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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Early Review: "Transformers: Dark of the Moon"

"Years from now, they are gonna ask us: where were you when they took over the planet?"
Never mind the ridiculous subtitle. It's really just a precursor for what is to come from the rest of the movie. And Transformers: Dark of the Moon doesn't even try to play down its idiocy. On the contrary, it plays right to it.

So, let's call this what it is: rise of the machines (which would have been a nice alternative subtitle, if it wasn't taken by the last Terminators installment). The transformers are the far more interesting characters to watch and the human army mob, led by the not even popcorn-worthy Shia LaBeouf, are mere pegs in their universe. Once again, the Decepticons wage war against the Autobots when they learn about a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the Moon. The Decepticons then plot to use this mysterious fixture to take over the world. The agents are really there just to mediate the chaos, and not very well. You could just imagine the epic action scenes that drag on for nearly forty-five minutes at one point. If you catch it in 3D, you're going to feel like glass and fireballs are being thrown at you. In other words, it's like an apocalyptic movie experience, in 3D. With Megan Fox ejected from her primo position as the pouty princess and love interest to LaBeouf's makeshift hero, the equally "talented" model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley smoothly steps up to the plate. And, really, besides the aesthetic differences, they're two of the same. Both make wooden actresses who could barely make a sentence of script believable. And this is Transformers 3, it really doesn't have to be that difficult. But leave it to popcorn movie king director Michael Bay to turn a negative into a positive. He played to Huntington-Whiteley's, um, assets by nearly blinding the audience with random shots of her rear end and even emptier frames of her staring emotionless in the camera, with her hair appropriately flowing in the wind. At times, it's like a bad 80s music video.

There's really nothing else worth mentioning about the sub zero plot, except that John Turturro, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich and Ken Jeong prove that they're so good they could even shine through their weakly-written characters. They are truly invincible. Particularly Jeong and Malkovich as LaBeouf's stiff-neck colleagues will keep audiences in stitches. Too bad their screen time is limited.

Tyrese is by no means a good actor, but at least he knows how to play to a true popcorn flick. Kudos to that. But even when LaBeouf was trying to be funny and cute, it came off annoying and...not cute. If there's another installment, and there probably will be, Tyrese should step into the lead role. And if there is another movie, Bay should probably cut out the fat (you know, most of the scenes where there is any dialogue), and just leave in all the action scenes. A run time of more than two and a half hours seems mind-boggling for a movie like this, that's not called Fast Five.

Although there are several eyeroll-worthy scenes in the movie (like the single tear streaming down LaBeouf's face; no scene was ever that deep), the movie is actually visually fun to watch. You might get a kick out of watching it on mute. But it's doubtful that the DVD will be as entertaining, since the 3D effect is really the charmer. Turn your mind way off to watch this one.

Rating: D+

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

First Look: "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol"

Hold on to your hats, folks. The following trailer is so delicious it must be fattening. The eagerly-awaited fourth installment of the megafranchise Mission Impossible brings back Tom Cruise Cruise as super agent Ethan Hunt. This time, Hunt is joined by shady characters played by Jeremy Renner and Paula Patton (told ya it was a delicious) on his latest mission. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol hits theaters December 16.

Monday, June 27, 2011

9 Great Black Movie Musicals

As we wind down Black Music month, let's take a look back at films that still keep us singing along to the beat, and breaking out in random dance numbers throughout our hallways:

PURPLE RAIN (1984): A semi-guilty pleasure with an iconic soundtrack and universal themes, Purple Rain still captures audiences who love a good underdog story, especially when its led by His Purple Heiness.
Reel Moment: Easy. The final performance of the title track "Purple Rain." Prince finally gets Appolonia.

RAY (2004): Not only is Ray fueled by terrific performances, but each musical number further propels the movie in its capturing of key moments in the life and career of Ray Charles.
Reel Moment: The argument between Margie (Regina King) and Ray (Jamie Foxx) in the bedroom, which leads to a impromptu performance of "Hit the Road, Jack."

LADY SINGS THE BLUES (1972): The dramatic story of music legend Billie Holliday is remembered in a big screen tribute, marked by a stunning portrayal by fellow icon Diana Ross (in an Oscar-nominated performance).
Reel Moment: Ross's crazy great performance of "Strange Fruit."

WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT? (1993): It would have been easy to call the story of Tina Turner the ultimate scorned woman flick. But with Angela Basett as the rock and roll icon the damsel in distress act went out the window to reveal a compelling, uplifting drama.
Reel Moment: The limo scene when Tina (Bassett) finally stands up to husband Ike (Laurence Fishburne)

SPARKLE (1976): The preeminent 70s girl group gets vamped up in a movie so full of drama it would make All My Children blush. The ideals and pitfalls of drugs, abuse, breakups and fame are illuminated by a stellar cast of actresses featuring Irene Cara, Lonette McKee, and Dwan Smith. The perfect harmony and catchy tunes are just an added bonus.
Reel Moment: Though the story really revolves around Cara in the title role, it's McKee's heartbreaking performance as Sister that stuns audiences. One of the last times we see Sister in the movie is a crushing scene with Sparkle in their stage dressing room.

THE WIZ (1978): Even though Diana Ross was well past yellow brick road age and poorly cast as Dorothy, there's no denying the infectious musical numbers throughout, punctuated by the King of Pop's performance as the Scarecrow. It's virtually a two-hour concert with two of the most powerful pop stars decked in theater getup. It's not perfect, but we can't turn away.
Reel Moment: Dorothy, Scarecrow and the others skipping along to "Ease on Down the Road" is forever blazed in our heads.

SCHOOL DAZE (1988): The neverending debate between the light- skinned college students and their dark-skinned peers is poignantly written, expertly acted and simply compelling to watch on screen. You can tell director Spike Lee was greatly influenced by the old school musicals like Guys and Dolls in several of the combative yet entertaining dance and musical numbers. It is structurally fantastic and awesome to watch.
Reel Moment: The Grease-inspired hair salon dance number led by Tisha Campbell-Martin and Kyme is hilarious, fun, and dramatic all at once. Marvelous.

THE FIVE HEARTBEATS (1991): Based on a composite of Black male groups from the '60s, The Five Heartbeats gave audiences a backstage pass behind the music--the rotating band members, the drugs, the jealousy, the girls, and the fame. Led by actor/writer/director Robert Townsend, The Five Heartbeats is one of the few movie musicals with a male-driven cast. It's a modern classic.
Reel Moment: Pretty much every scene with Leon as J.T., the talented yet drug-addicted ring leader of the group.

SISTER ACT (1992): Is it really any surprise that this spirited movie musical finally took to the Broadway stage? The story of Catholic school students with golden pipes, whose dreams were only realized by a free-spirited witness to an unrelated crime sounds cuckoo but really works. You almost forget about Whoopi Goldberg's quasi-ridiculous side plotline as the witness because you're in complete awe over this makeshift school choir (led by Lauryn Hill).
Reel Moment: That jaw-dropping final performance of "Joyful, Joyful" from Hill and the gang.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

First Look: "Killer Elite"

We've waited months too long for another butt-kicking movie starring Jason Statham. After last year's disastrous The Mechanic, Statham is revving up to kick more hiney in Killer Elite. Statham stars as a retired member of Britain's Elite Special Air Service whose force back onto the job when his mentor (played by Robert DeNiro) is held captive. He must take down the shady assassins reponsible for the act, including the head honcho, played by Clive Owen (who can't seem to get much better roles these days).

So, yeah, it's Jason Statham once again running amok again on screen, but this time we get to see Owen and DeNiro have a little fun with him. He beats up Clive Owen while strapped to a chair? And we get to hear "Rock Me Like a Hurricane?" That sounds like a win. Check it out. Killer Elite smashes into theaters September 23.

Monday, June 20, 2011

First Look: "The Skin I Live In"

It's weird. It's creepy. It's aggressively ambiguous. And yes, it's another Pedro Almodóvar movie. Yes, the director who brought us such greats as Volver and Talk to Her returns with another flick that opened to rave reviews at this year's Cannes Film Festival. The Skin I Live In stars Antonio Banderas as a plastic surgeon out to avenge the gang rape of his daughter in probably the wildest way possible. Check out the new trailer. The Skin I Live In hits theaters in limited release August 26.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Early Review: "Green Lantern"

"In brightest day, in blackest night / No evil shall escape my sight / Let all who worship evil's might / Beware my power, Green Lantern's light!"
Ryan Reynolds just has it. You know, that it factor that many actors crave but never get. He's just the man. True, he's not the greatest actor in the world (although his dramatic turn in last year's Buried was almost criminally underrated). But not many actors could step into his roles and bring the same kind of charm, wit, charisma that he brings to every performance. Many couldn't have played smooth-talking pilot Hal Jordan and his superhero alter ego in Green Lantern. But, for Reynolds, the role fits him like a glove.

