Alan Dee’s review of this week’s new movie releases

IF all you want from a Boxing Day trip to the pictures is a nice soothing film that will allow you to snooze in peace, tough.

The big release hitting screens around the country on Monday is loud and proud of it.

After a frankly rubbish third instalment in the series, the Mission:Impossible team are back in the game after recruiting Brad ‘The Incredibles’ Bird to helm this latest outing.

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Brad’s never directed live people before, but with reliable performers like top talent Tom Cruise, Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg – an unlikely candidate for Britain’s biggest Hollywood export of recent years, but it’s probably true – in front of the camera he hasn’t got too much to worry about there.

What he does do is bring a new energy and vision to the franchise and although there’s no doubt that tiny Tom is still the star, straining for those stunts despite the fact that he now qualifies for Saga insurance, it’s Bird’s touches that make Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol worth your while.

Here’s the pitch, if you need it. The Kremlin gets blown up in a terrorist attack but the finger is pointing at Tom and his IMF team, who are then tasked with going under cover and clearing their name.

It’s the set-piece scenes that catch the eye here, particularly those involving the landmark ‘tallest building in the ugliest city in the world’ – the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

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If you don’t like heights, there will be moments when you’ll want to look away as the action unfolds 124 storeys up.

> So we all know about The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, don’t we? Quick recap – Swedish journalist pens three complicated thrillers about a Swedish journalist and his funky computer hacker chick sidekick, then pegs out before they become a global sensation. Film versions are made in Sweden, but they talk all funny so Hollywood has to do it again for those punters who can’t read and eat popcorn at the same time.

This time round, though, the usual ‘rubbish remake of classy original’ rule does not apply.

For the first in what must surely be slated as a series, the director is David ‘Fight Club, Seven, Social Network’ Fincher and taking the starring roles are Daniel Craig, still determined to show he’s got more in his locker than being James Bond, and the comparatively unknown Rooney Mara.

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The cast is first class and the film, which was shot in Sweden, looks great, but it does suffer the fate of many a big fat thriller turned into a slick movie experience – millions will have read the book already and be only too aware of what’s been chopped from the labyrinthine plot to fit the format.

Craig is a good choice as the gruff but doggedly fearless hack, obviously modelled on author Steig Larsson’s image of himself, and Mara, last seen The Social Network, makes a good fist of her challenging role as a disturbed and downright awkward leading lady.

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