We Are the Best!: three teenage girls embrace counter-culture and form a punk band in 1980s Stockholm. Directed by controversial Swedish auteur Lukas Moodyson, Adapted from his wives graphic novel. Moodyson is the back in his wheelhouse; fly-on-the-wall documentary style retro Sweden; and it’s what he does best. He’s also great at capturing snapshots of youth that transport you right back to your childhood – of which there are plenty in this movie. Plot-wise, it pretty much follows the same arc as his movies, particularly Fucking Amal (Show me Love), but with younger kids – unfortunately, it’s not quite as powerful a coming-of-age story. Together was all about family, Fucking Amal was a love story two girls, but We Are the Best tries to juggle family, girls, boyfriends, and punk… making it feel less focused. Another Moodyson-stamped nostalgic and enjoyable trip down memory lane, with good music and all of the teenage feels.
The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest: final part of the Millennium trilogy, following on from the Dragon Tattoo and Played with Fire. Continuing the downward trend, this looks and feels as bland as most TV movies – 0% cinematic and very little excitement or tension. The plot slowly meanders down two paths: a rehabilitation / courtroom saga for Lisbeth and yet another investigation for Mikael. It’s far, far too long (147 mins) given how little the plot progresses and how pedestrian the story is. While the acting’s still great and there’s a tiny bit of steam left, the focus here is entirely on wrapping up the 2nd film; which was already well below the brilliant stand-alone whodunnit, Dragon Tattoo. Most telling, even when walking out of the cinema I could only recall a handful of good scenes. Fire and Hornet could probably be edited together, cutting out all of the bloated story & characterisation and focusing on the excitement and drama that’s been so diluted in these behemoth instalments. The Fincher re-makes will have trouble competing with the first film, but the other two are his for the taking. A dreadful final chapter, and for closing up a tale that’s over 7 hours long the ending was such an anti-climactic disappointment.
The A-Team: a crack commando unit gets sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit; these men promptly escape and try to clear their name, by any means possible! It was an honourable attempt at a decent story, which was good in parts but landed somewhere between you’re average Seagal and Bourne Flick. You get what you see with the simple characters, but it’s hardly a character piece. Hannibal/Neeson looked uncomfortable throughout, but Murdoch/Copley picks up all the slack, and ends up the film’s real star. Patrick Wilson‘s also decent. The action was great, and should leave you grinning ear to ear because it’s cool & gratifying escapism (flying tanks, mad stunts, explosions, dogfights…) right up until the last big play where it got so ridiculous that CGI had to take over. We got a solid 3 months of hype in the UK so I wasn’t expecting much, but The A-Team is simply an enjoyable, over-the-top action film. Probably 20 minutes longer than it should be, but much better than expected.