But enough about him. The plot of the movie goes like this: After his fear gets the best of him up while up in the sky sending his normally badass flying skills off-kilter, test pilot Hal Jordan meets a dying alien who bestows him a mystical green ring. After trying to figure out its significance, Jordan learns that the ring gives him superhuman powers and opens him up to a green alternate universe where there's a war brewing between good and evil. His job? To strap on his green lantern gear and put an end to this impending crisis. Why? Because he's The Green Lantern, that's why. And if he can't do it, everyone's doomed.

So, right off the bat, you could probably imagine that smart aleck Reynolds is having a field day playing the heck out of this role, while cleverly and subtly mocking the ridiculousness of it all along the way. It's awesome.

But you know no superhero movie is without a weakly-drawn romantic plotline. In comes Blake Lively aka Carol Erris, colleague of Jordan and childhood friend. Wait (cue screeching music), childhood friend? According to Internet calculations, Reynolds is nine years older than Lively and looks far more like Carol's older brother than someone she grew up with. But, this is a fantasy film. So keep the fantasy going. Lively is, well, wide-eyed and lively in her performance as an ambitious heir to the Ferris Aircraft company. She's tough but clueless at the same time, much like many of the non-superhero female characters in the comic book world. Her performance is neither here nor there.

The two actors from the movie who are worth talking about are Tim Robbins and Peter Sarsgaard, who play the devilishly interesting father and son duo Senator and Hector Hammond. Although Robbins is slightly miscast in the role of a pointlessly arrogant politician, he doesn't disappoint. But Sarsgaard, however, is spot on in his portrayal as the socially awkward professor turned Green Lantern nemesis. Really, audiences won't know whether Sarsgaard is playing Hector, or whether Hector is playing Sarsgaard. Either way, they both deserve some kudos.

Green Lantern is not a perfect movie, but it's fun to watch. Fans of the comic book series and superhero fans alike will appreciate the sparkly green action-packed film that's filled with colorful characters and cool one-liners. And, hey, the acting ain't bad either. Even the small parts played by Mark Strong, Michael Clarke Duncan and Angela Bassett are good to watch. It's fast-paced, entertaining, and the special effects neatly tie everything together. Check it out.

Rating: B-

Sunday, June 12, 2011

10 Memorable Movie Dads

Movie dads are often overshadowed by the dynamic women on the big screen, and don't often get their props. This month, in honor of Father's Day, we're celebrating ten of the best movie dads that make us laugh, cry and smile:

DENZEL WASHINGTON in John Q (2002): Not every dad would hold a hospital hostage in order for his son to receive the treatment he deserves (with or without insurance). Washington's brave however wild attempt to save his child's life distinguishes him from ordinary dad to superdad.

DENNIS QUAID in Frequency (2000): Dennis Quaid has a knack for choosing wholesome father and son movies. But in 2000, he teamed with Jim Caviezel in a science fiction-like take on the lengths a father would go to prevent the murder of his wife, and to see his beloved son in a whole new light.

JOHN LEGUIZAMO in Where God Left His Shoes (2007): We generally know John Leguizamo for his comedic roles. But in this indie gem he plays a homeless ex-boxer and dad to two beautiful children struggling to get off the streets. His money may be low but his heart is full. The charming and warmly entertaining exchanges between him and his son especially are a touching to watch.

ANDY GARCIA in When a Man Loves a Woman (1994): It's hard enough to try to help your wife overcome alcoholism, but to also try to shield your kids from suffering as well is a tough job. But Andy Garcia does it well. Playing off one of Meg Ryan's more impressive portrayals, Garcia as the father brings a sensitivity and strength to an otherwise sad situation.

CHEVY CHASE in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989): All Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) ever wanted to do was to have the best Christmas ever for his kids. Chevy Chase is hysterical as the iconic dad who can never seem to get things right. Whether it's his Christmas lights faltering or the perfect Christmas tree burning to a Christmas, Chase's Griswold never disappoints fans of his neverending A-for-effort style.

