Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1


I could not resist. I've haven't posted in a while, because, frankly I haven't been to see any movies (I'm in the Czech Republic after all- half the time I'm too lazy to look up the theatres that play movies in English). However, I went to see the midnight showing of Harry Potter, and I believe that warrants a blog post. For those of you who have yet to see it, just wait until tomorrow to read this. Or if you've read the books read it anyway, since nothing that happens is really a secret. 

First off, I just want to congratulate the makers of this final installment of the Harry Potter franchise for FINALLY GETTING THEIR SHIT TOGETHER. I don't know what they did, but this movie was superb. Not incredible, not wonderous or insightful or the best movie I've ever seen, but I was able to follow the plot without having read the book for three years. My biggest complaint about the other films is that they jump from scene to scene without ever filling in the details, and although there were minor things that were unexplained, the movie was a lot more fluid and connected than any of the others (aside from #1 and 2, but let's face it, 200 page books are more easily adapted than 700 page books), and the events seemed to flow. This was the best HP flick I've seen since #3, and it's because they actually tried to make a movie rather than do random scenes from Harry Potter. 

One thing that surprised me about this film was how many laughs it got. In between the incredibly terrifying and creepy moments were genuinely comedic interactions between the three main characters, and it was a pretty consistent balance between serious and funny. On the flip side, the other thing I want to say is that I have never seen a Harry Potter movie this dark. It was epic. I was terrified out of my seat half the time, even the points where I knew what was going to happen. There was also no sparing you from the violence that occurred to various characters. It was like watching a murder mystery thriller/ horror movie.

My absolute favorite part about this movie, and I won't give too much away, is the creepily beautiful animation sequence explaining the story behind the three brothers. I don't know who Warner Brothers hired to do that, but it was incredibly well done. The monotoned yellowish colors contrasted with dark gray and black skeletal forms brought the perfect element that was needed in explaining the dark magic, and was far more artistic than any flashback I've seen in a Harry Potter movie. It was this creepy breath of air that allowed the rest of the story and the magic to sink in without being cheesy or overdone. I applaud Warner for this three minute sequence because it made the movie for me. It sort of brought a new kind of sophistication to Harry Potter and allowed the audiences to not be ashamed that they are adults at the midnight showing of an HP film. 

My biggest qualm about this movie that is different from what I haven't liked about the others is that the stakes just didn't seem high enough half the time. I wasn't convinced that any of the characters were out to save the world. It just felt like they were running from Voldemort. Which I guess is true, but I just wasn't sure whether they were more invested in just solving some school mystery or stopping a mass murderer. There was something missing in the reasoning behind what was driving Harry to do anything in this film. I also would have liked to see more of what was happening at Hogwarts, but they might have just saved that for Part II. 

Other than that, I was thoroughly impressed. Hopefully the final installment will only get better. 


The Movie Mistress


A Temporary Break

Sorry for the recent lack of posting, but I've been a bit detained as of late. I'm out of the country until December, which means that the posts will be fewer, since I have yet to find time to go to a movie theatre or look up what's playing. I will participate in the October Movies You Didn't Know You Needed to See, however, and I'll undoubtedly see a dubbed version of Harry Potter 7 (Part I), so expect something on that :) 

I'll keep up with the news, but it'll be hard for me to find out what's big on the radar for Fall. Until next time, enjoy this: 

It's bootleg and shitty, I know, but it was my favorite dance in the movie (yes, I did see this, and yes, I paid for 3D). Water getting splashed to the ceiling. Gimmicky? Yes. But still awesome. 


The Movie Mistress


Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

(photo credit to screencrave.com)

((((((( SPOILER ALERT!!!!! )))))))

I had no idea what to expect from this, but I can see now why it's pretty much the most talked about movie of the summer. It was so different than any movie I had seen in such a long time. The idea of combining a graphic novel and video game and making it into a movie was like.... it was....

... a breath of fresh air. 

