Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Bourne Identity -- 2002

The Bourne Identity

Rated PG-13 for violence and some language
My Rating: 4 Stars

Doug Liman

Matt Damon
Franka Potente
Brian Cox

Before you read the summary, let me admit something: I am not a big fan of Matt Damon. I've seen him in "Geronimo" (in which, he was pretty good but still... not my favorite actor), "The Good Old Boys", "Saving Private Ryan" (I love that movie but Tom Hanks definitely ranked higher than Matt Damon ;-)), "All the Pretty Horses" and "Jersey Girl". However, when I saw this film, I finally understood why people really like his movies. It was like he finally found his genre or character. Amazing acting. If you like espionage/action/thriller, this is the movie for you. 

There was a storm raging the evening they found him floating in the ocean. It was amazing he was still breathing. He had been shot twice in the back before being dumped overboard and left for dead. The crew of the small fishing boat pulled him out of the Mediterranean and laid him out on the table. The captain was skilled in small surgery and began his work. First, he removed the bullets. Then, something attracted his attention. What was this? Figuring the man wouldn't survive anyway, he made a small slit in the fellow's hip and found something he didn't expect: a tiny laser projector. Mystified, he turns it on and finds it displays the numbers of a safety deposit box in Zurich. It isn't everyone who has a laser projector in his hip. The Captain begins to wonder who exactly is laying on his table?

When the man regains consciousness, he finds out that he is... just that. The man on the table. He cannot remember who he is. Whatever had happened to him before they found him in the sea now locks part of his memory in psychogenic amnesia. But over the course of the next weeks, he does find some interesting things about himself. He can speak several languages, fluently. And he knows things... like how fast and far he could run at all elevations before his hands begin shaking; who in the room is most likely to cause trouble; where a gun might be hidden; where all the cars in a parking lot came from and what their make is; where the best, safest exits are in the building. But he cannot remember where he came from, his name, or why someone would shoot him and toss him overboard into the ocean.

Regardless of his handicap, he is strong and young and a willing worker. The Captain grows fond of him and when they dock at Imperia (Italy) he tucks some money into the young man's hand. Neither have any idea of what awaits him. The question is only of the will to resist. Can he refuse what has been his mind, heart and soul?

What I Liked:
1: Matt Damon was brilliant in this film.
2: The entire plot. I found it very unique and well told. The psychology of it is rich and made me think.
3: Realistic quality of the story was 100%.
4: The romance. Franke Potente was the perfect choice for the Marie character. To quote a friend, the love scene was ' was the most tastefully done love scene I have ever watched'. And I agree. :-)
5: The language was really toned down for a PG-13 movie. I appreciated that.
6: It kept me on the edge of my seat but didn't tire me out. There were rest points amongst the action. :-)
7: Lots of action!! ;-)
8: I actually got chills from this movie. It's frightening the first time you watch it.
9: The best car chases I've ever seen on a film. Seriously.

Things to Know:
1: Brief strong language and lots of abuses of Deity. I actually hadn't even noticed while watching it but while doing my back work (I try to make sure I'm being accurate ;-)), I discover this is a common complaint about the film... And rightfully so. However, it isn't unrealistic for them to use language like this. So... give and take.
2: A love scene that involves kissing and her removing his shirt (camera swings away)... also, (this could be listed in my dislikes) they cut her hair and she's only wearing her underclothing. You can easily cover the screen, however.
3: People get hurt, killed, murdered, etc, etc. with Bourne doing lots of killing. He's not a typical hero.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Howl's Moving Castle -- 2004


Howl's Moving Castle

Rated: PG
My Rating: 4 Stars

Hayao Miyazaki

Jean Simmons
Emily Mortimer
Christian Bale
Lauren Bacall
Billy Crystal
Josh Hutcherson

As I continue watching Hayao Miyazaki's creations, I enjoy each one better than the last. Howl's Moving Castle was an amazing journey for me. It made me laugh and almost cry and captured my attention until the end. There is something so tangible about this film. Something so tender, sweet and plucky. Sure, it could be a kid's film. Sure, it's funny (it's got Billy Crystal in it, for crying out loud! Of course it's funny!). But it's more than a kid's film.  There is a depth and a sweetness that some of his other films did not attain. You sense a different essence... more vivid colors...

