A Mixed Bag

As I mentioned yesterday, I was at Greenwich Picturehouse last night to see Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Critical reaction to this film towards this film adaptation of the John Le Carré (7 months later he finds the “custom character” option) has been overwhelmingly positive. Aside from David Sexton in the Evening Standard. He found Gary Oldman’s performance less than endearing and felt that the pace of the film was a little too slow. Although I would agree that, in the main, Oldman’s restrained performance is not that endearing, I’m not sure what impact that should have on one’s enjoyment of this particular film. As for the slowness of the film, the slowest of slow burns, I have to say that I found it gripping. There’s not much in the way of action set pieces, almost nothing in fact- the closest we get is a sequence involving Benedict Cumberbatch’s attempt to… well, you’ll have to go and see it to find out.

And you should go and see it because it is an absolutely gripping, absorbing movie. Plus it features what I reckon to be Mark Strong and Colin Firth’s first appearance in a film together since 1997’s Fever Pitch. Not that that’s a real reason, of course, but Tom Hardy’s performance is.

Across town, of course Arsenal were up against the might of Shrewsbury Town in the Carling Cup. We came out of the cinema at about half eight and, naturally, the first thing I did was check my phone. I have previous with going to the cinema whilst Arsenal are playing, sad but true. On a February afternoon earlier this year, I left the Beckenham Odeon having watched the King’s Speech to discover that Arsenal had blown that 4 goal lead at Newcastle. All of which is to say that I wasn’t so shocked to see that we were drawing one all, having gone a goal down. Jo was, I had to swear on both my life and hers before she would believe me.

By the time we got home, the Ox had scored what turned out to be a cracking first goal from the club- the first goal scored from outside the box at the Grove for what seems like forever. Sounds like he played very well too. Yossi Benayoun put a finishing gloss on the scoreline from close in. Added to Kieran Gibbs headed equaliser, three players opened their Arsenal accounts last night, added to Arteta and Gervinho at the weekend, that’s something positive. Well, I reckon it counts.. Round 4 beckons and next up for Arsenal, another home game. Bolton Wanderers have the potential to make life very difficult for a club apparently on its knees right now, so those of us attending the match will have to make like the 46,000 (since when is 46,000 at a Carling Cup match a cause for derision?)  at the game last night and get behind the team.

Later with Jools Holland opened up a new series last night… with fucking Snow Patrol. In Nick Hornby’s novel High Fidelity, Rob, Barry and Dick discuss who they would shoot come the musical revolution. Obviously, U2 are pretty high up that list, as are Simple Minds and the Beatles. I reckon, in an updated High Fidelity, Snow Patrol would be on top of the list- next to U2 and Coldplay of course. What is it you want to say, Gary Lightbody? You’re not saying anything. In fact, you’re just boring everyone. What makes it worse is when there are actually bands on the show that you do want to hear, like Little Dragon and they get less time than dross, just because it’s dross that sells. Or Duke Spirit- not that Duke Spirit’s rendition of Surrender was actually that impressive. Well, call it what it was, vocally weak. I do like the song though, a lot. Front room consensus was that Little Dragon could have performed a much better song than the one they chose and so Roy Harper, as in Hats Off (to Roy Harper) from Led Zeppelin III, took the honours.

Having finished Julius Caesar yesterday evening- with its pretty abrupt run of assisted suicides (Shakespeare, clearly, was well ahead of his time) I’m now moving onto Mark Kermode’s The Good, The Bad and the Multiplex. I’m hoping that it will be as much fun as his weekly podcasts with Simon Mayo. Or, come to that, his previous book, It’s Only A Movie. I’m sure it will be.

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