Let's start from the beginning. Although the brighter-than-life credits were a bit long and jarring on the eyes to watch, I loved how they just threw them at you. The movie starts out with awkward conversation... more conversation.... and then

"WE ARE SEX BO-BOMB!! 1-2-3-4!!!!" 

What a BANG! start to a bangin' movie. 

I've gotten lots of people ask me to describe exactly what this movie is in a nutshell before they go see it. Because I want them to see it and think it's worth watching, I most often refrain from my immediate impression, which was "a fucking awesome video game with a Beck soundtrack!!" Instead, I take a more subtle approach, since Beck is about 15 years too old for a good number of people of my generation to appreciate and most of the people I talk to (myself included) aren't hugely into video games. I tell them that it is the most artistically genius movie I've seen in a while, but it still tries to pack as much action and humor into the mix that most people watching will understand... like watching a video game, but more satirical because you get stuff like "Scott Pilgrim has earned the power of TRUE LOVE!!!" thrown in. 

I think what I loved most about Scott Pilgrim was the honesty in the humor (that and the fact that Vegans are considered psychic :) I loved that there was a Vegan police who would strip away people's powers. "Why is he so strong?!" "Oh.... Todd's a vegan." Priceless). Four guys all sleeping in the same bed at once with absolutely no explanation? Sounds good. Next scene! There was no scrambling to keep up with the pace, no feeling of ahhhh-this-isn't-realistic-so-we-have-to-make-up-some-lame-excuse-as-to-why-it-would-happen. The truth of the matter is that the characters believed everything that was in that movie totally and completely, and so we went along with it. And the absurdity of the humor came through the projection of actualities into overdone scenarios. Sometimes your life does become an episode of Seinfeld, and sometimes people DO cheat without thinking about it. And in real life we often don't stop to talk about it because if you do, something else will bite you in the ass... or stab you, as is the case in the movie. 

I also loved the cuts. There's something about jumpy, unbalanced editing that really makes me happy. Take the party scene, for example: we didn't really ever see a full establishing shot of the party, but instead only saw Scott's conversations with people. And when someone couldn't give him the information he needed, there was an immediate jump to a different conversation. When he finally sees Ramona Flowers, we go from a jumpy, blip-y, fast paced scene to this large, white, empty space with a long, drawn out conversation about Pac-Man. The whole thing had a very role-play video game feel to it: going around and asking people for information until you finally get to the one person who will bring you answers and you fuck it up with mindless chatter. 

I guess what this whole movie sums up to is the concept of life being... well, a game. There are times when you lose, and other times when you win, but most of the time you come to a happy peace with yourself and accept yourself the way you are. This is most likely the cheesiest sentence I've ever written in a blog post. However, it's the truth: when it comes down to actually fighting ourselves, it's a lot easier and healthier to say "You're a cool person. I'll go out for drinks with you later. But first I'm going after the girl of my dreams." 


The Movie Mistress


AMERICA! Where Domestic Abuse is Comedic and Boundaries Don't Exist


The Other Guys (2010)

I get it. I do. This movie was supposed to make fun of Buddy Cop movies, and in most of those movies, there are teams of two men, normally awkwardly paired, that have problems at home, have ridiculous potty mouths, and spend most of their cop careers crashing their police cars through walls. And in that respect, The Other Guys does a good job parodying these types of films. I have to admit that I laughed at the ridiculous scene in which Samuel L. Jackson and the Rock (yes, I still refer to him as the Rock) "aimed for the bushes" and crashed on to the pavement, showing that the absurd antics in most cop movies would end in death if they were actually performed on the streets of NYC. 

However, I cannot watch this movie and, with a conscience, ignore the blatant verbal abuse that Will Ferrel incessantly streams to Eva Mendes throughout. I don't care if it makes fun of the fact that in most cop movies, wives are perfect and submissive and often these glorified, angelic victims (Se7en, anyone?). But to watch Allen Gamble repeatedly tell his wife that she's plain and isn't dressed nice enough for company, to me, isn't funny. It's awkward and uncomfortable. Just because the entire audience knows that she's hot doesn't change the fact that this kind of comedy doesn't fit in this movie. 

