‘Gone Girl’ Trailer


The trailer for David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestseller ‘Gone Girl’ has hit the internet this week. The preview, which channels a little bit of ‘Zodiac’ along with pretty much every movie David Fincher has made, gives us an eerie montage of Ben Affleck insisting that he didn’t kill his wife (Rosamund Pike) while intercutting some footage of their apparently tumultuous relationship.

The adaptation definitely looks like it will be a good one and Fincher, whose last film was based on another popular book in ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’, surely knows the expectations associated with fan heavy source material. So, I’m sure he’s up for the task. It is also cool to see that Gillian Flynn was able to write the screenplay for the adaptation, a chance that most authors don’t get when their books head to the silver screen. ‘Gone Girl’ hits theaters later this year on October 3.

Related:

- Gillian Flynn on adapting her book and advice for writers (hollywoodreporter)

- ‘Gone Girl’ movie page (imdb)

- ‘Gone Girl’ the book (goodreads, amazon)

- Gillian Flynn’s page (gillianflynn)

- Other book adaptations to be on the lookout for in 2014 (flavorwire)

 

George R.R. Martin Releases New Chapter From ‘The Winds of Winter’

The Winds of WinterRight on the heels of Game of Thrones returning to its fourth season on HBO (April 6th at 9 pm), author George R.R. Martin released another chapter of his forthcoming Song of Fire and Ice novel ‘The Winds of Winter’ to the public. The chapter is titled ‘Mercy’ and unsurprisingly follows the plights of a character named Mercy.

It’s all good and good that Martin is releasing material to the fans, but if he is going at the chapter a year pace, we all may be waiting for a very long time for things to wrap up. And they’ll have to recast the show a few times over before its completion, too. But in Martin’s defense, he is currently winning the prove your next book actually exists war with Patrick Rothfuss, so points to him for that. Either way, I will be excited to check out both ‘The Winds of Winter’ and ‘The Doors of Stone’ whenever they respectively hit shelves. Until then, head over to George R.R. Martin’s blog to check out the new chapter.

‘The Signal’ Gets A Trailer


Sundance sci-fi darling, ‘The Signal,’ finally got a trailer today and needless to say, it looks intense. With loose comparisons already to District 9 (at first glance that comparison looks to be more in the indy sci-fi sense) and a little Shane Carruth tone thrown in for good measure, ‘The Signal’ might be a must see for 2014. Can’t wait to see it in June.

In Defense of Neville Longbottom

NevilleOver at Tor, blogger Emily Asher-Perrin has written a nice piece about Neville Longbottom, pegging him not only as an undervalued character, but going as far as saying that he, “determines the course of the Harry Potter series.” While initially sounding like a bit of an outlandish claim, she mounts a pretty convincing defense in her essay. She also draws some very interesting generational parallels that I hadn’t really picked on before when reading the books. All and all, it’s a great read for Harry Potter fans. Hop on over to Tor to check out the full essay, but here’s an excerpt:

Rowling largely operates Harry’s generation in a clear system of parallels to the previous generation, Marauders and all. Harry is his father—Quidditch star, a little pig-headed sometimes, an excellent leader. Ron is Sirius Black—snarky and fun, loyal to a fault, mired in self-doubts. Hermione is Remus Lupin—book smart and meticulous, always level-headed, unfailingly perceptive. Ginny is Lily Evans—a firecracker, clever and kind, unwilling to take excuses. Draco Malfoy is Severus Snape—a natural foil to Harry, pretentious, possessed of the frailest ego and also deeper sense of right and wrong when it counts. And guess what?

Neville Longbottom is Peter Pettigrew.

Best TV Shows of 2013

BreakingBad3I enjoy a fair bit of mainstream TV, even network shows like ‘Parks and Rec’ and ‘Community’, but the list I assembled for 2013 tends to focus more on the programs that may have gone under the radar. So, here’s what I got for the year.

Best TV Shows of 2013:
breaking badBreaking Bad – One of the greatest shows of all-time closed out with an ending that shockingly seem to appease most of the fan base. Not much to say that hasn’t already been said before, but I truly hope series regulars like Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Dean Norris get their pick of whatever roles they want in the post-Walter White era. And give Vince Gilligan whatever the hell he wants for his next show.

