In which I blab about David and Ash and a little bit about Tumblr.
Time for Android talk!
(reposted from my less ridiculous blog over here)
Iron Man 2 is a messy movie with a lot of individually good scenes, which makes a lot more sense once you learn that it’s really two films mashed together: the second Iron Man story that Jon Favreau wanted to tell, where Tony Stark begins to spiral out of control as the world reacts to Iron Man, and the Avengers set up that Marvel wanted. While I’m not blaming the issues of this film entirely on the Avengers setups, they certainly don’t help.
So my friend recently saw Iron Man 2 for the first time. (She knows how late to the party she was, shh.) This is what she had to say about it. This is also a good excuse for me to point out that I love my friend. I am glad she exists, and I am glad she is my friend.
Today it’s another Batman themed edit but instead of the traditional mash-up, this video, with voice-over from The Prestige, acts like a brand new trailer for The Dark Knight Rises as well as Christopher Nolan’s trilogy as a whole.
Michael Caine’s voice-over narration from the opening of The Prestige works perfectly, and not just because he also happens to play Alfred in the Batman films - although that certainly doesn’t hurt - but because the ‘three-acts to a magic trick’ speech is a wonderful way to describe Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Of course, it could serve as an apt analogy for any of Nolan’s films (the very reason for including in The Prestige, a film that is as much magic trick as narrative) but when played over the chronologically edited images it is oddly powerful.
A lot of credit obviously belongs to Nolan, DP Wally Pfister and the actors for creating such powerful and indelible images but it’s still a well put together piece of fake advertising. The slow build of the voice-over which eventually gives way to the now iconic Zimmer and Newton-Howard score is really well done. The video was made by Dominaz3000 and posted on his YouTube page before making its way to reddit. Don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly not perfect, a few of the cuts are a little too on the nose, but overall it does an amazing job of building even more anticipation for the final chapter in the caped crusader’s cinematic saga. Not that it’s a particularly hard sell.
This came out too dope.
…not sure if propaganda.
I get really uncomfortable every time I see an ad for this movie.
Because… Dammit, lots of reasons.
I saw Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy a few days ago, and I’m frankly, shocked that this wasn’t up for Best Picture or Cinematography.
Okay, okay, I promise from here on out I’ll only talk about it on its own merit. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is incredibly dense and sometimes confusing, but it’s definitely worth it to stick with it. The premise is simple: In the middle of the Cold War, George Smiley, a former spy, is pulled out of retirement to find a mole within the British Secret Intelligence Service, referred to as ‘the Circus’, after the chief dies. The story is, of course, much more complicated, with a web of coverups and secret plans and a failed operation that got an agent shot. We get glimpses of the other spies through flashbacks and impressions of other characters, and there’s a point where you have a lot of pieces of the puzzle but no idea how they fit together. I remember getting restless around the 90 minute mark, but in the last half hour everything finally begins to come together.
Tinker Tailor requires careful attention from the viewer, but in return it presents a methodically constructed story. There is no scene without a purpose, no unnecessary shot, no useless line. One thing I noticed is that scenes often ended with a hanging question that is explained by the next scene, instead of a character responding with exposition. Not only does this streamline the dialogue, but it also mirrors a theme of the film; Smiley has been given an unanswered question to solve. There are also small details that may take more than one viewing to pick up on; I didn’t realize that Smiley’s glasses are different in flashbacks until it was pointed out to me, for instance. The cinematography is also wonderful; there is a scene where Smiley lays in wait for an enemy, and the camera switches to a first person view with the slight bob of each breath.
The last thing I must mention is the superb acting. Gary Oldman is getting the most recognition for his nuanced performance as Smiley, but I think the supporting cast deserves just as much attention. Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy are wonderful as younger spies, one who risks everything to catch the mole, and the other gone AWOL, but the real star is Mark Strong, whose last scene is perfectly heartbreaking. If you’re up for a slow burning, tense film, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a must see.
I was already looking forward to this, but now I’m really stoked. From this, it sounds like the experience of watching the film is actually quite similar to the experience of reading the book, in a good way.
I’d just like to take a second to say, if you haven’t read the book, do. It’s very, very good. I mean, it’s one of the greatest spy novels ever written, containing most of the tropes that fans of the genre adore, but retaining a level of literary quality, attention to detail, and both a faithfulness to reality that isn’t burdened by too much realism and an enveloping verisimilitude, that most thrillers never even try to capture. All of le Carre’s work does this(1), but Tinker, Tailor is a particularly good example; it’s contemporary to the cases of a couple of high-profile moles in both the British and American intelligence services, and is generally praised by ex-intelligence officers who have made the leap to public life (many of whom are now writers themselves) for faithfully capturing the atmosphere of despair, panic and paranoia which infested their work environments at the time. It’s fascinating for that alone.
(1) John le Carre is the penname of a former British intelligence officer. He worked at roughly the same time and in roughly the same job as Ian Fleming, whose work obviously went in exactly the opposite direction.
Saw The Artist this Thursday and I loved it, but to be honest, I’m having trouble articulating why. I usually can’t stand it when people use words like “cute” or “charming” or the phrase “has heart,” but really, that’s exactly how I would describe The Artist. It has that old charm of classic…
I absolutely adored this movie, and my friend the film major (with whom I went to see it) has done a much better write-up on it than I could ever hope to.
Fact 44: Bela Lugosi never blinks once throughout Dracula.
This fact provides some context, which I like. Without knowing that, his ever-present glare comes off a little heavy-handed, rather than what it is: seventy-five straight minutes of the face you make right before you lose a staring contest.
seventy-five straight minutes of the face you make right before you lose a staring contest
Priscilla Moran asks Forrest Stanley to bring home some candy while talking on the tele-vision-phone in Up the Ladder, 1925
IMDb: “The invention and practical use, as a plot device, of a “tele-vision-phone” in a contemporary, as opposed to futuristic, setting, in a film produced in 1924, and released in 1925, is nothing short of remarkable.”