Category Archives: monty python

The Seven-Per-Cent Solution

The Seven-Per-Cent Solution ~ Combining two themes I’ve been writing about here and elsewhere this year, I look at a Sherlock Holmes movie from the 1970s. Having never seen this one before, all I remember of hearing about it was the much ado about Holmes’ drug use. That’s not that big a deal however as it’s from the books, and therefore canon.

The film sets its tone immediately with the opening credits, which reminded me unfortunately of those of Monty Python and the Holy Grail from the year before. This was to be a comedy then. The story purports that Moriarty’s evil was a drug induced paranoid delusion of the detective’s, and that he needed the help of Sigmund Freud to get well. In hypnosis sessions, the ‘true’ origins of Sherlock Holmes are revealed.

The cast is filled with major star power including Robert Duvall as Watson with an impossible English accent. Alan Arkin as Freud, the underrated Charles Gray as Mycroft (a role he would play again in the PBS Jeremy Brett Holmes series), and Nicol Williamson as the simpering, almost imbecilic Holmes are all brilliant, and that’s not even mentioning Sir Lawrence Olivier as the maligned Prof. Moriarty. It’s not the way I want to see my Holmes, but there’s no denying the great performance.

The film is based on the first of three Sherlock Holmes books by author and director Nicholas Meyer, who also received an Oscar nom for the screenplay. He is obviously a huge Holmes fan, and all three of the books were designed to fill in the blanks of the detective’s life, as well as dismiss some of the canon he felt didn’t quite fit. Sadly, the later included Moriarty.

The Seven-Per-Cent Solution is a beautifully shot, wickedly performed, and well designed mystery adventure, well worth watching, but it’s not the kind of Sherlock Holmes story I want to see. I guess, in the end, I’m a traditionalist.

Tangled

Tangled ~ Much like Disney’s last animated feature, The Princess and the Frog that re-imagined the fairy tale of “The Frog Prince,” Tangled gives “Rapunzel” a new spin. And while very little of the film has the energy or the verve of the preview featuring the music of Pink, it is still very good.

Leads Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi, though not most folks’ choice of a male lead, hand in terrific performances. Levi, especially proving the magic of animation is about voice work, not appearances. Character actor Donna Murphy rounds out the singing cast as the heavy, with Alan Menken doing the music this time out.

The songs are formula unfortunately and go in all the right places and do everything these types of songs have done for Disney songs for almost two decades. They’re almost interchangeable, which again, is not to say they are not good. One tune, “I’ve Got a Dream,” stands out far above the others in its difference above all else. It’s an almost Monty Python-ic madcap piece that brings more than a few laughs with it.

All in all, a great entry for Disney’ fiftieth animated feature, and their first CGI one without Pixar. We’ve seen it before, but it’s still worth seeing again, ya know? Terrific holiday fare for the kids, and the adults, recommended.

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Cursed by a Slow News Day


Apparently, Clay Aiken is gay. I think most of us already knew this, and those who didn’t suspected, or should have suspected. I love the guy, rooted for him on “American Idol,” laughed at him in “Spamalot,” and wish him nothing but the best in his post-closet life.

What bothers me is how is this news? Haven’t we moved past this kind of stuff? If tomorrow is also a slow news day, will Barack Obama announce he’s an Africa-American? Again, how is this news?

Strange Case


The Strange Case of the End of Civilsation as We Know It ~ back in the 1970s when PBS realized just how popular Monty Python was they also started to show this under-an-hour long ‘movie’ starring John Cleese as the incompetent grandson of Sherlock Holmes. As a huge Python fan in my early teens I thought this was hilarious. Unfortunately the years have not been kind. Somehow the repetitive jokes, Dr. Watson with a bionic nose and multiple impressions of TV detectives of the time (a la Murder by Death) just don’t do it for me any more. Other derivative Python projects like the Rutles are much better, and much funnier.