The Case of the Loneliest Holmes

sherlock

Before Sherlock proved that the iconic character could survive anything, even Moffat, I wasn’t sure Sherlock had a place in modern television. Then came Sherlock, and everything changed. I saw Sherlock Holmes (2009) next, and then came the second TV-show,  Elementary,  and I loved that too. As the reviews and fandoms grew and evolved, it became clear that the BBC’s  Sherlock was of superior quality, Elementary was always underrated, and the movie Sherlock Holmes was fun and all, but not really in the same league.

My case is this: Robert Downey Jr.’s version of Sherlock Holmes (RDJ!Sherlock) is the loneliest, and in many ways the most tragic, of all three new Sherlocks. This observation was confirmed to me after watching the season finale of Sherlock, season 3. Do please comment if you disagree, or want to add anything to the discussion. There is really no point to all this, other than I found this to be just the right thing to do when bored and sick. Ignore this and wait for next week’s review of The Wolf of Wall Street, if you like.

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Nymphomaniac Review

nymphomaniac-posterIt feels like I’ve waited years for this film to be over and done with, but now I’ve finally seen it (despite not really wanting to) I admit it surprised me and perhaps changed my mind about seeing more of von Trier’s films. Before this I had only seen Dogville, and while I appreciate (or think I do) what the film was attempting, it never reached me personally. Lars von Trier’s films continued to fall into my “maybe some day” pile mostly do to this.

The story’s of Nymphomaniac is in the title, but you wouldn’t guess from the promotional material. The posters were everywhere when they came out. In stylish minimalism, all the film’s recognisable actors are shown half-naked at the moment of ecstasy. To me, they all hinted at a film chock full of several sexual “deviants” who would all get their moment in the spotlight. The style of these posters are far from what you get in the theatre. I saw an edited version, but I can not imagine a version that had the time to give all the characters their “poster moment” to put it that way.

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Finally, The Desolation of Smaug

If you’re not a fan of the first film, don’t bother with this one. If you liked the first one with a “meh”, then don’t bother with this one, or at least lower your expectations. If you absolutely adored the first one, you obviously are going to see this one, and you understand that this is the second part of a trilogy that is going to be epic. Book-purists can go make their own movie and stop crapping on this one.

There, easiest review ever. Beyond this point are my thoughts. Again, if you have no interest, why bother? SPOILERS beyond this point.

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Fall Results: New Shows

There were three shows I knew I had to start watching this season: Sleepy Hollow, Almost Human and Dracula. I’ve been keeping up with them in their first seasons, and although most of them haven’t finished (and one barely begun), I probably won’t get another chance before Christmas to write about them, so here is my opinion thus far.

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Favourite Movie Scores for Studying

With the semester almost over and no more radio shows until next year, my time with movies mostly consists of listening to them while I read. So, to procrastinate a bit more productively, I thought I’d share my favourite movie scores for studying. Of course, there are other scores I like when I’m not studying that are a bit more upbeat. You won’t find the theme to Indiana Jones or Star Wars here. Anything by Howard Shore is also a given, and not mentioned below.

In no particular order, here are my go-to original scores for studying.

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Diana

 diana_ver2_xlgFor many, the night Princess Diana was killed is one of those “where were you?” moments. Even if you didn’t follow the worlds of celebrities or royalty, or the causes Diana highlighted, or even if you were just a little kid from Norway, you knew who she was and what she stood for, and that her life – to quote the film – was dramatic.

The film that bears her name has a lot it can explore. Diana and Charles supplied the gossip rags for years with their affairs and divorce. Her death is forever linked to the paparazzi culture, and her role as the People’s Princess is a fascinating phenomenon. With so many areas to explore, where will the film even begin?

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Radio Review: Rush

Foto/Copyright: Norsk Filmdistribusjon / Star Media Entertainment
Copyright: Star Media Entertainment

Ron Howard always delivers when he is exploring real people who step up when challenged. In his next outing he lets Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl run around a Formula 1 track as racers James Hunt and Nikki Lauda. This year’s most perfect casting? It just might be. Especially when combined with the eerily similar Olivia Wilde/Suzy Miller and Alexandra Maria Lara/Marlene Lauda, and the timewarped twins Pierfrancesco Favino/Clay Regazzoni. Although it doesn’t have quite as many racing scenes as the title would suggest (Ron Howard didn’t learn anything from Drive there) it still gets the adrenalin pumping while keeping the focus on the characters.

