Oscar Predictions 2012

 

If you know me it’s not uncommon that I wait till the last minute for everything. I love the Oscars despite their long stretches of boredom. I like to think I have the Academy Awards figured out (old, rich, jewish, white men). I’m pretty damn good at predicting the winners usually. Last year, I even outguessed Ebert by one and surprisingly picked the Best Foreign Language film pick despite it always being a name out of a hat.

2012 Oscars Nominations 

Best Picture
“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”
“Hugo”
“Midnight in Paris”
“The Help”
“Moneyball”
“War Horse”
“The Tree of Life”

Who Will Win: The Artist
Who Should Win:  The Artist
Dark Horse:  The Descendants

A couple months ago this race was anyone’s game, hell even Tree of Life had a chance but nothing can derail the powerhouse train of “The Artist” beloved by some, overhyped by others, The Artist is a black & white silent gem winning the hearts and prizes of a majority of all the film awards this year. Don’t expect it not to go empty handed tonight.

Best Actor
Demian Bichir, “A Better Life”
George Clooney, “The Descendants”
Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”
Gary Oldman, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”

Who Will Win: Jean Dujardin
Who Should Win:  Gary Oldman
Dark Horse: George Clooney

A great category that always has a completely out of the blue random pick (Demian Bichir) but this category belongs to Dujardin who has also been sweeping up awards like nobody’s business. Clooney and Pitt turned in great performances and I’d love to see Oldman get recognized finally but this is no doubt the year of the french.

Best Actress
Glenn Close, “Albert Nobbs”
Viola Davis, “The Help”
Rooney Mara, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”
Michelle Williams, “My Week With Marilyn”

Who Will Win: Meryl Streep
Who Should Win:  Viola Davis
Dark Horse: Viola Davis

Another tight category full of great performances that will no doubt be given to Meryl Streep’s performance as Margret Thatcher. While I think she is undeserving of a win, statistically she has been racking up more best actress wins this year than any other. I wish Viola Davis would finally get recognized for her talent, but there’s a reason I suppose that Meryl Streep has more nominations than any other actress.

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, “My Week With Marilyn”
Jonah Hill, “Moneyball”
Nick Nolte, “Warrior”
Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”
Max Von Sydow, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

Who Will Win: Christopher Plummer
Who Should Win:  Christopher Plummer
Dark Horse: Max Von Sydow

Another tight category that becomes a one-on-one for lifetime achievement between Plummer and Von Sydow. Both are extraordinary actors and deserving but Plummer has been cleaning up in his performance for “Beginners” and I see him picking up the Oscar as well.

Best Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo, “The Artist”
Jessica Chastain, “The Help”
Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids”
Janet McTeer, “Albert Nobbs”
Octavia Spencer, “The Help”

Who Will Win: Octavia Spencer
Who Should Win:  Octavia Spencer
Dark Horse: Berenice Bejo

A stronger category than the Best Actress one, this category has long since belonged to Octavia Spencer’s wonderful performance. I wish all of the ladies here could get recognition but Spencer is going to be tough to beat.

Best Director
Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Terrence Malick, “The Tree of Life”
Alexander Payne, “The Descendants”
Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”

Who Will Win: Michel Hazanavicius
Who Should Win:  Terrence Malick
Dark Horse: Martin Scorsese

A tough category to predict since the directorial awards have been all over the place. It is more or less between Hazanavicius and Scorsese and usually Best film and Director go hand-in-hand which is why my money is on the Director of the Artist.

Best Original Screenplay
Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
JC Chandor, “Margin Call”
Asghar Farhadi, “A Separation”
Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, “Bridesmaids”

Who Will Win:  Midnight in Paris
Who Should Win:  Midnight in Paris
Dark Horse: The Artist

Tough to predict but Midnight in Paris was highly acclaimed and I don’t think The Artist had enough of a script to warrant a win.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxton, Jim Rash, “The Descendants”
John Logan, “Hugo”
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon, “The Ides of March”
Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian, “Moneyball”
Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughn, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

Who Will Win: The Descendants
Who Should Win:  The Descendants
Dark Horse: Hugo

The obvious choice. The Descendants is 2nd to The Artist for Best Picture and this is usually the consolation prize.

