The Dallas Movie Screening Group

This is the homepage of the Dallas Movie Screening Group. To join our mailing list you must sign up at our group page on Yahoo. You will then be connected to receive notices on how to find passes to the local screenings in the DFW area. It's up to you to pickup or sign up for passes. You can also barter, trade or just giveaway passes you don't want, need or share with other members of the group. Please read the instructions on the Yahoo page very carefully before posting. This group is closely moderated so that your mail box is not full of spam or other unnecessary mail. We appreciate everyone's consideration and cooperation.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The title opening sequence with the CGI oil slicked bodies and exploding birds with Karen O's cover of Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song is hypnotic, mesmerizing and gets the blood flowing. The first film of Stieg Larsson's best selling Swedish novel series which was known as “Men Who Hate Women” was released in Sweden in 2009 and the other 2 novels turned into movies later that year. It's hard to imagine why Director David Fincher and screenwriter Steven Zaillian wanted to cover the same material with an English speaking cast. Fans of the book and movies were skeptical particularly since the iconic role of goth hacker Lisbeth Salander was so brilliantly played by Noomi Rapace and the jounalist Mikael Blomkvist played by Michael Nyqvist seemed to jump from the novel's pages. However the dark and psychologically complicated characters and storyline are right up Fincher's bailiwick in light of his previous ventures like Fight Club, Se7en and Zodiac.

Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) publisher and part owner of the Millennium magazine is in the middle of scandal with billionaire financier Hans-Erik Wennerström in which Blomkvist is sentenced to 3 months in prison and ordered to pay hefty damages. Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) is a ward of the state after trying to kill her father has some serious socialization issues is also a near genius computer hacker. Salander is hired to run an extensive background check on Blomkvist by the lawyer for Henrick Vanger (Christopher Plummer) of the Vanger Group. She breaks into Blomkvist's emails to illicitly gather information. Meanwhile Vanger entices Blomkvist to uncover the mystery of his missing grand- niece who disappeared in the 1966 on the pretext that he is writing a autobiography of Henrick. In the middle of the winter using a rustic cabin located on the property Blomkvist begins combing through the boxes of police reports hoping that a fresh approach and a journalist eye for detail will find something that has been missed. The Vanger family are a very unpleasant, dysfunctional, dour group with a history of Nazi affiliations in their background and are pretty upset over Henrick's obsession. Martin Vanger (Stellan Skarsgård) as the current head of Vangard Group is the only one talking. Blomkvist asks the lawyer for a research assistant...the one that investigated him. At first Salander is not interested until Blomkvist reveals that he may be seeking a killer of women.

While the basic plot involves trying to find the killer and watching Lisbeth's mad skills at connecting dots, there's also the subplots that is setting up the next two films of the series. There's the degrading tortured sexual abuse and some righteous clever revenge that earned the movie a hard “R” rating. Mara's Lisbeth has a vulnerability with her bleached eyebrows, waif physique, and super white complexion against the stark dyed black mohawk. Where the Swedish Rapace was a harder more athletic Lisbeth, both women captured the essence of the most interesting fully realized female heroine that has been created in some time. Craig does a passable job as Blomkvist, but his English accent was a bit distracting as everyone else is doing a light Swedish one.

It's hard to say what virgins of the books and previous movies will take away from this film. It's begs to view it with some idea of what is going on as the history of the Vanger family will be dense and befuddling. For fans of the material there are some elements that have been moved around to keep the story from being too confusing. Those scenes are not covered in the first movie and was sorely missed. The intense discordant score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross punctuates harsh winter and the moody stark staging of Fincher's interpretation of Larsson's story. Fincher may have sunk the Alien franchise with a sorry Alien 3, but Americanizing this film will erase that shame.

This is also the only film that seems to seriously address data forensics as realistically as possible instead of the simplistic graphics that are usually seen. Lisbeth's favorite Apple computers are prominently displayed. Yet despite Lisbeth's computer skills she ends up cracking the case using old school methods. The broader picture is that whoever controls the information controls the world. But please keep the kids at home.
(Review by reesa)

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