December 17th, 2011

little review

Poem for Saturday, The Nagus, Tinker Tailor, Ginter Conservatory

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I had a very nice Friday. Paul worked from home in the morning so he could get to the post office at an off hour and mail packages to his brothers for Christmas, so we had lunch together after I wrote a review of Deep Space Nine's "The Nagus" (neither my best work nor that of the show's writers). He had the afternoon off, so once we were done with work, we snuck off to see Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy in Bethesda, which I had thought we were seeing last weekend for my birthday but the producers only opened it in New York and L.A. for awards eligibility; it's still only in arts houses, which is confusing and frustrating!

It's hard to say too much about Tinker Tailor without spoilers, though I was "spoiled" about the ending from the original miniseries and that didn't have any negative effect on my viewing experience. I don't remember much about the acting in that and I do remember thinking it was a bit slow, so it's not like I had super-high expectations for the film to live up to, and I loved the remake. The acting is superlative -- you all knew I was going to love Oldman and Firth, but I thought Hardy, Strong, and Cumberbatch were all terrific in extremely restrained roles (so much so that John Hurt seems overly emotional by contrast). In some ways it's almost too constrained; the motivations of two key players remain largely obscured, and someone who should be a prime suspect just isn't enough of a presence to be so, despite being played by an excellent actor. But those are nitpicks, and the overall viewing experience is that it's completely gripping without needing explosions, chases, all the crap that clutters most spy movies.

Anyway, more about the film when more people have seen it and I can talk about the ending and the characters I liked best without spoiling everyone. My parents are visiting my sister, so we came home for dinner with Thing Two, though he had a long week and crashed right afterward. We finally watched the "Lancelot du Lac" episode of Merlin, which I really loved and did not find as disturbing as a lot of fans apparently did -- Collapse ) Then we watched Sanctuary, which had so many things that pleased me: magic water, a serpent, a Penn anthropologist, even Helen dealing with the insanity of having to live her life twice. Politics as usual is pissing me off, so here are photos from Lewis Ginter Botanic Garden of the displays in the conservatory based on the book The Old Tree:

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