Tag Archives: Tropic Thunder

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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The Parole Officer: A Coogan-y Film

I must admit I was excited to see Steve Coogan’s face on the cover of this movie on my Netflix. 2001 is a bit iffy for comedies for me (I’m a 200 and late… -r), but this one did the job for the most part. Steve Coogan wasn’t at top form (a bit of a problem) but I got through it all the same. The first scene was promising, but you can only be so outrageous before nobody watches your movies…

The story of The Parole Officer is a pretty straightforward one. Steve Coogan plays Simon Garden, and awkward and sad probation worker (confusing movie title, I

All too true…

know…). He is being transferred to another city (Manchester, I believe) and he’s going to be attempting to correct those sorry crooks that litter the streets of England. What he stumbles upon is something a bit more intense. A fellow officer in crime prevention, Inspector Burton (Stephen Dillane), commits a murder that is caught on security camera. Holding the evidence in his possession, Burton the crooked cop is planning on framing Garden if he tattles. Not wanting this being held over his head, Garden employs the help of the only four former criminals he corrected in robbing a bank with the tape inside. Oh, the comedic irony.

The most awkward place for Coogan? Strip club.

It’s pretty cut and dry from there. The movie has some of Coogan’s own brand of awkward comedy, but not enough to make it a signature film of his. (I’d say Hamlet 2 is more his style.) You get an awkward sense of Alan Partridge, but it comes up short of expectations. The acting is fine and the movie is dated, which always makes it a bit hard for me to watch. But overall, think Johnny English with dry comedy instead of slapstick. You got this film right there.

There are a couple of great little parts other than the versus mode of Coogan/Dillane. There’s Ben Miller as Colin, one of Garden’s former clients. Being Rowan Atkinson’s sidekick in Johnny English, it was a nice change to see him delivering comedy more than being the straight actor taking it all in. There’s Lena Headey as a watered down version of the strong British actress she will one day become in things like 300 and Game of Thrones. Not the most adequate of cops, it

Team of crack cons, assemble!

always gets weird whenever Coogan lays his puffy lips on a love interest in a movie. And then there’s a non-speaking cameo from Simon Pegg in the art gallery scene. I had no idea what to expect there. But worth a laugh.

The bank heist is a little above my understanding with some strange technology lingo and complicated means of infiltration, leaving part of the movie as bland. The back and forth between the cons was fine, although overall it lacked a certain star quality for me that would’ve

Aha! I’m Simon Garden.

sent the jokes home better. It really was an all eyes on Coogan film for me. Throw in some slapstick/situational comedy towards the end (and a break-in scene reminiscent of The Dark Knight) and you have yourself a throwback to the 1950’s heist movies. Not a bad roll into one.

Not one of my favorites, but not the worst Coogan attached film I’ve seen. I still feel like one of my only friends who actually recognized/knew Coogan in Tropic Thunder, something that saddens me to this very day. But it’s not about notoriety or popularity. There are those of us out there who salute Steve Coogan for his amazing contribution to the world of comedy. He deserves a ranking up there with Ricky Gervais, Matt Lucas/David Walliams, and even Monty Python. Can’t get enough of those Brits. For this, I give The Parole Officer a 6.8 out of 10.


The Trip: A Short Review

Here’s a little interesting film I enjoyed with my mother and fellow blogger (see the side of my blog for her page) about the wonders of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. In a great move by these two fantastic English actors, a show these two did a few years ago was edited down and turned into a “best of” compilation of their hilarious interactions in this film simply called The Trip. In this movie, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon expand on their characters of a hilarious movie they did quite a while ago, A Cock and Bull Story.

So Steve Coogan is at a lull in his career and decides to take a little break from whatever work may come his way. In order to impress his American girlfriend and try to get some action, he arranges to do a food tour around the U.K. But things go wrong. Coogan’s girlfriend backs out and Steve must find someone to go with him on this restaurant journey. Lo and behold, Rob Brydon an “acting friend” of his agrees to go along. Without any opportunity of furthering his career or relationship with his girlfriend, Steve Coogan must endure a few weeks with what he seems to consider Hell.

Rob and Steve. Psychos.

Let me just start off by saying that the Steve Coogan/Rob Brydon combo is just pure genius. A cynical downer (Coogan) and a middle of the road family man (Brydon) creates someone with nice comments and someone to shoot them down with a negative blaster. What’s more, this movie makes Steve Coogan seem like the crankiest, worst actor of all time. He puts himself in such tense, awkward situations, you ever wonder how he finds women to cheat on his girlfriend with. With his career in the dumps, you can expect absolutely no good ending for Coogan and Co.

Coogan at the crossroads.

But that’s the charm of the English and their humor. Not everything has to end so happy go lucky and perfect. What would be better now would be to watch the show and see how much of a spiral Steve Coogan goes through. (It wouldn’t be much longer than the movie, but it would still be legit.) Where the real humor comes in this film is the impersonations of Rob Brydon. And, not to be outdone, Steve Coogan attempting to correct the impersonations of someone far better than him. The imagined mediocre lives of these two characters comes to fruition as the tale continues to the point where the two are happy to return home more than anything else. And the Michael Caine impression. BEST SCENE EVER.

If you’re a fan of Steven Coogan and his films/shows:

Knowing Me Knowing You With Alan Partridge, I’m Alan Partridge, A Cock and Bull Story, Hot Fuzz (cameo), Hamlet 2, Tropic Thunder, or any of Coogan’s Baby Cow production shows,

then definitely check this out. I’m not as familiar with Rob Brydon other than A Cock and Bull Story, but he was well worth the watch for his comedic relief in one of the darker comedies I’ve ever seen. You really have to appreciate the down in the dumps/dump on myself comedy that Steve Coogan exudes. And I do. I find Steve Coogan, as I will review in the future, as one of the funniest men of *gasp* the world. Give him a try, he’s worth it. (And Rob Brydon.) 9.6 out of 10.

Darkest scene ever.