I guess what bothers me is that, were this movie a dark, offbeat comedy that deconstructs social norms and uncovers situations that aren't brought to the public very often in an attempt to bring about commentary, maybe the scenes I'm talking about would be acceptable because it would be condemning the behavior and not satirizing it. But who am I kidding? This is a fucking Will Ferrel comedy. The humor comes in watching ridiculously crazy situations that would never happen in real life (as was in Blades of Glory, Elf, and Step Brothers). So it isn't funny that he puts down his wife because, oh wait, THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENS. And in real life, it isn't funny. It's called abuse. Rihanna and Eminem made a whole song about it. The more this kind of behavior is joked about, the more it will be ignored. 

I'm willing to ignore the jokes about a Prius being a woman's car, because if you listen to that and take it to heart, you're an asshole to begin with. I'm willing to laugh at the fact that Mark Wahlberg learned to dance and play the harp ironically. I'm also willing to enjoy watching Michael Keaton spout lyrics to TLC. I'm not willing, however, to sit back and laugh at uncomfortable spousal abuse. I don't care if he tells her she's beautiful later, especially because it's only to get laid. I was also bothered that the fact that she THREW HIM OUT (was I the only one who exclaimed, "Finally!" in the theatre?) was sort of dismissed completely and made to look like he left. He calls her and she says how worried about him she is! I was like, "Seriously?"

And then there was that ridiculous scene with her mother in which she serves as a go between for Allen Gamble and his wife, who are sharing dirty dialogue. I guess it's just exemplary of living in an age where, thanks to the internet, we have absolutely no boundaries. Not only did that sequence last waaaay too long (enough to incite boredom), but by the end of it, I wasn't laughing. I felt bad for the old woman. Not as bad as I felt for Eva Mendes, but still pretty bad. 

I'm not saying this was a terrible movie. As parodies go, it was still better than Vampires Suck (2010) and anything of the "______ Movie" franchise. I did laugh. But I can't see this and ignore what was on the screen. And if you can, either you didn't notice it or didn't want to, both of which I can respect. But if you see the movie after reading this, I just ask you not to laugh during those scenes. Because, in reality, they aren't funny. That's all. 


The Movie Mistress


Up On the Horizon...

Seeing as the summer has (almost) started to die down, I've begun to watch trailers again. And for the most part, I like what I see. Up first, the one that everyone's talking about:

Thankfully, this comes out today, so I won't have to wait long. Score! Oh, and did anyone else see this and think, "Hey- it's Superman!" or am I just a tad too obsessed? 

Aaand, this one I saw last night: 

Even though the trailer was a little long for my liking, it still left me super stoked to see this movie, which comes out in December. Let's just hope they don't make it 3-D. No, really. It's getting old. 

However, as I was trailer surfing, I also found this: 

While I sensed this was an inevitability, it still brings a groan to my chest, as it means the movie industry is STILL NOT LISTENING TO ITS FANS. Seriously- did anyone actually think the third movie was good? If so, please let me know. I mean, I know people who liked it for what it's worth, but be real: I, myself, only enjoyed the third movie because I knew (or thought I knew) it meant the end of the franchise. Guess not. And didn't you just love that they had to name-drop Penelope Cruz to get people excited? 

Oh, and I bet it will be in 3-D. Just saying. 


The Movie Mistress


Which Version is Best? Part II

Last week I named movies that I thought could live up to one another in terms of quality. I got a couple of heated responses, which I enjoy, because what’s the point of blogging about movies if everyone always agrees? After this one, I’m definitely hoping to get more (although someone on my side is always pleasant). So let’s reiterate:

Rear Window (1954) /Disturbia (2007)

Friday the 13th (1980) / Friday the 13th (2009)

The Parent Trap (1960) / The Parent Trap (1998)

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)/ Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)

