Archive for December, 2009
When Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong), the leader of an occult secret society is captured by master sleuth Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and his equally sharp assistant Dr. John Watson (Jude Law), all seems right in the world; but, when Blackwood returns from the dead to instigate a new government based on fear and evil a whole new series of mysteries are unravelled. Now, with the game afoot Holmes and Watson must outwit a misguided Scotland Yard, stop Blackwood once and for all, and ultimately find out who the true criminal mastermind at work is.
Directed by Guy Ritchie (Snatch, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels), action and adventure is the name of the game, and this film is certainly packed with plenty of both; however, missing from this latest offering is the witty and pithy dialogue one would normally expect in a Ritchie film. This is not to say the script is void of humor though, it’s just not trying as hard to be funny and great acting from Downey Jr. and Law make up for this in spades. Sadly, this praise does not extend to the female cast members of the film, Rachel McAdams in the role of Irene Adler, Holmes’s love interest, in particular comes across flat and uninteresting. Again though this doesn’t totally spoil the film and there’s still plenty to sink your teeth into, of note Hans Zimmer’s noticeable score adds for great tension and color to the overall experience. Worth seeing at least as a matinee and maybe more, Sherlock Holmes is rated PG-13.
Successful single mother and self made woman, Jane (Meryl Streep), is about to send her final daughter off to college when ex-husband, Jake (Alec Baldwin), steps back into the picture. Troubled in his new a relationship to a much younger woman, Jake finds comfort and familiarity with Jane, before long the two are involved in an affair that has both giddy. Adding to the complexity of things though is Adam (Steve Martin), a recently single architect, and perfect guy for Jane. But who will win who’s heart, and what will all the grown kids think of this?
Sappy and predictable this paint by numbers romantic comedy brings little to the table to impress audiences. Admittedly Streep, Baldwin, and Martin’s acting chops help elevate the script a little but not enough to make the film memorable. John Krasinski’s performance as Harley, a soon to be son in law, adds some overall flavour as well but does little to challenge Krasinski in his abilities either. Maybe worthy as a rental on DVD for a date night, but I wouldn’t. It’s Complicated is rated R.
Depressed from losing his twin brother and the use of his own legs, marine Corporal Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) signs up to assist in protecting an ore mining company on the distant planet known as Pandora. While on the planet Jake is assigned to work as a controller of an “avatar”– a human/alien body that functions like the natives of Pandora, the Na’vi. Jake in particular is assigned to infiltrate the Na’vi culture and assist the company in driving the people out of the land they call home; but, the more he assimilates with the natives, the more he realizes the error of the humans and the stage is set for a showdown between man and Na’vi. Who will win the battle for Pandora, where will Jake’s allegiance fall, and what is the fate for the rest of the avatars on the planet?
Directed by James Cameron (Titanic), the film combines live human action along with computer generated graphics to create quite possibly the most realistic cinematic experience in a special effects film ever. Yeah, yeah, yeah, everyone has said this, but seriously, this is downright amazing, the attention to even the most minute detail has been made to the extent that what you perceive is in fact a living breathing world. Strengthening the visual shock and awe are performances from Segourney Weaver (no slouch when it comes to sci-fi experience) and the rest of the cast. Now, before I gush too much about this film, let me be quick to point out, some reservation does need to be brought up about the actual story and script. While blatant reflections of the current war and unrest in the middle east are omnipresent (this is fine by the way and it in fact makes for an interesting lens to view our own politics), it’s a shame though that without the glitz and glamour of the film there’s not a lot of substance to the story line, at best it’s mediocre, if you can get past this though and just take in the marvel of the overall experience this may not be a bad thing. After all, not every film needs to be a life changing, philosophical challenge to the viewer. Instead, I suppose it’s okay that this film garners attention for it’s technical merits instead; regardless, notable cinematic history has been made and the future of cinema as we know it has just made a quantum leap forward. Worth seeing on the big screen, particularly in 3D, and also available in IMAX. Avatar is rated PG-13.