Best Animated Feature
“A Cat In Paris”
“Chico & Rita”
“Kung Fu Panda 2”
“Puss in Boots”
“Rango”

Who Will Win: Rango
Who Should Win:  Rango
Dark Horse: Puss in Boots

I haven’t seen any of these films but Rango seems the most distinct and likable by most Award ceremony’s and critics to beat the other nominees.

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Bullhead (Belgium)
Footnote (Israel)
In Darkness (Poland)
Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
A Separation (Iran)

Who Will Win: A Seperation
Who Should Win:  A Seperation
Dark Horse: Bullhead

An impossible category to predict. Usually the most obvious choice is never the winner but A Seperation has a lot of momentum behind it. Still the most well-known foreign film never wins so it’s anyone’s game.

Original Score
“The Adventures of Tintin,” John Williams
“The Artist,” Ludovic Bource
“Hugo,” Howard Shore
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” Alberto Iglesias
“War Horse,” John Williams

Who Will Win: The Artist
Who Should Win:  The Artist
Dark Horse: Hugo

Tough category but I think that The Artist is so much music to carry it that it’ll probably topple any other contender.

Best Original Song
“Man or Muppet,” The Muppets; Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
“Real in Rio,” Rio; Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Who Will Win: The Muppets
Who Should Win:  The Muppets
Dark Horse: Rio

50/50 shot. I chose Muppets over African Birds.

Best Achievement in Art Direction
“The Artist”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”
“Hugo”
“Midnight in Paris”
“War Horse”

Who Will Win: Hugo
Who Should Win:  Hugo
Dark Horse: The Artist

Best Achievement in Cinematography
“The Artist”
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“Hugo”
“The Tree of Life”
“War Horse”

Who Will Win: Tree of Life
Who Should Win:  Tree of Life
Dark Horse: The Artist

If Tree of Life doesn’t win, I give up on the Academy Awards.

Best Documentary Feature
“Hell and Back Again”
“If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front”
“Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory”
“Pina”
“Undefeated”

Who Will Win:  Paradise 3
Who Should Win:  Paradise 3
Dark Horse: Pina

A hard category to pick. Pretty much anyone’s game. 

Best Documentary Short Subject
“The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement?”
“God Is the Bigger Elvis”
“Incident in New Baghdad”
“Saving Face”
“The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom”

Who Will Win: The Barber of Birmingham

Random pick.

Best Animated Short Film
Dimanche/Sunday
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
La Luna
A Morning Stroll
Wild Life

Who Will Win: La Luna

Best Live Action Short Film
“Pentecost”
“Raju”
“The Shore”
“Time Freak”
“Tuba Atlantic”

Who Will Win: Raju

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”
“Hugo”
“Real Steel”
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”

Who Will Win: Harry Potter
Who Should Win:  Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Dark Horse: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Harry Potter seems to be the fan favorite and also the top choice. I won’t complain.

Best Achievement in Costume Design
“Anonymous”
“The Artist”
“Hugo”
“Jane Eyre”
“W.E.”

Who Will Win: Jane Eyre
Who Should Win:  The Artist
Dark Horse: W.E

Always pick the period piece. W.E. may have a chance though. eh.

Best Achievement in Makeup
“Albert Nobbs”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”
“The Iron Lady”

Who Will Win: Harry Potter
Who Should Win:  Harry Potter
Dark Horse: Albert Nobbs

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
“Drive”
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“Hugo”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
“War Horse”

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“Hugo”
“Moneyball”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
“War Horse”

Who Will Win: Hugo
Who Should Win:  Hugo/Drive
Dark Horse: Transformers: Dark of the Moon

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F*** Valentine’s Day Movie Guide Vol. 2

F*** VALENTINE’S DAY MOVIE GUIDE VOL. 2

Last year I posted a list of films that I thought were good alternatives to the usual run-of-the mill chick-flick fodder and after it being one of my most successful posts I decided to follow up with another year’s worth of good relationship-based films that would be alternatives to Ahem, The Vow with Channing Tatum. Cue the vomiting.

