a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest’

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Noomi Rapace ~ The Stephen Holt Show

Noomi Rapace is back in the headlines and the headlights of Hollywood stardom, full blast and full throttle, with the wondrous A-Star-Is-Re-Born reviews she’s getting for her performance in the leading role in “Prometheus“, Ridley Scott’s return to Sci-Fi, Big time.


And with this role Noomi I think forever overcomes not getting the English language version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo“. She starred in all three films of the great Swedish crime noir trilogy by the late Steig Larson. Here I am, lucky and thrilled to have the privilege of chatting with her about the last episode “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,” a couple of seasons back.

I just fell in love her and was shocked by how sweet and feminine and smart and sexy she was. and totally unlike the character of Lisbeth Salander in every way imaginable. Except that they both like to take risks.Noomi with her acting and Lisbeth just with life in general.  I was hoping she was going to get an Oscar nomination for this last film, but instead she did get a BAFTA Best Actress Nod.

She also grew up part of the time in Iceland, so that’s what I was saying to her at the end “Tak. Bless.” Which is “Thank you and good-bye” in Icelandic, which she speaks as well as her native Swedish. She’s going to be the biggest Swedish acting star since Ingrid Bergman! Or before her Greta Garbo!

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2011 in review- 13,000 Thanks!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Oscar on its’ way to being “Tattoo”-ed? Fincher’s GREAT re-do nails it!

I can’t begin to tell you what a wonderful experience it was to be soooo totally surprised, stupefied and blind-sided, and deee-lighted to be so, by David Fincher’s re-do of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” I’m kinda hog-wild about it. I think it’s an instant classic.

Shocked that material I knew so well ~ I saw all three Swedish movies and read all three blockbuster books and was totally entranced by all of them, and I  could not BELIEVE that a director whose work has been so notoriously uneven, really could re-invent, in a completely NEW, a startling way, a movie we’ve actually already seen. As recently as last year. Which is when I caught up with it.

I mean, really! Quelle shock! Quelle surprise! And how wonderful to suddenly see David Fincher turn into Alfred Hitchcock, in all of the best possible ways. I mean, Fincher has really done the IMPOSSIBLE. He re-thought and re-shot a re-make and made it all utterly, entirely entertaining.engrossing and WATCHABLE. All nearly three hours of it! Yes, it’s that long, dear readers, dear cineastes.

Fincher wants you to go through an epic, an ORDEAL, as his Viking goddess, Lisbeth Salander, becomes a true immortal Norse Mythological Heroine in his hands, and in Rooney Mara’s equally stunning performance ~ It’s a SAGA! An Icelandic SAGA! Or in this case Swedish.

Lisbeth Salander is  on par with Brunnhilde, these days. But, oh wait! That’s German! But yes, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” has that on its’ mind, too. Nazis. And there’s a lot of them. And they populate Sweden and esp. this film (and the book, too. No Fincher didn’t ADD them. But he did ad a cat… )

And there’s a LOT of Swedish politics and rage against the supposedly perfect Swedish social machine. Where corruption exists on all levels, mostly high, but mid-range, too, as exemplified by the beaurocrat Bjurman(a really slimy pig of a politico played here Yorick Van Wageningen.) His rape of Salander jump-starts the film into hyper-space, if the film’s opening five minutes of INCREDIBLY dark and oily, inky black  titles  with pounding music by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, that turn into blood and then into fire, didn’t already blow you there.  I don’t ever remember Opening titles getting applause!

How DID he do this???

Welllll, there is a biiiiiig difference between a $15 million budget which is what all THREE Swedish films had, and the something upwards of $150 milllion that this “Tattoo” was inked with.

Quelle difference! But it’s not just the money. It’s how Fincher USED the money, wisely. It’s superbly shot in a de-saturated, almost black and white tone, by his great cinematographer, who makes Sweden look black and BLUE.  There are snowscapes upon snowscapes of incredible beauty. Some thing the original Swedish version directed by Niels Arden Oplev did NOT do.

