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Non-Review Review: The Girl on the Train

What would you get if you tried to produce Gone Girl without David Fincher?

It is a tough question to answer, given Fincher’s style is an integral part of the film. It is impossible to divorce Gone Girl from Fincher’s steady cam shots and clinical framing. However, The Girl on the Train still makes a valiant attempt to answer. Whatever about the source material, the adaptation of The Girl on the Train is monomaniacally fixated upon that pulpy breakout psychological thriller, constructing another gaslighting murder investigation in desaturated terms to an electronic score that cannot help but evoke the work of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

A pale reflection.

A pale reflection.

However, director Tate Taylor is no David Fincher. Fincher keenly understood the pulpy absurdity of his source material, playing into the ridiculousness of layered twists and double-bluffs that reimagined marriage as some sort of long-form psychological warfare. Taylor fundamentally misunderstands the tone of his film, pitching the forced coincidences and crazy revelations of The Girl on the Train as something to be taken entirely seriously. Gone is the irony that made Gone Girl so effective, replaced with an ill-advised earnestness that refuses to blink.

The problem is not that The Girl on the Train comes off the rails as the overly elaborate details of its storytelling world come into focus. The problem is that it doesn’t nearly enough momentum to reach its destination.

A trained observer.

A trained observer.

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My 12 for ’14: Gone Girl and the most $£@!ed up people…

With 2014 coming to a close, we’re counting down our top twelve films of the year. Check back daily for the latest featured film.

Gone Girl is a surprisingly playful film.

David Fincher is a director who likes to play with his audience, constructing elaborate and stylish labyrinths that might trap the audience as easily as they trap his characters. Gone Girl plays to Fincher’s strengths, as Gillian Flynn adapts her best-selling novel into a pulpy thriller. The news that Fincher and Flynn would collaborate on HBO’s Utopia is fantastic, giving television viewers something to anticipate; one hopes that the collaboration might be as fruitful as that enjoyed by Nic Pizzolatto and Cary Joji Fukunaga on True Detective this year.

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Gone Girl is a story about stories. Most particularly, it is the story of two people fighting to control their own narratives; to try to steer the stories being told around them. Is Nick Dunne a loving husband desperately searching for his missing wife? Or is Nick Dunne a sociopath desperately trying to cover-up her murder? Is Amy Dunne an innocent victim who has worked her way into the heart of the American public? Or is Amy Dunne a manipulative and ruthless (and ruthless) cynic who has helped to turn her marriage into a perpetual struggle?

Gone Girl is a very sleek and stylish film that is lovingly crafted and wryly self-aware. It is a horror story about a dysfunctional marriage, a tale about media fascination and a black comedy about resentment and revenge. More than that, it is a puzzle that competes against the audience, a story that seems to change form at any point where the viewer might finally have come to grips with what they are watching.

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Note: This “best of” entry includes spoilers for Gone Girl. You should probably go and see the movie, because everybody is talking about it. Don’t worry, we’ll wait for you. Still there? Good. Let’s continue. Continue reading

Non-Review Review: Gone Girl

The stories that people tell.

In many respects, Gone Girl is a story about narratives. It is a film about how we construct and manage our own narratives, and the narratives of those around us. Facts are malleable, reality is arbitrary. Everything that happens exists as a detail to be woven into some sort of story. Inevitably, stories differ, narratives conflict. The story that Nick Dunne tells about the disappearance of his wife differs from the version of events presented in her diary; the narrative that the public and the press construct is rather distinct from that constructed by those inside the story.

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Gone Girl itself plays with this idea, playing with the audience. It starts out as a very familiar and almost cliché story. Nick Dunne was trapped in a loveless marriage. His wife disappears. People begin to suspect that perhaps Dunne had something to do in the disappearance. Even the audience isn’t entirely sure what to make of Nick as the details add up against him. The closer we look, the more flaws begin to appear, the more the evidence seems to mount.

And then, the story changes. Gone Girl pulls the rug out for underneath the audience, becoming something radically different and almost surreal. It’s a dazzling, brilliant, crazy, ambitious and ingenious. Gone Girl is a startlingly confident twisty film that plays with the audience with a macabre glee that is contagious.

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Non-Review Review: Fight Club

Fight Club was released in 1999, and seems to perfectly capture a brief moment in the history of disemfranchised American masculinity.

