Sherlock Holmes

Not rated yet!
Director
Guy Ritchie
Runtime
2 h 08 min
Release Date
23 December 2009
Genres
Action, Adventure, Crime, Mystery
Overview
Eccentric consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John Watson battle to bring down a new nemesis and unravel a deadly plot that could destroy England.
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Kyle Smith4
National Review



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • "Sherlock Holmes": "A Great Movie"
    So says blogger Anwyn in a lengthy takedown of my Sherlock Holmes review. As a friend of hers puts it, “People don’t seem to realize Sherlock Holmes was a badass.” Sigh. I suppose that is what the current moviegoing population wishes were true. Must we filter every bit of popular literature through the wow-seeking now? I’ll take the Basil Rathbone movies any day.]]>
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  • Review: "Sherlock Holmes"
    The year’s last big movie is one of the year’s biggest disappointments. My slam of “Sherlock Holmes” is up. My advice for Christmas moviegoers: See “Up in the Air” or “Avatar.” Merry Christmas.]]>
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  • Box Office Clues Say Word of Mouth Hurting "Sherlock Holmes"
    The terrible, Michael Bay-ish rethink of “Sherlock Holmes” that is currently polluting movie theaters across the country isn’t quite as bad as “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” but moviegoers already seem to have discovered it’s a stinker. After massive anticipation drove a Christmas Day box office record that put “Sherlock” ahead of “Avatar” for the day, “Avatar” smote “Sherlock” for the rest of the weekend and remained on top of the box office. There are no wide releases opening next weekend, which more or less guarantees a third straight weekend on top for “Avatar.” This thing is headed for, easily, $300 million domestic, which it will probably top by the end of next weekend, and hit a billion or so worldwide–which would put it in the company of “The Dark Knight.” It looks like it might become one of the top five earners of all time domestically. Fifth place is currently held by “E.T.” with $435 million. “Star Wars” did $465 million if you total up its various releases. Of course, in inflation-adjusted terms, both of these films did far better (i.e., sold more tickets) than “Avatar.” Meanwhile, “The Lovely Bones” is looking like maybe the biggest flop of the year — it’s a $100 million Peter Jackson picture that has yet to earn even half a million at the box office. Paramount appears to be holding it back from wide release in the absurd belief that it is going to rack up a lot of Oscar nominations. Even with 10 movies getting Best Picture nominations, that is highly unlikely. Paramount/DreamWorks did the same thing last year with “Revolutionary Road” and lost big after it failed to get a Best Picture nomination. Then again, when you’ve got a movie that was greenlit specifically to get Oscar glory and nobody likes it, there isn’t much you can do except watch the river of red ink ripple by you.]]>
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  • Disney’s Live-Action Aladdin Remake Is a Tragic Carpet Ride
    (”Sherlock Holmes” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Opting to play it safe, director Guy Ritchie, writer John August, and star Will Smith have produced a film unworthy of their talents.
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Crosswalk2
Cross Walk



