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Sherlock Holmes (2011)
Finally, a Sherlock Holmes film so bad that it surpasses Sherlock Holmes and the Shadow Watchers for being, most probably, the worst Sherlock Holmes film ever made. The cast is laughably bad. The film is 77 minutes long and, from their wooden deliveries, the cast (collectively) do not seem to have studied their lines even that long. In addition, Sherlock Holmes makes a number of observations that are just...wrong. The audience knows it, but Sherlock Holmes doesn't. Seriously, a man cutting off fingers using pruning shears does not equal someone using surgical precision and having medical experience.
It get's worse.
There is a moment where a man is at a table with a woman who a person comments on possibly being his daughter. Yeah, she is NOT a young trophy piece, she looks to be the same age as him (not young) and has the acting ability of a wet paper bag. Her "luxurious" home? Obviously a small apartment. Their nighttime rendezvous? Daylight is streaming in through the window.
There are a number of glaring errors (apartments that are obviously hotel rooms - complete with emergency exit info on the door and key card locks for example), and they serve to further diminish an already bad film. But that isn't the most frustrating part.
The frustrating part is that, with some serious editing of stilted dialogue, a cast that could act, and a budget, this could have been a decent movie. It is often said that a great actor can overcome a bad script, sadly, the reverse is not true. A shining script cannot overcome a turd of a cast. There is a lot of potential here. Writer David Wallace has only written one produced script and, perhaps the horror of what his script became turned him off of trying again. One cannot say. However, there were good ideas in there, but the script needed work. A few more passes and some fixes and this would've been a very different movie.
This is a movie so bad that, twenty minutes in, we called it quits. It was so bad that it wasn't even "funny" bad. It was just lazy, sloppy, poorly acted, and had the cinematography of a 4 year old with a cell phone. Hell, the only cinematic gaffe we didn't see was a crew member caught on camera.
Skip this stinker.
You will hate Holmes, but the rest is pretty good.
After spending all night getting Christmas cards done, we were pretty wiped out. But even then there was the Colbert Report's final episode and a few other distractions before we got to Holmes. So we chose this short film, all of 7 minutes long, for our Holmes for the Holidays entry of the evening.
It is a bit of a mixed bag. I should start by pointing out that the estimated budget on IMDb is merely £20 , although that is most likely low as this was sponsored through Indiegogo. It is a sepia-toned silent film and, for the most part is quite clever. The soundtrack is good, the cast are fun all is great...save for the most important thing, Sherlock Holmes.
Edward Daw puts in the most unlikeable performance of Holmes since Anthony D.P. Mann in Sherlock Holmes and the Shadow Watchers. Daw's Holmes is incredibly young (especially when compared to Watson, brilliantly pulled off by David Forde) and, bluntly, beyond stupid. He's played as a complete imbecile which was just too far to totally enjoy this short. Indeed, it was the ONLY thing about the Stolen Emerald that Jen and I didn't like. However, as opposed to Anthony D.P. Mann's horrid attempt at self aggrandizement, Daw is playing the role (presumably) as the writer/director wanted him to. So, we don't hold this horrid Holmes against young Edward Daw, an actor can transcend bad writing, but only to a point. In a silent film, that is even more difficult.
It is most unfortunate as the totally over the top Holmes detracts from the rest of what is a decently done comedic piece. It is still worth watching, the rest of the short film is well done and pretty tight. Just be prepared to really cringe at the writer's attempt at a comedic Holmes.
Midnight Mass (2003)
Shoddy everything. Avoid it like a vampire plague.
The only thing horrifying is the script, and the acting, and the makeup...
Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of the novel upon which this turd is based. The book? Fantastic.
The movie? Not so much.
Let us start by stating that referring to the acting in this movie as "wooden" would be to over-emphasize any realistic flexibility this cast has. Seriously, ventriloquist dummies have a greater depth of emotion.
Of course, then there is the fact that it seems every other scene is people walking around in the open, at night...you know...when vampires can get them? The vampires themselves? The only way they could look cheaper is if they were merely wearing t-shirts that said "Vampire" on them.
Avoid this stinker.
Judge Minty (2013)
*NOT* a Fan Film
When I think of "Fan Films" I think of low budget productions put together on a shoelace...that LOOK like it.
This is not a "Fan Film". This is an independent film made by fans. The difference is the quality. Perfectly acted, with breathtaking visuals, this is something that left me wanting more from these folks. I want another film in the Judge Dredd universe.
Seriously, the only disappointment is that Greg Staples has no chin and should NEVER be shot in profile if being used as Dredd.
Judge Minty follows the retirement, and long walk journey into the Cursed Earth. Never has the Cursed Earth looked this good. This 27 minute movie has it right where an entire Hollywood production couldn't even take a single correct step.
The Devil's Tomb (2009)
Prince of Darkness Light
What would you get if you took John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness, set it underground, changed the characters from students to soldiers, and really pumped up the Christian portion? You get the Devil's Tomb. I just caught it as a free streaming film. It wasn't bad, but I certainly had hoped for more.
There is a great cast in this film, but almost all of them seem to have forgotten how to act. Cuba Gooding Jr is wooden and unbelievable (and the opening "badass" voice-over is pretty hilarious in his high tenor voice). Henry Rollins can do many things, but portray a priest is not any of them. You just want him to buy it and get off screen.