I already went over what I liked and disliked about all the “contenders.” Now, here comes the real challenge: deciding which, if I had to choose, I would rather watch on one of those nights where you’re just dying to veg out on the couch with a film and there are only two choices in your cabinet (which, in my case, I’d never let happen, although sometimes it feels like it… in that case I normally head to Family Video or the like). So, after a lot of thought, I came up with the following:

Disturbia- Hate me all you want, but I just did not find Rear Window scary. I loved the way it was framed almost like theatre and the vulnerability of the main character, but I found it to lack the intensity of a lot of Hitchcock's films. You don't get the heart pounding anxiety when Jeff is sitting at the window that you do in, say, North by Northwest, when Cary Grant is walking along a ledge above a quarrel trying to not be detected. Anyway, I'm not saying Rear Window is bad- on the contrary, I found it quite enjoyable to watch all the fabricated relationships Jimmy Stewart dreams up in his over active imagination. I'm just saying that when I want to watch a thriller, I want something to make me scared, and Disturbia does that. Maybe it's because the main character has nothing going for him. Maybe it's because it's easier for the neighbor to cover things up in his garage than in a living room. Whatever the case, I would choose Disturbia on a Friday night with nothing to do.

Friday the 13th (1980)- In my last post, I talked mainly about how in the newer version, you get to know the characters really well before they all die. The reason I like this one is because you really don't need to know them. Who really watches a horror movie for plot? Is it really as important as seeing someone with an axe outside the window of a camp counselor's room (even if it doesn't make any sense)? I think not. 

The Parent Trap (1960)- Although the newer version seems to be infused with much more "Disney magic" and is better paced, I find the comedy to not be as genuine as in the original, and to me, that's what matters. Aside from the fact that Lindsay Lohan's accent is close to atrocious, I would rather watch a girl cut up another girl's skirt from behind than see furniture on the roof, and I'd rather see the girls serenade their parents awkwardly in song than see the parents awkwardly reminisce about thirty year old wine in a nasty basement. I'd rather watch the old version because it takes a highly impossible situation that would really never happen and makes it believable, instead of taking an impossible situation and making it funny, because in the end, it's still not possible, and we're just left with chuckles at bad sight gags... and a painful English accent. Although, a painful English accent is better than a painful coke addiction (I'm just saying). 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)- No, I did not like the creepy melting dolls that greet all the children when they enter Wonka's Factory. However, I did like the songs because they were taken right out of the book, and the plot was as well, unlike the old one in which Charlie drinks some weird shit that makes him float on the ceiling. Wait... wasn't the point of the book that he was the only one not to be tempted? Now, don't get me wrong- I love the old movie, for its Oompa Loompas, special effects (since most of my readers know how iffy I am about CGI) and of course, Gene Wilder. But if I want a good, solid, take-me-back-to-my-childhood story, of course I'm going to pick the new one because it's faithful to the message and mystical wonderland that Roald Dahl wanted to create for us. And Charlie's family is actually poor, and actually English. Just like Lindsay Lohan... oh wait, never mind. 

Debate! Argue! Spill some blood.... or maybe just cyber ink. 


The Movie Mistress


Inception (2010)


((SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!))

Before I actually go into my review of this film, I want to take the time to share a little something I found on the internet: 

It pretty much sums up my feelings about Inception (except in a much cuter way that I could express)- it's an enormous, two and a half hour mind fuck. 

How do I go about describing my experience? Well, other than being detained in a bathroom for fifteen minutes due to a tornado warning (after listening to a collective "ugh!" from the audience when the screen shut off just as Joseph Gordon-Levitt is floating through the air with a semi-automatic), I haven't watched a movie that made me think that much in a while, and that's a good thing. I have to say that I'm pretty impressed.

Also, let me just say that this movie should be a testament to all the Hollywood producers that think we either need dumb action movies or intellectual “conversation” movies. I enjoy them both, but sometimes I really hate that in order to see an action film, I have to sit through Wanted and to see an intellectual drama, something like Frost/Nixon is automatically on the agenda. I loved being able to see a movie that encompassed both. I know, I know. You’ll undoubtedly say, “But there are lots of movies like that!” Not blockbusters that I’ve seen. And not in the past few years.

