Movies

The One Movie You Should See This Week

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Saw flies out of the screen; Stieg Larsson's Girl flies out of Sweden; and aliens fly to Mexico. Who gets your ticket money?

Saw 3D

Director: Kevin Greutert
Cast: Tobin Bell, Cary Elwes

You know how kids who torture animals have a higher-than-average chance of growing up to be serial killers or Republican vice presidents? Well, what happens to all the kids who grow up watching torture porn? Do they eventually lose interest in agony and death and go on to lead healthy, productive lives? (And, if not, how many more crime-scene investigators, morgue attendants, sadistic trap designers and future Saw sequel directors does America really need?) Me, I prefer my 3D suffer-tainment to be self-inflicted and comical (like Jackass) — but I suppose if one must watch gruesome grand-guignol butchery, this tired old series at least attempts to be clever about it.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

Director: Daniel Alfredson
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist

On the other hand, if you're the sort of person who prefers your tales of pain, killing, and general human unpleasantness to focus on more than just the torturey, murdery bits, the final installment of the Swedish cinematic adaptation of Stieg Larsson's Millenium Trilogy may be just right for you. For those who haven't read the books or viewed the preceding two screen versions of the whole Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Who Played With Fire saga, jumping into part three might be a bit disorienting, but for Noomi Rapace enthusiasts, this is a must-see (before David Fincher, Daniel Craig, and Rooney Mara team up to Americanize the franchise in 2011).

Monsters

Director: Gareth Edwards
Cast: Whitney Able, Scoot McNairy

Dubbed "this year's District 9" by unnamed flacks at the Internet Movie Database, director Gareth Edwards' tale definitely shares some DNA with last year's low-budget sci-fi sleeper: in a politically topical near-future Earth, extraterrestrial "anchor babies" have landed along the U.S./Mexican border, transforming the area into a militarized quarantine zone. Naturally, the film's intrepid (white) heroes (Whitney Able and Scoot "No, not Scott…I said SCOOT" McNairy) manage to get themselves stuck right in the middle of things, with "Awesome" results (according to the coming attractions trailer, Ain't It Cool News, and a majority of the critics at Rotten Tomatoes). Since I'm behind on my Saw and Girl sequels, I might as well start (relatively) fresh with Monsters' (relatively) original tale of tentacled terror and/or touchy-feely interspecies bonding as my pick for The One Movie You Should See This Week.

The One Movie You Should See This Week: Monsters