20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
The past 15 years have done a number on American suburbia. In 1999, a simpler and sweeter time, Sam Mendes used American Beauty to pull back the curtain on the subculture’s sinister core. In 2014, Gone Girl serves a similar purpose, but shoulders a heavier load: today is far more readily sinister, malevolent, desperate, and disgusting than the pre-9/11 era captured in Mendes’ Oscar winner.
So, naturally, we turn to David Fincher.
Just as Gone Girl is 2014’s equivalent to Clinton Era American Beauty, the new film is 50s Fincher’s answer to the mid-30s-Fincher product Fight Club. In exploring the disappearance of writer Amy Dunn (Rosamund Pike), the film’s story spotlights the diabolical wire rigs behind her relationship with husband Nick (Ben Affleck) — and, by extension, the ugly truths fueling or anchoring any modern marriage (hell, if people this pretty have problems…).
The novel adaptation claims stake in the genres of mystery, horror, psychological thriller, relationship drama, and — hell, for sure — black comedy, having a ton of twisted fun as both an elaborate whodunit and a socio-psychological term paper on contemporary gender politics.
20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
Affleck is a hoot as the rigidly dislikable Nick, a charmless cad who can look shlubby even with a mile-long shoulder width. Pike, too, is a treat, batting around banter in perfect company with Fincher's dreamy eye to produce a heightened reality that hits visceral levels. But the supporting cast is Gone Girl's claim to fame. As a hard-nosed detective, Kim Dickens is electric enough to escape the limiting nature of her audience surrogate character; right beside her is an almost wordless Patrick Fugit, whose stoic body language manages a laugh every time. And yes, believe it: Tyler Perry is pretty good.
But what is probably most impressive about the movie — a factor that, to some, might actually prove most frustating — is its comfort with keeping certain things nebulous. At the risk of anticlimax, Gone Girl occassionally favors implications over answers, suggesting to the audience that its conversation extends the parameters of its plot.
Never lilting in its energy thanks to an unorthodox structure and feverish editing, Gone Girl is as broadly enjoyable as it is clever. Fincher manages with middle age what he mastered with fading youth, in 2014 what Mendes tried in '99. It's all very frightening, all too provocative, and all one mess of a good time.
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A beauty queen stripped of her title as Miss Asia Pacific World is refusing to return her $100,000 (£58,900) crown until she receives a public apology from pageant bosses for accusing her of theft. May Myat Noe recently became Myanmar's first international beauty queen after winning the title in South Korea, but she was dethroned last week (ends29Aug14), with competition spokesman David Kim accusing her of becoming untrustworthy.
He then alleged she had run off with the pricey tiara after learning she was to be stripped of the honour.
However, Noe is now fighting back, and in a press conference held in Myanmar on Tuesday (02Sep14), the 16 year old told reporters she never intended to steal the accessory, but she is now demanding Miss Asia Pacific World chiefs say "sorry" to her before she hands it back.
She said, "I'm not even proud of this crown. I don't want a crown from an organisation with such a bad reputation."
Noe alleges pageant executives lied about her age, claiming she was two years older than she really is, and put pressure on her to undergo plastic surgery to boost her bust size - but she refused the operation.
A beauty queen who was stripped of her title has disappeared with her $100,000 (£58,900) crown. May Myat Noe became Myanmar's first international beauty queen when she was named Miss Asia Pacific World, but the word 'dethroned' has now been written by her name on the pageant's website and organisers are demanding the return of her crown.
Pageant spokesman David Kim tells Eleven Media newspaper, "She thinks as long as she keeps this crown she's the winner."
It's unclear exactly why Noe was stripped of the title but organisers claim she had become untrustworthy.
Her former manager Hla Nu Tun claims Noe and the pageant bosses had disagreed over who should oversee her career - Noe wanted her mother to oversee her professional life.
Reports also suggest Noe refused to undergo breast augmentation surgery, as per Miss Asia Pacific World organisers' wishes.
Kim adds, "We thought she should be more beautiful... so we sent her to the hospital to operate on her breasts."
Morgan Freeman, Kim Cattrall and Joseph Fiennes are among the stars who have signed up to study the works of William Shakespeare in a new documentary series. The show, titled My Shakespeare, will feature celebrity hosts analysing the Bard's texts and exploring the plays' history.
Freeman will tackle The Taming Of The Shrew, Cattrall will focus on Antony & Cleopatra, and Fiennes has chosen Romeo & Juliet.
Other stars taking part in the programme for U.K. TV channel Sky Arts 1 include Downton Abbey's Hugh Bonneville, Homeland star David Harewood, and The Sound of Music legend Christopher Plummer.
The series airs in the U.K. from 22 September (14).
Socialite Nicky Hilton is engaged to boyfriend James Rothschild. The hotel heiress' banker beau popped the question last weekend (ends10Aug14) in Italy, according to Us Weekly.
A source tells the magazine the couple was celebrating its anniversary in the same country where they first met, while attending supermodel Petra Ecclestone and James Stunt's 2011 wedding near Rome.
The insider reveals Rothschild, who flew from his home in England to the U.S. to ask Hilton's parents for her hand in marriage before the trip, proposed during a boat trip on Lake Como, where George Clooney owns a retreat.
The source says, "It was incredibly romantic and beautiful."
Hilton and Rothschild are reportedly celebrating their engagement with a road trip through Europe.