Let me start with the beginning… which is actually the end. At first, when the movie finished, I thought, “that isn’t necessary. This movie would have been intense enough without doing the start-from-the-middle gimmick.” But then I thought about it, and I realized that there was no flashback indication, no “36 hours earlier” text at the bottom of the screen, which made me think that maybe the beginning was actually the end of the travelled levels. Think about it- if Cobb was going to go anywhere else and we were supposed to see where he had been leading up to it, wouldn’t they have shown a different scene?

See, I feel there are three ways you can interpret this movie and its open end:

1. Cobb made it home to the real world (in my opinion, not likely- I mean, come on, his kids didn’t even age)
2. There is another level above the ending of the movie that started before the movie started that we didn’t see (i.e. Mal was right all along), or
3. He never made it out and is still in dream limbo.

To me, because of the start of the movie, the third option seems most likely. I loved seeing this movie in the theatre because when the top was spinning and spinning and the scene cut to black, the entire audience went, “Augh!” in frustration that we don’t get to see if it actually stops or not. As I alluded to before, I personally think it doesn’t.

My other thought is, if you need to be in dream limbo with someone who’s been there before and who has built some sort of structure, and the spinning top was Mal’s to begin with that he intercepted and took from inside her own thoughts, was that actually her mind they were entering into? Or did he just think it was hers, and it was actually he who was convinced that everything was not real? After all, when he was on the phone with his father he said he had to get back to the real world, and that his kids were the only thing real to him anymore. Just something to think about.

This is one of those movies where you come out of the theatre having an intense discussion, and then after it falters, you actually want to continue talking. It isn’t even that you want to understand the movie, it’s just that secretly, you want to be more confused. At least, that’s how I feel. I love spending hours just having my mind go in circles about all the different meanings a movie could have. To me, that makes a fantastic film.

And now, the million dollar question that has nothing to do with the plot of the movie but is still burning- did they use Edith Piaf as the indicator that time was running out as a nod to Marion Cotillard’s Oscar?

Tell me what you think! If you haven’t seen Inception, go see it! Although I doubt anyone would have read this post if they hadn’t seen it because of the spoiler warning (well, they’d probably just be confused as fuck because it really doesn’t make sense if you haven’t seen the movie). 


The Movie Mistress


Despicable Me (2010)


I liked this movie. 

(Don't you wish you could just write a review with just those words and be completely done?)  

I did- a lot. I thought it was funny, cute, and had a heartfelt story while still being believable (believable in the sense that all the changes that happened to the characters seemed genuine, not that the world created was believable- and it didn't have to be). It also KEPT YOUR ATTENTION, something that Pixar sometimes fails to do (I'm sure you've read any of my numerous rants about Up). If Despicable Me was, indeed, Universal Pictures' response to The Incredibles, then I give them a round of applause, because they've certainly captured the moon. 

Here's what I liked about it:

1. The backstory. You didn't get a whole lot of backstory on Gru, and you didn't really need any for the overall plot to work. However, the five minutes that we did get to see him as a child captured the entire meaning and motivation behind his character, which was to make his mother proud, which he does, in the end. As I'm sitting here writing about it now, I'm thinking about how well done this element of the film is and I'm speechless. I've written before about how much I don't like forcing nostalgia on kids because they don't and won't get it (Up, anyone?), and here we were able to see Gru as a child struggling without it ever feeling like we were looking back and reminiscing. It was very fast and comedic, which kids can register, while still subtly establishing that he has Mommy issues (which get introduced in the beginning and resolved in the end. Genius.). And they didn't feel the need to include any other history because it wasn't necessary. Maybe this is interpreting it too much, but this part of the movie was incredible well thought out. 

2. The minions. I get that they were comic relief of sorts, but their interactions were some of the best moments in the movie. I also loved that they ended up proving crucial to the overall plot (the ticket scene where one of the minions puts it in his pocket) because it's sort of like saying every character in the movie means something. So... not only were they absolutely hilarious, but also interacted with the main characters in a way that was real and touching. 

