Sherlock Holmes (2009)


Cour, Petit Lapin, Cour.

Sherlock Holmes (2009)I’ve felt that my reviews have had a large gap in them for some time.  Not necessarily that today’s movie is such a classic or amazing movie that it was a shame I hadn’t reviewed it though.  It’s just that I’m a completionist.  I can’t have reviewed one film in a series without reviewing all of them.  Some people may refer to that as being OCD.  To that I say, “Shut up.”  I reviewed the sequel to today’s movie because I saw it in theaters, and never reviewed this movie because – though I was sure I purchased it at some point – I was never able to find it.  Eventually I repurchased it on BluRay, because I was obsessively compelled to have it since I also had the second movie.  Again, shut up.  After it sat around on my computer for a while, I eventually got around to reviewing Sherlock Holmes, based on characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, written by Paul Bales, Anthony Peckham, Simon Kinberg, Michael Robert Johnson, co-written and directed by Guy Ritchie, and starring Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Mark Strong, Rachel McAdams, Kelly Reilly, Eddie Marsan, Hans Matheson, and Geraldine James.

Detective Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and his partner Dr. John Watson (Jude Law) prevent Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) from ritually killing a young woman, as he has killed five women before.  Three months later, Watson is preparing to move out of the flat he shares with Holmes to marry his fiancée Mary Morstan (Kelly Reilly).  Holmes is not taking it well.  The two are asked to attend the hanging of Blackwood; Watson to pronounce him dead, and Holmes because it was Blackwood’s last request.  Blackwood tells Holmes that his death is only the beginning, and that three more deaths will happen after he rises from his grave.  Holmes scoffs at it and Blackwood is hanged.  Three days later, Blackwood seemingly rises from the grave.  Holmes resumes his search, and he even convinces Watson to join him so that his reputation wouldn’t be damaged.  After all, who would want to marry a doctor who can’t even tell if a man is dead or not?  To get them started, professional thief and former adversary of Holmes Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) sends them to find a ginger midget who was working with Blackwood.

If you connect the dots of me having purchased this movie twice, it will probably come as no surprise that I enjoy this movie.  I found the movie to be pretty well-written with well-developed characters.  I’m not sure how much of any of this credit goes to the writers of this movie or to Arthur Conan Doyle though.  I know he developed the characters originally, but I don’t know how much of the stuff in this movie is from his stories because his stories were written and Homie don’t play that.  But it doesn’t really matter.  There are already 20 writers on this movie, so credit is already getting spread pretty thin.  My favorite thing about the movie is how well they keep the question alive about Blackwood’s magical powers.  When I first saw this movie, I was asking myself, “Is Blackwood immortal?  Are his methods supernatural?  Or cheap parlor tricks to conceal his true identity?”  Being almost completely ignorant about Sherlock Holmes (meaning that I had never read any of them, but I knew the name and that he was a detective) I couldn’t be quite sure if it would be out of the question for someone to actually have magical powers in them.  Do they do that?  How am I supposed to know?  Why am I asking you when you can’t respond?  I also don’t know if most of the stuff they use to conceal the things he does as magic actually hold up to real world logic, but I don’t care.  It’s enjoyable.

The look of the movie is also very nice, albeit a bit dark.  Dark is what they were going for, so it’s okay.  It also looks exactly like England looks in my brain.  England either looks like a foggier version of this movie or like Harry Potter in my brain, and I refuse to go there so that it can be that way forever.  Also, I heard a lot of talk about this movie about the fights.  And not so much the fights, but the visualization that Holmes does before he actually fights.  It’s very polarizing, from what I’ve gathered.  I’ve heard people hate it and I’ve heard people love it.  I’m in the middle.  I really appreciate the fights because they’re well-choreographed, but I definitely understand that I don’t really need to see the same exact fight twice in a row.  It didn’t bother me either way though.

The performances were all great in this movie because they got exclusively great people.  Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law work great together.  They have great chemistry and Jude Law plays an excellent straight man to Downey’s crazy and generally funny Holmes.  I had a problem with Watson’s wife, Kelly Reilly, though.  Not the actress or her performance, but the character infuriated me when she threw wine in Holmes’ face for deducing her backstory correctly.  First, he was right and wasn’t saying anything that wasn’t true.  Second, you asked him to do it.  Third, you actually INSISTED that he do it.  Perhaps this was done to illustrate the exact moment in time when the phrase “Be careful what you wish for” was created.  I don’t know of anyone who could take issue with Rachel McAdams though.  I really liked her character in this movie, playing a very intelligent and crafty woman who had once outsmarted Holmes, and also playing it very selfish but with definite signs that she cares about Holmes.  I may have liked her character much more because of her extreme hotness as well.  But it was more than likely both.  But for examples of over the top beauty, you need look no further than the English bulldog in this movie.  That was a gorgeous sumbitch.

