“SIDE EFFECTS” My rating: B (Opening wide on Feb. 8)
105 minutes | MPAA rating: R
For more than half its running time, Steven Soderbergh’s “Side Effects” keeps us guessing as to just what sort of movie it is.
It begins with a handsome young man, Martin (current “it” guy Channing Tatum), being released from prison.
So maybe it’s a gritty film about Martin trying to rebuild his life after years in stir?
But then we get to know his wife, Emily (the marvelous Rooney Mara, late of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”), an emotionally fragile individual coming apart at the seams. No sooner is her husband back home than she attempts suicide by driving her car into a wall.
So maybe it’s a hard-hitting film about depression?
Emily and Martin visit a shrink, Dr. Banks (Jude Law), who puts her on a powerful new antidepressant (he’s also a paid consultant for the drug’s manufacturer). Then Emily begins having bizarre sleepwalking episodes and does something really horrible and criminal.
So maybe it’s a socially-conscious film about our prevalent drug culture and an industry that tries to peddle dangerous side effects-heavy pharmaceuticals as if they were soda pop?
Read Full Post »
“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…)
Read Full Post »