Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Guy Ritchie alognside key cast members talk about the film and performing scenes. Though, Ritchie uses Doyle as inspiration for the film, due to the author's success with the likes of Hound of the Baskervilles. Richie and the crew aim to take a contemporary feel to the film, whilst also aiming to make it more traditional and gritty.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Distributor: Warner Bros. Release Date: December 25, 2009
Genre: Adventure Runtime: 2 hrs. 14 min.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 Production Budget: $90 million
|(#2 rank, 3,626 theaters, $17,183 average)|
|% of Total Gross:|| 29.8%
Studio: Warner Bros.
Release Date: December 25, 2009
Domestic Gross: $209,028,679
Prod. Budget: $90 million
Running Time: 134 mins.
MPAA: PG-13 (intense sequences of violence and action, some startling images
and a scene of suggestive material)
Academy Awards Nominations
Total Nominations: 2
% of Total
up to 2/2/10
Friday, July 2, 2010
Cinematic mystery that baffles in all the wrong ways
Full-blown bromance … Jude Law as Watson and Robert Downey Jr as Holmes in Sherlock Holmes
What a mysterious puzzle Guy Ritchie's new film presents. This time last year, he looked like a man in need of a miracle. The one-time saviour of British cinema's movie, the damp gangster squib RocknRolla, took under $6m in the US. Yet here he is, launching what looks like his very own period action superhero franchise. And he's been handed a rumoured $80m to blow on it.
1. Sherlock Holmes
2. Production year: 2009
3. Countries: Germany, Rest of the world, USA
4. Cert (UK): 12A
5. Runtime: 128 mins
6. Directors: Guy Ritchie
7. Cast: Bronagh Gallagher, Eddie Marsan, Geraldine James, Hans Matheson, James Fox, Jude Law, Kelly Reilly, Mark Strong, Rachel McAdams, Robert Downey Jr., William Hope
But Sherlock Holmes is high-end hack work. It could have been made by anyone. There's the odd Ritchie-ism, like crunchy slo-mo in the fight scenes, but he was, presumably, brought on board for reasons not wholly to do with his cinematic style.
Good news for those Holmes purists appalled by the prospect of literature's most cerebral sleuth getting a geezer makeover, but bad news for the rest of us: Sherlock Holmes isn't even a magnificent mistake. It's just a film that makes you hanker after Ritchie's back catalogue. Snatch included.
Holmes is played with boggle-eyed haminess by Robert Downey Jr while Jude Law is Watson – inspired casting at first glance: his weirdly boring aura superficially lending itself to the role. But they're both a pain: the former a cartoon with darting eyes rather than a brain, the latter just a blank.
The case they're given to solve is a non-canonical international emergency. While Arthur Conan Doyle set his hero small, neat conundrums, this Holmes has the whole world to save. An Aleister Crowley-style Satanist (Ritchie regular Mark Strong, with a Bela Lugosi hairdo) has cooked up a Da Vinci Code-sized plot involving coming back from the dead, infiltrating parliament and taking over the world.
This mammoth scale rather takes away from the minute pleasures of Holmes's sleuthery. All deductive insight here is in fact, rather feeble. This Holmes's expertise would struggle to impress the cops at Sun Hill. The disguises hardly wow, the wit fails to sparkle and the imagery tends to clod (there's an especially over-used crow).
Sherlock Holmes baffles in all the wrong ways. Is it a cool satire on Victorian seriousness? A thriller? A comedy? At least in the past Ritchie knew what he was making, even it wasn't always much good. This muddle of genres reflects a collapse of confidence in his ability to deliver anything.
His self-disbelief may be well-founded but competing intentions cancel each other out and Ritchie ends up picking up points neither for authenticity nor fashionable reinvention.
His one stab at the latter appears to have been the elevation of the Holmes/Watson relationship from clubby friendship (with homoerotic undertones) to full-blown bromance. At first, this is promising. With their natty suits and canes, their opera ticket tiffs and their campy domesticity Downey Jr and Law have the faint look, at times, of Gilbert and George.
But it's a hollow attempt at modernisation, and quickly grows dull. Watson's big dilemma – whether to quit his life with Holmes for marriage to lovely Mary (Kelly Reilly, underused) has, at heart, all the depth of a Wham! song.