Situated between the end of the Cold War and the start of the War on Terror, Fight Club is the story of disenfranchised middle-class masculinity, a cultural group gripped by sense of impotence and despair and lost amid an era of financial prosperity and material success. “We’re the middle children of history, man,” Tyler Durden informs his followers. “No purpose or place. We have no Great War… no Great Depression.” It’s a line that gets more bitterly ironic with each re-watch.

A film frequently misunderstood by a significant portion of its fans and its critics, Fight Club is perhaps the quintessential cult film of the nineties. A clever hook that encourages further viewings, a mean subversive streak and a bleak irreverence that is impossible to look away from, Fight Club manages to perfectly encapsulate a moment of shared cultural consciousness and insecurity.

Seeking a friend at the end of the world...

Seeking a friend at the end of the world…

Note: This review contains spoilers for Fight Club. Consider yourself warned.

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Win! Tickets to the Jameson Cult Film Club Screening of Fight Club!

Due to popular demand, the Jameson Cult Film Club returns to Dublin for one of the biggest double screenings to-date. Continuing on from the successful Jameson Cult Film Club screenings of The Usual Suspects, Jaws, Predator and Intermission, organisers will be challenged with transporting the audience right into the world of 1999 cult classic FIGHT CLUB, which will be screened at a secret location on Wednesday 4th and Thursday 5th June 2014.

These free events are much more than just your typical screening as attendees are treated to live theatre and special effects timed perfectly with on-screen action creating an electric atmosphere throughout. The secret venue is only revealed to ticket holders and will be completely transformed into a series of sets from the movie. Lucky ticket holders can expect to see an insomniac office worker and a devil-may-care soap maker get the Jameson Cult Film Club treatment on the night.

The first rule of Jameson Cult Film Club is to register for free tickets. Join the fight on www.jamesoncultfilmclub.ie.

Jameson Cult Film Club screenings of Fight Club - June 4th and 5th - Dublin

If you would like to get your hands on TWO TICKETS to the Thursday 5th the below question:

This competition is now closed. The winner will be contact

Please note that the information provided will only be used to contact the winner of the competition.

All entrants must be over 18. Enjoy Jameson Sensibly. Visit DrinkAware.ie.

Fight Club © 1999 All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment LLC.

Fight Club Blu Ray

Available on Blu-ray & Digital HD™

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Jameson Cult Film Club Screenings of Fight Club, June 4th and 5th 2014!

The Jameson Cult Film Club is a wonderful excuse to celebrate cinematic classics. The group organise screenings throughout the year inviting audiences to immerse themselves in a much-loved cinematic classic – for example, Silence of the Lambs, Predator, or even The Blues Brothers. Taking a familiar Dublin location and turning it into something like a set from the film, the Jameson Cult Film Club works as a celebration of these iconic films.

This summer, the team are doing a double screening of David Fincher’s classic Fight Club on the 4th and 5th of June at a top secret location in Dublin. I’m violating the first and seconds rules of Fight Club by telling you this, but I’m sure it’ll work out okay at the end. One of the better things about the Jameson Cult Film Club is that the screening are absolutely free – tickets are raffled to film fans who apply via the Jameson Cult Film Club website.

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Whether you’ve seen Fight Club, or whether you haven’t, it’s a wonderful excuse to appreciate one of David Fincher’s defining cinematic works, and one of the films that solidified him as a talent to watch, only a few months before the release of Gone Girl, his latest effort and adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s best-selling thriller.

I’ve included the fill press release below, but you can head over to the Jameson Cult Film Club website and apply for tickets. (By the way, I love the poster design.)
Jameson Cult Film Club screenings of Fight Club - June 4th and 5th - Dublin

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House of Cards (US, 2013): Chapter 5 (Review)

Friends make the worst enemies

– Frank Underwood

There is a sense now that House of Cards has figured out what it wants to be and how it wants to go about being that sort of thing. After the first three episodes were surprisingly non-committal, the fourth and fifth episodes make it clear that Frank has a plan for revenge against those who betrayed him, one that stretches a bit further than scuttling Michael Kern’s chance to be Secretary of State. There’s a wonderfully understated moment in the middle of this fifth episode where it looks like Frank has finally figured everything out, the pieces have aligned in such a way that he is positioned to speed up what is likely to be a pretty far-reaching payback scheme.

A name you can trust...

A name you can trust…

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