Oplev’s Stockholm looked glamorous, beautiful, colorful, intriguing, inviting. It made you want to go there. It was a celebration of Stockholm. It was if we’d never seen it before. Oplev WANTED you to go there.

There is no color whatsoever in Fincher’s version. It’s all chilly, foreboding, FREEZING. Everything seems like it’s happening in a new Ice Age. And he’s more interested in frightening the living daylights out of you by the winter gloom. It’s as though the two “Tattoos” were filmed in two totally different cities. One you’d want to go to and one you wanted to run from.

And there is a LOT of darkness in Lisbeth Salander’s world, the world that Steig Larsson created for her. It’s a Nordic vision of hell, and it’s so rotten you can also smell the stench of decaying souls. Lisbeth’s last scene takes place, metaphorically, next to a dumpster, as once again, it’s snowing.

And the suspense! Not since Hitchcock, as I said. My hero. He was the greatest of great filmmakers IMHO. And that Fincher is able to sustain this for NEARLY three hours is absolutely astonishing.

There are SOME bright lights shining in this land of the midnight sun, and it’s all in the casting. The excellent ensemble boasts a rubicund Christopher Plummer as the rich guy who hires the down-on-his-luck Blomkvist. And Blomkvist is magnificently played by none-other than James Bond himself, Daniel Craig. He’s the hero and we all know it. And a helluva nice guy. A journalist who’s a crusader against corruption in all forms, Henrik Vanger (no, not WAGNER, but you get the drift) hires the hapless Blomkvist to track down the disappearance many years prior of a beloved neice, Harriet.

Add a perfectly cast Robin Wright, Stellan Skarsgard and Joely Richardson, who’s never been better and you’ve yourself got a superb group of players. Down to the smallest bit part, Fincher has assembled a great, an historic ensemble of actor’s actors. One of the best ever for his kind of thriller-diller shockeroo. But that’s what Hitchcock did, too. He always had THE BEST actors, and by doing so elevated the genre.

That’s ONE plot, the Harriet plot. Then there’s an Agatha Christie-esque mystery-within-the-mystery, which is the real core of the story. THEN there’s the great love story that develops between Blomkvist and Salander and SHE’S definitely the one on top here.

One of the great successes of Steig Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy is his reversal, his up-ending of the usual sexual expectations in a genre like this. And both Mara and Craig are totally up to and under it. They were hot together when their relationship starts to turn carnal. And it does! We suddenly see what is keeping all those Swedish nights so warm!  And like in Ingmar Bergman’s great cinematic ouevre, it was always about the women.

And Lisbeth Salander is one of the great fictional heroines of our time, and Noomi Rapace in the Swedish films did a beautiful, mystifying job. She was as glamorous and intriguing and complicated as the Sweden that was depicted in the previous films.

Rooney Mara has large, almost gigantic blue eyes, They seem to dwarf her completely. Noomi had dark, impenetrable, almost black eyes. What WAS going on behind them in all those intense close-ups of her throughout the first three films?

With Mara’s enormous orbs, we SEE what is going on inside her much, much more clearly, and yes, there is ultimately a vulnerability that Fincher finally reveals in the film’s last scene which was like a cinematic sucker punch.

And Rooney and Oscar? Well, I’ll write more about that tomorrow!

Noomi v. Rooney~ Take Two~ “Dragon Tattoo” FINALLY lands…

So it is with great trepidation that I look forward to Monday and the inevitable screening of the American version of “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” Will I like or won’t I? I would like to THINK I am approaching this with an open mind. But I wonder…

If you saw all three brilliant, beautiful Swedish movies and read all the books and had the privilege of interviewing Noomi Rapace herself, how un-prejudiced, how objective  can you really be?

