Check Out the David Fincher-Directed Video for Justin Timberlake’s ‘Suit & Tie’

Right about now, I hope someone is slaving away at their desk writing a comparative analysis of David Fincher premieres in the last two weeks—Netflix’s House of Cards series and Justin Timberlake’s brand new music video for "Suit & Tie." Yes, the video is finally here. We reported a couple weeks ago that Fincher would be directing J.T.’s latest track featuring Jay-Z, the first single off his fresh return to music with The 20/20 Experience. Floating somewhere between the slick and meticulous world of Fincher and a fancy vodka commercial, the video is shiny and suave—of course. J.T. eats cereal (or soup) while chillin with Jay, then hits the stage to showcase his smooth moves, interspersed with shots of a lingerie-clad lady writhing around. We’re into it. 

Counterpoint: ‘House of Cards’ Is Just Plain Dreadful

[Ed. note: on Monday, our frequent contributor Jolie Kerr sung the praises of House of Cards, the David Fincher-directed series that is single-handedly proving the success of Netflix and internet streaming. But our other frequent contributor Miles Klee is not buying it.]

No no no no. No. Do not do this to me, America. Do not believe the hype. Do not line up to watch the first and ideally last season of this show in one sitting. Re-watch a show you already know you like, I’m telling you. Take up knitting. Whittling. Anything. Just step away from the screen. I’d never normally say it, but you deserve better than this.

You can get your political intrigue elsewhere! Hell, stream Patrick Stewart’s Macbeth before you watch Kevin Spacey mercy-kill an injured dog on a Georgetown sidewalk whilst soliloquizing in formalwear. Rip through The Thick of It or Veep and get a superior satire of government that’s also funny. Read just about any book featuring Richard Nixon: it will be both more incredible and more relevant.

HoC, it would seem, has it all—decorated actors, fearless director, a poster that’s very Mad Men circa season three—everything but a glimmer of entertainment value. It’s not even as good as Lilyhammer, Netlix’s first flop of a foray into original programming, which once you get past the god-awful setup actually earns its mobster-out-of-water storyline. If this overnarrated mess takes off, it will prove nothing but the marketability of “[blank] of [blanks]” titles.

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter.

Binging and Urging: You Must All Watch ‘House of Cards’ NOW

Holy mackerel, is House of Cards ever great. Overblown, overwrought, soap opera-esque at times, it still manages to offer up enough political dialogue and stunning business attire to keep from insulting its viewers. Kevin Spacey’s Shakespearian asides to the audience—and even the inclusion of Kevin Spacey doling out Shakespearian asides in and of itself—are mostly absurd, but then he drops a perfect eye-roll in your lap and all is forgiven. Shakespearianishly.

Robin Wright, looking unsettlingly like Ur-mommyblogger Heather Armstrong, is sublime as Spacey’s icy cold wife. Kate Mara as a social media-savvy political reporter Zoe Barnes—and even the inclusion of a social media-savvy political reporter in and of itself—is excruciating. Mostly because her presence allowed for terms like "Twitter twat" to be bandied about and DO NOT WANT EL OH EL. Looming over them all is Kevin Spacey at his most Kevin Spaceyest as Congressman Francis Underwood.

And oh my God the echo joke. (Oh my God the echo joke.)

Much has been made of the decision on the part of Netflix to dump all 13 episodes on its audience at once, hoping to capitalize on what’s been dubbed the binge-style viewing habits of subscribers to the streaming video service. Time will bear out the relative strength or weakness of the strategy, but from where I’m sitting it sure does look to be slam dunk. Because holy mackerel, is House of Cards ever great. So great that in spite of having a heap of weekend chores and brunch with friends, I still managed to clear out thirteen hours to blow through the entire series. On Saturday, I stayed up well past my bedtime, so hooked was I, and woke up with a violent House of Cards hangover on Sunday morning. I figured a little hair of the dog was what the situation called for and fired up another episode while I drank my first cup of coffee. On Sunday night, when the closing shot of the final episode startled a loud yelp out of me, I immediately went back to the first episode and began House of Cards Binge Two: The Shuffling.

Now I need you all to go watch the entire thing so we can dissect every detail and so you’ll understand about that echo joke. (That echo joke.)

Follow Jolie Kerr on Twitter.

David Fincher to Direct Justin Timberlake’s ‘Suit & Tie’ Music Video

With his new series House of Lies premiering next week, it looks like David Fincher has some other exciting non-feature film projects in the works. The Playlist confirms for us that yes, the man who brought us Fight Club, Zodiac, Seven, etc. will now be directing the video for Justin Timberlake’s "Suit & Tie," the first single off his new album. Apparently J.T. and Fincher must have gotten pretty chummy while filming The Social Network and are collaborating once again with production already underway. No stranger to the world of music, not only did Fincher got his start on videos and commercials—with Nine Inch Nails’ "Only" his last hand at cinema for the sonic—but music always plays such a key role in his films.