3. The kids. I have to admit that Agnes cracked me up several times, including the when she sang the unicorn song and also when she thought her cheetoh was a caterpillar. I felt that the portrayal of the kids in this movie was just so genuine and honest. They were funny because they did things that kids do, not because they were trying to be funny characters. Very, very well done. 

What I didn't like:

The violence. Some of the violence in this movie was reminiscent of old Looney Toons. It was a little bit disturbing to see a bunch of fireworks blasted at Gru even if he does survive, and the overuse of violence as comedy got a little bit weary. The minions punching one another is one thing, but to see characters blown up, flattened, squeezed, crashed, smashed, and rolled over and over with the moon was a sore sight on the eyes for a children's movie. And I'm not even going to go into how upset I was by the juicebox incident. That kind of humor should not be shown to kids. Not at all. 

Overall, a good film to go see in the theatres and rent, although I would honestly hold off on taking really young kids. 


The Movie Mistress


Which Version is Best? Part I


Given Hollywood's current state of panicky mass remake mode that they've been in for the past, oh, maybe, twenty years, I decided to scour the books for the originals and remakes that go head to head (and also hope to spark heated arguments). I realize that there seems to be a usual trend of a remake butchering the amazingly done original, but every once in a while you find a gem of a film that both honors the content of the original movie while bringing in its own take. I'm going to list the contenders here for now, and say what is great about both, and then say which one is, in my opinion, the best. This is going to be super boring without participation, however, so I'm really asking people to get involved. There will be blood. 

Rear Window (1954) or Disturbia (2007)?

Even though there was never an official "this is a remake" statement, the fact that Spielberg was slapped with a lawsuit from the Hitchcock estate is good enough cause to list Disturbia as a remake of this other thriller. Both have pretty riveting plots with amazingly well thought out character restrictions, although I find Disturbia's main character's house arrest a tad more interesting than the broken leg in Rear Window. Then again, there's the voyeuristic quality in Hitchcock's thriller that Spielberg's lacks, as Disturbia finds a way to maneuver its hero into the heart of the action via cameras and an underground passageway, thus taking away the quality of vulnerability brought about by only being able to observe what's going on from across the way. However, the dependence on tech rather than binoculars brings about a whole other quality of heart pounding fear, as you're much more invested in whether the characters will get caught since bugging someone's home is illegal while looking at it with binoculars is just creepy. At the same time, however, the fact that the salesman is able to hide what he's doing so easily in Rear Window makes our hero's obsession more compelling. What do you think?

Friday the 13th (1980) or Friday the 13th (2009)?

Both of these are horror films. Both have the same name. However, the plots are pretty different. There were a lot of people that criticized the 2007 version for essentially summing up the plot of the 1980 version in two minutes and then taking it in a whole other direction. While it’s valid that a remake should be pretty faithful to the tone of the original, I think that with a horror film, you can take some liberties. I mean, the original exists on its own, so to not make changes to it would be silly. If you don’t want changes, just watch the original film.

Now that I’ve said that little bit, on to the contenders. I like the first film because the large portion of the story or plot is focused on Jason and not the camp counselors, because, hey, they’re all gonna die anyway, so who gives a shit about their baggage? On the other hand, the newer version had its ups in making you invested in the college students because you actually wanted them to live. Yes, it was fun to watch Kevin Bacon get chainsawed, but it’s nice to sometimes NOT want the characters to die, too. Just a thought. At the same time, however, I have to say in all honesty that the special effects in the new one SUCKED. Sometimes, to make a horror movie, all you really need is a bucket of fake blood and a mask. The audience can put together the rest.

The Parent Trap (1961) or The Parent Trap (1998)?

Don’t you ever look back on the 1998 version and think, Wow, Lindsay Lohan was so cute. What the fuck happened?

