Posts tagged with “david fincher”
HOUSE OF CARDS (2012/NETFLIX STREAMING) In the mood for some political intrigue? Have a current NetFlix streaming membership? Then you’re in luck, because last Friday, NetFlix released all 13 episodes of Season One of the U.S. version of a crackerjack BBC miniseries entitled “House of Cards.” NetFlix members are free to watch all 13 episodes in a sitting (so called “binge watching”) or to watch any number of episodes, in any order, as much as desired. Developed by Beau Willimon, the screenwriter for “Ides of March” and also for the first two episodes of this series, and with David Fincher as Executive Producer (and Director for Episodes 1 and 2 also), this series is top notch. Start with the casting: Kevin Spacey is spot-on as Francis (Frank) Underwood, long serving member of the House of Representatives from the state of South Carolina and the House Majority Whip. Frank has labored long and hard in the House (for 22 years he tells us) and has been promised the position of Secretary of State as a reward for helping the current Democratic President regain election (does any of this sound familiar?), when suddenly Linda Vasquez (Sakina Jaffrey), the President’s Chief of Staff, tells him he’s being passed over for the position. What?? Why? Well…the line is, “we need you more in the House to help us pass our important Education Bill.” Needless to say, Frank is mad—mad as hell, actually—and he starts the ball rolling on an elaborate plot to undermine his own Executive Branch. Joining Frank in his Machiavellian quest is his wife Claire (Robin Wright) who is every bit as scheming as Frank himself. Claire runs an NGO in D.C. dedicated to clean water and together these two play the game beautifully. Add to the duo Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly), Frank’s super effective and completely amoral Assistant; Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara), a young reporter for the Washington Herald who is eager to rise the ranks and willing to leak anything to the reading public; and Rep. Peter Russo (Corey Stoll), a Philly boy with a bad past who’s easy for Frank to manipulate, and you’ve got a really great core to the story. There are loads of extra characters and plenty of plot but the series moves right along and the production values are top notch. While some of the episodes do drag, let me say this…. I had intentions of watching only one or two episodes when I turned the series on this past Saturday and the next thing I knew, I was at Episode 6 and moving forward. Of course, NetFlix makes this easy to do since they automatically boot the next episode as the credits are rolling on the last one. Clever and great viewing for any cold winter’s day, night or weekend. Enjoy and just remember, Season Two starts filming this Spring.
THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST (2009/IN THEATERS) As with all films that mark the end of a trilogy, this one is full of plot and more plot, wrapping up all sorts of loose ends and making sure our “Girl” is not only acquitted of attempting to murder her father in the previous film but also receives back all her legal rights which, as we know well from both the films and the books, were stripped from her as a girl by a government-sponsored Swedish secret society covering up for her nasty Russian father. Like its immediate predecessor, The Girl Who Played With Fire, the film moves along like a good police procedural. Noomi Rapace is back as Lisbeth Salander and is excellent as always although she has a more passive role to play here—her character is either in the hospital, in a jail cell or in court for most of the film. She does get a little bit of action at the end, when, true to the book, she encounters her half-brother in an abandoned brick yard and has to outwit and outrun him. And she does get to dress in full Salander “goth mode” for her court scenes. The main character this time is Kalle Blomkvist (played again by Michael Nyqvist, very solid) who is determined to do right for Lisbeth and proves once again that the journalist as investigator film is alive and well. And although several of the book’s characters (like the sexy female cop) are either shortened to nothing or missing altogether (along with some notable sub-plots), the film is still long at 2 ½ hours. The ending feels abrupt, but is true to the book. I recommend seeing this movie for sure, but only if you are a fan of the series and also only if you have already read the book. Otherwise, it will be tough to follow. And I have to say, I’m getting excited about the David Fincher versions which will be coming. I hope he delivers. And good luck to Ms. Mara. A lot will be riding on her performance.
P.S. For some real fun, read Nora Ephron here.