“Tinker”ing with a classic. One strategy: A cheat sheet for “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

My full reviews of several movies — including The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which has some sneak previews tonight and opens formally Wednesday — will be in the week’s print and online editions starting late tomorrow, but I wanted to give a head’s-up about one of the new releases: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. This is a throw-back to the Cold War thrillers of the 1970s, both in tone, topic and look, but what’s really interesting (aside from a subtle gay subplot you should be on the lookout for) was something not on the screen, but in your hand.

At the press screening last night, attendees were presented a “dossier” (above), a slickly-produced fold-out intended “for your eyes only,” but really an almost-necessary cheat sheet to the plot of the damn thing! As any fans of John Le Carre know, Tinker, Tailor was originally produced as a seven-part miniseries in the late 1970s, which gave the labyrinthine plot room to breathe. The filmmakers do a good job concentrating on the major points and telling a complex but cogent story, but the existence of the dossier made me feel they didn’t really trust audiences to give themselves over and figure it out for themselves.

Or maybe they just didn’t trust critics. I’m not sure if the “dossier” will be available at all screening when it opens at the Angelika Friday, but let me know! It certainly is a fun little novelty if nothing else.

And until then, don’t miss Dragon Tattoo!!!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Defining Homes: Need an intervention?

Believe it or not, some gay couples do not have that fabulous design gene in them. And if they are trying to move out of one house and into another, that lack of genetics will bite them in the rear. Do you fall into that category? Well, you may just have an out.

Not only has HGTV’s Real Estate Intervention been revamped with new host Cora Sue Anthony, the show is on the lookout for applicants to be part of their show — or really, in need of their intervention to turn that house around and sell it.

“We are looking for all kinds of homeowners,” publicist Avelino Pombo says. “We love to feature diversity and not only would we want to feature same-sex couples, but any other family that represents America. Whether it’s a family of six, a blended family or even a “modern family.” We want to see it all on the show.”

Although the show has collected all the submissions for this new season, Pombo urges couples to apply. After reviewing the applicants, the network will offer the top four in Dallas a much-needed design step in.

“We’ll definitely return to Dallas for another season because the city gets lots of real estate exposure,” Pombo says. “With the new talent, newer edge and more design, Dallas is a prime place for the show.”

Whether all you need is a decluttering or a paint job, or something major like a stunning bathroom or a brighter kitchen, Anthony and the rest of the Real Estate Intervention crew can help out. You may not even want to move after they are done.

And LGBT families and couples will have to come out of that design closet if they aren’t matching the throw pillows to the flecks of matching color in the curtains. Oh how the gays pride themselves on one a spectacularly designed home.

Right? “Well, same-sex couples seem to infuse that,” Pombo says.

— Rich Lopez

For more information, visit HGTV.com/on-tv/be-on-HGTV

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 4, 2011.

—  John Wright

BREAKING: Dallas police issue alert after man shot, robbed while walking to Oak Lawn gay bar

A 49-year-old man was shot during a robbery early Monday while walking to a gay bar on Oak Lawn Avenue, according to Dallas police reports.

The victim, Doug Tull, was taken to Parkland hospital, where he was listed in critical condition. Tull was walking toward Pekers at 2615 Oak Lawn Ave. at about 1 a.m. when the three suspects pulled up in a car. One of the men jumped out and demanded Tull’s money. When Tull said he didn’t have any money, the suspect shot him.

Tull managed to make his way to Pekers, where someone called 911. Tull told police he didn’t remember the exact location where he was robbed, but it was somewhere in the area of Shelby and Brown streets. The suspects are described as three black males in their early to mid-20s, weighing around 150 pounds and wearing white T-shirts and dark jeans. They fled eastbound on Oak Lawn Avenue.

Reports say Tull initially believed he’d been stabbed during the robbery. It wasn’t until he got to the hospital that a doctor discovered that Tull had actually suffered a gunshot wound below his sternum.

The Dallas Police Department issued an alert Monday night encouraging people to travel in numbers in the Oak Lawn area. It marked the first shooting of a gay bar patron in Oak Lawn since 2007, when a man was fatally shot near an ATM on Throckmorton Street.

Below is the alert sent out by DPD, as well as the full police report from the incident. Anyone with information about the robbery can call DPD at 214-671-4071. This is a developing story. Stay tuned to Instant Tea for updates.




—  John Wright