I mean, I’ve gone on record with my indignant “How dare they remake perfection?” and you can look back in this blog to find many, many posts on Steig Larsson and Lisbeth Salander and how wonderful I thought this all was…The three Swedish movies and those three great un-put-downable books…

So I didn’t REALLY press the press people behind this film. I mean, there was this EMBARGO and all, I guess Sony(who is the producer of this $125 million REMAKE) figured that they knew I probably wouldn’t like it so they didn’t pursue me and I didn’t pursue them and there was this awful embargo thingie.

And everyone kept saying “It’s not an Oscar movie.” anyway…so I took it easy…but now that the embargo is lifted and the reviews are starting to pile in and pile up…and they’re GOOD…I’m beginning to thaw towards Rooney Fincher…I think of them as one…

MAYBE I might even enjoy this.

I feel so terrible for Noomi Rapace. But maybe…just maybe…I might actually LIKE this movie….This is a pre-review. I’m “reviewing the situation” as Fagin sang so memorably in “Oliver!” another Best Picture winner of years gone by…

Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone just LOVED it to pieces. But then of course, she’s a HUGE Fincher fan. Read her moving pieces, by all means, at  www.awardsdaily.com But Stu VanAirsdale at www.movieline.com said in his ESSENTIAL Oscar Index this week that she was the only one…

But then more reviews, like Owen Gleiberman in EW www.ew.com wrote very movingly about it. And Rooney Fincher DID get a Golden Globe nomination, and then and then….

A fellow journo, a broadcast TV producer took me out to dinner tonight at my favorite place in NYC Angus McIdoe’s www.angusmcindoe.com and he told me that he had just done the “Girl with a Dragon Tattoo” TV junket THIS AFTERNOON!!!??!!!

I had no idea it was TODAY! And obviously, I wasn’t invited…and well, my friend, who had read none of the books, and HAD seen the movie, liked it. He thought it was “interesting.” Hmmm…

And he said Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig were taking it VERY seriously. And Christopher Plummer and Stellan Sarsgaard were not. THEY were incredibly jolly and having the time of their lives, evidently. Stellan, who I’ve interviewed many, many times, stood up and greeted every journalist as they came in the TV junket door.

No one ever does that.

And Christopher Plummer was jovial personified, my friend said. Well, I countered “Of COURSE, he is. He’s having the biggest moment of his career. He’s in this BIG movie, and he’s going to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor this year. Of COURSE, he’s in a good mood!” And he was incredibly funny and witty as only Canadians can be when they’re on a role.

And Rooney Fincher? She said as my friend entered her suite that she was in a bad mood. Guess she was still in character…Did she say that to allll the journalists?

But in all fairness, the movie is riding on HER, and her performance, and even though she’s got Cynthia Swartz on her side, she doesn’t have Harvey Weinstein. She’s got Scott Rudin, whose dreaded EMBARGO seems to have nearly killed the buzz on this film…I mean, it’s all a tad late, isn’t it?

To open a film this late in the (Oscar) season, and to junket it TODAY when Christmas is nearly upon us…Peace on Earth. Good will towards men. The OPPOSITE philosophy of Lisbeth Salander. The Feel Bad Movie for Xmas…

Well, I guess I’m in the mood for it…Buzz is starting. People seem to have wildly divergent reactions to it.

Kristopher Tapley got into an almost-fight in his podcast with St. Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood www.indiewire.com Anne REALLY liked it. She really, REALLY liked it. Like Sasha did. And Krist HATED it…

But he admitted to liking Rooney Fincher’s performance…Hmmm…

Well, if Sasha and Anne and OWEN liked it…

But one thing’s for sure. It’s TWO HOURS AND A HALF!!!!!

Well, on Monday I’ll let you all know what I thought. Or for sure on Tuesday.

And I DID like “Se7en” and “Zodiac”…HATED “Fight Club” and “The Joy of Typing”….so…we’ll see…Is it too late-breaking for Oscar? Everyone says “Yes” but maybe I’ll like it just for itself.

