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opszanski

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6 reviews in total 
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42 out of 69 people found the following review useful:
An Enjoyable Premiere but Not Without its Share of Issues, 2 January 2014
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Now don't get me wrong, I really liked this episode; it's entertaining, well written, and has a great sense of humor with many nods to Sherlock fans.

Cumberbatch as usual is brilliant. The air of authority he gives while playing Sherlock continues to show why the role is entirely his own. It's great to see him back in his chair piecing together a problem again, it's like the two years we've been waiting for this episode just started yesterday.

While the meeting between John and Sherlock was more or less what I expected, they did add more to it than I thought. They didn't just have a fight and argument before joining forces once more, it actually takes a long time before John is able to work with Sherlock. They do a great job of showing his frustration and his genuine feelings of betrayal by being tricked.

There are just few things that I had hoped the show had moved past that turned up again here. Am I the only one getting a little tired of the "people think Watson is gay" joke? I mean, they've used it so many times it becomes apparent they are only doing so as a wink to the fans. Okay fine, they can do as they wish, it just comes off as unnatural.

But that's just a small annoyance of mine, the more substantive issues I have with this episode come from the story. While I did say the writers did a great job showing the frustration from Watson when he realizes he's been tricked, they don't really tell you WHY he was tricked. In the original books Holmes told Watson he hadn't contacted him so that the emotion he gave in writing the final case would be genuine and hence dispel any suspicions of his death. No such reason exists in this episode. To the contrary, it's a running gag in the show that Holmes had told so many people except John that he was still alive. Why? The only answer given is some allusion to "stopping Moriarty". Well I'm sorry, a better explanation then that needs to be given. How would telling John he was alive hurt his efforts? Unlike in the stories where Watson is more emotionally sensitive, the Watson in this show seems to be a well balanced confidant. So why not tell him if he can handle the responsibility of the secret? Come to think of it, was Sherlock's suicide only made to trick Watson? They convinced the sniper not to shoot, so why did Sherlock have to kill himself in the first place?

Another issue I had is that the plot is very generic with no real surprises; A bomb is in a train that will blow up Parliament. John and Sherlock find the train and turn the bomb off - That's all there is to the "mystery". The problem is that the focus is not on the mystery, it's on Sherlock's return. So invariably we get more discussion about the fact that he's returned rather than Sherlock actually doing what he did so well to make us miss him in the first place.

There also seems to be a bit of a problem with the show that they often try to be a little too clever to the point that it comes off as excessive. A good example of this is in "A Scandal in Belgravia" where the writers weren't satisfied with a brilliant episode and needed to throw in one more twist that Sherlock saved Irene. The equivalent here is the "climax" where John and Sherlock are in the train that is about to explode and they don't know how to diffuse the bomb (a really clichéd climax btw). I could call deus ex machina that the bomb had an off switch so it was easy to disarm, but that wasn't really the issue here. The deus ex machina was intentional - the writers purposely wrote themselves into a corner with seemingly no way out. Why? So they can use the hopeless situation as a plot device to have a faux emotional scene from Sherlock then have a joke to work with when it's shown he had tricked John into thinking they were going to die. I'm sorry, but if our main characters are facing serious peril and we as the audience are told (by Sherlock himself) that this "isn't a trick" and he really doesn't know what to do to save them - and the big reveal is that it WAS a trick - we won't think it's clever, we'll find it cheap and be annoyed.

Some of the dialogue comes off as really awkward too. Towards the end John asks, "You like being Sherlock, don't you?" Really? Who would ever ask this? This is dialogue you can only imagine being written for a script and sometimes these fourth wall jokes are done too often.

Those are my issues with the episode, and I only focus on them because you'll read the positives from every other review on this website. It's important to note that while it's a great return, the episode is not without its faults.