Small wonder: introducing the film, producer Joel Silver proudly billed it as a family movie, a Christmas treat. And it is, indeed, the first of Ritchie's films not to get an R rating in the US. Holmes's drug taking is airbrushed out of the picture; he takes nothing stronger than claret. By withdrawing Holmes's cocaine, Ritchie has, I suppose, given his own career a shot in the arm. But what a curious way to do it.
There’s an eccentric touch in the end credits for Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes. They’re beautifully done, freeze-framing all the preceding mayhem into elegant graphic stills to recall Sidney Paget’s original magazine illustrations. Then up pops the page for the movie’s literary source – credited to “the late Sir Arthur Conan Doyle”. How late can you get? Watching this pumped-up Victorian buddy movie, Doyle might have wondered what mad century he’d stepped into.
You’ll look in vain for a deerstalker on the head of Robert Downey Jr’s Holmes. In the first scene he’s busy cracking ribs. This Sherlock, we quickly discover, is a bare-knuckle boxer and man of action, whose phenomenal skills of amateur sleuthing are a virtual sideshow. Downey spends half the film stripped to the waist, diving away from explosions and repelling a 7ft French goon by bouncing hammers off his chest.
You can add a big dose of Captain Jack Sparrow raffishness: at one point Downey is tied naked to a pair of bedposts, which is not a pose we’d have often wanted from Peter Cushing.
Thanks to Downey, and thanks in surprising part to Ritchie, it’s a totally enjoyable spin on the character – he’s a slovenly headcase who can’t look after himself, not an opium addict but neurotic, perma-bantering student of crime and combat. Jude Law’s pally Watson – a definite plus – is essentially Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon, the stolidly reliable, long-suffering foil to his friend’s quicksilver brilliance. Together, they confront the case of an Aleister Crowley-ish serial killer called Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong, with a wonky front tooth), who is caught, sent to the gallows, pronounced dead, and then does a dastardly Lazarus routine.
With the help of a wicked bunch of Freemasons, his even more dastardly idea of Parliamentary reform is to introduce poison gas into the House – that’ll teach them for the moats and duck houses.
The challenge here is finding any time for detection at all, in a movie so brusquely determined to power its way from one crash-bang-wallop set piece to the next. Three minor characters are killed off somewhere in the middle, less for any crucial plot purpose than to provide Holmes with some locked-room riddles to solve: Downey turns up, fondles a few clues, and then waits to the very end to tell us what they all mean. In each case, the puzzles are less ingenious than Sarah Greenwood’s production design, which is just fantastic – a definite high point in the recent vogue for comic-book Victoriana.
As usual, Ritchie overdoes the flash; there’s hardly a scene he doesn’t want to edit back to front, and the opening sequence of Blackwood’s capture, which he intends to feel like the overblown finale of a previous case, doesn’t work at all. Still, it’s fun flash, on the whole: powered by Hans Zimmer’s antic score, the movie has a restless, try-it-on quality that keeps you on your toes.
Rachel McAdams, as American femme fatale Irene Adler, feels like very pretty window-dressing, because the script never decides what to do with her beyond setting up the shadowy, sequel-hinting presence of an accomplice called Moriarty. Too often she and Law are competing for scenes. We want more Law! But that’s a fairly sure sign this droll blockbuster has got you on its side.
By Tim Robey
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Sherlock Holmes is a crime/ mystery film which was produced by Warner Brothers Pictures and distributed by 20th Century Fox. Released in 2009, Sherlock Holmes opened to $62,304,277 on its opening weekend, placing it second at the US box office , second to Avatar, which grossed $75.6 million. The film earned a strong per-theater average of $18,031 from its 3,626 theaters.
Sherlock Holmes revolves around the cult protagonist Sherlock Holmes, who is iconic as being a successful 19th and early 20th Century British detective. Set in London in 1891, Holmes accompanied by his faithful assistant Dr Watson successfully catch serial killer and occult "sorcerer" Lord Blackwood. Holmes and his assistant Dr. Watson can close yet another successful case. However, 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 detective must unravel the clues that will lead him into a twisted web of murder, deceit, and black magic - and the deadly embrace of duplicitous Irene Adler.