LIAM NEESEON in Taken (2008): If you went missing in a foreign land, would your dad fly across the world threatening to look for your kidnapper, find him and kill him? Well, Liam Nesson promised just that and actually carried out his promise. Every dad should be like this.

WILL SMITH in Pursuit of Happyness (2006): Another homeless dad on our list who just wants his son to make a better life for himself. Smith, in arguably his best role, delivers a beautiful performance as a single dad who struggles make something of himself with the stigma of homelessness haunting him wherever he goes. The moments between him and his son are some of the most precious moments on screen.

ROBERTO BENIGNI in Life Is Beautiful (1997): It's not easy to make a somewhat delightful Holocaust movie. But Benigni, who also directed and co-wrote the story, managed to create a wonderful world for his son as they suffered through each harrowing day at a Nazi concentration camp. Truly a special performance.

STEVE MARTIN in Father of the Bride (1991): It's always hard to watch your little one grow up and leave the nest. But get married too? Steve Martin is entertaining and thoughtfully sentimental is this remake (which I think is better than the original).

JAVIER BARDEM in Eat, Pray, Love (2010): In a movie not without its problems (but hugely underrated), Javier Bardem provides a sharp break in the main story with his small but touching performance as a man struggling to hold on to a new love and to his son who's grown up before his very eyes. Standout scene: Hie emotional goodbye to his son.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

DVD Review: "True Grit"

"You must pay for everything in this world, one way and another. There is nothing free except the grace of God."
You've got to hand it to the writing/directing duo Joel and Ethan Coen. They've practically branded their own film comedies and have managed to Coen-ize every genre of film--from crime dramas to slapstick--with glowing results. Last year, they blessed the 1969 western True Grit.

Originally starring John Wayne Kim Darby, and Glen Campbell, True Grit follows a spunky fourteen-year-old girl who's determined to avenge the murder of her slain father. She hires a drunken quick-draw U.S. marshal and a flashy Texas ranger to help her track down his killer in a wild goose chase across old Indian territory.

In the new version, Jeff Bridges steps into the role of the marshal (formerly played by Wayne) and Matt Damon stars as the ranger (Campbell's role) in a somewhat slicker remake of the original. But the writing is smoother only in the dialogue, which goes through some rough patches where it is next to inaudible (mostly due to Bridges's heavily slurred delivery). The better parts, though they're not consistent, are riddled with Coens-like/spaghetti western-like language halfway recycled from the modern files of the O.K. Corral. But those parts were few and far between.

Relying mostly on the dramatic story narrated by young Mattie (Hailee Steinfeld, in an Oscar-nominated role), True Grit lacks the action you'd find in such modern classics as Wyatt Earp and replaces it with extremely heavy dialogue. The movie drags at points and veers off yonder for a bit when you really just want it to hurry up and get somewhere. Perhaps due to his incoherent delivery. Bridges's performance solely lacked the depth of that of Damon's and Steinfeld's. But his lines that you could understand were quite flowery. Josh Brolin, who played the killer Tom Chaney even underplayed his role. And Barry Pepper's teeny part didn't show his potential either.

The movie really belongs to Steinfeld, who truly connected with her role, making her the valiant hero in the middle of two Elmer Fudd-like characters. Commendable, but not exactly Oscar-worthy, Steinfeld really carried the movie along probably with fourteen-year-old audiences cheering her along the whole way.

Disappointing overall, though entertaining at times, True Grit isn't exactly the Coen brothers best movie but they get an A for effort.

Rating: C+

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

DVD Review: "Biutiful"

"Look in my eyes. Look at my face. Remember me, please. Don't forget me, Ana. Don't forget me, my love, please."
There are few male actors of Javier Bardem's generation who could pull off such heart-wrenching vulnerability onscreen as the forty-two year old Oscar winner. From his award-winning turn as the ruthless murderer in No Country for Old Men to his sensitive portrayal as a doting dad in love in Eat, Pray, Love, Bardem's performances never fail to grab hold of the audience. Last year Bardem gave us one of his most beautifully nuanced performances to date in writer/director Alejandro González Iñárritu's drama, Biutiful.

