Last week, when I should have been creating syllabi, I went instead to Mission Impossible with Dr. Write. I must say, I found it terribly satisfying, until the very end, when it started all of a sudden to seem long. My son-in-law tonight pointed out that it was a physicist who was outrunning Ethan Hunt and bringing him nigh unto a terrible fate. A physicist--just one of several features of the film that strained his capacity to suspend disbelief. (Me: I loved Simon Pegg in that role! S-I-L: see, you have a a guy who's passed the field test, and he's a chattering moron? Me: not a moron, just nervous... ) I can see his point. Still: nothing like an extremely well-made action movie that's not wholly made out of gelignite and other explosive devices to make you feel that speed, strength, and nerve are what life is, or should be, made of.
On Friday night, the historian and I saw Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I bemoaned the fact that I had checked out all the other Smiley novels from the library, but was still waiting for TTSS to show up. Then, the library's robot e-mailed me and said it was in! So I checked it out, but did not and could not read it before Friday night. But that's okay. I've heard some people offer their criticisms of the film. It is not, apparently, as good as the Alec Guinness version. I can see this point. But not having that film to compare this to, I must say that I found this version terrifically absorbing and entertaining, and felt it added up quite nicely. It was great: after eating enchiladas for dinner and sitting through several bombastic previews, I felt a little sleepy during the opening scenes and I thought, dang, I am missing stuff that will be important later! and so I sat up a little straighter and tried to pay a little better attention. As it went along, I realized I hadn't felt tired for quite awhile, every scene seemed to pay off in some future scene, the characters were fascinating and they were many, and Gary Oldman is awesome. In conclusion: spy movie yay!
Saturday night, we saw Tintin. We probably should have seen War Horse. I am nervous about that movie. (a) it is a war movie (b) with horses which makes it likely that (c) I might find it unbearably sad. Layer onto this dreadful triumvirate of reasons not to see it the historian's reasons: (a) the history might be (b) bad or (c) wrong. So instead we saw Tintin. Now I have read some critiques of this film. One critic said s/he thought it was exhausting. I can see this point. However, I would argue that there is nothing wrong with this movie that chopping it into 15-20 min. long cliffhangers, and showing them before other movies, wouldn't cure. Memo to Steven Spielberg: consider doing this on the DVD.