Tag Archives: Sherlock Holmes

Reviewing My “Most Anticipated Movies of 2009”: How’d They Turn Out?

Last year in late August, I counted down my 10 most anticipated films for the rest of the year. Looking back, it seems like a very strange list. In preparation for a similar list I’ll be making for this year, let’s take a quick look back at how those films turned out:

Nine – A dull waste of a great cast (5/10)

Taking Woodstock – Despite the lukewarm reviews, I actually enjoyed this movie quite a bit. A bit long and unfocussed, though (7/10)

Where the Wild Things Are – The opening fifteen minutes are magical, the rest is very good (8/10)

Sherlock Holmes – Enjoyable performances from Downey and Law, otherwise forgettable but well-made (6/10)

Whip It – Mediocre direction from Barrymore, but it’s a nice little film with a good spirit (6/10)

Fame – Not seen due to critical panning

Brothers – A very underrated and powerful film from ’09. Gyllenhaal is amazing (8/10)

The Road – Not seen due to me losing all interest in it

The Lovely Bones – Visually appealing, but the narrative is a choppy mess. Wahlberg, Ronan, and Tucci are great (5/10)

Love Happens – Not seen due to me being insane for putting it on this list in the first place.

Movie Marathon Madness: Jude Law

Chris Rock’s comment at the 2005 Oscars about the omnipresence of Jude Law was apt (despite Sean Penn’s protests), seeing as Law appeared in six different films in 2004 alone. Maybe it’s because of his inescapability in 2004, or the infidelity in his personal life which marred his career, but I’ve never given Law a fair shake as an actor. To add insult to injury, I recently realised that I haven’t even seen many of his films, yet decided that I just didn’t like him. And somehow, I don’t think that The Holiday, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events would be the three films in his filmography that Jude Law would choose to convert fans.

But over the past couple of weeks, I’ve caught three very fun supporting performances from Law. I didn’t consciously choose to watch these three films because he was in them, but I started to feel more excited about the idea of watching Law with each film. In last year’s Sherlock Holmes reboot, Law plays the persnickety Dr. Watson to Robert Downey Jr.’s sly Sherlock. Before watching it, I was uninterested in Law’s performance, but as I watched his chemistry with Downey and his on-screen charisma, the performance became one of the highlights of the film for me.

Next, I watched 1997’s dystopian Gattaca. I watched it mainly because of Ethan Hawke, yet Law was the one who ended up serving as a kinetic beacon in an otherwise solid but dreary film. As a genetically perfect man now confined to a wheelchair, Law evokes the frustration and disconnect that we would expect from such a character. But beyond that, his biting sense of humour prevents the character from merely blending into the bleak landscape.

His work in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator is so brief that it could be considered a cameo, but though he only has one scene to work with, Law makes his mark playing the sly Errol Flynn. In a sprawling film full of strong performances, Law’s ability to stand out so comfortably is perhaps what finally won me over on his acting skills.

But that doesn’t erase the fact that I’ve somehow missed seeing every major performance by this acclaimed actor. So I’ve decided to start working my way through the highlights of Law’s filmography. Based on acclaim, fan favourites, and variety, I’ve decided to watch these five films over the next little while. I’ve never done a planned marathon before, so we’ll see how it goes. But hopefully I’ll get a chance to write a bit about each film after watching them:

  • The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) (Oscar Nomination)
  • Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001)
  • Road to Perdition (2002)
  • Cold Mountain (2003) (Oscar Nomination)
  • I Heart Huckabees (2004)

Why I Plan To Live in a Cineplex for the Rest of the Year

I’ve seen some great movies from this year so far (even though there are scads that I wanted to see that I missed out on in theatres). And by the looks of things, there are plenty of other really promising films still to be released. “Oscar season” is pretty much in full swing now, so you can expect some of the best movies of the year to be released in the next couple of months. Here’s a look at some upcoming films that I’m excited for. I probably won’t end up seeing many of them in theatres, though (especially since so many are in limited release). My local theatre is generally a piece of crap and never gets anything other than dumb comedies, kids’ movies, and blockbuster horror/action flicks. Though I was pleasantly surprised when it belatedly got (500) Days of Summer (but the theatre was pretty empty when I went on the first night they had it, so I guess that doesn’t really encourage them to get more of those types of movies). But it’s just nice to know what’s out there, even if I’ll have to wait a few months to see it.