21 out of 24 people found the following review useful:
What Happened?, 20 August 2013
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Minor spoilers for Eva 2.0 and 3.0

Forewarning: I am not a giant Evangelion fan. I've seen the TV series and have noticed moments of brilliance, but I was in some ways annoyed with the finished product (especially towards the end). My biggest problem was that the characters were not very likable. They were complex yes, but I didn't feel very connected to Sinji, Asuka, Rae, etc. They seemed to fundamentally lack any sense of pro-activity. Much of the plot consisted of their reactions rather than their actions.

That's not important however, and I only bring this up to clarify my surprise at Evangelion: 2.0, which did something I hadn't expected: It completely won me over. 2.0 is fantastic, clearing up nearly all the issues I had with the series. There is not a single character that doesn't improve; Sinji actually shows some integrity and becomes a protagonist I can get behind. Never did I feel that he was unjustified in how he was acting. Rae, surprisingly enough, shows consistent character progression versus the TV series where she too often remained stagnant. By the end of 2.0, it's almost a surprise to think this is the same character from the beginning of the movie. She goes from emotionless and hardly human to a caring person wanting Sinji to be happy. A small change, but very noticeable. Asuka stayed relatively the same but with some important changes. While in the series she was portrayed as egotistical and self-righteous, in 2.0 she comes off as more anti-social. Important dimensions are added to her character as it's hinted that her bombastic personality might not be because of her need for praise, but simply a defense mechanism to cope with her loneliness.

And then EVA 3.0 happened.

Where to start? Well, let's begin by saying much of the foundation laid by the past films are not existent just as much of the positive turns for the characters have been nullified. It really baffles me in some ways: Why have Sinji grow so much in 2.0, just to turn him into a self- loathing angst character again that can't handle the conflicts in this film? Why have Rae develop a personality and have audiences connect with her when she's rescued, just to say she's dead and have us deal all over again with an emotionless Rae clone? Why hint at feelings of self-denial and loneliness in Asuka, just to have those issues ignored and never addressed again? Why have Misato cheer Sinji on to save Rae at the end of 2.0, just for her to reject and coldly dismiss him at the beginning of this movie?

If these characters have problems that have changed them - THEN SHOW US. Don't build them up, skip ahead 14 years, and completely change them without explanation. It's not clever, it's nonsensical. Imagine any other show or movie you've seen, can you imagine how frustrating it would be to see the characters just beginning to be fleshed out, only for the plot to move decades ahead in the future. All the open questions you have and all the issues raised with the characters instantly become meaningless because their resolution occurred off screen. Remember Asuka's final lines in the last film, "I can laugh, I didn't know I could"? Well I hope you weren't expecting this to factor into her character at all because it might as well have never been said. Any character development from the first two Evangelion movies have next to zero influence in how anyone acts.

Unfortunately, there are no excuses for Sinji and Rae. Killing off the Rae we've come to connect with just to introduce her next emotionless clone and expecting us to connect with her all over again is completely unjustifiable. Rae had already progressed so far in terms of her personality. But no, all that progress is gone. Now meet a new Rae, who is coincidentally exactly like the Rae you knew at the very beginning. Sinji is no better. Him becoming an emotional wreck by the end that has lost the will to live is not shocking anymore, it's pathetic. Does this character have any other dimension to him, or is it all self-loathing? Why make him the least bit competent when all you intend to do is tear down his character again? Sinji is a microcosm for everyone in this film; any development is meaningless because they revert back to their starting point, just to begin the whole process over again - like a dog chasing its tail over and over again.

The whole movie stands in stark contrast to the last. The fundamentals of how NERV operates and what its relationship is to the characters is completely changed, and never explained. In fact, barely anything is explained. Asuka and Sinji have not aged a day after 14 years and the only explanation given is some reference to "the curse of EVA". Yeah, sure. All I hear is "we wanted to skip ahead 14 years, but we still needed Sinji and Asuka to stay at age 14 and pilot the EVAs." Don't you think if a machine stopped people from aging they would I don't know, warn them before they became pilots? Because that's kind of an important side-effect.