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Watson Keeps Entertaining Sherlock Holmes Chugging Along
    Movies DVD Release Date:  March 30, 2010 Theatrical Release Date:  December 25, 2009Rating:  PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence and action, some startling images and a scene of suggestive material)Genre:  Mystery, Action/AdventureRun Time:  128 min.Director:  Guy RitchieActors:  Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong, Eddie Marsan, Kelly Reilly, William Hope In a year of popular franchise extensions (harry potter and the half-blood prince) and reboots (star trek), who would have thought that the most satisfying entertainment of the lot would be a reinvention of Sherlock Holmes? Popularized on film decades ago by Basil Rathbone and brought briefly back to the screen in the mid-1980s courtesy of producer Steven Spielberg and director Barry Levinson (The Young Sherlock Holmes), the cerebral detective wouldn't seem to have much of a niche to carve out among today's spectacle-driven audience, dominated by teens who have, at best, read one or two Holmes stories as part of their English classes. Leave it to action producer Joel Silver (Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, The Matrix) to help bring the tale back to movie screens, with the title character reinvented as a Fight Club hobbyist who studies and practices the most effective body blows for defeating opponents twice his size. Yes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's detective has been reinvented for the jason bourne age—toned, good-looking and able to fight and win in fisticuffs or mind games with opponents who are imposing, to say the least. Adding to all the brawn and brains is a dash of romance with a former lady love, Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams). But the main chemistry is between Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and Dr. Watson (Jude Law), a sidekick who just can't kick the habit of helping Holmes solve another case. The story opens as the duo finishes their supposed final case together. Watson, preparing to marry his fiancée (Kelly Reilly), is also moving his office from Holmes' digs at 221B Baker St., much to the chagrin of those who will be left behind with the erratic Holmes. The detective spends his evenings firing his pistol into his wall and otherwise creating a sense of dread and unease among the other residents. Dread and unease define the mood of many Londoners who have come to believe that Lord Blackwell (Mark Strong)—executed for the murders of several women—has returned from the grave. Blackwell's whispered warning to Holmes about impending spiritual chaos following his death appears to be playing out. Through the overtures of Adler, who is rumored to be Holmes' equal in intellect, or perhaps his superior, Holmes is drawn into the mystery surrounding Blackwell. The tale takes on macabre, even occult elements as it explores a secret society that Blackwell heads up, and his grandiose plans to reclaim the American colonies and conquer the world. If the film has a notable misstep, it comes in keeping Watson off-screen for much of the story's final stretch. The playful tension between Holmes and Watson that defines the film's first half isn't matched by the interplay between Holmes and Adler, or Holmes and Blackwell. Only after Watson re-emerges does the film get back on track, building to an exciting, if predictable, finale. Sherlock Holmes includes some disturbing spiritual material, and Holmes' ambivalence (at best) about religious faith is only reaffirmed in this tale. However, given the villain's religious hubris, the story's ending proves more satisfactory than offensive (Proverbs 3:34; Proverbs 8:13; Proverbs 11:2). This is a well-made entertainment, with the promise of even better chapters to come.Questions? Comments? Contact the writer at [email protected]/* = 992 && gptClientWidth <= 1000000) googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-2'); }); Language/Profanity:  "Good G-d!"; "d-mn." Smoking/Drinking/Drugs:  Cigar and pipe smoking; wine is poured and consumed; men drink to their allegiance; a ship captain is said to drink like a fish. Sex/Nudity:  Woman shown taking off a towel; we see only her upper back; Holmes is shown naked, cuffed to a bed, with a pillow covering his groin area; Holmes removes Watson's belt and says, "Don't get excited"; Holmes says he's woken up before in handcuffs, naked. Violence/Crime:  Guns are loaded and fired; a man with a dagger is restrained from committing violence; a bare-knuckles brawl in a ring between two men; body blows are shown in slow motion, with voiceover narration describing the science behind why the wounds are particularly crippling; a jail guard writhes on the ground, apparently possessed; a man is hanged, accused of the deaths of multiple women; Holmes leaps out of a high window; a woman puts a knife to a man's neck and fights off his accomplice; a corpse in a coffin is shown with maggots on his face; frog dissection shown; multiple electric shocks are given; a man drowns; a man fires a gun, bursts into flame and falls out a window; pig carcasses are sawed in half, and a woman nearly suffers the same fate; a tripwire triggers several explosions; a neck wound is shown up close; fingers are cut and blood drips as part of ceremony; a kick to the groin; a headbutt; Holmes appears to have hanged himself but turns out to be studying how to appear to hang oneself without actually doing it; a corpse is shown by a sewer. Gambling:  A brief reference to Watson's fondness for gambling and to his claim that he's reformed. Marriage:  Watson is engaged and worries that Holmes may prevent his nuptials; Holmes tells a woman he's just met that, based on the details of her appearance, she's between husbands. Religion:  Blackwell reads from Revelation and promises spiritual chaos; later, after his death, a man claims to have seen him walking in the cemetery resurrected; drawings on a wall include religious imagery; a palm-reader reads a man's palm; a man exclaims, "Blackwood lives, and devil walks with him!" and another says, "Blackwood's come back from hell and laid a curse upon this land"; a member of a secret society, the Temple of the Four Orders, speaks of their "faith" and of Blackwood's conception during one of their religious rituals, as well as of supernatural powers that were enhanced through Blackwood's killing of several women; Holmes says he finds modern religion "troubling"; Blackwood claims Revelation 1:18 as speaking about himself; "the devil's due a soul," a character explains; a man falls to his death.   SEE ALSO: Latest Bourne Offers an Uncomfortable Ultimatum ]]>
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  • Thumbs Up for Mindless Fare
