(All these films ARE findable online if you know what you’re doing- with English subtitles where required- and are rentable at your nearest video store that knows what it’s doing)
Inspired wholly by the actually POSITIVE response I got from my last tri-film review, I’ve got a few new ones for you boys and girls to try out 🙂 Today, we’re staying on the vague theme of thrillers. I’ve got a brand new one, a year-old film festival under-exposed success and a sadly overlooked 90s gem that I’ve never seen on any “fav movie list” except of course for mine 😉
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Take one part beautiful Swedish millionairess’ disappearance at the possible hands of her various and nefarious family members, add in a litigiously victimized star newspaper reporter and top it off with an updated and sickeningly Nordic looking version of Veronica Mars and you have the making for an original and thrilling whodunit.
The story starts in Stockholm: technologically savvy and media-obsessed, the urbane backdrop introduces us to the troubled lives of the two protagonists as their intellect and ambition is thwarted by the powers that be in their respective lives. Intertwined but without ever actually meeting, the two find their way to the juxtaposing rural yet abundantly wealthy countryside where microfiche and magnifying glasses still solve crimes. Typically I loathe all things pre-80s (except of course for men), but there’s just something about a spectral shape in the background of a black n’ white “home video” that begs to be solved.
What really sells this movie however is the female lead. Unknown-to-me actress Noomi Rapace depicts the “blond, femme fatale” to a tee. Combining just the right amount of Xena-esque brutality with Angelina Jolie à la “Hackers”‘s C++ brilliance… Hell, even I got a little hard… okay, not really, the movie is still damn cool.
Characters aside, the story is well-paced, mysterious and just enough blood and rape to keep any adrenaline junkie interested! Don’t worry, much more investigatorial than my previous recommendations, this one is more cerebrally engaging than it is somatically altering 😉 PS. I apologize the trailer has some Swedish, you should be able to understand what the one-word titles are getting at- they didn’t “Americanize” the preview for us 🙁
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – Trailer
Monday night I was “suppose” to catch the great Michael Haneke’s latest VIFF’s (Vancouver International Film Festival) entry, but the amazing Donovan- in all his multitasking glory- got the wrong week, so, pending next week’s showing, I’m going to exposé (yes, I wrote that on purpose) one of his more recent and sadly less-known films: “Caché”.
Most of you will probably know the Haneke name from “Funny Games”, a psychotic and spectacular movie with possibly the most explicit and hilarious use of the Grecian concept of deus ex machina (10 points to the first person to cite the scene!). But, I find the director’s genius to be best demonstrated in the subtleties of his works and less in the golf club to the head moments [Side Note: I recently had a MUCH heated debate over the gaucheness of viewing the American version on its own in lieu of the original… feel free to weigh in there ;)].
“Caché” is NOT action-packed, but conversely, it is NOT by any means boring. Revolving around a ridiculously well-educated and bourgeois Parisian family who finds themselves tortured by cryptic and eerily-childlike drawings of death and stalkerishly close shots of their day-to-day lives. Married to the ever-gorgeous and (in my mind) can-do-no-wrong Juliette Binoche, the main character- Daniel Auteil- begins to unravel his repressed past as an intense and heavy sense of dread terrifies us until Haneke realizes and ultimately confusing and horrific climax that leads us demanding to meet the director just to ask him what the Hell is going on!
The acting is superb and confident and leaves you wishing you spoke French well enough not to have to be distracted by English subtitles. Definitely a date movie for the more recondite couples that love to debate or just plain single esoteric film geeks who get off on this stuff at 2AM cause there’s no boyfriend to roll over onto… Okay, I’m going to go cry for myself for a bit…
Cache – Trailer
Okay, I’m back from the tear-fest. Some Fiji water to rehydrate, and let’s get back to this! For my last “Tip of the Hatt”, I’m doing a throwback to 1996 and recalling the too-often overlooked classic comedic thriller and action-packed movie: “Freeway”.
Let’s start off by saying this movie stars Reese Witherspoon, Kiefer Sutherland, Brooke Shields and Amanda Plummer- so no low-budget no-name flick is this! How have you never heard of this movie you ask? (Okay, Jared and Will X, before you say it, I’m SURE you’ve seen it, but let the other kids answer one!) …Because you need to dig past the trailers that pop up before the newest “Twillight” adaptation (no offense Tommy 😉 and … well … find my profile on facebook and check my “top pics” movie list; or hit up the curiously pretentious nerd at Videomatica for his top choices (I know I keep mentioning that place but really you need to have a membership there!); or really carefully scour the net. A note here, searching Google for “best indies” is really just going to yield “Run Lola Run” and “Donnie Darko” over and over… Stick with me bub, I’ll get you in the know 😉
BACK TO “FREEWAY”, the movie is a very modern and ghetto-fabulous in South Central LA retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood”. Throw in a comedic incestual molestation- though kind of hot due to Michael T. Weiss… I know, I have issues- a trip to juvie for Reese wherein she beats down a deserving latina-lesbo and Jack Bowers slowly turning lupine and becoming a literal and painful representation of the Big Bad Wolf, and you’ve got the gist of this flick.
Reese is on a mission to find her grandma in order to escape tricking the streets with her crack-head mother as she travels the length of the Californian freeway dodging murderers and murder charges alike all along the way… just like the Brothers Grimm always wanted it 😉
The movie is absolutely hilarious… at points. Reese is a crass near-illiterate with a touch of naive stupidity that makes her easier to root for than the über ambitious character from “Election”, and with more and much-needed bad-ass aggression than Elle Woods ever had. Kiefer’s sex appeal is less-than his (turning) silver-fox self from “24”, but still plays the antagonist role so well you can’t wait to see him get his in the end.
An absolutely great find for anyone wanting a cringe-filled evening of laughter.
Freeway – Trailer