Review: Sherlock Holmes

In the current Hollywood tradition of rebooting big franchises (Batman, James Bond), Sherlock Holmes is another success – a gritty, fun, and new portrayal of the world’s greatest detective.

Guy Ritchie takes the same England underbelly that has served him so well in the past and imposes it on Victorian times to give Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson a new approach while still embracing the intelligence and deductive reasoning that is a staple to the characters.  Me likey.

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THE SETUP:
After concluding their last case together taking down the black magician Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong), Holmes and Watson are dealing with the realities of breaking up.  Watson is off to get married and Holmes is a basket case.  Before their relationship is resolved, Blackwood returns to wreak havoc and kill lots of people so the detectives return to finish loose ends.  With some help from Irene Adler (Rachael McAdams), a former love/always thief, the case takes them through the dark alleys of England to the Parliament Building.

THE THOUGHTS:
Guy Ritchie makes great movies when he’s not sleeping with Madonna.  Let me use some basic Sherlock facts:
- Pre-Material Girl: Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch.
- Shacked up with Madonna: Swept Away, Revolver.
- Post-Madonna: RocknRolla, Sherlock Holmes.
Case closed.

This movie is fun and if you like Robert Downey Jr. being Robert Downey Jr. (more Iron Man, less Weird Science), you will be a happy camper.  He was what you’d expect, which is a good thing, and Downey is well complimented by Jude Law’s Watson.  They are obviously very different people but right away you can tell they’re having a great time together, as actors and as characters.  The relationship between the two men is the cornerstone of the movie.

The two others of note played their parts well.  Rachael McAdams is always good and she plays smart and mischievous well here.  You could understand why Holmes had a thing for her.  Mark Strong is someone you should pay attention to.  He was awesome in Rocknrolla and Body of Lies and expect great things from him in the upcoming Robin Hood with Russell Crowe and super-hero flick Kick-Ass.

My favourite part of the movie, and something Holmes fans will love, is when Downey explains how he figures things out.  Whether it’s to incapacitate another fighter or a breakdown of the case, it’s great to see this true part of Sherlock’s character played so well by Downey.

SHERLOCK HOLMES Rating:
4 stars – you’d recommend this. Definitely worth checking out.  The boys for the explosions and Rachel McAdams.  The girls for Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law.  Ok, everybody likes Robert Downey Jr. This is the start of a very promising franchise.  I’m along for the ride.

Top  Five
 Randomly  Recommended (in no particular order)
This time of year, everyone has a list…best of the year or best of the decade.  Sorry, I’m not that guy.  You can only hear so much about the same movies over and over again.  So I’ve come up with a list of top 5 movies that I would recommend.  They’re great flicks that I haven’t recommended before and they just haven’t gotten the attention they deserve.  And hey, if you have some suggestions, I’m all ears.

The Limey (1999)– Steven “Oceans 11 – 13” Soderbergh teams up with Terence Stamp to deliver one of the best revenge movies you’ll see.  Don’t F with Terence Stamp.

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Once (2006) – Fantastic story of a boy meeting a girl, in Europe, through song.  Only not girly.  The main two actors are actual musicians (easier to teach acting than music) and the main song from this won the Oscar.  Good date flick.

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Chopper (2000) – I don’t care that it’s Australian and they talk funny (I’m looking at you Ian).  This is one a gritty look at one of their country’s most notorious criminals (yes, I get the humour there) and the fact that he wrote a bestseller from prison.  It’s shocking.  It’s an amazing performance from Eric “fatty” Bana before he was anybody over here.  It’s a true story.  It’s pretty kickass.

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Apt Pupil (1998) – Before the two good X-men movies and after The Usual Suspects, Bryan Singer took time out to tell a story about a boy and the possible Nazi next door. Based on a Stephen King story, Brad Renfro and Ian McKellan tell an intense story of “is he or isn’t he?”

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The Lives of Others (2006) – German film (yes you’ll have to read) that won the Best Foreign Film Oscar.  This is a world you can’t be familiar with but still you get sucked in by the quiet life of this surveillance expert and the people he listens to.  Amazing movie.  (learn to read if you have to, it’s that good)

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 Review: Sherlock Holmes
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Comments

  1. Reader comments on my facebook page. Must be too shy to comment on the blog themselves.

    Joel:
    nice recommendations, I’ll have to check them out. A few of my own:

    Salton Sea – great performance from Val Kilmer
    The Man Who Wasn’t There – Billy Bob Thornton at his finest
    Barton Fink – I’d keep listing every Coen Brothers movie but this one stands out as being particularly worth seeing for John Turturro’s performance
    Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead – Phillip Seymour Hoffman rarely disappoints. Also Marisa Tomei is in it.

    Corey:
    The wolfman and 44 inch chest, from the director of sexy beast!

  2. This is very excellent news. I’m was dying to to see this movie and therefore, desperately didn’t want it to suck.

    Not that I take your opinions as textbook knowledge, but they’re at the very least cliffs notes.

  3. I saw this movie last week and loved it as well. RDJ is amazing, as always, and the rest of the cast were great! I absolutely loved the parts where he gives his explanations (especially regarding kicking someone’s ass).

    RDJ can do no wrong in my books!

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