    (”Sherlock Holmes” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Movies Some time ago, we asked readers what they thought about watching "mindless entertainment," watching movies just for the sheer entertainment value.There were a few naysayers in response, but for the most part, readers saw nothing wrong with the idea. Here are some of their replies:Absolutely it's OK to go to the movies for mindless amusement! I'm all for a good movie with a message, but in this hectic life, sometimes you just need to laugh, laugh, laugh at stupid stuff and let your brain rest. I can't always take my "day of rest," but sometimes that 2 hours of turning my brain off is more refreshing!—Connie Novak Even the Bible says laughter is good medicine. Sometimes it is relaxing and good for the mind, body, and soul to watch a "mindless and funny" movie. The word I believe here is BALANCE.—Linda Phelps I've watched mindless popcorn movies. My son and I used to make it special treat to see fare such as Creature From the Black Lagoon, Eegah, and Plan Nine From Outer Space. It was one way that my son and I spent time together (before he grew up and moved away). We would sit there, MST 3K style, and rip these movies apart. It was much fun! I see nothing morally wrong with this style of entertainment, as long as there is nothing objectionable in the movie.—Jennifer Shell Naturally, I like seeing films with meaning to them, but sometimes, I just only want to laugh or be manipulated into caring for these cornball characters, like Indiana Jones or Iron Man.—Jim Badger Of course simple mindless entertainment is wrong. Anything fun is sinful and worldly. God doesn't want us to have fun. Entertainment is self focused—what makes me happy or what makes me feel good. That shouldn't be the focus. We should be about removing all fun from out lives and convincing others to join us in our funless Christian ways. :-(—The Jacksons googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-1'); }); Is going to the movies a responsible use of time and money? I'm sure there are better ways I could spend my time and money, but there are also much worse ways. And, if this is a way I can overcome my social anxieties and socialize with my friends, then I don't think it is that bad; as long as we are wise in what or at least how we watch films.—Kristy Self Life is hard enough. I go to the movies for mindless escape most of the time as a break much as I would go on a fun amusement park ride. I get tired of critics dissing movies that were meant to be fun because there was "poor character development" and I get tired of seeing glowing reviews only to have a movie bejust asdepressingas the pains and difficultiesof real life that I see everyday.—Todd Saurman Well, I have sat through two hours of mindless sermons before, so at least a mindless movie can be entertaining!—Joseph Spicocori It seems on the surface that there couldn't possibly be anything wrong with "decompressing" from the stress of our lives by watching a movie that makes no more demand on us than that we simply sit and watch. The only thing that has ever worried me is something that an Oxford don said—something to the effect that what we think of as recreation is not really "re-creative." Is what I'm doing helping me to become more whole, or less?Am I more like Jesus, or less as a result?Is a hike through the San Gabriels with a Christian brother a better use of my time and still fun?If I allow "mindless" things into my life to a sufficient degree, will I become mindless myself? I'm still answering the questions, and often they lead to more questions than answers.At least I'm still thinking, so I haven't yet succumbed to mindlessness.—Al Negron I have five grandchildren and these "popcorn" movies are a real issue for me. Jesus reminds us to guard what goes into our minds. So, knowing that, I wonder how many "popcorn" deaths it takes to dehumanize a human being or trivialize anything that we need to guard within ourselves. As a young boy, I watched such movies as Godzilla, Sahara, Flying Tigers, Sherlock Holmes, and others that all seemed to sharetwo themes: Good vs. Bad, and the horrible loss of human life. I guess I'm answering my own question as I'm writing: If any movie or show begins to erase those boundaries that God created, that's not good and I must act decisively.—Kevin Duke If a Christian is going to criticize another for watching a "mindless" movie, then they better not get caught singing "mindlessly" to another Praise & Worship CD, or "mindlessly" supporting a Christian political candidate without fully acknowledging their inconsistencies and/or hypocrisies, or "mindlessly" spouting off another Bible verse to keep someone else in their place while actually serving their ego rather than their neighbor. Many people do mindless things to pass the time, escape from life's sufferings for a bit—or even lazily "do" things (i.e., act judgmentally) to give the appearance of being "responsible" and "loving."—Conrad Pinoni Mindless entertainment is needed! After a stressful week of intense study or work, who doesn't want to just relax?Most people who go to see the movies want escapism.We want to forget about the stress of the week, shut off the brain, and be entertained! I think that's a good thing.—Michelle Calder I think it's okay to watch popcorn movies whose only "redeeming" feature is that it's entertaining. As long as one doesn't go overboard in this kind of entertainment—everything in moderation, as the saying goes.—Christine Eustaquio I go to movies to be entertained.The world is enough realism for me.—Cathy Franklin God made us in his image, to be creative and enjoy the fruits of our Creation. I do not believe that our minds have to be "turned on" all the time. We certainly have to be discerning all the time, filtering everything through the Scriptures to be able to discern truth and falsehoods. We also need to be stewards of our time in all things we do, whether it is reading, adventuring, playing, studying, relaxing or working. As with all things, this is an individual choice and the answer must be sought by each individual seeking the guidance of the Spirit in prayer and study of God's Word.—Lee Swetnika I think that there are times that we need to mentally "check out" and enjoy something that doesn't require a heck of a lot of cerebral activity.Transformers was given a 1.5-star rating from CT Movies, and it was one of the funniest, most exciting films I saw last year. In fact, there aren't many movies that I would recommend to my 60-year old father, but I told him he needed to watch Transformers, and he really enjoyed it.—Zach W. Lorton Mindless popcorn movies? I think of it sort of like actual popcorn—lots of people enjoy it, and almost no one makes a steady diet of it.I suspect many reviewers feel the need to look down their noses at some movies because they cannot find a "critical" thing to praise about it; no potential Oscars, etc.I think such films meet a desire we have to just sit back and enjoy. Sometimes we grow tired of working for it; we just want someone to crank it up and make us something we enjoy, without having to wonder if we will be looked down upon because we did not choose the film with all (or some of) the critical elements needed to garner an Oscar nod.So, yes to mindless popcorn, in moderation.—Steve Orr With the amount of stupid television, going to Disney or other amusement parks, or just plain sitting around, harmless stupid movies are not worth getting upset over.Is fishing or watching a bad NFL game that much more edifying?—Jerry Koleski googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-2'); }); if (gptClientWidth >= 992 && gptClientWidth <= 1000000) googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-3'); }); These are face-paced and stressful times.Sometimes a mindless popcorn movie is just right for a bit of stress relief. If it makes us laugh, isn't too stupid, or filled with gratuitous filth, I think it can be a good thing.—Mary J Garrett © Christianity Today International. All rights reserved. Click for reprint information.]]>
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Kelly Jane Torrance2
The Weekly Standard