Blue Valentine
(For those staying together for the kids) 

A movie that appeared on my top movies of 2010 list and still stand by it being an amazing motion picture that is an emotional roller coaster about Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) as a couple who fall in and out of love and give powerhouse performances in the process. The movie is an equivalent of getting a hug from someone and then following it with a punch into your gut. While I haven’t had a kid yet, so I can’t understand the complications of it in a relationship, it is still a universal feeling to realize it’s “too little, too late” in a relationship.

Like Crazy
(For those in a long distance relationship) 

Blue Valentine” for the college age is just as authentic and heartbreaking look at falling in and out of love and trying to reignite the dwlinding flame in a failing relationship. Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones give amazing performances and improvise what feels like a completely truthful and honest relationship. Where as “Blue Valentine” had the issue of a child in the mix, this film replaces it with the issue of a long-distance relationship between countries and the politics of immigration. One of my favorite movies of 2011 that unfortunately left me shaken at how real it felt to be in your 20’s and in love.

My Bloody Valentine ’81/’09
(For those with bloodlust towards happy couples) 

A wild card. Maybe sappy romance isn’t for you and maybe you don’t want a “love conquers all” chick flick or a emotional roller coaster “Blue Valentine” but just want to see couples get mutilated and slashed to pieces. There’s a plethora of horror and slasher films to wet your appetite but why not go for the one related to the titular holiday. The 1981 version and 2009 remake both deal with a pick-axe wielding miner who comes to a small town on a murderous rampage after a Valentine’s Day mining accident. The 81 version is a slasher classic and now can be seen unrated and the 09 version is more brutal and unapologetic but can also be seen in 3D! Take your pick. Both are good for some cheap thrills.

True Romance
(For the couples with dreams of new lives together) 

One of Tony Scott‘s best films (Yes, even better than Top Gun) is this Tarantino written 90’s gem with literally one of the greatest casts ever in a film. It stars Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette as a young couple (comic-book nerd/call-girl) who fall in love seemingly overnight and when he murders her pimp they decide to run to Hollywood to sell his suitcase full of cocaine. What sounds like a grim/dark crime drama is actually a sweet, dark-comedy full of stellar cameos, witty dialogue, and genuine romance ending in the best mexican standoff ever filmed. Many people will remember scenes like the Christopher Walken-Dennis Hopper showdown but Clarence and Alabama are two movie characters so charming that a movie about them would be fantastic even without the gangsters.

Sid & Nancy
(For the couples constantly fighting) 

One of the most famous tragic love stories our time. The true story of Sex Pistol Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen. Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb give fearless, emotionally over-the-top performances as the doomed lovers who drank, smoke, shot-up, and swore through the England punk rock scene and led to the demise of the Sex Pistols and the murder of Nancy. The film is a great look at the London punk scene and is also great fun to see Oldman and Webb play off each other and see how their reliance on each other was also the cause of their own self-destruction. Even the modern day celebrity couples that self-destruct still don’t have the love and commitment that Sid & Nancy had.

Let the Right One in
(For the anti-Twilight vampire romance) 

This swedish horror film based on a book and remade into the 2010 “Let Me in” is a horror masterpiece in mood, lighting, and acting. Oskar is a 12 year old boy who is constantly bullied and discovers his new next door neighbor is actually a young female vampire. The film has a cheesy 80’s sounding concept that is a surprisingly dark and heartfelt drama about young adults who find solace and understanding in one another. Their relationship feels entirely real and never too Hollywood or dramatized. Their friendship and care for each other is the spark of the movie and it’s rare to see children actors portray a love and friendship that most adults in Hollywood films couldn’t make believable. I have not seen the American remake but the “swimming pool” scene is among the classic scenes in cinema history.

