Tag Archives: sherlock holmes

Top Ten Movies for 2009

Here they are!

My favorite movies of the past year. I still have a few I want to watch, so (thorughout January) I reserve the right to juggle.

  1. Star TrekWonderful adaption. The best adaptatiotns remain just faithful enough to the source material, but still manage to offer up a few surprises. By far the best Star Trek movie of the bunch, but a potent adaptation in its own right.
  2. Inglorious BasterdsFun to watch, fun to mull over. Once you see it, it’s hard to understand why all WW2 pictures don’t end this way. Now one of my favorite Tarantino pictures.
  3. District 9 – I loved the inventive transformation of the main character. An ugly little man becomes a humane alien.
  4. Sherlock Holmes – Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law have a lot of chemistry as Holmes and Watson.
  5. Fantastic Mr. Fox – Subversive little movie with a lot of heart. I liked the father son relationship. I liked how the boy struggled to be seen by his Dad. I liked how Dad was blinded by his own needs. But most of all I liked watching these characters make the best of their own limitations. “Cluster-cuss!”
  6. Hurt Locker – The most powerful scene shows Sgt James (Jeremy Renner), who has just returned from a horrifying tour in Iraq, wandering through the supermarket with his wife, staring at a wall of cereal, just before he reenlists. Fascinating portrayal of a smart guy who really has no clue what’s motivating him.
  7. AvatarBeautiful movie, engaging if familiar story.
  8. WatchmanBold and original.
  9. Julie & Julia – Meryl Streep is so much fun to watch. Stanley Tucci is a joy.
  10. Taken An episode of 24 but with Liam Neeson.

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Sherlock Holmes

I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan and thought the new move rang true as an adaptation. The few notable divergences (Watson’s wife, Holmes’ boxing matches and his own love interest) seemed acceptable to me. The chemistry between Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law was excellent, which is all you really need for a good Holmes adaptation. Denby said it reminded him of a screwball comedy, which seems spot on to me. It’s the same thing that made the old Holmes movies with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce work so well. The big difference between the old series and this one is that Rathbone took his part so seriously, which was probably appropriate for his time–most of those movies are thinly veiled WW2 propaganda pieces. This new one is much lighter, with RDJ/Law hamming it up at times.

I thought the evil Lord Blackwood’s (Mark Strong) “Di Vinci protocol” scheme was an excellent way to evoke the Victorian era and it’s relationship to magic and the supernatural. Besides Hounds of the Baskerville, I can’t really think of another Conan Doyle story that uses the supernatural in that way, but Holmes use of deduction and reason always looks best in contrast to a supernatural story.

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