My friend said they took the book very, very seriously. I liked the sound of that…

But can Rooney erase the memory of Noomi?

“The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” Best Foreign Film Bafta!

And now they are coming thick and fast! “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” wins Best Foreign Film, and Nooooooomi Rapace is there, of course, since she is nominated for Best Actress, as well, in a gown made out of it looks like gold sequins.

www.guardian.co.uk is where there is a live blogging session as the awards are very much in progress now.

OSCAR NOMINATIONS OUT! “King’s Speech” rules with 12!

So I feel pretty generally pleased this morning with the announcement of this year’s Oscar Nominations which gave 12(!!!!!) nominations, the most of any film this year, to “The King’s Speech”! Bravo!

This massive nomination haul + the PGA win this weekend puts “King” right where it’s meant to be! To rule! And to win! Bravo!

But not only was it nominated in ALLLL the major categories where it was eligible…Best Picture, Best Director (YAY for Tom Hooper! I told you so! You didn’t believe me, but…you did say I was your Oscar Messenger, and the name has stuck!), Best Actor, of course, the King of Kings, Colin Firth, who has won everything else this year, Best Supporting Actor, Geoffrey Rush, (Geoffrey I told you so, too, at Toronto) Best Supporting Actress (Helena Bonham-Carter), Best Original Screenplay(David Seidler) and on and on all the way down through every single branch of the Academy including SOUND MIXING!!!!!!! YIKES! That’s what they call across-the-board, or more accurately, across the guilds, support. It bodes, very, very, very well for a Best Picture win. People are already calling it an “upset” to me it was the Academy’s favorite right out of the box at Toronto! Bravo TIFF! It really was the the Oscar race not only launched, but also more or less landed in the sense that “The King’s Speech” ALSO won the Audience favorite this year. Bravo! What’s the plural of Bravo? Bravos!

And Michelle Williams got nominated for Best Actress for “Blue Valentine”! YAY! Michelle! Again I TOLD YOU SO! Like I told you you were going to be nominated five years ago for “Brokeback Mountain” and you didn’t believe me, but I WAS RIGHT! Brava! Diva!

I feel awful for Ryan Gosling however. DUDE! You totally deserved this!

You should have replaced that horrible non-actor Jesse Irritatingberg for “The Joy of Typing” who STILL gives me a headache everytime I hear his grating, staccato voice.

Also was UNhappy to see “Winter’s Bore” get FOUR nominations(and perhaps more, I haven’t finished counting) and I won’t bore you any further with that.

NO LESLIE MANVILLE ANYWHERE! I HOPED that wouldn’t happen! But it did. Category confusion and a too-late release date(Dec.31) for this little film that at least scored a screenplay nod for Mike Leigh, but nothing else.

This was SUCH a beautiful movie, and NOT a bore like “Winter’s B.”….

I guess the snubs have upset me more than anything else. And no Noomi Rapace or “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” anywhere. Guess that is the American Producer(Sony?) blockading against its’ Oscar chances so that the dreaded American Remake with David Fincher and Rooney Marra that is slated for next Decemeber can rule Oscar then And it probably will….grrrr…If by some strange fluke of fate and David Fincher does NOT win the Best Director Oscar for “The Joy of Typing”, he undoubtedly will for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” next year. The late author Steig Larsson must be turning over in his grave.

Well, Noomi could still triumph at the BAFTAS, where she is nominated for Best Actress and the film for Best Foreign Language Film.

Not surprised(although I predicted him) that Christopher Nolan was left out of the Best Director Five although he received a DGA nomination. There almost always is a four v. five situation there with the directors. And the Coens got in. AND I must mention that “True Grit” followed “The King’s Speech” with 10 nominations. Including that brat Haillee Steinfeld(who I predicted would end up in Supporting, and she did although she really belongs back in middle school in 1000 Oaks, or doing “Blingatude” commercials. She was totally believable as a Valley Girl brat…but that’s the extant of her believable range.) And Jackie Weaver got in for the unwatchable “Animal World”! Which is a shocker! And neither Barbara Hersey OR Mila Kunis! So while “Black Swan” was shaking a bit, Natalie Portman DID get in for Best Actress and Aronofsky for Best Director. Good.

