Playing catchup with films I missed – Fincher’s Dragon Tattoo, Sherlock Holmes A Game of Sahdows, We Bought a Zoo and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy!

Traveling in interesting. While I usually detox from the net while traveling, airplanes give me a chance to catchup on films I missed seeing in theaters. A long trip to Rome and back was so much fun (more on that in one or more separate posts), and also gave me a chance to see so many films. Here is what I caught up with:

1. Girl with a Dragon Tattoo: The Fincher version was no doubt edited for airplane viewing (though came with many strict warnings for parents) but it was a pale shadow of the original Swedish version. It did not help that Daniel Craig pouted his way through the film as Mikhael Blomkvist and either was unable to portray, or did not have the script direction to portray, the inner demons that plagued Blomkvist. Rooney Mara was not an adequate replacement for Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander. But the film is recommended viewing for those who shun subtitled films, and are either unable to or reluctant to see the original. I know we were not supposed to sympathize much with the prickly Lisbeth, but the vulnerabilities in her and her inner strength never came through in this version!

2. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Tomas Alfredson’s adaptation of the stunning spy novel by John le Carre (his second best after The Spy Who Came in From the Cold) is highly recommended. Smiley has just been “retired” from the Circus, as we learn that there is a Russian mole in the outfit. The book (as all le Carre books) was not a thriller by any means, but the movie manages to thrill in ample measure, ably helped by an awesome cast of Gary Oldman (as Smiley) and Colin Firth, John Hurt, Ciaran Hinds etc. A complex tale, perhaps better appreciated upon second viewing, or by those who have read the book, highly recommended.

3. Sherlock Holmes – A Game of Shadows: Only Robert Downey Jr. can make one NOT DETEST the turning of a cerebral detective into a buffoonish action hero. Ably assisted by Jude Law as Watson, the duo are again on the hunt to thwart the evil schemes of Dr. Moriarty and save the world from ruin. Noomi Rapace has a bit role and does well.

4. We Bought A Zoo: Based on the real life story of a man who bought a zoo to escape from the tragedy his wife’s death, this is a heartwarming tale, perfect for curling into a blanket and watching on a rainy day. Damon does well as the ordinary man you cannot help admire and like, and Scarlett Johannson manages to hide the oomph and portray an animal expert working at the zoo. Damon has this amazing ability to portray the ordinary, the action hero (Bourne series) and the skewed and crazy too (Talented Mr. Ripley, The Informant). Recommended if you want warm and fuzzy and feelgood!