I feel a sense of satisfaction based on nothing now that I have finally finished reviewing both Sherlock Holmes movies.  I like both Sherlock Holmes movies.  The writing is well done and the mysteries keep your brain occupied while still allowing it to let the mysteries play themselves out as you just enjoy the funniness of the interactions between Holmes and Watson.  The performances and the look are also well done, and the fights are interesting and exciting, though I can definitely understand some people being irritated by with the parts where they are telegraphed before they actually happen.  Either way, I really dig this movie and recommend both Sherlock Holmes movies for a purchase.  Sherlock Holmes gets “Begging your pardon, my lord, but I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time” out of “In another life, Mr. Holmes, you would have made an excellent criminal.”

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Mean Girls (2004)


I Want My Pink Shirt Back!

Yimmy is such a sweetheart.  He has, thus far, been the only person to consistently recommend movies that are actually good.  I have seen today’s movie before, and have heard good things about the movie from pretty much everybody, but I strangely don’t remember thinking that much of it.  It’s weird.  The writer is one of my favorite writers ever, and the movie is filled with pretty girls and people I find funny, but I just couldn’t remember thinking that much of it.  I also have a terrible memory, so we’ll see how it turned out in my review of Mean Girls, written by Tina Fey, directed by Mark Waters, and starring Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert, Amanda Seyfried, Lizzy Caplan, Daniel Franzese, Jonathan Bennett, Tina Fey, Tim Meadows, Neil Flynn, Ana Gasteyer, and Amy Poehler.

Slutty, cokehead, whorebag Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) has been homeschooled in Africa by her parents (Neil Flynn and Ana Gasteyer) for most of her life, but now she must start high school.  Okay, slutty, cokehead, whorebag doesn’t apply to the character.  It’s more for the actress.  But she’s starting high school anyways.  She quickly befriends Janis (Lizzy Caplan) and Damien (Daniel Franzese), who teach her about the social structure of the school, most notably “the Plastics”, lead by Regina George (Rachel McAdams), toaster strudel heiress Gretchen Wieners (Lacey Chabert), and really dumb Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried).  Thinking it would be funny, Janis talks Cady into infiltrating the Plastics in order to destroy them from the inside.  But can Cady become the enemy without losing herself in it?  The answer: Lindsay Lohan loves cocaine!

I think the strangest thing about this movie is that I hate the type of movie, but I like this movie.  It handles exactly like numerous other movies about the new girl having a rough time in school, and the odd girl becoming cool but forgetting who she is, and so many other high school movies.  These movies are pretty played out and cliche and not usually worth watching.  The difference with this movie is that it was written by Tina Fey.  As with most things, having Tina Fey behind it makes it good.  This movie was pretty damned funny.  A little sappy in parts for my tastes, but still enjoyable all the way through.  There are a lot of really solid laughs in this movie, and a couple of things that didn’t make as much sense to me though, in the movie’s defense, I was rarely a girl in high school.  The whole idea of the Burn Book seemed like way too much work to rag on someone that will potentially never see it.  You could just sit around and make fun of them without having to actually buy a book, clip out photos, and paste them in the book with some snarky comment.  I suppose it’s something that high school girls might do, but I am way too lazy to do that.  Words are so much easier.  The other thing that didn’t make sense to me was in the end when Cady is breaking the crown into pieces and giving it to everyone.  The reason it doesn’t make sense to me is that she freakin’ Jesus’d that crown.  Every time she broke it, there was still enough to go around for everyone in the auditorium.  This is totally unbelievable because if Lohan had Jesus powers, you know she’d just be at the water fountain turning it to wine.

