THE GUEST (Adam Wingard, 2014): 7.3
When I was young, my dad would show me movies like TAXI DRIVER, THE SUBSTITUTE, the Parris Island sequence of FULL METAL JACKET, RAMBO, etc., seemingly ignorant of everything but the male power fantasy. What this movie understands is why movies like THE BOONDOCK SAINTS and SCARFACE are so appealing for all the wrong reasons, and guiltlessly exploits it. Knowing that the rottenness at the core of the male power fantasy has been explored well enough, thank you very much, this movie has fun exploiting it instead of wagging its finger at the bros who have little friends they’d like to introduce you to. And Lance Reddick let’s out a “fuck” for the ages.
GONE GIRL (David Fincher, 2014): 7.9
Formally exceptional, as one would expect from Fincher these days, and there’s enough going on here to dig its fingernails in you as you ride the roller coaster. Fincher has always been fascinated with pulp, which is fine, and he’s a master of the form, but I feel like his best works (ZODIAC and THE SOCIAL NETWORK, which are his movies based on real life stories) are able to at least ground the pulpier aspects a bit more. Is that what I want? A more grounded Fincher? Sure, why not.