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Non-Review Review: Sherlock Holmes – A Game of Shadows

The first Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes was a pulpy pleasure, an enjoyable steampunk occult mystery with a casual sense of fun and two solid central performances with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as Holmes and Watson respectively. Unfortunately, the sequel, A Game of Shadows, doesn’t seem to be quite as much fun. It seems to lack the pulpy edge of its predecessor, perhaps taking itself a bit too seriously at times. The are moments when Ritchie seems to get into the swing of things, and Downey Jr. and Law work as well together as ever, but A Game of Shadowsdoesn’t quite feel like the ideal spectator sport.

He bought, hook, line and sinker!

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Non-Review Review: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)

Back in its heyday, Hammer Horror had a reputation as an assembly-line studio, churning out cheesy exploitation horror after cheesy exploitation horror with an efficiency that would make battery farmers jealous. I won’t pretend that the reputation is entirely undeserved, although I do have a certain fondness for the delightful schlock the studio would produce. Still, I think that this reputation tends to overshadow the occasional gem that the studio would produce, something that managed to transcend the cost-effective scenery and cookie-cutter approach to film-making. While it probably isn’t the definitive adaptation of the tale, Hammer’s The Hound of the Baskervilles is still an absolute delight for gothic horror aficionados.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it…

Note: This review contains spoilers. I consider a classic novel and fifty-year-old film to be fair game.

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The Absolute League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. I (Review)

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is, like most works from writer Alan Moore, a strange beast. Essentially a pulp comic book narrative banding together several iconic fictional characters from Victorian fiction (Allan Quartermain, Mina Murray, Captain Nemo, Hawley Griffin and Edward Jekyll form the main cast), the series is much more than that. Cleverly and insidious cross-referencing and weaving its way through a slew of existing fictional and non-fictional elements. I spent as much time googling a rake of obscure and semi-obscure names and events and locations, all tying back to the great authors at the turn of the last century. How ironic that a pulpy Victorian tale would be perhaps the first classic of the internet age.

Nothing to Hyde...

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Non-Review Review: Sherlock Holmes

Well. I enjoyed that probably far more than I should have. If you ever wondered what Bad Boys would look like set in turn-of-the-last-century London and featuring a better director, then look no further. Although it would seem to be your typical old-fashioned action yarn in the mode of The Mummy or Shanghai Noon, the movie really works best as a time-displaced buddy cop film – or even just as a regular bromance. The movie is light, quick and entertaining. What more could you expect?

There's going to be bloody 'ell to pay...

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