November 13

Pirate Radio


This trailer seems to follow me to whatever movie I see in theatres. But unlike the trailer for I Love You, Beth Cooper, I don’t get angrier and angrier every time I see it. Rather than making me want to throw something at the screen, it makes me want to get up and do something epic (I’m not sure what, exactly, though). It seems to have a fun, carefree spirit to it (a la Almost Famous), and Phillip Seymour Hoffman is the MAN.

Other Releases of interest:

Uncertainty (Limited)

The Messenger (Limited)

Dare (Limited)

Fantastic Mr. Fox

 

November 20
The Twilight Saga: New Moon

I know, I know. It just looks fun, okay? While the first film wasn’t great, I didn’t think it was as bad as most people did (I’d give it a 6/10). I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve read all four books, and this one was probably my favourite (I was always rooting for the doomed Bella/Jacob romance). One of my best friends is a big fan, so I’m planning to go with her to see it.

Other Releases:

Broken Embraces (Limited)

Missing Person (Limited)

 

November 25
Me and Orson Welles (Limited)


(What a shamelessly swoon-inducing Zac Efron photo!) I’m in the camp that believes that, deep-down, Zac Efron is actually a talented actor. The trailer looks better than I’d expected, and it seems to have a fun, screwball vibe to it.

 Other Releases:

The Road

 

December 4
Up in the Air (Limited; wide release December 25?)

I can’t stand George Clooney, yet I was at The Men Who Stare at Goats last night. Logically, they had the trailer for Up in the Air playing beforehand. I’d been split on this movie. I’m a huge Jason Reitman fan (Juno and Thank You For Smoking are two of my favourite films of the decade). His films capture this feeling that I feel, but have never been able to convey in anything that I’ve said, written, or done in my life. Yet, I was convinced that Clooney wouldn’t be able to get that feeling across, and would ruin the movie. But after seeing that trailer last night (I’d seen a different online that hadn’t done too much to convince me), I’m so excited for this movie. It looks just as good as Reitman’s other films, and for once, Clooney seems to have an earnest and honest on-screen persona.

Other Releases:

Brothers

 

December 11
A Single Man (Limited)


I find the premise of this film fascinating, and the trailer is exciting, suspenseful, and artistic. As if that weren’t enough, the cast is superb (Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Nicholas Hoult, Matthew Goode, Ginnifer Goodwin). I like that it doesn’t seem like your typical Oscar bait film (while Invictus looks good, it could probably be accused of that), yet it’s still getting decent buzz already. From what I can tell, it looks like my kind of movie.

Other Releases:

The Lovely Bones (Limited)

Invictus

Did You Hear About the Morgans? (This will likely turn out to be terrible, but Hugh Grant is the king of romantic comedies, and the trailer had a couple of genuinely funny moments)

 

December 18
Nine (Limited; wide release December 25)


I’m excited to see Daniel Day-Lewis sing. It’s got a great cast, and a director who’s had success with this kind of project before (even though I didn’t like Chicago much). Perhaps my interest has waned slightly, but that’s only because there are other films that look great, which are starting to steal my attention away from this one (An Education, A Single Man, Up in the Air)

Other Releases:

Avatar

 

December 25
Sherlock Holmes

With all the serious, Oscar-grabbing films out there, nothing could be more welcome that a big fun, exciting Christmas movie. I feel like I talk endlessly about how awesome Robert Downey Jr. is, but it can’t be said enough times. I saw the poster up for this one last night, so I know that my movie theatre is getting it. You can be sure I’ll be dragging whoever will go with me to see it.

Other Releases:

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (Limited)

It’s Complicated

 

Let me know what you think of my choices. Have you seen any of these at TIFF or other film festivals? Do you think I’m wasting my time with New Moon (okay, even I know that the answer is “yes”)? What movies are you excited for?

My Most Anticipated Movies of 2009

Sherlock Holmes

I have a few half-finished blog entries floating around on my hard drive, but after seeing a few rather interesting movie trailers at Julie & Julia the other night, I figured that instead of actually finishing anything, I’d share some of the movies that I’m looking forward to most this year.

 

Nine

I’d vaguely heard of Daniel Day-Lewis’ next film a while ago, but I saw the trailer for the first time at Julie & Julia. All I can say is WOW. I’m not exactly sure why I am so excited for this movie. I wasn’t all that crazy about Chicago (which was done by the same director), and while I appreciated the inventiveness of Moulin Rouge!, it didn’t quite do it for me, either. I’m not even entirely sure what this movie is about. Maybe it’s Daniel Day-Lewis, or the incredibly flashy trailer, but something about Nine has just totally captured my curiosity. It looks provocative, over-the-top and just plain exciting, which is refreshing. It’s got an all-star cast (which can sometimes spell disaster, but in this case looks promising), and with Kidman, Cotillard, Cruz, and Day-Lewis, I think it’s going to be good.


