Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – DVD Review

Film
It’s the Cold War and there’s a mole in the circus (the upper echelon of MI6). It is up to Gary Oldman’s Smiley to sniff out the mole and look miserable doing so.

The most understated film about spies you will ever see. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy doesn’t focus on dramatic chase scenes or explosions; this is a film about men mistrusting other men as they sit around in smoke-filled offices sharing suspicious glances. This is a British film of incredibly high calibre; from the acting of Oldman, Firth, Cumberbatch, Hurt, Strong, Hardy, Jones and friends to the fantastically textured production design. Tinker oozes class from its every pore.

The plot may not be the easiest to follow, and the final reveal of the mole comes with little satisfaction, but there is no doubt that this is a special film including a career defining performance from Gary Oldman. Why not spend a few pennies and class up your dangerously teetering stack of DVDs? If you need more convincing read the full review from last September.

Extras
For a change I’m not going to rant about the lack of extras on a DVD, everyone let out a sigh of relief. This DVD comes with a commentary from Gary Oldman and director Tomas Alfredson, some deleted scenes and a thirty minute interview with John le Carré, author of the original novel (as if you didn’t know). It’s not exactly a treasure trove of extras but as this is a film mostly made up of people talking in rooms (love it) there’s not much for a behind the scenes documentary to reveal.

Summary
Slow burning spy thriller of the finest British quality well worth owning on DVD.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy has been out on DVD and Blu-ray for ages, I’m just incredibly lazy.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy DVD provided by BBCShop.com

BAFTA 2012 Debrief

Last night BAFTA presented their annual film awards to an excited crowd of famous people, and I managed to forget that the ceremony was happening due to having a fun weekend and the fact that BAFTA somehow forgot to invite me along to the event.

BAFTA made some wise choices last night as they threw plenty of awards at The Artist, (Best Film, Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Film Music and Best Costume Design) and showed some much-needed love for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Outstanding British Film and Best Adapted Screenplay).

Meryl Streep took home an obvious win for her role in The Iron Lady making her Oscar win so certain it isn’t that exciting any more (and makes me think I should really make an effort to see the film). Christopher Plummer took home Best Supporting Actor for Beginners, a great role in a charming film which hopefully more people will seek out now that Plummer is winning awards all over the place.

Senna picked up Best Documentary and Best Editing making this the first year I can actually see what makes the editing in a certain film superior to others. As Senna was cut and pasted together from archive footage with nothing new being filmed for the documentary it is a pure feat of editing. It’s the equivalent of taking all of your old home movies and trying to cut together a BAFTA winning documentary, probably not worth the effort.

Further down the list of winners The Skin I Live In was dubbed Best Film not in the English Language and Rango won Best Animated Feature Film. Both films from my Top 20 Films of 2011 and both deserving winners, not least because I haven’t really seen any of the other nominees.

Perhaps the category with the most interest for me, partly because of the great talent taking up each space on the short list and partly because this was a category for which the winner was not obvious, was the BAFTA for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer. The award went to Paddy Considine for Tyrannosaur and is a great victory for a stunning debut. Frankly I would probably have had the same reaction for any of the nominees (though possibly not Coriolanus) as I have a lot of love for Black Pond, Submarine and Attack the Block.

For the full list of winners skip on down to IMDb.

Well done BAFTA, you did good.

A Few Obligatory Thoughts on the 2012 Oscar Nominations

In case you haven’t been lucky enough to have me mumble at you about the 2012 Oscar nominations in person, I thought I’d share with you some of my gut reactions to this year’s list of films of actor types that may win a fancy gold statue. For the full list of nominees have a look on IMDb, it’ll save me a lot of copying, pasting, and messing around with italics.

Extremely Lame & Poorly Reviewed
Somewhere amongst the nine nominees for Best Motion Picture of the Year is Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, the family drama about a young boy searching for the lock to match a key left to him by his father, a victim of 9/11. What makes this film stand out, beyond its terrifying poster, is that it is the worst reviewed film to get nominated for this award for the past 10 years. At the time of writing this potential Oscar winner has just 47% positive reviews over at Rotten Tomatoes with a pretty damning consensus; “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close has a story worth telling, but it deserves better than the treacly and pretentious treatment director Stephen Daldry gives it.”

Albert Who?
Noticing that a film called Albert Nobbs had gathered three nominations I decided to look into it. Turns out that Albert Nobbs is a woman in 19th century Ireland pretending to be a man in order to survive, and is played by Glenn Close. Curious to see what Glenn Close would look like as a man I bravely Googled on.

Thanks Glenn, I didn’t need to sleep tonight anyway.

