Mr Holmes

Which is your favourite Sherlock Holmes ? Is it the Robert Downey Jr / Guy Ritchie steampunk version. Or is it the two current TV incarnations – the US New York inspired – Elementary or BBC’s take on the detective – Sherlock. It seems that the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories have been amended on screen to suit the audience that watched them when they were made. This even goes back as far as the era of silent movies. Even that catchphrase ” Elementary, My Dear Watson ” or his trademark hooked pipe and deerstalker are all actually either from stage versions or those on TV and film, they never actually appeared in any of the original books that inspired the many versions that have been made.

So we now have yet another version of the fictional detective – this version is also inspired by a book not by Arthur Conan Doyle but by Mitch Cullen written in 2005 called ” A Slight Trick Of The Mind “. Ian McKellen now steps into the shoes of Sherlock Holmes. It is many years since Sherlock has occupied 221b or did he? which is explained in the movie, there is no Mrs Hudson and Dr Watson has long since parted ways with Sherlock. We now find Sherlock in 1940’s Britain having long since retired and tending to his bees at his seaside home tended to by a widowed housekeeper played by Laura Linney and her young son. She has lost her husband to the recent war and just sees this as a temporary placement, born more out a sense of convienence than of any sense of devotion.

Sherlock’s mind is not quite as sharp as before but he can still  occasionally size someone up with a look. But why has he retired ? It seems that the last case he worked on has not resolved itself fully and like a piece of meat stuck in one’s teeth,it seems it just can’t be dislodged from his inquiring mind. I won’t destroy the narrative of this story but suffice it to say that this unsolved case owes more to Sherlock’s passing years rather that the case not being properly solved.

Ian McKellen is ideal casting for this part and does an admirable job in the role. Whether you enjoy this movie or not will have a lot to do with whether you are a fan of being transported to the world of period drama. If you are a fan of Downton Abbey or any series set within this time period then you are sure to come out satisfied.

Who know what the next incarnation of the fictional detective might be ? That’s a mystery that even Sherlock might find too difficult to solve.

#Movies V Real Life

Even though Sherlock Holmes was a fictional character, when Arthur Conan Doyle killed him off there was such a clamour of despair, that many people felt like they had actually lost him for real. Eventually Arthur Conan Doyle had to bring him back to life ,such was the reaction to his fictitious death. Seems like you just can’t keep a good man down !!

Jurassic World

This movie has a lot to live up after the dinosaur shaped behemoth that was Jurassic Park. Well I don’t know about you but the two sequels that followed – The Lost World and Jurassic Park III, while good did not have the same cultural impact that Jurassic Park did. Even watching today once that John Williams score starts up, you are a little wide-eyed child again.

Well time has moved on both in real life and in the story. The park that John Hammond always wanted has now become a reality on the island of Isla Nublar. It has however become a combination of Sea World meets a Disneyfied, corporate sponsored park replete with the Starbucks outlets and Samsung sponsored attractions. A bit like us who have it all before in Jurassic Park, the park’s visitors are no longer impressed by your average run-of-the-mill dinosaur and it seem that even the T-rex does not seems to cut it any more in terms of scares.

Well the boffins in the lab cook up something altogether a lot more vicious and altogether more intelligent Indominus Rex, well what could ever go wrong there !!

As before we are introduced to two young children played by actors Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson who have been shipped off to the park by their parents who are considering divorce and to reconnect with their Aunt Beth ( Bryce Dallas Howard ) who has become what estranged from the rest of the family. Beth of course being the workaholic that she is palms her two young charges off on her assistant played by Irish actress Katie McGrath who you might remember from the BBC series Merlin. Well she will not win employee of the month and she pays for her in- attention later on in the movie. The two boys go on their own tour of the park that does not stick to the park schedule and they find themselves in a very sticky situation, when the Indominus Rex who has not been socialised with other dinosaurs and does not like being confined decides to go walkabout around the park / theme park  and also enjoys killing both dinosaurs and people just because it can.

Chris Pratt who plays the character of Owen in the movie and is like a cross between a dinosaur wrangler meets Indiana Jones goes on a park wide scavenger hunt with Beth and the park’s S.W.A.T team to try and save the two boys from the claws of the I-Rex.

The question you are now going to ask me is how does this one measure up to the original Jurassic Park, there I feel that the comparisons are unfair as Jurassic Park will always win out as that sense of wonder that that movie gave us no matter what age we were has passed, we have seen it before. Jurassic World is the telling of a different story due to the passage of time in the real world and the story. Better to look at this movie afresh and you won’t be disappointed with ride that it brings you on.