Sofie: Alright, Calcifer, let's get cookin'.
Calcifer: I don't cook! I'm a scary, powerful fire demon!
Sofie: :puts frying pan on fire:
Calcifer: Here's another curse for you -- may all your bacon burn.

It seems that all my recent film reviews have begun with a young girl who is more often than not in dire straits. I hold true to the pattern... once again. ;-) Hehe.

Quiet, responsible Sofie Hatter is trying to keep her late father's hat shop alive. The work load is heavy and the responsibility is still heavier. Her vain and fluttering mother is always off to other parts of the world while her well meaning sister gave up on hats and began pursuing her own dreams at a bakery. So it is only Sofie who keeps the shop alive. And because her entire life is wrapped up in it, friends are few and far between... she is often left alone, but she doesn't mind this. Her heart is content with the solitude.

There is a legend in this city: A dreadful young wizard named Howl who lives in an enormous moving castle and eats the hearts of beautiful, innocent young girls. Sometimes, if you're very lucky, you catch a glimpse of the castle in the distance. But only for a moment. Sofie ponders what it would be like to meet the mysterious Howl. What does he look like? Is he as wicked as they say he is? She knows she would never be in danger with him because she is not beautiful. Everyone knows that Sophie is the plain one of the family!

One day, the entire city is in an uproar with festivities before the soldiers go off to the war. It had been brewing like an evil pot for some time and finally come to a reality with the abduction of the Prince. Sophie had intended to keep working until dusk but she suddenly feels a desire to go visit her sister at the bakery. With her hat firmly in place, she locks the door to the shop and sets out through the alleys, trying avoid the crowds. Unfortunately, there were a few other people in the alleys, as well. Two soldiers accost her and would not let her pass. Her fear makes them laugh and they begin to crowd her, insisting they must take her out for tea. Suddenly, a young stranger is standing beside her with his arms around her. Let's just say the soldiers were no longer an issue. ;-)

The adventure was far from over, however. Further dangers present themselves when black beings appear from around the cobblestones and out of the walls and begin following them. With his arms still around her, the young man walks Sophie rapidly down one alleyway, then another. The followers grow in number and more aggressive. But the hero of this story has more than one trick up his sleeve. Just as all seems to be lost, they are flying up into the sky, far above the cobblestones and roofs... leaving their attackers behind. They land on the balcony of the bakery and, with an apology for her trouble, he vanishes. Sophie can't help but think she has seen him for the last time.

After visiting with her sister, she makes her way back home through the dusk. After slipping through the door of the shop, she locks it behind her and prepares to go to bed for the night. But even before she has her hat on the stand, the door opens and in sails a very large lady. She looks at Sophie and remarks how tacky the shop is. Sophie tells her firmly that they are closed for the night. The woman laughs and says the girl has pluck to stand up to the witch of the waste. She does leave but she leaves an old woman behind her. An old woman who cannot speak of the curse cast upon her.

What I Liked:
1: The score was so beautiful. I could listen to it all day long... it's on my list of soundtracks to buy.
2: The story took me on an incredible journey of growth. I learned so much from this story. I felt I was Sophie. There was so much about her that is me.
3: There were so many great voice actors on this film. They did a really good job.
4: Even though there are witches and wizards and magic every 'turn of the page', it's not portrayed in a positive light. It seems very realistic. I guess the theme could be: with great gifts comes great burdens.
5: The love story. It was so beautiful. Actually, that was what almost made me shed some tears. :-)
6: The fact that there is a little rascal of a boy. Hayao loves children. You can sense it in all his films.
7: I appreciate how there were very few 'bad guys'. More often than not, those we consider bad are actually the hurt children inside us..
8: Watching Howl turn into a man.
9: The humor was laughable. ;-)

Sofie: Why is the Witch of the Waste trying to hunt you down?
Howl: She was once quite beautiful, so I decided to pursue her, then I realized she wasn't, so then, as usual, I ran away.

