Category Archives: movies

Dragon Tattoo,a certain type of crazy

I went to see the 10:15 p.m. showing of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,meaning I got out of the theater at 1:00 a.m.  I did not want to be influenced by a million online reviews before I had a chance to judge for myself. Any movie fan knows about the Swedish films that have been called some of the best movie work ever. Stieg Larssons Millennium Trilogy became a cult literary sensation and are huge achievements not to mention that they are awe inspiring  to other writers looking to create their own unique characters. I my self have yet to read the books,though I do own the first one I have yet the time to fully devote to reading this extensive achievement. When I do read it I will no doubt have much more to add to my review;however, at this time I am reviewing as a fan of the story as I know it through the Swedish films that were made for television.

The story and character are of Lisbeth Salander is one of the most layered that I have ever encountered. I figure that most who watch the film have already seen the original,if not then this review will contain spoilers. Rooney Mara won the role and then she earned the right to have it. She brings to the screen certain elements of the personality of Lisbeth,that Noomi Rapace did not,and Noomi Rapace held some characteristics that Rooney lacked. This could also be attributed to writing of the two different scripts. The Noomi Rapace version was more detached and her emotions were not quite as surface (except in the disturbing rape scene which was much more vivid in the Swedish film). She did not allow Blomkvist  to know anything about her and told him to get used to it,and although the two slept together she emotionally keeps him at a distance. Some of those elements stayed with Rooney Maras’ version but not near as rigidly. By the end of this film Blomkvist knows why she spent her youth in a mental house,although she tells him in a nonchalant matter. In the Swedish films she does not let him touch her or get close to her and after her first sexual approach leaves him much like we women accuse men of doing.  All of this was central to her character and is what leaves us the viewer/reader as well as Blomkvist needing to know what happened in her life that made her this way.

What Rooney did bring to the role that Noomi left was more of a vulnerability that I felt was probably literally there. Noomi Pace looks very athletic and though she is beautiful she looked older than the character of Lisbeth Salander is supposed to be and she is also (in the film) a boxer,which is something we do not find out until the third film. From what I read on fan forums of the book the literary character was androgynous and looked anorexic which is something that Fincher and Rooney Mara kept in the character.

I noticed immediately  when first meeting the new Lisbeth Salander that she was much more anti social in communication,almost like someone with asperger syndrome could be,however as the film progresses that part of her fades in her partnership with Blomkvist,this could be just an effect of the progression of the film.

This film doesn’t leave as many questions as the Swedish,or maybe the questions I had when watching the Swedish were just because of errors in the translation. I did love this film but I won’t know how literary true it was without reading the book. I do know that the Swedish film portrayed the Harriet character,who is central in the mystery and bringing the two researchers together, as being a babysitter in Blomkvists childhood and the Swedish film never mentions Blomkvist having a daughter of his own.

As far as the film goes, not in comparison to the original,the detail was amazing,the locations and characters living spaces were so much are part of the telling of the story and if they had not been there the movie would have been lame. Lisbeth’s apartment is just as telling of her personality as her wardrobe. Fincher is a genius with this,and the Vangar families different housing reflects money,control and power in a way that was not quite as present in the Swedish films. Also representing the story in a powerful way was the music here. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross convey the emotional disturbances in every scene where mere words wont and it matches scenes and physical expression perfectly and that was something that the Swedish films lacked.

The character of Blomkvist was much more interesting in this film and I love Daniel Craig always,it was interesting to see the man who plays Bond with  such a cold demeanor,play a character who can hardly stand the site of blood and who is saved by a waif like punk. He has a similar look to him as the original actor ( Michael Nyqvist) but has more personality ( again maybe a loss in the translation with the original films-or maybe I just love D.C.)  Daniel Craig is not the reason people will watch this film though. All eyes are on Rooney for the comparison and I think she earned her stripes. I have no doubt this was a coveted acting opportunity, and will be the kind of star making role  for Rooney as Gia or Girl Interrupted was for Angelina Jolie.  Will Rooney Mara win an Oscar? Well considering the academy and their stiff necks when it comes to doling out awards,probably not. It might get a nod for cinematography and score or original music but they are so cookie cutter about everything else. They only want a certain kind of crazy. That’s just my opinion.

    I thought that half way through the film things starting progressing too quickly but maybe that is because I watched all three of the original films in one night….it was a long night I liked it enough to hope that there are American sequel’s and that neither Mara nor Craig drop out of the trilogy. The ending scene alone was enough to make the viewer come back to Lisbeth Salander’s world. I also know there is so much that comes out as the story progresses that are central to the why and how of Lisbeth Salander.

About that ending scene…..