Navigating a life of crime by day and making ends meet as a single father by night, struggling to free himself from the emotional choke-hold his sad, abusive wife has on him, Uxbal (Bardem) already had a lot on his plate. Then the worst happens: he's diagnosed with a terminal cancer. Trying to remain strong as his virility slowly dissipates, he begins to worry about what will become of his two children, whose mother's (Maricel Álvarez) wild, careless nature makes her an unsuitable parent. Uxbal's money is running low, and so is his hope, as he begins to wonder whether all his bad ways may cost losing his salvation.

In the wrong actor's hands, this story could have veered off into over-acted melodrama. But with Bardem's touching performance, down to the strikingly subtle exchanges between Uxbal and his kids and the tortured exchanges with his wife, made the movie that much more gripping. There are few more despairing things to watch onscreen as a man weeping, but ironically audiences aren't made to feel devastated for him. They are far too busy praising him for the bravery of his emotions, and being captured by the beauty that is in every frame of the movie.

Although his bold performance is the centerpiece of the film, in true Iñárritu form, there are several other pieces that complete the story. While each of the other stories don't necessarily stand alone without Bardem's, as they do in other Iñárritu movies, Álvarez's smaller yet pivotal performance is a standout. Even Guillermo Estrella and Hanaa Bouchaib performances as Bardem's children Mateo and Ana and the intricate performances by Cheng Tai Shen and Luo Jin--as lovers and partners with Uxbal--are beautiful to watch. Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to Biutiful.

Rating: A+

Monday, June 6, 2011

First Look: "Twilight: Breaking Dawn"

It's here, Twi-hards! Feast your eyes on the salacious new trailer for the final (thank Heavens!) installment of the Twilight series Breaking Dawn. From the looks of it things are really heating up between Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Patinson) since she's now with child (Um, what's the target audience age group here?). Of course, the omnipresent wolf pack and vampires threaten to rain on their parade. Check it out. Twilight: Breaking Dawn is in theaters November 18.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

"X-Men: First Class"

"Tomorrow, mankind will know that mutants exist. They will fear us, and that fear will turn to hatred."
We already saw them as mutant fiends in a few movies and sequels. Now the X-Men go back in time for a fascinating prequel in theaters, X-Men: First Class. We finally learn how the mutants came to be the butt-kicking superheroes their enemies have always loved to hate, and hate to love. We see who they really are behind all their alien-like abilities.

In the midst of an impending World War III outbreak in the 1960s, Charles Xavier (James MacAvoy, who we know as Professor X) assembles an elite group of fellow mutants to train them to sharpen their unique abilities so they can tag team against the evil Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) and his diamond-sharp gal pal Emma Frost (January Jones). Stepping into Mystique's sleek blue body is Hollywood "it" girl of the moment Jennifer Lawrence. The film also unites fellow mutants: the metal-bending Erik/Magneto (who has a personal vendetta against Shaw), Angel, Hank/Beast, psycho screamer Sean/Banshee, fire-thrusting Havoc and the chameleon, Armando/Darwin (Michael Fassbender, Zoe Kravitz, Nicholas Hoult, Caleb Landry Jones, Lucas Till, Edi Gathegi, respectively). Together, along with CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne), they stage the ultimate stand-off, complete with missiles, explosions, fire, and water eruption, in a dramatic finish.

X-Men: First Class defies the often difficult challenge of keeping a superhero prequel interesting, while relying fairly heavily on storyline (something many superhero movies suffer with). In other words, the audience is made to care about these actual characters: how they grew up with the stigma of being labeled "different," their strengths and their apparent kryptonite. It's no Batman Begins, but this prequel does its job.

Fassbender and MacAvoy are stand-outs as they bring the deeper, emotional factor to the equation. Meanwhile, the rest of cast of mutants, including Lawrence and Hoult, provide a more teenage, flighty attempt at the emotional by not cutting deep enough that will more than likely appeal to the younger audience.

In addition, the movies many locations--Nazi Germany, England, and Las Vegas--keep audiences interested and helps maintain the pace of the film. If you didn't see the previous movies, you may not be able to appreciate some of the subtle references, but that won't make you enjoy the movie any less. Check it out.