The narrative is organised in a linear structure, with the main event deriving from the arrest of the artisocrat Lord Blackwood. The narrative progresses, as Holmes is on the hunt to uncover the ominous reappearance of Blackwood and the fact that he is on a new killing spree and is attempting to begin his phase of evil and destruction.
The film's genre is a hybrid genre consisting of crime/ mystery and action which involves Sherlock Holmes trying to investigate the reappearance of Lord Blackwood after being dead. The main protagonist Sherlock Holmes definitely generically determines the crime/ mystery genre, as he is considered as the first detective to solve cases successfully, and in clever ways and is stereotyped by wearing a deer stalker hat, cloak , walking stick and his iconic smoking pipe. The main generic themes in this text would consist of action and mystery, as evident with the opening scene, where Holmes discombobulates the security guard and the Irish fight scene. In addition tho this, the mystery aspect is determined through the use of enigma codes, as Inspector Lestrade could be part of the secret clan of the World Order organisation, as signified though the continual image of the tattoo of the organization.
The film employs various themes such as corruption, treachery, violence and mystery which are iconic of the genre, as the film revolves around fears in the Victorian era such as murder, which was common in the era. The film also has ideas surrounding magic, as the influence of secret organisations seemed to threaten the status quo, which effectively raised moral panic amongst audiences, as they would infiltrate and try to undermine society.
Sherlock Holmes is mainly aimed at an older, male audience, as the film features patriachal values, which seem to undermine the position of women in society. Therefore, the scenes are selected, in order to convey the Victorian era which faced issues such as patriachy, secrecy and the fear of organizations and societies such as the Freemasons or the New World Order, which would try to undermine authority. The film would be aimed at a male audience due to the use of graphic violence such as the fight scenes, death and adrenaline fuelled violence. However, the film would also be focused a at a secondary audience of females, as they could identify with the femme fatale, Adler, who seems to represent women as being successful, even in different circumstances and represents women as heroic and gives oppositional readings to that of women as sex objects. In many ways, men are represented as being smart, intellectuals , in the case of Watson who is a doctor. Therefore, the reflection the audience is present in the text, as males are seen to be more successful and academic, which is true, to an extent with the audience.
The audience would have negotiated readings with Holmes and oppositional readings with Blackwood, which is typical of the binary opposition of good vs evil. From a personal reading to the text, Sherlock Holmes seems to embody the cutting edge of science, such as forensic science, as Holmes is renowned for being a successful detective, therefore the film suggests his nature and includes Britain at its peak of industry, with the formation of machines and heavy industry. My reading of the text is determined on the characteristics of how men are perceive, in the text, men are seeming given higher positions , with women being more subservient, therefore Iam against this reading as the need for equality and change to women's roles should be included in the text.
The audience expectations would be surrounded around a crime/ mystery genre film to be based around clues and espionage, therefore Sherlock Holmes manages to fulfill these audience expectations. By using an industrial setting such as London in the Victorian era, the audience can identify with Homes in the period of economic stability and growth.
Sherlock Holmes is distributed by Warner Bros and produced by a joint production of Village Roadshow and Warner Bros Pictures. In effect, the institution influences the film, as it releases trailers, promotion and has advertising rights over the film. Warner Bros is a hugely popular institution worldwide and is owned by Time Warner. Time Warner has been successful in taking over Warner Brothers and has been known for other takeovers such as New Line Cinema. This institution is renowned for its variety of media products, from television shows to films of various genres. Warner Bros has made successful films such as the Harry Potter films, Watchmen, Police Academy films, Lethal Weapon series, Gremlins, Final Destination, The Mask and television shows such as Looney Tunes, Cartoon Network and other such shows.
Sherlock Holmes was distributed across the three platforms in different forms such as on the broadcast platform, where audiences can watch exclusive programmes such as T4's Sherlock Holmes: Premiere Special, where they can watch behind the scenes footage of the film, see interviews with cast members such as Robert Downey Jr , Jude Law , as well as the director Guy Ritchie about the making of the film and their own ideas. In effect the audience get immediate gratifications and identification with key protagonists such as Holmes, as well as Watson and get a chance to look forward to the action and get familiarised with the plot.
