Category Archives: sherlock holmes

Arrow: Salvation

Oliver may need to step aside. It seems there a new vigilante in Starling City who calls himself The Savior, and he’s got his own list he’s checking names off of. In a present day twist on the Joker’s old MO, he announces (and commits) his crimes via every cellphone (almost Sherlock-ian) in the city. Apparently, he’s a department of transportation worker by day, but has some fighting and computer skills as a vigilante at night. I wonder what island he was stranded on?

The catch? Roy Harper is on the Savior’s list, and he nabs him right in the middle of one of Roy and Thea’s annoying anti-flirtations. From what we’ve seen of Roy so far, and what we know of his possible future, I can’t imagine how the Savior got the drop on him. So of course we get to see Oliver in another race against time. Ho-hum.

Oliver does some crazy almost bionic style jumps in this episode, as well as some insane parkour. Man, Deathstroke must have taught him well. Stephen Amell’s chest also makes a return as a cast member. The huge gay audience that I recently learned “Arrow” has will be pleased by that news.

The subplots roll on. Moira and Frank (Chen, not Bertinelli) continue to plot against Malcolm, with mixed results. Laurel and her folks continue to search for the thought dead Sarah, though also not with the results expected. On the island, Shado and Yao Fei join Oliver and Slade’s resistance.

Alex Kingston as Dinah Lance has the best line of the episode, “Got to get going to airport, that red eye to Central City. I should be home in a flash.” Love it! More, please.

Next episode, Count Verti-, ahem, I mean The Count returns. Same Arrow time, same Arrow channel…

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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.

They Might Be Giants

They Might Be Giants ~ In the wake of other recent successful updates of Sherlock Holmes; “Sherlock” and “Elementary” (don’t forget to check out my review of “Elementary” at Biff Bam Pop! this week) placing him in present day and the cinematic version with Robert Downey Jr. Giving him a steampunk makeover, I thought it might be time to give They Might Be Giants from 1971 a second look.

The film, based on the play of the same name, is set in present day United States. George C. Scott plays Justin Playfair, a judge deluded into believing he’s Sherlock Holmes after the loss of his wife. While Playfair demonstrates an unbelievable mastery and skill set as the Holmes identity, and remaining relatively harmless despite some paranoid delusions about his mythical enemy Moriarty, his brother tries to have him committed to gain his fortune.

Enter Doctor Mildred Watson, played by Joanne Woodward, originally signed on to commit Playfair, but is quickly drawn into his world by virtue of her name and an interest in the case. The two proceed on adventure after adventure as Playfair attempts to piece together ridiculous clues sent by his enemy Moriarty.

While an enjoyable farce with these two Oscar winning masters of the screen having good chemistry, this is so not their best work. I would single them both out for calling this one in. Still better than most performances of most actors, They Might Be Giants is only adequate for Scott and Woodward in my opinion. Not helping this is the fact they’re surrounded by a who’s who of 1970s and 60s sitcom actors who are nowhere in their league. Worth a watch, but don’t hunt it down, you’ve seen this before.

Quickies 2-10-2012

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows ~ I really liked this a lot. It was clever, and owed more than a lot stylistically to both “Psych” and “The Mentalist” in the way they showed how Holmes’ intellect works. Whereas the first movie worked very hard to pull in new and old fans with its new twist on the characters, this sequel played it closer to the source material. Great ending in tribute to the old stories as well. If you’re a reader, you’ll see it coming a mile away. Loved it, and can’t wait for the next one.

Three Inches ~ This SyFy pilot doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be, a serious concept or a sitcom filmed like a drama. A teenaged boy discovers that he’s telekinetic, but can only move objects a distance of three inches. Superhero antics without costumes that comic book fans will hate. It might as well be “Alphas” meets Mystery Men, but with a hesitant sense of humor. Me, I hope it doesn’t become a series, but it’s always nice to see Andrea Martin, and she’s great here.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol ~ Now I slept through a lot of this apparently. That seems to be a problem because to me, it didn’t seem like I missed much. Tom Cruise didn’t talk much, and it felt like wall-to-wall action. Cruise hanging off the building, which I did see, is do not miss. The problem is that I only really saw an intermittent half-hour of this flick, and it’s really almost two and a half hours long. Judge as you see fit.

Jazz Boat ~ Screenwriter Ken Hughes directed this 1960 pseudo gangster musical that was apparently supposed to be Britain’s answer to Guys and Dolls. It’s all youth gangs in London tussling over girls and money in a confrontation that finally takes place on a riverboat on the Thames, with musical interludes along the way. Much more entertaining than it sounds, we get to see what kind of star Anthony Newley could have been. I liked this a lot, serious guilty pleasure.