Rating: B

Friday, June 3, 2011

First Look: "Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World"

Jessica Alba goes back to her superhero roots in the fourth installment of the wildly popular family-movie franchise, Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World. From director Robert Rodriguez, from whom many of us wish we can finally see his long-awaited sequel to Sin City, Spy Kids 4 follows Alba as a stepmother and former spy (Alba) who will stop at nothing to help keep her children out of the clutches of the evil timekeeper (Jeremy Piven). Also along for this new installment in Rodriguez's go-to actors Antonio Banderas and Danny Trejo, as well as Joel McHale and Ricky Gervais. The new trailer hit earlier this week. Check it out below. Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World comes to theaters August 19.

First Look: "The Vow"

It looks like Rachel McAdams is in another sappy, melodramatic movie. This time, the always underwhelming Channing Tatum tags along in The Vow. Looking like a cross between The Time Traveler's Wife and The Notebook, The Vow follows a young married couple whose romance is interrupted by a tragic car accident, which leaves Paige (McAdams) an amnesiac. Meanwhile, her husband Leo (Tatum) must suffer the agony of pining over a wife that doesn't remember him and is too busy piecing her life back together to focus on rebuilding (or, in her case, building) a relationship again.

After this, McAdams really needs to take a break from this genre. She's getting really pigeon-holed and folks may be forgetting that she may actually have talent behind this onslaught of ridiculous soap opera-like tales. As for Tatum, this is right up his alley (but he should probably stick to less dramatic performances, ones that don't highlight his non-acting ability). See for yourself in the new trailer below. The Vow hits theaters February 10, 2012, just in time for Valentine's Day date night.

"The Hangover Part II"

"Empty your pockets. Come on, you know the drill."
You know it's not summer until Bradley Cooper has headlined a major blockbuster. Yes, for the past three summers Cooper has kick-started the warm months with The Hangover, The A-Team, and has reassembled the amnesiac wolfpack in the outrageously hilarious sequel The Hangover Part II.

Proving that the good ole "if it ain't broke don't fix it" saying rings true, The Hangover 2 delivers the exact same formula as the original movie, down to some of same physical routines. And you know what? Those jokes are still funny. Yes, the whole getting so drunk that you wake up missing items of clothing, hair, or teeth in a place you you don't recognize with people or animals you've never seen before routine still works.

In the original, the foursome (Cooper, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha, Zach Galifianakis) are "accidentally" drugged by the groom-to-be's (Bartha) semi-special future brother-in-law (Galifianakis), forcing them to have to gather the pieces together from that wild Vegas night with the help of crumbled receipts, telephone logs and shady characters. And the sequel has, well, the same thing going on. As Stu (Helms) is preparing for his impending nuptials in Thailand, the fellas plan an impromptu bachelor celebration and bring along his future underage brother-in-law (Mason Lee). This time, instead of bring greeted the morning after by a random tiger, the fellas have to contend with a chain-smoking drug-smuggling monkey, that's somehow in cahoots with the part-time criminal Mr. Chow (in comes the insanely hysterical Ken Jeong).

The wickedly entertaining characters and actors each leave audiences in stitches as they go through the motions of an equally entertaining--albeit redone--plot that will thrill die-hard fans of the original. Don't miss it.

Rating: B+

Thursday, June 2, 2011

First look: "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"

The trailer for acclaimed director David Fincher's eagerly-awaited remake to the 2009 Swedish cult classic Girl with the Dragon Tattoo hit the web earlier this week, and it is everything a fan of the Stieg Larsson books could have asked for. Murder, sex, intrigue, and horror. In short, it's not for the weak at heart.

The Social Network star Rooney Mara tackles the wickedly challenging yet vulnerable role of Lisbeth Salander, a cold-as-ice twenty-something investigator-turned-hacker who's out for blood, and desperately trying to clear her name from the series of serial murders tearing across Sweden. Needless to say, she's mad as hell and she's not going to take it anymore. Daniel Craig plays crime journalist Mikael Blomkvist, who's obsessed with finding the culprit behind these crimes. Together, both Mikael and Lisbeth are hot on the trail of this vicious killer. Meanwhile, their loner personalities and affinity for sexual, um, experimentation make way for a combustive affair and an equally graphic, sometimes uncomfortable, and all the way awesome-looking movie.

Check out the hot new trailer below. Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, co-starring Robin Wright and Stellan Skarsgård, hits theaters just in time for the other family-friendly movies of the holiday season on December 21.

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