Posts Tagged ‘Daniel Craig’

In a nutshell: Hollywood’s take on Larsson’s dark masterpiece

Popcorn rating: 4/5

Who would have thought a series of novels by a late Swedish author could have caused such a stir?  More than 20 million people have read Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy and the original films proved to be among Sweden’s most successful.

Now it’s Hollywood’s turn at the girl with that tattoo, with David Fincher in the director’s chair.

Many have questioned the purpose of remaking The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  The 2009 original directed by Niels Arden Oplev was critically acclaimed and of its place . The remake will therefore no doubt spark a debate about our reluctance to read subtitles.

Nevertheless, Fincher is a perfect fit for the dark yet captivating subject matter, channelling his experience from his previous thrillers like Seven and Zodiac.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo tells the story of disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) as he investigates the disappearance of a teenager some forty years ago.  He is aided by the enigmatic computer-hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) in the seach to uncover secrets which will ultimately threaten their lives.

A word of advice is needed for those new to the Millennium story – be prepared.  The core of the film is a classic ‘whodunnit’ but there’s a darker edge to the film with many scenes of sexual violence. This is an important addition, helping to shape the plot and characters, but it is graphic and abhorrent.

Indeed, the original name for the story is Men Who Hate Women and the book’s themes were inspired when a teenage Larsson witnessed a rape and was too frightened to intervene.

But this should not put anyone off because the film features redemption on many levels, particularly for anti-hero Lisbeth.  The character, one of cinema’s most interesting in years, is played almost perfectly by newcomer Rooney Mara.  It is almost on a par with Noomi Rapace’s groundbreaking portrayal in the Swedish versions.

Mara introduces a vulnerable side to Lisbeth – a welcome new dimension to the damaged character. Daniel Craig also works hard to hang up his 007 tuxedo to play an everyman.

Although it’s a little jarring and confusing to see Americans playing Swedish characters it’s worth suspending your disbelief as this is worthy adaptation.

Reviewer: DavidMorgan

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In a nutshell: Spielberg works his magic on a classic comic icon.

Popcorn rating: 3.5/5

Belgian artist Hergé (pen name of  Georges Rémi)  once said he “thought Spielberg was the only person who could ever do Tintin justice.” The late comic writer created the boy reporter and adventurer in 1929 and now here we are in 2011 where his vision has come true.

It’s up to film fans and critics to discuss what The Adventures of Tintin would have been like in someone else’s hands but Hergé was right – Spielberg has done wonders with it.

Obviously the most noticeable thing about Tintin is its gorgeous motion capture visuals, which involves transforming the actions of real actors into animated sequences. It’s been done before with the likes of Mars Needs Moms where it was greeted by an underwhelmed audience. This time it is more promising with Spielberg proving how immersive the technique can be. Indeed, perhaps Tintin will do for motion capture what Avatar did for 3D.

Despite its flashy visuals, Tintin has an old fashioned feel to it. The globe-trotting adventure is almost reminiscent of Spielberg’s Indiana Jones films but is more accessible and child friendly. It will be a hit with the kids but you may be left with the lingering sense that more should have been on offer for adults.

The story sees Tintin (Jamie Bell) and his new friend Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) search for a sunken treasure ship that was commanded by one of Haddock’s ancestors. They aren’t alone,however; hot on the trail is villain Ivanovich Sakharine (Daniel Craig).

Essentially, Tintin shows a cast and crew at the top of their game having a lot of fun. You know you are in safe hands with the likes of Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson producing. The film even reunites the team behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as Thomson and Thompson and director Edgar Wright as a script writer.

Expect multiple sequels.

Reviewer: DavidMorgan

In a nutshell: Snoring your way through the Wild Wild West.

Popcorn rating: 2/5

Someone somewhere had an idea. ‘You know what’s great?’ perhaps they thought. ‘Cowboy movies. You know what else is great? Aliens. Man, how cool would it be to like, you know, put cowboys and aliens together in a movie and then, like maybe, throw in Indiana Jones and Bond and that guy outta Apocalypto and that sexy bird from Tron Legacy cos she looks kinda sexy, like a sexy alien cowgirl. Wow, yeah and everyone aged from 10 to 90 would just love it. High five.’

For some reason I thought it sounded like a good idea too. I was looking forward to the Jon Favreau directed Cowboys and Aliens like a five-year-old looks forward to Christmas. See, I love Westerns. Real Westerns, like the Shakespearean filth of Deadwood or the raw elegaic beauty of True Grit. I like aliens too. Hell, District 9 is one of my all time favourite movies.

Cowboys and Aliens, however, is none of the above. In fact, when I was leaving the cinema, I heard someone describe Cowboys and Aliens as “good, honest fun” and I can only presume they were talking about when the older lady close to the front row started choking on her popcorn.

The premise is surprisingly complex but as it is also somewhat pointless, we don’t need to go into it in detail here. Suffice it to say that the story centres round a small town somewhere in 1873 Arizona which is mysteriously attacked by people-stealing aliens. Mildly perturbed by the arrival of aliens from outer space, the townsfolk calmly band together into a posse to go hunt the “demons” and save their people, with the help of some injuns and 30 or so outlaws.

Guess who’s going to win? Go on, guess. I won’t ask you to care of course. To care would require a few ingredients, like good dialogue, some character development and a script which offers something different from the same old good V bad plot.

What Cowboys and Aliens does have is a bucketload of saccharine, one dimensional characters, a frankly ridiculous twist even for a film involving cowboys and aliens and, worst of all, a boring script.

Oh, it’s not all bad. There is the odd smattering of humour, which works well, there are a few good, scary jumps along the way too, and at least the aliens have the decency to look different from previous imaginings. That’s it though.

Don’t get me wrong. I like mindless fun as much as the next kid – Indiana Jones, The Mummy, Men in Black are all great examples of movies which mix laughs, action and storytelling successfully. Cowboys and Aliens doesn’t, and its a shame really, because it was a great idea. It really was. It just didn’t quite match up to the dream.

Reviewer: Curlyshirley

Disclaimer – This may seem like a harsh review but, true to the ethos of Let Me Eat Popcorn, it is my honest opinion. I would, in the interests of fairness, like to point out that my 12-year-old nephew Malachy loved Cowboys and Aliens and even went as far as to describe it as “brilliant”. So there.