Please enable javascript to view this site.

Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image
RT @esquire: Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado Won't Be Defined by Donald Trump's Fat-Shaming: https://t.co/vKp5TlQgB7 https://t.co/Mj3Jq…

Peter Straughan Archives - ShowBizCafe.com

Peter Straughan Archives - ShowBizCafe.com

Karen Posada

By

2011/11/29 at 12:00am

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

11.29.2011 | By |

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

There are so many spy films out there that in order to appreciate a new one it has to have an element very few offer, ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’ has it but not enough to entertain for more than an hour.  The movie does well in drawing in the audience with its retro look and mysterious scenes but its game of cat and mouse starts getting boring.  The fine acting in it gives it appeal as well as the fact that it’s based on a continuous successful story: John Le Carré’s book and TV miniseries from the 70’s.

Le Carré gave director Thomas Alfredson his blessing to create his own version of this well-known story, he told him “Please don’t shoot the book or remake the TV miniseries. They already exist.” The story is about discovering a mole that has infiltrated the English Secret Intelligence Services’ most secure circle referred to as “the circus”; it is set in 1973 during the Cold War. This was a period where the whole world was shaking with uncertainty and none trusted their own shadow. The director did an excellent job setting the piece in the 70’s it could be easily mistaken for something done in the era with the sepia colors, fashion and environment.

The story begins with a secret job done by Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong) gone wrong and it opens up a whole can of worms. This incident puts George Smiley (Gary Oldman) into forced retirement, which he then is pulled out of in order to find the double agent inside the agency working for the soviets. Smiley works off the list of 5 men the head of the Circus “Control” had pinned down when he still worked for the service. These are all men Smiley has known most of his career: Percy Alleline (Toby Jones) code named Tinker, Bill Haydon (Colin Firth) known as Tailor, Roy Bland (Ciarán Hinds) nicknamed Soldier, Toby Esterhase (David Denick) and the last man on Control’s list is Smiley himself. Smiley is the perfect spy he blends in and is hard to notice at the beginning of the film where he barely utters a word, but as the film develops we see the beauty of Oldman’s acting while he gets help from the only two men he can trust Ricki Tarr (Tom Hardy) who shows up unexpectedly asking for help in exchange of information and Peter Guillam (Benedict Cumberbatch) an agent eager to learn.   

It is said Le Carré’s story was so successful back in the 70’s because the Cold War and espionage was something many people could relate to at the time, so hearing a real spy tell his stories was worth seeing. The same can be said of this film because Oldman does an excellent job to try to involve us in the story but there are elements in the movie that confuse and bore us. The technique of flashbacks is used a lot throughout the narration, which works, but when we have continuous flashbacks and back and forth opinions on who might be the mole it just starts getting unappealing. There is more than one interesting story tying the movie together but by the time we finally find out who the mole is we no longer care and we forgot what information was even given to the other side to feel relieved.

It is refreshing to see a movie involving spies that doesn’t have much action or gore, with a few scenes in exception. Unfortunately though I think we have become accustomed to a small dosage of either or both in order to enjoy a good story.  I see this more as a movie to pop in on a lazy Sunday as long as you are feeling awake enough to try to follow all the twists and chatter to figure out who the mole is. PS. Look out for Oldman’s favorite scene that he told us about in our interview, where he does a long monologue without the help of flashbacks a fine piece of acting!

Terry Kim

By

2010/03/23 at 12:00am

Men Who Stare at Goats

03.23.2010 | By |

Rating: 2.5

Rated: R for language, some drug content and brief nudity.
Release Date: 2009-11-06
Starring: Peter Straughan
Director(s):
Distributor:
Film Genre:
Country:USA
Official Website: http://www.themenwhostareatgoatsmovie.com/

 Go to our film page

The Men Who Stare at Goats is based on a book by Jon Ronson of the same title, and judging by his track record—Ronson wrote books with titles like Out of the Ordinary: True Tales of Everyday Craziness and Them: Adventures With Extremists—it isn’t surprising that Heslov’s movie is an hour and a half of paranormal activity (or something like it) inside the U.S. Military. Bob Wilton (played by Ewan McGregor), at first searching for a way out of his heartbreak (his wife and college sweetheart leaves him for his one-armed editor), lands himself in uncanny situations that cannot possibly be real… or are they?

 

Bob begins his adventure in Kuwait City, where he runs into Lyn Cassady (played by George Clooney), who will ultimately be the link to the story behind the First Earth Battalion. When the Cassady-Wilton duo courageously ventures into the deserts of Iraq, the first big thing that happens is a car crash, and into a glaring boulder in the middle of the road, no less. Not to mention that the first “help” they acquire is a group of petty thugs that want to sell this clueless American pair. For Wilton’s first big adventure, he’s doing pretty great. Once he starts to glean out some of Cassady’s stories, however, he realizes that the U.S. Military isn’t as tough as it looks.