Streaming availability: Netflix

JustifiedJustified – ‘Justified’ continues to be my overall favorite show on TV right now, with what I think is one of the best characters of all-time in protagonist Raylan Givens. The, “Relax, you’re still in the limo,” exchange Timothy Olyphant has with Mike O’Malley demonstrates just how good this show can be even when Raylan isn’t shooting someone.

Streaming availability: Amazon Prime

hannibalHannibal – A surprisingly great show that has no business being on network TV, but manages to work anyway thanks to creator Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Dead Like Me), director David Slade (Hard Candy) and star Mads Mikkelsen’s quality work. Mikkelsen’s restrained performance as Hannibal Lector is as good as it gets.

Streaming availability: DVD only

broadchurch2Broadchurch – Consistently underrated British thesps David Tennant and Olivia Colman investigate the murder of a young boy in a small coastal town on this BBC drama. Rumor is that the American remake is already in the works and David Tennant will reprise his role as the wry lead investigator, DI Alec Hardy. The US version will apparently be called Gracepoint and will also star Nick Nolte. Sign me up.

Streaming availability: DVD only

Moone BoyMoone Boy – A sort of ‘Wonder Years’ infused comedy set in rural Ireland, this Hulu exclusive is the brainchild of ‘IT Crowd’ alum Chris O’Dowd, who also co-stars in the show. Initially registering as a bit of an innocuous show, there is something undeniably sweet about it (mostly contained in the priceless naivety of Martin Moone) and the more I think about it, the more I look forward to the second season.

Streaming availability: Hulu exclusive

Almost HumanAlmost Human – Another show that will probably be cancelled prematurely by the wonderfully reliable FOX network, but is worth your time if you like sci-fi. Nothing mind-blowing, but stars Karl Urban and Michael Ealy have a nice rapport and some of the futuristic ideas applied to the narrative are actually pretty clever. Only thing missing? John Noble. Please find some way to shove him into this show.

Streaming availability: Hulu

returned1The Returned – My patience often wears thin with ‘The Walking Dead’ and this French living dead (they’re not exactly traditional zombies) show is a nice chance of pace. A pinch of ‘Lost’, ‘American Horror Story’ and ‘The Walking Dead’, this eerie drama is top-notch. Also, if possible, download Mogwai’s score for the show. It’s epically moody.

Streaming availability: DVD only

topofthelakeTop of the Lake – ‘Top of the Lake’ is a kindred spirit in tone and mood to ‘The Returned’ (and also AMC’s ‘The Killing’), chronicling the story of a missing girl in New Zealand. Solid acting (especially Elisabeth Moss and Peter Mullan), direction and some first-rate scenery round out this Kiwi who done it.

Streaming availability: Netflix

obOrphan Black – Yet another BBC show on the list, ‘Orphan Black’ almost feels like a British companion piece to ‘Dollhouse’ and other Joss Whedon productions. Lead is next-level good on this sci-fi drama and if you were looking for a reason to watch the show, look no further than her.

Streaming availability: DVD only

attack-on-titan-1Attack on Titan – The surprise anime hit of the year is quite good, a sort of Kaiju inspired series about Titans that have all but eradicated humanity. Those that have survived the Titan menace dedicate their lives to training and killing the mysterious giants. The pacing of this show has its peaks and valleys, but make no mistake, this is one intense ride.

Streaming availability: Hulu & Crunchyroll

Game of ThronesGame of Thrones – ‘GOT’ is still solid, still has quality Joffrey slapping sequences, but has yet to encounter the most convoluted source material in the series. Here’s to hoping that creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss are up to the task of simplifying ‘A Feast for Crows’ and ‘A Dance with Dragons’ into watchable material. They’ve done a great job so far, so I’m confident they’re up to the challenge.

Streaming availability: DVD only

Honorable Mentions: Psych, The Killing, Top Gear (UK), LutherBob’s Burgers, Arrested Development, Orange is the New Black, Homeland, House of Cards, Raising Hope, The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, Parks and Rec, Arrow, Community, Conan O’Brien

Looking Forward To In 2014: Wahlburgers, The Puppy Bowl, Sherlock, The Strain, Helix and that cop show that brilliantly decided to pair up Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey

Best Movies of 2013

Untitled-2This is my Best Movies of 2013 list. There are still quite a few movies that I haven’t gotten around to seeing yet, so no yelling about your favorite film being excluded if it appears on the haven’t seen yet list at the bottom*. If it didn’t make either of those lists, then have at it with the internet yelling.