On top of this, the film is much darker than the second. But darker in EVA means better right?? Well if done properly, yes. But that's not the case here. This isn't a "dark turn" that is properly foreshadowed; the viewer has been thrown into another universe where consequences of the last film have not been dealt with or explained.

I'm sure there are many fans out there that will have a different perspective and will like this film. But for me, many of the reasons why EVA 2.0 won me over to the franchise are either ruined, reversed, or ignored.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A Huge Film That Refuses to Play it Safe, 22 July 2012
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SPOILERS!!

SPOILERS!!

So many times the third part of the trilogy is what kills a franchise's momentum. Spiderman, X-Men, even the legendary Godfather movies could not hold consistent over three films. Chistopher Nolan, on the other hand, has demonstrated that he has the ingenuity and talent to achieve such a feat.

Not only has he made a conclusion as solid as the rest of the series, in my opinion he has outdone himself and made the best Batman movie yet. Of course, I am sure that there are many who would vehemently disagree and contest that The Dark Knight remains the best of the three. I would certainly not be in the position to prove them otherwise. Just like I wouldn't be in the position for someone who thought Batman Begins was the best. That's my point, all three films are of such high quality that anyone can choose their favourite knowing it's a solid film. It ultimately depends on what you like in a movie that determines which one is your favourite. For me, what makes Rises the best of the three is how different it is. This is, without a doubt, the most ambitious of the three and the stakes are raised to new heights. The city is in anarchy and the Bat is broken. Bruce Wayne must pull himself back together and truly transform himself for the first time in 8 years into the true Batman.

One thing I love in movies is watching your hero tested to the point where he actually fails the first time. A rusty Batman is forced to return to save Gotham from a new threat. This leads to the first encounter between Batman and Bane. This is my favourite scene in the whole movie. Not because I hate Batman and want him to fail, but because this scene legitimises Bane and shows what state Batman is in. It was so interesting to see a tired Batman far from his peak using all his tricks and Bane unflinchingly persevering. The speech Bane gives when Batman attempts to conceal himself in the dark is epic and terrifying. It's the first fight between the two and the emerging villain lands the KO to take the first fight, with devastating results. It's this kind of encounter that made the "Knightfall" comic series great. I honestly couldn't believe they actually put in the backbreaking scene, and boy was I mesmerized with what I saw. The bulky bane picks up a battered Batman and delivers a devastating knee to the back, severing the spine. This was the protagonist's lowest point and God was it a fascinating drop. That's when you know it's a great movie, when it sucks you in and takes you to the depths of disaster so the hero can claw his way back.

I'm not going in much further into the movie, I just wanted to give my brief opinion and describe one of my favourite scenes. I will say that the actors were incredible and all brought their 'A' game. Anne Hathaway shocked me by surpassing my expectations as Catwoman, further cementing the wise words "In Nolan we trust". Alfred was the heart of the movie, plain and simple. Bane was awesome. I know people will always be more fascinated with Joker from the second film but there are merits that make Bane even more menacing. He's a psychopathic crime boss, who's cold philosophy and intimidating presence is only topped by his cunningness. He was a joy to watch.

A great film, one of my personal favourites.

16 out of 30 people found the following review useful:
Another Sherlock Holmes film and Another Missed Opportunity, 15 December 2011
3/10

Yes, it is time for another Holmes film. I'll speak in general terms as to why I still don't like this series so you don't have to worry about spoilers.

If there's one thing I hate it's uninspired movie making. While people can say there was large deal of inspiration in this film it was not situated on the topic I consider to be essential when making a Sherlock Holmes movie. When you put a title like Sherlock Holmes on a movie, Your talking about a famed literary character. Someone who solves crimes with a passion. The same way many of us might focus our attention on a common hobby Holmes focuses his attention tenfold on one objective: solving problems. His one goal is to collect every bit of possible evidence from a crime scene and then use his powerful deductive skills to ascertain the particulars in his investigation.