Not much has been revealed about the video, save some on set photos but things look pretty fun between Jay Z and J.T., who look fresh and suave in these shots— as usual. Take a look below, listen to the song, and imagine just what these two have brewing up together. 

 

‘The Girl Who Played With Fire’ Might Happen Without Daniel Craig

Before David Fincher was busying himself with Netflix programming and the upcoming adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s runaway bestseller Gone Girl, he was getting all gaga over the punked-out Rooney Mara in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Based on Stieg Larsson’s trilogy (as well as the original Swedish films), the American version was supposed to blow everyone’s minds. Well, the first film was a box-office success and picked up some Oscar nominations, but everyone agreed that there was something a little disappointing in the nearly shot-by-shot remake. 

The studio execs still want to pursue the film’s two sequels, and want to keep Fincher on board. They’re less attached, however, to Daniel Craig, simply because the James Bond actor costs too much. 

Although 2011’s Tattoo made $233 million worldwide — not a bad haul for a hard-R movie that came on the heels of a wildly successful Swedish-language trilogy also based on the books by Stieg Larsson — the $90 million-budgeted film was not perceived as a runaway hit, and the studio is said to be hellbent on reducing the cost of the next chapter.

Sources close to the project say the biggest holdup isn’t Fincher’s involvement but star Daniel Craig’s. The studio has options on Craig for two sequels, but the actor is said to want a pay raise, not a cut, in the wake of Skyfall grossing $1 billion worldwide. If Sony can’t bring Craig back to reprise his role as journalist Mikael Blomkvist, the sources say the studio could write the character out of the sequel.

Rooney Mara, however, is still on board. Remember when she wouldn’t stop talking about how crazy she had to look for the movie, with the hair and the shaved eyebrows and the nipple piercings? Can’t wait to get into all of that again. 

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter

Watch Four New Trailers for Netflix’s ‘House of Cards’

Set to premiere next week, Netflix’s new television series, House of Cards is amping up the anticipation with four new trailers now streaming. The political drama focuses on Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood, a ruthless and cunning congressman who takes us through Washington, D.C.’s dark underbelly filled with sex, greed, and corruption. Starring Robin Wright as Underwood’s wife and Kate Mara as a young reporter, the political drama looks sufficiently David Fincher-esque right off the bat—which makes sense as he acts as a producer and director of the pilot and second episode. We saw Wright in his take on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo last year, which happened to also star Mara’s youngster sister, Rooney. But the brooding atmosphere and slick dark aesthetic feel right at home for Fincher and perfectly akin to the world he’s portraying. Penned by Beau Willimon of Farrgut North and the film it inspiredThe Ides of March, the show’s proceeding episodes will be directed by James Foley, Carl Franklin, and Joel Schumacher. 

Check out the four trailers here and some character still from the show below.

 

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Morning Links: Michelle Williams Next Big Role, Beyoncé Gets a Monument

● Michelle Williams’s next big role is to be somewhat less glamorous than her last. With no big projects on the horizon, she says that she "just [wants] to go back to being a mom for a while." [Huff Post]

● Kim Kardashian has made good business of her nearly 13 million Twitter followers, earning upwards of $10,000 per endorsed tweet for brands like CVS and ShoeDazzle.com. And although she’s tops, she’s not alone in the tweet-for-pay game: Snoop Dogg makes $8,000 and Whitney Port makes $2,000 per 140 characters. [NYM]

● LeBron James straight-up jumped over a guy to complete an alley-oop at last night’s Heat/Bulls game. [TMZ]

● Another weekend, another award show! Last night’s Screen Actors Guild awards were dominated by The HelpBoardwalk Empire, and Bridesmaids’s drunk cast. [THR]

● The city of Houston has apparently lent their support to a monument/mini-museum being built in honor of hometown hero, Beyoncé. “We wanted to construct, like, a massive hall so as the doors open, if you donated to the monument, you’ll have a separate nameplate,” say the two men behind the plan. “There will be clips of Beyonce with Destiny’s Child and wardrobe like a mini museum.” [MyFoxHouston]

● With David Fincher unwilling to budge on the rather brutal sex scenes, Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is struggling to get release in other countries like India. [THR]

● Amber Rose seems to have gotten a tribal face tattoo, a la Mike Tyson. Cute? [MTO]

The Real Mystery of ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’: Why Was It So Long?

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: did you see it? And by "see it" I mean, "Did you really spend two and a half hours of your life experiencing Steig Larsson’s crime thriller in all its bleak, pedantic, and simultaneously boring and horrific glory?" If not, you might not want to read ahead as this piece contains some major spoilers. Then again, you’ve probably already read the books.

While there are many reasons to like this film (the opening sequence alone might be worth the ticket price), there is no justification for having the movie stretch out so long. Was there not enough room in the budget for a film editor? Was it just a terrible adaptation, in that the film couldn’t figure out what sequences to leave in (anything involving Lisbeth, up until the extended denouement) and what to cut out (90% of the scenes in the library or in which characters looked through filing boxes)?

