So, it's awards season here in L.A. I guess the movies this year were ok--not great, not terrible. Here is my personal rundown of the Best Picture nominees: The Artist--very lovely. I think it will win, as it was both artistic and heart-warming.
The Descendants--good performances, but ultimately a well-done Lifetime for Women flick.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close--I absolutely refuse to see this, and cannot even talk about it.
The Help--I refuse to see this, too, but I do love both Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer and hope they win.
Midnight in Paris, Moneyball and Tree of Life--I have to get my hands on screeners of all of these. Hugo--meh. War Horse--no.
OK, moving along. What I really want to talk about and what made the 2011 awards movie season memorable for me was...spy flicks. I always used to find them tedious and dull, but no more. I'm all about the spy movie, and there are three reasons why: MI4, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Haywire.
Like most of the 6 billion people on the planet, I was completely done with Tom Cruise and had ceased watching the MI franchise long ago. However, the rave reviews and the promise of Incredibles director Brad Bird intrigued me, and I went and saw it on Christmas Day.
I absolutely loved it! Loved the tongue-in-cheekiness of it, from the silly "madman with a nuclear weapon" MacGuffin of a plot to the opening scene where the team breaks into the Kremlin ("The Kremlin?") to all the classic MI gadgetry and inventions--a lot of which I found really brilliant.
After then entire Dubai sequence--which could have been a movie in itself--the sold-out crowd in the Cinerama Dome burst into applause. I don't think I've heard a live movie audience cheer an action scene.
Most of all, I loved seeing Tom back to his cool-as-a-cucumber, pre-couch jumping, pre-bat shit crazy self, when he was still repped by Pat Kingsley, and everyone could agree he was the most perfectly engineered movie star in history and possibly a machine created by special effects magicians somewhere deep in the wilds of Burbank.
I drink the Kool-Aid again.
The next spy flick I loved was Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. I was also excited for this one when I heard it was helmed by Let the Right One In director, Tomas Alfredson. Plus, I had never seen the British miniseries. Actually, I might have, because it was the kind of thing my parents would have watched, and would have made my eyes glaze over with boredom, dying to change the channel to something like Josie and the Pussycats--but I don't have any memory of it.
This is one of those movies that is s......l......o......w. Wow. The first hour was almost inscrutable, and my friend even turned to me at one point and said, "Do you want to go?" But I knew I had to stick with it. If nothing else for the fact that I had paid $16 to see the damn thing, and it was the first movie I was seeing in the Cinerama Dome.
But I was glad I did. When I realized the filmmaker was in utter control of the pace and pieces of the puzzle slowly linking together, I was like, "Man, that is craftsmanship." But the great thing about TTSS was that it serves as a complete antidote to a spy film like MI4. Actually, it's the antidote to every silly spy film ever made. It really illustrates how grimy, depressing and empty the life of the spy is--especially in the Cold War Era in which it takes places. The older dudes who pull all the strings are totally devoid of any personality or morality--or any life, for that matter. And the young spies, while still full of fire, are just desperate to get out of the game alive.
I thought it was all an interesting comment, not only on the spy business, but the institution of the corporation.
And this just completely kicked ass. Pun intended.
So, being on this new spy kick, I'm very excited to read this book. As the 4 or 5 of you who read this blog know, I'm a complete sucker for hip jacket designs.
I also plan to check out some of the classic spy films: The Spy Who Came In from the Cold, The Ipcess File, The 39 Steps, The Tailor of Panama and maybe some of the older Bond films. Maybe. They should tide me over as I anxiously await the new Bourne Legacy in August!
If you have any other suggestions for reads/flicks, please let me know! xoL