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • MOVIE REVIEW: 'Sherlock Holmes'

    It's difficult to know how to review Guy Ritchie's latest film, "Sherlock Holmes." On one hand, it's a rather entertaining action film, full of style and spark. On the other, it bears almost no relation to the character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Published December 25, 2009

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VJ Morton1
Right Wing Film Geek



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)
  • TIFF 10 Capsules — Day 9
    (”Sherlock Holmes” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    TIFF 10 Capsules — Day 9


    DETECTIVE DEE AND THE MYSTERY OF THE PHANTOM FLAME (Tsui Hark, Hong Kong, 6)

    I refused to see the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes [sic] film when I saw that the trailer had him as a bare-knuckle/pit/cage/UFC-for-the-under-35-male-demographic character. Sherlock Holmes does not kick ass. And if you want to have a 19th-century English detective who does, then create one of your own. But maybe this film got away with a similar gambit simply because of my ignorance of the intricacies of the Tang dynasty (apparently “Detective Dee” is a historical figure, whom Tsui said he wants to make rival Sherlock Holmes in world consciousness). But then, DETECTIVE DEE also has the only 7th-century Umayyad ambassador who speaks perfect 20th-century Castilian Spanish, which I doubt many Chinese viewers will notice but which mightily annoyed this Westerner for as long as he was in the film (just the first 10 minutes, more or less). There’s also Chinese-pandering thematic elements, which I won’t spoil and can’t really say I minded, but which is an unmistakable, if weak-tea, version of the ending of HERO, widely derided as fascist.

    As for the action, well … one of the seminal moments of my filmgoing life was the start of the opening fight in CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON when one of the characters suddenly, unexpectedly and as-if-entirely-routinely starts running up the side of a wall. That specific moment popped my eyes out and ever since then, my opinion of wuxia fight scenes has pretty much turned on how continuous the stunts are — Jackie Chan actually is doing most of what you see. You get some of that here — I love the 100-foot hops in real time, e.g. — but Tsui’s style is probably too edit-heavy for me ever to embrace fully.

