The Girl in the Spider’s Web and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing
Directed by Fede Álvarez
A bit of context is perhaps in order before we get started. I haven’t seen the Fincher film or the Swedish films, but I have read the first book and got a bit through the second one and enjoyed them both. I don’t actually KNOW if this is based on one of the books or the post-humus stuff that Stieg Larsson had written down somewhere (probably could have looked that up before going to see this) and where exactly this is supposed to “exist” as far as some sort of continuity, so the phrase of the day is CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC. I do think that Lisbeth Salander is an interesting character and the idea of making more or less standalone movies with her is a solid idea. However, this still seems like a pretty big gamble across the board, what with David Fincher no longer being involved, this more or less being the third iteration of the franchise in a decade, and frankly I don’t know if anyone is really still talking about Stieg Larsson’s books anymore to warrant another film about this character. However, all that is kind of outside my wheelhouse as a critic since I’m here to tell you if the movie is good and not how much money it’s gonna make. What’s REALLY important is if this version of the movie (with a heavily slashed budget) can capture what made these books and this character so compelling in the first place, or if this is just a brazen attempt to squeeze a few more bucks out of an obviously dead horse. Let’s find out!!
Lisbeth Salander (Claire Foy) is a computer hacker in Sweden who’s gone through some TERRIBLE abuse in her life that may or may not have been covered in the books (it at least takes place after the first one but I have no idea if it incorporates the other two), but there’s really no need to go into it in detail. She’s a vigilante hacker, she helped the reporter Mikael Blomkvist (Sverrir Gudnason) solve at least one mystery in the recent past, and she occasionally takes on jobs that pique her interest. One such job comes to her from SUPER COMPUTER PROGRAMMER Frans Balder (Stephen Merchant) who worked for the NSA and begs her to steal a program he wrote for them which would allow the user to more or less take control of all the world’s satellites and therefore take control of all the nukes… I think. I mean it sure SOUNDS scary enough, so Lisbeth agrees to steal it and manages to do so with very little effort and at the consternation of Frans’s successor at the NSA Edwin Needham (LaKeith Stanfield) who travels to Sweden to try and get it back. He’s not the only one after the program however because very soon after she steals it her SUPER HACKER WAREHOUSE is attacked by dudes in masks who work for a very illusive crime organization that may or may not have some connection to Lisbeth’s past. With total nuclear annihilation now on the table, Lisbeth is adamant to get the program back which involves finding where Frans and his young son August (Christopher Convery) have run off to in the ensuing chaos, avoid the attention of Swedish Secret Service agent Gabriella Grane (Synnøve Macody Lund), and get Mikael involved once again to see if his SUPER JOURNALISM SKILLS can make sense of all this. Will Lisbeth Salander save the world from nuclear devastation and stop whatever EVIL organization has their eyes set on using it? Can she protect everyone she cares about from whatever is that seems to be targeting her, or will she lose whatever few connections she still has left to the rest of the world? How does she manage to look so bad ass even with that Moe Howard haircut!?
Rings and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by F Javier Gutiérrez
What in the hell took them so long with this!? Not only is this coming out over a decade since the last one, this one has been pushed back at least three times from its initial release date in November 2015 which is only a few months shy of Monster Trucks’s unimaginably long delay, and we all know how THAT turned out! Then again, no one was stupid enough to mortgage their studio on THIS film, but I’m not all that optimistic either way. There’s a hell of a lot going against this movie even before it was pushed back several times, so unless we’ve got the next Fede Álvarez helming the damn thing, I don’t think there’s much hope of this being even halfway decent; otherwise they wouldn’t have waited until February to dump it on theaters. All that said, you never know! Hell, even Monster Trucks managed to be a LITTLE bit of fun, and it’s not like the first film was a sure thing either being a remake of a well-known Japanese horror film! Maybe there’s something to this that the studios just didn’t see! Yeah… that’s a bit of a long shot, BUT let’s find out anyway!
So if you’ve seen the trailers, it turns out they don’t actually tell you ANYTHING about the plot of the movie as they basically consist of the cold opening and the last five minutes. What’s REALLY going on here is that Julia (Matilda Lutz) is a woman dating some dude who went off to college named Holt (Alex Roe) and she ends up worrying about him after he stops taking her calls. Now in the REAL world this would mean that he’s found some campus squeeze, but instead she finds out that the Biology professor named Gabriel (Johnny Galecki) has him and a WHOLE bunch of other students working on some sort of study into a magic video tape that kills whoever watched it after seven days. That is, unless the person makes a copy of the video and has someone else watch it, in which case the seven day curse resets and is put on the next person. It’s not clear exactly what Gabriel’s end goal is here, but shit goes to hell when one of the students dies from Samara’s wrath (the ghost from the other Ring films) and it leaves Holt hanging who need someone to watch his copy soon. Julia volunteers herself as tribute, but something goes wrong as the video is different, she can’t make a copy herself, and she gets some weird scar on her hand that no one else has gotten. Clearly Samara is changing the rules on them, so the only way to stop her once and for all is to solve the mystery of what happened to her and why she’s so damn pissed! No, not the mystery from the FIRST film! This is a whole NEW mystery about her past that no one bothered to mention until now! Can Julia and Holt figure out… whatever it is they need to figure out, before it’s too late? Did Gabriel learn anything USEFUL by messing with the ghost for this long? So can she just come through ANY screen now; even ones that aren’t TVs? I wonder what would happen if she haunted a 3DS…
Don’t Breathe and all the images you see in this review are owned by Screen Gems
Directed by Fede Alvarez
Oh look! It’s that guy who did the Evil Dead reboot! I actually thought that movie was really good, but then maybe I’m the only one who thought so considering we’re getting this instead and as far as I know a sequel has been indefinitely put on the back burner. That, and Ash vs The Evil Dead kind of drew all interest away from doing something new to instead milk the original franchise, but whatever. The reason that new Evil Dead works isn’t because it was a remake of a movie everyone loved, but because the guy they got behind the camera was a real talent and knew how to bring something new to a franchise that is about untouchable as the Back to Future; a series even Hollywood hasn’t had the guts to try and reboot yet. So now that the director’s remarkable skills are being used for an ORIGINAL horror film, does he still seem to be the next big genre filmmaker, or will this Raimi protégé prove himself to be a one trick pony? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows three dumb ass…. well I guess I can’t call them KIDS considering they have to be at least in their mid-twenties, but these three ragamuffins are a trio of burglars who go around Detroit and pull small time jobs to keep roofs over their heads and a slowly expanding rainy day fund. We’ve got Serious Bro named Alex (Dylan Minnette), Wild Card Bro named Money (Daniel Zovatto), and Girl Bro named Rocky (Jane Levy); all of whom have their own clichéd and contrived reasons for doing what they do. They hear about some blind dude who got a lot of cash after his daughter was killed by some rich kid in a hit and run, and so they figure this is gonna be the last score to get them out of Detroit and go straight to LA… where whatever money they score will probably disappear in a three months. Do you know how much stuff costs in that town!? Anyway, this turns out to be the last freaking house you’d ever want to B&E considering the guy may be blind but is built like a brick shit house which makes sense because he’s played by Stephen Lang. Will the thieves get out the house alive, and will we want them to by the end? Is there more to the blind man than just being a bad ass military dude you don’t want to fuck with? Just what kind of sadistic game of Marco Polo is this!?