Check out www.awardsdaily.com of course, for alllll the nominations. And David Karger, my hero, who stuck out with me on the limb of “The King’s Speech” ALLLLL season and now you see, along with Anne Thompson of “Indiewire” ‘and our Fearless Leader David Poland of “Movie City News” that we were right all along. They are at www.ew.com

www.indiewire.com

www.moviecitynews.com

And if there is toooo much traffic at Awardsdaily, which is one of the MOST popular Oscar sites in the world, and you can’t access it, as I couldn’t earlier this morning. There’s those three Pro-“King’s Speech” addresses and also Steve Pond’s excellent “The Wrap” at www.thewrap.com

DAVID!!! PUT ME BACK AS A GURU O’ GOLD!!! PLEASE!!!

Oscar Nomination Predictions ~ Best Actor and Actress

Well, this year I feel the BAFTA nominations have had a huge impact – on me personally. I find myself THINKING about them more than I have ever had in my Oscar life before. Now the BAFTAs can’t influence the Oscar nominations which will be announced bright and early Tuesday morning. The only day of the year I actually look forward to getting up that early.

They CAN’T influence the actual Oscar nominations, as I’ve said , but they can TELL US something that perhaps we’ve not seen coming. And REVEAL what a large group of voters, supposedly the numbers are one in six Academy members, are thinking.

And first of all I’d say they REVEAL that Julianne Moore is much more IN the Best Actress race than just about everybody under the sun in the U.S. has given her credit for for “The Kids Are All Right.”

And their leaving out of BOTH Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Lawrence for “Rabbit Hole” and “Winter’s Bore” completely, shows us that these presumed locked ladies are not so locked at all.

We all can agree on Annette Bening for TKAAR and Natalie Portman for “Black Swan.”

And they have my favorite performance, who I also think is going to WIN, the BAFTA, Noomi Rapace, down for “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s”. Of course, she’s really being honored here for ALL THREE Steig Larsson films.  I think her Lisbeth Salander trumps Natalie Portman’s schizy ballerina. In British eyes.

But–

So my Best Actress nominees are –

ANNETTE BENING – The Kids Are All Right”

JULIANNE MOORE- ‘The Kids Are All Right”

NATALIE PORTMAN- “Black Swan”

NOOMI RAPACE-“The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”

MICHELLE WILLIAMS- “Blue Valentine”

Putting Rapace in there is really going out on a limb…but…I do think the BAFTAS have pointed the way for this category this year. And I’m replacing their Haillee Steinfeld for “True Grit” with Michelle Williams. And I’m betting the Academy which seems hell-bent on honoring Steinfeld will put her in Supporting as I said yesterday. Which I think is where she belongs.

Best Actor, this is easier

JEFF BRIGES – “True Grit”

COLIN FIRTH “The King’s Speech”

JAMES FRANCO- “127 Hours”

JESSIE IRRITATINGBERG – “The Movie About Typing”

RYAN GOSLING- “Blue Valentine”

I think Robert DuVal is not going to make it in for that sub-par performance in “Get Low” or “How Low Can You Get?” or “How to Throw Your Own Funeral” which actually sounds like a fun movie with that title. But trust me, it isn’t.

Looking eastward again to the BAFTA nominees, I’ve got four of their five for Best Actress AND Best Actor! Now that’s an impact! Their fifth Best Actor Nominee is Javier Bardem for “Biutiful”…and he could sneak into that fifth slot, but I don’t think people have been watching the movie. Whereas they WILL have watched “Blue Valentine.”

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