SPY VS. SPY VS. SPY

TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY (2011)
– 4 and a half out of 5 stars

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH! TOM HARDY! GARY OLDMAN! COLIN FIRTH!

Alright, I’m done with my screaming. This is such so British I love it!

Gary Oldman plays George Smiley, a retired MI6 agent who’s been tasked to find a mole among them. He engages the help of Peter Guillam (Cumberbatch) to finish what his old friend left behind – clues to the mole. Things get even more complicated after Ricki Tarr (Hardy) barely returns from his mission.

Actually, I have no idea how to describe the story to you all but it’s definitely intriguing. It’s set in the 1970s, meaning that the spy techniques used are really  old school – tapes, recordings from bugs hidden in lamps, undercover spies who are in danger of dying and getting tortured. Plus, it’s British!

The acting is real good – Gary Oldman barely speaks or smiles and yet his face says a thousand words. One of the sadder scenes was when Guillam sent away his partner after Smiley told him clear his unfinished business. And I gotta tell you, be prepared to see grown men cry.

“BECAUSE I HAVE A VOICE!”

THE KING’S SPEECH (2010)
– 5 out of 5 stars

King George VI: If I am King, where is my power? Can I declare war? Form a government? Levy a tax? No! And yet I am the seat of all authority because they think that when I speak, I speak for them. But I can’t speak.

The King’s Speech is a biopic on Prince Albert, Duke of York (Colin Firth) who later becomes King George VI after the death of his father, King George V, and the abdication of his brother, King Edward VIII. King George VI, who has suffered from a speech impediment all his life, meets Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), an Australian speech therapist, whose unorthodox and controversial methods of treatment put them off to a rough start. Eventually, the two of them form an unbreakable bond as Logue serves as a friend and part-time psychiatrist over the course of treatment. With the country at the brink of war and in need of a leader, King George VI would go on to overcome his stammer and deliver a radio-address that will inspire his people and unite them in battle.

Lionel Logue: I believe sucking smoke into your lungs will kill you.
King George VI: My physicians say it relaxes the throat.
Lionel Logue: They’re idiots.
King George VI: They’ve all been knighted.
Lionel Logue: Makes it official then.

I think it’s safe to say I was blown away by The King’s Speech. When it started with Prince Albert’s speech at Wembley Stadium, my eyes watered because you can see and feel how hard he tries to utter those words but it just wouldn’t come out. It was heartbreaking. The mood lightened up when Prince Albert meets Logue, whose unconventional methods (blasting classical music, jaw relaxing, rolling on the floor, singing and swearing among others) improves his condition. They soon become friends and confidants, which proves helpful as Logue helps find the root of Prince Albert’s stammer.

Lionel Logue: Do you know the “f” word?
King George VI: F-f-f-fornication.

One of my favourite scenes involves Logue provokes Prince Albert to start swearing, since his anger helps to fuel smooth enunciation, and the result is excellent. It also spreads a little to the titular speech at the end, when Logue mouths some swear words to ease the flow of speech.

Lionel Logue: Forget everything else… and just say it to me.

Both Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush delivered truly brilliant performances. You can literally feel the frustration and desperation of Prince Albert each time he tries to speak. Whereas, the character of Lionel Logue is animated and quirky without being over the top. I liked those scenes whenever both of them appear onscreen together. Meanwhile, there were a few Harry Potter alumni in the cast: Helena Bonham Carter as Elizabeth, wife of Prince Albert aka Bellatrix Lestrange; Michael Gambon as King George V aka Dumbledore and Timothy Spall as Winston Churchill aka Peter Pettigrew/Scabbers.

King George VI: ‘Cos you’re b-bloody well paid to listen.
Lionel Logue: Bertie, I’m not a geisha girl.

Go watch it!

As at time of post, Colin Firth won Best Actor at the 17th Screen Actors Guild Awards and 68th Golden Globe Awards among others and the movie leads with 12 nominations at the 83rd Academy Awards.

INVISIBLE

A SINGLE MAN (2009)
– 4 out of 5 stars

Set in 1962, A Single Man tells the story of George Falconer, an English professor who is trying to find the meaning of life after his partner of 16 years, Jim, died in a car accident eight months earlier. Waking up is painful and everything just follows a bland routine which holds no meaning to him anymore. He decides to commit suicide and sets about to get his affairs in order. In a meticulous fashion, he arranges his clothes and shoes for the funeral, letters to his housekeeper and best friend Charley, insurance and stock papers right down to the last detail (a note detailing his preference for the Windsor knot for his tie). On his last day at school, a student Kenny Potter (Nicholas Hoult) takes an interest in him and tries to get to know him better.

The movie has a very strong sense of grief all over it. You feel George’s sadness as he reminisces about his past with Jim and how mundane his life feels at the present. It’s quite amusing to see him trying to commit suicide because it can be quite difficult to find a perfect position to shoot himself. Kenny Potter, on the other hard, is a mystery. I cannot really tell which way he swings but I don’t think it matters because you can tell they kinda connect as individuals and in life, it is very difficult to find someone whom you can connect with. 4 out of 5 stars.

George Falconer: A few times in my life I’ve had moments of absolute clarity, when for a few brief seconds the silence drowns out the noise and I can feel rather than think, and things seem so sharp and the world seems so fresh. I can never make these moments last. I cling to them, but like everything, they fade. I have lived my life on these moments. They pull me back to the present, and I realize that everything is exactly the way it was meant to be.

Anyway, look out for Nicholas Hoult’s piercing blue eyes!

Nicholas Hoult as Kenny Potter

GIMME! GIMME! GIMME!

MAMMA MIA! THE MOVIE (2008)
– 3 out of 5 stars  

“You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life…
See that girl, watch that scene, dig in the dancing queen…”

I saw Mamma Mia!! A feel-good movie though I must say, I didn’t feel comfortable when they first started singing Abba’s songs in the first 30 minutes of the movie. I couldn’t really link them up with the story but after a few songs, you roughly get the hang of it. The male cast singing sounded a little odd to me; since you don’t normally hear Pierce Brosnan (former Bond 007 agent), Colin Firth (Mr. Darcy) and Stellan Skarsgard (William ‘Bootstrap Bill’ Turner in the Pirates of the Caribbean) singing Abba tunes. The photos of the cast in their younger days were hilarious, as is the ‘head banger’ term associated with Colin Firth. My favourite parts were when there was this ‘procession’ of womenfolk singing and dancing along to Dancing Queen, and the ‘mini-concert’ the cast had after the movie ended. OMG, they were all in spandex.