Posts Tagged ‘sherlock holmes

30
Dec
09

Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes

Winding his way down on Baker Street…

Starring Robert Downey, Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, and Mark Strong. Directed by Guy Ritchie. Based on the characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Sherlock Holmes is back in the latest adaptation from director Guy Ritchie. The story begins with the illustrious English detective (Robert Downey, Jr.) infiltrating a building’s basement, slowly closing in on a sacred ceremony. Friend and assistant Dr. John Watson (Law) is blocks away and not far behind, bringing with him Scotland Yard’s finest presided over by Inspector Lestrade (Eddie Marsan). Meanwhile, back at the ceremony, a woman in a white dress lies on a stone slab and convulses as incantations are muttered by guys in black robes surrounding her. Watson quickly joins Holmes and they stop the ceremony, arresting its leader Lord Blackwell (Strong).

Blackwell is tried, convicted and sentenced to hang. For his last request he calls for Holmes. Holmes is in a slump, having no clientele for weeks and spending time with experimentation over socialization. Watson is moving out and planning to wed Mary Morstan (Kelly Reilly). Answering the request Holmes visits Blackwell at prison who tells him that three people will die and he cannot do a thing about it. Also, Holmes will question his sanity and he will rise from the grave. Blackwell is subsequently hanged and Watson confirms that he’s dead.

Or is he? Holmes and Watson are called down to the cemetery because Blackwell has apparently risen from the grave. Preceding that long-lost love and cat burglar Irene Adler (McAdams) re-enters Holmes’ life. She needs him to find out about a guy named Reordan (Oran Gurel). Who she is working for and why is a mystery. Holmes finds Reordan in Blackwell’s coffin and while the whole scene looks like dark magic, to Holmes it smells like something else. Holmes is then abducted by a Secret Society that keeps order in England and who are afraid of Lord Blackwell as well as the black magic he wields.

Caught between a conspiracy, a secret order, and dark magic, Holmes and Company must keep themselves alive long enough to figure it all out. When Irene is nearly cut to pieces Holmes gets away unscathed –until barrels filled with explosives almost take his life, along with Watson and Adler. He’s woken to find that Blackwell, who is now calling the shots over Scotland Yard, wants him brought to his justice. The game is afoot (had to put that somewhere in here) as Holmes uses his wits, strength, and powers of deduction to stop Blackwell and save Parliament.

I liked it. It may not be the best movie of the year (ok, it’s not) but it’s far from the worst and a decent addition to the Sherlock Holmes catalog. I found the movie to be entertaining, witty, funny at times, and decently original.

Let me start off with what worked for the movie. First, it’s difficult to have a character such as Sherlock Holmes and “re-invent” him. The guy has been in movies since 1905 and TV since its inception; Basil Rathbone is the most renown of actors to have played him. Add to that our society’s cynicism (I’m not saying it isn’t undue) about re-inventing characters for franchise (Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Daredevil, etc.) and there are some heavy odds to battle. I’ll give Guy Ritchie the fact that he did a fairly solid movie without relying on too much substance.

Instead of making an “origin” story, or basing the film on a previous book, Ritchie instead opted to craft a creative story that involved dark magic, a difficult subject to tackle in the mystery/suspense genre. “X-Files” pulled it off pretty well, but a late-19th century detective dealing with black magic? Current culture might not be on the boat with that idea, but I found it original enough to keep my interest.

While “Snatch” had amped the style found in “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels,” Ritchie has kept a good deal of his filmmaking style down (undoubtedly hampered by Madonna). This, his first post-Madonna feature, has him back telling a solid story and taking a few risks (original story). One scene has Holmes in a boxing match. With the folk music playing in the background, it felt like the bare-knuckles boxing match in “Snatch.” Also, there are jump-cuts and fast edits that Ritchie fans will be familiar with. Lastly, the recap on how Holmes “figured it all out” was pretty cool.

One thing I have a problem with is the formula for a Sherlock Holmes movie. Although I will state that as of this writing I have not read any of the books, I know the formula: mystery that leads to a rapid resolution at the end where everything is explained (best used in “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”) It works for this film because the ending justified the means of getting there, but the “non-motive” formula (where the reason why is really thin and it’s merely an explanation of how things got to where they did) is not conducive to our “CSI” society. Or maybe that’s me.

On the downside, I wanted more –umph- from the movie. I felt like it was too soft, like Ritchie wanted to make something geared more for teenagers and maybe senior citizens instead of adults or kids. I hoped for something great but the return was good/better than mediocre. Plus some of the CG of olde England didn’t feel finished or detailed enough.

As for RDJ as Holmes… interesting. Sherlock Holmes has always been a stoic, staid character. In this movie Ritchie, and Downey, portray him as more of a discombobulated scientist-meets-detective. Law as Watson has more control over emotion and deduction than Holmes. I’m not saying this is bad, just different. McAdams’ Adler is limited, as is Strong’s Blackwell.

