Monday Morning Critic – 6.6.2011 – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo & More

Every Monday morning, InsidePulse Movies Czar Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings an irreverent and oftentimes hilarious look at pop culture, politics, sports and whatever else comes to mind. And sometimes he writes about movies.

One of the films I’ve been interested in viewing for a long time has been David Fincher’s version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I loved the original and did have some trepidation about it, mainly because it’s so recent to have a remake (if you can call it that). I get that Fincher is adapting it from the source instead of taking the original piece and reworking it, which is admirable, and was a bit put off that Noomi Rapace was taken out of the equation after being so remarkably good in the role of Lisbeth.

I understood why they would recast the role, and I imagine Rapace wanted to do something else but play the character again, but I’d have loved to see what she could do with the role with a director like Fincher pushing her. She has more talent than any other young actress and I think with the right director she could be a massive, massive star. This is why I thought she ought to reprise her role, if only for that selfish reason, but I’m totally up to see what another actress could do with the part. Rooney Mara certainly has some talent as an actress and with a director like Fincher could bring out everything she has. So I’m willing to give it a chance and will put down my money when this opens.

But I’m beginning to worry whether this film is going to just be nothing more an Americanized version of the Swedish film. I watched the trailer for Fincher’s take on the subject, both of them actually, and think of one film: Gus Van Sant’s Psycho. Compare and contrast them, with the sound off. The only way to really watch a trailer is to watch it without the audio first, in order to get a good feel for the film. Audio tends to give us a different perception, because sometimes music can throw things off. The trailer tells a story about why I, the consumer, ought to view a film and I like to think that I want to decipher that before I watch it with the full accoutrement of sound, et al.

Here’s the Swedish version, with Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist in the two main roles.

And here’s the American version, with Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig.

They both are so similar to one another that it’s kind of scary. While I imagine it’s because both are being faithful in adapting the source material, and that the first was a bit of a template for tone and scenery for Fincher, but I keep getting the feeling from seeing the promotional materials that this film is going to be a virtual shot for shot remake of the Swedish version.

It’s not a bad thing, though.

The first was a brilliant film and Fincher is talented enough to remake the original into a replica while still bringing new life into it. His take on the story, which is fairly complex, is something I’m genuinely interested in because he is a great director. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt as a fan of the medium that Fincher gets a pass for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Social Network in my mind. Those were more films with flawed scripts as opposed to Fincher screwing the pooch from a story-telling point as I saw it, but then again they both were Oscar nominees so I readily admit my opinion isn’t the prevailing one.

It leaves me thinking this: how is 2011 version The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo going to turn out? If it’s a shot by shot replica with new actors, ala Psycho, like it appears to be then I think audiences are going to be short-changed because Fincher’s better than that. Or at least I hope so.

A Movie A Week – The Challenge

This Week’s DVD – The Man from Nowhere

I normally don’t do blind buys, mainly because of monetary reasons, unless it’s a going out of business sale. Mainly it’s for monetary reasons, as I can’t justify 10-20 bucks on something I only know from recommendation or reputation. But a couple weeks ago something presented itself to let me pick up a Rob Sutton approved film on DVD without prior watch: used, but not quite abused, gift cards.

Not every time I use a gift card I overspend, i.e. use the gift card to cut down my overall DVD purchase. I had a half dozen cards with various smaller amounts that added up to the purchase price of The Man from Nowhere plus a wireless modem … after the discount card thingie I had as well.

Won Bin is Cha Tae-sik, a former special operations badass hiding in plain sight as a pawn shop owner. When a local stripper (Kim Hyo-seo) rips off a drug dealer, they kidnap her and her daughter (Kim Sae-ron). This pisses him off and he decides to kill everything in sight because … well … he can. Nobody pisses that guy off without getting a major dose of Vitamin Death.

Won Bin, whom you might’ve recognized from another Korean import that came and went from theatres in Mother, gets to play a character that I’m shocked hasn’t been optioned for a remake starring someone like Jake Gyllenhaal or Channing Tatum. This is just a pared down, balls-to-the-wall action thriller with almost too much action. There’s not a lot of character development or story, it’s mainly Cha finding out what’s wrong and figuring out how to keep killing bad guys. There are plenty of detective elements in the film as it works as a police procedural on a certain level as well as a general thriller.

It’s a lot of fun and worth the pickup. Strong recommendation.

What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 Pints of Bass Ale and community college co-eds with low standards at the Alumni Club

Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer – The chick version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, I think? No clue, seen no adverts. It sounds like it’s based off a novel aimed at children.

Skip It – I can’t recommend a film that is relying on the same crowd that came out for Kid by sheer word of mouth and a built in audience from the book series (did 30 seconds of internet research between summation and recommendation).

Super 8 – Some kids are making a monster movie when they witness an epic train crash. Then things start to get odd.

See It – Apparently it’s a monster movie, at least that’s what it looks like so far. J.J Abrams so far is making a nice little career out of being an uber-producer and mimicking Spielberg’s ability to shift genres effectively. When in doubt, he’s quickly becoming a director you never bet against in the same way Christopher Nolan is.

Do you have questions about movies, life, love, or Branigan’s Law? Shoot me an e-mail at and you could be featured in the next “Monday Morning Critic.” Include your name and hometown to improve your odds.

Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings his trademarked irreverence and offensive hilarity to Twitter in 140 characters or less. Follow him @MMCritic_Kubryk.

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