Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is the third installment of the Millennium Trilogy of Swedish films about the attempts of hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist. With the first film they set about solving a cold murder case and stumbled upon a larger conspiracy involving high-powered Swedish businessmen and politicians. As they further investigated the matter in the second film, they discovered part of the conspiracy involved Lisbeth’s father, who was, until then, believed dead. Now, in this third installment, as Lisbeth stands trial for some of her deeds thusfar, pandora’s conspiracy box is fully open and the shit has officially hit the fan.

This is a darn good flick, better than the second, but not quite up to the level of the first. As a stand-alone film, it’s so-so, not bad, but nothing all that great. As the cap on the trilogy, I thought it was very enjoyable. They did a great job of summing things up and answered the unanswered questions. Like many of the final flicks in serials, it’s more about finishing the story than it is about creating a great stand-alone story, so it doesn’t bother me all that much that it’s not bullet proof.

The acting continues to be great, especially Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist. The story was engaging and interesting. I do wish they’d had more interaction with Blomkvist and Salander, but they had to be faithful to the book and at least there was more in this one than number two. If you like tight conspiracy-based thrillers, watch all three, this one included, but especially the first one.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The World's Fastest Indian

The Worlds Fastest Indian is the story of someone who had a wild idea and simply decided to go and do it. try to imagine in your mind’s eye the holder of the land speed record for a motorcycle. What does that person look like? I’m guessing you didn’t picture a man in his late 70’s from a small town from the northernmost point of New Zealand who lives in a shack, wore a button-up shirt and linen slacks to the race and was riding a Indian motorcycle from the 1920’s that he built up from the frame himself. Well, this is the true story of that amazing old fart and it really is a true story.

Once Walter Bruno was getting on in age he was alone and living in a dingy garage. He decided he wanted to build the worlds fastest motorcycle. Seriously, he decided to take the frame of a 1920’s Indian Scout and tinker with it in his garage on the dream of turning it into the fastest bike on earth. To say this is far fetched is a gross understatement. Problem is, he wouldn’t quit. One day he thought he was ready, saved up money to travel to the Bonneville Salt Flats and make it official. He had so little money that he made his way there working odd jobs for transportation on cargo ships and car dealerships, all the while dragging an customized antique bike he’d only ridden once before.

Age, money, experience, isolation, family tragedy, nothing inhibited this guy. It’s such a great and uplifting story.

Now on a slightly negative note, the acting wasn’t the best and Hopkins’ accent was pretty awful, but outside of that, the movie plays well. There’s little drama here, but it’s not about the drama. It’s about a couple of very simple, but profound things. First, if you are good to others you will often get goodness in return and, two, that often the only thing that separates you from your dream accomplishments is a Herculean amount of effort.