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26 reviews in total 
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Meh-lementary, 20 July 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A clumsily titled original Sherlock Holmes mystery by the folks who made the far superior Hound of the Baskervilles two years earlier. There isn't anything particularly wrong with this one, there just isn't very much exciting about it. Rupert Everett's Holmes is a tall glass of lukewarm tea. It's too bad they couldn't get Richard Roxburgh to come back. A lot of people disliked his performance, but I thought it was quite good, and I appreciated his high energy approach, especially after seeing Everett in this one. Roxburgh has way more 'it.' This film is bolstered (and largely carried by) Ian Hart's excellent turn as Dr. Watson. Also in the cast are the always terrific Jonathan Hyde, Rachel Hurd-Wood, and Michael Fassbender, who gets a lot of juice out of his role as a valet. Neil Dudgeon, as Lestrade, does the same thing that we've seen 50 other actors do. There's never any real mystery here as to who's committing the murders and how; in fact, the whole film feels like a police procedural -- Holmes using the telephone, chain smoking cigarettes, doing most of his casework from Scotland Yard HQ (!) and lecturing everyone on the importance of fingerprints. The locations, sets, and costumes look good, though some large scenes feel cramped in the available space. Worth watching once, but on the whole it's a Holmes film that ranks somewhere in the (lower) middle of the pack.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
I should hate this, but I love it, 9 September 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

No recreation of the Sir Hugo legend, a fair haired Holmes, an acerbic Watson, a fast-and-loose adaptation, a CGI hound -- this had all the makings of a disaster, but somehow it works. First of all, Richard Roxburgh may not be a Holmes for the Ages, whatever that means, but he's bloody good. His mental energy and focus on his quarry, his wisecracking delivery, and that VOICE! Credit where credit is due, he did a fine job. Much better than Rupert Everett's whispery Holmes in the second installment. Ian Hart is fine as Watson, if a bit too much of a blustery hot head, and he more than holds up the middle portion of the film. The supporting cast is good to the point of silliness: Matt Day's Sir Henry is spot on and John Nettles' turn as Dr. Mortimer is absolutely brilliant. This character is seldom more than a third fiddle in film adaptations of THOTB, but Nettles works wonders with it. However: Richard E. Grant as Stapleton is the stuff that dreams are made of. What an incredible performance. Watch him grinning at the dinner table -- the dog is a tool; STAPLETON is the hound of the Baskervilles. That dude is a werewolf, people. Terrific, terrific acting. The hound looks ridiculous via the (non)magic of CGI and some poorly conceived changes take away, but on the whole it's a lot of (dark, dark, bloody) fun.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Very, very good, 9 September 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Ranking this one a point above Rathbone and Brett's versions. Taken as a whole, it's just a little better. Ian Richardson was a splendid Holmes. It's too bad he didn't get to do more of these than just THOTB and TSOF. Donald Churchill is fine as Watson, though David Healy in Sign of Four opposite Richardson is better. Production values are very good, especially for TV, and the supporting cast has gold in it. Martin Shaw is wonderful as Sir Henry, a full-fledged cowboy in this interpretation, and Nicholas Clay is a particularly nasty Stapleton (and Sir Hugo). The scene of Sir Hugo in the swamp with his captive -- well, let's just say you won't be sorry to see him get eaten by a devil dog. Which brings up the hound, one of the main reasons I like this version. The title character looks better here than in just about any previous version. For once, they stick with the novel and make it a spectral dog than glows wildly with fire in the night, and they make it look good. Though he didn't get to do many Holmes films, Richardson did make the series Murder Rooms, based on Dr. Joseph Bell, Doyle's professor who inspired the Holmes character. Check those out after you watch this.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Brett, Hardwicke, and good locations, 9 September 2010

A solid interpretation of THOTB done for the superb Granada series. The foremost reasons to watch this are: Jeremy Brett, surely the definitive Holmes of his generation; Edward Hardwicke's wonderful interpretation of Dr. Watson (you can actually believe him as a doctor, unlike most portrayals of Watson as Moronic Sidekick, getting his foot stuck in a mop bucket), and some good location shooting on the moors, so the whole thing doesn't feel studio-bound. That alone ranks it level with the Rathbone version. But there's not much else to get excited about, which is a shame. The script suffers from unnecessary monkeying, the supporting cast is fairly bland, with the exception of Kristoffer Tabori, who makes a likable Sir Henry Baskerville, and is a good scene partner with Edward Hardwicke through the middle section of the film. The hound in this one is pretty lame; by now special effects should have been better. They saved money by not recreating the Sir Hugo legend and by changing the novel's ending, removing Lestrade's eleventh hour appearance and substituting Dr. Mortimer. I'd forgive that if they had spent the money on the hound, but it's basically no different than in the 1939 and 1959 versions, just a big dog, except that it glows in the dark via some kind of post-production green Ghostbusters effect in two shots, then it doesn't glow for two or three shots, then it's back to glowing in two shots. All this is during the attack on Sir Henry, so it doesn't exactly work. Still and all, it has Jeremy Brett in it, and that makes it worth a look.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Holmes Gets Hammered, 9 September 2010

