I could write you a five-page essay on why I loved Wonder Woman, dir. Patty Jenkins. Well, I have a week off soon, so I actually might, but tonight I am tired and in desperate need of a nap, so I’ll keep it brief.
Hidden Figures deserves to win all the Academy Awards.
There’s four new heroes in town.
I watched Ghostbusters this past weekend, making it a point to go see it on its opening weekend here in Germany. I’d been looking forward to it pretty much since the first announcements, and definitely since the first casting news. I watched and up-voted the first trailer everywhere I could, I followed the dudebro/misogynist and racist backlash against this movie as well as its actresses, particularly Leslie Jones, with increasing rage. However, I also read so many good things about it from delighted critics (mostly women) and bloggers, celebrating the many things this movie gets right. In short, I was really stoked to finally see it, make up my own mind, and quite frankly: goddamn enjoy myself for a change.
The setup: I haven’t seen the first two movies in over ten years and I frequently confuse plot points between the two, so I can’t really speak to any similarities in plot or story. I did ponder rewatching beforehand, but I realised one crucial thing: I don’t care. Because I had fun.
James Bond is back. Three years after the veritable anniversary smash hit that was Skyfall, director Sam Mendes gives us Spectre.
Here’s what I thought of Spectre in a nutshell:
It’s a fantastic James Bond movie, it shows the franchise adapting to a modern way of storytelling. It introduces repercussions and consequences into a narrative previously devoid of actual development. But it also fails to deliver on the big villain reveal, leaving the most hyped and most anticipated aspect of its story lacking and kinda… underwhelming.
If you want more than the gist, there be spoilers beyond the cut.
The twentieth-century James Bond is, to use M’s words, ‘a misogynist dinosaur, a relic of [a] cold war’ that never turned hot, and he’s the result of an unholy trinity of (toxic) hyper-masculinity, international terrorism, and whatever the hell ‘quintessential Englishness’ actually means.
Just after the UK premiere of SPECTRE, a colleague of mine and I got talking about my mild Bond obsession. Since he’d been put off by Quantum of Solace’s comparatively weak performance, he asked me how I would explain that 007 became such a cultural phenomenon that he’s still around today, and that the franchise is actually still growing. Since pulling meta out of my butt at a moment’s notice is kinda my whole thing, I may have gone off on a fifty-year tangent. I’ve been since asked to put my thoughts into writing, so here you have it.
If you haven’t seen Mad Max: Fury Road yet, I strongly urge you to.
Not only does it tell us, in the wake of summer action blockbusters like Age of Ultron and Fast and Furious 7, that this genre is neither dead nor dying — it tells us that it works across gender boundaries.
Tom Hardy’s Mad Max introduces us to a not forgotten hero, but one left in the dust of time, at least when it comes to the silver screen. It introduces us to the hero of a franchise, the male hero — and we get to know him through the role he plays not in his own story, not in some heroic journey that he’s mapped out for himself. We get to know him through the action he takes not for himself, but for others, through his role in someone else’s story.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.
The sequel is always the challenge. Most sequels, to put not too fine a point to it, suck to a certain extent, and only too often you sneak into the cinema with that feeling of Oh Dear Filmmakers, Please Don’t Ruin This For Me. If the first part was good, the second has to be better, or otherwise the characters will feel watered-down, the plots will lose significance, simply because this new world that has been created has lived on in our minds and imaginations for so long that we know it like our own backyards. I would argue that that makes many fans crave a sense of coming home, and yet awakens the thirst for surprises, for something new, for the characters we love have had many an adventure since we last saw them on the screens in our heads already.
As threatened, I’m now going to review a few of my favourite Sherlock Holmes adaptations—well, let’s face it, it’s mostly a collection of edited caps and ramblings about Holmes and Watson’s bromance, but whatever, I’m having fun, and I hope the inclined reader may have some, too.
If you’re ready to go down the rabbit hole and, as Holmes puts it, ‘dirty your fluffy white tail,’ onwards after the jump.
So, yes, he said ‘dangerous’, and here we are.
This is a review of the 2002 production of Sherlock with James D’Arcy and Vincent D’Onofrio; in which Sherlock’s past is illuminated, the beginning of his career as a consulting—or, as he calls himself in this film, private—detective. It’s made of spoilers, reader discretion is advised.