THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE (lll) &
THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST (lll) -
Starring Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist. Directed by Daniel Alfredson.
The further adventures of Lisbeth Salander continue. While she and Blomkvist teamed up to solve an old murder mystery around the Vanger family, Part 2 finds Lisbeth on the run, falsely accused of murder, and Part 3 finds her on trial to prove she's sane.
The sequels don't quite have the kick of the first one, but Lisbeth's more front and center to the action. In Fire, three people are murdered, including her guardian/rapist Bjurman. The evidence looks bad and Lisbeth goes on the run. Blomkvist does his best from his vantage point to prove her innocence, but there isn't a lot to go on. We learn more about Lisbeth and how her background was the result of a large government cover-up.
In Hornets, Lisbeth is on trial for her mental competancy. I actually hadn't read Book 3 when I saw this, and so there were plot points the movie seemed to rush through. I felt that way about the first two, and with the third movie, not having read the book, my feelings remained the same.
WELCOME TO THE RILEYS (ll) - Starring James Gandolfini, Kristen Stewart and Melissa Leo. Directed by Jake Scott.
Three good actors in three sadsack roles. Could've benefitted from filling up the script, which centers on a man who befriends a stripper because she reminds him of his late daughter. Feel like an hour of material stretched to an hour and a half.
PIRANHA 3D (ll) - Starring Elisabeth Shue, Adam Scott, Jerry O'Connell, Ving Rhames, Steven R. McQueen, Christopher Lloyd, Dina Meyer, Eli Roth, Jessica Szohr, Riley Steele and Richard Dreyfuss. Directed by Alexandre Aja.
A movie that pokes fun at its trashy self still has a trashy self. It does have some intentional laughs, never really taking itself seriously, but it doesn't add up to more than babes in bikinis being ripped apart at predictable intervals by CGI killer fish. So, mission accomplished.
FOR COLORED GIRLS (ll1/2) - Starring Thandie Newton, Janet Jackson, Kimberly Elise, Whoopi Goldberg, Loretta Devine, Anika Noni Rose, Kerry Washington, Phylicia Rashad, Tessa Thompson, Macy Gray, Hill Harper and Michael Ealy. Directed by Tyler Perry.
Based on the stage-play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf by Ntozake Shange, this movie takes 35-year-old monologues and meshes them into a modern-day settings, striving to combine the beat poetry of the original words with the dramatized surroundings of a Waiting to Exhale ensemble. So good are most of the actresses here that it makes me feel bad I didn't like it more, but the source material of the 1970's, despite some updated (like AIDS), still boils down to "men ruin women's lives."
The story connects most of the characters by having them live in the same apartment building, and the eight main characters have enough tragedy between them to make Shakespeare suicidal. Murder, rape, infidelity, abuse... it's all here. The shifts the movie takes are obvious each time they happen, to where title cards wouldn't have been any less distracting. "And now, another monologue..." It's a noble undertaking by Perry, an attempt at artistic cred. But too often it's just wallowing in misery.