Gone Girl (2014)

Gone Girl is my most anticipated movie of 2014.  Its also one of the Top 5 favorite novels (if I had to rank my faves).  My neighborhood Cineplex only had the English version in VIP section so my boyfriend and I went to go check it out on a cheaper day. Its not the genre of movie I’d choose to go see at VIP but I just had to see it.  With a cast that I felt was perfectly casted and a director who is masterful at this sort of thriller, to say that I was excited would be a huge understatement. The only thing was to try to not let my high expectations get the best of me, which was going to be hard.

Lets see if Gone Girl lived up to my expectations, shall we?

Gone GirlDirector: David Fincher

Cast: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit

Amy Dunn (Rosamund Pike) mysteriously disappears and suspected to be murdered on her wedding anniversary.  Her husband, Nick (Ben Affleck) comes home shocked to see the mess and calls the police.  As the investigation lead by Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens) gets further, all suspicion lands on Nick.

Gone Girl is a very unique story.  I remember reading this novel as one of the novels I was so hooked that I read into the late hours of night because I just had to know what was going to happen.  The novel was a one of a kind experience because of the layout of the story and the characters involved and just how it was so twisted.  You can read my full review of the novel HERE.  Whats a good fact to have, if you don’t already know, is that the screenplay is written by the author of the book, Gillian Flynn.  In my opinion, Gillian Flynn is quite the author because she’s written 3 novels and although the first two are not quite as epic as Gone Girl, they still are page turners. Now that I’ve gotten my fan girl moment out of my system. You can all get where my expectations kind of come from.

Gone Girl

The best way to walk into Gone Girl is with as little knowledge as possible.  I wanted to punch the morning radio the day that it was released when they went extremely in depth with the synopsis.  You learn all the twists before it happens.  I didn’t even bother to watch the trailer for this one even though I’ve already read the book.  Too much information would ruin this for you.  Actually, I’m giving you a perspective from both me, as a reader that loves the book and well, a bit from my boyfriend’s perspective who knows absolutely nothing about it but still agreed to go with me. Other than the two guys next to me that kept pulling out their phones and had these flashing lights throughout the movie and was bothering me so much, the movie still was one of the best adaptations I’ve ever seen.  David Fincher’s directing teamed with Gillian Flynn’s screenplay put this Gone Girl story effectively on the big screen. I was captured by the movie (despite outside distractions) and how they structured it while my boyfriend, without any knowledge was still thinking about it till last night (which was the last I spoke to him).  Plus, the little changes they made were effective for movie purposes while keeping the most important parts and the message the original story was trying to send. Without diving too much into spoiler territory, the beginning and ending of this movie will make you feel like in a very awkward way that it completes itself but makes you think about the deeper issue because it really gets under your skin.

Gone Girl

One of the most important parts of making Gone Girl succession is casting the right actor and actress to play the roles of Nick and Amy Dunn.  Some may not agree but although, I don’t have a very fond appreciation for Ben Affleck as an actor (although I do love his directing efforts), I saw him fit perfect for the role.  His expressions, the on screen feeling he can pull off was perfect for what Nick needed to be, especially when caught both in the attention of the media and the police under the suspicion of murdering his wife.  The desperation and despair was one that I saw him doing perfectly.  Ben Affleck certainly didn’t disappoint me and as Nick, he was absolutely amazing to watch as the story moved forward and it required a lot of the range that he had as an actor.  The other star of the show is the missing Amy, played by Rosamund Pike. I’ve only ever seen her in Pride and Prejudice and Jack Reacher (and thats the ones I remember her in) but this role was something completely different for her.  I think thats what makes this even more epic is that the cast was chosen for something they don’t usually do and these two characters are so multi-layered but developed so well.  A perfect cast needs phenomenal acting and the rest of the cast does a compelling job from Neil Patrick Harris’s role as Amy’s high school boyfriend to Tyler Perry playing an elite lawyer.  They all have roles that bring something to this entire plot.

Gone Girl

This is possibly the best movie I’ve seen this year and seeing as it has such high expectations on my part and there were outside distractions, the complex story, the smart direction and compelling cast are also matched with a suspenseful score and the tone they set is just so awesome.  Gone Girl is a must-watch for this year whether you’ve read the novel or not.  The changes add to the story and its impact and most of the time, they are so minor but so much more powerful.  I highly recommend this but I also suggest that you go in with as little knowledge as possible or how they set this up.  This is a mind-blowing thriller and thats really all I have to say about this.

Have you seen Gone Girl? Did you read the novel? What do you think of David Fincher? Did you think Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike was made for this role?

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The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Before I acknowledged the existence of the movies of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I started reading the trilogy.  That series of book is possibly one of the most intense reads I’ve ever experienced.  Every book is a page-turner based on the issue of hatred and abuse towards women.  It shows it in one of the most extreme ways.  With the fantastic character design in their novel of Lisbeth Salander, it builds for a very intriguing story to be transformed to the big screen.  This originally being a Swedish novel, it was adapted in Sweden first.  Its success lead to this Hollywood remake.

the girl with the dragon tattoo posterDirector: David Fincher

Cast: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Stellan Skarsgaard, Christopher Plummer

In the midst of a scandal involving a Swedish journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), he accepts an offer by wealthy businessman Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) to go to the countryside residence called Hedestad to investigate the disappearance and possible death of his beloved niece, Harriet 40 years ago.  As the killer still imitates the actions of his niece by sending him a gift at a certain time of year, he is determined to figure out what happened to her before he runs out of time.  As the case progresses, he requests the help of a young and very smart computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) who appears rebellious, different and peculiar in her ways.  As the investigation thickens, they follow the clues that unfold before them one by one.

