Archive for June, 2010

There was one movie that I actually counted down the days until it was released into theaters, and that was Return of the King.  However, I certainly did not camp out in the theater hallway for hours, waiting for a pre-show.  I went to the opening night.  There were a few people that dressed up as Frodo and Sam, but everyone else seemed, well, relatively normal.  (Actually, I thought the Frodo/Sam outfits were quite good.)  Last night, I saw a hallway full of people waiting for the 12:01am showing of Eclipse.  All I could think was, "Wow, I’m glad that’s not me."  On top of disliking vampires in general, I find Twilight sappy and tiring.  Oh well.

I’m planning to watch Knight and Day tonight.  It will be my last chance to watch it before the theater is overrun by hordes of Eclipse fans.  I think I’m going to avoid the theater for a few weeks…

I recently watched Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes again, and enjoyed it just as much as an in-theater viewing. The movie is not much like the stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, of which I’ve read quite a few. Doyle’s Holmes is obsessive, clever, silent, morose, and unstoppable. Ritchie’s Holmes is manic, obsessive, depressive, brutal when necessary, wheedling, offensive, and charming. This combination is actually enhanced by having Robert Downey, Jr. portray this character. Downey has been plagued with issues in previous years, and his resolution of these problems seems only to have made him a stronger actor. I was a little nonplussed at the choice of Jude Law as Watson, but since the movie is so unlike any previous Holmes incarnation, the oddity seems to fit.

And yes, Ritchie did make Doyle’s genius detective into an action star of sorts, but the movie is so brilliant that it works, especially since the essentials of Holmes’s eerie perception and foresight are kept intact. Also, the London that viewers are shown looked like the drab, classic, dirty, teeming London of the Victorian age, seen in such detail through authors like Charles Dickens.

I do have a few criticisms. One is that Downey’s accent gets a little mushy and hard to understand at times. The other main one is about the plot. Lord Blackwood, played by Mark Strong, is not a Holmes-worthy villain. The lack has nothing to do with Strong’s acting ability–I will defend Mark Strong’s acting over many well-known and lauded actors–but more with the weakness of the character. It is quite evident that Blackwood is only a stop-gap to get to the real villain, Professor Moriarty. (Which, of course, means that we will be seeing a Sherlock Holmes 2 at some point in the future.) Strong’s abilities were wasted in such a role, although he gives it his all. And his diction is excellent. (It’s the stage training, I tell ya!)

Eddie Marsan also did an excellent job as Inspector Lestrade. He was able to play the part of a man who is always a few steps behind Holmes without turning it into a comic farce. One gets the impression that he’s a good policeman–after all, he is an Inspector–who has the fortune or misfortune of having to work with Holmes, who always upstages him.

Oh, and Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack is excellent! I love the sort of demented piano theme running through the movie.

Time shall untie this, not I

To continue my random posts for Saturday, I decided to post images of men in varying degrees of shavenness.  I went with all dark-haired men because I didn’t want to see another picture of Brad Pitt with his overgrown mess.



Trimmed beard:

Oh what a tangled web we weave?

Feel free to weigh in on the debate.  Make your voice heard!

Sartorial savvy, part two

Time for the women to be judged.  Well, two of them, anyway.

Gwyneth Paltrow:


Cate Blanchett:

Perhaps that is not fair to Gwynnie, since Cate Blanchett could wear sackcloth and ashes and still look like a glamazon.


It’s always interesting to see something like this.  I particularly enjoy that George Clooney was in something called Return of the Killer Tomatoes.  Way to stay classy, George.


Plowing that corn under

I finally got to watch Field of Dreams.  I can definitely understand why people enjoy the movie.  I found Ray Liotta to be particularly good as Shoeless Joe Jackson.  James Earl Jones was excellent, but then he always is.  He’s James Earl Jones, after all.

However, as baseball movies go, I found it a lacking in heart when compared with something like 61* or even A League of Their Own.  It was a sweet story, but rather predictable.  And there wasn’t enough baseball for my taste!  That was one of my main problems with the movie For Love of the Game.  It was too much about angst and Kevin Costner doing slow-mo movements.  That’s about all I remember from that movie.  But I’m digressing again.

Field of Dreams is, as many have described it, a feel-good movie.  It shows how baseball can bring people together, even after death.  But it wasn’t as amazing as I expected.  It was a pleasant movie that was just as much about faith in the impossible as it was about baseball.  Which is fine, of course.  Faith is an amazing thing.  And although the story seemed contrived, it still managed to convey how people can be captured by the iconic status of their sports heroes.

Third time’s just as charming

In my mind, there are animations of the Disney ilk, and there are Pixar animations.  Disney animations are usually a little too cute for me.  Pixar, on the other hand, manages to create original stories, perhaps because they’re not afraid to inject a little sardonic and satirical wit into their movies.

Toy Story was a huge hit when it was released fifteen years ago.  That’s right, it’s been fifteen years.  Wow.  Moving on.  Four years later, we got Toy Story 2.  And now, eleven years later, viewers can go watch Toy Story 3.  I was curious to see what the devious minds at Pixar came up with to continue the story of the toys that talk.  After all, we’ve had the supplanted toy and the toy rescued from being sold as a collector’s item.  Where to go from there?

The main thing plot dilemma is that Andy has grown up, so the toys don’t know if Andy will take them to college with him, put them in the attic, or throw them away.  I won’t elaborate on any more of the plot, in case you haven’t seen it yet.

I was impressed by the way the writers captured the feeling of growing up and being excited about that and sad that one is grown up.  The story left a feeling a moving on and of conclusion.  It was well done.  And, of course, it was funny.  The highlight for me was probably when Buzz Lightyear’s Spanish mode is accidentally turned on.  Muy bien!

Sartorial savvy

Here’s the question: which one of these men has the better fashion sense?  And don’t be influenced by name recognition and fame.

Johnny Depp:


Viggo Mortensen:

I’ve made my choice!


This made me sad…

I think Amanda Bynes has talent, but perhaps since she never did anything bad to get a lot of publicity, people didn’t pay enough attention to her.  That’s sad and ridiculous.  She can at least act, unlike someone like Megan Fox.