Arts and Culture

Capsule Reviews

“Gone Girl”

A jaundiced view of marriage permeates this abrasive drama in which an apparently happy suburban couple’s dark secrets are revealed after the wife (Rosamund Pike) mysteriously disappears and all clues seem to suggest that her husband (Ben Affleck) has murdered her.

Fortunately for him, the lead investigator (Kim Dickens) on the case is reluctant to jump to conclusions, and his twin sister (Carrie Coon) proves steadfast in her support despite the mounting negative evidence.

Director David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s best-selling novel features some fine acting, clever plot twists and telling jabs at the manipulative influence of the media. But his film also showcases seedy sexual behavior in an exploitative manner and becomes blood-soaked during a climactic scene that’s played for shock value.

Considerable violence with brief but extreme gore, strong sexual content, at least one use of profanity, pervasive rough and much crude language.

The Catholic News Service classification is O – morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R – restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

“The Trip to Italy”

Two British comedians (Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon) set out on a grand tour of the Italian peninsula, in this follow-up to 2010’s “The Trip,” directed again by Michael Winterbottom.

The lines are blurred between real-life documentary and fictional drama as the duo journey from Turin to Naples in search of fine cuisine, grand hotels and sites associated with 19th-century English Romantic poets. Along the way, the lads banter about movies, impersonate famous actors, make vulgar jokes and fret about work and relationships.

Regrettably, what can be an enchanting travelogue, with breathtaking scenery and mouth-watering meals, is offset by some tasteless humor and sexual situations, placing this film squarely in the adult camp.

Adultery, implied nonmarital sexual activity, sexual humor and innuendo and frequent crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III – adults. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.