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.
Showtime certainly knows how to put on a show seeing as how they brought two of their biggest and wildest shows -- Dexter and Shameless -- and one of their newest shows -- Homeland -- to San Diego to tear up the Convention. Who better to celebrate the Southern California weather than with a serial killer's serial killer and the most dysfunction family you'll ever meet? Exactly.
Showtime trotted out Michael C. Hall, C.S. Lee, David Zayas, and guest star Colin Hanks to talk Dexter and deliver a sneak peak at the new season while Shameless saw William H. Macy, Emmy Rossum, and executive producer John Wells. The new series Homeland's panel had Damian Lewis, Mandy Patinkin, and Comic Con favorite Morena Baccarin.
First off was Shameless. Here are the need-to-know notes from the panel:
WHM himself comes on, looking EXACTLY like Frank. Showing some great clips from Season 1. (via Screenrant)
How he prepared for the role: "I started drinking in August...what was the question again?" - William H. Macy (via E Online)
"The road to Steve and Fiona being together will not be an easy one." - writer John Wells (via E Online)
"Fiona's very much in love with Steve, but there's not just one guy to fill in the gap when you leave. So there's James Wolk, but she'll be trying to figure out who she is, so there will definitely be some boys." Emmy Rossum (via Screenrant)
"As my wife says, the only way to get over someone is to get under someone." William H. Macy (via Screenrant)
When asked about kissing Amy Smart, Emmy Rossum says: "It's not full on tongue" & John Wells says: "Who doesn't want to kiss Emmy?" (via SHO_Shameless)
Amy Smart will be back on Shameless next season. Also, I'm fairly certain Bill H. Macy is actually drunk. No judgment from my end. (via E Online)
When asked about Season 2, John Wells says: "We are shooting in Chicago in August... gives show a different flavor." (via SHO_Shameless)
"Are we going to see more of the direction that Lip and Ian are going in?" "We're going to explore that in season 2. Lip is saying, why should I go when all my friends are here? Why should i use my abilities?" (via Screenrant)
"I'm so tired of answering this question. It's so inane that it's such a big thing." - Emmy on the nudity query. (via HitFixDaniel)
On Lip & Ian John Wells says: "Lip can get out but not sure where he wants to go... Ian wants to get out but doesn't have the skills" (via SHO_Shameless)
"It's so shockingly unglamorous what we do. It looks like a high-wire act on the screen, but when you actually do it it's very mundane." William H. Macy (via Screenrant)
John Wells says that Carl is modeled after his 10-year-old son Jack who broke four windows in one day. (via SHO_Shameless)
On Season 2: "A lot of loose ends to tie up & a lot of things beginning. Fiona is going to have to make decisions..." -John Wells (via SHO_Shameless)
Cast are in the middle of shooting the 2nd episode. Director is heading back to LA to continue shooting TONIGHT. (via E Online)
We made it through the entire "Shameless" panel without a single "Dragonball Z" query. (via HitFixDaniel)
Next up was Homeland. Here are the need-to-know notes from the panel:
EXCITING NEWS! Dexter Season Premiere - October 2, 2011 - followed by the series premiere of Homeland! (via sho_dexter)
Surprise! Morena Baccarin in the house (via E Online)
As Claire Danes is not here for the "Homeland" panel, I assume she's off receiving an award for "Temple Grandin." (via HitFixDaniel)
So looking forward to the return of secretly british Damian Lewis to TV. (via E Online)
Homeland seems like it shares great similarities with Stop Loss/Hurt Locker in terms of dealing with soldiers' PTSD and readjustment. (via LauinLA)
Last but not least was Dexter. Here are the need-to-know notes from the panel:
New Facebook Game for Dexter. "Slice of life" -you will watch an episode and then get to play the next day as Dexter himself. (via dhubs1)
Time to watch the first trailer for the new season of "Dexter." We start with Dexter getting ready to do his Dexter thing to a religious fundamentalist. Cut to "Person Jesus" as an always-awesome music cue. Brief glimpse of Edward James Olmos. Brief glimpse of Mos Def. Brief glimpse of Colin Hanks. Not sure I got much of a feeling for the season. But it was still creepy. (via HitFixDaniel)
