“THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN: THE SECRET OF THE UNICORN” My rating: B- (Opening wide on Dec. 21)
107 minutes | MPAA rating: PG
Steven Spielberg’s “The Adventures of Tintin” has so many jaw-dropping moments of visual splendor that it takes a while to realize that there’s really nothing much of interest here except the jaw-dropping visual splendor.
Employing the motion-capture animation techniques employed in films like “The Polar Express” and the Jim Carrey “Christmas Carol,” this screen adaptation of the late Herge’s universally popular comic book hero should please long-time fans. But it’s hard to imagine it winning many new converts to the Tintin brand.
Tintin (voiced by Jamie Bell of “Billy Elliott” fame) is a perpetually boyish, carrot-topped newspaper reporter who goes nowhere without a tan trench coat, brown knickers and a white pooch named Snowy.
He’s sort of like a junior Sherlock Holmes who’s always up to his neck in one mystery or another.
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“THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO” My rating: B (Opens wide Dec. 21)
158 minutes | MPAA rating: R
Like a lot of movie fans, I greeted with a big dose of cynicism the news that Hollywood was remaking the Swedish thriller “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”
That film, which introduced to the world actress Nomi Rapace as the gloriously twisted investigator/hacker Lisbeth Salander, was more than adequate. Why remake it for a bunch of ignoramuses too thick to read subtitles?
Well, I was wrong. The American “Girl…” is the equal of the Swedish version in most regards, and in its technical production vastly superior. That’s because it was directed by David Fincher (“Fight Club,” “The Social Network,” “Zodiac”), an exacting filmmaker who composes and lights every scene for maximum visual impact. (Don’t forget, the three Swedish films based on Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy were made for television and suffered somewhat from limited production values.)
The tale remains essentially the same (with some minor variations) and the overall effect — a queasy blend of serial killer thriller, unrepentant male piggishness and offbeat relationship flick — very similar to the original. (more…)
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“COWBOYS AND ALIENS” My rating: C+ (Opening wide on July 29)
118 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13
Daniel Craig carries himself like vintage Steve McQueen.
Harrison Ford, on the other hand, is starting to carry himself like Lee J. Cobb.
If you’re old enough to recognize those two names, welcome to my world.
In “Cowboys and Aliens” Craig is a resident of the Old West who wakes up in the middle of the desert with a bad case of amnesia and some sort of big honking electronic bracelet on his wrist that cannot be removed.
Ford plays a crusty old cattle baron accustomed to ruling the area like a Medieval lord.
Before you can say “alien abductions in 1870s Arizona” they’re battling high-tech invaders from outer space.
Jon Favreau’s latest is in many ways a conventional cowboy movie — though not always a particularly good one. We’ve all seen the Western in which the Indians raid settlements taking prisoners and the surviving menfolk organize a posse and take off in pursuit.
Same deal here. Just substitute Martians for Indians.
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