    But this film is too much fun and with too much declamatory ass-kicking to denigrate. All the “Sherlock Holmes” mystery-detection elements are there — clues, secret agendas and the man  with brains figuring things out with the help of sidekicks who might have their own agendas. There’s even an overture featuring a particularly creative method of death, which the detective figures out. Only because this is a wuxia movie set in 7th-century-China, it’s a phosphorus poison that, when activated by sunlight, causes the body to burn to a crisp from within, hence The Phantom Flame (I am not making this up. And it comes back in the movie’s best scene, dramatically.) No movie that features talking deer as religious oracles, **and then as kung fu fighters** will not have a sweet spot in my heart. DETECTIVE DEE also has characters catch in-flight swords with their hands, and black-clad ninja assassin teams who’d rather die than be captured. It’s all very agreeable popcorn nonsense and in a world where American multiplex viewers didn’t a-priori dismiss subtitled films, this film would be a huge US hit.


    OF GODS AND MEN (Xavier Beauvois, France, 9)

    Contrary to appearances, I’m not just putting out for the Catholic film about holy martyrs, for a film about an Islamist terrorist attack on an Algerian monastery of Cistercian monks. I actually had some serious reservations going in about OF GODS AND MEN and several ideas about where it could go wrong — as an easy ecumenical homily or as a liberation theology wankfest. (The review at Slant perfectly describes a film I would dislike.) And I do think the film a little too eager at the start to burnish its ecumenist street cred. For example, it is hard to believe Brother Christian (the monastery’s head played by Lambert Wilson) would have no idea where the Islamist terrorists had come from, as he says. It was a reaction to the Algerian army’s nullifying an election the Islamist political party was poised to win, with the stated intention of imposing Sharia law and dissolving democracy as un-Islamic.

    But neither of these things happen for a couple of reasons — one is that the film is as liturgically structured and as theologically engaged as the monks’ lives. It’s not as rigorous on that front as INTO GREAT SILENCE (how could it be), but there’s more than enough of it to make clear that these are men of serious religious conviction, not social workers, in Mother Teresa’s famous formulation. The prayer meetings, masses and readings often turn out relevant, and the theology is not scrimped on.

    In a late scene, Brother Luc, the doctor who freely gives medical help to all the village, literally caresses the figure of Jesus in a crucifixion painting. He even tells a girl in an early scene that he had fallen in love as a young man, until a greater love come along (he means his calling, though he doesn’t put it in explicitly Christian terms, while conversing with a Muslim on secular matters). In another late scene, we hear Our Lord’s words that “whosoever will save his life, shall lose it; for he that shall lose his life for my sake, shall save it” (the film in a nutshell, really). Brother Christian elaborates on those words, putting the decision to stay in explicitly Incarnational terms. And the climax of the film, when they pull out wine and play a music tape (the two best films at the fest both feature “Swan Lake” at the climax), the cinematography and iconography are clearly meant to recall a “Last Supper” painting. Martyrs don’t seek out martyrdom but do embrace it as part of embracing Him when it happens. (Frankly, I’d have been happy had the film ended there, or, if OF GODS AND MEN must continue to the actual kidnapping, with the images of the empty monastery.)

    In an unbelievably insensate review in the Hollywood Reporter, Kirk Honeycutt provides more evidence that secular critics simply do not “get” religious films, saying

    All that can be said is that Beauvois, who co-wrote the script with Etienne Comar, avoids any real scrutiny of the monks’ refusal to leave. Since martyrdom is viewed as the only plausible outcome of this decision, it’s a pity the director never analyzes it. No one presents any real argument for leaving. Nor does any one present any real reason to stay. What is gained by their deaths, for them or for the church? Will it do any good for the local community they profess to honor and serve? Does God even figure in the decisions? They say He does but how are they so sure?

    At times, it’s hard to know what to say. Throughout the film, discussion of whether to stay or leave has been the subject matter. Honeycutt’s insensibility to what’s in front of him is encapsulated in a single word, used twice: “Real.” His problem is that all the discussion in OF GODS AND MEN explicitly framed as “what is true to my calling as a monk” (and therefore evidently not “real”). Even the monks counseling a move say not “I want to live” or some other form of “real” egoism, but speak in “calling” terms — “I didn’t become a monk to get my throat slit,” one says exactly. Ah … but they did. And as Honeycutt realizes, just as a matter of common sense, the local community will not be served by their deaths. So therefore, service to the community is not their raison de vivre. But if one has a calling from God greater than one’s own life, with service to man being a derived duty, then a decision to stay can make sense. And at that point, all Honeycutt does is throw his agnostic hands in the air — “how are they so sure?” as if he wanted a Richard Dawkins cameo or something.


