Enigmatic and deliberate Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy makes no reservations while unraveling its heady spy story for better or worse. The film based on the bestselling novel by John Le Carre is purposefully perplexing effectively mirroring the central character George Smiley's (Gary Oldman) own mind-bending investigation of the British MI6's mole problem. But the slow burn pacing clinical shooting style and air of intrigue only go so far—Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sports an incredible cast that can't dramatically translate the movie's impenetrable narrative. Almost from the get go the movie collapses under its own weight.
After a botched mission in Hungary that saw his colleague Jim (Mark Strong) gunned down in the streets Smiley and his boss Control (John Hurt) are released from the "Circus" (codename for England's Secret Intelligence Service). But soon after Smiley is brought back on board as an impartial observer tasked to uncover the possible infiltration of the organization. The former agent already dealing with the crippling of his own marriage attempts to sift through the history and current goings on of the Circus narrowing his hunt down to four colleagues: Percy aka "Tinker" (Toby Jones) Bill aka "Tailor" (Colin Firth) Roy aka "Soldier" (Ciaran Hinds) and Toy aka "Poor Man" (David Dencik). Working with Peter (Benedict Cumberbatch) a conflicted younger member of the service and Ricki (Tom Hardy) a rogue agent who has information of his own Smiley slowly uncovers the muddled truth—occasionally breaking in to his own work place and crossing his own friends to do so.
Describing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as dense doesn't seem complicated enough. The first hour of the monster mystery moves at a sloth's pace trickling out information like the tedious drips of a leaky faucet. The talent on display is undeniable but the characters Smiley included are so cold that a connection can never be made. TTSS sporadically jumps around from past to present timelines without any indication: a tactic that proves especially confusing when scenes play out in reoccurring locations. It's not until halfway through that the movie decides to kick into high gear Smiley's search for a culprit finally becoming clear enough to thrill. A film that takes its time is one thing but Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy does so without any edge or hook.
What the movie lacks in coherency it makes up for in style and thespian gravitas. Director Tomas Alfredson has assembled some of the finest British performers working today and they turn the script's inaccessible spy jargon into poetry. Firth stands out as the group's suave slimeball a departure from his usual nice guy roles. Hardy assures us he's the next big thing once again as the agency's resident moppet a lover who breaks down after a romantic fling uncovers horrifying truth. Oldman is given the most difficult task of the bunch turning the reserved contemplative Smiley into a real human. He half succeeds—his observational slant in the beginning feels like an extension of the movie's bigger problems but once gets going in the second half of the film he's quite a bit of fun.
Alfredson constructs Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy like a cinematic architect each frame dripping with perfectly kitschy '70s production design and camera angles that make the spine tingle. He creates paranoia through framing similar to the Coppola's terrifying The Conversation but unlike that film TTSS doesn't have the characters or story to match. The movie strives to withhold information and succeeds—too much so. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy wants us to solve a mystery with George Smiley but it never clues us in to exactly why we should want to.
Ms. I-can't-keep-my-name-out-of-the-press Rosie O'Donnell will be hosting CBS' Survivor: Marquesas reunion special May 19, after the final episode of the current Survivor saga airs in New York's Central Park. She'll be taking over the job from Bryant Gumbel, who has done the honors for the past three Survivor reunion specials.
The show's executive producer, Mark Burnett, told The Associated Press that Rosie "is a fan of the show, she knows all the players and her infectious enthusiasm will add an unbelievable amount of excitement to the event." No doubt.
In the ongoing case against actor Robert Iler, AP reported Officer Brian O'Donnell (no relation to Rosie) testified at a pretrial hearing Monday that he found marijuana and a pot pipe in Iler's pockets when the young man was arrested for second-degree robbery last July 4. Iler, who plays the delinquent A.J. on HBO's The Sopranos, has pleaded innocent to the charges.
Actor Jason Priestley of Beverly Hills, 90210 fame escaped injury when his speedboat collided with another during the Fountain Miami Super Boat Grand Prix on Sunday. Priestley told the Miami Herald it was "just part of racing." Sure.
Mel Gibson was on hand Tuesday to celebrate the opening of a new theater at his alma mater, the National Institute of Dramatic Arts in Sydney, Australia. Gibson had donated a chunk of change to help build the theater, and AP reported the actor advised students there to "keep your nose to the grindstone and don't stop dreaming." Words to live by.
Wanna own a piece of Jerry and the gang from Seinfeld? Well, you can if you hurry over to Sotheby's in New York. The New York Post reports Sotheby's will be auctioning off 110 items from the hit NBC show, including props, scripts and costumes, mostly around the $2,000 range. Proceeds will benefit Hollywood Cinema Production Resources.
Someone get this girl some help. Former figure skater and new Celebrity Boxing champ Tonya Harding was arrested for drunk driving Saturday in Battle Ground, Wash., after she crashed her truck into a ditch. No injuries were reported, and Harding pleaded innocent in court on Monday. By consuming alcohol, she has also violated her probation stemming from a charge of disorderly conduct and malicious mischief after attacking her boyfriend with a hubcap in May 2000. Harding could very well see some more jail time.
In the Biz
The immortal line "Book 'em, Danno" may once again be heard by all--that's right, a big-screen version of Hawaii Five-O may be on its way. In an intense bidding war, DreamWorks emerged as the big winner on Monday, snatching up the exclusive rights to the classic '70s cop series, which ran on CBS for 12 years. It starred Jack Lord as the determined Det. Steve McGarrett, who, along with his trusted sidekick Det. Danny Williams (James MacArthur), fought organized crime and corruption on the beaches of Waikiki.
