Film review: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of  Shadows

Robert Downey Jr was interesting in Iron Man. Jude Law is normally good in everything he does. Rachel McAdams is your basic all purpose starlet. All of them are probably hiding out somewhere in South America hoping this turkey isn’t a career ender like The Mothman Prophesies (2002) was for Richard Geer and Mars Attacks! (1996) Should have been for Pierce Brosnan.

Guy Ritchie proved that casting your wife in a truly bad film (Swept Away 2002) was a guarantee of instant divorce. He didn’t learn any lessons from that mistake. Professor Moriarty comes off about as sinister as Pee Wee Herman with a moustache. Downey does a convincing Hedley Lamarr. “My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.” All false bravado- like bullfighting on a handball court.

This film holds about as much interest as a forced two hour tour of your living room.  The plot is all over the place, lacking any continuity.  All the energy vaporizes into the ether and goes nowhere. It’s a Victorian remake of “The Wild, Wild West” (1999) a boneheaded film that nearly ended Will Smith’s career. Of course, as the film winds down, it shamelessly sets up a sequel if this one makes any money.

I give it ONE of five hyperactive detectives, and that’s a gift.

Hint:  Be suspicious of glib, facile high budget films aimed at the mass market. They’re not all bad, but a high percentage are.  Read reviews from critics with a track record of honesty (Roger Ebert) and check out the tomatometer on <>. Look for films that win out-of-the way awards for excellence, and that includes many foreign films that are overlooked by Hollywood.

That said, I saw two extremely good films last week that never made it to American theaters.  Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to track them down, a chore that will require some resourcefulness.

The Interview (1998 Australian), starring Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith in all the Matrix films, and “V” in “V for Vengence”.) An extremely interesting and engrossing film reminiscent of “The Usual Suspects” (1995). 1998 American Film Institute winner for Best Film, for Best Original Screenplay and for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role.

Incendies.  (Canadian 2010- spoken French, English subtitles). A highly emotionally charged drama reminiscent of “The Bridges of Madison County (1995). Extremely intense. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Won eight awards at the 31st Genie Awards, including Best Motion Picture, Best Actress (Lubna Azabal), Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing, Overall Sound and Sound Editing.

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