    AFTERSHOCK (Feng Xiaogang, China, 4)

    You’d have to be a heartless bastard not to be moved by certain scenes in AFTERSHOCK, which covers 30 years of Chinese history between two devastating earthquakes — the Tangshan quake in 1976 and the Sichuan quake in 2008 — through a single family affected by both. But you’d also have to be a gauzy-eyed idiot not to barf at the maudlin hack quality of — well, practically everything in AFTERSHOCK, even the scenes that you can’t help but be affected by. The initial sequence in Tangshan climaxes with a Sophie’s Choice scene, in which a mother (Fan Xu) is told she can save one of her children. The rest of the film follows the consequences of that decision (though both children survive and grow up).

    Not only is My Inner Heartless Bastard stronger than My Inner Gauzy-Eyed Idiot, but My Reason rebels at and resents being manipulated this way (those who’ve read Pauline Kael’s famous review of THE SOUND OF MUSIC know what I mean). The whole movie is really just one big long series of “And Then” scenes, few satisfying in themselves or given enough room to breathe and build. This may sound paradoxical, but AFTERSHOCK, weak though it is, might have worked better at four hours; it’s just trying to cover too much ground for two. And one particular ellipsis annoyed me … we never see the brother and sister meet, instead we get an overheard conversation during Sichuan relief efforts, in which one realizes the other is talking about the same “Sophie’s Choice” moment in Tangshan. Cut to a drive out to see the mother. As for that 1976 Sophie’s Choice scene, of course it’s heart-rending (and the reunion heart-tugging), but Fan Xu’s aggressive yelling act, however realistic, simply goes too far for a work of art and becomes abrasive and alienating. A little voice inside my head also tells me, though reason reasserts itself and I eventually come to doubt it, that maybe the one role involving a Western actor speaking English (the daughter marries a Canadian businessman and emigrates there, worth a couple of Vancouver-set scenes) is a bit of Chinese chauvinism. His performance, though short, is also one of the worst I have ever seen, failing even the basic ABCs of saying your lines convincingly. It’s as if: “these ‘foreign devils’ don’t even know how to act.”

    Ah … Chinese nationalism. A comparison of this film and Zhang’s TO LIVE, Chen’s FAREWELL MY CONCUBINE and Tian’s BLUE KITE say some really poor things about Chinese movies in the last almost 20 years and their ability to criticize, or even portray in non-heroic terms, the country’s regime. I didn’t so much mind the “don’t rock the boat” theme in DETECTIVE DEE, because that’s a legitimate theme and one derived from a well-told story. But AFTERSHOCK’s portrayal of the People’s Liberation Army goes beyond mere nationalism or Hobbesian deference to authority and enters into the territory of fawning and fetishism that belongs more in a TOP GUN-type recruiting film. I have no doubt that the left-for-dead daughter was adopted by two PLA soldiers and that the Army led the disaster relief efforts in both quakes (though the film doesn’t tell you that China categorically refused all outside aid offers in 1976; but accepted them and genuinely cooperated with NGOs in 2008). But there’s needlessly heroic dialog, commie-kitsch posters and loving fetishizing of military symbols in both sequences. There’s also a mystifying scene of China on the day of Mao’s death, which ends the first section of the film but comes across as completely unnecessary except as another bit of flag-waving.


    RARE EXPORTS (Jalmari Helander, Finland, 5)

    Reading over my notes, I downgraded this from a 6. There’s was real potential here and I love the concept of a Bizarroworld Christmas film, in which Santa spies on children and kidnaps and punishes the bad ones until he’s defeated by hunters in a kind of NIGHT OF THE LIVING SANTA story. But it really does take too long to get cooking and it is a bit of a cheat that Santa Claus doesn’t actually appear, except off in a sidebar involving his grave being dug up by a flamboyantly evil businessman. Instead, the main story deals with Finnish reindeer hunters dealing with the escaped elves set loose by this excavation project. These ugly, withered, naked old men as elves (among other things, including some pretty bloody images) also mean RARE EXPORTS is too sick-weird for kids, while adults either won’t get enough gore (if they’re Midnight Gorehounds) or will be restless at the weak storytelling. It’s not really a movie for anybody.

    The first halfhour of RARE EXPORTS is really tough going — with the two stories not seeming to connect in any way and your interest (well, mine) far greater in the one that gets less time (the gloriously fruity kidnapping). Meanwhile the film spends more time with a routine and Finnish-glum fairy-tale setup involving a sensitive boy and his mean single father, complete with really overdone music and sound effects. But to be fair, the last halfhour of RARE EXPORTS had me pretty much grinning ear-to-ear. If you ever wondered how Santa can be in a million places at one time, this film provides an answer. There is a gag involving a fireplace (to say more would spoil it) that was very funny and there’s an even sillier DIE HARD reference. The thawing out of the first Elf is tense and well-directed, and you have to admire(?) the film’s integrity in pushing its premise to the end with a frozen snow-draped landscape covered with naked old-age-pensioner elves. But at the end of the day, there’s just isn’t too much to the film beyond the home-run premise that just ekes out a single.

