Edward Norton Weekend – Fight Club (1999)

Director: David Fincher

Writer: Jim Uhls (Screenplay) Chuck Palahniuk (Novel)

Starring: Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Meat Loaf, Helena Bonham Carter, Jared Leto, Zach Grenier, Richmond Arquette

 

Plot: An insomniac office worker, looking for a way to change his life, crosses paths with a devil-may-care soapmaker, forming an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more.


Tagline – How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?

Runtime: 2 Hours 19 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: True Modern Classic

 

Story: Fight Club starts as we meet the insomniac known only as the Narrator (Norton) an office worker that starts crashing support groups to help him feel which brings his back his ability to sleep. Here he meets Robert Paulsen (Meatloaf) who is suffering from cancer before learning Marla Singer (Carter) is also treating the supporting group as a cure for her own problems.

This puts Narrator in a position of needing to find something new and here he meets soap salesman Tyler Durden (Pitt) and between them they start a secret underground fight club. As the club gains a following it starts to branch out and the Narrator finds himself in the middle of a much more dangerous world.

 

Thoughts on Fight Club

 

Characters – The Narrator starts his story at the end explaining how his own struggles with insomnia starts turning him into a support group junkie and co-founder of the Fight Club, the more involved in the fighting world he gets the bolder his moves become as he comes out of his shell. Tyler Durden is the outgoing soap salesman, full of confidence and knowledge that starts the Fight Club with the narrator. Bob is one of the men that the Narrator meets at one of the support groups and once he joins the fight club it gives him the new lease on life. Marla is the woman that the Narrator meets doing the same thing as him, crashing the support groups, she is struggling too and sees the escape with the Narrator and Tyler.

PerformancesEdward Norton continued to make his big impact on Hollywood in the mid to late 90s, he shines once again in this role which is one of the memorable leading roles. Brad Pitt is fantastic too, the performance he gives us shows just how twisted the character is and the confidence he shows makes him stand out in every scene. Helena Bonham Carter is great in her role as are the men in the fight club.

StoryThe story follows one man who is bored of everyday life and struggles to get through everyday life, he uses support groups for help before befriending a stranger who wants to help start a new revolution against the system with a Fight Club. This is a story that has the major twist in the final act which surprised the audience at the time and gives us something to look out for in repeat viewing. This shows us how difficult processing everyday life can be for certain people and shows us how they try to cope with extremes moments coming from his mind.

SettingsThe film shows us just where the Narrator goes from his quiet simple life to his much more darker one where the secret fight clubs take place in, the locations show us his descent into madness.


Scene of the Movie –
The Narrators true identity.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is a tad long.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the modern classic movies out there, it has such a big reputation that it deserves if only the twist hadn’t been revealed so often because the first viewing for anyone will not be enjoyed as much if you know the twist.

 

Overall: Modern Classic Filled with Brutality.

Rating

 

 

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Crime Thriller Weekend – Seven (1995)

Director: David Fincher

Writer: Andrew Kevin Walker (Screenplay)

Starring: Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, John Cassini

 

Plot: Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his motives.


Tagline –  Earnest Hemingway once wrote, “The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.” I believe the second part.

Runtime: 2 Hours 7 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Best Dark Crime Thrillers

 

Story: Seven starts as Detective Mills (Pitt) a cocky young detective joins seasoned veteran Detective Somerset (Freeman) who is on the verge of retirement to teach Mills the ropes in the new city. While the two don’t hit it off because of the clash of backgrounds Somerset doesn’t want anything to do with the latest murder but when Mills take over the case upon the second body, Somerset agrees to assist Mills in the cracking the case.

When the case turns into a hunt for a serial killer who is picking his victims to represent the seven deadly sins, the pair know there are going to have more victims but must race to stop this killer before the victim count gets too high.

