Tag Archives: British

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Sitting down to watch this movie, I was filled with mixed opinions. I liked the first one as a whole film. Then I saw the recent BBC adaptation of Sherlock in its modern day context and found a new interest in what used to be my favorite Disney film. What am I talking about, you may ask? The Great Mouse Detective, plain and simple. This story of rats, cats, and

The one, true Sherlock Holmes.

danger is one of my favorite stories and so cleverly done I think it should rank as one of the best Disney creations of all time. But enough about that. So, when I sat down for the sequel to Guy Ritchie’s critically acclaimed Sherlock Holmes, I wasn’t expecting the world of this film. Just some entertainment.

And it didn’t really do that, that much. I was constantly befuddled by the dialogue and the quick witted humor in its attempts to be funny, leaving me unsure as to what was more important, the characters or plot. The action took over all too much of the film and left the sleuthing for the last second. You would get a

Despised friends til the end.

few of those extended deductions, but not enough of any detail that I could have noticed myself. Moriarty’s storyline and relevance in the entire showdown was rushed and wasn’t developed very well at all. If I hadn’t had seen the first film (which this was supposed to stand alone as a Sherlock film) I may not have had any idea or interest of what was going on.

And then we come to my issue with Robert Downey Jr. in this film. I thought he made a great comeback, I don’t fault him for that. But what has he done in the last five years that could be considered a serious role? Or even a character that doesn’t have a swelled head? I’m seeing Zodiac back in 2007 and that’s about it. The persona he’s created

I forgot to mention Noomi Rapace was in this one…

since the success of Iron Man is that he is Tony Stark in every role. When you see these movies, it’s not “Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes.” It’s “Robert Downey Jr. playing a playboy, egotistical jerkoff.” If there was some range to his acting (other than a standout performance in Tropic Thunder) since his comeback, I would give him more credit. This movie was more of the same.

The playboy strikes again.

It wasn’t to say there weren’t things in this film I enjoyed. After watching the greatness that is Guy Ritchie’s Lock Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, I know the elements he brings to a movie are fast and slick. Jude Law comes off as a decently done Watson with all the hesitations and reservations he’s supposed to have. Hell, that’s probably because I’m a Jude Law fan. And Stephen Fry makes a great guest star as Sherlock’s brother, Mycroft. Although I don’t think you could ever consider the two brothers, maybe that wasn’t the point. Jared Harris’ performance was unremarkable, but I gave a sigh of relief at killing off Rachel McAdams early in the story. Not a spoiler; a message from the Hollywood gods that she really wasn’t meant to be in these movies.

So you add all these disappointments together into one movie and you end up with a confusing plot and rinse and repeat

Can we see some more explosions please?…

rapport between two characters seen countless times before. The classic buddy comedy with a facade as a thriller action film. I don’t mind all the action and high definition, slo-mo cameras, but this movie got a little ridiculous. The fight with the Russian assassin, the explosions and all the weaponry… This loose adaptation wasn’t really that close to the Sherlock Holmes story was it? I think it would be best to allow the BBC and the British to do what they do best with their British authors. Make television versions worth watching. 5.5 out of 10.

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Cemetery Junction: Some New British Faces

A Ricky Gervais/Stephen Merchant collaboration featuring Matthew Goode and Ralph Fiennes? And it’s not exactly a comedy? Count me in? I was sold after you said Ricky Gervais. And he even makes a cameo or two. Cemetery Junction is one of those stock idea genres that deals with a young man’s coming-of-age story. But what interested me is that I had no idea who any of the men who were coming of age. With a bunch of fresh new faces, I was slightly touched and given a few laughs with another creation from Gervais and Merchant.

In Cemetery Junction, we meet Freddie Taylor (Christian Cooke), a young man looking

Some new British faces.

to make something of himself in a part of England that doesn’t seem to let anyone escape or actually succeed. His friends Bruce (Tom Hughes) and Snork (Jack Doolan) are stuck in the same boat, but they seem to be okay with their situation. Dead end jobs and nothing of interest, Cemetery Junction is a town full of ghosts. But when Freddie is inspired by his former girlfriend Julie (Felicity Jones) to be something more, he shoots a bit higher, not trying to be sucked back into his small town.

Classic Gervais.

So I mentioned I didn’t know any of the young men actors in this film. After looking them up on IMDB, I thought I knew them, but I don’t. Christian Cooke was a standout leading actor, holding down the fort for the rest of the younger actors in the film. I thought of him as a younger version of Matthew Goode, they played off each other so well. Bruce Pearson reminded me of a rebellious and dashingly good looking Cillian Murphy. His character and his troubles gripped me quite well in this one. And Jack Doolan reminded me of a chubbier Iwan Rheon, with all the same dorkiness and charm. These three young men made a winning team.

