Tag: foreign language

Män som hatar kvinnor, 2009

Män som hatar kvinnor, or, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, is the original 2009 Swedish film adaptation of the Stieg Larsson‘s book. Directed by Niels Arden Oplev, it tells the story of a disgraced investigative journalist named Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist), the editor of Millenium magazine after his conviction for libel against a massively wealthy and corrupt businessman. His part-time lover and another editor of the magazine Erika Berger (Lena Endre) still supports him, but Blomkvist decides to take some time away from the magazine and is lured into industrialist Henrik Vanger’s (Sven-Bertil Taube) family mystery concerning the disappearance of his niece forty years previous, promising to investigate in exchange for a substantial fee and what Vanger claims is material which will allow Blomkvist to attack his corrupt businessman once again.

This is the first in a trilogy of films that follows the series of books surrounding Millenium magazine and the character to whom the title refers, Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace). Salander is employed by a large, private security and investigations firm and is responsible for completing the background report on Blomkvist which is used by Vanger to ensure he is hiring the correct person to the investigation into the disappearance of his niece. She is completely unconventional and shocking in many ways to the viewer, having had an extraordinarily disturbing childhood which leaves her unable to legally manage her own private affairs without the guidance of an attorney.

The film follows the life of Salander as she endures shocking levels of abuse at the hands of her caretaker attorney and her vengeance against those who wrong her and other women. She teams up with Blomkvist after he reads the background report she prepared and he decides he needs a research assistant to better investigate the disappearance of the Vanger niece. The relationship is complicated by sexual tension between Blomkvist and Salander, who become lovers as well as partners in the investigation and the film takes on the role of a thriller centering upon a bizarre series of murders which seem to be tied to the disappearance of Henrik Vanger’s niece.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a simply fantastic movie with an engrossing plot, exquisite acting, superb direction and a very nice pace. Oplev’s skill is so impressive that the English-language remake of the film, even with the expert direction of David Fincher, is essentially the same movie, but without the subtitles and Swedish. What better compliment from one director to another than to recognize excellence and not try to outdo it with excessive changes in tone, dialogue, characters or plot?

The Kingdom, 2007

The Kingdom is a 2007 blockbuster that accomplishes something many mainstream Hollywood movies attempt and fail: it creates a realistic thriller based on realistic events and portrays both sides of the conflict in reasonably equal lights. Director Peter Berg tells us the story of a team of FBI agents who push their way into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in an effort to investigate a terrorist attack in which Americans were killed.

Movies Opening February 8, 2008

1.  Fool’s Gold

The most well-known and predictable of this week’s releases is a romantic comedy starring Matthew McConaughey, Kate Hudson, and Donald Sutherland.  Directed by Andy Tennant whose previous credits include Sweet Home Alabama, Fools Rush In and Hitch, this movie tells the story of a married couple who discover rumors of a missing treasure and take off in search of it and in doing so renew their strained romance.

It has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA.

2.  The Hottie and the Nottie

Director Tom Putnam teams up with Paris Hilton, Joel Moore, and many other B-list celebrities to tell the story of a young man who travels across the country to woo the woman he’s loved since he was a teenager and is then faced with the problem of her best friend who despises him.  During the course of his work to woo the woman of his dreams he is forced to re-evaluate that because of the changing relationship of him towards the best-friend.  This movie looks like something that should justifiably have gone direct-to-video and it is advisable that if you have any interest in seeing this movie, at least skip the theater and wait for its release into the video market.

It is rated PG-13 by the MPAA.

3.  Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins

Writer/director Malcolm D. Lee brings us this story of this movie after an illustrious career which has included Roll Bounce and Undercover Brother.  I wouldn’t expect much from this, but the story is said to be that a talk show host who is immensely successful in Los Angeles leaves his life to reunite with his family in the south.  The cast includes the most obvious choices for a movie with these connections, including: Martin Lawrence, Cedric the Entertaine, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Mike Epps.  Perhaps most surprising is that James Earl Jones will be playing the father and that may be enough to push this movie from a mediocre cookie-cutter of a plot into something approaching enjoyable.  I still wouldn’t get your hopes up, though.

This movie has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA.

4.  In Bruges [limited]

Initial reviews of this picture indicate that is is phenomenally good.  In Bruges, written and directed by Martin McDonagh is a crime thriller set in the Belgian city of Bruges where hit men have been sent to carry out a murder on behalf of a London gangster.    The tourism industry, Flemish charm, and well-preserved medieval architecture begin to make their time in the city quite surreal as they begin to enjoy their surroundings and have trouble remembering to complete the task which was the reason for their being sent to Bruges.  It is a darkly comic look at the lives of these two characters ensconced in a well-preserved historical setting of Europe and their development as human beings sent to do an awful thing and changed by the beauty that they encounter.  It stars Elizabeth Berrington, Colin Farrell, Ralph Fiennes, and Brendan Gleeson and the early buzz is that this is one of the best movies to come out so far this year.  See it if you’re fortunate enough to have it released in your market!

It is rated R by the MPAA.

5.  Wild West Comedy Show [limited]

Directed by Ari Sandel Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days and 30 Nights – Hollywood to the Heartland chronicles the journey of Vince Vaughn and other comedians as they move across the United States putting on comedy shows in 30 different venues on 30 different days and 30 different nights and includes appearances by Keir O’Donnell, Sebastian Maniscalco, Justin Long, Bret Ernst, John Caparulo, Peter Billingsley, and

Ahmed Ahmed.  There’s been very little word as to quality of this movie, but judging by the cast and the idea, I can’t imagine it won’t be at least mildly entertaining.

It has been rated R by the MPAA.

6.  The Band’s Visit [limited]

Which is also known as Bikur Ha-Tizmoret this is a highly acclaimed Israeli film from director Eran Kolirin which contains Arabic, English and Hebrew and is thus subtitled.  It tells a fish out of water story about a brass band of Egyptian policemen invited to Israel to perform who are delighted to do so, but then find themselves lost in a foreign city that is very different from what they accustomed to.  Based on its earlier releases this movie should prove to be exceptionally good, though you will need to tolerate subtitles, which I know is a frustration for some of the lazier viewers out there.

This movie is rated PG-13 by the MPAA.

7.  Spiral [Los Angeles]

Something a re-relrease is found here in this 2007 picture that is for some reason being released exclusively in Los Angeles.  This is the story of a socially dysfunctional telemarketer whose quiet, dull, and isolated life is suddenly thrown into chaos by the introduction of a new co-worker.  It is unfortunate that with the appearance of this new co-worker, voices and other malevolence begin to find their way into the character’s head and he begins a downward spiral into horror.  It features a cast of unknowns and was directed by Adam Green who has no significant films to his past credit.  Why is this movie being released in this fashion is anyone’s guess, but the buzz being generated by those who saw it in its earlier release is that it is a very watchable thriller.

It is rated PG-13 by the MPAA.

City of God, 2002

City of God (2002) (Cidade de Deus) is already quite a critically acclaimed film, but I had just recently finally seen the last five minutes and so felt it appropriate to weigh in both because I like to personally keep track of movies I see, it may help readers determine how much my tastes may match theirs, and as fun as it may be to think I may at some point actually have a following or something as a movie reviewer, I really just like doing it.