TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY
I saw Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy while recovering from surgery. I was not at my cognitive best, and I remember little about it other than that I enjoyed it. Sorry, friend. Not much good to you here.
MY DOG TULIP
My Dog Tulip is the animated memoir of a man who loves his dog about as much as a man can love his dog. Problem is, the man is a terrible dog owner.
The dog’s an Alsatian, which should live in a house with a big yard. The man lives in an apartment and wonders why the neighbors complain about his pet’s barking. The dog’s out of control, not properly housetrained or taught to heel, and her bad behavior alienates everyone around him. The man doesn’t clean up his dog’s waste if nobody’s watching, leaving landmines around his neighborhood. The list goes on.
Somehow, we’re supposed to see man and beast as the man does. We’re supposed to smile at the dog’s foibles and sympathize with the man’s “human troubles.” Me, I spent the whole movie waiting for Cesar Milan to show up and set this family right. 90 minutes of anger is not my idea of a good time.
Win Win, on the other hand, is my idea of a good time. Written and directed by Thomas McCarthy (The Station Agent, The Visitor), here’s a family drama with tension, humor, and pathos. McCarthy has a great pen and a gift with actors, and it shows.
Judging by the cast he’s assembled, he must also have serious credibility in his profession. Paul Giamatti (CDNW) stars as a struggling small-time attorney who shares a building with Jeffrey Tambor (CDNW), an accountant and his fellow high school wrestling coach. He’s helping his best friend (Bobby Cannavale, also of The Station Agent) through a rough divorce. Giamatti loves his wife, Amy Ryan (of ‘The Wire,’ which is required viewing) and his kids, but he’s swimming upstream and bills are due. Enter the great Burt Young, who presents him with an opportunity, a burden, and a threat to his entire life construct.
And away we go.
Here’s the thing that makes Win Win special: McCarthy casts legitimately great actors to play these people, and it takes the time to let us get to know them. Consequently, I felt immersed in their lives. I laughed when they laughed, cried when they cried, chewed my fingernails when they got worried. Win Win immersed me, engaged me, and moved me. I loved it.