Tuesday, January 26, 2010

At the Movies

Holidays & traveling slowed down my movie-going from mid-December through early January, but I'm starting to catch up. And since there are so many interesting and or fascinating movies now coming into the theatres, I figured this week would be a good time to post about some of the flics I saw in the past few months that stood out for me. And I'm wondering what your opinions are? I'll limit it to three.

First---the new Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey, Jr. playing Holmes as no one has ever played him and partnered by Jude Law's marvelous new look as Dr. Watson. Personally, I loved the new take on Holmes & Watson, and I hope there's a sequel. Downey captured Holmes brilliance, his flair for the dramatic---taken to new heights in this version---and even shows a vulnerability, especially in those scenes with the alluring Irene Adler, who's bested Holmes twice in the past. Downey is an excellent actor as he's shown many times in the past, and he conveys Holmes' fascination, sexual attraction, and reticence all at once whenever he's around Irene.

I also loved the iconoclastic bare-chested & bare-knuckled boxing scenes, which showed a physical side to Holmes never ever imagined, combined with a scientific knowledge of a human body's weak points made for a truly innovative scene. Of course, as I've mentioned here many times, I'm not a hide-bound traditionalist who hates to see any changes to old favorites. I'm not opposed to change, but I am very, very picky. Not all changes to traditional stories come off well.

Second---The Blind Side, with Sandra Bullock is one of the most entertaining movies I've seen all year. I love Sandra Bullock's work and thought she did a marvelous job in The Proposal, playing an unlovable character. But, Bullock outdid herself in The Blind Side. This movie is based on a real story about a family rescuing an African-American teenage boy who had fallen through the cracks and was completely abandoned by "the system." He turned out to be a fantastic athlete. This story could have been played for pathos and melodrama, violins rising in the distance, but it wasn't. It is a rollicking comedy with funny and witty family scenes, which also tug at the heart. Bullock is hilarious as the take-charge mom.

Third---is Avatar. If you haven't seen it yet---run, don't walk to the theatre and see it as soon as you can. It is fantastic. I know that word is overused, but this movie deserves the adjective. The storyline is a good solid action-adventure with environmental and spiritual themes woven in, all played out in this lush, tropical futuristic world with a sympathetic hero (Sam Worthington) who infiltrates the natives' tribal world and gets transformed by the experience. Supporting actors are excellent, and James Cameron of Titantic & Terminator fame really knows how to create a moving action flic. But the sheer seductive beauty of this world he's created is incredible. You have to see it to believe it. And I didn't see it in 3D. I saw it in regular 2D, and it still grabs you.

How about you? Did you see any of these? Loved them, hated them, indifferent? Share your thoughts with us.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love Sherlock Holmes and Avatar. Sherlock Holmes was not what I was expecting and I think fans of the older films will find this one a bit hard to swallow but I quite enjoyed the story. There were places where I hoped they would elaborate on some of the past exploits and I was disappointed when that wasn't forthcoming. I think the relationships between the characters could have been stronger if we'd had a bit more insight into their histories. Still an excellent movie. And yes, Avatar is fantastic and quite beautiful.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these.

Katie said...

I saw Blind Side right after it came out. LOVED it, can't wait for it to come out on dvd and buy it. I'm a sucker for sports movies though.

Sandra Bullock did do a fantastic job. I loved the little boy who played SJ, he was hilarious!

misterreereeder said...

OK. Have not seen Sherlock Holmes yet but want to. My wife and daughter saw Avatar and loved it. And I've' seen the beginning of The Blind Side - it looks interesting. Besides - I am a big fan of Sandra Bullock. By the way, while traveling this past weekend, my son saw and outdoor movie theatre. "KOOL" he says - but it could be with a "C" - who knows.

Sheila Connolly said...

I really enjoyed Sherlock Holmes. I was prepared to scoff at departures from the iconic character, but I thought Holmes' spirit was captured well. And it's nice to see Watson as something other than a bumbling follower.

Avatar was amazing. Who needs plot? It's a story we've all seen before, time and again. But the visual effects! The sheer hours it took to craft a believable yet extraordinary world boggle the mind. I'm tempted to see it again just to see what I missed the first time around.

Deb Baker said...

I agree Maggie. I loved Sherlock Holmes and Avatar (haven't seen Blind Side yet)and would see both of them again! Avatar was 3D like you've never seen it before.

CindyinTempe said...

My husband and daughter saw Avatar and said I had to see it, so we went to 3D. I liked it but didn't love it - I don't like violence in movies, guess I'm getting old.
Blind Side is on my "see as soon as it's available on Netflix list." Folks in my book club saw it and loved it.

Leann Sweeney said...

Adored Sherlock Holmes, maybe because I so disliked the older movie and TV portrayals of Holmes and Watson. They are both brilliant men and the boxing was perfect as Conan Doyle was a boxer himself (if I remember right). I am no longer a moviegoer but had to see that one! (In the theater, the sounds and stimulation are just too much for me.)

Jessica said...

I haven't gotten to see any of them but I'm just dying to see Avatar...I'm trying to convince my bf to see it but he seems to think its not his type of movie. I keep telling him I'm wrong..maybe I'll just have to go and see it myself before its gone out of the theater!

Maggie Sefton said...

cassandrajade---I agree, it would have been nice if they'd have made references to the past. But, I really think they were trying to take the classic Holmes (which is available in all our libraries) and show him off to a new generation. Some of the younger viewers might not have visited with Holmes before. I say, hook 'em first, then maybe they'll turn into lifelong fans and readers of the classic.

Katie---That little guy was great as the younger brother. Those scenes of him helping Michael train for football were hilarious.

Maggie Sefton said...

misterreereeder---If you like Bullock, you should love Blind Side. I'm glad Golden Globes gave her Best Actress Comedy/Drama for that role. See's an excellent actress and does drama really well, too. KOOL, you say? Hmmmm. Have to keep an eye out.

Sheila---I'm with you. I'm going to shell out for another trip to see it.

Maggie Sefton said...

Deb---maybe I'll see it in 3D next time.

CindeinTempe---How is it in warm Tempe? You'll really enjoy Blind Side, especially if you love to laugh.

Leann---I didn't know that about Conan Doyle. Good to see the moviemakers did their homework. If I'm not mistaken, I think J.J. Abrams (LOST) helped make the Holmes, and I think he's a modern master at breathing fresh life into classics. Look at what he did with the latest movie of STAR TREK. He made it appealing and accessible to a younger audience who weren't immersed in Star Trek tradition like some of us are. :)

Maggie Sefton said...

Absolutely, Jessica. I've gone to movies by myself for years. Once you get there, you're not alone. :) Plus, it's always easy to find a single seat in a great location.

Anonymous said...

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Dru said...

Am I the only one who does not want to see Avatar?

Dru said...

hit "enter" too quickly...

I did enjoy The Blind Side and I don't know about Sherlock Holmes but from what I've read, I think I'll add it to my list.

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Jessica said...

Maggie....never really thought of it that way! Heck, maybe that will be my new "me time" activity by myself!

Maggie Sefton said...

Go ahead, Dru. You'll enjoy it.

tammy spice said...

I absolutely loved The Blind Side! I am a Sandra Bullock fan, but this movie was by far her greatest role! I want to see Holmes for sure...Avatar just doesn't seem like "my type" of movie...but I will think about it...;) Thanks for your blog!