I have read comments and reviews about this film from fans of the original movies and readers of the book that hated it before any one the planet had seen it (it just came out today) and I think that is a tragedy. For one thing,everyone seems to not be able to agree on Lisbeth as a whole or if Stieg Larrson would like this film…well considering we all just now  seen it, then we would not have known last month if he would have would we? He is also gone from this world so we never will,nor will we know if he would have  liked the original,which was pretty bare bones in certain parts,just as this was in certain parts. Such levels of character, psychology and crime can never be fully conveyed in one film or even a trilogy of films and personally I think in one reading of a book. Larrson is said to have hated crimes and abuse towards women and felt guilty his whole life for witnessing a rape and doing nothing about it. For that reason he created a heroin who had with stood all of those things,and it seems in Blomkvist,a man who does not seem put off by Lisbeth,who is intrigued by her and save by her. Some people seem to believe that Larrson wrote of a sexually free independent lesbian and that Fincher was going to “reduce” her to simply a computer hacker who needed a man to protect her and was only lesbian by proxy because of all the abuse she had endured from men. That was written by fans of the Swedish films…now I have not read the books but I have seen the Swedish films,and they were much more graphic and disturbing and I came away with the same conclusion some fans were afraid would be made watching Finchers version…not that Lisbeth needs a man for protection but that if I had been molested,abused,watched abuse,had my civil rights taken away and then brutally raped that well I might get my stress relief from women too. Ultimately though I assumed that the Swedish films probably represented Larssons’ character and not wether she was lesbian or bisexual. This is a swedish author of a swedish novel turned Swedish film and Sweden has been more open and liberal sexually then America for years, so I think that Lisbeth’s sexuality was irrelevant. That is what I assume. I also felt that even though Lisbeth is independent,fierce and brilliant she has been calloused and she is cold and that is brought out more so in Noomi RaPace then in Rooney,though both convey it Rooney just in certain parts. The character has been forced to be that way to survive. It is survial and that does not make her a “strong independent woman” that “this american film is going to reduce” to-fill in the blank. She is frail and cannot show it she needs and cannot describe it she is brilliant and cannot communicate it. That is evident even in the original films,this is why I say the character is layered.

The book series were supposed to be ten books long so who knows the further unveiling of character history would have been revealed had Larrson lived,so before we go making socio political statements let us consider that we really do not have that right.

Noomi Rapace

Rooney Mara

Rooney Mara

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Breaking Dawn-yes I did

Every time I see a Twilight movie I want to shoot myself. I keep watching as they come out hoping it will get better. They are such pretty films,even if they are written like soap opera scripts. That being said I was not going to suffer through the latest installment,especially since someone told me the last two books were so much better than the movies ever have been. Alas. I am a girl and I did go see it.

(*note here*) If you are a Twilight lover or hater and are not able to maturely read a blog seeing either of the opposing sides do not proceed. This is not a Kristen Stewart hate blog because I think Kristen is an outstanding actress,it’s not a Harry Potter vs. Twilight blog,because there is no comparison. It is simply my WordPress musings that will probably search all perimeters of this story as I view it.

I am not a Twilight fan by definition. I breezed through the first book and got stuck in the middle of the second and have never picked it back up. When I tell a Twilight fan this they all tell me that New Moon is the hardest to finish because of  meandering fillers,and once its over the next two are the best.  As far as the movies are concerned I found the graphic novel version of the first book more interesting than the movie version of the first book (and the graphics are being released in a painfully slow order,the second just came out last month). As I have stated Kristen Stewart is hawked by Twilight haters for being “brooding” ……that is because the Bella Swan character is a brooding person, people. Stewart got the rave approval and coaching of Joan Jett,when Stewart depicted her in The Runaways,she did outstanding in The Cake Eaters. I have seen clips from Into the Wild where Stewart sings and is very flower child like. I really don’t think she will have any problems waltzing out from under the Twilight shadow/stigma.

On to the movie.

I watched a review of Breaking Dawn that said this was the worst Twilight so far,and I read several blogs saying the same. Of course this does not stop the bazillion young women that flocked to see the movie and it wont stop them from seeing part two. (These reviewers need to realize that if fans of a BOOK series are not displeased with the first film they will most likely see the remainders. )
It is not the worst one yet,it couldn’t be just because things are FINALLY wrapping up.

It starts out slow and cheesy just like the rest of them. You know a young adults fantasy of love in general. The brooding guy that in this case is a vampire the brooding virginal girl who is hell-bent on convincing him life is going to work out perfectly no matter his past sins……Virginal girl trying to win approval from her  friends that she wont be hurt. Virginal girls father walks her down the aisle with a pained look on his face ( I love him he is my favorite character in the films).

