BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo ★★★★
PREMIERE 10.00pm-1.15am ITV2
Not the original Swedish adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s novel with the wonderful Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander, but the American remake directed by David Fincher and starring Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig. The story remains much the same – journalist Michael Blomkvist (Craig) and computer hacker Salander (Mara) investigate the mysterious disappearance and possible murder of a business magnate’s grandniece. In the course of this, they discover a series of other unsolved murders of young women, while Salander finds time to wreak dreadful but well-deserved vengeance on the lawyer who had raped and abused her. It takes few liberties with Larssons’s story and though lacking the exotic flavour of the original is pretty good as remakes go, especially if you didn’t see the Swedish film.
Hollywood Homicide ★★★
The dark side of Tinseltown has been a rich source of material for film-makers over the years and while this comedy drama might not be one of the best, the chemistry between cops Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett provides enough to keep you interested as they investigate a brutal murder. But just like every waiter in Hollywood is really an actor, the pair are distracted by what else the town has to offer; Ford with his real-estate deals and Hartnett, yep you guessed it, with plans to be a performer.
Gulliver’s Travels ★★★
Needless to say, film-making techniques have moved on quite a bit since 1902 when Jonathan Swift’s 18th-century fantasy yarn was first bought to the screen. The special effects in this big budget adaptation are sensational as Jack Black gives us his loveable slacker schtick as a writer who becomes a giant among men after being shipwrecked in the Bermuda Triangle. A host of Brit comedy actors, including Billy Connolly, Catherine Tate and James Corden provide fine support.
The King’s Speech ★★★★
9.00-11.20pm Film Four
There’s no doubt that the Academy loves a disability when it comes to dishing out Oscars, but few would argue that Colin Firth deserved his award for this historical drama – one of four the film picked up. He stars as George Vl whose wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) seeks the help of unconventional therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) to help cure the monarch of his stammer. It’s a witty, moving and inspirational tale that features some delightful exchanges between Logue and his patient. Some felt that Rush should have been nominated alongside Firth as best actor, but so as not to split the vote, he only got a best supporting nomination, and ultimately lost out to Christian Bale for The Fighter.
PREMIERE 9.00-11.10pm Movie Mix
It’s the selection process from hell for eight candidates in this inventively dark psychological thriller. Faced with blank sheets, the problem is what is the question, rather than what’s the answer. And are they expected to work as a team, or is it every man (or woman) for themselves in the survival of the fittest? It’s all slickly done with an ever increasing feeling of claustrophobia.
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