What I Didn't Like:
1: The entire base of the story is around witches and wizards. I understand that without the base, there is no story. But there it is and I am sticking to my opinion. :-)

Do I recommend it? Yes. I hope you learn as much from it as I did. :-)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Fair Lady -- 1964

My Fair Lady

Rated: PG
My Rating: 4 Stars

George Cukor

Audrey Hepburn
(Marni Nixon, singing)
Rex Harrison
Wilfrid Hyde-White 
Stanley Holloway
Gladys Cooper
Jeremy Brett

Dazzling. This movie is eye candy. Although set in Edwardian London, this definitely has the 1960's flavor.The music is gorgeous. The acting is absolutely phenomenal. But what is even more amazing is the singing.

For those of you who haven't watched it, I hardly want to tell you anything about this film because I don't want to ruin it for you. For those of you who watched it, I want to express my opinions of this film because I adore it. How am I to walk this line? :-)

Mrs. Higgins: However did you learn good manners with my son around? 
Eliza Doolittle:  It was very difficult. I should never have known how ladies and gentlemen really behaved, if it hadn't been for Colnel Pickering. He always showed what he thought and felt about me as if I were something better than a common flower girl. You see, Mrs. Higgins, apart from the things one can pick up, the difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she is treated. I shall always be a common flower girl to Professor Higgins, because he always treats me like a common flower girl, and always will. But I know that I shall always be a lady to Colonel Pickering, because he always treats me like a lady, and always will. 


When Eliza Doolittle first met Henry Higgins, she despised him. When Henry Higgins first met Eliza Doolittle, he thought she wasn't human. But fate threw them together into an adventure of their lives and changed them forever.

Eliza Doolittle met Master Higgins through her work. She was a flower seller from the slums and found herself face to face with him after someone warned her he was taking notes when she spoke. Fearing he was an officer of the law, she wept unashamedly at his feet, begging him for a little understanding. He laughed at her and assured her he was no policeman, only a professor interested in speech. He could train her to speak properly, he claimed, and pass her off as a Duchess with the proper intonation of words.

Well, Eliza wasn't interested in being the Duchess but she did want to work in a flower shop. It was her dearest dream (next to the room somewhere with a fire and chocolate and someone dear and tender to rest his head in her lap). But with her Lisson Grove Lingo, it was out of the question. So, humbling herself, Eliza marched to Henry Higgins vast abode and demanded he teach her how to speak proper. She would pay him of course.

Henry Higgins was surprised at her boldness and laughed maliciously. A shilling a lesson! Of all the gall. As if he would even dream of teaching her of all people. Go back the streets, he told her. She would never be any better than the trash she was. Being a human being, such insults are unbearable and Eliza marched out of the room vowing to never lay eyes on the man again.

Had it not been for some words of remonstration and some chocolate, Eliza would have lived her days out in the slum she was born in... unloved, uneducated, unfulfilled...

What I liked:
1: The acting was 99% well done.
2: The singing was amazing. The songs are meaningful and catchy..
3: I love the story... it really resonates with the viewers. Somehow we can appreciate Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle in spite of themselves. ;-)
4: The humor is very laughable. :-)
5: Costumes were lovely! I adore her clothing... so outrageous. Beautiful.
6: Nice, clean romantic element.
7: Reality. It's unfair and cruel. But it's reality.
8: Henry Higgins is an amazing character. Definitely not the typical 'hero' I found him annoying but so laughable...
9: How much of a satire the story is. They make fun of life and everyone in it. But at the same time, it's a gentle mockery for we all can see ourselves in the characters.

Professor Higgins: Women are irrational, that's all there is to that! Their heads are full of cotton, hay, and rags. They're nothing but exasperating, irritating, vacillating, calculating, agitating, maddening and infuriating hags! 