Fashion designer Hilton, the younger sister of Paris, previously dated DreamWorks studio boss David Katzenberg for four years, and was briefly married to childhood friend and businessman Todd Andrew Meister in 2004.
Italy has become 2014's romance destination for celebrities - Kim Kardashian and Kanye West wed in Florence earlier this summer, and George Clooney will wed his fiancee Amal Alamuddin in Italy next month (Sep14), according to reports.
Rapper Kanye West is reportedly heading back to France to hit the stage as a guest speaker at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
The outspoken Touch The Sky hitmaker, who celebrated his wedding to reality star Kim Kardashian in Paris last month (May14), has been tapped as a surprise addition to the line up for the advertising seminar Technology, Culture and Consumer Adoption: Learning to Read the Cultural Landscape, which will take place on Tuesday (17Jun14), according to the New York Post.
West, who has been vocal about his passion to push the boundaries of art, fashion and technology in everything he does, will discuss the links between digital advances and cultural evolution alongside former music executive Steve Stoute and financier Ben Horowitz, co-founder of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
The musician won't be the only celebrity speaker at the annual event - former Baywatch star David Hasselhoff helped to kick off the 2014 Cannes Lions on Sunday (15Jun14) by delivering a speech about brand relevance at the very first seminar of the festival, while actress Sarah Jessica Parker and director Spike Jonze have also taken part in talks.
Here are this week's highlights from VH1, Celebuzz, Flavorwire, and Hollywood.com
Bare it like Beckham!Celebrate the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 12 with the only reason you started paying attention to soccer in the first place: shirtless David Beckham. Celebuzz has a gallery of all of Becks' best semi-dressed moments.
Your newest guilty pleasure TV show awaits... Once you've run through the new season of Orange is the New Black, you'll need something a little lighter and a lot campier to recover from your marathon, and ABC Family is just the place to take the edge off. Flavorwire runs down the hidden gems of the network, and the best shows you'll never admit to watching.
"My conductor don't want none unless you've got trombones, hon." Sure, Sir Mix A Lot's "Baby Got Back" is a one of the best songs of the '90s, but you know what would make it even better? A full symphony orchestra on backup. VH1 has video of the rapper pefroming the updated classic, along with other great covers you might have missed.
Queen Bey Vs. Kim K: Who Reigns Supreme? Is Beyonce's picture day ponytail cuter than Kim Kardashian's fancy white bow? Just in time for #ThrowbackThursday, Hollywood.com grades the biggest stars on Instagram to see who has the more fabulous flashback photos.
Rocker Elvis Costello performed a song he wrote in a day on Thursday night (05Jun14) when he stepped in to replace sick Lana Del Rey on America's The Late Show With David Letterman. Costello was working on new tracks when he got the call to perform at the last minute and decided to try out one of the new tunes, The Last Year of My Youth, on the show.
It is not clear why Del Rey pulled out of the show but her European tour dates, which begin next week (13Jun14) are all still scheduled.
The singer, who recently performed at Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's pre-wedding party in France, recently told Fader magazine she has been struggling with a mystery illness for two years.
She says, "(I have this) medical anomaly that doctors couldn't figure out. That's a big part of my life: I just feel really sick a lot of the time and can't figure out why."
Prince William's son Prince George has been crowned the most fashionable celebrity offspring after beating Beyonce and Jay Z's daughter Blue Ivy to the top of a new poll.
The third-in-line to the British throne, whose mother is Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, has won 23 per cent of the public vote on U.K. baby website My1stYears.com, with Blue Ivy coming in second place. Newlyweds Kanye West and Kim Kardashian's baby girl North is third, with British singer Alesha Dixon's daughter Azura and David and Victoria Beckham's tot Harper rounding out the top five. Kate Winslet's son Bear and Simon Cowell's first child Eric are also featured in the top 10.
Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are reportedly spending their first days as newlyweds on a secret honeymoon in Ireland. The couple tied the knot on Saturday (24May14) in Florence, Italy, and on Sunday (25May14) they jetted west for a stay in County Cork, Ireland, according to multiple reports.
Editors at the Irish Independent report the rapper and his reality TV star wife arrived by private jet at Cork Airport and were whisked away for a five-day honeymoon at an undisclosed location.
However, their post-wedding getaway will be cut short as they are expected to attend West's stylist's wedding in Prague, Czech Republic next weekend (begs30May14), according to E! News.
West and Kardashian's week-long celebrations began in Paris, with Kardashian enjoying her bachelorette party on Thursday (22May14), and festivities continued on Friday (23May14) with a lavish luncheon at fashion mogul Valentino's mansion in the French countryside, and a dinner party with their celebrity friends later that night at the historic Palace of Versailles.
Lana Del Rey performed a set following the dinner, and guests included Alexander Wang, director Steve McQueen, illusionist David Blaine, Serena Williams, and rappers Big Sean and Tyga.
The actual wedding ceremony was held in Florence and was attended by 100 of their closest friends and family at the historic Forte di Belvedere, a 16th-century-era fortress on top of a hill overlooking the Arno river.
E! News reports Kardashian's mum, Kris Jenner, gave an emotional speech during the reception, while West also gushed about his new bride and the Kardashian family, calling them "the most remarkable people of our time".
An insider reveals that the newlyweds' first dance was to an Etta James mash-up, and West even took the mic to perform live.