Monthly Archives: October 2014

Tracks, Gone Girl Driving Tours… and snakes

Oh, hi. Don’t mind me, I’m just the lady in the back of the movie theater audibly gasping when a giant snake slithers across Mia Wasikowska’s body in her new movie “Tracks.”

It’s unfortunate that “Tracks” isn’t in the theaters anymore, at least in the Twin Cities, but don’t let the aforementioned snake nightmare (for me) deter you from seeing it when it’s released on DVD (or laser disc or whatever format you choose.)

BUT, if you do have a fear of snakes, I warn you that there is no build up to the scene to allow for time to cover your eyes and therefore not say “Oh Jeez” in the theater loud enough so the people a few rows away turn around and look at you. The scene is actually in the trailer so I thought for sure there would be time to prepare and know that a giant snake is about to appear, but no such luck.

As far as I can tell, the scene was in the movie strictly for visual effect and beauty, which makes sense with “Tracks” because the backdrop of the Australian desert it takes place in is just stunning. (Minus the snake.)

I just have to let that go because “Tracks” really is my favorite movie of those I’ve seen of late.

Wasikowska stars in the film as Robyn Davidson, who in real life walked 1,700 miles across the Australian desert with camels that she trained and her dog, Diggity.

She is joined, at times, along the way by a National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan (Adam Driver) to document her journey. Davidson set out to do it completely alone, but the magazine sponsored her trip and required coverage of it in return.

I enjoyed the interactions Davidson had with Smolan and even more so the indigenous people in the desert who served as guides and hosts during her trip. While there are many other characters in the film aside from Davidson, there is just enough time spent on why she sought out to complete the journey on her own and the background of her life.

Davidson wrote a book about her journey as well, which I want to read, but I recommend the film for its visual depiction of the story alone.

Moving on, it’s hard to rank the rest of the films I’ve seen lately, but “Gone Girl” has to be my second favorite. I went to it on opening night, along with a lot of other people, and was pleasantly surprised. I wasn’t a huge fan of the book and, with author Gillian Flynn serving as a screenwriter, I was worried some of the negatives from the novel would translate to the movie version of the story. I mainly didn’t like Flynn’s writing style in the novel but it somehow was transformed into a solid script and film with just the right amount of camp and dark humor.

I heard a rumor that the movie ending to the story was different from the book, but Flynn and director David Fincher stayed true to the original plot. There are subtle hints of Fincher’s directing style from some of his darker films but “Gone Girl” is really a mix of suspense, mystery and humor. She doesn’t have a big role, but Casey Wilson’s appearance as the nosy neighbor to Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike (Nick and Amy) made my day and Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry work well in their supporting roles. It took a while to get on board with Affleck’s performance, but once the dark comedy theme of the film sets in he plays a perfect as a dumb husband who really isn’t that dumb.

I’ve been following the production of this film for quite a while since it takes place, and was filmed in, the town where my aunt lives — Cape Girardeau, Mo. She sent me local news articles during the filming (did you know Ben Affleck shopped at a thrift store there? OMG) and I admit I’ve done some research of my own about it. The latest news, which my aunt did send me, is that the visitor’s bureau in Cape Girardeau is now hosting Gone Girl driving tours.

I also have to credit my aunt with working in a Seinfeld reference when she sent me the news. I hope they really do have muffin stumps on this tour.

If I don’t get to it before I leave for Missouri to geek out on Gone Girl even more, here is a quick ranking of the other movies I’ve seen lately “The Two Faces of January,”  “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby,” “Kill the Messenger,” and “This is Where I Leave You.”

“Time is of the essence.” Newman.