Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Sunday's plan: Go to Somerville, arrive when both Gone Girl and Fury would be starting within five minutes of each other, and see whichever one was on the big screen. Then figure out the rest of the afternoon. Which wound up being "see the other one". Projectionist Dave Kornfeld offered to make Gone Girl out of focus just for me, and possibly out of spite because director David Fincher loves working with digital in a way that the theater's Dave, well, doesn't.

It's a shame that they couldn't get a real print of Fury, in that case, because the promotional stuff I saw as part of some theater's pre-show had the cast talking about how this was an old-school, shot-in-35mm war movie, which had me holding out a little hope that it might screen that way, and Dave & Ian would be all over that. Sadly, it doesn't look like they got that opportunity, which is a shame. Curse you for getting my hopes up, electronic-press-kit-makers! Even I I did enjoy it well enough as a DCP.

One part o the movie I liked more than expected, but which didn't really fit in the review, is Shia LaBeouf. I've never really hated him as an actor although I've always wondered what Steven Spielberg saw in him to keep recommeding him when not casting the guy himself, even before he'd gone and made his name a punchline. Apparently, he just needed the right mustache, because it kind of gives him a young Sam Elliott thing here. Someone should find a way to cast them as the same character 30-40 years apart sometime.


* * * (out of four)
Seen 19 October 2014 in Somerville Theatre #3 (first-run, DCP)

David Ayer seems unlikely to make a romantic comedy any time soon; his films are testosterone baths packed with bloody action and male bonding, an unrepentant couple hours of traditional masculinity with just enough self-awareness that, even if that's not your thing, you can at least acknowledge it as a fair examination of manhood. And if it is your thing, Fury is a darn good war movie, no closer examination necessary.

It follows the crew of a Tiger I tank (with "Fury" written across the barrell of its cannon) during the final months of World War II. Sergeant Don "Wardaddy" Collier (Brad Pitt) has held the group together for much of the war, enough to come out of a slaughter almost intact - driver Trini "Gordo" Garcia (Michael Pena), gunner Boyd "Bible" Swan (Shia LaBeouf), and mechanic Grady "Coon-Ass" Travis (Jon Bernthal). Their other driver dead, they have been assigned the extremely green Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman), a clerk with no training and no experience. Dispatched as part of a group meant to flush out Nazi defenses and hold a critical crossroads, Collier and his crew don't intend to let Norman's squeamishness hold them back.

Ayer has no intention of abstracting things from the very start; though a tank movie could easily be played like plane movies often are - war depicted as a clash of machines, rather mechanical even as you get to know their crews - we're introduced to Collier as he leaps out from cover and slits a mounted Nazi's throat. Then, of course, he frees the horse, for it is a noble beast that does not deserve to be sullied by any further association with the SS, a rugged moment of kindness. That will set the tone for much of the rest of the movie, as Ayer piles on reminders that war is a horrific thing, even if it is also something that must be fully embraced to be survived, with any more sentimental impulses taking the form of stoicism.

Full review at EFC.

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