The fascination comes from his exactness. His focus and concentration on the precision of his conclusions makes him more of a computer than a man. "A calculating machine" as Watson put it, donating his whole life to putting pieces of evidence together and see what the finished product shows. An yet, through the cold nature of his personality you see a glimpses of humanity. His friendship with Watson that strikes much deeper than it appears, his love of music that shows how human he is in the presence of genuine art, and his zeal for a dramatic conclusion of triumph that was his form of art. When you look deep enough you realize his work isn't that of a computer, but that of an artist.

In the context of this perspective this movie misses on a level not seen in sometime. I understand this is just an opinion and that my opinion is worth as much as the other thousands of reviews on this website, but I truly think this movie fails to capture the spirit of the books. When Holmes and Watson communicate to each other, it resembles that of a bitter couple then that of two people who genuinely respect each other. Needlessly arguing over trivial problems that never existed in the stories and you can only find their style of arguing from a modern day bromance. Holmes is very logical, but it seems superficial and meant to be more of a hero advantage than an authentic skill of an individual. I understand there is a need for action and that Holmes was a fighter in the books, but fighting was only present when necessity called for it. Holmes's physical ability was like any other skill in his repertoire; there for the purpose of furthering progress in an investigation. In this movie, fighting takes place for the sole purpose of the excitement of a fight scene. This seems to be a reoccurring error that is present at every turn in this movie. For example, in the stories Holmes would be careless and say hurtful things because they were required to overcome an obstacle in his investigation whether listening to non-essential facts or the threat of having his plans disarranged. In this movie he was a jerk for the sake of entertainment. In the stories Holmes was cold natured because emotions corrupt his judgement and lead to illogical conclusions, I don't even need to explain how much this wasn't the case in this film.

A person I found very disappointing was Moriarty. In the short story "The Final Problem", Moriarty was supposed to be the great obstacle Holmes would overcome at the cost of his life. Doyle at the time intended this to be the last challenge for his detective and intended to be the ultimate class of intellects. Holmes in the story realizes after a series of cat and mouse mental confrontations that he must make the supreme sacrifice to rid the world of Professor Moriarty and he decides to follow through with it (or so he was meant to). The Movie completely failed at capturing a sense of this. The substance and development in this film was lacking to such a great degree it was depressing. You would think you were watching a video game storyline with the amount of effort they put into the development of the Holmes/Moriarty rivalry. We start out towards the end of their feud, this is not a problem since the story too took place towards the end showing that this isn't a fatal error. The error comes in when you consider that their rivalry is not interesting nor engaging. There is no depth to their personalities and is ultimately as engaging as two opposites confronting one another in a reality TV show. The is no authenticity to their mental struggle.

I understand I'm asking a lot for a movie to meet my specific expectations, but I believe my view is the core of many Sherlockian fans. It's not like these have to be specifically exact, but there is a need for a "ballparkish" attempt at recreating the spirit of the stories. The BBC series "Sherlock" does a decent job of this. This movie, on the other hand, seems to be a 19th century based spy movie with elements of a Michael Bay film sprinkled on top. Without the crucial character development that made the stories great, this is simply a superficial action movie with "Sherlock Holmes" as the title.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
The best of the worst is still terrible, 13 November 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Before I begin, yes, it is the best of the trilogy and is actually watchable.

Still awful. Just terrible. I'm no fan of Michael Bay and he truly influenced the future of movie making in the worst possible way. These 3 movies will stand out in history as the trilogy that embodies everything wrong with Hollywood movies.

Some people will say that's going too far, some people might say that they enjoyed these movies and were good entertainment. The truth is there is nothing wrong with explosions and action packed movies, but this movie marks the all time lowest point of originality and ingenuity.

In many ways this film has a worse effect then the sequels because its actually trying to come off as an inspirational and decent movie, which only puts emphasis on it's flaws. Revenge of the Fallen was a complete joke Dark of the Moon can't be taken with the least bit of seriousness.