For better or worse the movie set itself up for another Sherlock movie, almost shamelessly. We find that Adler worked for someone named Professor Moriarty (longtime arch-nemesis of Holmes) so we’re setup for a face-off between Moriarty and Holmes, should that ever happen. I honestly hate when movies do this and funny enough, most of the time when they do it’s a movie that doesn’t get a sequel (see: “Flash Gordon,” “Daredevil”). Yes, we know the bad guys are out there waiting, but please don’t make it so obvious.

Should you see this movie? I vote that it’s a solid rental/matinee. It’s enjoyable and you’ll laugh a few times. If they work up to a bigger and better “Holmes” movie, more power too them. Otherwise, this one may be forgotten.

My grade: B

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30
Nov
09

December Movie Release Schedule

“Armored” – A crew of armored transport guards engage in a heist against their own company. Stars Matt Dillon, Jean Reno, Laurence Fishburne, and Fred Ward. Pushed back from its original release date of 9/18. Opens December 4, 2009

“Brothers” – Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire are brothers. When Maguire goes off to war and is presumed dead, Gyllenhaal helps out his brother’s family and falls in love with his sister-in-law (Natalie Portman). When Maguire is found and returned home, family dynamics and loyalty come into question. Opens December 4, 2009

“Everybody’s Fine” – Robert De Niro is a father who, upon realizing his late wife was his only connection with his children, sets out to reunite with them. Also stars Drew Barrymore, Sam Rockwell, and Kate Beckinsale. Opens December 4, 2009

“Invictus” – Clint Eastwood-directed movie about how Nelson Mandela joins forces with the captain of the South African rugby team and rallies behind them as they go for the 1995 World Cup Championship. Stars Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman. Opens December 11, 2009

“The Lovely Bones” – Peter Jackson (“LOTR,” “King Kong”) movie based on the Alice Sebold novel about a girl who views life after death –literally. Stars Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Stanley Tucci, and Susan Sarandon. Opens December 11, 2009

“The Princess and the Frog” – Disney’s re-imagining of “The Princess and the Frog,” taking place this time in Louisiana. Opens December 11, 2009

“Crazy Heart” – Jeff Bridges is a country singer who has lived more than the song. When a journalist (Maggie Gyllenhaal) interviews him, he opens up to her in hopes for redemption. Opens December 16, 2009

“Avatar” – James Cameron has spent the last 4 years working on this one: a complete CG movie filmed in IMAX 3-D. Tickets are on sale now! Opens December 18, 2009

“Did You Hear About the Morgans?” – Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker are a couple headed for separation until they witness a death and are put into the Witness Relocation Program where they have to spend time with each other. Opens December 18, 2009

“Nine” – Daniel Day-Lewis plays film director Guido Contini who is struggling between personal and private life while making his current picture. He tries balancing between his wife, mistress, mom, a movie star muse, and others. Opens December 18, 2009

“Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: The Squeakuel” – The Chipmunk voices are back, but Jason Lee isn’t. Opens December 23, 2009

“The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus” – Long-awaited Terry Gilliam movie about a traveling magician who sells his daughter’s soul for magical powers and the person who is trying to get her soul back. Heath Ledger’s last performance on film. Opens December 25, 2009

“It’s Complicated” – Alec Baldwin is Meryl Streep’s ex-husband and Steve Martin is Baldwin’s friend who falls in love with her. Romantic comedy directed by Nancy Meyers. Opens December 25, 2009

“Sherlock Holmes” – Guy Ritchie directing a ‘Sherlock Holmes’ movie with Robert Downey, Jr. as the detective and Jude Law as Watson. Also stars Rachel McAdams. Opens December 25, 2009

“Up in the Air” – George Clooney is a jet-setting corporate hatchet-man who is required to spend more time at home just as he falls in love with a woman and is close to his goal of 5 million frequent flyer miles. Also stars Vera Farmiga and Jason Bateman. Opens December 25, 2009

“The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond” – Bryce Dallas Howard plays Fisher Willow, a Memphis debutante who falls for a farmer’s son (Chris Evans) and tries to pass him off as a socialite. When a diamond comes up missing, their relationship is further strained. Based on a screenplay by Tennessee Williams. Opens December 30, 2009

20
Jan
09

Movie News and Views January 20, 2009 Inaugural Poster Edition

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All the movie news fit to blog!