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Radio Review: Hannah Arendt

5In a remarkably personal and grounded film, the story of Hannah Arendt’s rapport on the trial of Adolf Eichmann gives us a slanted view into the nature of evil.

The story follows Hannah Arendt, coiner of the phrase “the banality of evil”. We follow her coverage of the trial in Jerusalem in 1962, and the subsequent reactions to her publications on the subject. It covers roughly four years, apart from a few flashbacks to her time in school and her affair with the philosopher Martin Heidegger.

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The Great Gatsby

the_great_gatsby_movie-wideThis summer has, so far, been a perfect storm of amazing block-busters, but the next big thing I had to see included no heroes, unless you interpret the title character very differently than I do. The Great Gatsby holds a special place in my heart, because it’s one of those books I had to read twice to “get”, and made me realise how unfair we are to children when we force them to read these books in school. At the same time, however, I am a firm believer that every movie needs to stand on its own.

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Kosmorama Recap + Trance review

Kosmorama was as wonderful as last year, and I saw some fantastic films, and some god awful ones, which is inevitable. Here are a few of the highlights, for better or worse.

The Dandelions 

In many ways a “typical” cute French film about people who are all slightly off. A young girl lives with her parent and grandmother, and must navigate her way through adolescence. It sounds like pretty standard fair, but it manages to balance beautifully between comedy and tragedy. If your heart isn’t swelling and your eyes tearing up, you’re not human, basically. One of the absolute best films at the festival!

Broken

The best film of the festival – or at least closely tied with Stoker, which I mentioned in my last post. The film is set in North London in a cul-de-sac with three families, all broken in different ways. The main characters, a young girl nicknamed Skunk, is amazing for a child actor. In fact, all of the children are, and with big names like Tim Roth and Cilian Murphey backing them up, the acting in this film blew me away. It will make you cry and laugh, and stick in your head aftewards. Very highly recommended!!

Leviathan 

This is a documentary, but you wouldn’t guess from the way it’s filmed. It consists entirely of poorly hand-held shots of a fishing boat out in a stormy sea. Most of it is very dark, and the rest is filmed in extreme close-up. If you don’t get sick from the constant movement – ironically I don’t get seasick when out at sea – you will want to bang your head into a wall about halfway. There is no dialogue, there is no “plot”. Some might say the visials are interesting, but only – I have to assume – if you’ve never been near a fishing boat in your life. I sat there wondering if I should be disgusted by these images of fish and scallops, when all I felt was a growing hunger for seafood. It was like an episode of Deadliest Catch only the crew had lost the cameras and attempted to film it themselves. Avoid at all costs.

Trance.

I have to comment on Trance, though I would rather not, simply because it was the opening film of the festival. We had a bit of a spirited debate on our radio show last week about it. One of my co-hosts hated it with a passion, and the other thought it was a “meh-to-decent” movie. I was then sent out to watch it and be the tie-breaker.

As I sat down, I tried to be as open as possible. It has everything I knew I should like. James McAvoy in a Danny Boyle film about a heist! It sounded so good on paper. And the opening narration was smooth and fancy, and my hopes rose. Then we started falling under the hypnosis, and the film became something very different. It is not as smart as it thinks it is. In fact, it is not as deep or pretty or well-scripted as it thinks it is. You feel the weight of the “look how mind-blowing it all is”, but you don’t see the results on screen. Instead you are met with predictability to the point of annoyance. And a love-triangle that made my skin crawl with its lack of chemistry.

Most of this is because the characters are all just uninteresting. McAvoy can play any part with gusto, but when neither his character nor any of the other actors are engaging, it just drags on. I guessed about twenty minutes in exactly how it would end, and when it happened it just pissed me off. The least it could have done was not meet every prediction I had. It tops it all off with a horrible Inception-esque ending where everyone goes on their merry way into the sunset.

Trance will appeal to a lot of people, and I wouldn’t dream of saying they are wrong to enjoy the hell out of this film. To me, and my now very smug colleague, the film tipped its hand at the very beginning, and never recovered.

I’m posting my Iron Man 3 review next!