1. Carnage - I think I would probably prefer to watch the play God of Carnage over this film. It wasn't bad, but I think it would have been more effective on stage with live performances. The acting was impeccable, although the characters were a little one dimensional. The plot was a little simplistic, but relevant to today's "bully" issues - taken from the perspective of the parents. It's basically the parents of the "victim" confronting the parents of the "bully" about their parenting skills. At first, everyone is polite and pleasant but as the film progresses the characters are confined to a small space (for no apparent reason) and everything begins to break - true personalities begin to shine through and it isn't pretty (although it isn't as explosive as it pretends to be - we can tell that these characters are "faking it" from the beginning). The dialogue feels a little forced and the overall film is pretty shallow.
2. The Rum Diary - I read the book quite a while ago, I remember enjoying it but I don't remember much about it. The film was not enjoyable at all, it was actually quite boring. There wasn't much of a plot to speak of and Johnny Depp was uncharacteristically lifeless. The best part of the film is Amber Heard. I can't tell if she is actually a good actress or not - all I know is that every time she appeared in the film, my eyes were glued to the screen. Damn, she is sexy.
3. Like Crazy - I had heard really good things about this film, but I don't really agree with any of it. Reviewers described it as a refreshing take on a passionate and genuine love affair, but I would argue that the poster image is much more passionate than the actual film. The biggest mistake is that the narrative of the film jumps forward, cutting out the most important parts. I kept wondering what happened in between the two scenes and that was frustrating. I felt like the stuff that happened outside of what we see is probably the more interesting story. My heart did stop when they went to Catalina Island, one of my favorite places in the entire world - I hope it doesn't get infested with hipsters now. The big lesson of the film to be learned is: Do not fall for someone who lives in another country. It may be too late for me, save yourself!!
4. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo - I didn’t really like the original, and I like Fincher’s version even less. Aside from the music and the opening credits, it’s not really worth watching. It’s about an hour too long, the plot is drawn out (especially if you already know it) and the actual mystery being solved isn’t all that interesting. So, here is where I begin to vent (*Spoilery*). I have severe issues with the character of Lisbeth. It all started with an article in Entertainment Weekly, written by Libby Gleman-Waxner called “Girl Talk”, where she states that she wants her teenage daughter to look up to Lisbeth and not to those HelloGiggles girls, specifically, Zooey Deshanel. Sure, there are a lot of great qualities to be found in Lisbeth – she is smart, independent, brave, and sure, Zooey Deshanel annoys the fuck out of me. However, I can’t fault the girl for trying to bring a little positive energy into this world. She is still someone who is smart, independent and brave but she is also something called happy and NICE. Why wouldn’t you want your daughter to look up to her? In high school, I was voted “Most Likely to Brighten Your Day” which 10 years later (ok…maybe more than that…) is rather laughable to think about. The world has torn me down and that angers me. I strive everyday to be like the girl that I once was and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. When I am near young girls, I put a smile on my face and pretend like the world is a magical place. I do not want the next generation of girls to be cold, emotionally damaged and closed-off. Why would any mother want this for their own child? This brings me to my next point, Lisbeth as a victim. Let’s be honest, most women have had bad things happen to them at the hands of a man (I hope this isn’t shocking to you) and of course, it is always satisfying when a woman exacts revenge. The way she got this revenge was just way too unrealistic for it to be taken seriously. The obvious flaw in the plot is in fact her size – she can’t weigh more than 90lbs, there is no way she could drag that fairly large man down the hall. In reality, this girl would have ended up at the bottom of a river somewhere. I think this is probably where I would fault the casting – although I think Rooney Mara did a decent job, she is sooo tiny and frail, unless she has some secret martial arts skills, I find it hard to believe her in this role. Also, the fact that she willingly went to his place and taped her own rape is problematic – he could easily go to the police himself and claim she is batshit crazy (which she is already legally found to be not of sound mind) and wanted to act out some crazy rape fantasy and now she is using it to blackmail him. Anyway, my point is that as satisfying as this revenge is – I would hate to encourage it. Going back to the “Girl Talk” article, the writer claims Lisbeth embodies “modern womanhood” because she “takes satisfyingly violent revenge against male criminals,” which is rather disturbing. Is that really what we want as “modern women”? My final complaint about Lisbeth is that she perpetuates the stereotype that lesbian’s are just really girls who have “daddy issues” – all they really need is a good dick to "straighten" them right out. I’m assuming that she is supposed to be seen as bisexual, but that was never really proven. What we are left with (in Fincher’s version) is a very straight girl pining away for the one guy that actually treated her nicely, so the audience can sigh and say “poor Lisbeth,” which really just defeats the entire purpose of her character. Alright, I am done venting. For now.