Gary!
With Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sadly missing out on a Best Picture nod it’s great to see Gary Oldman getting his first ever Best Actor nomination, and not for his role in Kung Fu Panda 2. In Tinker Oldman ably held together a weighty bit of British cinema and showed hipsters that some people actually wear oversized glasses for medical reasons. What a guy.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Mediocre Biopic
With Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams both getting nominated for Best Actress, it seems that it really doesn’t matter how lukewarm the reaction is to your film so long as you give a scarily accurate portrayal of an icon. In a way it’s reassuring to know that no matter how mediocre the film you’re in, there’s still a chance to act your way above the rest of the film.

Plummer!
It’s exciting enough that the little seen film Beginners might get some free press thanks to Christopher Plummer’s nomination, but the fact that Captain Von Trapp has been nominated for Best Supporting Actor twice out of the last three years is almost too much too handle. Excuse the hyperbole, I’m tired.

Woody’s Back
Woody Allen has another hit on his hands as Midnight in Paris garnered four nominations, and three of them are the kind that people actually care about. Shame I have 45 Woody Allen films to get through before I’m allowed to watch this one.

How Could They Leave Out ________?
For every nomination which warms the cockles of your heart there will be dozens of omissions which are completely outrageous and terribly short-sighted of the academy, only in your humble opinion of course. For me there’s not enough love for Drive and Olivia Colman has been robbed, robbed blind I say! I’m sure you have your own opinions, but how can they be as important as mine?

A Few Surprising Screenplays
The fact that fantastic Iranian film A Separation and delightful silent film The Artist are both nominated for Best Original Screenplay, a category normally filled with English scripts filled with dialogue, shows a fun bit of diverse nominating from the academy. It brings to mind the fact that the only time Buffy was nominated for a Golden Globe for writing was for the almost silent episode Hush. For anyone not sure why I’m rambling about Buffy, why not have a look at what the script for The Artist looks like, you can download it here.

The Difference Between Sound Mixing and Sound Editing is…
The same as the difference between Drive and Moneyball, apparently. These two categories, for Sound Mixing/Editing, have always baffled me and no more so than this year where they share a fourfilmnomineecrossover.

Is the Animated Feature Oscar Just for Kids?
I had a theory that Best Animated Feature only goes to the most accessible end of the animated film genre. With a few “proper” animated films on the shortlist, Chico & Rita and A Cat in Paris among them, I look forward to being proven wrong. The absence of Cars 2 from the list gives me hope.

If nothing else, at least we’ll get to see this fella again (I hope):

Top 20 Films of 2011

As 2011 comes to a close is it my obligation as a film blogger to put together my pick of 2011’s releases. I’ve gone for my top twenty as narrowing it down to just ten would be too harrowing a task and my only rule is that they must have been released in UK cinemas during 2011. This takes us from The Next Three Days (absolutely not in the list) to The Lady and The Artist and is only limited to films I have seen. I’ve also chosen not to speak to the wider Mild Concern team, mostly due to laziness, barring watching Waste Land at Kat’s insistence. This was a decision I have come to regret considering the rambling you will find below.

The scene properly set, let’s get onto the list. Looking back 2011 has been a great year for cinema, here are my top 20 releases of 2011:

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Out Now – 16th September 2011

It’s a busy week this week and there’s at least one film worth getting excited about. Plenty to forget about too…

30 Minutes or Less
Jesse Eisenberg plays a pizza delivery boy forced to rob a bank with a bomb strapped to his chest. “Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, nudity and some violence.” Exciting stuff.

The Change-Up
Body-swap comedy starring Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds. I doubt this film brings anything new to this tired set-up but we are promised “a series of wildly complex difficulties”.

I Don’t Know How She Does It
A comedy about an amazing woman played by Sarah Jessica Parker. I bet they give her sums and she counts out the answer with her hoof. Burn!

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
During the cold war Gary Oldman must find the soviet spy in the upper echelons of MI6. With a first class cast of British actors there is no reason not to see this. We quite liked it too.

You Instead
For no good reason two rock stars get handcuffed together, for no good reason they can’t get them off and for no good reason romance blossoms. It’s not all bad though, it has a good atmosphere and is an impressive feat. Have a look at our review.

Atrocious (limited release)
Yet another found-footage horror film. No idea what manner of ghoul gets the family in this rehash of a stale idea and I’m not about to find out.

Episode 50 (limited release)
Film crew who disprove the supernatural come across the real deal when filming their 50th episode. Minor variation on the found footage trope.

Tomboy (limited release)
French drama following a 10-year-old girl who chooses to introduce herself as a boy when she moves into a new neighbourhood.

Turnout (limited release)
“Our story follows George and Sophie, they’re saving money to go on their first holiday together, the deposit is paid, and they have two weeks left to pay the outstanding balance of £2,000. Sophie has entrusted George with her holiday savings and is keen to settle the debt with the travel agents. The only trouble is, unbeknown to Sophie, George is flat broke. In a vain attempt to raise cash, George uses Sophie’s holiday money to fund an ill judged deal.”

West Side Story (limited release)
We have the musical we were lacking last week with this re-release of the classic tale of love between members of rival gangs in New York.