180. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (A-)
181. 50/50 (B+)
182. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (A-)
Two adaptations starring Daniel Craig that couldn't be less alike, other than both being very good. And wow, four trips to the theatre in about a week; can't remember the last time that happened.
I saw this yesterday, my first encounter with the franchise (I haven't read the books or seen the Swedish film versions), so I was mostly unfamiliar with the source material. I debated the grade for this one for a bit (A or A-), because most of this film is excellent and hard to take any real issue with; but it does have a few notable flaws, which I imagine are inherited from the book. Most notably, the ending is overlong and awkwardly continues for about twenty minutes after the main plot has been resolved, resolving a sideplot in a way that doesn't really feel like a natural progression. The understated final moment, though, is great.
But that aside, the central story is exceptionally well-done, and it features two superb lead performances. Craig has the more everyman part, the sort of role that it's hard to make especially distinct, but he hits all the right notes. And it's especially hard to make Blomkvist stand out when he's alongside one of the most novel cultural figures in some time. Rooney Mara would definitely be on my Best Actress shortlist for this year (she couldn't be more different from her minor role in the last David Fincher movie). I also liked Christopher Plummer as the Vanger family patriach (though the Vanger family itself, I must say, really doesn't seem all that bad as a group, the killer notwithstanding).
So I guess call this a strong A-.
183. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (A)
The first of two Spielberg films I'll be seeing this week, with Craig this time playing a supporting role (I appreciate that Spielberg doesn't use motion capture to make the characters look like the actors playing them, which tends to just make the motion capture feel unnecessary). My only past experience with the Tintin character was coming across the old animated show a few times as a child, but I found that show extremely dull, so I don't have any nostalgia for it (I thought Tintin was the dog at first). Nonetheless, this a wonderful success, and possibly Spielberg's best since Catch Me If You Can
and Minority Report
(we'll see if the other half of the double-bill can live up to it). It's almost entirely plot-driven, attempts to put in a bit of a redemption arc for Captain Haddock aside, but it's a raucous good time, and by far the best use of motion capture I've ever seen. The climactic Morocco chase is easily the best action sequence I've seen in years.