Thursday, 8 March 2012

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - Phil's Five Words for Films

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy  There is no doubt that TTSS is a beautiful looking film, lovingly directed by Tomas Alfredson ( Let the Right One In - reviewed here ) but with its Cold War setting, pedestrian pacing and hushed dialogue, it is a film that requires total concentration.  Anyone expecting an action spy thriller will be very disappointed and anyone who has not read the Le Carre book or seen a previous version of the tale will need to work hard to keep up.  As a period piece, it looks and sounds great and Gary Oldman is moody, sombre and brilliant as George Smiley, a retired spy master hunting a mole within his team.  TTSS is packed with fine performances and directorial touches but the story is almost lost in the background of intrigue and mistrust.  There has been a lot of praise for TTSS but with a slow, dense 2 hour run time, it certainly will not be a film for everyone.  I enjoyed it but it's not an edge of your seat spy thriller, more an 'are you sitting comfortably',  thoughtful, puzzle of a drama.  Hard going.

7.5 out of 10.
Cert 15 (uk)
2011. Out now.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The Muppets - Phil's Five Words for Films

The Muppets  Just as the world had seemingly forgotten about the Muppets, Walter, their greatest fan discovers a maniacal plot to buy and tear down the Muppet theatre as oil is found beneath it. The only hope of saving the historic building is to reunite the old friends and put on one last inspirational, muppetational show.  So Walter and his friends, Gary and Mary, meet with a slightly depressed Kermit and get things started.  There's buckets of nostalgia, loads of famous cameos, singing chickens, old and new faces, Oscar winning songs and farting shoes.  What is not to like?  It's full of joy, laughs gently at itself and leaves you feeling glad to see the old gang back together again, cracking jokes, bursting into song and putting on a show.  All the old favourites are here, given a modern twist with some sharp writing.  It makes for a great family film.  The gang have been away for over a decade and the greatest challenge for the latest muppets film was to appeal to a new generation without trampling on the memories of those old enough to remember their previous outings.  Do they succeed?  Yes, of course they do.  Waccawacca.

8.5 out of 10.
Cert U. (uk) 2012