Battle Royale - Blu-ray (2000) - Grade B
Click here to read my review for Battle Royale
Carnage - DVD and Blu-ray (2011) - Grade C-
Roman Polanski has almost never disappointed me and it’s been a long while since he has but manages to do so, finally with Carnage. Carnage has an A-list cast (three of whom are Oscar Award winners) starring in a one-act film version of a play that’s entirely predictable, grows more annoying every ten minutes, and shouldn’t have John C. Reilly in it because his acting chops aren’t nearly up to par with the those of his supporting actors. I’m not kidding when I say Carnage has only one act. It essentially ends right where it began and nothing new is learned that we as a society shouldn’t already know.
This film is a terrible disappointment.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - DVD and Blu-ray (2011) - Grade B-
David Fincher’s remake of the excellent Swedish film boasts terrific cinematography and excellent performances. I recommend it if one hadn’t already watched the original film. That being said, the original film contains a much smaller budget and feels more raw so its grit feel more atmospheric. This film version’s structure is flimsy and Trent Reznor’s soundtrack is, surprisingly awful but, again, it’s a good looking film and the performances are terrific (I find that Christopher Plummer was better here than he was in Beginners).
I recommend this film version of the film especially because it’s not darker in tone than the original film. Matter-of-factly, this version is more professionally made and far slicker so it has a lighter feeling to it. But it’s still a pretty good film.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - DVD and Blu-ray (2011) - Grade C-
It began as a John le Carré novel; then the novel was adapted as a 7-part BBC miniseries in 1979, starring Sir Alec Guinness; and now it has been adapted again but condensed to a 127 minute runtime. I haven’t read the book nor have I watched the original BBC miniseries but after I watched this film version, I felt that I needed to do so and quickly. This film version, although brilliantly shot, directed, and acted, is simply too slow to be interesting.
The story mostly follows a British secret agent named George Smiley (Gary Oldman – nominated for an Oscar for this performance in film) who’s informed that there’s a mole inside his circle and that he must flush him out. But when the mole is finally revealed at the end of the film I had no idea why that specific character was the mole and I didn’t care much, either. I was lost throughout the film, and from early on, and find that not wanting to revisit the film in order to entirely understand it is definitely a failure. The film is gorgeous to look at but is terribly dry and I don’t recommend it as more than a cheap rental because it might still find an audience and because it co-stars John Hurt, Colin Firth, Toby Jones, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong, Stephen Graham, Tom Hardy, and Ciarán Hinds.