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!  ❤

Differences Between American/Swedish “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE AMERICAN/SWEDISH FILM VERSIONS OF “THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO”

About a year ago I read the international bestseller “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and claimed it as one of the best books I’ve read in awhile. I had ample amounts of anticipation for the American remake of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” especially since David Fincher was selected as director. Now seeing the Swedish made version and the American one back-to-back, I can’t decide which one I liked best but wanted to analyze the noticeable differences between each film and how true they stayed to the book. Although I haven’t read the book in quite some time, I hope that my memory still serves me well. I also am just basing it solely on the swedish version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” not the entire trilogy. The list is not meant to show which one is better than the other but the noticeable differences I found between the two and which version I thought handled it better. The choice of which version is better is solely up to you.

STATS:
AMERICAN VERSION:

Release date: 2011
Director: David Fincher
Length: 158 min.
Starring: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer
Rated: R
Box Office Gross: $89.2M (As of January 15th)

SWEDISH VERSION:

Release Date: 2009 (2010 in U.S.)
Director: Niels Arden Opiev
Length: 152 min.
Starring: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Sven-Bertil Taube
Rated: R
Box Office Gross:  $10m – U.S. $104M – Worldwide

WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW FOR BOTH THE SWEDISH AND ENGLISH LANGUAGE REMAKE OF THE FILMS

(IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER)

The Ending:

I wouldn’t necessarily call either a happy ending but the Swedish one is definitely more upbeat than American. In the book version, after Lisbeth cleans out Wennerstrom’s accounts, and Mikael writes a book taking down the corporation after help from Lisbeth’s hacking, Lisbeth returns finally ready to accept a friend into her life. She buys Mikael a Christmas gift, until she sees him walk away kissing Erica, she then throws away the gift and drives away. In the Swedish version, she goes to the Caymen Islands to clean out the accounts and disappears into a new life, while Mikeal watches in awe of her. A good ending, but didn’t feel complete for those characters. In the American version, Lisbeth returns and sees Mikael and is ready to accept relationships until she sees him with Erica, throws his gift away and drives off in retreat. Much closer to the book and much more fitting with the arc of the characters.

WINNER: U.S.

Revelation of Martin Vanger:

In the Swedish version, Mikael and Lisbeth both simultaneously have a revelation about who killed the girls connected to the bible verses. While Mikael investigates Henrik’s brother, he is greeted by Martin who drugs him and chains him in the cellar. A shocking moment, and one that catches the audience by surprise whereas in the American version, Lisbeth and Mikeal come to conclusions that would trace to Martin and Mikael goes to his house to investigate and plays a long chess match with Martin in outwitting each other through conversation and eventually Martin’s realization that a kitchen knife is missing. While Craig and Skarsgard are great facing off, it lessens the dramatic impact of the revelation that Martin helped his father kill multiple women and is now going to capture Mikael.

WINNER: SWEDEN

Lisbeth Salander:

Lisbeth is an iconic character and brought to life greatly by Noomi Rapace and Rooney Mara. She is a dark, tortured character that doesn’t take shit from anyone and knows how to handle herself. She especially has a violent streak and doesn’t particularly care for men who mistreat women. She is very distant and cold emotionally but is willing to open up herself for the few that treat her as a human and not like a mentally disturbed child. Noomi Rapace had the look, the intensity, the emotional distance, and the tortured soul. She was quiet, but a bit too overly smart, but completely engaging and sometimes frightening. While Mara, has the look, the intensity, the childish episodes, and the cold heartedness. She wasn’t nearly as frightening as Rapace, however she was more sympathetic of a character but a bit too over confident in her abilities.