What I didn't Like:
1: Innuendos. Lots of undertones. It's amazing how many there are. :-P Nothing terrible but kind of annoying. In a sense, they were realistic. In another sense, for how prudish the film was in other ways, some of the undertones seemed off color.
2: Some of the scenes (for instance, weeping hysterically..) were kind of... whatever. Lol.
3: "With a little bit of luck, you'll never have to work.." 'nuff said. ;-)

Professor Higgins: I've learned something from your idiotic notions, I confess that; humbly and gratefully. 

Things to Know:
1: A little language.
2: Eliza's father is seen in a bar with women of ill-repute and is having his last binge before getting married.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pirates of the Caribbean -- The Curse of the Black Pearl

Pirates of the Caribbean
The Curse of the Black Pearl

Gore Verbinski
Jerry Bruckheimer

Johnny Depp
Geoffrey Rush
Orlando Bloom
Keira Knightley
Jack Davenport
Damian O'Hare

I have two great film trilogies in my life. Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean. When I look at them from the perspective I was raised with, I can understand how much I love LotR. But Pirates? They're superfluous ("She's safe, just like I promised. She's all set to marry Norrington, just like she promised. And you get to die for her, just like you promised. So we're all men of our word, really... except for Elizabeth, who is, in fact, a woman."), malicious ("I intend to see to it that any man who sails under a pirate flag or wears a pirate brand gets what he deserves: a short drop and sudden stop.") and completely irresponsible ("Jack: Put it away, son. It's not worth you getting beat again. Will: You didn't beat me. You ignored the rules of engagement! In a fair fight, I'd kill you! Jack: Well, that's not much incentive for me to fight fair then, is it?"). They do, however, promote true love and devotion to your friends. But that aside: they're Pirates.

If you love them, you do.

When 12 year old Elizabeth Swann looked over the side of the ship and saw a young boy floating in the water, she had no idea her life would be changed forever. She may have had a slight inkling when she discovered and, fearing for his life, hid the gold medallion he wore. But she certainly would not have predicted  the turn of events that would later lead her on an adventure that almost claimed her life... and did claim some of whom she loved best.

 Elizabeth Swann is the daughter of Governer Weatherby Swann. She lives in a beautiful home, with a fine, well meaning father, servants who adore her, plenty to eat and a handsome suitor at her door. Life is perfect. Well, except for one thing. She doesn't love Commodore James Norrington and she wonders if she should. Shouldn't women love their husbands as well as marry them?

But what was really complicating matters was the existence of handsome Will Turner. The young boy hoisted onto the deck of ship eight years ago has grown into a man who makes Elizabeth's heart flutter strangely. It doesn't help that she still wears the medallion that signifies his pirate heritage. Piracy is a crime worthy of death. Perhaps it the feeling that she holds his life in her hands that makes her tender towards him. But he was only an apprentice to the local sword-smith and she was the Governor's daughter. Society rules dictated that ne'er the two should meet, let alone fall in love. She would never have guessed his adoration. And she never would have admitted her feelings towards him, even to herself.

Probably the two would have lived out their days in boredom and some misery had not the dress code of the day set off a course of events. Commodore James Norrington was proposing to Elizabeth in a quiet, romantic spot above the sea. The wind was gently whiffling through Elizabeth's hair, cooling her face. The Commodore voice was pleasant and the sun was shining cheerfully. But Elizabeth's attention was not on the romance but her corset. It was so tight and the day so warm that blackness kept threatening to take over her vision... Abruptly, it did and no one saw Elizabeth Swann sway and topple off the edge of the cliff. Not even James Norrington, who was looking off into the distance as he told Elizabeth how good it would be for her to marry him.

Down into the sea she plunged, missing death by a hair's breadth, sinking slowly to the bottom until her body rested against the sand. The warm water gently rocked her as she crept ever closer to never waking again... and the medallion slipped from it's hiding place. As it touched the sea floor, a pulse was emitted and somewhere in the world, undead pirates lifted their heads in elation.

