REVIEW: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Directed by: Tomas Alfredson
Written by: Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan (screenplay), John le Carré (novel)
Starring: Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Colin Firth and John Hurt

If you’re not prepared to donate every ounce of your attention to this film, then do not bother watching it.  Tomas Alfredson’s adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is one of the twistiest films to come along in years.

Like he did in adapting the vampire thriller Let the Right One In, though, he takes those narrative thrills and restrains them within his deliberately arranged frames until the tension boils over.  There is only one “action” sequence in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and it’s the rather clumsily constructed assassination of a spy (Mark Strong) sent to Hungary to find out the identity of a mole within MI6 (the British equivalent of the CIA).

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Five grossly underrated horror films

Horror movies are very taste-specific because it’s difficult to scare a big group of people in the same way.  Some get freaked out by gore, others by the possibility of it.  Other times, all it takes is a m enacing villain calmly inching across the screen.  Here is a diverse list of movies that you may have overlooked in the sequel-driven, often scareless age of modern horror.

Let the Right One In The Twilight vampire bump actually worked against this movie, causing many fans of horror to stay away from anything with two fangs.  Add to that the fact that it’s also foreign, and it is further doomed in American markets.  Let the RIght One In is a profoundly disturbing adolescent horror film from Sweden, one where a seemingly young girl (brilliantly played by Lina Leandersson) becomes much more.  It’s artfully done, to be sure, but the blood-letting helps it fit in with grimier-looking horror movies.

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Five movie characters who are older than they appear

This post is inspired by a recent cameo in X-Men: First Class that confirms for the film series what followers of the comic  have known for a while: Wolverine is older than Professor Xavier.  We thought it’d be fun to take a closer look at characters in movies that are much older than they actually look.

Wolverine (X-Men)- You wouldn’t think Hugh Jackman would be older than Patrick Stewart, but in the superhero universe anything is possible.  As Wolverine, he slices and dices through countless enemies (in a very PG-13 way, of course).  It’ll  come in handy when he needs to wait in line to sign up for Social Security.

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REVIEW: Let Me In

Let Me In
Directed by: Matt Reeves
Written by: Matt Reeves (screenplay), John Ajvide Lindqvist (book)
Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloe Moretz, Richard Jenkins, and Elias Koteas

Cinema purists (this one included) were dreading the inevitable day they would have to sit through an American remake to the beloved Swedish film Let the Right One In. It was the vampire movie that didn’t suck, and we’d be damned if Hollywood was going to take that away from us with a big budget redo with A-list stars. Some watchers would never let this one in; never consider the possibility that it could be good.  They’d be missing out.

As it turns out, Let Me In is a surprisingly competent remake of the excellent Swedish version.  Like so many other films, this one originated in literature, though the films are more widely known.  Matt Reeves, known mostly for Cloverfield, takes the story from Sweden to Reagan-era New Mexico.  A seemingly odd choice, but setting it in a desert during winter effectively recreates the barren Swedish landscape so vital to the mood of the original.

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ARCHIVE REVIEW: Let the Right One In

Image courtesy of Available Images

Let the Right One In
Directed by: Tomas Alfredson
Written by: John Ajvide Lindvist (novel & screenplay)
Starring: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragner, and Henrik Dahl.

In the age of Twilight, the once mythical mythology of the vampire has been demystified and defanged in order to appeal to tweens and easily-offended soccer moms.  Thankfully Tomas Alfredson sticks it to Bella and Edward in this bloody tale of a tween boy and the vampire he befriends.

Let the Right One In is a meticulously crafted work of art.  Each camera angle is deliberate in its haunting beauty, and each sentence  delves deeper into the characters or the story.   Nothing is wasted, a sign of a great independent filmmaker at work.

The story is kept simple, though it is filled with allegory relating to Swedish socialism.  Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) is a young boy who gets picked on at school because he is weak and timid.  He has no friends until a girl named Eli (Lina Leandersson) moves in next door and starts showing up after dark to help him solve his Rubik’s Cube.  The charm of these early scenes  resonate because of their simplicity and also because of the darkness that follows.

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