Top Movies of 2013
Gravity1. Gravity – ‘Gravity’ was hands down the best movie I saw this year. It shattered all expectations I had for it and I was harboring rather lofty expectations as Alfonso Cuarón’s seven year hiatus successor to ‘Children of Men.’ I saw ‘Gravity’ opening night and went back the very next day, which I probably haven’t done since I was fourteen and ‘Independence Day’ was in theaters. Cuarón’s film is simply stunning. You know you’re doing something right when James Cameron goes out of his way to praise your movie, calling it, “the best space film ever done.”

Watch ‘Gravity’ If You Like: Children of Men, Sunshine, Apollo 13, Seeing Sandra Bullock in perilous situations

The worlds2. The World’s End – The final entry into the Cornetto trilogy was probably my least favorite of the three, but that doesn’t mean it still wasn’t better than 98% of the movies released in theaters this year. Long time collaborators Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost assembled an interesting sci-fi foray into the nostalgic man-child who refuses to grow up catalog, sprinkling in some strangely poignant moments amongst the drunken debauchery. Although still being relegated to a bit of a supporting role, this is really Nick Frost’s movie to shine and shine he does. Occupying the straight/serious guy role this time out, by the latter half of the film Frost has transformed into a hilarious inebriated dynamo. Hats off to him. Also, as with all their movies, this script only seems to get better with every subsequent viewing.

Watch This If You Like: The Cornetto Trilogy, Doctor Who, British sci-fi

Hunger Games3. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – A vast improvement on the first film in almost every regard – the departure of shaky cam, the arrival of better set pieces, added dramatic weight, Finnick, drunk Woody Harrelson, the tribute interviews, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, more creepy Donald Sutherland, etc. I was originally worried about Francis Lawrence taking over this franchise, but after this entry, I’m happy that he’s going to stay on to direct the last two parts (which really should just be one part) of the series. Here’s to hoping that they close it out with a bang and not a ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.’

Watch This If You Like: The Hunger GamesBattle Royale, Constantine, Killer monkeys

Fast Six4. Fast & Furious Six – Fast Six was a lot of fun. Sure, this movie and franchise are dumb as they come, but what it lacks in brains, logic and basic understanding of physics, it makes up for in sheer mindless spectacle and absurdly long runway finale sequences (tip of the hat for including Joe Taslim from ‘The Raid’ in the cast, too). Although, it is very eerie to go back now and watch the copious amounts of reckless driving after Paul Walker’s passing, the film is still a testament to how far he came as an actor, starting off as a by the books California-cool Johnny Lawrence knockoff and working until he became a linchpin of one of the most financially successful franchises of all time. And by all accounts, it sounds like he was a pretty good dude off camera, too. RIP, sir.

Watch ‘Fast Six’ If You Like: Fast 5, Running ScaredThe Italian Job, Tanks running over things

Prisoners5. Prisoners – It’s a shame that Hugh Jackman saved his most intense (and best) performance of the year for this movie and not for the second iteration of Wolverine, but all the same, Denis Villeneuve’s neo-noir kidnapping drama would not be anywhere near as effective if Jackman had phoned it in. Instead, he turned in something that approaches a Daniel Day Lewis is scaring the caterers type of performance, especially in a scene where Jackman uses a hammer as an interrogation tool in a dilapidated bathroom. Credit to Jake Gyllenhaal for mixing it up and giving a different performance than what we’re used to from him, too. His twitchy/sketchy detective was a nice change of pace for him. Overall, ‘Prisoners’ rounds out as a moody ‘Zodiac’ meets ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ meets ‘Mystic River’ type thriller that deserves to be seen.

Watch This If You Like: Zodiac, Memories of Murder, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Mystic River, David Fincher movies not directed by David Fincher

Hobbit6. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Sure, it had its problems. It was forty five minutes too long, still was a little bit sloppy at the corners, had Kate from ‘Lost’ creating unnecessary love triangles and the narrative stitching continued to be more of a patchwork amalgamation of appendices, creative liberties and scattered source material, but I’m biased and there was a dragon in it. So, leave me alone. Positives? The barrels in the river sequence was worth the price of admission, Martin Freeman continued to be quietly underrated, Legolas was back, Lee Pace did more than glare creepily from majestic looking reindeer steeds and there was tons of Benedict Cumberbatch dragon voice. So, you know, it could be a lot worse.