Two great things that go great together: Sherlock Holmes and Hammer Films! This is the first Holmes film shot in color, and it has a lot to offer. First of all, Peter Cushing is a remarkably good Holmes and quite faithful to the Conan Doyle conception of the character. He was a huge fan of the original stories and knew them quite well; it certainly translates onto the screen. Equally important, Andre Morrell does a superb turn as Dr. Watson, probably the most faithful and accurate portrayal of the doctor up to this point. The supporting cast is peopled with various Hammer stalwarts, foremost among them none other than Christopher Lee as Sir Henry. There are a few changes made to fit the novel into the Hammer style of horror a bit more closely (Sir Henry is menaced by a tarantula!), but they don't detract from the overall effectiveness. The Hound looks suitably menacing, fitted with a demonic dog mask to increase the spookiness, Cushing has a fun scene flinging a dagger into a table top while interrogating a suspect, and, to their undying credit, the filmmakers mount a ripping re-enactment of the events that began the legend. In most productions of the THOTB, this is omitted entirely or scanted. Not so here, and David Oxley is a most unnerving Sir Hugo. You can see why the neighbors thought he was possessed. Recommended.

A worthy effort, 9 September 2010

If ever an actor was born to play a role, surely it was Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes. His physical appearance was spot on, he had a phenomenal speaking voice, and if the producers had ever gone there, an exploration of Holmes' skills as a swordsman would certainly have been safe in his hands. The problem with most of this series is that the support isn't there for him. Nigel Bruce plays Watson as less of a dolt here than he did in subsequent installments, but still plays him as a dolt. Sidney Lanfield's direction moves the story along briskly, the B&W cinematography is gorgeous, and Chief does an excellent job in the title role. The plot of the novel is followed fairly closely, and on the whole, this is a winner, though not definitive by any means.

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Capital, Watson, capital!, 27 December 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As a lifelong Holmes fan, I was very much looking forward to this film and I was by no means disappointed. It's just excellent on so many levels. Can't wait for the sequel! GREAT STUFF: Robert Downey, Jr., Jude Law, Mark Strong, indeed the entire cast did a wonderful job. Watson's bulldog. The FIGHTS. The GUNS. All the design work (sets, costumes, etc.). The dockside explosion sequence. All the playing around with time(Here's what's going to happen/let me explain what just happened). Hans Zimmer's score is terrific as well. There's just a lot to enjoy here. Robert Downey, Jr. continues his amazing comeback, although it's something more than that. He was never as big as he is now, with so many terrific artistic and commercial successes under his belt in past five years. (Good night and Good Luck, Zodiac, Tropic Thunder vs. Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes, Iron Man 2) Good for him. Bring on the SEQUEL!

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Communication Breakdown, 1 July 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The cover of the DVD said, "Everything action fans could want!" "Great!" I thought. "Just what I'm in the mood for. An action movie called 'The Bank Job' starring Jason Statham." But as the film wore on, I became increasingly perplexed. There was no action. Just long sequences of guys drilling through concrete and making dumb mistakes intercut with many, many scenes of naked writhing bodies. Naked bodies in water, naked bodies in brothels, naked bodies in films within the film...and then I realized my error -- I was thinking "action" as in, "Blam! Blam! Crash! BOOM!" And they were saying "action" as in "Wakka-Chikka, Wakka-Chikka." Aha! That explains why in this entire movie, I saw 2 Smith and Wessons and (apologies to Steve Martin) 57 tits.

"Action" fans (nudge-nudge, wink-wink, say no more)will love this movie. The rest of us will be disappointed and bored. Statham and David Suchet do good work in it, so 4 stars.

4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
An Under-appreciated Adventure Classic, 28 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Temple of Doom is awesome. Yes, awesome. It suffers by comparison with Raiders of the Lost Ark, and, hey, what doesn't? Willie is annoying? That's the idea. He can't meet the same girl every time. Short Round is dead weight? You have to admit, sometimes he's funny. Honestly, I don't know how much more we could realistically want from a summer adventure film. Suave nightclub scene erupting into machine gun fight? Car chase through crowded streets? Plane crash? Waterfall? Evil cultists ripping people's hearts out? Mine car chase? Flooded tunnel? Rope bridge? Check, it's all here.

The McGuffin is a little underdeveloped (so were the letters of transit in Casablanca), Indy's hat doesn't always look as good as it does in the other three movies (especially Raiders and Crystal Skull), and all the cliffhangers are stolen from Zorro's Fighting Legion (steal from the best, babe). Whoopty-doo. It's a whip-crackin' good time.

1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Indy Sci-Fi, 28 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

At last we get another Indiana Jones film! But can we enjoy it?

First of all, you have to get on board with the notion that the film makers have brought the character into the realm of 50s B movie sci-fi films, like Them, The Thing, and The Day the Earth Stood Still. There's still a lot of serial action, but with a heavy dose of sci-fi this time.

There are far more shots to make you roll your eyes in disbelief than in previous installments (like the Tarzan thing, the tree ride and the triple waterfall), but those flaws don't kill the movie - just the last 30 minutes of the movie. The new characters are very good, and Ford proves he's still got it and could do another one of these movies, too.

It's the least of the series thus far, but that only means the series has produced a 10, two 8's, and a 6. And that ain't chopped liver.

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