‘Dragon Tattoo’ is Fincher’s antidote to holiday cheer
Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig star in “The Girl With the Dragon
- “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
★★★ (out of four)
2011, Dir. David Fincher, U.S., R
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is rated R for language, sex,
nudity, and graphic violence including rape.
- New films
‘The Devil Inside’
Director: William Brent Bell.
Starring: Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman.
The plot: In Italy a woman becomes involved in a series of
unauthorized exorcisms during her mission to discover what happened
to her mother, who allegedly murdered three people during her own
Genre: Horror, thriller.
- Film roundup
“Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol”
★★★ 1⁄2 (out of four)
It’s an unapologetic, incredibly effective old-school thrill
ride that puts lively twists on familiar genre conventions: the
opening prison break, involving the constant opening and closing of
doors and gates, is staged with the madcap comic rhythms of Charlie
Chaplin and Jackie Chan; a second-act chase through the streets of
Dubai turns into a game of cat and mouse as a sandstorm sweeps
through the area; the climactic fight sequence satirizes the
absurdity of climactic fight sequences, while at the same time
indulging in that same ridiculousness to full, cheesy effect.
The film’s premise is intriguing, and rife with potential to
explore moral complexities. George Clooney stars as Matt King, a
workaholic attorney and father of two girls, whose wife is injured
in a boat race and rendered comatose. As Mike, a self-professed
“backup parent,” is faced with the prospect of caring for his
daughters alone, he is further disturbed by the revelation that his
wife had been carrying on an affair in the months before her
accident. Burdened by this knowledge, he sets out along with his
oldest daughter (Shailene Woodley) and her stoner boyfriend (Nick
Krause) to find and confront the man who was sleeping with his
wife. In the midst of all this drama is a subplot involving Matt’s
control over a pending land sale (he’s a direct descendant of King
Kamehameha, and holds sway over the family trust that includes
25,000 acres of pristine Hawaiian land), and its troubling
connections to the central conflict.
This is about as old-fashioned as old-fashioned family films
get, telling the relatively simple story of a young boy in 1930s
Paris struggling to find his natural place in the world around him
— not quite what you would expect from the man who gave us the pen
scene in “Casino.” But armed with a mastery of filmmaking technique
and a keen sense of character development, Scorsese proves once and
for all that he truly is capable of anything. “Hugo” shows us a
different side of the filmmaker — a charming, whimsical, thoroughly
magically side that permeates through the entire picture and makes
“Hugo” the one film from his repertoire that is guaranteed to leave
you with the warm fuzzies.
“The Muppets” marks the troupe’s first big-screen outing in 12
years (following the ill-conceived “Muppets from Space”), and takes
a refreshingly postmodern look at the franchise, tackling head-on
the perceived irrelevance of the Muppets in contemporary society.
As the movie opens we are introduced to Walter, a puppet “born” to
human parents in the late ’70s, when Muppet fever was sweeping the
nation. Water and his human brother, Gary (Jason Segel, who also
co-wrote the screenplay), are somewhat isolated in their
’50-inspired Smalltown, USA existence, and remain diehard Muppet
fans through the decades even as the rest of the country forgets
Posted: Friday, December 30, 2011 7:37 am
Updated: 9:13 am, Fri Dec 30, 2011.
Hope you all had a great Christmas and are enjoying the final
hours of 2011. My holiday season has been quite relaxing indeed,
with the exception of the screening blitz I’ve been embroiled in
since I realized the first draft of my year-end top 10 list was
woefully inadequate. I’m trying to cram in as many movies as I can
before my list is due for publication next week, and the experience
has been mind-reeling but, of course, invigorating in its own
One of the best I’ve seen lately is David Fincher’s long-awaited
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” which, even if it didn’t melt my
face off with fire and brimstone as I had hoped, represents yet
another notch in the belt of a filmmaker who, it appears, is
incapable of producing anything less than exceptional. So if you’re
tired all the happiness and good cheer that comes with the holiday
season and wish to wallow in depravity and cynicism — as only a
filmmaker can Fincher can deliver it — then I invite you to buy a
ticket, take the ride and enjoy your journey through the darker
recesses of the human condition. I assure you, it’s a hell of a
Friday, December 30, 2011 7:37 am.
Updated: 9:13 am.