This is only Colin Trevorrow’s second movie after the small-time indie sci-fi hit that was Safety Not Guaranteed a movie that is worth checking out. Steven Spielberg is only producer on this movie but this movie pays quite a few nods to the movie that spawned the franchise – see how many you can spot dotted around this movie. Does this movie suffer from the fact that the actor B.D.Wong is the only returning character from the first movie, well no as their replacements do a good job of filling the shoes of the characters that came before them.

You can certainly say that the park is back open for business !!

#MOVIES V REAL LIFE

Did you know that the R.M.S Titanic cost £1.5 million pounds to construct between the laying of it’s keel, to it’s launch at the Harland and Wolff shipyards in Belfast  between 1910 to 1912 . That works out to about $7.5 million in U.S dollars at the time and about $120 to $150 million in 1997, that was the year that the movie directed by James Cameron came out.

The cost of the movie Titanic- $200 million dollars !!

Safety Not Guaranteed – Did This Movie Pass You By ?

Well I suppose it was bound to happen eventually there are some movies out this week but none that particularly appeal to me. So what does one do, leave you hanging with no movie review this week. No I would never do that ,so let me welcome you to a new feature ” Did This Movie Pass You By ? ” . There can sometimes be so many movies released that a few can slip through the cracks or it might have got a limited release through arthouse cinemas only. This is what happened with a movie called Safety Not Guaranteed released back in 2012.

Why bring this movie to your notice, well it is actually a great movie despite it’s budget being small. Another reason is that it’s director Colin Treverrow has directed the movie up for review next week Jurassic World which cost $ 175 million to make, this movie however was made for a much smaller  budget of $ 750,000 US dollars.

Let me set up the premise of the movie. A cynical journalist played by Aubrey Plaza spots a newspaper ad placed by a man who is played by Mark Duplass. In essense, the ad requests someone to go back in time with him, but states that safety can’t be guaranteed hence the title of the movie. More than once she questions his sanity but decides to play along to see where it leads. They go on a chase for machine parts to finish said time machine and the movie follows their path to complete the machine. I won’t give away the ending just to say that it is poignant and you will want to revisit this movie.

It shows that no matter what size of a budget you have to work with, a well written story will trump all the CGI fireworks in the world. A lesson there for many a filmmaker.

So if you happen to live either in Ireland or England, you can see it on Film4 – Channel 4’s free-to-air movie channel from Tuesday 9th June at 10.45pm till 12.25am, maybe set your recorder if you have work in the morning. Otherwise you can find it on DVD or you may also find it on one of the online movie streaming services. So check it out, a bit of a hidden gem.

If there is a quiet movie week again I will review another movie that may have passed you by, so keep your eyes peeled for the next little surprise.

#MOVIES V REAL LIFE

Well Jaws is 40 this year – It started the phenomenon of the Summer blockbuster, tying products specifically to a movie’s release. In a time before CGI, more often than not the mechanical shark would not play ball and kept breaking down. Did you know that it does not appear till two-thirds of the way through the movie. Despite the fact that the shark was not even real, I bet there are still a few people who have not even darkened the door of their local swimming pool since seeing the movie. It also gave us the immortal line ” I think we need a bigger boat !! ” ad-libbed apparently by Roy Schneider’s character, as that silly shark had broken down again !! Sharks don’t seem quite so frightening, now do they ?

Man Up

As I sat there waiting for this movie to start, a trailer for another ” The Notebook ” clone came into the trailer reel. I have no plan to go and see this movie, so whenever this movie gets released no review will be forthcoming, sorry to those who might have expected one. This is weirdly because, despite the shortness of the trailer I feel that it actually it told me the whole story in under 3 minutes. Why do I mention this, well the movie for review this week is Man Up which only lasts 88 minutes. I am naturally very wary of movies that run under 90 minutes, as if my many years of movie going has taught me anything if it does not fit into the category of animation, student film or documentary it tends to end with me saying ” Well there goes that time out of my life ” there are of course exceptions, but as a rule I have found this to be so.