VERY dark. Very spiritual. We just barely get to see Michael C. Hall. (via Screenrant)
Colin Hanks (Travis Marshall) plays coy: I can neither confirm nor deny any involvement on the Dexter program. (via E Online)
"Dexter has to deal with his son becoming a little boy. he needs guidance, and Dexter is ill-equipped for that... he's looking into spiritual guidance, because he thinks Harrison may need that." Michael C. Hall (via Screenrant)
The Lumen story is something that allowed Dexter to atone for the responsibility of Rita's death. He's been through that, he's processed it in his own way. We pick up a year later, and he's unplugged form that experience. he's back to his killing ways." Michael C. Hall (via Screenrant)
Producer Sara Colleton says that part of this season's journey for "Dexter" and Dexter involves our anti-hero's attempts to define faith. "It's done in true 'Dexter' style, so it's a lot of fun and it's through is prism," Colleton says. (via HitFixDaniel)
"Will any of the other books be put into a new season?" "Jeff Lindsey created an amazing original character. We took the first book with his backstory and evolved our own Dexter. Now we don't even read the books." Nice. (via Screenrant)
Dexter will be concerned that Harrison will inherit certain traits. Which we knew. Or maybe I'm just confusing it with the Arlene's Devil Baby subplot on "True Blood" this season. (via HitFixDaniel)
"Deb is very smart, but Dexter is smarter"--new showrunner Scott Buck re his sister finding out he's a killer. (via E Online)
When asked which season has been his favorite C.S. Lee says: "Yet to come because Masuka and Deborah have yet to get married!" (via sho_dexter)
"Fortunately, we've achieved a certain amount of cache with the show," says Scott Buck of attracting guest stars. (via HitFixDaniel)
Mos Def is asking an audience question! "I was wondering if you would mind if I could come up there with you guys." Mos Def coming on stage for questions. nicely done, guys. (via Screenrant)
What can Mos tell us about his character, Brother Sam? "I could, but then Dexter would kill me." (via HitFixDaniel)
"Has there been any thought as to how you might resolve Dexter's journey?" "We have yet to come to that time when we have to pin it down, but eventually the end will come. Everything has to end." Michael C. Hall (via Screenrant)
Will there be a "Dexter"/"Burn Notice" crossover? No. (via HitFixDaniel)
I think Mos Def is asleep now. (via Screenrant)
Would Lee be interested in Matsuka having a romantic relationship? "Well, according to Matsuka, his ways are romantic," Lee says. An impressive number of questions for C.S. Lee. But nobody has asked him if he's going to return to "Chuck" for its final season. (via HitFixDaniel)
"Masuka has some interns this year... women &men... go to Dexter Facebook this season to be intern of the week." -C.S. Lee (via sho_dexter)
Astor and Cody don't come back in Season 6, but they're still an important part of Dexter's life. We may see them farther down the line. (via Screenrant)
Yes, Trinity killed Rita. Apparently some people thought there was ambiguity there. (via HitFixDaniel)
"There's a moment in Season 5 where Dexter, without thinking, tells Astor that he loves her. That's a big moment for the character." Michael C. Hall (via Screenrant)
Michael C. Hall on baby Harrison actors: "They're all over the place now but they're going to be brilliant at some point" (via E Online)
"How'd I get on this job? I practice voodoo." -Def (via Screenrant)
Wild? You'd better believe it. But what else would you expect from Showtime?
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.
The Sopranos star James Gandolfini has married his partner Deborah Lin in an intimate ceremony.
The couple exchanged vows in front of family and friends at Central Union Church in Lin's hometown of Honolulu, Hawaii, on Saturday.
Gandolfini's best man was his 8-year-old son Michael from his first marriage to Marcy Wudarsk, which ended in 2002.
A wedding guest tells People.com, "There was a nice big kiss at the end with both hands on the cheeks. They looked great."
Gandolfini, 46, and former model Lin, 40, have been engaged since late last year.
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