I agree that the blatant racism in The Searchers
nearly sinks the film for contemporary audiences. I watched it as part of a film studies class in university, and the professor also admitted this. On a technical level, it has some merit, but I wouldn't personally classify it as a masterpiece -- of course, I've never been overly partial to the Western genre either.
Haven't seen the original, but I enjoyed this year's remake of The Crazies
; I found it creepy and effective.
Tonight I saw The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
-- what a disappointing conclusion to the Millennium
trilogy, especially after the excellent The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
and the solid The Girl Who Played With Fire
For an ostensible thriller, it was rather dull and overly talky, and at about two and a half hours long, it felt like very little happened (it could've been edited way
more than it was). It seemed like it consisted mostly of a bunch of interchangeable old guys sitting around talking about how they can't let their secrets get out (although what all these secrets are is never made entirely clear), and to do that, they must silence Lisbeth Salander. Speaking of the titular girl, while her presence is still felt, she is somewhat wasted in the film, given that she spends much of it either in the hospital or in prison. She remains a fascinating character (and Noomi Rapace brings her to life remarkably), but she is underutilized here, IMO.
The whole thing just falls kind of flat; it's overlong, anticlimactic, and lacking in tension, plus there are a few too many "deus ex machina" moments. Unless you're a die-hard fan of the series and absolutely need to see how it ends, I can't really recommend this one.