Watch This If You Like: LOTR, Dragons, Dwarf meddling

590455-wolf_children_v_1a7. Wolf Children – I haven’t seen ‘Frozen’ or ‘Monsters University’, but I feel confident saying ‘Wolf Children’ is the best animated movie of the year. Having said that, I would warn that it is not a movie for everyone. It looks a bit weird at first glance and admittedly, it is a bit weird. There is some content early on that would probably turn people off and produce some eye rolling ‘Twilight’ comparisons, which is really a shame because if you can get past some of the allegorical oddities of the first twenty minutes, you’ll see something special. A poignant, quiet story essentially about parenting (albeit in hyperbolic circumstances) and the sacrifices and concessions parents have to make to raise their kids. Again, I’m not sure Americans would take to this film on a large scale (although with the exception of maybe one scene, there isn’t anything above or beyond what you would see in the annual stateside Studio Ghibli release, so who knows?) since there are some elements which probably resonate better with Japanese culture, but the messages are heartfelt and universal at the core. ‘Wolf Children’ sneaks up on you and is a sort of mini-masterpiece by the time the credits role.

Watch This If You Like: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars, Ponyo, Howl’s Moving Castle

Cutie and the boxer8. Cutie and the Boxer/Blackfish/56 Up/ – I always leave a slot open for documentaries, so why not throw these three in here together? The first is about the relationship of a husband/wife artist combo, the second profiles killer whales in confinement and the last is just a simple seven year checkup on a group of English men and women. ‘Cutie and the Boxer’ examines Ushio and Noriko, two relatively well-known Japanese-American artists. Ushio is the more well-known of the two and the story focuses on the mentor/protege relationship that has defined (and sometimes plagued) their marriage. Throughout their relationship Noriko has been relegated as more of an assistant to Ushio and relied upon to fulfill more domestic duties than artistic pursuits, despite the fact that she is very talented and capable of passing Ushio in notability. ‘Blackfish’ takes a look at killer whales in captivity and the consequences of their confinement, especially at Sea World locations. The documentary focuses on Tilikum, a male killer whale who has been responsible for the deaths of three people, including his trainer. Pretty depressing and eye opening stuff. ’56 UP’ is another entry into the always mesmerizing (even despite the rather bland, innocuous appearance of the subject matter) 7 UP documentary series, which has followed a group of children from England every seven years since they were seven years old. On their fifty sixth birthdays, the failures and successes of each participant are really magnified as they have seemingly breached the walls of “it’s not too late” territory.

Watch These If You Like: The 7 UP Series, Sharkwater, The Cove, Exit Through The Gift Shop

Pacific Rim9. Pacific Rim – Robots. Explosions. Ron Pearlman. Charlie Day. Idris Elba. Guillermo Del Toro. It has all the proper load-bearing elements of a good summer movie. Is it a perfect movie? No. But in all honesty, I have a soft spot for Guillermo Del Toro. I tend to like him as a person more than his movies and as a result want to like his movies more because of the person that he is. He is a cinema purist (in a good way) and his enthusiasm and breadth of cinematic knowledge seem to wear off on those he works with. I really like watching his featurettes and commentaries and even own the published copy of his diary that released this Christmas. But outside of ‘Pan’s Labyrinth‘ (which I think is a masterpiece) and probably ‘The Devil’s Backbone‘ (which is very solid from what I remember of it), I don’t know if I’ve ever liked his work as much as I wanted to. That being said, ‘Pacific Rim’ is fun if you can switch your brain off and ignore a myriad of problems that parade across the screen. Let’s be honest though, it still has smarter scientists than ‘Prometheus’ and Idris Elba cancelling the apocalypse will always be worth the price of admission in my book.