What I Liked:
1: The story. The writers are brilliant.
2: The acting. Wonderful cast!
3: The score. Thumbs up.
4: The romance. Of course.
5: The fact that I could share this movie.
6: Very little bad language.
7: Curses/magic are presented in such a way that you realize it is fictional.
8: The humor. Very well presented.
9: The production of this film was amazing...

Things to Know:
1: Elizabeth's dresses are often low cut.
2: Some language.
3: Lots of rum!
4: There are pirates.
5: After Elizabeth is rescued, she is stripped of her corset and dress... but has undergarments. She is fairly modest though the chemise is wet.
6: At one point, Elizabeth is told that she eats with the captain or gets handed over to the crew... naked.

Do I recommend this film? Yes. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ever After -- 1998

Ever After

Rated PG
My Rating: 4 Stars

Andy Tennant

Drew Barrymore
Anjelica Huston
Dougray Scott
Megan Dodds
Melanie Lynskey
Patrick Godfrey

There is something better than a good movie and that is sharing the good movie with my family. There is something wonderful about Cinderella and this film captures the whimsical, courageous spirit of the fairytale. I think every girl who watches this film will have dreams for years to come of her handsome prince riding into her life on a prancing, stolen steed. But I digress. ;-)

Shortly after the Grimm Brothers published their book of fairytales, they were invited to the castle by the Grand Dame of France. She enjoyed their book, especially the story of the little cinder girl but she had questions of it's origin. The Brothers replied that as with so many fairy tales, there are no real answers. Almost immediately upon arrival, they see a strangely familiar painting of a beautiful woman. That woman, The Grand Dame informs them, was Danielle de Barbarac... 

Once upon a time, namely the 1500's, there lived a beautiful, energetic little imp of a girl. She had no mother but she did have a loving father and doting house servants who spoiled her terribly. Life was beautiful and Danielle felt she was missing nothing. Her father, however, was of a different opinion. One day, word came that he was bringing home a new mother and two sisters. 

Who knows what would have happened if he had been there in the years that passed. But he wasn't. His death was as sudden as the arrival of the step-mother and step-sisters. It left Danielle to their mercy. 

The years fly by. Our heroine is now a beautiful young lady and a servant in her own house. She is required to wait on the table, work in the fields, clean the stable... but this doesn't bother Danielle as much as the knowledge that her father's beloved farm is slowly sinking into bankruptcy. Running an estate held no appeal to her step-mother. The only thing she desired was to enter court again and what better way of doing that than to marry her eldest to the Prince? 

But one fine day, Danielle finds a ruffian making off with her father's horse and with just wrath in her heart, proceeded to throw apples at him until the horse threw him and he lay groaning at her feet . It was when he staggered upright and uncovered his face that Danielle realized her life was in danger. 

She had just bruised royal hide. 

What I liked:
1: The innocence of the story. A few kisses, a hug, tender words. Nothing more. So refreshing!
2: Very little offensive language. Non of it was unrealistic...  
3: The story flowed well. 
4: Step-mother and step-sister were outrageous enough to make us dislike them, but pathetically funny. You couldn't hate them. 
5: The prince is a dork who is really thrilling when he finally begins thinking for himself. I loved watching him turn into a man. 
6: Danielle is a lovely heroine. I loved her personality... almost everything about her fit my ideal of Cinderella.
7: The humor was really good. :-) 
8: Some undertones... they were enough to keep the grownups interested but not enough to make the kids feel lost. 
9: For the most part, the clothing is very modest.
10: I love how they included Leonardo Da Vinci.

What I Didn't Like:
1: They say that Danielle was meek and obedient before the story began. Unfortunately all we see is the 'new' Danielle that alternately shocks and delights those around her. 
2: Danielle's independent spirit and zeal are both realistic and unrealistic. Messed with my mind. This I did not like. Lol. 
3: Some language ... nothing over the top. 