A big yawn and in this case I as the audience just wants to yell HE IS DEAD for Gods sake! That is not the point though of this youth love drama-the point is love prevails etc…etc….etc…. What my attention kept being drawn to was that Bella never looked happy about getting married. Maybe it was her impending “becoming a woman” coupled with the later impending “becoming an immortal”. Not simultaneously…

This is when it gets interesting however. I am writing with the assumption that any reader has already seen it or at least seen the reviews or the trailer and so knows the general idea of this film. Bella gets pregnant and finds this out 14 days after the wedding because the child is rapidly growing. No one thought this was possible and according to the book and movie it has only happened once before in vamp/human joining history……

Truly this is the reason I went to see the film. I read a blog ranting that this movie sent a bad message to young women. They did concede that,being a Twilight film the message wouldn’t be that deep but the very fact that it was there showed that there was not much progress for female youth centered literature/movies.  Bella wont have an abortion. That was the rant of the blog. Bella’s mission was to land her man and she was “deflowered” in an unrealistic scene of passion and is immediately impregnated with a hybrid that nearly kills her and thus the entire message of the film is an anti-abortion message.

While this message is clear and unadulterated in this film I doubt that Stephanie Meyer set out to write an anti feminist book series. Given that there was that kind of controversy I did have to go see it. 🙂

In the end Bella gets all she wants. All though we wont see part two for a year most people know what happens,especially the book readers,and when Bella reopens her eyes at the end of part 1,her eyes are red. She has been healed and resurrected and is now a vampire.

As in all themes of young adult love stories there has been angst and longing and frustration throughout the series. Young girl is intrigued by the mystery guy. Mystery guy ignores girl. Finally girl finds out why but does not care about the circumstances surrounding mystery guy because she loves mystery guy who finally dumps her for her protection,whereupon girl stops living and pines and dreams until she gets mystery guy back. In the old days of refined literature somebody would die in these stories but not today they just drag it on for four or five books-and movies. Yes I am cynical. Then I also am not 18-20 years old.

I could write some spiritual drawings from Twilight. Probably from different points of views and it would make either side of the argument angry. I am not in the mood tonight though. Because all in all I actually enjoyed the film after the ball finally got rolling. As a love story centering on high schoolers that get married as soon as they are legally adult (well in Bella’s case anyway because Edward has graduated dozens of times) the themes don’t differ much from other stories. The story always has the outcast with the maiden who saves them in some way. In this case “the beast” is a vampire. The themes are that in all of our differences we all have common ground type of thing. And for the angry feminist who says Bella typifies the American role for women: chase a guy who could kill you on your honeymoon and then have his monster baby no matter what-you obviously didn’t watch the film( or any film in the past ten years) I could agree with the sentiment. I almost did as I sat there watching it. However it must be remembered. Bella has wanted to be a vampire since “New Moon”,it was agreed that after the honeymoon Edward would turn her. When the life is being sucked from Bella at a rapid pace and she is being begged to remove the fetus before it kills her she reasons that during birth or immediately after she could be turned to save her. If she does not make it through the birthing herself so be it. Both are her choices. Her best friend Jacob Black  who is a shape shifting wolf dog but is hot-blooded and alive and  has also loved her throughout the series,and would have been my guy had I been Bella (the book version not the baby with muscles in the movie) offered her an alternative life many times. He was not her choice. She chooses to walk down the aisle to marry into living death for all eternity and then she chooses to have what is said to be a miracle even though it taking what is left of her life away from her.  It is interesting that when a woman is depicted doing the impossible with her body and nearly dying from her actions or the stress  put on her system it is hailed as a heroic thing until it involves a male or love. Now I am not the most romantic and I do snicker at these films and I have my own issues with the male population,but I agree with the statement made by the other actress of another supernatural series phenomenon.

“I’m a feminist, but I think that romance has been taken away a bit for my generation. I think what people connect with in novels is this idea of an overpowering, encompassing love – and it being more important and special than anything and everything else.”
Emma Watson

Twilight. It is what it is. Take it or leave it on that.

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Yo-ho A Pirates Life For Me…..

   Preface:
Finally a post. I really have not had alot to work with and with all the tragedies of late I felt that it was superficial to be writing on entertainment and I did not have the heart to write on the tragedies. I seem to have lost the bite that I used to have on serious matters. The tornados had a personal effect and what in Gods name can you say? How can you write on the Royal Wedding when your fellow southerners are in despair? How can you write that it is alright to watch and enjoy the fairy tale in England when people across the nation are writing that it in fact is NOT okay to be writing on it when the south is in tatters…How can you write in support of Donald Trump when you already can feel the tide of the backlash that has yet happened (and correctly foretold did happen). How do you write about the upcoming presidential race and your support of Ron Paul when Obama is sucking in all the glory for the work done by the Navy Seals….its a whole confusing pot of turmoil I am not yet ready to stir;I am still in recovery from the last race. Anyone can read the evidence here though….the subjects  have been on my mind.

