New York Film Festival

Stop Calling David Fincher a “Control Freak”

As you may have heard, David Fincher’s terrific adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestseller Gone Girl premiered last weekend at the New York Film Festival. So your film editor was perusing some of the coverage of that premiere, like ya do, when I came upon Anne Thompson’s analysis of the “Three Reasons to Worry About Gone Girl.” She mostly examines the film’s chances at box office success and Oscar gold (ugh), but this is the line that jumped out at me: “Fincher was being typically controlling during the press conference, exhorting the press to hide Gone Girl plot spoilers — while the bestseller is still flying off bookshelves — and refusing to allow anyone to record the NYFF press conference.” It’s not often that you see three consecutive inaccuracies in the same sentence, but that’s what happens when you have to conform your facts to a preexisting narrative — in this case, that Fincher is some sort of cruel, demented control freak. It’s a narrative that’s been floating around for a while now, and the more you think about it, the sillier it is. … Read More

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‘Whiplash’ Is an Exhilarating Deconstruction of a Tired Cinematic Trope

Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash opens with a drum roll of steadily increasing speed and intensity, and that’s as an appropriate a metaphor for the filmmaking as any. That sound is heard over a black screen; the next drum roll is accompanied by a slow tracking shot down a music conservatory hallway, to a young drummer named Andrew (Miles Teller). He stops playing when he realizes he’s being watched by Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), the school’s most feared instructor, a mysterious bogeyman who floats through hallways before bursting in doors like the Kool-Aid Man. “You know I’m looking for players,” he tells Andrew. “Yes, sir,” the young man replies. “Then why did you stop playing?” He resumes — and the instructor objects. He plays again, and Fletcher is gone, like a ghost. … Read More

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David Fincher’s ‘Gone Girl': Top-Shelf Mystery and Pitch-Black Comedy

David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl opens not with an abduction or a murder, but with Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck), in voice-over, talking about his wife’s head. “I picture cracking her lovely skull, unspooling her brains,” he says, over a close-up of the cranium in question. “Trying to get answers: What are you thinking? What are you feeling? What have we done to each other?” This is how the movie begins; this is what it’s about. Gone Girl may come advertised as a thriller, but that’s Fincher being a trickster—he’s gone and made the curtest, nastiest, most acidic black comedy about the marital accord since The War of the Roses. … Read More

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12 Must-See Movies at This Year’s New York Film Festival

Tonight, the New York Film Festival kicks off its 52nd (!) edition with the world premiere of David Fincher’s highly anticipated adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. We’ll have more on that film (and that premiere) in this space tomorrow, but in the meantime, we’ve had the chance to check out several other NYFF selections that are well worth your time over the next two weeks (should you happen to be in the area), or in the months to come as they make their way to your theaters and on-demand platforms. … Read More

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‘Seymour: An Introduction’ and the Rebirth of Ethan Hawke

Here’s the thing that’s easy to forget about Ethan Hawke: less than a decade ago, he was James Franco. For a generation (specifically, a generation typically signified with an X), he would always be the cynical, unwashed, flannel-wearing would-be alt-rocker of 1993’s Reality Bites, and much out his output following that film seemed the product of a carefully cultivated Serious Artist image. Acting wasn’t enough; he wrote bad books and turned them into bad movies. But as with Franco, the thinness of his other ventures and the caricature he could so easily lapse into made it easy to forget that there was a very fine actor behind all that other nonsense. And over the past few years (with no small assist from his longtime collaborator Richard Linklater), Hawke has realigned and matured, as both actor and screenwriter, remaking himself as one of indie film’s most reliable figures. And now he brings Seymour: An Introduction, which he directed, to this year’s New York Film Festival — and it is not only a very fine documentary, but a warm and likable one to boot. … Read More

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Flavorwire's Flick of the Week: 'Holy Motors'

It’s been thirteen long years since Leos Carax made his last feature film, and as you watch Holy Motors, the film that ended that long drought, you get the feeling that the filmmaker wanted to use it to make all of the movies he should have made in the interim. It almost has the feel of a completed checklist, a film comprised of what appear, at first, to be incompatible parts: oddball romance, family drama, black crime comedy, musical, etc. Only as the loose ends and odd bits begin to stack up do we get a sense of what Carax is up to — and it’s something peculiar and rather marvelous. … Read More

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9 Things We Learned at Last Night’s ‘Princess Bride’ Reunion

Tuesday night, the New York Film Festival celebrated the 25th anniversary of The Princess Bride (and the release of a new Blu-ray tied to said anniversary) with a special screening of the film, followed by a Q&A with several members of the cast and crew. The movie was raucously received by the rowdy audience: they applauded their favorite lines, cheered the entrances of its many memorable characters like old friends arriving at a party, and generally ate it up with a spoon. After the closing credits, director Rob Reiner, screenwriter William Goldman, and co-stars Billy Crystal, Mandy Patinkin, Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Carol Kane, and Chris Sarandon sat down for a Q&A with NYFF Associate Programming Director Scott Foundas. A few highlights from that chat after the jump. … Read More

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10 Must-See Movies at This Year’s New York Film Festival

New York’s Film Society of Lincoln Center kicks off the fiftieth (that’s right, 5-0) New York Film Festival today, with (as expected) a terrific selection of domestic indies, foreign films, documentaries, and big fall movies on tap. Many of our most anticipated pictures (like David Chase’s Not Fade Away, Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy, Leox Carax’s Holy Motors, Olivier Assayas’ Something in the Air, and the opening night selection, Ang Lee’s Life of Pi) have not yet screened for critics, but here are our favorites from what we’ve seen so… Read More

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