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The Big Picture for December 2011

“The Big Picture” is a monthly online release previewing best of the month’s upcoming cinema releases, as well as red carpet interviews with the stars…

SYNOPSIS

Tis the Season to be Jolly as “The Big Picture” brings you a round-up of what great movies can be enjoyed over the festive season. Featuring previews of Happy Feet Two, The Thing, Another Earth, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, as well as interviews with the stars of current releases Arthur Christmas, The Awakening and Take Shelter.

Check out our online sources for the latest publications:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheBigPictureUK
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/BigPictureFilm
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/TheBigPictureUK

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Coming Soon…

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, opens December 16th, 2011.

Disney’s John Carter opens March 9th, 2012.

The Muppets, with Amy Adams and Jason Segel and Chris Cooper (and the Muppets) opens Thanksgiving 2011.

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Oscar Thoughts and Predictions 2010

First up on the agenda is the wild number of films up for the best Picture Oscar. The Academy is rather transparent in this ploy. Open it up to some super-popular blockbusters and maybe more folks will be interested, root for their favorites and tune in. Ratings equal money, awards for accomplishments be damned – this is America after all.

No matter how many hope for their favorite ‘popular’ movie, it’s probably not going to win. That’s just not how the Academy works, thankfully. It’s how their publicity people work, but not the Academy. Yeah, Up and Avatar are in the mix, but no one’s voting for them over The Hurt Locker or Precious, trust me.

And there are important oversights this year. Most notable is Sam Rockwell with his acting tour de force in Moon. Oh yeah, I forgot, with rare exception, the Oscars are only for films that came out in the last two months of the year. Oh well, the ‘rules’ eliminated that one, but what about Anthony Mackie in The Hurt Locker? He acts the ass off Jeremy Renner who is nominated.

And I bet Julia Roberts is steaming that Sandra Bullock cleaned up this year with roles that Roberts turned down, and may even win an Oscar for one. I really hope Julia is on hand for candid reaction shots Sunday night.

Nothing for Watchmen. Wow. I’m really surprised, especially after the way the Academy kissed the butt of one of the worst superhero movies ever, The Dark Knight last year. You’d think they’d have a little something for one of the best. And speaking of genre films – where was Ponyo? Not in foreign or animated. Damn.

Well, enough rambling and bitching. Here are my picks – and let’s keep in mind, these are who I think will win, not who should win…

Best animated film – As much as I’d like to see The Princess and the Frog take it, it’s Up all the way. It’s easily one of the best films in some time. Of course, had Ponyo been here, it would have won.

Best documentary – I think the politically correct Academy will bow to the Health Nazis this year and give it to Food, Inc.

Best song – This one depends on other awards I think. If Jeff Bridges doesn’t get best actor, they’ll give it to “The Weary Kind” to make up for it. And if Up doesn’t get best animated it will take the song here, probably with “Down in New Orleans.” My bet is “New Orleans.”

Best original score – I’m a huge Michael Giacchino fan so my heart leans toward his score for Up but I also think Hans Zimmer’s Sherlock Holmes blows it away. Why wasn’t Giacchino’s Star Trek nominated? That was the best soundtrack of the year easily.

And as much as I’m tempted to pull a Bill Murray from the classic days of “Saturday Night Live,” I do think these categories matter…

Best supporting actor – This is between Christoph Waltz’ chilling Nazi in Inglourious Basterds and the ever-talented Stanley Tucci. I think the Academy will count Tarantino against Waltz and give it to Tucci. Not the way it should be, but the way it will be.

Best supporting actress – No question, if we can’t have the Nazi villain as a winner, we’ll take the evil mother. Mo’Nique is a definite here.

Best actress – I think that Gabourey Sidibe has good odds, but I also think this may be Sandra Bullock’s year.

Best actor – It’s between Jeremy Renner and Jeff Bridges, although it might go to Morgan Freeman for body of work. Renner is young and it’s about time for Bridges. My money is on Jeff Bridges.

Best picture – The Hurt Locker. It’s a hell of a film, powerful, well acted, and brilliantly shot. Kathryn Bigelow deserves it.

Best director – James Cameron, for Avatar. It’s a hard call, but he’ll get it for advancements in film and special effects. But then again, if that were actually how things worked, the Wachowski brothers are owed a few direction Oscars for Speed Racer and the Matrix trilogy. But who says these things are fair. And if I’m right on these first two awards, it should be a happy night in the Cameron/Bigelow household.