I could have read the whole book in the time it took to watch the movie. This is only a slight exaggeration. If you just spread the time out over a matter of days, a speed reader would be able to digest this pulpy crime novel in less than two and a half hours total. Not the same could be said for David Fincher’s movie, which – like an angry, sadistic guardian — sits your ass down and makes sure you watch every second of the less-than-riveting expository scenes. When you get right down to it, the major clues to figuring out the Vanger family mystery involved finding a photograph of someone else taking a photograph. And even then our hero Mikael Blomkvist needed the ending spelled out for him. You’d think with Lisbeth’s help they would have been able to cut some of these scenes down to a more slimming total.

Here’s a suggestion: why not group all the horrific rape scenes together? It would have been nice not to have a heart attack right in the middle of would have been a gentle, snow-filled slumber right before jolting out of our seat as the movie drastically cut back and forth between Mikael’s sleuthing and Lisbeth’s attacks. It was somewhat important to juxtapose our two heroes’ journeys on parallel tracks before they meet, but when Daniel Craig is just sifting through boxes and Rooney Mara is getting *explicative* up the *explicative* with an *explicative*, it just adds extra time to your film, when you could just as easily group all the boring stuff and all the horrifying bits into different parts of the movie and sell it as a double feature, Kill Bill-style.

And honestly, what American movie-goer wouldn’t be able to figure out the killer’s identity as soon as he’s introduced on screen? Stellan Skarsgård is like the Chekov’s gun of movie villains. It’s a well-known rule that if you put the Good Will Hunting actor in your movie and the bad guy hasn’t been revealed by the second act, you can expect his Swedish ass to reveal a secret death chamber blasting Enya and knockout gas in the third. (Even his son, Alexander, has a hard time playing the good guy. See: True Blood and Straw Dogs.) Even those of us who haven’t already read the books can pretty much deduce Martin Vanger as the true culprit responsible for Harriet’s disappearance the moment he appears on screen with that creepy Nordic smile.

Mr. Fincher and writer Steven Zaillian must have also forgotten that we as an audience don’t give a crap about Wennerström, the evil magnate who has Blomkvist convicted on libel charges in the beginning of the film. Roughly half an hour is tacked onto the end of this movie in a haphazard fashion so we can see Wennerström get his due long after the Vanger mystery has been solved and the killer has been, well, killed. And in this half-hour there is more action and plot development than in the first two hours of film, so right when you are ready to leave the theater, you are crammed with all this extra information about a character you forgot about twenty minutes in. Sure, it might have been in the books, but we didn’t need it.

One part of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo that they actually could have explained more thoroughly? How our hero kept mysteriously losing his accent. Perhaps a greater mystery than how a family of Nazis was allowed to live on a death island without the Swedish government’s interference is how, as Mikael Blomkvist, Daniel Craig couldn’t find twenty minutes to try to locate where his diction went. Oh there it is! No wait, he lost it again.

Then again, maybe they’ll just address that in the sequel: The Man Who Confused Squinting with Acting.

Scarlett Johansson Is Too Pretty for David Fincher

When it was announced that David Fincher was signed on to film an American adaptation of the bestselling Swedish novel The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, a crazy search ensued for the right actress to play the female lead, the troubled but confidently edgy Lisbeth Salander. It would be a hard role to fill, as the novel, the first in a three-part series, made the character so iconic. Not to mention the Swedish film adaptation that was already popular enough in the states, which features Swedish native Noomi Rapace in the starring role. While many young women auditioned for the part, it eventually went to Rooney Mara, who was briefly featured as Mark Zuckerberg’s ex-girlfriend in two scenes of Fincher’s The Social Network. The most famous name to be passed over was Scarlett Johansson, who the director referred to as being too attractive for the role.

“It was a great audition, I’m telling you. But the thing with Scarlett is, you can’t wait for her to take her clothes off.” [Fincher] stops for a moment. “I keep trying to explain this. Salander should be like E.T. If you put E.T. dolls out before anyone had seen the movie, they would say, ‘What is this little squishy thing?’ Well, you know what? When he hides under the table and he grabs the Reese’s Pieces, you love him! It has to be like that.”

So there you go: Rooney Mara is kind of like E.T. What is perhaps more interested in the Vogue profile of the actress is the slightly bizarre relationship between Mara and Rooney:

She hangs on his every word, her eyes lit with admiration. Their relationship, it quickly becomes clear, is charged with the electric current of the mentor-protégée crush, which is both touching and occasionally uncomfortable to watch. Or, as Daniel Craig, who costars as a crusading journalist named Mikael Blomkvist, says about their working relationship, “It’s fucking weird!” When a waiter appears to take our order, we are all looking at our menus, but I see out of the corner of my eye Fincher nudging Mara. He says with quiet seriousness, “You can eat.” I look up to see her reaction. Mara rolls her eyes, and Fincher laughs. “You can have lettuce and a grape. A raisin if you must.” She orders a piece of fish and barely touches it.

Pairing that with the fact that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo features a hefty amount of sexual violence toward women is a little creepy, no? Maybe Johansson should be glad she missed the opportunity.