WINNER: SWEDEN

Lisbeth and Her Guardian:

Even though Lisbeth is in her 20’s, she is technically a ward of the state. She has a longtime guardian that cares about her, until he has a stroke and is unable to be her state appointed guardian. Enter Bjurman, a slimy, masochist, power hungry man who exchanges funds for Lisbeth for sexual favors including a blow job in his office, and then rape at his own home. A subplot in the story that is cringe-worthy and equally creepy. Both versions make them as viciously uncomfortable as possible, each with equally satisfying revenge by Lisbeth. In the Swedish version, the character of Bjurman is smart and manipulative. He knows he holds all the cards for Lisbeth and forces himself on Lisbeth because he likes the power of being in control of a defenseless girl. He is remorseless and a great villain. In the American version, he is more of a grotesque pig. A key difference is that in the American version, his character looks positively shaken after the rape and eventually apologetic the second time around seeing Lisbeth. The swedish works better because the character is someone who looks like he has and will continue abusing Lisbeth and girls like her, making her revenge all the more satisfying. Although the american version includes a nice little bonus scene where Lisbeth confronts him in the elevator and leaves him like a terrified puppy dog.

WINNER: SWEDEN

Mikael and Erika:

Erika Berger is Mikael’s partner at millennium magazine and his editor-in-chief, they also have a sexual relationship even though she is still married. In The American version, Robin Wright plays Erika exactly how I pictured her. She is much more predominant and upset at Mikael for taking leave while the company goes under and is eventually bought into by Vanger’s corporation. Erika is a great character and much more level-headed and moral than Mikael and is barely in the Swedish version. Sad, because Erika and Mikael’s relationship (sexual and professional) is one of the most intriguing parts of the story and Mikael’s character.

WINNER: U.S.

Mikael and his daughter:

Along with Erika, the swedish version doesn’t make a lot of mention of Mikael’s teenage daughter. She’s on good terms with him, but their relationship is still estranged, and in the book she visits him while working for Henrik and she’s on the way to go back to bible school. In the book and the American version, it is her who discovers Harriet’s code is related to bible verses, while in the Swedish one it is Lisbeth who looks at the code for a few minutes and cracks it. Mikael’s daughter doesn’t bring much to the overall plot, but having her adds more layers to Mikael’s character and makes more sense that she would make the religious connection.

WINNER: U.S.

Lisbeth’s Talents:

Along with being an expert hacker, Lisbeth also has a photographic memory which helps her be such an amazing researcher. In the book and swedish version, Mikael spends time working with her and discovers her secrets on his own and makes Lisbeth intrigued and uncomfortable. In the book it came as a shock to me when we discover Lisbeth’s photographic memory, which she feels ashamed of. In the American version, it is never brought up and when bits of information are given to her she overconfidently says that she already knows it, like she already accepts her special talent. In the swedish version, many of the clues and things that help Mikael solve the case are given to him through an e-mail from Lisbeth where she seems to figure things out in her spare time and tries to one-up the journalist. While it’s nice to show how brilliant Lisbeth really is, the way of her randomly hacking and figuring out clues felt more like a cop-out, and a deus ex machina crutch than her and Mikael’s teamwork.

WINNER: U.S.  / SWEDEN

Henrik and Mikael:

In the Swedish version, Mikael keeps Henrik a lot more in the loop to his detective work and their relationship becomes more of a friendship than the professional relationship Mikael and Henrik have in the U.S. version. Henrik also seems a lot more invested in the Mikael’s work whereas in the American version, more subplots arise and Martin becomes more of the voice of the corporation then Henrik does.

WINNER: U.S.

Anita Vanger/Revelation of Harriet:

In the book, Mikael traps Anita into revealing that Harriet is in Australia, and brings her back to Henrik. In the Swedish version, Super-Lisbeth finds records of Harriet living under Anita’s identity in Australia, who also died in this version. In the American version, they set up a sting operation like the book but cop-out when it is revealed that Mikael visited Anita in London earlier in the movie and it was actually Harriet the whole time. Her reunion with Henrik also doesn’t feel as natural as the Swedish version.

WINNER: SWEDEN

Mikael goes to prison:

In the book and Swedish version, Mikael’s false accusation lands him a hefty fine, a bad reputation, and a couple months in prison. In the book, Mikael took a break from researching Harriet’s disappearance to spend time in jail. In the Swedish version, Mikael serves his time for his accusations and uses it to write his comeback book to take down Wennerstrom once and for all. In the American version, it costs Blomkvist his life savings but he never has to serve any major jail time, and besides being broke faces no other consequences.

