The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
The original Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was a polished, gripping thriller (helped enormously by the quality of the Steig Larsson novel) that was always going to be difficult to beat as a Hollywood remake.
However, recruiting A-List director David Fincher, as well as none other than James Bond (aka Daniel Craig) in the lead role has given the film some gravitas and the final product is rewarding in its own way.
Comparisons with its predecessor are inevitable and if I was forced to choose between the two I would go with the Swedish original but a good performance from Craig along with a competent supporting cast does help lift the film.
Where it does fall down slightly is with Rooney Mara’s portrayal of Lisbeth Salander. It’s not that she isn’t good just that her presence carries less weight in the film and was overshadowed – for me at least – by the spectre of Noomi Rapace’s excellent take on the outsider with an edge.
Nevertheless, in a week short on quality film releases, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is easy to recommend. Just one word of warning, if you haven’t seen the original just make sure you watch it after the remake or you could feel a little cheated.
Scary movies appear to be put out in two formats these days. You have the hack ‘n’ slash variety made to please the teen to twenty something market and then you have the more adult driven, plot heavy pot-boilers that seek to emulate the likes of The Sixth Sense but more often than not fail to deliver.
Dream House falls firmly in the latter variety, as acclaimed director Jim Sheridan takes an all star cast and sends it spiralling down a well of absurdity that by the end of the film leaves you unsure whether to laugh or cry.
Daniel Craig plays would-be author Will Atenton, who quits his job and relocates with his wife (Rachel Weisz) and two young daughters to write his novel. They move into a comfortable suburban house but it isn’t long before strange things happen and Will discovers that the house was home to a terrible murder.
As he continues his investigations, Will finds that the killer was released and is now on the loose again!
Without giving too much away it would be fair to say that any observant viewer is going to guess the twist way before it is revealed and even for those who don’t see it coming, it’s a pretty underwhelming affair.
A good movie stays with you long after you leave the cinema but this one’s easily forgotten the moments the closing credits appear.
In fact, the most interesting thing about Dream House could be that Craig and Weiss fell in love whilst filming and were married last year – so at least something good came out of the production, although none of that is visible on the screen!
Lesley Garrett – A North Country Lass
Lesley Garrett has created some stunning albums over in the past two decades and the release of A North Country Lass sees her 14th solo album.
Folk-inspired and released last Monday for St George’s Day, the album is a very personal one for the soprano and you can certainly get the sense that she has a particular passion for what she is singing.
Her vocal technique lies at the heart of the album’s success and fans of Garret’s voice will not be disappointed. She retains a youthful sense of expression to her interpretation and whilst there is no disguising the operatic lineage this is a folk release, pure and simple.
There is a lot going on here but nothing can truly detract from the charismatic singer’s delivery and her renditions of the likes of He Moved Through The Fair, Dance to Your Daddy and On Ilkley Moor are sure to please her fan base as well as bringing new ones to the fold.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
To date, there is no question that the excellent multi-format game Skyrim stands head and shoulders above every other role playing game on the market.
However, the release of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings on Xbox sees a new contender take to the stage in terms of console gaming.
Entirely recoded by Namco Bandai and exclusive to Microsoft’s console, this enhanced version features a redeveloped control mechanism, especially suited to the controller as well as new characters and new missions.
Graphically it doesn’t match what is available on the PC but it remains an impressive attempt and the open-world design of the game allows you to decide your character’s moral compass and which missions to take as you set about to uncover the assassin in the title of the program.
Its cinema-like storyline, with well-crafted characters and intelligent dialogue draws you in slowly whilst the combat system is easy to pick up and more involving than other titles in this genre.
Anyone looking for a fresh adventure in the world of dungeons, dragons and elves need look no further than this excellent title and most certainly our game of the week.
Kinect: Star Wars
I’ve found that most games made under the Star Wars licence, with very few exceptions; turn out to be a disappointment.
This latest release, whilst filled with promise at the possibility of utilising the Kinect capabilities, is in essence flawed and yet another example of how the good name of a movie classic can be dragged through the gaming mire!
The basic story sees you start out as a trainee padawan, under the guidance of Yoda, as you begin your quest to achieve Jedi status. This means learning to use a lightsaber, driving a pod racer and harnessing the powers of the force to master your challenges, defeat your enemies and become a master of the order.
Sadly, the concept is lost in the execution and control issues are numerous, the graphics look rushed and more fitting on an older console and the whole product lacks the polish one would expect from a title so aggressively promoted.
This is also an Xbox exclusive but when one considers the superior advantage of the PS3’s Move controller and the fact that it seems exactly suited to the concept of a lightsabre, one has to see this as a missed opportunity.
If you’re a hard-core Star Wars fan then I suggest you stay away.
Sega Total War Battles: Shogun
If strategy games are your preference then the Apple ios devices are well served by some excellent titles.
Sega’s latest offering to that impressive roster is the excellent Total War Battles: Shogun, which sees you marshal the feudal forces of medieval Japan in an effort to be all conquering in your fight against the enemy forces.
Borrowing elements of the gameplay so popular in Plants vs Zombies and Command & Conquer, Total War Battles adds to these established mechanics to make it a recommended addition for anyone ready for a new challenge.
You assume control of a young samurai who is seeking revenge for the death of his father and your journey towards redemption offers up to 15 hours of engrossing entertainment in the single player experience alone.
There’s also a multiplayer option that gives you the chance to challenge your friends and extends the life span of the title considerably.
If you’re looking for mobile warfare then Total War Battles: Shogun is a fine example of how it should be done!
George R Vaughan
Women Talking is pleased to be able to offer a Blu Ray copy of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
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Name the author of the novel The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
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