The cast is almost entirely great.  I may have already indicated (in the sly, hidden way that I did) that I am not that big of a fan of Lindsay Lohan, but I give her credit for doing pretty well in this movie.  This was probably the best looking she’ll ever be (as I hear meth ruins your teeth), and she also pulled off her comedic and emotional bits very well.  It was super racist and not cool for her to “Jambo” at the black people she saw, and seemed a little out of character.  I mean, I laughed, but I’m a racist.  Also, never really believed Lohan as a math expert.  I understand that there is some math involved with dividing drugs up, but I don’t think that would make you an expert.  I feel a little bad for Rachel McAdams because she’s gorgeous and probably a super nice girl, but she’s also really good at playing a bitch.  I’d like to see her play more sweet girls so I could just fall in love with her.  Of course, it’s not bitchy for her to tell Lohan that she was just a less hot version of her.  That’s just good, solid facts.  I feel extra bad for Lacey Chabert because she is so completely gorgeous as well, and also pulled off the comedy and the parts where she had to cry so well, but she really hasn’t become as mainstream as she should.  She had Not Another Teen Movie, and her one line was pretty hilarious in that, but she needs to be more famous.  They let Kate Hudson ruin so many huge profile comedies and yet Chabert hasn’t really done a big movie since 2004?  Not fair, Hollywood!  The same could be said for Amanda Seyfried, I guess.  She had that one horrible Red Riding Hood movie, but not a lot worth talking about.  Nothing good, but at least they were big.  She was pretty funny in this movie, and easily the sweetest girl in the Plastics because she was so dumb and innocent.  Tina Fey was great in this as well, and quite frankly, arguably the hottest woman in this movie.  I’ll stand by that.  She gets her bra out in the introduction of her character as well, and I’m always down for that.  She has a great deal of funny parts in the movie, but she isn’t in that often.  Tim Meadows kills practically every time he’s on camera as well, but he was a little underused.  He was very put upon in this role, but still very funny.  I love Lizzy Caplan a lot as well, but her character in this was a little too hateful and irritating.  She was sometimes justified, but sometimes you should just move on with your life.  Get a boyfriend, that’ll clear up that whole “lesbian” thing.  I’ll even volunteer!  It’d be way better than ending up with that creepy Mathlete guy!  I didn’t like her gay friend, Daniel Franzese, at first, but the second he called that short girl Danny DeVito, I was in.  Amy Poehler was consistently hilarious as the mom that won’t let go of her youth.  The best thing she did was when she was in the audience, dancing along with her daughter and the other Plastics in their overly-sexy “Jingle Bell Rock” dance.  That made me appreciate it double!  Ana Gasteyer made little to no impact on me as Cady’s mom, but they did give Neil Flynn a couple of funny parts, like when he had no idea that Cady wasn’t supposed to be allowed to leave when she was grounded.  Jonathan Bennett never really did much for me as the object of Cady’s desire.  He wasn’t really around much beyond something to look at, and he got on my nerves with how he reacted when Cady was drunkenly confessing things to him.  Why would you get all pissy that a girl was afraid to talk to you because it would make her friend angry?  That’s fairly normal.  I do understand getting a little upset when she throws up on you, though.  Of course, that’s kind of something you should expect when working with Lohan.

I think I’ve just about run out of Lindsay Lohan jokes.  Mean Girls was an enjoyable watch, and I feel like I enjoyed it much more on this viewing than I had on whichever viewing made me give it two and a half stars on Rotten Tomatoes.  Sure, it’s basic premise is one that is a little played out, and one I don’t usually find that enjoyable, but Tina Fey can make almost anything work.  There are a lot of very solid laughs in this movie, and pretty awesome performances to make those jokes work.  There’s also some good emotion to the movie, and it ends up with a nice message that we probably all expected from the start of the movie, but it’s still very enjoyable.  I rented the movie from Netflix, but it’s not available for streaming.  Next time I want to watch it, I will feel comfortable just going out and purchasing it.  Mean Girls gets “I like this movie like Lindsay Lohan loves heroin” out of “I can’t help it that I’m so popular.”

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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)


They’re Dangerous on Both Ends and … Crafty in the Middle

I was pretty excited to see today’s movie, but I got delayed in seeing it by almost a month because almost everyone I would normally ask to go watch a movie with me was out of town for the holidays or had already seen it.  It’s a sequel to a movie I enjoyed a great deal from a few years ago, and probably would have already rewatched and reviewed for you all if I had any idea where my DVD was.  But when my friend Greg came back to town, I saw this as my opportunity to get to the theaters and check this movie out.  This movie is Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, written by Michele Mulroney and Kieran Mulroney, directed by Guy Ritchie, and starring Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Jared Harris, Noomi Rapace, Paul Anderson, Rachel McAdams, Stephen Fry, Kelly Reilly, Geraldine James, and Eddie Marsan.

