In Theaters:
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

When we last left Lisbeth Salander, she had faced down her father and half-brother – the former an empty-souled gangster and the latter a gigantic, remorseless, and compassionless enforcer – for a little family discussion that left everybody bloodied and scarred but somehow still alive. As shown in Daniel Alfredson’s concluding film of the Stieg Larsson mystery trilogy, the whole clan are not only tough to kill but sticklers for grudges and the enactment of revenge. It takes a bit for the plot’s motor to sputter into life, but once it does, the spirit of relentless justice (for better or for worse) makes for a far more satisfying piece of work than Alfredson’s dire, uninvolving film of the previous book, The Girl Who Played with Fire
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest opens in limited release today. You can read the full review at filmcritic.com.

In Books
Trespass

The introduction of every major character in Rose Tremain’s Trespass comes at you in a manner designed to cause a wrinkle to the nose. These aren’t evil people, for the most part, though they do precious little good that we can see. They are, however, a singularly amoral lot, knotted up with obsessions and cruelties – mostly of their own making but sometimes not – that blind them to the true needs of those around them…

Trespass is in bookstores now. You can read the full review at PopMatters.

In Theaters:
Gerrymandering

When a problem film like this wan effort from Jeff Reichert is unable to clearly and succinctly identify the problem it has wrapped its eighty-odd minutes of thinly-developed footage around, it’s hard to find much positive to say about it. And that’s well before Arnold Schwarzenegger makes his fifth or so presence to pontificate on the importance of democracy. Because he’s from Austria, which is pretty close to countries that didn’t have democratic governments, you know. Or something to that effect…
Gerrymandering hits (some) theaters today. You can read the full review at filmcritic.com.

In Books:
Skippy Dies
A novel that first wallops you across the face before settling in your mind like an unshakable dream, Skippy Dies takes an astringently comic take on the sadness of youth and the disappointment of adulthood while not forgetting that there is something of the magical in the universe, even when seen at its most cold and atheistic. It has some other things to say as well, about the meretricious nature of the modern age and the comic possibilities that occur when white Irish teenagers become infatuated with hip-hop, not to mention the powerplays that unfold in the tightly-scrutinized universe of a school. To say what the novel is about is somewhat limiting, though. Murray’s writing is such that it can’t quite be bounded by description, it must simply be read…

Skippy Dies is now for sale pretty much everywhere and should be read by pretty much everyone. Read the full review at PopMatters.