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DVD reviews: 'The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest,' 'Red' and 'Nowhere Boy'

Posted 11:28am on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

The final film installment of Stieg Larsson's "Millennium" series is, in some ways, better than its book. It's kinder, leaner and less confusing than Larsson's whopping, 576-page novel, which featured a staggering number of characters (many with confusing Swedish names) and occasionally bogged down in tedious historic detail. But the film version of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest bears no such burdens. It's as lithe and compelling as its heroine Lisbeth Salander although, fortunately, not half as dangerous. Director Daniel Alfredson, who was also at the helm of The Girl Who Played With Fire, keeps the story moving and deftly overcomes the fact that Salander (Noomi Rapace) is trapped in a hospital bed.

Red, starring Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren and John Malkovich, has exactly one joke that it keeps repeating: Wouldn't it be hilarious if a group of 50-, 60- and 70-something actors played retired CIA assassins thrown back into a violent global conspiracy? Actually, not so hilarious -- though it does occasionally earn a few smiles, courtesy of Malkovich.

Nowhere Boy is a refreshing early look at John Lennon as a brilliant brat. Aaron Johnson ( Kick-Ass) makes a wonderful teen John, capturing a mischievous rebel and a pained youth torn between the stern aunt who raised him (Kristin Scott Thomas) and the sparkling mother who inspired him.

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