The next Marvel comic book hero to hit the big screen will be The Punisher. Marvel Enterprises, which is riding high on the wave of Spider-Man and Blade, will team up with Artisan Entertainment to make a film about Frank Castle, an ex-soldier not necessarily endowed with super powers but rather a single-minded determination to hunt down the crime syndicate that killed his family. No one has been cast as yet.
Actor Jim Caviezel (High Crimes) will be starring as the legendary American Revolution figure Ethan Allen in Rebels. The historical drama will center on a group of young New England rebels, including Allen, who become the first colonists to stand up against British rule. Most importantly, we'll finally find out the exact time Ethan Allen started making furniture.
Linda Boreman, better known as Linda Lovelace, who starred in the classic 1972 porn film Deep Throat and later became an anti-porn advocate, died Monday in Denver, Colo., of injuries she sustained from a car crash April 3. She was 53 and is survived by her two grown children.
Hundreds of stars are expected at the British Academy Television Awards in London's Theatre Royal Drury Lane tomorrow. This year's BAFTA TV Awards, which cover news, documentary and sports programs, will be hosted Chris Tarrant, who hosts the television quiz show Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?. The event could attract criticism if the current affairs spoof Brass Eye wins either of the two major awards for which it was nominated: best comedy and best innovation. The controversial program was the subject of thousands of complaints following a show about pedophilia, the BBC reports. The Television Awards will air on Monday, April 22 at 8:30 BST.
'N Sync member Lance Bass has some competition for his paid seat on a space flight sometime in October or November. According to PageSix.com, 40-year-old mom and former space-mission planner for NASA Lori Garver is also under consideration, as is 39-year-old Polish millionaire Leszek Czarnecki. Bass, you may recall, has already begun a documentary on his preparation for the 10-day mission called Celebrity Mission: Lance Bass.
Just when you thought Tonya Harding's life couldn't possibly take any more bizarre turns, the former figure skater was cited for drunken driving early Saturday morning in Battle Ground, Wash. According to The Associated Press, Harding crashed her pickup truck into a ditch and failed a field sobriety test and breath test administered by deputies from the Clark County Sheriff's office that arrived on the scene. Neither Harding nor her passenger was hurt.
In the Biz
Paramount Pictures was granted exclusive television rights to H.G. Wells' 1938 science fiction novel The War of the Worlds by a Manhattan Supreme Court Judge, Reuters reports. As trustees of the author's estate, Wells' grandchildren had started negotiations with Hallmark to produce and distribute a television miniseries based on the novel. But Paramount asserted exclusive ownership of the TV rights based on a contract signed by H.G. Wells' son Frank in 1951. In a ruling made public Friday, Judge Ira Gammerman said Paramount has the right to televise the motion picture since it has the right to produce it.
Lisa Bonet, who played Denise Huxtable on NBC's The Cosby Show, will not be taking part in the show's upcoming reunion next month. While NBC blames her busy schedule for her absence, Bonet told People magazine that she was uncomfortable with the whole vibe of the show, saying she was offered a "take-it-or-leave-it" type of deal. Bonet also went on to say she thought the reunion project "felt disingenuous and motivated by corporate profit" and that the deal made her feel devalued and disrespected. The episode airs May 19.
It's official: The Osbournes is the biggest hit series in MTV's 21-year history. Last Tuesday's episode was watched by 6.3 million people--up from 6 million the week before--and according to Nielsen Media Research, it's bumped professional wrestling as cable television's biggest show. MTV has three more original episodes on tap before the season ends and is talking to the family about filming another season's worth of shows, the AP reports.
The two surviving members of Nirvana want Kurt Cobain's widow, Courtney Love, to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, the AP reports. Bassist Krist Novoselik and drummer David Grohl want Love to be removed from the business partnership they formed in 1997, which Love argues should be dissolved because her judgement was significantly impaired when she signed it three years after her husband's death. A lawyer representing Novoselik and Grohl said a psychiatrist's evaluation would most likely show that Love was competent when she signed the agreement and that her competence has since deteriorated.
Always willing to embrace controversy, Grammy-winning rapper Eminem is appearing in the video for his new single "Without Me" dressed up like Osama bin Laden and spoofing the Sally Jessy Raphael Show. According to MTV.com, the song is the first single from Eminem's album The Eminem Show, which is due out June 4. The video for "Without Me" will debut in early May on an episode of MTV's Making the Video.
A new scholarship fund will be established at Park City High School in Utah in the name of actor Robert Urich. Urich, who was best known as Dan Tanna on Vega$, and his wife, Heather Menzies, were strong forces in the Utah art community, People reports, helping to raise funds for a performing arts center at the high school when Urich was alive.
Antonio Banderas received the first Anthony Quinn Award for Excellence in Cinema and the Arts Friday at the 10th annual Providence New Latin American Cinema Festival. Quinn, who was born in Mexico and raised in East Los Angeles, died last year at age 86.
Rusty Burrell, a retired sheriff's deputy who served as bailiff on The People's Court, died Monday at his home in Rosemead, Calif., after suffering from lung cancer, the AP reports. He was 76. Burell was a real-life bailiff during the high profile trials of Charles Manson and Patty Hearst, and joined Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joseph Wapner in the reality TV show The People's Court in 1981. The series ended in 1993, but the two reunited several years later to work on Animal Planet's "Judge Wapner's Animal Court.