“basically any james bond or “spy” film that involves a double agent and “finding the double agent”, right?”
Well, yeah, but the point of TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY is that it isn’t a “james bond” film. It resolutely strips the potentially cliched storyline of all Bondian excitement, seeking the ugly emotional realities and the battered and broken people who do that kind of work. Fair enough, it might not be much of a news flash now that films like CASINO ROYALE have upped the dramatic content at the expense of the typically Bondian wisecracks, but I found much to value in TINKER TAILOR’s rigorous restraint.
“seeking the ugly emotional realities and the battered and broken people who do that kind of work”
Agreed, that is why I loved the film so. I was watching a tightly structured society, almost like a family, fall apart. There was nobody I could trust but Smiley, and in many ways I feared Smiley by the end of the film. (even if you didn’t like the film, you must admit that the use of Julio Iglesias at the end was f’n brilliant)
Apostasy (Dir. Keisuke Kinoshita, 1948)
A schoolteacher faces his hidden lineage as a villager and is rejected by his small town for failing to be of the right caste. There’s nothing subtle about Apostasy, but Kinoshita does manage to wring a good deal of emotional truth out of the situation and he keeps the speechifying about equality to a relative minimum.
@ Axel -
“However, I think that sometimes the obvious choice is actually the right choice.”
I agree and in this case, I think the obvious choice for the ending was the one they went with because it fit in with the rest of the film. To all of a sudden end take a right turn and end with Smiley’s domestic issues would’ve been an odd contrast to what the film was actually about. I think this is what I appreciated the most about the film (and something Alfredson also achieved in *Let the Right One In) – that it is so measured and so confident in it’s direction that it never misses a beat, never takes a false turn. It’s so perfectly constructed that in both films, by the time the credits roll I’m thinking, “Wow, he nailed it; a perfect ten,” like he was an Olympic gymnast on the balance beam.
It was better than Munich, I’ll go that far…
hahaha – well I guess that’s something!
Tiny Furniture – 0 stars
This movie makes me hate cinema. Everything about it is awful. The mumblecore fad really needs to go away or I might need to find a new profession.
Tiny Furniture kind of annoyed me, but I didn’t find it unwatchable. What, specifically, did you hate about it? I might find myself agreeing with your points.
I really like a lot of the films that have come out of the mumblecore movement. Tiny Furniture is of course a really bad example. What I don’t like about Dunahm is that she somehow believes that she is the voice of her (mine as well) generation. And that’s bullshit.
Setting aside the accolades Tiny Furniture has received and the hyperbole surrounding Dunham being the next Woody Allen, I just found the film to be the perfect example of everything that is wrong with American independent cinema. This is the kind of film that makes me wish the 5D was never invented.
Lets start with the acting (which is really just an extension of the writing – see dialogue). It was completely clear to me that these were not actors nor were they even trying to deliver the lines in a meaningful way. It was like something out of a Harmony Korine film. It felt like a home video that you make when your ten years old and you ask your family to play various parts. If Dunham is so insightful and original, why does her dialogue come across as so mediocre and top of the brain? I’m sorry but I’m a stickler for dialogue, especially for this genre of filmmaking, which relies so heavily on the writing – specifically the characters (as opposed to the cinematography, production design, plot, etc.). These characters are completely uninteresting and in the worst possible way. Forget about the rich-white-girl-with-insignificant-problems-complaint. I don’t care about that. If the characters are compelling and the behaviors are identifiable, I can groove into anything. But these characters and the way they interact with each other seems so stagey, like they were literally reading cue cards off camera. And so I had a really hard time getting into the scenes because the one aspect that was supposed to be strong was not.
I didn’t even realize that this was supposed to be a funny movie until I read the back of the DVD case. I didn’t laugh AT ALL. I just stared at the screen, expressionless, waiting for something to happen. Anything to get me invested in what I was watching. And I never did.
I could go into the cinematography and some of the other stuff but I’ll leave it there. The whole film just made me angry because I find it disrespectful to the medium. I know that sounds crazy and elitist but there are legitimate independent filmmakers out there that have real talent with a camera, real insight in their writing, and they’re getting lumped into the same group as this charlatan? For some cynics they might look at Tiny Furniture’s success and think, “wow, if she can succeed with this crap, the competition must be scarce and I should have no problem getting my film funded and sold”. I wish I could be that cynical because when I see a bad indie film, it doesn’t make me hopeful, it makes me depressed.
