Posts tagged ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’

April 8, 2012

The Ipcress File (1965 – Blu-Ray)

“Insubordinate, insolent, a trickster, perhaps with criminal tendencies… yes, that’s a pretty fair appraisal sir”

I’ve got a bit of a blind spot as far as Michael Caine 60’s classics go but I’m gonna put it right starting with 1965’s ‘The Ipcress File’. It’s fantastic and in spy film terms it’s like the missing link between the suave, fun, yet ludicrous Bond fair of the 60’s and Tomas Alfredson’s sober office bound masterpiece ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’.  Director Sidney J. Furie ramps up the tension with odd Wellsian angles or having the camera leer at the characters from voyeuristic vantage points.  This and John Barry’s slinky score and the creepy sound design all combine to disorient the viewer.  Caine is marvellous as the cheeky working class Spy Harry Palmer but Nigel Green as Harry’s stern mustachioed spy-chief is my highlight.  I’m maybe gonna check out the sequels including the outlandish looking Ken Russell helmed third film ‘Billion Dollar Brain’.

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March 16, 2012

Bronson (2008 – Blu-Ray)

Look, love. No one gives a toss about Charlton Heston. The man’s a cunt. You’re more of the Charles Bronson type”

My recent viewings of Nicholas Winding Refn’s ‘Drive’ and Tom Hardy’s excellent scenes in ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ reminded me that I should catch up with 2008’s ‘Bronson’.  It’s the life story of Michael Gordon Peterson (aka Charles Bronson) the “Most violent prisoner in Britain” who was first incarcerated in 1974 and is still behind bars today.

The Blu-Ray begins with the unusual option of listening to a rambling and menacing 15 minute audio intro from Bronson himself controversially recorded for the film’s premier without the knowledge of HM Prison Service.  Aside from a great Synth led soundtrack, ‘Bronson’ shares no similarities to Refn’s recent ‘Drive’ which is a great prospect for the variety of his future films.  I’d liken it most to Terry Gilliam’s ‘Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas’ in terms of its flare, colourful theatrical style and blending of outlandish fiction and outlandish fact.  Tom Hardy’s central performance is astonishing (As always!) for which he put on 19kg of muscle and talked with Bronson himself to get the look and sound just right.  Bronson even claims in the audio introduction that he shaved off his famous moustache and actually gave it to hardy to wear in the film!  By the end of ‘Bronson’ I’d enjoyed a dazzling feast for the eyes and ears but I wasn’t sure I’d learnt anything lasting from it.

You’ve gotta love a trailer cut to Pet Shop Boys:

February 14, 2012

TMTYC’s BAFTAs reaction

“I just want to thank The Artist for not being adapted from a book!”

The 2012 BAFTAs got it nearly right this year with seven awards going to my (And surely any other sane persons) favourite film, Michel Hazanavicius’ ‘The Artist’. It won for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Original Music, Cinematography, Costume Design and Original Screenplay.  Ludovic Bource’s Music was sublime, Guillaume Schiffman’s Cinematography was gorgeous and it was the overall greatest film of the year.

However, while Jean Dujardin’s charming lead performance was nothing short of stunning, he wouldn’t have been my choice.  Gary Oldman’s portrayal of quiet spy George Smiley in ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ was on a whole other plain of subtle minimalist acting.  Also Tomas Alfredson’s direction of that same film was similarly masterful and he should have walked away with Best Director. But I’m glad that a film as bold, beautiful and brave as ‘The Artist’ has been recognised by critics, industry and public alike.

I think the Academy made one grievous error by giving the Best Documentary to ‘Senna’.  It was good film but the past year was overspilling with great documentaries, most of which weren’t even nominated.  My pick would’ve been ‘Project Nim’ but ‘TT3D: Closer to the Edge’, ‘Tabloid’ and ‘Bobby Fischer Against The World’ are just a few other delights

Lastly, of course the Best Actress award went to Meryl Streep for ‘The Iron Lady’ (Any other result would’ve been ludicrous!). Now lets see if the Oscars in two weeks time can score a such a terrific ratio of hits to misses.

The ceremony is available to watch on BBC iPlayer for the next week by clicking here.