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    September 25, 2010 - Posted by | Feng Xiaogang, Jalmari Helander, TIFF 2010, Xavier Beauvois

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Christian Toto1
Hollywood In Toto



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Why ‘Aladdin’ Is a Paint-By-Numbers Good Time
    (”Sherlock Holmes” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Aladdin review Mena Massoud

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” is neither a train wreck nor a “Beauty and the Beast” level treat.

    That’s not for lack of trying, though. Everyone involved, from the CGI artists to

    The post Why ‘Aladdin’ Is a Paint-By-Numbers Good Time appeared first on Hollywood in Toto.

    ...
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PJ Media Staff1
PJ Media



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Robin Hood: A Fantastically Inept Film
    (”Sherlock Holmes” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    PJ Media The good news for Russell Crowe and Robin Hood is that it does remind you of one of the great movies about the Middle Ages. The bad news is that that movie is Monty Python and the Holy Grail.This fantastically inept and bizarrely shapeless blob of a movie becomes laughable almost immediately, when Cate Blanchett's Lady Marion steps up and fires an arrow hundreds of yards with blistering accuracy despite being approximately the weight of a longbow herself.Russell Crowe's Robin Longstride is a hazily defined figure who first finds himself fighting for a king he can't stand, the crusader Richard the Lionheart (Danny Huston, whose Pippi Longstocking/Robert Plant hairdo makes it hard to imagine anyone would be happy to go to war on his behalf), then (in what is played as a heroic moment) robs a dead knight named Robert of Locksley of his equipment and valuables, deciding to pass himself off as the dead man for as long as he can get away with it. Fully an hour of the movie goes by in which the major challenge is whether or not Robin can make good on his promise to the dying Locksley -- to deliver his sword to his family up in Nottingham. Yes, this movie is about as exciting as a UPS run.Meanwhile, Prince John (a whiny Oscar Isaac) takes advantage of Richard's death to seize the crown -- but he is even more of a jerk than his dead brother. He bickers endlessly with his mother and his chancellor (William Hurt) about taxation, finally deciding to send the evil knight Godfrey (the perpetually scowling Mark Strong, who was also the bad guy in Kick-Ass and Sherlock Holmes) to shake down the country's landowners with orders to pay up or pay with their lives. Godfrey is secretly working for the French king, but why should we care? It's not as though we're given any reason to hope things work out for the mincing, duplicitous John, who is so foolish he actually seem surprised that this marauding psychopath is a double agent. "My friend Godfrey is not the friend I thought he was," he muses. No kidding.Nothing else in the movie sparks any reaction other than disbelief. Not the dumb dialogue that veers wildly back and forth between prithee-milady type ye olde speeches, awkward japery, and gratingly contemporary chatter. "Leave no stone unscorched!" goes one typical would-be rousing line. Yep, burn some rocks. That'll teach em. When Robin first meets Marion, she says, "Plain Robin Longstride? No 'Sir'?" "No 'Sir,' no Ma'am," he responds. Forsooth, 'tis not funny. When John fires his chancellor, he tells the court the man is leaving "to spend more time with his family." class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/blog/robin-hood-a-fantastically-inept-film/ previous Page 1 of 2 next   ]]>
    ...
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The Federalist Staff2
The Federalist