WINNER: SWEDEN

Lisbeth and her Guardian/Mother:

In the Swedish version, Lisbeth gets a phone call saying she has a new guardian and lands right in Bjurman’s office. In the American version, she is the one who finds her guardian having a stroke and eventually talks to him near the end about accepting Blomkvist into her life. In the book, Lisbeth visits her mother and near the end of the book has to attend her funeral. In the swedish version, she has to visit her mother instead of her guardian at the end and has a great emotional moment with her mom about falling in love. While the swedish movie has a fantastic dramatic moment for Noomi Rapace, I thought it meant more sense for Lisbeth to have a relationship with her former guardian as one of the only men she trusts.

WINNER: U.S.

Mikael’s writer’s block:

After his defeat on trial, Mikael also takes on the job of Henrik to help cure his writer’s block, and is involvement in solving the Harriet Vanger case, and getting the info on Wennerstrom from Lisbeth finally helps cure his writer’s block to make his comeback and taking down the Wennerstrom empire. It is a great character moment which is sadly never brought up in the American version.

WINNER: SWEDEN

Lisbeth’s Assualt:

Lisbeth is a force to be reckoned with when provoked, in the Swedish version a gang of drunken boys confront her at the train station and start to push her around, Lisbeth kicks, scratches, and fights back, breaking her laptop but sending the group of boys on the run. It is an empowering moment, whereas in the U.S. version, a mugger snatches her bag at the train station and has Lisbeth chase him, confront him, and steal the bag back before escaping in a weird parkour moment down the escalator. A cool little scene, but much more powerful and realistic in the Swedish version.

WINNER: SWEDEN

Mikael’s Cat:

In the book and American version, Mikael is kept company by a stray cat in his cabin that becomes his pet and sort of companion until he is shockingly brutally killed and left on Mikael’s doorstep. A visually upsetting and shocking moment that ups the ante of Mikael and Lisbeth’s paranoia of one of the Vanger family members keeping an eye on them which is lacking in the Swedish version.

WINNER: U.S.

Mikael’s introduction to Lisbeth:

One of my favorite moments of the book is when Mikael discovers Lisbeth did research on him prior to being hired by Vanger and then discovering that she is a computer hacker. Lisbeth, a character who is used to being in charge and one step ahead of most people is completely caught off guard when Mikael barges into her door with breakfast and a job offer to help research Harriet’s disappearance. It is a great scene where Mikael gets the upper hand on Lisbeth and she is simultaneously intrigued and pissed. In the Swedish version, Lisbeth seems to always be twenty steps ahead of Mikael but he only gets in Lisbeth’s door by threatening her with going to the police for hacking his computer, in the American version he busts through the door. Seems like an insignificant change but one of my favorite moments showing Lisbeth’s attraction to Mikael’s straightforwardness with her.

WINNER: U.S.

Wennerstrom and Vanger:

One of the key elements that Henrik Vanger used to persuade Mikael to work for him and look into Harriet’s disappearance is that he has incriminating information on Wennerstrom from when he worked for the Vanger corporation. It turns out to be unusable evidence but was an incentive that made sense for Blomkvist to take on this year long endeavor, whereas the information is never presented to Mikael in the Swedish version.

WINNER: U.S.

Henrik’s memoirs:

Mikael has access to the entire Vanger family history to research Harriet’s disappearance. In the book and American version his cover is he is spending his downtime to research and write Henrik Vanger’s memoirs. In the Swedish version, he is never given cover but is there for very obvious reasons to the family.

WINNER: U.S. 

