Robert Downey Jr Weekend – Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) Movie Review

Director: Guy Ritchie

Writer: Michele Mulroney, Kieran Mulroney (Screenplay) Arthur Conan Doyle (Characters)

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Noomi Rapace, Rachel McAdams, Jared Harris, Stephen Fry

Plot: Detective Sherlock Holmes is on the trail of criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty, who is carrying out a string of random crimes across Europe.

Runtime: 2 Hours 9 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Feels Like a Game I Lost

Story: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows starts with Sherlock Holmes (Downey Jr) on the tail of Professor Moriarty (Harris) following Irene Adler (McAdams) around believing there is an involvement in the terrorist attacks going across Europe.

Back home Sherlock has forgotten his responsibility to be the best man for Dr Watson’s (Law) wedding and ends up dragging him into the battle with Moriarty, one that is getting out of his control.

Thoughts on Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Characters – Sherlock Holmes has become entrapped in a battle of wits with Moriarty, this has seen him turn to disguise to elude him, turning to the one person he knows he can trust to help him, Dr Watson, he will risk his life to uncover the truth using his ability to see what will happen. Dr Watson is about to get married and is left disappointed by Sherlock for not preparing his part in the wedding preparations, he reluctantly joins Sherlock in the battle against Moriarty. Madam Heron finds herself caught in the middle of the battle with her brother going missing after working with Moriarty. Professor Moriarty is considered one of Holmes greatest rivals, here we see him in the middle of a grand plan which has seen Europe on the verge of war, always staying ahead of Holmes, letting him investigate just what he wants him to.

PerformancesRobert Downey Jr is mostly annoying in this role, he is trying to make Sherlock quirky and it just doesn’t seem to work. Jude Law is solid enough in the sidekick role, without making Holmes seem very interesting. Noomi Rapace does everything she needs to without making an impact in the film. Jared Harris is the most interesting performance in the film, with him needing to be calculated throughout.

StoryThe story here follows Sherlock Holmes facing off against his most famous enemy Professor Moriarty as he tries to uncover his plan which takes Holmes around Europe to do battle with the calculated villain. Now the first problem here comes from the fact the story is told with way too many, if you see it from this angle you will learn the truth, without giving us any hint that this is going on. When it comes to the back and fourth between the two, we are left wondering just how they got into the rivalry in the first place, wondering why Holmes and Watson have become separate after all these years. We don’t seem to get a true threat of Moriarty either, which should see him getting the upper hand a lot more, we are left feeling like this story does drag along for too long.

Action/MysteryThe action in this film does feel frustrating because nearly all the best bits are shot as if they have happened and then rewind it for something else, with the mystery in the film just not being as interesting as it should be.

SettingsThe film does use the era based settings well enough be it London or Paris which does make it understandable that bigger plans are in play.

Special EffectsThe effects are what are used for the rewinds, they don’t help make the action entertaining in anyway, leaving us feeling empty by the end of the film.


Scene of the Movie – Didn’t have one.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – How quirky Sherlock is made to be.

Final Thoughts This is a disappointing version of one of the most famous fictional detectives, it is shot badly leaving us all over the place.

Overall: Bad version of Holmes.

ABC Film Challenge – Action – K – K-9 (1989) Movie Rob’s Pick

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K-9 (1989)

“Alright, let’s get one thing straight: The woman is mine! Now we’re both members of the animal kingdom. You know that and I know that. And we both know that this thing is really primal. So if you think you’re such a badass you just try that one more time and you’re gonna end up in a pet cemetary! You remember the movie Old Yeller? You remember when they shot him in the end? I didn’t cry! Now come on!” – Dooley

Number of Times Seen – Twice (8 Oct 1992 and 7 Apr 2020)

Brief Synopsis – A detective teams up with a police dog in order to stop drug traffickers.

My Take on it – This is a film that I’ve been meaning to rewatch for years and never got around to it.

I’d only seen it once, nearly 28 years ago yet always remembered some of the funny scenes in the film.

The film has a somewhat predictable and typical 80’s cop film plot, yet they find ways to help keep things a bit more unique along the way largely due to the great performance of Jim Belushi in the lead role.