 

Thoughts on Seven

 

Characters – Somerset is the veteran detective one week from retirement, who must take short tempered detective under his wing for the final week. Somerset has an old school style along with a gentle tone though the crimes. Mills is the short-tempered detective that moves into the new city and must learn the way of the police there, he is happy to break a few laws to get the correct answer when investigating a crime which goes against everything Somerset stands for. Tracy is the wife of Mills, who is also new to the town, she hasn’t found a job and is finding herself lonely with Mills on the job. John Doe is the man behind the crimes, he is calculated in his every move who is almost mocking the detectives with his actions.

PerformancesMorgan Freeman is excellent choice in the leading role because he sums up calm and gentle nature needed for the role, Brad Pitt steps up to the darker movie with ease because he gets to keep his cocky swagger for the role. Gwyneth Paltrow is good but doesn’t get the screen time we could have gotten from her character. Kevin Spacey is the secret star of this film because when he enters the story you are left to sit on the edge of your seat waiting to see what he does or says next.

StoryThe story is a serial killer building up the number of bodies while two unlikely detectives must put aside their differences to stop the killer. The dark tone going on through the story shows how the killer’s motives are perfectly placed out and it is the detectives are the ones that need to think quickly to stop the next step. If you like a crime story that involves solving the case this will give you one of the best, but the lack of suspects might put people off in places.

Crime/Mystery/ThrillerThe murders are graphic in how we see the effects of what has been done to the victim, the mystery comes from leaving us to wonder why the victims have been selected and we are left on the edge of our seats from the start to the finish of the film.

SettingsThe city is never made clear which shows how the crimes could happen in any town, city, country if the believer is willing to follow through with his beliefs.


Scene of the Movie –
Visiting the suspect.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Hard to find one.

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Box Office: $100 Million (USA)

Budget: $33 Million

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the greatest thrillers of all time, it is edge of your seat material from start until the end even on repeat viewings you will find yourself gripped.

 

Overall: Must watch crime thriller.

Rating

 

 

Crime Thriller Weekend – Zodiac (2007)

Director: David Fincher

Writer: James Vanderbilt (Screenplay) Robert Graysmith (Book)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards, Brian Cox, John Carroll Lynch

 

Plot: In the late 1960s/early 1970s, a San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac Killer, an unidentified individual who terrorizes Northern California with a killing spree.


Tagline – There’s more than one way to lose your life to a killer

Runtime: 2 Hours 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great But Too Long of a Thriller

 

Story: Zodiac starts as the infamous Zodiac killer strikes in San Francisco before demanding his code be printed in the newspaper, the Chronicle, where Paul Avery (Downey Jr) is getting the letters and works with cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Gyllenhaal) who has a knack for cracking codes. As the body count continues to grow Inspector David Toschi (Ruffalo) and Inspector William Armstrong (Edwards) investigate the crimes as the people of San Francisco start to panic throughout the spree.

With time passing by Avery uses the press the play with the Zodiac, making David’s job difficult as it draws out all the people who want to be known as the Zodiac, while Robert becomes obsessed with cracking the codes being left in letters and solving the case.

 

Thoughts on Zodiac

 

Characters – When looking at the characters you must remember these are based on real people, Robert Graysmith is a cartoonist working for the Chronicle newspaper that becomes obsessed with cracking the Zodiac codes while working with writer Paul Avery. Paul Avery is the writer at the Chronicle that is receiving the letters from the Zodiac killer, he is willing to take a risk to get the story and potentially making himself famous. Inspector David Toschi is the lead investigator working on the Zodiac case, he must overcome derestriction nightmares while tracking any clues, suspects or letters that come his way.

PerformancesJake Gyllenhaal is brilliant in this leading role showing how a man out of his field can become a conspiracy driven man. Mark Ruffalo shows here that he will always be a shining light in an ensembled cast. Robert Downey Jr was always skilled enough to be a great character actor and this one started to show he could return to the top of the industry. The supporting cast through the film are also great with their roles.

StoryThe mystery of the Zodiac killer is one of the most famous unsolved serial killings in history. Most of the film follows Robert’s spiral into conspiracy theorist that is searching for the Zodiac killer, which does work and become the most interesting part of the film. the problem I am facing looking at this movie is that the first half seems to mix who the main character is trying to solve the case while the enjoyable part is all Robert and of course we don’t know the complete truth on these murders either.