Throw in a great secondary cast and you have yourself a swinging 70’s period piece. Ricky Gervais was going to include himself no matter what, and he had to inject some of his snarky comedy into this one. It worked well, but I can’t really picture Ricky Gervais as a dad. Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington

Lookin’ good, as per usual.

made great little cameos as well, providing a chuckle for those who know them. Matthew Goode played a great playboy d-bag boyfriend, and Ralph Fiennes is as fierce and dominating as usual. And Emily Watson was simply pleasant and stunningly caring as the captured bird of a wife in this film. I was quite happy with the results of all the acting when it all came together.

I must admit, I also enjoyed the soundtrack to this movie as well. I dunno what it is, but this and Velvet Goldmine have just gotten to me

Thanks again, boys.

with their tributes to the 70’s. I had no idea I could enjoy that type of music with my death metal background. The humor is fresh and feels like it comes from a very true place, much different from the extremely awkward style of Ricky Gervais (but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t some of his in there as well). It’s refreshing to see a film like this coming from well known comedic creators and you are surprised because it has substance along with comedy. And even some heart in there. This was an interesting little film that doesn’t break the mold too much, but it is British. So watch it. 7.4 out of 10.


Four Lions: Terrorism at its Finest

In this dark comedy/mockumentary of the Islamic world of terrorism, four “lions” of men come together for one reason only, to attack the Western infidels of Sheffield, England in order to send a message. And what a message they send. In one of the funniest movies of the past five years, for me, I couldn’t stop laughing as these moderately incompetent terrorists attempt to lay some waste and terror all over some English peoples. There’s mishaps, wavering trust and faith, and even some exploding sheep. Nothing could be better than one of the most controversial films to ever deal with a hot button issue.

This misfit group of terrorists are really intent on blowing up something. Be it a drug store or the members of a fun run, Hell, even their own mosque, they plan to incite some rage and tension between countries. There’s Omar (Riz Ahmed), the leader of the group with the best head on his shoulders. He plans to leave his family and be truer to the Muslim faith than his bookworm of a brother. What shocked me most about this film was why Omar’s loving and beautiful wife and son are okay with all that

Some kooky terrorists on the prowl.

he’s doing. There’s Omar’s dim witted friend and “bro” Waj (Kayvan Novak). Always wanting to travel on those “rubber dingy rapids”, Waj has the best of intentions but always seems to screw it up along the way. Throw in the wild card Barry (Nigel Lindsay) the white Muslim converted Englander who feels he’s better suited for terrorist acts than anyone in the group. He screws up a lot, but will never admit to his mistakes. And there’s Faisal (Adeel Akhtar) the man who blows up crows in preparation for an airborne attack.

Hassan pullin’ off some Muslim rapping.

Bring together this rag-tag bunch of Muslim extremists and you have a recipe for disaster. They cook up bombs in their flat with huge amounts of bleach and other cleaning products and slang it around with one of the funniest escape scenes you’ll ever see. There’s arguments on what a Wookie is (a bear or not?) and whether being a Muslim rapper is the right path in life. There are some great scenes in Afghanistan where Omar and Waj go for training and one of my favorite muck-up scenes takes place there as well. Is it racist I attempt to put on a English tinted Muslim accent? RUBBER DINGY RAPIDS BRO.

I was mightily impressed with Chris Morris’ directing and writing in this film. He researched information on the situation of terrorism and the “War on Terror” prior to this film. This helped accurately represent the frustrated characters he created in this film that just want to blow shit up. Coming from an actor turned director that I’ve watched in a few seasons of The IT Crowd, his humor wasn’t represented, and replaced with a much darker and brooding one. The council scene in which the local residents in Sheffield debate about terrorism is hard to watch and quite frightening when Hassan (Arsher Ali) is introduced. Their ideals and views may come across as ridiculous, but there are those out there who believe infidels must be killed and women must be locked away.

Explain this. Word.

Get some, Omar.

Not recognizing any of the actors from this film really helped enhance the experience of watching this film. They’re all fine actors and you begin to believe they are strong extremist Muslim supporters in this film. The gorilla style of shooting and set ups are all interesting and give a gritty feel to the film. The Afghanistan shots seem a bit unbelievable but its only for a short time that you have to jump into the warfare of the sands. The conflicts and characters develop as the film progresses and you learn that there is a serious side to the film. The dark humor becomes more real and you’re forced to realize situations like this happen, the terrorists have families and faces, they have feelings and emotions just like us. It’s not so much a sympathy film as it is a humorously dark look into what exactly terrorism means outside of our own perspectives. And I applaud that outlook. This film accomplishes its comedic elements and also delivers a message at the same time. Impressed as I was, this movie does deserve all the critical acclaim it got. Best film of 2010? You got it. A definite 9.7 out of 10.