Anyway now to the review for this week. Enter the character of Nancy ( Lake Bell ) who finds herself on a train next to a woman Jessica ( Ophelia Lovibond ) who is reading a self help book of love, the two of them strike up a conversation, long story short Jessica passes her book to Nancy who she feels is in more in need of the advice in the book. Anyway they part at the train station. Now as it happens Jack ( Simon Pegg ) is waiting for said Jessica at the station with the self same book so they can recognize each other. Jessica as it happens has gone to buy another copy from the station bookshop, she does appear later in the movie but I digress.

Jack naturally thinks Nancy is Jessica, but unlike you or me who might say ” I think you have the wrong person “, Nancy does not correct Jack’s misunderstanding and things are going well for both of them on the date. Still with me here, are you ?

It is not till they decide to throw a trip to the bowling alley into their mix of their date night that the wheels come of the wagon, thanks to a rather creepy ex classmate of Nancy’s who has always had a soft spot for said Nancy. He tries to put more than one spanner in the works and is played expertly by Rory Kinnear. Well, he exposes Nancy’s subterfuge and Jack is none to pleased by this sudden turnaround in his romantic prospects.

Jack of course after a diversionary date with Jessica, realises nearly too late that it is Nancy not Jessica who is the person who really wants and he tries to track Nancy down to Nancy’s parent’s house where they are celebrating the parents 40th wedding anniversary which is where Nancy was heading to at the start of the movie. Rory Kinnear of course tries to divert Jack on his romantic love chase to find Nancy. Anyway I am sure you will realise how this movie ends up tying everything into a nice little rom – com pink bow. So I am not really giving away the ending.

In essence this movie is in the mould of Bridget Jones et al , so if you liked that movie there is a good chance that this movie will appeal to you also. Kudos should go in particular to Lake Bell for her flawless English accent, P.s If you get a chance track her down in a movie called ” In a World ” a little gem of a movie and worth checking out .

I really enjoyed this movie and I left the movie theatre with a warm fuzzy feeling,so if that is what you are in search of check this one out.

#MOVIES V REAL LIFE

While it may look great in a romantic comedy scene.Well, is it just me or if you saw two people running headlong towards each in real life arms open wide, would you be able to stop yourself from shouting out ” Watch Out ” !!  Also there would be no romantic soundtrack to accompany the lovers embrace, such is real life.

Tomorrowland – A World Beyond

Just thought that I would let you know this, if you happen to live in America this movie is just called Tomorrowland. Why they decided to add that extra bit into the title I am not quite sure ?

Well don’t go and see this movie if you are a pessimist, this movie is aimed at the dreamers and optimists in the population of the world.

A wide eyed boy visits the New York World’s Fair and goes on the Disney ride ” It’s a Small World ” . Unlike you and me who just come out the other end singing that song, he has been given a pin by a girl Athena ( Raffey Cassidy ) and finds himself transported to a spectacular futuristic metropolis called Tomorrowland. Fast- forward in time and we encounter a wide eyed girl called Casey Newton ( Britt Robertson ) who also encounters this pin after being arrested for trespassing onto NASA lands to try and scupper the dismantling of a rocket launch pad. She touches the pin and is given a glimpse of this fantastical futuristic world, curiosity gets the better of her and she goes on a road trip with Athena who she finds out is not just a normal girl but an anamatronic android. She gets dropped by Athena at the house of Frank Walker ( George Clooney ) who we discover is that same young wide eyed boy, but he has become a much more grumpy and pessimistic person over time. We find out that he had been banished from this future world by head of this world David Nix played by Hugh Laurie. To tell you any more would spoil the story, but if you are still like that wide eyed boy or girl you will like this movie.

Is it a great movie, have Brad Bird – Director and Damon Lindelof sprinkled the Disney pixie dust over this movie. While the science fiction geeks and dreamers may find a lot to enjoy in this movie, I fear this may become another John Carter for Disney – that was based on a lesser known book written by Edgar Rice Burroughs who wrote the Tarzan books. Well it did not do as well they hoped at the box office and this may be the fate that awaits Tomorrowland, though I hope that this will not be the case for all the optimists of the world.

Will this become the next Pirates of the Caribbean for Disney, sadly I fear not. A good movie rather than a great movie, a bit like the Captain Nemo ride at Disney parks, whereas we all hoped that it would be Space Mountain.

#MOVIES V REAL LIFE

You may have heard the expression ” In Space No – One Can Hear You Scream ” – the tagline for the movie Alien. Never a truer word spoken. Which kind of puts a bit of downer on all those sci – fi movies that we all love, Star Wars included.

The sound of an explosion in space – No Atmosphere !! – Nowhere for the sound to bounce off !! – Basic Physics !!