Crime/Mystery/ThrillerThe crime is one of the most famous in modern history, one that is unsolved which does play into the mystery side to everything we are watching too.

SettingsThe timelines we follow give us authentic settings for everything as the film does span over two decades.


Scene of the Movie –
Robert’s face to face with a potential suspect.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The film itself is too long.

Budget: $65 Million

Final ThoughtsThis is an interesting look at one of the most interesting unsolved murder mysteries, it gives us a detailed look at three main men involved in investigating the crime all with different motives from different backgrounds.

 

Overall: Detailed but overly long look at the Zodiac case.

Rating

 

 

The Social Network (2010)

socialDirector: David Fincher

Writer: Aaron Sorkin (Screenplay) Ben Mezrich (Book)

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer, Max Minghella, Josh Pence, Rashida Jones, Rooney Mara

 

Plot: Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg creates the social networking site that would become known as Facebook, but is later sued by two brothers who claimed he stole their idea, and the co-founder who was later squeezed out of the business.

 

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overrated and Hard Work

 

Story: The Social Network starts as we meet Mark Zuckerberg (Eisenberg) on a date with Erica Albright (Mara) showing how socially awkward he can be during his time Harvard. Upset about the break up Mark with his friend Eduardo Saverin (Garfield) Dustin Moskovitz (Mazzello) and Chris Hughes (Mapel) create a comparing girls photos on a website that spread through Harvard instantly bringing down the servers.

This night’s events cause Zuckerberg on front of a disciplinary panel as well as showing us the ongoing court case going on against Zuckerberg. His stunt has grab the attention of the Winklevoss twins Cameron and Tyler (Hammer playing both) who want Zuckerberg to help them with their big idea.

The story continues to show Mark works with Winklevoss twins only to use their idea to build his own site The Facebook. When the site takes off it grabs the attention of founder of Napster Sean Parker (Timberlake) who wants to take the site from Millions to Trillions. This is the story of how Facebook ends up becoming one of the biggest things the world has ever seen.

 

Thoughts on The Social Network

 

StoryThe story shows us how Facebook was built by making enemies with the people who helped start it going by borrowing ideas to make it the biggest sites in the world. We get plenty of business talk, tech talk and lawyer scenes which mix up the story for us making it difficult to understand everything that goes on because most of the story is very American, so if you don’t understand the terms you will find yourself lost in the mix. I feel this will always be a complex story that will be remember but is told very slow and confusingly.

Biography/DramaShowing the actions of the real-life people involved Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, the Winklevoss twins and Sean Porter show how they were all effected by what happened with the creation of Facebook which is all good as we see how these people were meant to be acting towards making this happen. There is nothing bad to say about this side of the story watching the genre.

Characters/PerformanceThe performances are nearly all flawless as we see just how these people are portrayed, we see how Zuckerberg comes off very brash arrogant and rude towards the people who help him. When you see the cast being involved you can see how the stars have started and come onto the next big things.

SettingsEach setting makes us see just how much a party incident this started as which would be where the idea started but the most important side of this is showing how it started with dorm room before turning into the business venture in a tower.

Final Thoughts Overall this is a very interesting look at how Facebook started even if the story can be hard to follow. We get heavyweight performances from all but the early stages of the film come off slow but the final acts of the film are the real highlights of the film.

 

Overall: Great performance, important story but at times tells a story we don’t need to know.

Ratingcard

 

 

Gone Girl (2014)

logoDirector: David Fincher

Writer: Gillian Flynn (Screenplay) Gillian Flynn (Novel)

Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit, David Clennon,, Lisa Banes, Missi Plye

 

Plot: With his wife’s disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man sees the spotlight turned on him when it’s suspected that he may not be innocent.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Hauntingly Thrilling

 

Story: Gone Girl starts by Nick (Affleck) talking about his wife Amy (Pike) talking about marriage. Reaching their fifth wedding anniversary Nick is confiding in his sister Margo (Coon), before flashing back to the first meeting between Nick and Amy. When Nick returns home the interior damaged but couldn’t find Amy anywhere. Detective Rhonda Boney (Dickens) and Officer James Gilpin (Fugit) investigate the early stages of what could have happened. We continue to get flash backs learning about how they had a perfect looking relationship and marriage.