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  • This 'King Arthur' Film Is So Bad, It's Kind Of Great
    (”Sherlock Holmes” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    I’ve been a fan of the King Arthur legend almost as long as I’ve been alive, but I was underwhelmed by the frenetic trailers for Guy Ritchie’s big-budget reboot. Nevertheless, fully aware that Sir Thomas Malory might be rolling over in his grave, I turned out on opening night for this new interpretation. “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” is a very… unique take on the character. That’s not just a euphemism: on net, I’m pleasantly surprised at how entertained I was. By any objective metric, it’s pretty terrible. But it scores points for crossing over into the rarified realm of films “so bad they’re also kind of great.” It’s hard to do justice to the sheer insanity of this experience, so just take my word for it: everything I’m about to describe actually happens in this movie. ‘Legend’ Is Full Of Berserk Dynamism The film opens as King Uther Pendragon’s castle of Camelot is being attacked by the evil Mage King Mordred and his legion of supernaturally summoned, hundred-foot-tall war elephants. After repelling the attackers, Uther and his wife are murdered by Lord Vortigern (Jude Law), who’s been taking counsel from a trio of amphibious conjoined witches living in the Camelot dungeons. Uther’s son Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) is spirited away to London, where he’s raised on the mean streets by a group of hookers with hearts of gold. Twenty-odd years later, a mysterious “sword in the stone” turns up, and everyone in the kingdom is required by law to try their hand at the task. Once he draws forth the blade, Arthur is almost killed by Vortigern’s men, until a gang of friendly outlaws and an animal-controlling mage girl intervene. Shortly thereafter, Arthur and his crew decide to lead an uprising against Vortigern to retake Camelot. Suffice it to say that this is not another “gritty reboot”: instead, “Legend of the Sword” is ludicrously over-the-top, embracing its own berserk dynamism. There’s not much exposition or laborious world-building here, and that’s a good thing. Somehow, this film is at its best when it abandons any attempt at explanation or straight-up narrative. If you took some of the wildest visuals—collapsing towers! giant snakes! giant bats with leech-like mouths! fiery explosions! the Lady of the Lake carrying a flaming sword underwater!—and switched out the sound effects for a synth-pop score, “Legend of the Sword” would actually be a pretty decent art film. None of it makes any sort of sense, but you really have to admire the sheer brio of the whole thing. A Film That’s Stupid, But Enjoyable Obviously, there are a lot of moviemaking hiccups here. Director Ritchie borrows heavily—and largely unsuccessfully—from his “Snatch” and “Sherlock Holmes” bag of cinematic tricks. The distinctive “Guy Ritchie gimmick”—an explanatory voiceover layered onto a rapidly-edited visual sequence, as past events are recounted or a plan is described—is deployed four separate times, to stultifying effect. Ritchie also displays an obnoxious fixation on the “gritty street brawling” aspect of this story (which, in any story involving “King Arthur,” should be incidental to a larger plot), and the second act sags because of it. There are a lot of directors who could’ve effectively executed a King Arthur adaptation. Ritchie is not one of them. And as stupidly enjoyable as “Legend of the Sword” can be, a lot of the Arthurian myth really was lost in translation. The best King Arthur stories are situated in a world that intersects with two distinct supernatural realities: paganism and Christianity. Within this space, Merlin’s Druidic wizardry and the sacred power of the Holy Grail can coexist—a nexus that reflects an essential tension between earthy, prehistoric magic and the holy light of the transcendent. Against that backdrop of otherworldly “kingdoms in conflict,” deeply human stories of love, loss, and war unfold. For All Its Faults, ‘Legend’ Is Never Dull “Legend of the Sword” is a serious dumbing-down—shall we say a “millennialization?”—of this ancient metaphysical order. Magic doesn’t “work” in any ordered sense here. Sorcerers wave their hands, and shiny stuff happens. The eponymous sword Arthur wields is a magical talisman that allows him to attack his enemies in slo-mo (imagine the “bullet time” sequences from “The Matrix,” but with blades). But it’s the sword, not Arthur, that’s really in control—a storytelling contrivance that deprives Arthur of any moral responsibility or need for kingly introspection. The thematic desaturation doesn’t stop there. (Mild spoiler.) As Arthur prepares to confront Vortigern in a final battle, Vortigern suddenly transforms into a huge, flaming, armored demon and teleports them both into a mystical “battle arena.” It’s the single most “video gamey” moment I’ve ever seen in a Hollywood blockbuster—and while I must admit it’s an exciting sequence, it completely lacks internal logic. Is Vortigern channeling the evil spirits of Christian lore—Asmodeus, Belial, and so forth—the Celtic King of the Wild Hunt, the Viking demon Surtr, or something else altogether? But maybe in the end, it doesn’t really matter. “Legend of the Sword” is quite comfortable embracing its own sheer wackiness. Ritchie commits to his crazy premise with lots of vim and vigor, and ends up producing something that’s quite watchable, if never really “good.” This is the sort of movie that will surely become a punchline in years to come—something endlessly mockable, but in an affectionate sort of way. As far as I’m concerned, it’s better to aim high and go out with a bang than make something bland and pedestrian. And “Legend of the Sword,” for all its faults, is never dull. ]]>
    ...
    (Review Source)

Plugged In1
Focus on the Family



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)


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