In 1891, in foggy old London town, Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) delivers a package to some old guy at an auction house, but is headed off by an opium-adicted Asian guy … OR IS HE?!  No, it’s Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) in disguise.  It turns out to be a bomb, but Holmes takes care of it.  Adler disappears and the old guy is found dead outside, stuck with a dart in the leg.  Adler meets with Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris), the mastermind behind this and other recent bombings, to explain her failure, but he takes the news about as well as she takes her poison.  Holmes takes his associate, Dr. John Watson (Jude Law), out for a bachelor party, but it turns out Holmes is actually just following a lead.  Watson gets drunk and gambles while Holmes goes to meet a fortune-telling gypsy named Simza (Noomi Rapace).  He thwarts an assassination attempt on her, but she leaves without giving him much information.  Holmes goes and meets with Moriarty who, in their verbal exchange, reveals that Watson and his fiancee, Mary Watson (Kelly Reilly), may be his next target.  After thwarting the attempt on their life, Holmes sends Mary to live with his brother, Mycroft Holmes (Stephen Fry), and he joins with Watson to try to discover and defuse Moriarty’s plans.

This movie shares a great deal of traits with it’s predecessor and so if you liked that one, you’ll probably like this one.  I really liked the original, and thus I really like this one.  The story is very solid (although it’s probably based somewhat on the Sherlock Holmes books).  The dialogue is original and the characters are charming.  Much like the first one, the dynamic between Holmes and Watson was very entertaining, as they constantly seemed like they hated each other and bickered like brothers, but there was a great deal of fondness there.  Also, I won’t spoil the end of the movie, but they dragged a surprise for so long that I started to believe it though I had originally thought there was no way it would happen, then gave a very satisfying ending.  I also like that they used a chess game between Holmes and Moriarty to contrast their actual plans unfolding simultaneously.  It made chess tense, and the conclusion was very satisfying.  Beyond that, it looks really good.  The settings are all very well executed, but none more than the super sweet castle where the climax of the movie takes place.  It was built into a mountain towards the top, with snow around it and a waterfall coming out of the side of it.  It reminded me of the castle Nate Drake goes through to get to Shambala in  Uncharted 2.  The biggest complaint about the look is that the movie is always so dark.  Few scenes actually take place in the daytime, and it occasionally gets a little hard to tell what’s going on.  But the scene you may have seen in the trailer of them running through the woods, trying to outrun explosions and bullets, was really well done.  It used a lot of cool, innovative camera movements and used the slo-mo expertly.  I also really liked the fight scenes in both movies.  I had heard people complain about the fact that Holmes would visualize the fight in his head before it happened, and then it would play out.  In the first movie, the only thing I didn’t like about it was that they always turned out like they did in his imagination, so they got to fill time by just showing a good fight twice.  In this movie, they play with that more so that they don’t usually turn out they way he imagined.  But I like a good hand to hand fight, and this movie has many of them.

The performances in the movie were almost entirely terrific.  Robert Downey Jr. proved himself as a fantastic dramatic actor a long time ago, but his movies recently also prove him to be a fantastic comedic actor.  He gets to use both talents in this movie.  Holmes is often pretty eccentric, but shows a great deal of emotion when he finds that the lives of the people he cares about may be in danger.  Jude Law was a perfect straight man to Downey, and got to be funny a couple of times when he got drunk or was frustrated.  Jared Harris was a good villain, playing Moriarty as kind of innocent and charming, but also did insidious very well.  Though Noomi Rapace was pretty and performed her part well, I felt she was a big step down from Rachel McAdams.  I didn’t find her too terribly attractive, with or without dragon tattoo.  I was a bit bummed out when it appeared she had been replaced for the sequel, but I did like that she was in this movie a decent amount, and a motivating factor for the rest of it.  I liked her character much more, and I think she’s much better looking.  Stephen Fry had a couple of good funny moments too, and I like seeing him in things.

I think both Sherlock Holmes movies are great fun.  They have a really good mystery story, with charming characters and funny dialogue, great performances, and cool fight scenes.  The only thing I disliked about it was that Rachel McAdams was hotter and the movie was a little dark.  But it is called A Game of Shadows, so I guess I should’ve seen it coming.  I recommend this movie for a watch.  I’m happy that I saw it in theaters, but you could wait for the rental if you’re not convinced.  From me, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows gets “Oh, how I’ve missed you, Holmes” out of “It’s so overt, it’s covert.”

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