You don't have to ask if I recommend this film. :-) It's sweet. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

Rated PG
My Rating: 4 Stars

Hayao Miyazaki

Alison Lohman
Patrick Stewart
Uma Thurman
Chris Sarandon
Shia LaBeouf

I had never even heard of Japanese Anime before a friend of mine dropped off his entire collection of Hayao Miyazaki's creations for me to watch. Since then, I have been treating myself to an important chapter in the history of film.

I like to have a beginning and an end, so I am watching them in order of production. The first one was, of course, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. I have since watched most of his other films but I must admit, none of them had the magic of Nausicaa. Her character is one that people everywhere can aspire to. The story itself is unique. I believe the world view of Hayao Miyazaki is something we can learn from, even if we might not be in 100% agreement with him. This is definitely a children's film but it is so cleverly done that it appeals to all ages and will remain well known for many years.

1000 years after an the collapse of civilization as we know it, most of the world has been taken over by a toxic jungle full of poisonous spores and insects of enormous size. The world's population have nestled themselves into little kingdoms away from the jungle's death... but slowly and as surely as the clouds that block the sun, it suffocates them and leaves their bones for weary travelers to find.

Princess Nausicaa is a teen-age, independent young woman whom we first see exploring the desert landscape via glider. She is a fearless flyer and her heart beats with the wind that keeps the poisonous spores away from her small kingdom. Over the desert and into the jungle, her lithe body and glider are one as her eyes search for her prize. Today, she seeks answers for her father's illness. It weakens him daily... his hands once so strong cannot grip his sword. But the very worst of his sickness is that he can fly no longer.

On the edge of the jungle, Nausicaa's glider is abandoned as she slips and slides into the strange light of the underworld. It is so beautiful, yet without her mask, it would kill her in minutes. As she explores, Nausicaa discovers a resource that will make her people very happy: a perfect Ohm shell. To give the men incentive to come bring the Ohm shell to The Valley of the Wind, she takes one of it's eyes to bring back home with her. But as she turns to go, she catches a glimpse through the eye. Enchanted, she lays back on the Ohm's shell with the eye over her and, amidst the other eyes and ridges, watches the beautiful but deadly spores drift through the jungle's shadows ...

Something breaks into her daydreams. Her heart beats wildly; anger is stirring. The first hint of trouble has come to the world of Nausicaa... but also the first hint of whom she is to become.

Life is never dull for Nausicaa. Mainly because she doesn't allow dullness. Her heart is solely for her people, her family, her kingdom. Her faith in nature and humanity allow her hopes to speak to all who know her. And all who know her cannot help but love her in the end. We see her in rage, fear, defeat, love... we feel her joys and pain. I mourned her.

I can't help but be amazed at this story. In some ways, I laughed at it because it was childish. But I loved it for  being childish because I learned from it. I normally cannot enjoy something that isn't top quality; although this film was far ahead of it's time, it is definitely not a recent production. However, I did not mind that. One little bit. :-)

Things I Liked:
1: The idea that being in harmony with nature should be at the core of our existence.
2: The love that Nausicaa had. Love wasn't part of her. It was her.
3: The bad guys aren't really bad. They're just misguided. ;-)
4: We create many of the problems in nature... and ultimately, our lives.
5: The fact that they used Chris Sarandon  for the villain. The entire movie, I kept saying, "isn't that...? I'm sure that's Prince Humperdinck!" :-)
6: Story, voices, music, etc, etc.

What I Didn't Like:
1: Evolution was really stressed.
2: The Japanese religion is very much part the story. Some of it is truth but some of it isn't. As with any film, eat the meat and spit out the bones.

Do I recommend this film? Yes. :-) View and enjoy!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Angel or Demon? Genius or Madman?...

Dan Brown.

I've watched The Da Vinci Code and part of Angels and Demons (which I intend to finish at the first opportunity).

I have my opinions of his stories. I have my opinions of his mind.