There you go, folks, place your bets. See you late Sunday night!

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Sherlock Holmes Destroy All Monsters

Sherlock Holmes ~ Yeah, this is the other film called “Sherlock Holmes” that came out in 2009. This one, from The Asylum, has been nicknamed in genre circles “Sherlock Holmes Destroy All Monsters” because of its plot involving giant monsters overrunning Victorian London. It’s also been alternately known as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, not that that helps much. For those not in the know, The Asylum specializes in making near-beer copies straight-to-DVD of blockbusters currently in theatres.

While it’s more Jurassic Park than Destroy All Monsters, it is an interesting entry, told from Watson’s point of view some forty to fifty years after the fact, and old Watson himself hypes it as Holmes’ “greatest and least known achievement.” Holmes is played by a relative unknown named Ben Syder, while young Watson is Gareth David-Lloyd of “Torchwood” fame. Villain of English legend, and the villain of this piece as well, Springheel Jack is brought to life by Domenic Keating, late of “Enterprise.” Both, while being quirky genre favorites disappoint here.

The movie moves painfully slow and neither lead has the charisma (at least here) to keep viewers interested. I seriously believe that Ben Syder may be the worst Sherlock Holmes ever, and must surely be related to someone involved in the production. Gareth Davod-Lloyd looks alternately bored and sedated, nowhere near as cool (or even uncool) as his “Torchwood” character Ianto – but at least he is more engaging than Syder.

When it does get exciting (it’s rare, but it happens) the action comes off like a flavorless episode of the old “Doctor Who.” There’s even a weird Cyberman-like episode that wants so badly to be Russel T. Davies-ish, it’s painful. And, now that I think of it, this flick probably owes more to the Who episode “The Next Doctor” than it does Sherlock Holmes. Don’t blink, or you’ll miss the badly CGI-ed dinosaurs, and the giant robots. Believe me, it’s nowhere near as cool as I just made that sound. Give this one a miss, and go see the other Sherlock Holmes movie again. You’ll thank me.

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2010 Oscar Nominations

The Academy Award nominations for this year were announced this morning. You can view them here.

A couple weeks back, I posted some of my guesses about what would be nominated at my Twitter. I was right on with a few and dead wrong with a few – and of course there are some outright exclusions and some WTFs that made it.

I’ll post my thoughts later. For the moment, though, enjoy the nominations…

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Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes ~ Guy Ritchie’s 2009 film version of the master detective has had fans up in arms. His action hero take starring Robert Downey Jr. in the title role with Jude Law as Dr. Watson is just what was needed in my opinion. There’s a generational gap here, and while I’m a fan myself, I doubt that many of the younger generation even know who Sherlock Holmes is. Ritchie’s attempt is the shot in the arm to get the ‘kids’ interested in this classic hero.

Similar to this year’s re-imagining/sequel/prequel of Star Trek, this flick is rarely still, constantly moving and always engaging. And engaging is something I really liked about it. Much like the early “24” or every episode of “Dexter” or “The Wire,” you have to pay attention. It doesn’t slow down, or explain things in baby talk – you are either in the movie, or you might as well be at home twiddling your thumbs watching “Everybody Loves Raymond.” The new Sherlock Holmes is not TV for dummies or for the lazy viewer.

Downey and Law are great together, and it makes the film. So much so that when they are not together, the screen suffers. Bromance, buddy film, hetero soulmates, whatever you call it, their relationship, their chemistry, is amazing, worth the price of the ticket right there. Their performances, as well as Ritchie’s work, obviously were inspired by the three’s respect and love of the Jeremy Brett version of Holmes as well as the original source material.

The rest of the cast are excellent too, but let’s be honest, they pale in comparison to the two leads. Robert Maillet, formerly known as the wrestler Kurrgan, does stand out physically as almost a French Ted Cassidy. And Rachel McAdams plays an intriguing yet seductive Irene Adler. The cast’s performance is locked in by the atmosphere, a realistic yet just this side of steampunk Victorian London.

The Hans Zimmer score is impressive and completely suited to the film as are the songs by Isobel Griffiths and the Dubliners (tragically left off the soundtrack). There were also very cool sound effects used during gunshots and explosions – muffling effects as would really happen to the ear in those situations. Brilliant.

I really enjoyed this film. Fun, exciting, and essentially faithful to the source material. I am constantly reminded of this past year’s Star Trek, and if I had seen this in 2009, this new Sherlock Holmes would have easily been in my top five. Recommended.

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