 

Taking Woodstock

Officially released this Friday (and probably never coming to a theatre near me), Ang Lee’s take on the true story of a young man whose property became the site of the legendary Woodstock festival looks like it’ll be right up my alley. The reviews are mixed so far, but I looove Demetri Martin’s stand-up (and I’ve heard that he’s quite good in the movie). The whole 60’s/Woodstock thing has fascinated me for a while (though I do believe that it has all been majorly romanticized), and the movie looks like a wonderful, vibrant coming-of-age story.

 

Where The Wild Things Are

Excitement levels have been through the roof since the trailer for Where the Wild Things Are hit the internet months ago, and I hopped on the bandwagon right along with everyone else. I love all of Spike Jonze’s work (Being John Malkovich! Adaptation! So many seminal 90’s music videos!), and it looks like he might have topped himself with this fanciful take on the classic children’s book (I’m sure it was read to me at some point in my life…) Whimsical and warm, if the trailer is any indication of what’s to come, count me in.

 

Sherlock Holmes

Well, come on! Robert Downey Jr. is proving himself to be one of the most bankable stars of the late 00’s thanks to his massive comeback in Iron Man, and Sherlock Holmes (set for a holiday release) looks like it could be another huge hit for the guy. I was initially slightly confused by the casting, but after seeing the trailer, I get it. It looks fun, charming, and exciting, and I’m definitely excited for Downey’s performance as Holmes himself. It’s directed by Guy Ritchie and co-stars Jude Law and Rachel McAdams.

 

Whip It

Ellen Page is awesome, so of course I’m looking forward to this one. It’s Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut, but after being in movie’s all of her life and producing Donnie Darko, she clearly knows how a movie is made. This roller-derby story looks fun and surprisingly heart warming, and I’m glad to see Kristen Wiig getting more film work (even if it is still a supporting role). And whoever that guy is who’s with Ellen Page in the trailer, I’m keeping my eye on him!

 

 

Fame

Okay, so this one might turn out to be terrible. But for now, I will at least say that I’m “optimistic” about this remake of the 1980 classic dance film. The trailer looked good, and it feels like this is a good time for the Fame remake to be released. With the success of the High School Musical franchise and shows like So You Think You Can Dance, they’re smart to strike while the iron is hot. Fame looks a grittier and more authentic than High School Musical, and seems to feature genuinely talented teens. (Although I just found out that Fame’s only going to be rated PG? Maybe it will be lame after all…)

 

Brothers

Jake Gyllenhall and Natalie Portman are two of the most talented young actors around. And even though the plot kind of sounds like a ridiculous soap opera, I’m still hopeful about this project. Somebody finally thought to cast Gyllenhall and Tobey Maguire as brothers, and judging by the trailer, everyone’s chemistry seems good. To me, Brothers looks like it will be tense and brooding, in a good way.

 

The Road

I don’t know much about it, but this adaptation of the acclaimed Cormac McCarthy (author of No Country For Old Men) novel looks exciting and horrifying. Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron are great, and this post-apocalyptic world looks legitimately interesting, unlike some of the big-budget action movies that try to portray a similar world.

 

The Lovely Bones

I liked the book, so I’m curious to see what they do with the movie. To start with, it’s got a great cast. Saoirse Ronan, Rachel Weisz, Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon and Mark Wahlberg are all top-notch actors. While My Sister’s Keeper and The Time Traveller’s Wife apparently fell flat when put to the big screen (though I haven’t read either book or seen the movies), I think that this one could succeed. I’m a bit iffy on the trailer (I think they’re trying to make it look exciting by focussing more on the killing than the Salmon family dealing with the death, which is more what the book was about), but I’ll still definitely be checking out The Lovely Bones.

 

Love Happens

Okay, so it looks a little sappy/conventional, but I don’t think that there are two better actors out there to pull off a this kind of big, Hollywood romance. I love Aaron Eckhart, and I think that Jennifer Aniston deserves more credit than she usually gets. And any movie that has Judy Greer as the sassy, tells-it-like-it-is friend clearly has some redeeming qualities. Love Happens looks like the kind of movie that I would typically avoid, but I guess I’m just drawn to this one.