Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) – 7/10 period crime adventure movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Guy Ritchie
Writer: Michele Mulroney
Writer: Kieran Mulroney
Producer: Joel Silver
Producer: Lionel Wigram
Producer: Susan Downey
Producer: Dan Lin
Writer (Characters’ Creator): Arthur Conan Doyle
Robert Downey, Jr.: Sherlock Holmes
Jude Law: Dr. John Watson
Noomi Rapace: Madam Simza Heron
Jared Harris: Professor James Moriarty
Eddie Marsan: Inspector Lestrade
Kelly Reilly: Mary Watson
Stephen Fry: Mycroft Holmes
Rachel McAdams: Irene Adler

Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, A (2011)

Sherlock is in the middle of the most important case of his career, possibly of all time, as he plays the game with diabolical genius Professor John Moriarty over the future of Europe. Meanwhile, Watson’s about to get married and Holmes is the best man.

7/10

Surprisingly, this expensive big-screen movie would be quickly overshadowed by the mind-shattering cleverness and originality of the Holmes-Moriarty plot in BBC television’s rightly-acclaimed Season Two of Sherlock. But while it still lacks a plot that is as clever as its hero or television rival, the ride is better than the first film; this is significantly more energetic and stylish and is an awful lot of fun. The Liu Bolin-inspired urban camoflauge gags are great, Holmesavision  makes an expanded return and it, unusually and agreeably, ends with a battle of brains. The cast is also first-rate. Robert Downey, Jr. Is good fun as the man himself but Jared Harris’ Moriarty is quietly sinister, Jude Law’s Watson is outstanding and Stephen Fry’s Mycroft is awesome. You just keep expecting him to unveil a gigantic pair of fake comedy breasts and say "au contraire, Sherlock".

This movie contains bad language and strong violence, extremely unpleasant scenes and non-sexual nudity.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

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Sherlock Holmes (2009, Period Crime Adventure) – 6/10 movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Guy Ritchie
Writer (Screenplay): Michael Robert Johnson
Writer (Screenplay): Anthony Peckham
Writer (Screenplay): Simon Kinberg
Writer (Screen Story): Lionel Wigram
Writer (Screen Story): Michael Robert Johnson
Producer: Joel Silver
Producer: Lionel Wigram
Producer: Susan Downey
Producer: Dan Lin
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson: Arthur Conan Doyle
Robert Downey, Jr.: Sherlock Holmes
Jude Law: Dr. John Watson
Rachel McAdams: Irene Adler
Mark Strong: Lord Blackwood
Eddie Marsan: Inspector Lestrade
Kelly Reilly: Mary Morstan

Sherlock Holmes (2009)

The capture and hanging of Lord Blackwood, sinister serial killer, means an onset of unfathomable boredom for consulting detective Sherlock Holmes. The entrance of an old flame, Irene Adler, and the, er, resurrection of Lord Blackwood from the dead, stimulate all his senses satisfactorily.

6/10

Saddled with a plot that lacks cunning, imagination or even much interest and surprisingly short of the director’s witty flourishes, this period buddy-buddy detective movie needs to get by almost solely on the charm of it’s stars. Robert Downey, Jr., Jude Law and Rachel McAdams ensure that it does, but only just. The filmmakers expend effort to make the characters appear more rounded and the relationships between the lead triumvirate definitely feel like they have some history. But without any focus on the piercing intelligence of the hero, it loses an opportunity to make that rare beast, an intellectually entertaining Hollywood movie.

This movie contains strong violence, extremely unpleasant scenes and mild nudity.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

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Sherlock 1.03 The Great Game (2010, Crime Detective Drama) – 7/10 TV review

Cast / crew
Benedict Cumberbatch: Sherlock Holmes
Martin Freeman: Dr. John Watson
Writer: Mark Gatiss
Co-Creator: Steven Moffat
Writer (Original Works): Arthur Conan Doyle
Producer: Sue Vertue
Director: Paul McGuigan
Actor (uncredited) Mycroft Holmes: Mark Gatiss
Executive Producer: Mark Gatiss
Executive Producer: Steven Moffat

Sherlock 1.03 Great Game, The (2010)

A bored Sherlock is bemoaning the lack of crime but the spark soon comes back when he is forced to solve five crimes against the ticking clock of a bomb around innocent persons bodies.

7/10

While there’s a nagging feeling that it isn’t achieving it’s potential, this is unquestionably the best new show on British television in 2010 and for some time. There’s a glee and energy to proceedings and the deductions from Sherlock are terrific fun. It would be nice if the audience were given the same clues as Sherlock (we still wouldn’t see them, of course) and I still feel that all this Moriarty business is too soon. It’s like end-of-the-world scenarios in Doctor Who. If every episode is Armageddon, it becomes the norm; the ordinary when it should be the extraordinary. For Sherlock, if everything runs through Moriarty’s fingers, it makes Moriarty’s involvement the norm; the ordinary when it should be the extraordinary.

This Sherlock episode contains a muffled mild swear word and violence, unpleasant scenes.