But I have questions.

1: Are the books worth reading?
2: What did you like or dislike about them?
3: What did you think of the movies?
4: Which one did you think was better? Why?
5: What did you think of his ideas?
6: Why do his stories revolve around the Catholic church?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sherlock Holmes -- 2009

Sherlock Holmes

 Guy Ritchie

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some startling images and a scene of suggestive material.
My Rating: 3 Stars

Robert Downey, Jr.
Jude Law
Mark Strong
Rachel McAdams
Kelly Reilly
Eddie Marsan

Before I begin, I must admit something: I am a Holmes purist. He is an amazingly imperfect, phenomenally genius literary character that is just right the way he was written. 

I have the highest respect for the quality of this film. But I despise what they have done to Holmes. However, there are others out in the world who have really enjoyed this film and I would bet you're among them. :-) So I hope to encourage you to watch this film for the reasons I appreciate it.


It is interesting that our first impression of Sherlock Holmes is that he is the criminal. Racing ahead of the police; leaping, falling, taking shortcuts that they couldn't. We're upset because we feel the bad guy is getting away and justice has lost again. And then, we see his face. There is only one man who could have that expression. 

Five girls have been murdered through a black magic ritual and Holmes is on his way to stop the madman behind it. He and Watson arrive just in time to save the sixth innocent girl from plunging the knife into her heart. Lord Blackwood's cloak is thrown back and his evil face exposed. But strangely enough, his face bears no expression of sorrow or guilt for what he has done. Instead, there is exultation and triumph.

Even after Lord Blackwood is carted to prison and the girl restored alive to her family, Holmes cannot forget the images of that night. Certainly, Lord Blackwood is safely locked away, awaiting his trial. Watson is even going to be on hand to make sure the man is dead after being hung. but the master detective cannot wipe from his mind the triumphant expression that crossed Lord Blackwood's face. There is something Sherlock Holmes has overlooked and he can smell it through the gunpowder haze in his apartment. (The gunpowder was from his new wall decoration of bullet holes depicting the Queen's initials: VR.)

Then, Irene shows up and the situation suddenly grows into something much more exciting.

What I Liked:
1: I loved the score. It was just right.
2: The way Holmes' mind worked. They really got it down well.
3: How everything is explained in the end and nothing was supernatural.
4: Jude Law was the perfect Watson. I love him in that role.
5: From other movies I have seen and books I have read, the period was well portrayed and factual.
6: You are actually made nervous for the main characters' survival. ;-)
7: The story itself was very well told and would have been wonderful had it not been for the things listed below.
8: I love Watson and Mary.

9: I really enjoyed trying to figure out what was happening and keep a close eye on all the details. Awesome on the details...
10: As a villain, Mark Strong was excellent. He played in the 1995 version of Emma and I really appreciated his performance there, as well.

What I Didn't Like:
1: The entire Irene aspect was the first part of what ruined Holmes for me. He simply wasn't interested in women. By adding Irene to the mix, they made Holmes impossible. He could not have existed the way they portrayed him.
2: Holmes was eccentric and difficult in the books. Watson despaired more than once because of Holmes' personality. But never did Holmes act purposely cruel or petty. To his mind, it was below him.
3: There is a scene where Irene drops her gown (for Holmes' benefit). You only see her back and her shoulders but the implication is there.
4: Holmes wakes up from being drugged and he is naked, handcuffed to the bed with a pillow... also, there is a 'perfectly innocent' comment that makes the maid gasp and flee the room. :-P

Things to Know:
1: Black magic is practiced... Holmes proves that what it accomplished was not supernatural.
2: It can be frightening.
3: People are murdered.

Am I glad I watched it? Yes and no. Yes because it was very well directed and produced. No because they messed with Holmes and added stuff to the story that cheapened it. However, I have only spoken to one other person who did not like this movie and it was another Holmes Purist. So if you are not a Holmes purist and you want to watch an exciting, well done movie, I would recommend it to you. :-)