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Movies for the Christmas Season!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Michael will be reviewing:

Nine & Junket
Have you met the Morgans
Sherlock Holmes

Michael Doherty, RTE Guide

The Christmas holidays are always a good time for cinema releases, and this year is no different.

Nine & Junket

Rob Marshall
Cast: Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Judi Dench, Daniel Day Lewis, Kate Hudson, Stacy Ferguson.
Release Date: 26th Dec 09
Cert: 12A
Courtesy: Entertainment

Summary: "Arrogant, self-centered movie director Guido Contini finds himself struggling to find meaning, purpose, and a script for his latest film endeavor. With only a week left before shooting begins, he desperately searches for answers and inspiration from his wife, his mistress, his muse, and his mother. As his chaotic profession steadily destroys his personal life, Guido must find a balance between creating art and succumbing to its obsessive demands."

Other Review:
Forget the provenance of Nine for a moment and consider it solely as a movie unto itself.

Rob Marshall's musical is a dreamy, sometimes nightmarish journey by a single man - movie director Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis) - whose muse has deserted him, though its female embodiment (or the plural thereof) is grabbing at him from all sides.

Indeed, the women in Guido's life, who have served as his inspiration in the past, now seem to be draining him without even realizing it. Even as he struggles to figure out what his next movie is going to be about (it's supposed to start shooting in a week), the women are pawing at him for attention, for favors, for time.

Nine is a tour of Guido's imagination and memory, writ large as a musical. Not a musical comedy; there aren't many laughs in the script by Michael Tolkin and the late Anthony Minghella (though it's not a straight drama, either). But it's a musical, nonetheless, in which the songs seldom serve the plot but, rather, are used to delineate character.

Each character in this adaptation of the Maury Yeston-Arthur Kopit Broadway musical is given one song (two for his wife), which reveals who she is and what she wants. But because they are all singing in Guido's mind, their numbers mostly take place on the faux Coliseum set, backed by scaffolding, that has been erected for his still unwritten film on a sound stage at Cinecitta Studios in Rome.

Fans of the original musical may be disappointed that a large chunk of the original score has gone by the wayside as Marshall and crew put together their adaptation. Marshall pays much closer attention to the musical's original source: Federico Fellini's ground-breaking 1963 film, 8½, the Italian maestro's autobiographical paean to the magic of film-making.

Sherlock Holmes

Cert: 12A
Director: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Robert Downey Jnr, Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong, William Hope,
Release Date:26th Dec 09
Courtesy: Warner Bros


"After finally catching serial killer and occult "sorcerer" Lord Blackwood, legendary sleuth Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. Watson can close yet another successful case. But when Blackwood mysteriously returns from the grave and resumes his killing spree, Holmes must take up the hunt once again. Contending with his partner's new fiancée and the dimwitted head of Scotland Yard, the dauntless detective must unravel the clues that will lead him into a twisted web of murder, deceit, and black magic - and the deadly embrace of temptress Irene Adler."

Review: "Reimaging Sherlock Holmes as a bare-knuckle brawling martial arts expert, Guy Ritchie has taken the nineteenth century sleuth and given him a modern twist. Think Jason Bourne, if he was a slightly neurotic private investigator, born before he could be tracked by the CIA using anything but a compass. Downey Jr. and Law actually make for a thoroughly amusing pairing, and the action and indeed pacing are handled extremely well by Ritchie - making his first film on this big a scale. Plot wise, it's often needlessly convoluted and simultaneously conventional, effectively playing like your run-of-the-mill buddy movie - It's a fun ride all the same.

Opening with a daring mission, it sees Holmes and Watson rescue a young woman from the evil grasps of the dastardly Lord Blackwood, who was planning on offing her in a ritual deigned to give him darker magical powers. A few months later and Blackwood is to be hung by the neck until he is dead, only problem is, he turns out to be very much alive. Holmes and Watson must track him down, using both their not inconsiderable brains and brawn before he can pick off any more randomers; old school Sherlock Holmes, this most certainly is not.

Guy Ritchie is a director who knows what modern audiences want. Having misstepped atrociously with Revolver and Swept Away, he bounced back with the enjoyable RocknRolla and has a blast here shooting a blockbuster in his native London. His Holmes is predictably hyper-stylised, but the execution firmly aligns with Downey Jr's giddy interpretation of the legendary character. This is not a film that purists of the literary form of the character will in any way enjoy, though - this is Sherlock Holmes 2.0.

Riding on the crest of a well-deserved wave, Downey Jr uses the role as an excuse to pound the weights. A mixed martial arts practitioner, he and Law get into many a scuffle here, and both actors carry themselves admirably - with the action rarely descending into the unbelievable. The script works well for the back-and-forths with Holmes and Watson, but when it comes to actual plotting, or the development of peripheral characters, it's sorely lacking. Despite its flaws, Sherlock Holmes still manages to entertain thoroughly and should be a massive holiday hit regardless." the trailer first aired earlier this year, expectations were low for Guy Ritchie's re-imagining of the master sleuth Sherlock Holmes'

Did you hear about the Morgans?

Director: Marc D Lawrence
Cast: Hugh Grant, Sarah Jessica Parker
Release Date: 1st Jan
Classification: PG

Summary: "Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker are a bit of an "it" couple in New York. Recently separated due to Grant's infidelity, he's trying everything in his power to get his missus back. One night, having convinced her to go dinner, they see a man being murdered; upon fleeing the murder scene, they find out the murderee was a witness in a case that involves a powerful arms dealer, and are promptly shipped off to arse-end of nowhere in case they get whacked by the same man. Once there, all fish out of water like, they soon grow to enjoy the simpler things in life, such as each other. And running. And Republicans."

Review: "There's something to be said for the generic romantic comedy. Sure, more often than not they're utterly forgettable fare, with a conclusion you can foresee coming from the trailer alone; but for about 90 minutes you can live in a world where the good guy gets the girl and everyone lives happily ever after. Alas, this hackneyed, insipid comedy did not take me to a happy place; charmless and devoid of laughs, it relies too heavily on its leads for chuckles when they were never in the script in the first place.

Even the most hardcore romcom fan will have trouble finding something here to enjoy. Grant and Parker seem like the perfect pairing on paper, and writer/director Lawrence has thread this ground before to modest success with Music and Lyrics, he just failed to inject his script with any originality or charm. Instead, we've got a man who cheated because his wife annoyed him for a kid, and a selfish rich girl as the ones we're supposed to root for. Even the tried and tested 'fish out of water' scenes fall flat - a former comedy stalwart.

Everyone is sleepwalking through this, and there are no funny supporting characters to save the day. A clichéd, unfunny, bland carcass of a film. Crap title too."