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

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Sherlock 1.02 The Blind Banker (2010, Crime Detective Drama) – 6/10 TV review

Cast / crew
Benedict Cumberbatch: Sherlock Holmes
Martin Freeman: Dr. John Watson
Creator: Mark Gatiss
Creator: Steven Moffat
Writer: Steve Thompson
Writer (Original Works): Arthur Conan Doyle
Producer: Sue Vertue
Director: Euros Lyn
Executive Producer: Mark Gatiss
Executive Producer: Steven Moffat

Sherlock 1.02 Blind Banker, The (2010)

Shortly after being terrified by a graffiti symbol, people in locked rooms are dying sudden mysterious deaths.

6/10

Successfully giving Watson more to do and allowing Holmes to be occasionally undermined by his own self-centred arrogance are highlights in an episode (loosely based on The Adventure of the Dancing Men) that is rather less successful in disguising an abundance of deus ex machina. So Sherlock can come to the rescue at a secret gang hideout based on the word "tramway" while manipulating time and space to arrive barely minutes after the baddies ; a damp Yellow Pages, a really cool clue in itself, connects a Chinese woman to his current case except it doesn’t; and people react with horror to a cipher message that they haven’t yet decoded. The Moriarty coda is, again, awful and so unnecessary. However, the identity of ‘a book everyone owns’ has a satisfying answer (SPOILER an A-Z London map guide), there’s some nice scenery of modern London (hello to The Gherkin) and the episode as a whole is entertaining. I think British television finally has it’s replacement for Inspector Morse.

This Sherlock episode contains mild swear words, adult dialogue and violence.

 

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Links

Sherlock 1.01 A Study in Pink (2010, Crime Detective Drama) – 7/10 TV review

Cast / crew
Benedict Cumberbatch: Sherlock Holmes
Martin Freeman: Dr. John Watson
Writer: Steven Moffat
Co-Creator: Mark Gatiss
Writer (Original Works): Arthur Conan Doyle
Producer: Sue Vertue
Director: Paul McGuigan
Phil Davis: Jeff
Executive Producer: Mark Gatiss
Executive Producer: Steven Moffat
Executive Producer: Beryl Vertue
Actor (uncredited) Mycroft Holmes: Mark Gatiss

Sherlock 1.01 Study in Pink, A (2010)

Three suicides in a row; all for seemingly stable people, all via the same poison pill, all in places where they shouldn’t ever be. The police consider them linked but you can’t have serial suicides. A fourth victim causes the police to turn to self-appointed consulting detective Sherlock Holmes who insists this is the work of a serial killer and who is breaking in a new flat-mate, Dr. John Watson.

7/10

Martin Freeman. Crack-shot adrenalin-junkie soldier. No. Freeman aside, this is a impressive start for a new show based on the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his consulting detective (‘I’m the only one because I invented the job’) Sherlock Holmes. The update to present-day works fine and there is enough clever stuff to make Holmes appear brilliant as he translates information into the most likely explanation. The only notable mis-step is the Moriarty reveal which is unnecessary and required the use of the episode’s only horrible scene; sadly, with our hero being horrible. The remainder of the final half-hour is masterful stuff (and a major addition to the A Study in Scarlet source story) as the episode absolutely entices you and Holmes into a chat with the murderer (a fantastic Phil Davis) and leaves us with the question as to which pill was the good pill. Leaving the audience wanting more and talking about it is a great sign.

This Sherlock episode contains brief graphic gun violence, brief unpleasant torture scene.

 

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

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A Study in Terror (1965, Movie) – 4/10 review

Producer (Presents credit): Michael Klinger
Producer (Presents credit): S. Tony Tenser
John Neville: Sherlock Holmes
Donald Houston: Doctor Watson
John Fraser: Lord Carfax
Cecil Parker: Prime Minister
Georgia Brown: Singer
Barry Jones: Dukes of Shires
Robert Morley: Mycroft Holmes
Terry Downes: Chunky
Writer (Characters’ Creator): Arthur Conan Doyle
Writer (Story): Donald Ford
Writer (Screenplay): Donald Ford
Writer (Story): Derek Ford
Writer (Screenplay): Derek Ford
Director: James Hill

Study in Terror, A (1965)

Sherlock Holmes involves himself in the case of Jack the Ripper and the trail of hacked-up Whitechapel prostitutes left behind when he is sent a medical case bearing a coat of arms and with one implement missing.

4/10

Despite the presence of Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Terror is not really a murder-mystery but a typical British horror movie of the time, that is, there’s a tiny bit of blood and a few heaving bosoms (including an engaging and jaunty Barbara Windsor) sprinkled about a not-quite-interesting plot. To be fair, the in-between bits are not too bad here as John Neville’s appropriately sharp-featured Sherlock Holmes chases down Jack the Ripper in a foggy Whitechapel but it’s rather underwhelming as the great detective seems to investigate without effect and ends up simply standing around waiting for the murderer to strike again. Additionally, John Neville might have the funniest man run in movie history.

This movie contains offensive hand gestures, mild swear words and gory and unpleasant scenes, inferred strong blade violence, melee violence and sensuality.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.