Tag Archives: Sherlock

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.


Creation: The “A Beautiful Mind” of the 1800’s

So I just finished this movie and, I have to say, I was blown away by its simplicity. I’m pretty sure this movie had about 5 shooting locations, and this simplicity alone was touching and dramatic. This film about the entity that is Charles Darwin and the theory that changed the world through conflict, was one of anguish, inner turmoil, and alienation. This movie may have been pure speculation about the life of Darwin and his quest to write “Origin of the Species,” but it is rare to encounter a film that makes you believe that the actor who is Darwin must have known Darwin. Must have been Darwin.

I had heard about this movie a year or so ago and have always had an affinity for Paul Bettany. All of his

Paul Bettany as Darwin with his Wife Jennifer Connelly as, well, his wife.

work is top shelf stuff. And Creation is no exception. Another amazing piece from across the sea, and it kept me entranced in Bettany and those around Darwin. The 1850’s was a time of religious dominance and this film portrayed that quite clearly. It is this conflict between science and religion (still ongoing) that frames the film. It is not all encompassing of the purpose, but gives substance to the interactions between work, family, and the past.

Martha West as Emma Darwin. What a relationship they had.

There are two amazing relationships that also frame this movie. The first is between Darwin and his daughter Annie (Martha West). The conflict between the live Annie and the memory of her past self haunts Darwin throughout the film. Annie loves her father and his dedication and fervor for life. And at the same time, she loves her mother and the devotion she shows to her religion. As Bettany says ever so touchingly, “I thought we were making the perfect child.” But it is this child that causes the loss of faith as well as the devotion to his soon to be world changing book. And, with every painful interaction, Darwin is forced to face the demons of his past and the issue that this creates with his family, most importantly his wife. And therein lies the second best relationship portrayed in the film. Between Darwin and Emma (Jennifer Connelly), there is an ocean. Emma’s religion and Darwin’s science seem to be the issue at the heart of the problem, but in a surprising and touching twist, it is the daughter that causes the rift. And the resolution is worth the watch in itself. It is rare in films that a leading man and lady would be married in real life. This is one of them. And I give that credit to whoever cast a married couple in a role like this. It’s absolutely amazing to watch two people with chemistry that is based in life to interact on film. Every scene with their interaction is so fluid and natural that I was blown away by how wonderful it must be to be those two in love. Quite literally the best part of the film.

Quite similar.

And there are a few notable mentions to make about minor acting parts. Freya Parks does a great job as Etta, the oldest of Darwin’s children, fighting for the attention of her father who is perpetually focused on the memory of his dead daughter. Her scenes are touching and tragic in the way that she tries and seems to flounder without any affection from her father. The last scene, something to see. Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC’s current Sherlock) gave a great minor performance as Mr. Hooker, one of Darwin’s confidantes and emotional support in his hour of need when it comes to writing his book. And Martha West, bless her heart, gave it her all as Annie, the focus of Darwin’s obsession and past regrets. Having to play a protagonist and antagonist simultaneously must be quite hard for a child, and she pulls it off with aplomb.

You may have noticed the title of this blog. And I would have to say this plot reminds me of A Beautiful Mind, the great Ron Howard award winning story of another theorist who could see figments of his imagination, John Nash. All of the dramatic elements are there and its done with the same grace. I gotta give credit to Jon Amiel, a director who I’ve not seen do anything like this before, directing with all he has. Throw in some scenes straight out of The Fall with their exotic nature, and you have a recipe for a great movie. 9.5 out of 10.