 

Meet Bill Django (Jeff Bridges), leader of the First Earth Battalion, who uses his “education” (if naked hot tub sessions count as education) to get his men in touch with Mother Earth. Lyn Cassady is Django’s main protégé, and when a fellow Battalion member, Larry Hooper (Kevin Spacey) enters their Garden of Eden, things go terribly amiss: Django gets a dishonorable discharge, and even worse, Cassady stares at a goat so intently that it drops dead. Lyn has thus traversed into the dark side, and to top it off, Larry taps him with the “death touch.” But not to worry; all ends well, with Bill’s vision of Timothy Leary, and some military breakfast laced with LSD. Thus Bob Wilton emerges, cured of his heartache, and in tune to his inner hippie.

 

The director of The Men Who Stare at Goats is Grant Heslov. This is his feature debut behind the camera, but not his first opportunity to join forces with Clooney. He co-wrote (with Clooney) and produced Good Night and Good Luck and filled similar producing duties for Leatherheads. The two men clearly know each other and work well together, and it shows in the easy way this movie unfolds. Heslov is not performing without a net. Who better than Clooney to lend a helping hand – a man who has learned from Soderbergh and the Coens and directed three films in his own right (two of which he collaborated with Heslov)?

 

George Clooney seems to have walked off the set of Burn After Reading and straight into this one: the expressions and the speech are identical. Comments on the acting aside, the laugh-out-loud moments are worth the psychedelic overload. The attention, however, appears to have gone mostly into the dialogue, and the audience knows all too well that dialogue alone does not carry a whole movie. If you’re looking for more reasons—as if there aren’t enough already—to scoff at our former president, look no further than The Men Who Stare at Goats. It’s always fun to make fun.

P.S. Warning to all hamster owners: remember to keep your furry friends away from glaring men.

Terry Kim

By

2009/11/05 at 12:00am

The Men Who Stare at Goats

11.5.2009 | By |

The Men Who Stare at Goats

The Men Who Stare at Goats is based on a book by Jon Ronson of the same title, and judging by his track record—Ronson wrote books with titles like Out of the Ordinary: True Tales of Everyday Craziness and Them: Adventures With Extremists—it isn’t surprising that Heslov’s movie is an hour and a half of paranormal activity (or something like it) inside the U.S. Military. Bob Wilton (played by Ewan McGregor), at first searching for a way out of his heartbreak (his wife and college sweetheart leaves him for his one-armed editor), lands himself in uncanny situations that cannot possibly be real… or are they?

 

Bob begins his adventure in Kuwait City, where he runs into Lyn Cassady (played by George Clooney), who will ultimately be the link to the story behind the First Earth Battalion. When the Cassady-Wilton duo courageously ventures into the deserts of Iraq, the first big thing that happens is a car crash, and into a glaring boulder in the middle of the road, no less. Not to mention that the first “help” they acquire is a group of petty thugs that want to sell this clueless American pair. For Wilton’s first big adventure, he’s doing pretty great. Once he starts to glean out some of Cassady’s stories, however, he realizes that the U.S. Military isn’t as tough as it looks.

 

Meet Bill Django (Jeff Bridges), leader of the First Earth Battalion, who uses his “education” (if naked hot tub sessions count as education) to get his men in touch with Mother Earth. Lyn Cassady is Django’s main protégé, and when a fellow Battalion member, Larry Hooper (Kevin Spacey) enters their Garden of Eden, things go terribly amiss: Django gets a dishonorable discharge, and even worse, Cassady stares at a goat so intently that it drops dead. Lyn has thus traversed into the dark side, and to top it off, Larry taps him with the “death touch.” But not to worry; all ends well, with Bill’s vision of Timothy Leary, and some military breakfast laced with LSD. Thus Bob Wilton emerges, cured of his heartache, and in tune to his inner hippie.

 

The director of The Men Who Stare at Goats is Grant Heslov. This is his feature debut behind the camera, but not his first opportunity to join forces with Clooney. He co-wrote (with Clooney) and produced Good Night and Good Luck and filled similar producing duties for Leatherheads. The two men clearly know each other and work well together, and it shows in the easy way this movie unfolds. Heslov is not performing without a net. Who better than Clooney to lend a helping hand – a man who has learned from Soderbergh and the Coens and directed three films in his own right (two of which he collaborated with Heslov)?

 

George Clooney seems to have walked off the set of Burn After Reading and straight into this one: the expressions and the speech are identical. Comments on the acting aside, the laugh-out-loud moments are worth the psychedelic overload. The attention, however, appears to have gone mostly into the dialogue, and the audience knows all too well that dialogue alone does not carry a whole movie. If you’re looking for more reasons—as if there aren’t enough already—to scoff at our former president, look no further than The Men Who Stare at Goats. It’s always fun to make fun.

P.S. Warning to all hamster owners: remember to keep your furry friends away from glaring men.

Select a Page