Wednesday, May 9, 2012



Rated:  R

I'm not going to repeat the whole plot synopsis from the original Swedish film, because the Hollywood remake is the same, for the most part,  in that respect. So if you didn't see the original The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo from 2009, go to my  review  now and check it out. Then come back.

dum de dum...
dum de dum...

 I half expected a toned-down version for American audiences,  but the remake pulls no punches in recreating those scenes of violence and sexual assault. So the main comparisons to be made are between Noomi Rapace and Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander, and Michael  Nyqvist versus Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomkvist.  

Rooney Mara's Lisbeth seems more waif-like--more sullen and withdrawn than Noomi Rapace's smoldering, edgier characterization.  Her actions in the original felt totally in line with her outward persona. When  Rooney Mara's Lisbeth  breaks out of her shell and starts kicking some butt, it is something of a surprise that she has it in her. So I'll give the nod to Rapace there. 

As to which of them is more appealing in the buff, (if you're at all interested in such things) it's a tossup, because both of them looked like they had been on a thirty day juice fast. Mara has a little more going for her up top, so score one for her. (Actually...two.)

Daniel Craig is a serviceable Blomkvist , but I'm more accustomed to seeing him as an action hero than an intellectual--and since the setting  IS  Sweden, and Michael Nyqvist  IS a dyed-in-the-meatballs SWEDISH PERSON...geez,  I gotta go with him.

This 2011 version clocks in at upwards of two and a half hours, but I liked it nonetheless. Mainly because once I've seen a movie, I've forgotten most of what it's about six months later, so it's... like...NEW TO ME!

Grade:  B


THE SITTER  (2011)

Rated:   R 

Noah (Jonah Hill) is a giver.  And in the heady opening scene of The Sitter, he is  performing a service for his self-absorbed girlfriend who, once she is satisfied,  always has an excuse for not wanting  to return the favor. It is this very selflessness that will land him in a mess of trouble when he takes on a babysitting job to help his mom out, and runs into the kids from hell.

There's the precocious  preteen Blithe (Landry Bender) who likes to play dress-up and drop the totally unexpected F-bomb; the adoptee from El Salvador, Rodrigo, (Kevin Hernandez)  who gets off on blowing up toilets by dropping  some REAL (cherry) bombs inside them: and 13-year old Slater, (Max Records)  a gentler soul confused about his sexual identity.

Things spiral out of control when Noah goes looking to score some coke at the behest of his girlfriend, and out of necessity must take the kids along for the ride. The little darlings behave badly, some drugs are ripped off, a minivan is stolen, and Noah must come up with some big bucks before a cranky drug kingpin (Sam Rockwell) exacts his revenge.

The Sitter is a wild ride, and an enjoyable one. A total grin-fest all the way through. However,  the nasty little kids in this movie, who not only stretch, but bulldoze the boundaries of acceptable language and behavior for children onscreen,  make The Sitter--ironically--a film that you don't want to take your kids to. But for adults, I'm rating it "highly."

Grade:  B +   



Rated:  PG-13

A British citizen ( Felicity Jones) studying for her degree in Los Angeles falls for an unassuming  teaching assistant (Anton Yelchin) and the game is on. It's not a game of catch-me-if-you-can, but  of hold-onto-me-if-you-can. When Anna decides to overstay her visa and spend a languorous summer "in bed" with Jacob, complications ensue after she returns home and then attempts to reenter the country later.  Seems the immigration authorities don't take kindly to those who bend their rules, and she is unceremoniously put on another plane and sent back home. 

Like Crazy  is a bittersweet film about  long distance relationships, and whether love can conquer all when the odds are stacked against you.  

Anna and Jacob try to be realistic about their plight, and become involved with other people (here's Jennifer Lawrence of Winter's Bone and Hunger Games popping up again as Jacob's new squeeze).  Until  one day Anna sends him a text and says she KNOWS they were meant to be together--you know, like Romeo and peanut butter and jelly were meant to be together--and it convinces him to traverse the Atlantic to be with her in London. 

But his visa will run out too.

The question that Like Crazy  is posing is whether true love really exists, especially for the  very young in a world of so many distractions and temptations. There is no fairy tale ending here--just a realistic one. And by saying that I haven't revealed what ultimately happens to them, because Like Crazy is about complicated emotions, not simple ones. 

But it's a beautiful little film--I'll say that. 

Grade:  B+