Watch This If You Like: Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Kaiju, Mechs, Power Rangers

Iron Man 310. Iron Man 3 – A good portion of ‘Iron Man 3′ is just Robert Downey Jr. antagonizing a small child, but hey, that’s why we go to the movies, right? But that forty minute stretch of bad parenting is still funny and sweet in a weird irresponsible this would never work in real life way that Shane Black’s screenplays are known for. Black always seems to have a flippant element in his writing that almost borders on improvisational glee and I won’t ever criticize that type of enthusiasm in film. ‘Iron Man 3′ is occasionally rough around the edges, but still worth seeing. I mean, Guy Pearce breathes fire in this movie. Why would you not want to see that?

Watch This If You Like: Iron Man, Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang, The Avengers

Upstream Color11. Upstream Color – ‘Upstream Color’ will eventually creep up this list as I see it a few more times, but for now I’m still in the initial “too much to process having only seen it once” stage that also occurred with Shane Curruth’s previous effort, the cult favorite time travel yarn ‘Primer.’ Either way, Carruth’s abilities as a director have significantly improved since his last effort and so have the technical aspects of the film. As a result, he has crafted a really good looking bit of confusing, labyrinthine cinema. Certainly not for everyone, but if you liked ‘Primer’, I’d say give it a shot.

Watch This If You Like: Primer, Pi, To be confused

Snowpiercer12. Snowpiercer – All right, so I haven’t actually seen ‘Snowpiercer’, which, sure, tends to cut down on your ability to have an opinion on it, but I know that whenever the Weinsteins finally overcome the belief that Americans are incapable of processing movies without voiceover or subtlety and actually release this movie stateside, it will be worth the wait. Boasting one of the best directors in the world in Joon-ho Bong (who is making his English language debut with this film) and a cast featuring the indomitable Tilda Swinton, Captain America and the always reliable Song Kang-ho, there is a lot of promise here. This is a clear #1 on my Most Anticipated Movies of 2014 list.

Honorable Mention: The Grandmaster, The Conjuring, The Way Way Back, Drug War, Europa Report, Ender’s Game, The Hunt, Star Trek Into DarknessThis is the End, The Place Beyond The Pines, The Tower, Kon-Tiki, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Mud, World War Z, Riddick, Captain Phillips, 42, The Wolverine.

*Haven’t Seen Yet But Will Eventually See And Consider: The Act of Killing, 12 Years A Slave, Leviathan, Rush, At Berkley, Fruitvale StationInside Llewyn Davis, American Hustle, In A World…, The Wolf of Wall Street, Anchorman: The Legend Continues, All is Lost, Nebraska, A Touch of Sin, Blue is the Warmest Color, Flu, Filth, Short Term 12, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Room 237, Her, Before Midnight, Spring Breakers, The Spectacular NowOut of the Furnace, The Selfish Giant, Much Ado About Nothing, The Book Thief, Computer Chess, You’re Next.

Recognition Purely Based On Their Performance: Mads Mikkelsen in The Hunt, Greta Gerwig in Frances Ha, Nick Frost in The World’s End, Tony Leung in The Grandmaster, Mia Wasikowska in Stoker, Hugh Jackman in Prisoners, Jake Gyllenhaal in Prisoners, Sam Rockwell in The Way Way Back, Kyung-gu Sol in The Tower, Tye Sheridan in Mud, Martin Freeman in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Idris Elba in Pacific Rim, Chadwick Boseman in 42, Tatiana Maslany in Orphan Black (it’s TV, but we’ll make an exception), Harrison Ford yelling at children in Ender’s Game.

Just Terrible: (As I’ve said before, I’m not big on bashing things, but once a year, I can pick one out and swing for the fences) New Die Hard. You are the worst. Why do you exist? You have destroyed the legacy of John McClane, Hans Gruber and Nakatomi Plaza Christmas parties. You seem like a generic action movie that was written for Bruce Willis and then plugged around the Die Hard franchise at the last second when executives realized the movie was terrible. Also, unless I missed something in this movie (I zoned out quite frequently during the 98 minute runtime, so it’s possible), Bruce Willis is immune to radiation? Who wrote this screenplay?

Movies I’m Looking Forward To In 2014: Snowpiercer, Edge of Tomorrow, The Wind Rises, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, Gone Girl, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Veronica Mars, Godzilla, Million Dollar Arm, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Giver, Interstellar, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, 22 Jump Street, Transcendence, The Monuments Men, Jupiter Ascending, Dumb and Dumber ToSabotage (only because of Mireille Enos), Robocop (only because of Joel Kinnaman and Gary Oldman/Michael Keaton).