REVIEW: The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest

3 08 2011

Had I not read the whole of Stieg Larsson’s fascinatingly intriguing Millenium trilogy, I probably would have given up on Niels Arden Oplev’s lackluster film adaptations back whenever “The Girl Who Played With Fire” stunk it up like a skunk.  “The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest,” the final installment of the Swedish-produced trilogy, turns the series around in a positive direction but not nearly drastically or radically enough to make it all that worthwhile of a moviegoing experience.  The faithful adage “read the book first” still rings true, although I won’t be as harsh to say it has never rang truer.

The series does a pretty intense tonal shift in the third segment, becoming less of an intensely violent thriller and more of an Aaron Sorkin-esque courtroom drama.  (Hey, that’s actually a great idea – let’s start an Internet petition to bring together “The Social Network” dream team for the American version of this movie!)  Because of this, it’s almost unfair to compare it to the previous two movies in the series.  It has to rely on the Larsson’s plot for the suspense, which is actually a really good thing.  As its predecessor showed us, the late author knows best.

Rapace’s performance is sharp again as her Lisbeth Salander, a unique cinematic creation, endures the crucible of a lifetime in her confrontation of the vast injustices that have plagued her life.  She is, once again, the highlight of the movie and perhaps the only reason I can give to watch the movie instead of read the book.  Larsson’s prose is infinitely more exciting on a page than watching Oplev’s attempt at translating its zing.  If you really can’t keep from biting your nails until David Fincher gets his hands on the series, this will help you bide your time – but won’t really do much else.  B- / 

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What To Look Forward To in … October 2010

18 09 2010

In less than two weeks, we are headed into October.  More quality fall entertainment, more Oscar contenders.  But really, “The Social Network” leads off the month and it’s all downhill from there.  Sorry, every other movie coming out in my month of birth.  AND PLEASE TAKE THE POLL AT THE END … I blanked and left it off for a few days, but please vote!

October 1

I’ve stated twice that I’m dying to see “The Social Network,” and I’ve predicted it twice now to win Best Picture.  I’m counting on a great movie, and I’m planning on catching the first showing after school on Friday.

“Let Me In” reminds us of a time when vampires were still scary, not sexy.  Chloe Moretz (best known as Hit Girl) plays the blood-sucking child in question in this remake of the 2008 foreign horror flick “Let the Right One In.”  I think subtitles make anything creepier, but Hollywood sees English-language versions as a way to make things more accessible.

I love the book “Freakonomics,” and I think the documentary montage without any particular focus is a perfect complement to the bestseller.  If it’s anything like the book, it will be fascinating and incredibly thought-provoking.  It’s an interesting tactic to put it on iTunes before releasing it in theaters, and I’ve been asking myself whether or not I should wait for the big screen.

And on another note, poor Renee Zellweger has dropped so low as to start doing low-brow horror like “Case 39.”  To think she won an Oscar just 7 years ago…

October 8

Ugh, “Secretariat.”  Inspirational sports movies now give me an averse reaction.  And there’s also more gross horror in 3D with “My Soul to Take.”  Way to sell your soul, Wes Craven.  With the only other wide release being a corny Josh Duhamel-Katherine Heigl romantic comedy, “Life as We Know It,” it looks like I may be seeing “The Social Network” for a second time.

On the indie side of things, I’ll be happy to see some of the offerings.  For example, I’m sure “Inside Job” will be an illuminating (and probably slanted) view of what really went down with the economic meltdown in 2008.

“Stone” looks intense, much like “Brothers” appealed to me this time last year.  With an impressive cast of Robert DeNiro and Edward Norton (Milla Jovovich to a lesser degree as well), it could be a pretty good under-the-radar movie.

Tamara Drewe” has been playing at a lot of film festivals this year to mixed/positive reviews, most of the praise going not to director Stephen Frears but to leading lady Gemma Arterton.  “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” has also been playing film festivals recently albeit to much less success.  Despite the widespread acclaim the filmmakers’ past two movies, “Half Nelson” and “Sugar,” have received, this just hasn’t caught on.  “Nowhere Boy,” the story of John Lennon, premiered at Toronto this week, but I didn’t hear anything about it.  No news is NOT good news at a festival.

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