I'll start by addressing how annoying everyone in this film is. There is not ONE character in this film that I would enjoy seeing in another movie. Shia LaBeouff turns his douche bag gauge on high and everyone from the sector seven agent to the parents were intolerable. I've never seen a film before where by the end I despised the sight of the cast like this. Why is everyone acting like an idiot? There is not one person with a shred of dignity and they all act like characters in a cartoon. Is that they aiming for? Make the movie as unrealistic as the cartoon? Why not put the autobots in a clown suit and have them perform parlour tricks?

One of the worst parts of this movie is how over dramatic the scenes are. It's almost like Michael Bay has becomes so deranged he actually imagines he's making a masterpiece. The scene where bumblebee is caught by the military is so over dramatized you think Bambi's mother is about to be killed. One of the most awful scenes happens when Meghan Fox's character harnesses bumblebee to the tow truck and then drives into an alley. There, she breaks down with a montage of the heros' struggles. The sheer absurdity of this scene was enough to make me burst out laughing. I suppose it's meant to symbolize their struggle and their courage to overcome it. The sheer stupidity of this scene is baffling to the point of comedy. They spend the whole time making some huge juggernaut explosion sequence and NOW after all that nonsense they intend to inject some sample of reality? It gives off the same appearance as someone crying about the failure of their life while wearing a Barney costume.

Terrible film, don't watch it unless you can look past everything but the action.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
This movie will surprise you (if you get past the first two), 15 September 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have to admit, looking at episode 1&2, this was the best we could have hoped for. If the storyline doesn't impress you then maybe the scope of the movie will.

This is still nowhere near as good as at least episode 4&5, but Revenge of the Sith definitely surpassed expectation (which may mean a lot or nothing to some people). I look at it kind of like Rocky 3; bigger, but nowhere close to the original.

Of course, in order to be content with this movie, many star wars fans would need to look past episode 1&2, something many people aren't willing to do. For that reason, I understand their point of view.

This film is still filled with many reminders that this is still part of the prequels. For one, the romantic dialogue between Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman is still quite painful to watch. The lack of chemistry is quite obvious. George Lucas was never good in this department (at least in the prequels). At least the padme/anakin relationship was pushed to a secondary storyline.

There are many other examples of disappointments in this film (inconsistent character development, Padme dies by loosing the power of love, Anakin looses the battle by standing two feet lower than Obi-wan, Darth Vader throws a temper tantrum, to name a few). It's important, however, to look past these and actually see a good movie behind it.

For one, Ian McDiarmid was incredible as Palpatine. He stole almost every scene he was in. Ewan McGregor, the only real steady actor throughout the prequels, turns in a good performance. Even Hayden Christensen, who I don't care for at all as an actor, does better in this movie than I expected.

The story line was also quite engaging. Where Lucas's writing talent lacks in romance he makes up for in politics. Lucas was able to create a competent storyline involving Jedi politics and the sith takeover of the senate. There were many eemotional scenes throughout. The order to extinguish the jedi was a moving spectacle and Obi-wan heated exchanges with Anakin was also more engaging then I would have anticipated. The concluding scenes were also powerful with the emergence of Darth Vader and the realization that all the pieces were falling into place. The ending took place cleverly on Tatooine featuring music many fans will recognize from episode 4.

And talk about battles! Actions buffs will have plenty to rejoice about here. Apart from the clone battles, there were many lightsaber duels including Obi-wan vs Grievous and Anakin vs Dooku. The main battle between Obi-wan and Anakin was slow in some places, but I believe they did a great job and the result is likely the best duel in the saga. And come on, who didn't want to see Yoda and Lord Sidous have an all out, no holds barred, lightsaber and force duel? These fights might seem as gimmicks to inflate the impact of the film, but at least they succeeded if that was the case.

Revenge of the Sith is without question the best of the prequels and Star Wars fans would be missing out if they didn't at least give this movie an honest chance. I actually think it tops episode six, a remarkable accomplishment in itself if that is the case (IMDB doesn't agree with me but Rotten Tomatoes does). If you put up with the first two, you should at least give this a try.

8/10