  The differance in the last presidential race and the upcoming one as they pertain to my writing view point, is that in 2008 I believed everything that any GOP candidate said and I disbelieved everything a democrat said. This is no longer the case…I no longer believe either. It dont get all prideful and teary eyed every time a candidate decides to use Gods name in support of whatever he is pushing. I dont jump on the patriotic band wagon everytime a politician uses his so called support of a veteran to to prove his love of America. I used to. Something happened to me and I’m not sure when. Where used to persons and situations were sold to me as causes I should support,I see pawns or means to a political end. Its sad and disheartening but understand I have not changed that much. My righteous indignation has just been redirected and maybe I dont anger as easily or I’m not as quick to take sides…if there ever was a side to take. Maybe instead of being a willing participant to the king,I’m like a pirate. Its like Keith Richards says…there has to be a cop and the social criminal-they are both need the other to exist or they would both be out of business…so they are essentialy working for the same things( liberal abridging here).

 All that being said…here is my review of “Pirates of the Carribean;On Stranger Tides”.

    I remember the first Pirates move oh so well. I saw it in a drive in movie and much to the chagrin of my husband at the time,I was totally engrossed from beginning to end. I had the dvd later and I watched every single special feature and the move numerous times. I was excited about the follow up but I was disaapointed after seeing it. I watched “Dead Mans Chest” again hoping I would find a thrill but I never did. “At Worlds End” did its job tying up some ends but they were ends that in all truth never had to be untied to begin with. I never liked that Keira Knightleys character decided to become a pirate…she was never convincing. I am all for the female action hero-in movies and in life-but I felt the character of Isabella Swan had to be rewritten between the first movie and the third to be bad ass,and as I said it was never convincing. She would have been better to stay a secret supporter  or stay on some island (that there is no short of in the POTC movies) and keep a hideout for the pirates. I hated how the third installment ended-it was too long with too many endless action sequences and there was no reason why Orlando Blooms character had to become a pretty un dead pirate….or whatever. With every movie I lamented that they should have just left  the story alone the series had gotten out of hand in my not so humble opinion. The best part of the third movie was the little pirate with the oversized gun that backfires him into a man hole,and of course Keith Richards.

   Disney must have caught on. Even with the critical railings of the movies fans love the franchise. They hated the ending of the third, but Disney carried on what we love from  al the movies and implemented a much needed fresh story in “On Stranger Tides”. The critics hate it…but the critics never have stopped me from seeing any movie and making my own judegement.

  There are still long action scenes but they are within the same unbelievable limits as the first Pirates movie. Captain Jack is still the same Jack unchanged and ever the good guy  with no rules playing both sides to ultimately meet his own need. There is a fresh eliment concerning Mermaids and none of them are Ariel or her sisters. Simply put I loved this movie. I will buy this one. Penelope Cruzs’ character played a female equal to Jack Sparrow,unlike Keira Knighley,and probably much to the surprise of viewers,Cruz really pulls this off. She is not amused or blinded one time by Sparrow nor does she attempt to be better than Sparrow,she simply can use the same tactics and play the same game. They are the same character essentialy in both morals and even looks (which is part of the early synopsis). Responding to the fans responses Disney allowed Keith to reprise his role as Jacks father,this irony is the part of the POTC lore. A friend of mine has said that the Pirate movies are Johnny Depps neverending tribute to Keith Richards. Depp has been working with Richards on a documentary of the rock legends life,and maybe its life imitating art but every time I see Depp anymore I scream “dude get your own personality!!!!”…but I digress.

   Bruckheimer and Disney get kudos for saving the franchise in my not so humble opinion. The critics are killing it but I have not heard one fellow fan say that they hated it nor have I heard that is is being ripped from the theatre. Goes to show what the stuffy critics know. We need these movies. We need to be swept away to other lands where mermaids will seductivley terrorize you unless you have faith. We need the scallowag Jack Sparrow to show us how to unconventionaly be the anti establishment hero and still get everything we need to sustain or lives and souls…just like the rock and rebel world needed Keith Richards to be unconventional,anti establishment and make music that nourished the soul,defy the odds and 60 years later come out the most sane and sober rocker of his era. We need folklore,stories,fairy tales and rebels,because we need to believe that everything is not what it seems and we also need to be told that sometimes when it is not what it seems that it wil be alright we can find a way out. We just have to be willing to look outside the conventions society has boxed us into.

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