Anyway, this is one remake where I honestly love both movies, and it comes down to this: I love the 1968 version for the girls, and I love the 1998 version for the adults. The camp scenes in the original are so hilariously reminiscent of the summer camp nightmares every kid experiences, from the bugle horn to the classic pranks and cabin rivalries. In the remake, I found the camp scenes a bit too sappy, but the sappy scenes that went with the romance of the two adults worked really well. It was nice to see what it was exactly that our two young heroines were fighting for. I don’t really remember there being quite as much chemistry between the parents in the original, which could have been casting, or could have been the protocol of a 1960s Disney movie. One thing I did like was the casting of Hayley Mills in the original, who was actually about fourteen, making her a way better actor than eleven year old Lindsay.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)?

To me, this is a hard one. I love Gene Wilder. He was a genius in this role, and Johnny Depp’s quirky eccentric-ness doesn’t quite compare. However, I didn’t really like the content of the original, since it doesn’t exactly follow the intentions or tone of the book. The remake, though it delves into an entirely unnecessarily backstory about Wonka’s daddy issues, keeps the exact plot and tone of the book, even keeping with the Great Glass Elevator. I like the original for the songs and Wonka, but I like the new one for the story and the other characters, such as Charlie and his family, who are (gasp!), actually English. 

I'm sometimes not good at concealing my opinions, but I'll do a follow-up post with which versions I (honestly) think are better. 


The Movie Mistress


The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2010)



Let me just say that the last detective movie I saw before this one was Angels and Demons, so going in to see this one, I was not sure what to expect, since that one didn't exactly live up to my expectations.

But, man, do the Swedes deliver! 

This was a total thrill ride. The two main characters are not your typical American leading man and woman, but that, to me, makes them that much more enjoyable. I've never read the book, but I can say that the characters themselves were a large part of what made this movie so memorable, and if this movie HAD been made in America, I don't know how much I would have enjoyed it, since we probably would have gotten some generic Sienna Miller look-a-like and young version of Harrison Ford in the title roles (and really, who wants to see that....again?). Noomi Rapace is fucking HOT as Lisbeth Salander, and I loved that she's able to hide in plain sight by dressing as a blonde bombshell (and also that it's supposed to be humorous). That girl is a badass. 

I have to admit that I was pretty disturbed by the rape scene, but I think that was the point. Maybe it's just the American movie business idea of a taboo subject being instilled in my head. I mean, I wasn't as disturbed by this rape scene as I was by the one in Marnie (1964), but it was still uncomfortable. However, I think that because they included all the details it made the even more graphic revenge scene that much more satisfying (in a twisted sort of way). The fact that this was included not as a subject of the overall plot but as a character device is another great attribute to this movie because we were allowed to get to know each character as an individual and as a whole before they come together and solve a crime. That's something we don't exactly get with Se7en, now do we (not to say that that's a bad movie, but I thought I'd use it as a comparison due to the Biblical-themed murder plot)? 

Although I didn't find the whole father-passing-the-crime-to-his-son deal realistic, I did like that the crimes were about the very real and unfortunate issue of anti-semitism. (I get that a lot of the praises I'm making should be credited to the author of the book, but seeing as I haven't read it, I'll just praise him AND the filmmakers for staying true to the original plot, something they didn't have to do completely after buying the rights). I feel like there are so many detective story lines that avoid issues that actually exist for fear of offending anyone. Why? I don't know. It's a movie- you can't please anyone. And besides, if there were someone that were watching this that were a fan of anti-semitism, hell, I'd WANT to offend the shit out of them. 

Anyway, now that I've gone on a little rant about that, I also want to make one unrelated comment about how wonderful the color quality of this film is. It's been a while since I've seen a film where the film itself matched the content of the movie (although I'm sure they shot in HD). The film buff in me is giving props to the editors for making a movie with dark and disturbing content, well, actually dark. The saturated green tint that permeated most of this movie only added to the well constructed storyline and memorable characters. I can only hope that the sequel that's already in process will live up to the dark and ominous beauty of its predecessor. 


The Movie Mistress