DVDs In Brief: March 21, 2012

DVDs In Brief: March 21, 2012

The American version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Sony), directed by David Fincher, could not be less necessary. Stieg Larsson’s bestselling book was already adapted, albeit poorly, in his native Sweden, and there’s nothing in his lurid potboiler to expand upon the mastery of Seven and Zodiac, Fincher’s previous forays into the serial killer genre. But Fincher still has the talent to craft a silk purse from a sow’s ear, and Dragon Tattoo does exceptionally well by material that’s beneath him, particularly in Rooney Mara’s fierce performance as Lisbeth Salander and the way technology is integrated into the investigation… 

Confusing? Maybe a little. But the John le Carré adaptation Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Universal) rewards those who pay attention with both an intricate, atmospheric thriller and some amazing performances, none more so than Gary Oldman’s understated turn as le Carré’s master spy, George Smiley…

Director Roman Polanski turns up the gas on two mostly risible urban couples in Carnage (Sony), which takes place almost entirely in one New York apartment and benefits from the claustrophobic intensity Polanski has brought to classics like Knife In The Water and Repulsion. Yet Yasmina Reza’s strident play does him no favors, carrying a heavy metaphor for conflict and chaos on the back of a minor dispute over a fight between two children. The actors—Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly in one corner, Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz in the other—all acquit themselves well, however, and it’s never less than lively… 

There are few classic Easter films out there, and Hop (Universal), in which James Marsden becomes the first human Easter bunny with some help from an animated Russell Brand, did not change that. 

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