He is able to give us a serious performance with a comedic tone that helps keep things fun and interesting.

His chemistry with his canine partner works really well in helping to make the story more fun to watch unfold because of their antics together along with their report with one another.

The story could probably have been done in a more intense fashion that might have enhanced things, but they seem to keep things toned done due to the choice to make this a family style action comedy.

The soundtrack is very nostalgic to listen to and helps keep the pace of the story moving along.

It also is able to transport us back to the feel good days of the days of the 80’s

Bottom Line – Interesting idea that actually works much better than one might assume largely due to the fact that Belushi fits into the lead role so perfectly. He has amazing chemistry with his canine partner and there are some really fun scenes between them. The plot of this film is a bit weak and seems like a typical 80’s cop film that has been tamed down a bit since it’s meant as a family style comedy. The action scenes are done well despite things feeling a bit too predictable for it’s own good.  Great soundtrack helps keep things moving along while also transporting us back to the 80’s. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – At the dinner party given by the gangster, there is a butler walking across a room behind a doorway. The butler was Michael J.R. Gill who was working with the catering staff hired for the film. After the filming, he actually served the food used in the scene to the cast and crew. Gill was not an actor, but was actually a real English butler and for seven years was butler to British actor Laurence Harvey, prior to his death. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (7/10)

ABC Film Challenge – Action – K – Keeping Up with the Joneses (2016)

Director: Greg Mottola

Writer: Michael LeSieur (Screenplay)

Starring: Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher, Jon Hamm, Gal Gadot, Patton Oswalt, Ming Zhao, Matt Walsh

 

Plot: A suburban couple becomes embroiled in an international espionage plot when they discover that their seemingly perfect new neighbors are government spies.


Tagline – License to kill. License to chill.

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Comedy

 

Story: Keeping Up with the Joneses starts when average married couple Jeff (Galifianakis) and Karen (Fisher) who live in a quiet neighbourhood get new neighbours. This is the buzz of the cul-de-sac and the Jones’ Tim (Hamm) and Natalie (Gadot) are not like the normal in the area.

Karen believes that the Jones’ are not normal and starts spying on them, for good reason as Jeff becomes the pawn in an espionage mission for the undercover agents.

 

Thoughts on Keeping Up with the Joneses

 

Characters – Jeff is the everyday human resource man for a government facility, he has a normal life with his wife in a quiet suburban neighbourhood and tries to stay positive. He reluctantly finds himself in the middle of espionage where he learns that not everyone in his life is who they believe they are. Karen is his wife and an interior designer that works from home giving her a birds eye view of the new neighbours, to whom she doesn’t trust. Tim Jones is the secret agent that befriends Jeff when he is searching for criminals, he is tired of the life of crime. Natalie is his wife and weapons expert who enjoys the life even though she doesn’t fit in the suburban neighbourhood.

PerformancesZach Galifianakis in the leading role of the couple works very well, he knows how to give us everyday comedy and his weight loss is fantastic. Isla Fisher is good to feeling like they have great chemistry together. Jon Hamm is great as the agent being the slick figure you would imagine he would need to be, while Gal Gadot shows us that she is capable of the kick ass woman we saw in 2017  with Wonder Woman.

StoryThe story shows how a quiet neighbourhood can be turned on its head by new neighbours and them being spies only causes our main couple finding new excitement in their life. It shows how this field will be the hardest to blend into for the spies and how the everyday person could get in their hearts and job. There is an espionage story which can get lost at times which doesn’t feel like the most important part of the story.

Action/ComedyThe action when used is generic easy to put together to keep things safe, we have a car chase which is the highlight of the action. The comedy is mostly the reactions to what is happening to characters which will get chuckles in places.

SettingsThe film is designed to make the spy genre being set in the suburbs, which gives us everything we need it too.

Special EffectsThe effects work when needed and add to the action sequences.


Scene of the Movie –
The car chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The villain is almost no existence

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun action comedy that hits the marks it needs to without being one of the greatest, it easily isn’t one of the worst.

 

Overall: Fun throughout.

Rating