Mikael and Lisbeth’s relationship:

Lisbeth has a hard time connecting to anyone emotionally and is also a known bisexual, so it is a shocking turn to see her throw herself onto Mikael during one night of researching. It is an awkward moment that turns surprisingly erotic and justified. In the Swedish version Lisbeth throws herself at a confused Mikael until to retreat right after they are finished. In the American version they are shown to start being intimate before the camera cuts and then they are seen in bed together again. In the swedish version it made sense for Lisbeth’s elusive personality while it makes sense in the American version to see Lisbeth get her heart broken at the end. I’m not sure which one is better for the story but both are good in their own way.

WINNER: U.S. / SWEDEN

Title Sequence:

The Swedish version had a very basic, abstract title sequence that was moody and ominous and fits the tone of the story, while the American David Fincher version features an in-your-face, visceral opening that features people in liquid metal and liquid metal draining down computer keyboards. Odd and Over-the-top? Definitely. An extremely memorable introduction for sure though. Bonus points for the kickass “Immigrant Song” cover.

WINNER: U.S.

Flashbacks to Harriet:

Harriet Vanger is mentioned a lot. In the Swedish version her picture is flashed on the screen about a thousand times. Brief flashbacks are shown, mainly through home videos, pictures, and other media. In the american version, The 1960’s are brought to life in a vibrant gold palette that shows more of a younger Harriet interacting with her family. While it’s nice to have more of the specter of Harriet, there is no denying the visual beauty of the 1960’s summer sequences.

WINNER: U.S.

Cecilia Vanger:

In the book, Cecilia is more predominant to Mikael and often keeps him company during his long extended stay and eventually becomes a sexual partner to him. A omission in both versions of the movie, she appears and has brief screen time but is not the presence in either movie that she was in the book. To me it seemed like she had more screen time in the Swedish version in the American but I consider this a draw.

WINNER: DRAW

Lisbeth and Martin Vanger:

One of the best parts of the story is Lisbeth rescuing Mikael from Martin’s torture room and hitting him in the head with a golf club. She chases after him on motorcycle, he crashes and dies in the explosion. In both versions he is saved by Lisbeth, chased down and dies in an explosion but in the Swedish one, she watches Martin ask for help and burn alive screaming as she watches and smiles, satisfied by his death. Mikael later tells her how morally wrong that was. In the American version, Lisbeth asks him for permission to kill Martin and brings his handgun to his wrecked car to put an end to him before the car explodes in her face. Both are satisfying but in the Swedish version, Lisbeth shows her cold-blooded dark side by purposely letting him die, while the American version she doesn’t get the chance to make the moral choice to kill or save him. The swedish version is definitely a darker and better turn for the character of Lisbeth

WINNER: SWEDEN

TOTAL:
AMERICAN: 13
SWEDEN: 10

AGREE/DISAGREE? GOT MORE TO ADD? DID I MISS SOMETHING OR WAS COMPLETELY WRONG ABOUT SOMETHING? COMMENT BELOW. 

10 Predictions I have after seeing the Dark Knight Rises Trailer

About damn time! After anticipation for the third Batman started when the credits rolled for The Dark Knight, speculation has been high of how Christopher Nolan will wrap up his amazing Dark Knight series. After the first official trailer has appeared, rumors and thoughts of what will happen have now been so clear yet so vague, here are my predictions after watching the two minutes of cinematic greatness. (In No Particular Order)

10. The end of Commissioner Gordon

Times are tough for Jim Gordon, once Gotham’s only honest cop and then hero after faking his own death to take down the Joker. Once becoming commissioner he helps Batman cover up of the demise of Harvey Dent to maintain his image. Now according to the trailer during peacetime he’s going to be gotten rid of by the Mayor. In between shots of him dodging various explosions and the shot from the first trailer of him laying in bed with an oxygen mask, it doesn’t bode well for Gotham’s best cop who will probably be one of the few causalities by the villain Bane in attempt to bring out the Bat Man one last time.

9. Occupy Gotham

It looks like times are as tough in Gotham as they are in the real world, after speculation of filming at the real occupy Wall Street, it looks like there is a rebellion of people upset at the rich living large evidenced by Anne Hathaway’s line of “living large for so long with leaving so little for the rest of us.” the rest of us is what I assume meaning the poor people of Gotham who might be swayed by Bane’s anarchic plan to take down Gotham city. There is also a shot in the trailer of a mansion being torn and ripped apart which I only assume is Wayne Manor being rioted by citizens.

