24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Bil O'Reilly

'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo': Betsy Sharkey's film pick

January 12, 2012 |  8:30 am

Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo's" Lisbeth Salander, the pierced-punk-hacker-tracker with a post-modern grudge in need of settling, has fascinated me from the first time I waded through the priceless pulpy viscera of the late Stieg Larsson’s books.

In 2009, when the Swedish films came along and the excellent Noomi Rapace brought her to searing life, I couldn’t imagine another Lisbeth. Ah, but never underestimate the power of director David Fincher to bring polish and panache to the party, which he has done to exhilarating and harrowing effect in this season’s “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”

Actress Rooney Mara, haunted and hard, has given Lisbeth a new range of repressed emotions I didn't think possible. Meanwhile, Steven Zaillian’s excellent script has nicely bulked up Daniel Craig’s role -– significant in the book, downsized in the Swedish films.

With Fincher's deft touch, cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth’s stealth and speed set to chilling, thrilling music from composer Atticus Ross and Nine Inch Nails genius Trent Reznor (the three were part of Fincher's "The Social Network" success last year), it all works to keep Lisbeth’s world spinning darkly, violently, madly, wildly. Wow.


Betsy Sharkey's best film picks of 2011

More from Betsy Sharkey on 24 Frames

Review: 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo'

-- Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times film critic

Photo: Rooney Mara, left, and Daniel Craig in David Fincher's "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." Credit: Columbia Pictures

Jason Bateman has a message for Bill O'Reilly

August 17, 2010 |  3:37 pm

The Jason Bateman-Jennifer Aniston parenting dramedy "The Switch" has generated a war of words with Bill O'Reilly  that's been interesting in a culture-wars sort of way (while not, incidentally, being exactly hurtful to the film's publicity efforts).

After Aniston, whose character in the movie conceives a child through artificial insemination, told reporters that "women are realizing it more and more, knowing that they don't have to settle with a man just to have that child," O'Reilly responded with a barb of his own. Aniston's comments, he said on his Fox News show, are "throwing a message out to 12-year-olds and 13-year-olds that hey, you don't need a guy, you don't need a dad."

At the film's premiere last night, Bateman was not shy about standing up for his costar and questioning the cable host's world view. "She said something that isn't really shocking. She's a current woman," Bateman told us at the afterparty. "And he's reading from a very old book."  (For full premiere coverage, check out our colleague Matt Donnelly's report at The Times' Ministry of Gossip blog.)

The dramatic comedy, in which Bateman plays the best friend to Aniston's single mother, deals as much with questions of male responsibility as it does with single motherhood. But it's this second issue that's gained cultural traction.

Bateman said that O'Reilly's comments ran counter not only to Bateman's own values but what he thought the host stood for. "He has this TV show that's supposed to be supporting diversity and the many different ways we have of doing things in this country. And the fact that he chose to say that one way is not right seems pretty antithetical to that," the star said.

He continued. "She was gracious as always in responding to it, but the way he went about it seemed like a pretty unsubtle play for ratings."

After his initial roundelay last week, O'Reilly has yet to respond to Aniston, who subsequently told People magazine that "for those [women] who've not yet found their Bill O'Reilly, I'm just glad science has provided a few other options." Given the attention O'Reilly has put on a film he disagrees with, maybe he's decided it's wiser to stay silent.

-- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman. Credit: Walt Disney Pictures


The Switch premiere: On the red carpet with Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman

The Switch directors: We're not really sure what Bill O'Reilly is talking about

Bill O'Reilly slams Jennifer Aniston for no-baby-need remarks

'The Switch' directors: We're not sure what Bill O'Reilly is talking about

August 13, 2010 |  7:38 pm

As Jennifer Aniston and Bill O'Reilly trade barbed words about the virtues of single motherhood in Aniston's new movie "The Switch," the directors of the movie that sparked the debate say they're mystified by the talk-show host's critique.

"We're surprised that issue has any traction with the right," Josh Gordon, who co-directed the dramatic comedy with Will Speck, told 24 Frames as the pair discussed the movie Friday in their Santa Monica offices.

"This feels like culture battles that were fought in the '90's. It feels like 'Murphy Brown.' And Jen dealt with it years ago when she had a kid on 'Friends.' I'm surprised anyone on the right is still digging these bodies up."

The contretemps began when Aniston, while promoting "The Switch" last weekend, told reporters that "women are realizing it more and more, knowing that they don't have to settle with a man just to have that child."

"Times have changed, and ... what is amazing is that we do have so many options these days, as opposed to our parents' days when you can't have children because you have waited too long."

OreilHis moral hackles raised, O'Reilly fired back this week, saying that Aniston is "throwing a message out to 12-year-olds and 13-year-olds that hey, you don't need a guy, you don't need a dad."

In a roundtable he convened on his show, O'Reilly said that this type of thinking was "destructive to our society" and that Aniston is "diminishing the role of the dad." (Aniston then replied, telling People magazine that "many women dream of finding Prince Charming (with fatherly instincts), but for those who've not yet found their Bill O'Reilly, I'm just glad science has provided a few other options.")

"The Switch" tracks the story of a thirtysomething woman who chooses to have a child via artificial insemination, and the consequences that ensue when Jason Bateman's character swaps  his sperm for that of her chosen donor. The great novelty of the film might be that there's little novelty at all to single motherhood; indeed, much of the movie focuses on Bateman's character and his emerging relationship with the child when the boy re-enters his life as a 6-year-old.

"It's ironic what Bill O'Reilly is saying about the dad not getting enough credit," Gordon said. "If you see this movie you leave with this appreciation of how difficult it is for men to step up."

And while Speck/Gordon -- whose previous effort was the more broadly comedic but still gender-role-themed "Blades of Glory" -- were hardly looking to make a family-values picture, they say that at the front of their minds was the importance of a father’s role in parenting.

 "Ultimately, it's not a movie that charts the path of a single mother needing a man," Speck said. "What it feels like is the realization of these characters that when you have certain kinds of connections it can be beneficial to a child."

--Steven Zeitchik


Photos: Jennifer Aniston in 'The Switch.' Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

Bill O'Reilly. Credit: Associated Press


Bill O'Reilly slams Jennifer Aniston for no-baby-needed remarks

Jennifer Aniston fires back at Bill O'Reilly's baby-making barbs

Jennifer Aniston's real pet project

Bill O'Reilly apologizes to Shirley Sherrod

Clicking on Green Links will take you to a third-party e-commerce site. These sites are not operated by the Los Angeles Times. The Times Editorial staff is not involved in any way with Green Links or with these third-party sites.


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: