Cinema City Film Quiz #55

[25 September 2011]

Winning Team:
Back To The Future Poo

Genre – Environmental disaster movie, where in the future the sewage system cannot cope with the overburdening population’s waste. Doc Brown creates a time machine to send the poo back to the future

Runners Up:
Jaws XI
Genre – 3D Sequel directed by Max Speilberg
Tinker Tailor Soldier McFly
Genre – Harrowing time-hopping spy thriller with unfortunate incestual undertones.. and glasses
Doc Bollywood
Genre – Doc Brown goes to 80’s India with Marty McFly to reinvent musicals
Back To The Fuchsia
Genre – Alan Titchmarsh gardening tour of Britain in a delorean
Film Quizzes? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Film Quizzes
Genre – Marty McFly travels to the future to steal Matthew Stogdon’s brain

ROUND I: Pre-Production
1. What sport features in Raging Bull?
2. Who directed The Terminator and Terminator 2?
3. Daniel LaRusso, John Kreese and Mr. Miyagi are characters in which film?
THE KARATE KID (or, arguably The Karate Kid Part II.. or Part III)
4. Which actor played the title role (among others) in the Austin Powers series?
5. What is the title of the first Rambo film?
6. What typographical punctuation mark is used in the title for iconic comedy, Airplane?
7. Which two actors play Moses and Ramses II in Cecil B. DeMille’s, The Ten Commandments (1956)? (one point per correct answer)
CHARLTON HESTON / YUL BRYNNER [bonus point for correctly spelling Yul Brynner]
8. Who starred in Leon, Lost In Space and Batman Begins?
9. Which body part was famously hacked off in the original Saw film?
10. Which Meet The Parents cast member also served as one of the film’s producers?
11. Which of the following was Alec Guinness’ earlier release – i.e. which one came first: Oliver Twist, Kind Hearts And Coronets or Star Wars?
12. The theme for the Bourne series (Extreme Ways) was composed by which musician?

ROUND II: Filming [Back To The Future Special]
1. Who plays Marty McFly in all three films?
2. Which instalment of Back To The Future is a western?
3. Which lead actor did not return for the two BTTF sequels?
4. What is the name of Marty’s girlfriend? [bonus points for naming the actresses who portrayed her]
JENNIFER PARKER [Claudia Wells / Elisabeth Shue]
5. Which instalment of Jaws is showing in 2015’s Hill Valley?
6. In BTTF3 Clara and Doc share a passion for the works of which author?
7. What song does Marty play at the Enchantment Under The Sea dance?
8. How many members of the McFly family are played by Michael J. Fox in BTTF2? [bonus points for names]
THREE [Marty, Marty Jr, Marlene]
9. What is Doc Brown’s profession in the old west?
10. What year does Marty travel back to in the first BTTF?
11. What is on top of Biff Tannen’s cane in BTTF2?
12. To get the right performance, Zemeckis gave Christopher Lloyd the ‘wake up juice’ as it was described in the film (raw egg, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt and black pepper). True or False?

ROUND III: Post-Production
1. What was the first animated film to be nominated for the best motion picture Oscar?
2. Which of the following is not a character in Dances With Wolves? Wind In His Hair? Sitting Eagle’s Gaze? Smiles A Lot?
3. What is Hana’s (Juliette Binoche) nationality in The English Patient?
CANADIAN (French-Canadian also acceptable)
4. What is the name of the serial killer in Dirty Harry?
SCORPIO [five bonus points if team identifies Charles Davis]
5. The following quotes are from which film? “I’m not an agent, I just write books for the CIA” “Engage the silent drive” “Crazy Ivan!”
6. What was the name of the half-hour long precursor to the Evil Dead series?
7. In Bad Boys, when the convenience store owner refuses to believe Lowrey and Burnett are cops, they order a pack of Tropical Fruit Bubbalicious and what other sweet?
8. Who directed The Thin Red Line?
9. Richard Dreyfuss and Ron Howard appeared in which George Lucas film?
10. Through the majority of Young Frankenstein, how does Frederick insist his name is pronounced?
11. What is the name of Charles Kane’s estate in Citizen Kane?
XANADU [bonus point for correct spelling]
12. What is the name of James Dean’s character in Rebel Without A Cause?

ROUND IV: Promotion & Release
1. What was Captain Pierce’s (Donald Sutherland) nickname in MASH? Duke? Hawkeye? Trapper?
2. What was the number of the Death Star cell block holding Princess Leia in Star Wars? 1138? 421? 12202?
3. What is the nationality of the three lead steel workers, drafted for the Vietnam war, in The Deer Hunter? Romanian-American? Ukrainian-American? Armenian-American?
4. What is the name of the forest in Kurosawa’s Throne Of Blood? Dragon’s Den? Wolf’s Lair? Spider’s Web?
5. ‘The most devastating detective story of this century’ was the poster tagline for which film? All The President’s Men? The Enforcer? Network?
6. How many directors worked on 1925’s Phantom Of The Opera? Four? Five? Six?
FOUR (Rupert Julian, Lon Chaney, Edward Sedgwick, Ernst Laemmle – only Julian was credited)
7. What was the title of the sequel to Rowland V. Lee’s 1934 Count Of Monte Cristo? The Son Of Monte Cristo? The Count’s Revenge? The Count Returns? [bonus point for naming the release year]
8. The Right Stuff is based on the book of the same name by which author? Philip Roth? Sinclair Lewis? Tom Wolfe?
9. In what year did Gene Wilder die? 2008? 2010? TBA?
TBA (He’s not dead yet)
10. Which of the following Poitier films does not feature the character Virgil Tibbs? The Organisation? The Slender Thread? In The Heat Of The Night?
11. Who played the title character in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance? James Stewart? John Wayne? Lee Marvin?
12. After causing hassle for the costume department by losing 9kg through training, John Travolta hand-made his iconic white suit from Saturday Night Fever. True or False?


There Are No Clean Getaways

Nicolas Winding Refn

Ryan Gosling
Carey Mulligan
Bryan Cranston
Albert Brooks
Ron Perlman

Drive is very much a film of moments rather than narrative progression, so this plot description is going to seem very underwhelming. The nameless lead character [Gosling] is an expertly skilled driver who juggles three jobs as a mechanic, a movie stunt driver and wheelman for criminals. All three he executes with precision and ease but, most notably, an eerie unwavering calm. Outside of work, his life is incredibly Spartan but he appears happy to exist that way. After running into a neighbour in a local market, the driver dutifully carries her shopping. Once inside her home, we learn that Irene [Mulligan] has a young son, Benicio, whose father is currently serving out a sentence in prison. Over time, a very innocent romance builds between the two and Benicio instantly takes to the quiet, confident, tooth-pick biting gentleman. Running parallel to this is the more seedy actions of LA gangsters Bernie [Brooks] and Nino [Perlman] and their proposed partnership, sponsoring the unnamed lead as an official race-car driver. Once Standard (Irene’s husband played by Oscar Isaac) is released from prison, the driver instantly recognises that he can no longer continue seeing Irene and her son. The initial testosterone sparks between the two men feels like it will play a central plot thread but this quickly dissolves when the driver offers his services after Standard’s prison debts catch up with him. Soon, the central thread shifts from an awkward friendship to a white-knuckled vengeance list.

As far as praise goes, two individuals instantly take centre stage. First of all, Nicolas Winding Refn is an incredibly very primal director, whose previous films focus on man’s most carnal driving forces. In this instance, filming an adaptation of a novel, he has essentially been grounded by a plot (bolstering his trademark editing and flow) but retains his keen photographic eye and gorgeously executed shots. However, this is as much Gosling’s film as it is Refn’s – once cast, it was actually Gosling who sought out Refn and drove him around Los Angeles to get a feel for the city. Additionally, Gosling has come a long way over the years, much like Joseph Gordon-Levitt sticking with more independent films with greater stories and character portrayal. Throughout this hypnotic slow-burning film, his magnetism and charismatic calm completely carry the story from scene-to-scene, ranging from a very sweet, innocent romance to the most brutal and excruciating acts of sheer will power. To pen a review for this film and not make a Travis Bickle comparison is just too difficult, Gosling has proven himself very much a De Niro for this generation.

The whole thing is incredibly surreal and mythic, not to mention a complete nostalgic throwback to the early works of Scorsese, De Palma and Coppola with its generous pacing, anti-heroic (or arguably completely heroic) central character and abrasive violence. Another obvious contemporary comparison, so far as structure, plot and character development are concerned, would be the latest offerings from David Cronenberg, specifically A History Of Violence – with its slow building pace and achingly long stares interspersed by moments of brief shockingly graphic violent eruptions. From a technical standpoint, Drive is a marvel, utilising colourful, soft hues rarely seen in Los Angeles with clear, crisp imagery and inspired framing. Each scene is lit, arranged and moved through with a grace and beauty often found in independent art-house releases, while still conforming to mainstream expectations – kind of like a colourful version of The Machinist. Aside from the visuals, the audio production plays an intrinsically key role in audience immersion, with an inspired score and soundtrack, perfectly fitting volume and mixing levels and novel use of interior and exterior muffling – not only depending on camera placement but also to emphasise rising tension.

Of course, it’s not a perfect release and as developed as the supporting characters are (aided by exceptional casting decisions) the supports still fall in line with the expected framework and never really deviate too far. There’s also the question of the severe levels of violence, which are not only few and far between but also rather tame by contemporary standards. The thing that makes them agonising to watch has little to do with the blood and more the reactions and phenomenal foley contributions. All-in-all this is a very bold piece of work that harks back to a time when independent filmmakers made truly edgy and uniquely entertaining movies, the only problem (and it was the same forty years ago) is that the violent nature of the film usually cripples the release; which is a shame because this is a surprisingly beautiful body of work from all involved.

Release Date:
23rd September 2011

The Scene To Look Out For:
For a film of standout moments, it’s quite tricky to pin point one in particular without either divulging too many plot points or simply under-selling the effect. I think the most memorable scene is probably the first. Coolly and calmly, the driver explains what he is willing to do and then, flawlessly and without panic, executes it. From there, we are treated to a very stylised synth-heavy track and one of the nastiest fonts in bright neon pink. It sounds atrocious but the effect immediately sets the tone and is absolutely stunning.

Notable Characters:
As stated previously, Gosling gives a thoroughly commanding performance, channelling confidence, commitment, determination and dri… er… focus. Sorry, not a fan of puns or title referencing. Outside of Gosling’s efforts, I was incredibly surprised by Brooks’ presence (haven’t seen much of him recently) and role; deviating from his comedy comfort zone, Brooks genuinely comes off as a ruthless businessman but, when needs be, a cold-hearted killer.

Highlighted Quote:
“I know a lot of guys who mess around with married women, but you’re the only one I know who robs a place to pay back the husband”

In A Few Words:
“A stunning little release proving that Refn is capable of more mainstream flicks (not that he needed to prove anything) and that Gosling is fast becoming a legend of the independent circuit”

Total Score:



Family Is Worth Fighting For

Gavin O’Connor

Joel Edgerton
Tom Hardy
Nick Nolte
Jennifer Morrison

It’s so very difficult to make a decent fight flick. Rocky really set the pace, demonstrating if the drama takes precedence over the actual fighting, the final conclusion is that much more emotionally rewarding. Then Raging Bull came along and showed that the glory is not nearly as impressive as the fall. Finally, The Wrestler tugged on heart strings by demonstrating the overwhelmingly depressing/inspiring nature of dedication. These three are what I would consider to be the quintessential contemporary fight flicks; there are other valiant attempts (last year’s The Fighter for example) but few come close. Warrior, on the other hand, seems to combine all three, the underdog, the ex-fighter, the family man, the dedication, the gritty underbelly, the loyalty, the drama – all of it. What’s more, it does it exceptionally well.

Nick Nolte plays Paddy Conlon, an alcoholic who has been attending meetings and been sober for nearly three years. One day, completely out of the blue, his youngest son, Tommy [Hardy] appears on his doorstep. Having not seen each other for fifteen years, their exchange is naturally quite uncomfortable; Paddy, sober and desperate to reconcile with his son, is suitably hurt that Tommy wants nothing to do with his father. At the same time, we are introduced to Paddy’s other estranged son, Brendan, [Edgerton] a high school physics teacher facing foreclosure on his mortgage. In an attempt to raise the money, Brendan begins fighting in car park mixed-martial-arts bouts but once the school board finds out, he is quickly suspended without pay. As the story progresses, we learn that Tommy has in fact deserted the marines, after promising to take care of a fallen comrade’s family. Unbeknownst to each other, both Tommy and Brendan sign up for an MMA tournament that pays out five million dollars to the winner; Brendan trained by an old friend and Tommy (reluctantly) by his father. As the tournament unfolds, truths are revealed about Tommy’s past and the public begin to cheer on both contenders – but, naturally, only one can win.

As stated above, every fighting tick-box is checked but at no point does this make the film feel cheap, saccharine or force-fed. Driving this entire production are three key performances, that of Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte. Outside of the obviously gruelling fighting and training elements, the portrayal of two brothers burned by their father’s alcoholism and respective childhood traumas is genuinely wonderful to behold. Translating what is clearly a very close subject for the screenwriters, these actors completely embody and project that betrayal, lack of trust, insecurity and continual spurning of reconciliation. Aside from the stunning performances, Warrior is an incredibly well constructed film: the pacing is flawless, building momentum slowly before emotionally slapping the audience repeatedly, the camera work is a decent combination of stable and disorientating, without venturing into blurry ‘I can’t see what the hell is going on here’ territory, the cinematography jumps back and forth between suitably dark, grainy and gritty then bright and steady, neatly reflecting the lead characters. Essentially, this film achieves everything that didn’t work for O’Connor’s last directorial outing, Pride and Glory. The struggle, the family drama, the alcoholic father issues, they’re all present but cohesively meld together to form a stupendously solid and tender tale. On top of that, the score, while not overbearing or really that noticeable, seemed to decently contribute to the on-screen action, even if the execution was a little paint-by-numbers. Which would be fine, if the composer wasn’t Mark Isham, who has produced some incredibly impressive pieces — The Cooler Quiz Show and The Hitcher to name a few.

Of course, this film is far from perfect and although it deserves a meaty nine out of ten, there are some obvious gripes and flaws. First off, an area in which all fight films seemingly suffer, the supporting cast (outside the three lead males) are very two dimensional and serve a very singular purpose. Jennifer Morrison is the wife who doesn’t want to lose her husband but eventually supports him, Kurt Angle plays the unstoppable Russian contender (yeah, seriously, didn’t even realise it was Kurt Angle until the credits) who is literally just that, Frank Grillo plays the ever-supportive trainer and.. well, I could continue listing but there’s no real need, you get the idea. I really don’t think any fight film has it got it right because to ensure you keep the intensity and pace of the contender’s struggle through training, you can’t really sidetrack to supporting threads without losing an immense amount of momentum.

As far as family dramas go, Warrior is brutally compelling. I can only hope this movie deservedly finds an audience without being written off as another scrap-fest designed solely for immature men/boys.

Release Date:
23rd September 2011

The Scene To Look Out For:
When the brothers meet for the first time in fifteen years, there ‘s an exceptionally tense atmosphere. Brendan wants answers, Tommy meets it with hostility, the two go back-and-forth a bit and finish no better than when they started. Tommy clearly doesn’t have it in him to forgive any family member, not his drunk father or his brother who stayed with him, seemingly blaming them both for the death of his mother. Equally, Brendan knows nothing about Tommy’s life or suffering and demonstrates a clear frustration when his attempts to reach out to him are met with, “Why am I looking at pictures of people I don’t know?” It’s an almost agonising scene that I’m quietly confident anyone with a sibling can relate to at times.

Notable Characters:
It’s hard to say really, being two sides of the same coin, something doesn’t feel right about picking either Edgerton or Hardy. Neither one outdoes the other but almost compliments their respective performances. If I were to highlight the performance I was most surprised by, it would have to be Nick Nolte. I usually can’t seem to take the man seriously but I think everything Nolte is bled out in this performance and I would say it’s one of the finest moments of his career.

Highlighted Quote:
“You don’t knock him out, you lose the fight. Understand me? You don’t knock him out, you don’t have a home”

In A Few Words:
“Warrior is every bit as emotional, powerful and brilliant as you could expect and (despite the cliché) the best fight movie since Rocky

Total Score:



This Is Love

Glenn Ficarra
John Requa

Steve Carell
Ryan Gosling
Julianne Moore
Emma Stone

Crazy, Stupid, Love is brought to us by two writers – one of which directed the wholly average I Love You, Phillip Morris. This movie isn’t greatly different but in trying to pull itself up out of a wealth of mediocre rom-coms, Crazy, Stupid, Love makes a valiant attempt at creating something fresh. Naturally, it’s not a complete success but at least there’s something about it that feels new, despite clinging to an extremely familiar structure.

During what appears to be a standard night out, Emily Weaver [Moore] abruptly blurts out that she has slept with another man and wants a divorce. This utterly shocks her husband, Cal [Carell], but rather than becoming overly emotional, he bitterly shuffles aside. In an attempt to move on, Cal frequents a bar littered with young singles, one of whom, Jacob [Gosling] appears every single night, always going home with a different woman. Taking pity on Cal, Jacob calls him over and insists he will help him change his image, outlook on life and sexual prospects. Feeling he has little to lose, Cal agrees to the make-over and begins to learn the ways of Jacob Palmer – which largely consists of wads of cash, overbearing confidence and terrible one-liners; all of which seems to work. After a few one night stands, Cal sorely misses his wife and family, at the same time, Jacob starts to fall for the one girl who has shown a resilience to his ‘charms’ and the only girl he can seemingly talk about himself with. At the same time, we follow a support thread depicting the growing crush Cal’s son feels for his babysitter, and her feelings for Cal.

The main structural problem stems from the complete dismissal of certain characters at times. So rather than following everyone, we focus on one individual for half an hour, then suddenly leap to a completely different development and you can’t help but feel rather disorientated. Add to that incredibly disjointed pacing, gimmicky support characters and half-arsed editing and you’re pretty much lost. On top of that, there’s the contradictory element to the story. I’m sure the initial message was an upbeat one that illustrates no matter how hard life can hit you, things generally pan out.. providing you stay true to yourself. But that gets lost under layers of back-and-forthing and confusion before the lead characters simply turn to the camera and shrug, whilst laughing hysterically; as if to say, ‘What are you gonna do?’ obnoxiously. This probably comes from the fact that the script’s central relationship is that of a pair of divorced forty year olds, with a twenty-something relationship thrown in for younger audiences and a kid crush for the cutesy factor. In other words, it feels like the script was written as a divorce rom-com but needed various elements to spice it up and appeal to a wider demographic; which is unfortunate because the chemistry and frustration between Carell and Moore is certainly present and one of the film’s more interesting suits.

I had just started writing about the completely dismissible score but as it was so forgettable, I’ll just press on.

I think it’s fair to say everyone would agree the film is worth seeing solely for the amusing development in the third act, the one event that combines perfect timing with hilarious reactionary performances. But outside of that, the humour is largely flat and more often than not misfires completely. In a surprisingly commendable move, the screenplay tends to avoid the easy setup of simply making Cal the butt of every joke, instead Carell plays the entire thing as a straight-comedy/drama and subsequently adds a sense of realism to the story. In the same way, Moore could have been pitched as either a desperately jealous, resentful woman or a cold, manipulative schemer but she too portrays her character realistically, projecting an almost forlorn regret throughout. Other than that, the supports just feel like something to cut away to. Both Gosling and Emma Stone have amusing elements to their characters and although I’ve highlighted Gosling’s character below, neither actor really gets the chance to shine or convey anything other than a two dimensional, semi-predictable caricature. On the upside, the film ended rather well, with a pleasant (albeit confused) message and reasonable tone.

Release Date:
23rd September 2011

The Scene To Look Out For:
Desperate to get back to his old life, Cal begins breaking into his old shed and tending the garden during the night. I’m not entirely sure why I enjoyed these scenes so much, possibly for the fact that it wasn’t overly milked, but they were a surprisingly tender break which afforded a few decent moments.

Notable Characters:
Gosling’s character is a bit of a dick. As the film opens, you can’t help but hate the confident prick. But as the story progresses, you find yourself amused by the prick. I wouldn’t say we get to the stage where we root for him or in any way like his character but to portray an arsehole and find something affable about that is certainly a sign of good writing.

Highlighted Quote:
“The war between the sexes is over. We won the second women started doing pole dancing for exercise”

In A Few Words:
“Not nearly as bad as I had initially predicted yet despite avoiding the same old recycled developments, it still manages to fall short of anything greatly substantial”

Total Score:


Cinema City Film Quiz #54

[11 September 2011]

Winning Team:
Morris Dancer In The Dark

Genre – The tragic tale of a morris dancer who’s losing their sight and keeps hitting people over the head with his big stick

Runners Up:
Pan People’s Labyrinth
Genre – A harrowing story of becoming lost backstage on Spanish Top Of The Pops
As Hell Boy!
Genre – Following the horror of Norwich City’s fight against the giants of the premiership
Del Boytoro In.. The Pan Pipes Labyrinth
Genre – Del Boytoro and Roney Perlman try to flog CDs of pan pipe mood music outside a labyrinth
Bridget Jones’ Diary Of The Dead
Genre – She’s dying for a boyfriend..
Hello Boy
Genre – A science experiment goes wrong when a busty bright red demon materialises in the middle of the Wonderbra factory
Del Toro! Toro! Toro!
Genre – Tom Cruise plays the entire Japanese navy vs supernatural beasts at Pearl Harbour
Morris Major
Genre – An all-singing, all-dancing, WW2 Drama

ROUND I: Pre-Production
1. What is the name of the resort that Drs Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler are verifying in Jurassic Park?
2. The Bridge On The River Kwai is set during which war?
3. Ray is based on the life of which musician?
4. What was the full title of Harry Enfield’s Kevin & Perry movie?
5. From Hell depicts the actions of which serial killer?
6. What is the name of the pumpkin king in The Nightmare Before Christmas?
7. What was the title of the sequel to Conan The Barbarian?
8. Who played Shaft in the 1971 original and 2000 remake? (one point per correct answer)
9. What did M. Night Shyamalan direct in between Signs and em>Lady In The Water?
10. In what year was Big released?
11. Who wrote and directed Hellraiser? [bonus point for naming the villain played by Doug Bradley]
12. Who provided the uncredited voice for Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

ROUND II: Filming [Guillermo Del Toro Special]
1. In Blade II, the lead character is half-human, half what? [bonus point for naming the director of the original]
VAMPIRE [Stephen Norrington]
2. Who plays Hellboy?
3. Which Del Toro release was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar?
4. What was the title of Del Toro’s first big budget American release?
5. Which two Del Toro films are set during the Spanish Civil War? (one point per correct answer)
6. What object sits in the centre of the orphanage’s courtyard in The Devil’s Backbone?
7. In Hellboy II, The Golden Army is locked away in which country?
8. What is the name of the team of vampires that Blade has to team up with in Blade II?
9. What are the genetically engineered bugs in Mimic called? Gomorrah? Lazarus? Judas?
10. What is the Spanish title for Pan’s Labyrnith?
11. How does Angel kill Jesus in Cronos?
12. Hating the first Hellboy release, David Hyde Pierce demanded his name be taken off the credits and that he be released from his contract to the sequel. True or False?

ROUND III: Post-Production
1. 1995’s Village Of The Damned was a remake of the original by Wolf Rilla; when was it released?
2. In what three ways does Bogart disguise himself (when first approaching Agnes in the rare book store) in The Big Sleep? (one point per correct answer)
3. While confessing to a hidden figure in The Seventh Seal, Block reveals his strategy for beating death by utilising which two chess pieces? (one point per correct answer)
4. Who voiced the role of Max in Flight Of The Navigator?
5. Who played the title role in (and wrote the screenplay for) 1991’s Hudson Hawk?
6. Which of the following did not star in 1981’s Clash Of The Titans? Burgess Meredith? Honor Blackman? Maggie Smith?
7. What is the title of Ralph Fiennes directorial debut?
8. What film did Mel Gibson feature in after Mad Max 2?
9. What are the names of the three lead members of Spinal Tap? (one point per correct answer)
10. What was the last line in Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables, as spoken by Elliot Ness?
11. What was Terry Gilliam’s fourth film as director?
12. Schindler’s List features five languages, name them. (one point per correct answer)

ROUND IV: Promotion & Release
1. How many dogs do Det. Mills and his wife own, in Se7en?
2. Which silent film was the first movie to be shown at the white house, leading President Wilson to say it’s “like writing history with lightning”? Intolerance? The Birth Of A Nation? Brute Force?
3. What type of aircraft was the Memphis Belle, in the film of the same name? B-12? B-17? B-52?
4. What is the nickname given to the new First Sergeant, (Robert E. Lee played by Scott Glenn) in Buffalo Soldiers? Boss? Head? Top?
5. Who played Athos in 1973’s The Three Musketeers? Oliver Reed? Frank Finlay? Richard Chamberlain?
6. A look-a-like actor of which individual hands The Dude his bowling shoes in The Big Lebowski’s dream sequence?
7. What was Laurence Olivier’s directorial debut? Three Sisters? Henry V? Hamlet?
8. What is Jimmy Tudeski’s gangster name in The Whole Nine Yards? The Tulip? The Rose? The Dahlia? [bonus point for naming the actor who played Jimmy]
THE TULIP [Bruce Willis]
9. Which of the following actors have not portrayed Australian outlaw, Ned Kelly? Geoffrey Rush? Mick Jagger? Heath Ledger?
10. Which of Eisenheim’s tricks does Inspecter Uhl continuously try to figure out, in The Illusionist? Ghost In The Mirror? Orange Tree? Standing Sword?
11. ‘The strangest vengeance ever planned’ was the poster tagline for which Orson Welles film? Touch Of Evil? The Stranger? F For Fake?
12. Whilst filming Fight Club, Brad Pitt would often go tanning and lift weights, while Ed Norton would starve himself and let his body go to ruin. True or False?


Trust No One, Suspect Everyone

Tomas Alfredson

Gary Oldman
Benedict Cumberbatch
Colin Firth
Tom Hardy

There are times when I genuinely dread writing a review for a critically acclaimed film (especially a British production) which I didn’t thoroughly enjoy. The so called intellectual backlash and outcries of stupidity are, to say the least, frustrating. But at the end of the day, I’m a critic and if something doesn’t live up to expectations and hype, I am duty bound to report just that. So here goes..

After being forced out of British Intelligence, George Smiley [Oldman] is recalled from semi-retirement to investigate a possible double-agent working for Moscow. According to information retrieved by a man wanted on both sides, Ricky Tarr [Hardy], the mole is placed in the highest echelons of MI6, men that Smiley knows all too well. Smiley’s first action is to recruit Tarr’s supervisor, Peter Guillam [Cumberbatch], using him as a right-hand go to and information runner. Whilst quietly investigating the matter, Smiley looks back on key moments with his colleagues, hoping for some obvious tell that may indicate who was turned.

Being Tomas Alfredson’s first English film, the whole thing is a joy to behold. The cinematography is staggeringly beautiful, evoking a plausibly dank seventies London, whilst lending a physicality to the paranoia and insecurities within each of the characters. Speaking of characters, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is populated by a stunning cast but as the majority were simply in minor supporting roles, they felt largely wasted. Furthermore, their presence became a complete distraction, as if the entire plot-thread screeched to a halt as I muttered, “Oh, [insert British actor] is in this too!?” to anyone in earshot. Add to that glorious attention to detail without head-butting audiences with nods to the 70s that really submerge the engrossing story into a wholly believable environment. Outside of the visuals, the post war themes of paranoia, class divides and corruption – themes long since absent from cinema – make a welcome return without stifling the plot too much.

But despite nailing these key elements, a genuine sense of tension seems to have been neglected, leaving the plot to stagger around before stumbling over the finishing line. I think a great deal of that has to do with the shocking pacing and frankly disorientating editing. Don’t misunderstand me, though, I’m not talking about the multiple flashbacks, more the seemingly random decisions made with the narrative structure. In all honesty, the entire project reminds me of The Constant Gardner, not only because of the le Carre links but also for the fact that it was a well-written political drama, rife with key performances and critical praise that failed to really find an audience and several years on, feels a distant memory for most.

I agree wholeheartedly that this is an exceptional release and a beautifully crafted movie filled with deep, meaningful performances but I honestly couldn’t say I was particularly immersed or completely enjoyed it. Like certain works of art, one can appreciate them without truly liking them – a phrase I usually reserve for horrific plot subjects (Requiem For A Dream, Irreversible and Eraserhead to name but a few). No doubt it’ll receive showers of praise but ultimately I feel.. not so much disappointed, more underwhelmed. With a stronger sense of foreboding tension and actual urgency, I could have enjoyed the narrative more but as it stands, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is just a housing for a cluster of brilliant performances.

Release Date:
16th September 2011

The Scene To Look Out For:
Without a doubt, the key moment in the film, is Oldman’s recollection of his only time spent with the head of Russian intelligence, Karla. Midway through reciting a memory, Smiley completely forgets that Ricky is even in the room and begins re-enacting the entire conversation. As simple as it may be, the entire thing was enthralling.

Notable Characters:
Oldman offers a rather uncharacteristic and very subdued performance, from an actor we usually associate with a great deal of shouting and intensity. But no matter how good is performance is (and it is astonishingly good), he will always be compared to Alec Guinness and I personally don’t think his presence can be bettered. Then there’s the surprising treat that is Cumberbatch, a man who channels and embodies the sheer pride of what he does and the crippling fear of being caught.

Highlighted Quote:
“I don’t know about you, George but I feel thoroughly under-fucked”

In A Few Words:
“A masterfully constructed technical film with praiseworthy performances, sorely let down by a lack of vision, narrative direction and muddled pacing”

Total Score: