Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Round-Up#16

Hi there. Let's start the new year with a couple of some very interesting books, films and other goodies that you don't want to miss.

Here we go.

Film Review: Sherlock Holmes: Take one of the most versatile and charming actors to come out of Hollywood in a couple of decades (Robert Downey Jr.), a brilliant British actor who is obviously having loads of fun playing the side-kick (Jude Law), a fresh take on one of the most famous - if not the most famous - detectives in literary and film history (Sherlock Holmes), a director whose films are always kinetic and full of energy (Guy Ritchie), a rousing score by Hans Zimmer, and this is what you get. An engaging, thrilling, entertaining film, that, contrary to what the promotional campaign would like you to believe, is surprisingly reverential to the source material.

Downey Jr.'s Holmes is much darker and ebullient than the original, but, as with almost anything that the actor tackles, he makes it work admirably well. Jude Law as Watson seems to relish his role, and manages to make his supporting role shine without stealing the show, striking just the right balance. Director Guy Ritchie's flashy and energetic direction is stylish and effective (much more so than most of his previous films).

Although the plot, which involves the supernatural, deviates from Arthur Conan Doyle's mythology, it provides for an entertaining, if slight, mystery. But it's all fodder for a group of talented actors and filmmakers who are more interested in thrills and atmosphere than in intellect, which might not be totally loyal to Doyle's original intentions for the stories and character, but it makes for a very good film. And the ending, which promises great things to come for Holmes aficionados, is pitch-perfect.

Extra! Robert Palmer's Clues: This edition's Extra! selection is the 1980 album Clues by Robert Palmer. Ever underrated as a musician, this seminal 1980 work is vintage Palmer, before his uber commercial, and at times underwhelming, work in the mid to late 80's. From the irresistible electro-afro beats of the opening track, to the masterful cover of Gary Numan's I dream of wires, to the haunting closing track Found you now, this is one of the most experimental albums by the late Palmer, one of the best albums of his entire career, and one of the best new wave albums of the 80's. A forgotten gem.

That's it for me. Till next time, keep browsing those shelves.

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