-Dunne), Neil Patrick Harris (Desi Collings), Tyler Perry (Tanner Bolt), Carrie Coon (Margo), Kim Dickens (Det. Rhonda Boney), Emily Ratajkowski (Andie), Missi Pyle (Ellen Abbott), Patrick Fugit (Officer James Gilpin), Sela Ward (Sharon Schieber), Lola Kirke (Greta), Casey Wilson (Noelle Hawthorne), Leonard Kelly-Young (Bill Dunne)

While it’s a welcome relief to see a book adapted into a movie that isn’t grounded in another teen fiction franchise, the Book-of-the-Month club mentality Gone Girl grew out of gives me pause. Big screen bestsellers come with a built-in audience, a guarantee that makes them a relatively safe investment for producers, but the sort of bookworms they attract to cinemas and who regard them as great films in the same way they classify great literature, aren’t the type who generally go to movies so can’t be the most discerning judges. Continue reading

The Theory of Everything

ToEWorking Title (2014) 123 min. PG-13

Director: James Marsh 

Screenplay: Anthony McCarten; based on Traveling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane Wilde Hawking

Cinematography: Benoît Delhomme; Editing: Jinx Godfrey

Production Design: John Paul Kelly; Set Decoration: Claire Nia Richards

Costumes: Steven Noble; Score: Jóhann Jóhannsson

Stars: Eddie Redmayne (Stephen Hawking), Felicity Jones (Jane Wilde Hawking), Charlie Cox (Jonathan Jones), Maxine Peake (Elaine Mason), Harry Lloyd (Brian), Emily Watson (Beryl Wilde), David Thewlis (Dennis Sciama), Christian McKay (Roger Penrose)

The new biography of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, The Theory of Everything leaves one wondering what that theory of the title is alluding to exactly in terms of the content. The movie never makes it quite clear, though apparently it was intended to tie everything together at the end. Just as the feasibility of this grand design ultimately eluded Hawking, so James Marsh’s biography about him seems to likewise be missing some strategic element to impart it with form and to infuse it with meaning. This free thinker whose theories revolutionized the science of cosmology has been accorded a screen memorial that fails to think outside the box. Continue reading

Fury

Fury-2014-Movie-PosterColumbia/QED Ent. (2014) 134 min. R

Director: David Ayer Screenplay: David Ayer

Cinematography: Roman Vasyanov; Editing: Jay Cassidy & Dody Dorn

Production Design: Andrew Menzies; Set Decoration: Lee Gordon & Malcolm Stone

Costumes: Anna B. Sheppard & Owen Thornton; Score: Steven Price

Stars: Brad Pitt (Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier), Shia LaBeouf (Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan), Logan Lerman (Norman Ellison), Michael Peña (Trini ‘Gordo’ Garcia), Jon Bernthal (Grady ‘Coon-Ass’ Travis), Alicia von Rittberg (Emma), Jason Isaacs (Cpt. Waggoner), Jim Parrack (Sgt. Binkowski), Anamaria Marinca (Irma), Brad William Henke (Sgt. Davis), Xavier Samuel (Lieutenant Parker), Kevin Vance (Sgt. Peterson), Scott Eastwood (Sgt. Miles)

In the final stages of WWII, the five-man 66th Armored Tank Regiment commanded by U.S. Army staff Sgt. Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier (Brad Pitt) must contend with a shaky new recruit, Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman), whose general inexperience in combat and attempts to observe the social graces even in the war zone make him an easy target among this uncouth company of grizzled vets. Yet his presence awakens Collier’s finer nature, making him aware of how dehumanized he’s become, driving a wedge between him and his equally volatile, desensitized men.

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