8. The League of Shadows

The League of Shadows led by Liam Neeson in Batman Begins, helped train Bruce Wayne to become Batman and were thought to be destroyed but I think maybe in the trailer it suggests that they maybe be returning to either help or team up with Bane to take down Gotham and do a lot of creepy chanting. It looks by the trailer that since there is such a long gap between the Dark Knight and Dark Knight Rises that Mr. Wayne may either return or be captured by the League of Shadows.

7. Ra’s Al Ghul

Ra’s Al Ghul died in Batman Begins but if my League of Shadows prediction pans out they will probably be a flashback to Henri Ducard and Bruce Wayne training or there will be another Al Ghul family member out for blood seeking vengeance against Bruce Wayne. My ultimate nerdy prediction would be that of Marion Cotillard turning out to be Talia Al Ghul, daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul.

6. Out of shape Bruce Wayne

Christian Bale almost looks “The Machinist” skinny in the trailer. He also doesn’t look in the best condition out of the Batman suit. Shots of him include him walking with a cane, having a battered face, and a Batman Begins style prison beard. If you also remember from the first trailer it showed him vigorously doing pushups in what looked like a prison cell. Either the pain and suffering of being hunted as Batman has effected him mentally/psychically or Bane is putting a hell of a hurting on him. Maybe a bit of both.

5. JGL as new Oldman

With Jim Gordon on the chopping block and eventually a hospital bed, it looks like the partnership between Wayne and Gordon would be severed and Batman will have to look for another police adversary to help him. I assume once Gotham becomes overrun by chaos, only a few good cops will survive and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Officer John Blake looks to the fill the shoes of being one of the only good cops left in Gotham City.

4. Catwoman robs Bruce Wayne

Anne Hathaway fills the shoes of Selina Kyle aka Catwoman and if she is a expert thief, I assume that she will crash one of Bruce Wanye’s parties in an attempt to knock off some high quality merchandise. She warns Bruce about the price of living large for so long and an a storm coming which I think refers to more of an occupy movement than Bane and his thugs. She is robbing him because he is Gotham’s wealthiest resident not because of his role as Batman. Wayne of course will be one step ahead of her and cue the love triangle.

3. Wayne captured by Bane

Until I wrote this I just noticed that Bane and Wayne rhyme. After watching the first two trailers and making predictions about Wayne’s haggard appearance/the prison setting that may be affiliated with the League of Shadows, I can assume that Alfred and Bruce Wayne are captured by Bane and his henchman as another way of causing chaos in Gotham city unbeknownst to him that he is actually Batman. This may also be what will be the catalyst to prompt Wayne to don the Bat-cape for one last time.

2. Legacy of Harvey Dent

Much speculation was towards whether or not Harvey Dent was alive at the end of The Dark Knight, but according to the trailer it seems that Harvey Dent is long gone, since Gordon is giving a speech that looks to be a memorial service or tribute to Gotham’s fallen DA. This also might be what prompts more corruption and riots to become rampant in Gotham City.

1. Batman’s allies

While Batman has always been a lone wolf, it looks as if Bane and his army may be too much for him to handle on his own. Pictures online of Selina Kyle riding the motorcycle from The Dark Knight can only mean that Catwoman becomes one of Batman’s best allies in defeating Bane. According to other predictions, Batman may or may not also have The League of Shadows fighting with him or against him, and may also have the help of John Blake, since the shot of Batman fighting Bane on City Hall’s steps features cops fighting prisoners in the background and multiple tumblers firing missiles. If Batman is in the open who is driving the tumblers? Catwoman or John Blake would be my best guess. Please don’t say Robin though.

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES IS IN THEATERS JULY 20, 2012

Agree/Disagree? Think I’m insane? Got another or better prediction? Leave a comment below.