 

         Good news for Zack Snyder/ “Watchmen” fans. Warner Bros. and Fox have reached a settlement over the movie. For those who don’t know the backstory Warner Bros. gave the go-ahead to do a “Watchmen” movie. Late in the game a contract was found dating back to the Nineties which showed that Fox had distribution rights on the graphic novel. Fox threatened to halt distribution while the WB was too far into production to stop the movie (i.e. it was almost in post). The settlement is reportedly $5-$10 mil from WB upfront to Fox, then an additional 5-8% of the theatrical gross.

         A new prequel for “The Thing” will involve what happened to the Norwegian scientists (who were dead at the beginning of John Carpenter’s “The Thing.”)

         Keanu Reeves has been confirmed for the “Cowboy Bebop” movie.

         Sam Rockwell and Mickey Rourke will be in “Iron Man 2.”

         Joaquin Phoenix has officially left acting to be a rap star. Chronicling his adventures on video is his best friend Casey Affleck.

         J.K. Simmons will reprise his role as J.J. Jameson in “Spidey 4.”

         Reshooting on the upcoming “Wolverine” movie DOES NOT mean previous shooting went bad. Several actors’ schedules couldn’t clear until now.

         Roland Emmerich (“Independence Day,” “The Day After Tomorrow”) is slated to direct Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” trilogy.

         Pioneer will stop making Laserdisc players after 3000 for the year. This is surprising since I didn’t realize the players were still being made, and a movie hasn’t been pressed on LD since 2000.

         Samuel L. Jackson may not play Nick Fury in the upcoming “Nick Fury” and “Avengers” movie. Apparently, contract negotiations have broken down due to the paycheck Jackson was requesting.

         Jackie Chan will play “Mr. Miyagi” in the “Karate Kid” remake starring Jayden Smith (Will Smith’s son).

         “Transformers 2” info: The Decepticons will use Devastator (from the Constructicons) and the Autobots will use Superion (constructed from the Aerialbots).

         Warner Bros. has put DC Comics movies on hold.

         The next Superman movie will have a new villain.

         Relative Media has purchased Rogue Pictures from Universal.

         A homeless man was cast in Guy Ritchie’s “Sherlock Holmes” movie.

         Bollywood is set to remake “Back to the Future.”

         “The Terminator” has now been submitted for preservation in the US Film Registry.

         Jay Mohr changes his name to Jay Ferguson Cox Mohr, due to his wife Nikki Cox.

         Bruce Boxleitner and Jeff Bridges will return for the next “Tron” movie.

         VHS is done. The last movie to be released on it was “A History of Violence.”

 

 

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18
Jul
08

Movie News and Views July 18, 2008 Poster Edition

 

 

Hey everybody! I’m in the middle of working on a video project and have lagged behind on entertainment news. I know, shame on me. Anyways, here’s the rundown ‘til I can catch up next week:

 

         A live-action movie is being made based on the comic book and video game property, “Turok.”

         A new “Three Musketeers” movie. Yay.

         Now on the “TV-to-Movie” block: “I Dream of Jeannie.”

         Billy Bob Thornton to play a manure salesman in a comedy set in the 1960’s.

         Now on the “Anime-to-Hollywood-Movie” block: “Robotech.”

         Werner Herzog has caught the “remake” fever as well, deciding to remake “Bad Lieutenant,” with Eva Mendes and Nicolas Cage.

         Warner Bros. is still trying to produce a “Justice League” movie.

         Another “Video Game-to-Movie”: “Gears of War”

         Timur Bekmambetov, director of “Night Watch,” “Day Watch,” and the current “Wanted,” says he has no plans on making “Dusk Watch” (the third in the series). WTF? Dude, I LOVED “Night Watch.”

         Sam Raimi will be doing a movie adaptation of “The Given Day,” a novel by author Dennis Lahane (“Gone Baby Gone,” “Mystic River”)

         Speaking of Bekmambetov and “Wanted,” yes, a sequel is already in the works…

         JJ Abrams was bought the rights to make a movie about an apartment that has secrets and codes to find, discover, and decrypt.

         Quentin Tarantino has been shopping his “Inglorious Bastards” script around Hollywood. He hopes to direct it and have a premiere at Cannes Film Festival.

         A “Donnie Darko” sequel is in the works, this time focusing on Donnie’s sister.

         “Hostel III” in the works, but without Eli Roth.

         “Bourne 4” will begin filming next summer.

         And a “Kung Fu Panda” sequel…

         And a “Cloverfield” sequel…

         And a “300” prequel…

         “King Lear” has signed Naomi Watts and Anthony Hopkins.

         Eddie Murphy is probably retiring after he does “Beverly Hills Cop 4.”

         The TV show “Friends” is set to come to a theatre near you.

         A Tale of Two Sherlocks: Sacha Baron Cohen will play Sherlock Holmes in a comedy by Judd Apatow, and Robert Downey Jr. will play Holmes in a movie directed by Guy Ritchie.

 

More to come! Check out the posters!