Of all of them, Ron Pearlman shines, stealing the scenes (to few) that he is in.
Seriously though, if you want to see a more enjoyable version of this film? Watch John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness.
Both movies contain: References to Satan as the villain A strange cult of possessed followers Minions of the villain being taken over through gushing mouth fluids
PoD has Alice Cooper DT has Ron Perlman (who gets more screen time than Alice Cooper did).
The Empty Acre (2007)
The Colour out of Kansas
This is probably one of the better riffs on H P Lovecraft's "Colour out of Space" that I've seen. It is certainly better than both "The Curse" and "Die Monster, Die!" Like any good suspense film (I'd not call this a horror movie) the Empty Acre relies on slowly suspense as the movie progresses. This isn't a movie for gore fans, or people with the attention span of a 5 year old. One really needs to commit to this film, but it is well worth it.
As the movie progresses and the relationship between the married couple grows more and more estranged, one can actually see the "Acre" responding to the emotional turmoil, feeding off of it and growing in strength.
While certainly not a direct interpretation of Lovecraft's work, the influence is there so strongly that you cannot miss it. This is a MUST for any fan of Lovecraft's work, and I admit that I look forward to seeing what Patrick Rea has done since.
Seriously? Not bad.
A group of friends go kayaking on the Little Miami River and encounter something strange, and a man who is even stranger. Then the quest begins to uncover whether or not the Frogmen of Loveland are real.
Yes, this isn't a "great" movie. However, when one looks at it for what it is, a movie made by High Schoolers? It is actually pretty impressive. The acting isn't perfect, but it is far better than any number of movies that I've seen independently sold on DVD to unsuspecting consumers.
This one? Actually a little fun and I admit to being pleasantly surprised. Well worth watching. Filmed on location in Loveland.
John Carter (2012)
We just saw a pre-release showing of this movie and I had to pick my jaw up off the floor a few times. The movie is simply stunning. While there may be small details to niggle at for the most die-hard Burroughs fans, this is "inspired by" a Princess of Mars, it isn't a straight adaptation. The movie is a whirlwind of amazing visuals, powerful dialog and soul-wrenching storytelling.
I'd had high hopes that this movie would live up to the hype surrounding it. It surpasses it, the hype doesn't even come close. From beginning to end, this movie focuses on story, and expands on a great story with stunning effects as opposed to just using great FX in place of solid storytelling.
It also has one of the strongest pieces of non-verbal storytelling outside of Up.
Do not miss this film. Do see it in the theaters. Do see it in 3D.
You will not be disappointed. I'm certainly chomping at the bit for release day so I can see it again and I'm already hoping for a sequel based on The Gods of Mars.
Vincent Aubert's performance as the aged Holmes is absolutely perfect while Michel Moulin's Watson is simply inspired. Watching the film, I was engrossed as the story unfolded until the ending which struck me as off. That is until discussing the film.
Watson as the villain, setting up Holmes, it normally would be a cheap gimmick, an offensive twist to a beloved character. HOWEVER, Michel Moulin is made to look almost identical to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Once I absorbed that intentional look, it all clicked into place.
Watson, as biographer, is a stand in for Doyle; a man who hated his own creation and how he was forced to play second fiddle to his fictional creation. Once that clicked, and I understood what the filmmakers were trying for, I wholly appreciated the ending and my enjoyment of the movie (already quite high) went through the roof.
This is certainly a Sherlock Holmes film for a thinking fan who is familiar with the character, as well as the author who created him.
Talk about a "Penny Dreadful"
Seriously, this must be the worst Holmes production ever made. While Terry Wade plays a nice Dr. Watson, he stands heads and shoulders over what can only politely be called the "performances" of the rest of the cast. That these people were even allowed near a camera is a frightening concept indeed.
Arthur Mann overacts his way through his "Mary Sue" portrayal as Holmes, certainly only cast in the role because he's responsible for the film. His rendition of Holmes playing Paganini is to crudely screech his way through scales on a violin...painfully. To say that his acting is often over the top would be to put it mildly. Our introduction to Holmes was almost enough to make us give up right there. If only we had...
Each subsequent performer we are introduced to is horrid, from a Cardinal who wishes to be Emperor Palpatine, to a killer who is trying to channel Alex from a Clockwork Orange. But none are so unforgivably bad as Richard W. Kerr's Inspector Lestrade. Each moment with him on screen is a pain that viewers are forced to endure. Wooden delivery, mixed with a horribly unbelievable accent and crappy dialog makes for an unforgettable mess.
Where the acting is bad, the script is even worse. Typical fanwank such as referencing the Strand Magazine, and name-dropping Basil Rathbone, flit about in the poorly written script. Compounding matters, the film can't even decide if it should be taken seriously. When the killers find a target has already committed suicide their leader exclaims, "Let's go get cake." Honestly, one of the rare, redeeming qualities of the movie (other than that it mercifully has an end) is the music. However, while every extra in the movie is listed in the credits, no information on the source of the music is given.
The concept of the movie is...interesting.Three or four editing passes on the script, and a very different cast (keeping only Terry Wade as Watson) would've made for a MUCH better film.
This is an hour of your life you will not get back. You have been warned.