Movie review: The Girl In The Spider's Web
In the age of #MeToo, it seems almost remiss that something as unapologetically feminist as the Nordic noir Millennium book-turned-film series - fronted by cult anti-heroine Lisbeth Salander - does not grab the opportunity to run with it.
Even though her methods may be extreme, watching a woman fight back against her sexual assailants has got to be wish fulfilment for survivors of abuse.
There is an early sequence in The Girl In The Spider's Web where Lisbeth exacts punishment on a wealthy, powerful man who beats up prostitutes and even his wife.
Following that, any trace of sexual violence, misogyny and rape - unsavoury linchpins of the series - barely registers.
The Hollywood sequel to David Fincher's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011) not only replaces Rooney Mara with Claire Foy, it also opts for a safer, more sanitised path.
Based on the fourth book written by David Lagercrantz, after original author Stieg Larsson's death, the pervasive sense of danger and menace is gone.
Instead of a murder mystery or psychodrama, we get an action thriller about stolen nuclear launch codes, complete with explosions, car chases and fight sequences.
That said, it's still an efficient and entertaining genre outing, and a more commercially appealing one - sans the darker, disturbing elements.
Noomi Rapace, who played the original character in the 2009 Swedish trilogy, is still THE definitive Lisbeth Salander to beat, while Mara scored an Oscar nomination.
Foy (The Crown, First Man) is a formidable actress in her own right and does a perfectly respectable job in matching the intensity of her predecessors, but doesn't outperform them.
A riveting new wrinkle is Lisbeth's childhood trauma - don't miss the crucial prologue, which adds emotional depth to the movie.
Sylvia Hoeks, last seen as Jared Leto's replicant henchwoman in Blade Runner 2049, is central to that, appearing late in the game as Lisbeth's long-lost sister Camilla.
She makes quite an impact, but there's not enough of her.
Even more throwaway is investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist, Lisbeth's former lover-cum-partner who used to be her equal but is suddenly so much younger and shockingly marginalised here.
No one is expecting bland new guy Sverrir Gudnason to be a Michael Nyqvist or Daniel Craig, but he contributes almost nothing to the story and the lack of chemistry between him and Foy is almost embarrassing.
Fans may miss the fire, but we can take heart that Hollywood is still making it relatively easy to be caught in Lisbeth's web.
Ratings : 3 Ticks
MOVIE: The Girl In The Spider's Web
STARRING: Claire Foy, Sylvia Hoeks, Sverrir Gudnason, LaKeith Stanfield
DIRECTOR: Fede Alvarez
THE SKINNY: Computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Foy) is recruited to steal a computer programme that can access codes for nuclear weapons worldwide, but finds herself caught in a web of cyber criminals, corrupt government officials and a ghost from her past.
Movie reviews: Overlord, The Nutcracker And The Four Realms
Old-school gamers will find Overlord eerily familiar. The war horror flick is like a tribute to Castle Wolfenstein or Call Of Duty: Zombies - just without that game-to-film stigma.
A group of US soldiers is sent to a French village to knock out a radio tower ahead of D-Day. But all they find in the village church are Nazi super-soldier experiments.
It's lightweight fun, the gore isn't too sickening and there are some unexpected laughs.
The cast of relative unknowns is great (the biggest name is Game Of Thrones' Pilou Asbaek), and hopefully we'll get to see more of leads Jovan Adepo and Mathilde Ollivier in bigger projects soon.
If there are any criticisms, it's that the plot needs some acceleration. After all, if your film is about being chased about a crypt by creatures, let's get to the creature-filled crypt ASAP.
With a bit more scope and flourish, Overlord could have been a standout picture. As it is, it's a perfectly fine belated Halloween outing. - JONATHAN ROBERTS
Ratings: 3 Ticks
THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS (PG)
Here is a project that looks good on paper, but is a different story on screen. There are established players in this Disney movie based on an evergreen story, yet how can it turn so wrong?
We have two Oscar winners - Helen Mirren and Morgan Freeman - and Oscar nominee Keira Knightley. Directors Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnstonare Academy favourites too.
Loosely based on E.T.A. Hoffmann's The Nutcracker And The Mouse King and Tchaikovsky's famed ballet, the plot follows Clara (Mackenzie Foy), who enters a magical world of fairies, clowns and flowers.
Where once the four realms lived in harmony, the realm ruled by Mother Ginger (Mirren) now threatens war and destruction. The key to peace, literally, is a key gifted to Clara by her late mother.
Lavish production and elaborate costumes aside, this pretty film is let down by a poor script.
Those expecting a ballet can take heart that the scene featuring ballerina Misty Copeland is one of the standout moments.
While Knightley is deliciously intoxicating as Sugar Plum, Mirren and Freeman are perfunctory and enchantment is absent. - JOANNE SOH
Ratings : 2 Ticks
Still in cinemas
Bohemian Rhapsody (M18)
This biopic is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, the rock band's music and its extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek), who defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers in the world.
Rotten Tomatoes: 60%
When zombies overrun ancient Korea, its prince (Hyun Bin) has to employ the strength of the entire kingdom to stop the bloody rampage from spreading.
Rotten Tomatoes: 63%
The House With A Clock In Its Walls (PG)
The magical adventure revolves around an orphaned boy who goes to live with his eccentric uncle (Jack Black) and accidentally unleashes a secret world of warlocks and witches.
Rotten Tomatoes: 66%
Horror queen Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode, who comes to her final confrontation with the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.
Rotten Tomatoes: 79%
Bad Times At The El Royale (NC16)
In Drew Goddard's noir thriller starring Chris Hemsworth, Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson and Jon Hamm, seven strangers meet at the titular rundown hotel where they will have a last shot at redemption.
Rotten Tomatoes: 73%
Beautiful Boy (M18)
Timothee Chalamet and Steve Carell deliver emotional performances in this heartbreaking and inspiring experience of survival, relapse and recovery in a family coping with addiction over years.
Rotten Tomatoes: 68%
First Man (PG13)
La La Land director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling team up again for the riveting story of Nasa's mission to put a man on the moon.
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%