Oh dear Luke, blowing up the Death Star does not quite have the same spectacular ending !!

Pitch Perfect 2

The first thing you are asking me is how this movie stacks up to what came before. This is always the problem with bringing out a sequel to any movie. If the movie has even been even mildly successful. Hollywood can’t help itself and must bring out a follow up.

Despite myself I really enjoyed the previous movie and if you did you will probably like this one too. I can’t quite remember whether the previous movie had a racy script but it feels like this one has.

All the gang are back from the previous movie which always helps as we know everybody and all their little eccentricities.

The movie starts and how can I put this without offending anyone with Fat Amy ( Rebel Wilson ) having a wardrobe malfunction in front of invited guests including the president of the United States. This results in them being excluded from future colliagiate competitions and all seems lost for the Bardon Bellas. They do find out that this does not exclude them from international competitions and they are all set to travel to this international competition, enter their nemesis German cardboard cutout, heavy stereotyped and accented ” Das Sound Machine ” who are sponsored by a well known German car company.

There are one or two side stories thrown in for good measure Beca ( Anna Kendrick ) is an intern at a music recording company and soooh …. wants to be a music producer but finds it hard to balance her work with the Bardon Bellas and her new role. We also have the introduction of a new character Emily Junk, yes that is her name played by Hailee Steinfeld. She is initiated into the Bardon Bellas and soooh …. wants to be a singer/ songwriter.

Well I won’t be giving anything away by letting you know that everything turns alright for the Bellas in the end,in a” I guarantee that you will be singing along by the end ” final scene.

This movie was not really aimed at me and I think that it is because I grew up in a family of siblings who are all female that I have a soft spot for movies like this. I liked it and as I said earlier if you had seen the first movie and liked it you will probably enjoy this one too. Cue me bursting into showtunes lyrics despite myself. Fingers in ears people ” Oh the horror ”

I have decided to add a little section to my reviews that has nothing to do the movie of the week to leave you with a smile on your face.

#MOVIES V REAL LIFE

In case you are ever tempted to try this out in your new sparkling brand new car. Remember that if you try to jump a gap left by a missing bridge and it always looks great fun in the movies, you will have to kiss goodbye to your suspension if you try it. You have been warned !!

Mad Max – Fury Road

As I had warned regular readers there was a chance that the testosterone would win out and so it has come to pass. When faced with the choice of Pitch Perfect 2 or Mad Max – Fury Road as you can see by the title above which one was the winner. Don’t worry though, I will get round to reviewing Pitch Perfect 2 as despite myself I really enjoyed the previous movie.

Sadly I am old enough to remember the previous incarnation of Mad Max and it’s two sequels. This movie in style at least owes more to those two movie sequels rather than the shoestring budget first one. Is this one a sequel or a prequel, I actually don’t really think that it matters as this movie has a storyline where you strap yourself in and enjoy the ride, much as a rollercoaster ride at a theme park.

Mad Max is now in the guise of Tom Hardy rather than Mel Gibson. Does this matter not really, as it is more about about the character of Furiosa ( Charlize Theron ) and actually the better for it.

The movie starts out with Furiosa escaping the clutches of this film’s baddie Immortan Joe and setting out over a post – apocalyptic martian – like scorched earth with a number of ladies who look like they have just stepped out of very glossy magazine shoot.  Mad Max finds himself in a posse sent out to bring back all of these ladies by Immortan Joe ( Joe Moore ) who sees these ladies as his own personal property . P.s Max is strapped the front of a very strange looking car at this point, but does manage to escape and hook up with Furiosa and it can feel sometimes that you are strapped where Max is, such is this movie.

Furiosa sets out over the desert for a good part of this movie looking for a mythical green land that has mentioned in legend. Then she only goes and does a U – turn two – thirds of a way through the movie and rush back to Immortan Joe’s lair with him and his posse in tow, who have been harressing her across the desert for most of the movie as fast as possible.

In another movie you might throw up your hands in disgust at this point. But this movie has such a quirky and bonkers storyline it really does not matter. At this point you have been in this world for so long you really don’t care.

It helps that original director George Miller has stepped back into the shoes of directing this movie as he knows the story and the world that the character of Mad Max inhabits. By all rights this movie should have been a turkey, but I am glad to say that it isn’t and there are worse ways of spending two hours of your life.

So never mind that you really don’t know what is going on for most of the movie. You will come out satisfied and that after all is all most of go to the movies for.