Lets start by saying that I’ve read the novel (and all three of them) and I’ve seen the Swedish movies (also all three), this one is a decent remake but it lacks a little flare to it.

the girl with the dragon tattoo tattoo mara

The most apparent lacking feature of it has to be in the unique character of Lisbeth Salander. The original featured Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander and she does such an outstanding job that it makes anyone else doing this role not as appealing.  Rooney Mara has a bit of a different style design and she’s not as strong of a character to play that role.  She does pull through and emote to the best that she can, but having seen the original, I can’t help but to compare just a little. However, if I do think about her as a standalone character, she does do a fairly outstanding job and commits to her role.  Its a difficult character to portray and she is very convincing.

937950-Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The

Daniel Craig plays the journalist Mikael Blomkvist and he does a very great portrayal.  I enjoy Daniel Craig’s acting for the most part.  He’s never particularly disappointed me in any movie.  Maybe some smaller roles perhaps, but nothing I remember off the top of my head.  He has what Mikael Blomkvist’s character is all about down and every moment of his role dragged us deeper into the story itself.

the girl with the dragon tattoo daniel craig christopher plummer

In addition, we had the supporting actors of Christopher Plummer who plays the elderly Henrik Vanger who shows the pain and frustration he’s endured over the years of not only adapting with the loss of a loved one, but also the feeling of being mocked by whoever committed this crime.  His desperation to find the truth makes us question what really happens and want to learn more about the story itself.  The second supporting actor I’d like to mention is Stellan Skarsgaard who plays Martin Vanger.  He’s the successor of the Vanger Enterprises and doesn’t particularly show up a lot in the movie but he has a very complex role to play at the same time.

the girl with the dragon tattoo mara

Other than having a pretty awesome cast in this remake, what really worked was David Fincher as the director.  The setup, the scenery, how he shot it and the lighting really adds to this movie as a whole. It gives it a captivating touch but at the same time, in many instances, he also sets it up to fully experience the brutality behind the whole concept of what the story itself was portraying: the disrespect, the degrading and abuse towards women.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is probably one of the best remakes I’ve seen ever.  Its a mesmerizing movie that brings out the brutal situation that its set to have.  It also is filmed with the brilliant David Fincher plus it has an amazing cast that does a great job at bring alive the characters in the novel.  Its definitely worth a viewing, although if you do get the chance, the original should still be the first choice 😉 BUT, this is a worthy film to watch!

Panic Room (2002)

Justin at Today I Watched A Movie reviewed this flick a few months ago (exact time frame I don’t remember) and he gave it full score 3/3 and said that Kristin Stewart could act.  I have nothing against Kristin Stewart but I have NEVER seen anything remotely memorable from her.  So I went on the hunt for this movie, then last month I found it on special somewhere and I snatched it up.  After having it sit on my table for the past month, I finally picked it up and saw it a few days ago.  I have seen this before on TV or somewhere, not in full though so this is technically my first time seeing the whole thing.

panic room posterDirector: David Fincher

Cast: Jodie Foster, Kristen Stewart, Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto, Dwight, Yoakam

Meg Altman (Jodie Foster) is recently divorced and is seeking a house for her and her daughter Sarah (Kristin Stewart) in an area closer to her ex-husband.  We start with her looking at a gigantic house and we see that there are 3 floors, basement.  The best part is that there is a secret room connected to the main bedroom called panic room which is not only a 3 feet steel box, but has an elaborate security system and is a place to hide if ever there are burglars, which has its line and all that.  As uncomfortable as Meg originally was with that idea, they ended up getting the house and on the first night, three men, Burnham (Forest Whitaker), Junior (Jared Leto), Raoul (Dwight Yoakam) breaks in not knowing that Meg and Sarah had already moved in.  They are after something valuable that was left behind by the previous owner.  As Meg realizes that they are in danger, she gets Sarah and they lock themselves in the Panic Room.  What they didn’t know is that what the three men want is in exactly where they are hiding, and they find ways to get Meg and Sarah to come out while inside the panic room, they are trying to find a way to be rescued.

panic room 1

This is a crazy movie: Intense action thriller to say the least.  It had me extremely anxious the whole time.  There were some times where I felt it was slightly stupid, but then thinking about  if I was in Meg’s shoes, I’d probably have done the same stupid things.  So it was forgiven.  I mean not connecting the panic room separate phone line, I can get that.  I have my cellphone, its not totally crucial.  Who actually expects to get broken in on the first night? This flick is even more intense as everyone is locked into one place: the house.  As much as we had a tour in the beginning of the movie, a lot of it was still new.  Not knowing what was around the corner, made this a thrill to watch. Plus, ever since Phonebooth, I’ve been attracted to movies with only one setting.

panic room 2

Ever since Silence of the Lambs, I’ve been a HUGE fan of Jodie Foster.  I haven’t seen all her movies and far from it, according to IMDB but I adore the movies she’s in.  In this one, she’s just totally awesome as a woman that strives to protect herself and her daughter from the dangers that keep coming and repelling it in intelligent ways.  Kristin Stewart is an alright child actress….just what happened to her now? She actually was decent in this one.  At least she didn’t have one expression through the whole thing, that’s already good enough for me. Thats what scares me though, how child actors do okay but after they grow up, they forget how to act.

panic room burglars

Any good hero is always carried with their villains.  The bad guys in this one are played by Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto, and Dwight Yoakam.  The last guy, I’m not familiar with, nor do I remember any of the movies that he’s in.  However, the characters themselves were done pretty well because the 3 guys each had their own motives, different personalities that balanced their actions and played off of each other really well.

I’m definitely recommending this movie.  I had me at the edge of my seat and genuinely worried about the two main characters.  It made me wonder about what next move the theives would do to force them out and how they would intelligently (and sometimes not so much) counteract.  This is a fantastic thriller!

Whats your favorite thriller? What do you think of Jodie Foster?