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All I want for Christmas/Reviews...maybe this year, Santa will bring me a weekly three-way podcast wherein I can discuss films with Misters Elliott and Marks. I would love to devote a segment to comparing the two versions (BBC and film) of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

I suspect that Elliott would side, admiringly, with the movie version hitting theaters now: he calls Gary Oldman's performance as George Smiley "a triumph," and lauds, "Details grip our interest: teeth dryly crunching toast, a buzzing bee in a car, the urgency of a bike’s bell, the sign 'Remember: Telephone Service Is Not Secure' deep in the entrails of the Circus, a nursing mother in dire peril, the sound of Julio Iglesias singing 'La Mer,' the subversive humor of the boozed Circus staff capping their Christmas party with the Soviet anthem. 'Nothing’s genuine anymore,' laments Control, but Tinker, crawling across its tense, clinging web of shame and betrayal, feels absolutely genuine."

Alas, he also declares that my beloved Tintin does not fare as well in the transfer to the big screen: "Boys aged 7 to 12 may enjoy the action. Anyone much older will drop into a funk. The movie is a crank up that just keeps cranking." Billions of blistering blue barnacles, indeed.

And who woulda thunk that the guy behind Dead Ringers could make a movie about the guy who put the Freud in Freudian and have it turn out boring? Yet here is Elliott on A Dangerous Method, "Though handsomely made, this is David Cronenberg’s most sedate, passive movie. While not supine on a couch, it is often listless."

In the capsules: Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Alvin & the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked.

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