July 6, 2010

DVD Pick of the Week: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Welcome back! Well, to some of you, anyway. To the rest of you, glad you decided to stop by and I hope this humble column helps you navigate the stacks of new releases each week. My goal is to point you toward titles of interest and warn you away from those films that seek to do nothing but leech away your time and give you nothing in return.

Full disclosure: I have not seen many of these titles, and what follows are not necessarily reviews, but opinions based upon what I know of the titles I pluck from the new release lists I peruse. The opinions I give based on the new releases are my own, and my recommendations are based on my personal interest. In any case, I hope you enjoy and perhaps find something you like or a title to point me towards.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (also Blu-ray). I walked into the film rather unsure of what to expect. I knew the basic set up that a rich man hires a disgraced journalist and computer hacker to investigate the disappearance of his niece forty years prior when she was just 16-years-old. The uncle is convinced it was murder committed by a family member. the investigation takes them into the family's dark history that some would rather see keep secret. To tell the plot is to give away the secrets, to describe what happens in even a roundabout manner risks giving you the pieces to put it together too soon. Let me say that the film has a few mysteries going on. The primary thread is not terribly complex, but it will keep you guessing until the final moments. The other mysteries center on our characters and are even more interesting, well, one of them in particular. Lisbeth herself is a walking mystery, a riddle that is difficult to pierce. She can and will only be known on her terms. The movie ran two and a half hours but it goes by so fast you scarcely notice. It is fascinating as it is not a terribly fast paced film. There are explosions of shocking violence and sexual abuse (which never falls into exploitation territory) that effectively punctuate the mystery they are investigating and highlighting our characters personal damages. It is all gorgeously shot and exquisitely paced. This will hold your attention until the final frame. I am looking forward to revisiting it.

Brooklyn's Finest (also Blu-ray). Feeling like a cross between The Departed and Training Day, this cop drama follows a trio of tales involving street cops, detectives, and drug dealers. It is an interesting film if not entirely successful. It is the sort of film that could have used more time or fewer stories. Riding the star power of Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke, and Richard Gere we watch as their divergent stories collide in spectacular fashion at the film's climax.

A Single Man (also Blu-ray). Nominated for an Oscar at the 2010 ceremony, this debut feature from fashion designer Tom Ford is supposed to be quite good. I say "supposed to be" as I have not yet seen it.  Oscar nominated Colin Firth stars as an English professor in LA in the early 1960's who has lost his partner to a tragic car accident. The film focuses on Firth's character getting his affairs in order while trying to cope with his loss.

Jason and the Argonauts (Blu-ray). This 1964 adventure chronicles the journey of Greek warriors in search of the golden fleece. This is a fun movie that I look forward to seeing in high definition. I am quite curious to see how Ray Harryhausen's special effects work looks in high def, I am worried that it may be exposed. Has anyone seen it?

Life on Mars: The Complete Series. This is the UK series that was the inspiration for the short-lived American version. I have only seen the American version and quite enjoyed it (I am also glad they were able to have a conclusion). I am curious to see the original and see how it differs, I already know the conclusion is quite different. It concerns a cop who has traveled back in time to the 1970's and must find out why and how to get home.

Steamboat Bill, Jr. (Blu-ray). Classic Buster Keaton film from 1928. Keaton is a true cinematic treasure. The man is funny no matter when you are introduced to him. A man with immense charisma now on Blu-ray. This should be interesting, I do not recall any other silent films being on Blu-ray, although they will surely come. I look forward to giving this a viewing.

Bitten. A vampire movie starring Jason Mewes? Really? All right, I'll bite. Mewes, better known as Jay from Kevin Smith's movies, plays a paramedic who rescues a young woman after an attack. She refuses to go to the hospital, so he takes her home to care for her. It turns out she is a vampire and needs blood. Curious.

Article first published as DVD Pick of the Week: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on Blogcritics.


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