Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Movie Review: Girl With A Dragon Tattoo

I just watched the newly released David Fincher film, "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo". And it was fantastic! Let's start with the plot. The plot of the film is exceedingly simple. (No, that is not a bad thing.) Disgraced journalist, Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) is hired to investigate a 40 year old missing persons case and is assisted by the titular character, Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara). But that simplicity allows for two things: one, it provides a solid framework for what is a truly stellar film, and two, it elicits a deeper questioning: Why has this journalist been disgraced? Who would choose a disgraced journalist to investigate a missing persons case? Why investigate after 40 years? Just reading the plot of the film had me asking a bunch of questions. Which is fantastic for a mystery thriller, especially one by David Fincher.

Watching a David Fincher film is always an interesting experience. The single most intriguing aspect of the film was the amoral landscape of the film. The bulk of the story takes place on the  Vanger family island, which already sets the events of the film in a kind of clean, distant space, that allows for an almost clinically detached experience, but Fincher enhances that emotional detachment by shooting in severe, spartan sets and wide shots that keep the viewer far away from the events, and has the side effect of downplaying the visceral reaction to the brutality of some of the film. Yet, at the same, he delivers a steady stream of expositions, plot development, and story twists that keep the viewer MENTALLY engaged in the film. 

A lot has been stated about the casting of Rooney Mara as Lisbeth. There has been buzz and critique in equal amounts. Coming out of the film, I can honestly say that Mara delivered a fantastic performance. Her physical transformation alone was reminiscent of Christian Bale (Check him out in The Machinist to see what I mean.), and yes, I mean that as a compliment. Mara played Lisbeth to the hilt, coming across as vulnerable, strong, empathic, psychotic, hyper-intelligent and emotionally naive. It was a truly engrossing performance from a relatively new actress. She even managed to steal scenes from Daniel Craig, and that is truly impressive in my book.

Speaking of Daniel Craig, I've felt sorry for him ever since he became the new James Bond. The amazing popularity of his more brutal version of Bond seemed to cement his career's inevitable doom: typecasting. Which would honestly suck, because Craig is an exceptionally talented actor. ( My favorite film of his: Layer Cake.) But this film gave him the perfect opportunity to shatter the Bond image into itty bitty pieces. 

One of the toughest things to portray on screen is intelligence, of any kind. For all that I love of the character, 007 isn't an intelligent man. Clever and street smart? Yes. Intelligent? No. And that's how Craig breaks away from the Bond character in this film. In playing the disgraced journalist, Mikael Blomkvist, Craig portrays the investigative mind perfectly. You can literally SEE the connections being made and the deductions coming to light as he pores over the information presented to him over and over again. And this is enhanced when he enlists the help of Mara's character and they set in to investigate the disappearance. When they started working on the case, it evoked an image of Sherlock Holmes & Watson coming together on their first case. I'm hoping that this film does well, so that the other two films can be brought to light under the OCD eye of David Fincher.

However, this movie is something of a slow burn. It's a film that you have to devote a lot of attention to and that slow plays its audience throughout the entire film. Fincher utilizes that slow place to enhance the tension in some scenes, to break up the exposition in others, and to add emotional distance to yet other scenes. The one constant is that slow pace. And that could be the film's downfall. I'm really hoping this one does well. I would love to see more movies like this.

If you're looking for a slow paced, intense thriller, then "Girl With A Dragon Tattoo" is the film for you. I mean it, you'll LOVE it.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Master Has Returned...

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys & Girls, the Master has returned. That's right, the man who practically INVENTED modern day sci-fi horror with his film, Alien, has come back to the Alien universe. And now, you will see how the Alien movies SHOULD be done. Cameron, Fincher, and Jeunet get out your notebooks, cause you're about to be SCHOOLED!! Here comes Prometheus!

The first trailer for Ridley Scott's Alien prequel, Prometheus, has been released. Check it out:

How awesome was that? Now, I've been avoiding getting too deep into the production of this movie, but after this trailer I had to do some research! I found out a lot of cool stuff, but I'm not going to spoil anything for you. However, I do have a question. It seems that Ridley Scott want this movie to have an R rating, but the studios are hesitant to go above PG-13. As such, Scott is making two cuts of the film, one for each rating, for the studios to review. What rating do you think this movie should be released under?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sulu Speaks Seeking Star Slander Cessation....

Recently, there has been a battle going on in the CyberWeb InterSpace, my dear readers. A re-ignition of the Eternal battle between Star Trek & Star Wars, instigated by none other than Capt. James T. Kirk himself: William Shatner. And Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher, responded.

Now, in an attempt to unite the two feuding fandoms, George Takei steps in as the ambassador for Star Peace in his unique position as the ONLY actor (at this time) who has EVER starred in BOTH!! Yes, that's right, my dear readers. George Takei is bad-ass enough to have starred in not only Star Trek as Sulu (Come on, you all KNEW that, right?), but also as Lok Durd in the Star Wars: Clone Wars tv series!! (That one I don't expect you'd have known... Hell, *I* didn't even know that until today! Which is why I'm taking the time to educate YOU as well!!)

And so, George Takei calls forth the two universes of Star Trek and Star Wars to join together in harmony and in battle against the TRUE ENEMY of us all: TWILIGHT.

Gone is any sense of heroism, camaraderie or epic battles. In its place, we have vampires that sparkle, moan and go to high school. Now, I'm not above mixing in a little sex appeal to spice up the fantasy, but sci-fi fans be warned, there are no great stories, characters or profound life lessons to be found in Twilight. Nooo…In Twilight, the only message that rings through loud and clear is: 'Does my boyfriend like me?'

Buffy, Blade... We're counting on you!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Is Fear A Factor For You?

There are times when I'm convinced that the universe is out to get me. While I don't believe I'm the ONLY target of the universe's mischievous sense of humor (that would be the height of arrogance and make me WORTHY of being on the list), I am on it's list. But then I get certain gifts from the universe that are of such magnitude that I have to question whether or not the universe actually hates me. This post is about one such gift.

I'm not a big Christmas person. I'm not a Grinch in that I'm out to ruin Christmas for everyone, I'm just not one to really participate in it. So, the month of December is kind of boring and annoying. (You try listening to 31+ days straight of cloying & sappy music relating to a holiday YOU don't enjoy and see if YOU like it. And yes it's 31+ days because it normally starts the day AFTER Thanksgiving and goes straight until Dec 25th. The plus is covering the stragglers that start up before T-Day and possibly go on after the 25th.) Yes, I know my birthday is in December, but given that it's 2 days AFTER the global celebration of the birth of Christ, my birthday is pretty much a non-event. However, for THIS YEAR, I have been given, not one, not two, but THREE gifts from the universe to allow me to survive this harrowing time known as the month of December!

#3 - Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game Of Shadows (out 12/16)

#2 - Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol (out 12/16)

#1 - The return, after a SIX YEAR hiatus of the ONLY reality tv show I would EVER watch and the original bad ass game show: FEAR FACTOR!!!! Here is a clip of what's in store for this new season:

So, the question is... Is fear a factor for you?