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'Kicked' is trilogy grand finale

Published December 16. 2010 05:00PM

"The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Next" is the third and final film (not counting upcoming American remakes) in the stunning trilogy based on Stieg Larsson's best-selling novels.

Larsson's "Hornet's Nest' made many of the 2010 best-of book lists. The movie version belongs on 2010 best-of cinema lists.

"Hornet's Nest" stands alone. You can see it without having seen the two previous films in the series, or having read the books. Flashbacks and recounting narrative bring you up to speed.

What's fascinating about "Hornet's Nest" are the uncanny similarities between the film's Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist), crusading publisher of the fictional Millennium magazine, and Julian Assange of the very real WikiLeak.

While the connection isn't direct, Blomkvist's cyber-manipulation in the third film, as well as that of Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), the "Girl" of the movie title, in the previous films, is the new cyber face of espionage. The ultimate James Bond gadget is the worldwide web.

In "Hornet's Next," Salander is virtually inert, first in a hospital bed, recovering from near fatal injuries in the beating-fight with Alexander Zalachenko (Georgi Staykov), revealed in the second installment to be her father, and known as Zala, a former Russian spy who fled to Sweden.

Salander, next confined to a maximum security jail cell and then seated at her courtroom trial, doesn't get to kick the hornet's nest until Zala's henchman, Ronald Niedermann (Micke Spreitz), more menacing than ever -- especially now that it's revealed he's Salander's half-brother -- shows up for a Cain and Mabel sibling sting.

This is gritty, startling and extreme cinema, directed by Daniel Alfredson, who also directed "The Girl Who Played With Fire," from a screenplay by Ulf Ryberg, based on Larsson's novel.

"The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest'," MPAA Rated R (Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Parent Or Adult Guardian) for strong violence, some sexual material, and brief language; Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller; Run time: 2 hr., 27 min.; Swedish, with English subtitles; Distributed by Music Box Films.

Credit Readers Anonymous: "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" was filmed in Sweden, including Stockholm.

Box Office, Dec. 10: "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader," opened at No. 1 with $24.5 million, with "The Tourist" opening at No. 2, with $17 million.

3. "Tangled," $14.5 million, $115.6 million, three weeks; 4. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1," $8.5 million, $257.6 million, four weeks; 5. "Unstoppable," $3.7 million, $74.2 million, five weeks; 6. "Black Swan," $3.3 million, $5.6 million, two weeks; 7. "Burlesque," $3.2 million, $32.5 million, three weeks; 8. "Love and Other Drugs," $3 million; $27.6 million, three weeks; 9. "Due Date," $2.5 million, $94.8 million, six weeks; 10. "Megamind," $2.5 million, $140.2 million, six weeks

Continuing: Because of popular demand, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Next" is screening through Dec. 16 at Civic Theatre of Allentown's 19th Street Film series at Theatre 514.

The Girl Who Played With Fire" was also held over in August in the 19th Street Film Series, which also gave "The Girl Who Played With Fire" its Lehigh Valley premiere.

Unreel, Dec. 17:

"Black Swan," rated R: Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis star as a ballet dancer and her rival in a thriller directed by Darren Aronofsky ("The Wrestler," "PI"). The film opens Dec. 17 at Civic Theatre of Allentown's Theatre 514 and moves to Civic's main theater following the Dec. 18 conclusion of the "A Christmas Carol" stage show.

"Tron:Legacy," rated PG: "Tron, Tron, Tron ... Tron." Sam (Garrett Hedlun), receiving a signal from the old arcade, goes for a digital meet-up with his dad, Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges).

"Yogi Bear," rated PG: Hey, hey, hey ... Dan Aykroyd voices Yogi and Justin Timberlake voices Boo-Boo in the live action-CGI return with Anna Faris as a documentary film-maker back in Jellystone Park.

"How Do You Know," rated PG-13: Writer-Director James L. Brooks asks the musical question of Reese Witherspoon, who dishes it out between Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson, all watched over with hoary grace by Jack Nicholson.

Read previous movie reviews at Email Paul Willistein at: and on Facebook.

Four Popcorn Boxes out of Five Popcorn Boxes

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