As the investigation continues the clues that Amy has left for the anniversary treasure hunt could help find the answers to her whereabouts. As the search for Amy continues suspects start appearing but the clues start pointing towards Nick himself. We continue to see how their relationship was breaking down and not looking as rosy as it once was and Nick he becomes public suspect number one. We are left for the biggest surprise half way through when everything goes in a different direction.

Gone Girl is a film I never got around to seeing first time around but I have caught up now and I also managed not to hear anything about what happens during the film. By doing this I was going into this film expecting a court case style film where we have to watch an investigation unfold before we decide whether Nick was guilty or not. What we got was something so very different so much so we end up following one genre before everything getting thrown wide open and concluding with something even more disturbing. We have elements of mystery to start, before it turns into a revenge style film before fading into something we could never imagine half way through. This turns into one of the thrillers of the year and it will keep you guessing up until the final moments. (10/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Ben Affleck: Nick Dunne the husband whose wife has gone missing, but as the story unfolds, we see how he isn’t as innocent as he may well look especially as we see how their marriage is falling apart. Ben gives a good performance and is proving he is getting back to the big name actor he once was. (9/10)

 nick

Rosamund Pike: Amy Dunne the gone girl herself who tells the story of how the marriage ran, from the happy start to the cracks appearing over the years. Amy just happens to be holding a secret that we learn of half way through that could change our opinion on her. Rosamund gives a great performance showing she is ready to be a leading lady in anything now. (9/10)

amy

Tyler Perry: Tanner Bolt lawyer who takes the case to prove that nick is innocent but when he hears the story he finds out he might be in deeper than he could imagine and turns into a PR man. Tyler gives a solid performance with the few scenes he has. (7/10)

 

Carrie Coon: Margo Dunne sister to Nick who stands by him through all the issue that come up but always knew he was innocent. Carrie gives a good performance and provides a perfect supporting character for Nick. (9/10)

 margo

Kim Dickens: Detective Rhonda Boney on the case looking for the truth about who is responsible for the missing girl or where she could have gone. Kim does a good job in the role showing how neutral she would need to be in the situation. (8/10)

 

Support Cast: Gone Girl has a large supporting cast of people judging Nick as well as a few that supporting Amy in her time of need. We see how both characters have used others to get to where they are and in the situation they are in.

 

Director Review: David Fincher – David always gives you good direction when you see his name on a film and this is no different, taking what could be a very simple film and having twists and turns all over the place. (9/10)

 

Drama: Gone Girl shows you how easily we can be led down a path to believe what a certain character thinks or wants you to believe. (9/10)

Mystery: Gone Girl keeps us wondering what happened and who will end up getting the blame. (9/10)

Thriller: Gone Girl keeps us guessing while at the edge of our seats seeing what will happen next. (9/10)

Settings: Gone Girl uses the settings to keep the story have a very real feeling to it throughout. (9/10)

Suggestion: Gone Girl is a must watch this year, it could easily be one of the best thrillers this year too. (Must Watch)

 

Best Part: An hour in when things take a huge turn.

Worst Part: Hard to find one.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Awards: Nominated for four Golden Globes including Best Director, Best Actress, Best Screenplay and Best Original Score.

Oscar Chances: Could easily get nomination.

Box Office: $362 Million

Budget: $61 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 29 Minutes

Tagline: Was Nick Dunne lying?

Trivia: When it comes to casting roles, David Fincher typically goes on the internet to look through pictures of actors to help him find the right type of actor for a role. When casting the role of Nick Dunne, Fincher spotted photos of Ben Affleck and noticed a particular smile Affleck had on dozens of pictures. According to Fincher, it captured a particular emotion in a scene of Nick Dunne smiling that showed the essence of the character. Soon after, Fincher cast Ben Affleck in the role.

 

Overall: Game Changer in the Thriller Genre

Rating 90