I hope you at least watch Quiet City before giving up on mumblecore.
I don’t know Jazz. Yesterday it was The Sound of My Voice and today it’s Tiny Furniture. These movies just really upset me and I don’t know how much more I can take.
I haven’t seen those films, so I can’t comment. I wished you just listened to me and say QC first! ;)
My worry is that I may have become so prejudiced against these types of films that it may cloud my judgement towards any subsequent films I may see. I mean, maybe not. I do try to keep an open mind. I did appreciate aspects of Aselton’s The Freebie. And I wanted to see Katz’s Cold Weather while it was in theaters. But generally speaking, these types of filmmakers kinda make me barf.
Detachment (Director: Tony Kaye)
Easily the best of the year so far. Just wow. It has some flaws but doesn’t every movie? Incredibly moving and artful.
If you see just one “inspirational teacher movie” in your life, see “Detachment”. Adrien Brody is riveting in his best performance in years.
Cold Weather didn’t really work for me, but I liked what he was going for. I think Katz has talent, and I find QC would be inspiring for young filmmakers. I think you should also consider giving Frownland a shot, too. But whatever.
As for Sound of my Voice…. Seeing it Saturday and I can’t wait.
I personally love mumblecore :) :p
Re: Cold Weather
yeah, I wasn’t a big fan of Cold Weather either though Dance Party USA (also by Katz) is one of my favorite films ever.
I have Dance Party USA at home, but I haven’t seen it yet, though.
The Seventh Victim (Mark Robson, 1943) – wow, why did I never see this before. I guess any plot description will make it sound terrible so I won’t even try, but it’s a noirish chiller thriller which does a lot of things really really well. 9/10
Heaven Can Wait (Ernst Lubitsch, 1943) – I like Lubitsch a lot, but it took me a good half hour before I got even vaguely involved with this film. But once it gets off the ground – which not by chance coincides with the first appearance on screen of Gene Tierney – it’s actually quite good. 7.5/10
The Professionals (Richard Brooks, 1966) – certainly not at all bad – a very watchable and engaging action-Western – but I think I might forget all about it a month from now. 7/10
I think Tiny Furniture hits too close to home for Santino.
Well many of the purveyors of that mumblecore movement are getting older and no longer are of the same age group that they once represented in their films. They’re getting married and having kids so it’s obvious their films styles are going to progress from where they once were. Katz’s Cold Weather is a great departure from his earlier films, and to me, it’s his best yet.
India Song 1975
Marguerite Duras directs this unusual film
I don’t think Tiny Furniture is mumblecore. Its frames of references are very different and despite some thematic and economic similarities, it has a different aesthetic. It’s far closer to a Whit Stillman or Noah Baumbach film, just made on a much lower budget (I guess that’s why Santino hates it – he’s allergic to rich people filming their banal lives).
I don’t think it’s MC either. I was trying to make a case for the people who are actually involved with the movement. I don’t care to watch rich people bitch myself so that’s one of the reasons I don’t like it.
Wikipedia says Tiny Furniture is mumblecore and Wikipedia is the voice of God! For goodness sakes, Lena Dunham even LOOKS like Mark Duplass! hahaha
I don’t get the comparisons to Baumbach. Maybe Kicking and Screaming but not his more recent stuff. From The Squid and the Whale on, his stuff is light years more mature and sophisticated (and funny!) and anything in Tiny Furniture. About the only similarities that I can see is that they’re both in NY.
Mumblecore is an interesting format that’s unfortunately served by people who are too grating and quirky for their own good. The only two films I’ve seen that manage to overcome this are Cold Weather and Hump Day. Even Lena Dunham, while quite funny at times, lapses into a smugness that isn’t amusing in the slightest.
A film that isn’t quite as interesting as its central performances. I think it had admirable goals, and there are moments of true power, but we’re dragged through the self-indulgent indie “charm” a little too long for me to forgive its shortcomings.
“I don’t get the comparisons to Baumbach. Maybe Kicking and Screaming but not his more recent stuff.”
Yeah, Kicking and Screaming was what I was thinking (and since this is her first film, it’s really the only apt comparison). It’s a similar film of aimless recent college grads trying to figure out what their doing with themselves. K & S had the 90s pop-culture referencing sensibility that marked its Gen-Xness, Tiny Furniture is equally wedded to its time. And I really haven’t seen in an American film a female character in her 20s as believably fully fleshed out and recognizably flawed as Aura.