As well as this, the text is also distributed in the e media platform, as audiences can join Facebook, Twitter and other social networking groups related to the film and can comment on the film and stars and about the genre itself. Alongside this, audiences have a chance to interact with the text , through creating their own' reviews' on sites such as 'Fanpop', 'Rotten Tomatoes' and other related fan forums. Viral sites such as Youtube gave audiences a chance to create their own UGC content related with the film. In conjunction to this, audiences can interact further with the text by creating their own blogs such as www.sherlocknews.com which includes information and promotional material
Sherlock Holmes was also distributed on the print platform, with magazines such as EMPIRE and Total Film dedicating exclusive four page and two page spreads to Sherlock Holmes. The use of this exclusive content seemed to attract younger audiences due to the film being updated slightly with a familiar cast such as Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr and famous director. As well as this, the Sherlock Holmes novels were available in order to give a guidance to audiences, as the film is slightly updated in order to appeal to a younger and diverse demographic.
Within the film, the protagonist is represented as being a poised, clever detective who solves mysteries at a time, where there was a rise in the number of murders and no forensic science. In some ways , Homes is represented as a quite strange, reclusive character, which could be a reflective and a representation which is reinforced in the film. To an extent, the conventional representation of Holmes having a British accent and wearing iconic suits and smoking a pipe is the dominant , reflective representation of British people by other audiences.
As well as this, the representation of Watson and Adler is accurately represented within the film, as gentlemen would usually attain higher professions in society such as doctors and would usually be part of the higher classes. Interestingly, the representation of Watson is challenged, as he is the typical Proppian donor and helper who gets Holmes out of risque and dangerous situations. This film gives a reinforced representation of Watson as a helper, which is in contrast to his earlier representations in the 1930s and 40s Sherlock Holmes films as a bumbling fool. In addition to this, Adler is represented as the femme fatale, who deceives Homes twice. The film particularly represents women as being deceptive, as seen with Adler. During the Victorian era within which the film was based upon, included women who were generally part of a patriarchal society and were not given equal opportunities. However, Adler as the Proppian princess and in some ways, the anti hero challenges the fair representation of women as housewives and carers.
As well as the representation of characters, the film also gives an accurate representation of Irish people and immigrants, as London was a destination for immigrants and economic migrants due to events such as the Irish potato famine in 1845 , increase the number of immigrants to London, as evident with the use of contrapuntal Irish music during the fight scene with Holmes in the beginning of the film .
In contrast, Lord Blackwood is accurately represented as the Proppian villain in the film. Blackwood could be seen as being a villain who would be represented by civilians during the Victorian era, as a serial killer, as cases such as the Jack the Ripper case suspected a higher class gentleman to have conflicted the murders of 5 women.
Referring to the connotations in the film, London is signified as a typical setting and have significance in the film , as the audience would identify with it and be used to this setting, as the film revolves around murders and could be considered as being rather iconic, due to the fact that The Jack the Ripper murder case took place in the heart of London, therefore could entice a British audience to watch the film, as they get a chance to identify with Holmes in an urban Victorian, industrialised 19th century London setting. In accordance to this, the use of the iconic smoking pipe by Holmes could show the habits and trends during the Victorian era and how traditional British 3 piece suits and women's dresses suggested how London in the period of austerity and patriarchy, valued the idea of women being kept as housewives and relied on the class system being effective, in the period of the Industrial revolution.
MEDIA LANGUAGE AND FORMS
The use of continual cuts and tracking shots used in the film seem to convey the pace of the action which is taking place in the linear narrative. Occasionally, the use of the voice over by Holmes such as in the opening scene with the security guards connotes how Holmes is observant and uses his knowledge of anthropology and divine intervention to counter his enemies, as he manages to defeat his opponent by hitting their jaws, ribs. The voice over seems to inform the audience and is a sign of identification, as the audience get to understand Holmes' knowledge and behaviour and gain gratifications from watching Holmes succeed and solve the case. The use of slow motion movement, in the fight scene and use of low key lighting is utilised in the film to connote the fact that the Victorian era was quite dismal, especially in urban areas and was in the time of the Industrial Revolution.
The use of the theme music in the opening of the film connotes the genre of the film, as the rise in tempo and speed of the stringed instruments rises to a more dramatic beat, thus showing the irateness of the protagonist and the action which is about to unfold. Interestingly, the music ranges in tones, as it turns to a melodious tone , which could connote the successes of Holmes and the effective areas such as the arrest of Blackwood in the film.