Will You Take Your Holmies To This Screening?

Holmes & Watson Poster

 

Sherlock Holmes has many forms, some of which are immortalized in our minds and others we wish could get a face lift and some reinvigoration.  Nevertheless, the eccentric detective of Scotland yard gets another revisit this holiday season, this time with a much more comedic direction than most versions tend to focus on.  Can the legendary comedian team that gave us Step Brothers, step up to a new relationship? Robbie K is here to share his thoughts on the another review as I take a look at the film:

 

Movie:  Holmes and Watson (2018)

Director:

Etan Cohen

Writers:

Etan CohenArthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were created by the late) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)

Stars:

Will FerrellJohn C. ReillyRalph Fiennes

 

 

LIKES:

 

  • Quick Run Time
  • Funny At Times
  • References To Other Versions
  • Secondary Character Was Funny
  • The Song

Summary:  As the reviews come in, you are seeing a lot of negative components, but I can say that despite this not being everyone’s cup of tea, the movie at least is short, running around the 1 hour and 20-minute mark, meaning you’ll get out of there fairly quickly.  In this short film, the movie manages to find some nuggets of well-timed lines that somehow held some wit behind the bantering.  Often for me it had to do with the references to other versions of the detective, with nods to the Robert Downey Jr and Benedict Cumberbatch creations that are super popular.  When it comes to these moments that is the component that I found the most entertaining.  Well that and the secondary character of Millie, whose simplistic bouts of nonverbal comedy had some of the better time laughs than either Ferrell or Reilly could drum up. Of note though, the little song number that Ferrell and Reilly get to perform had some zest to it, so I give them props for including that.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Paper Thin Story
  • Mystery Was Boring
  • Lazy Writing
  • Too Forced Of Humor
  • Missed Comedy Opportunities
  • Fixation on Banter
  • Diving Down Politically Heated Topics

Summary: Holmes and Watson’s first weakness comes from the paper-thin story they tried to sell with the comedy antics.  A very simplistic tale that tries to throw in shallow character development and a mystery, this version certainly did not focus its efforts on trying to have something to ground the comedy too.  The mystery itself is lackluster and overshadowed by the ridiculousness of the film and given the obvious answer as to whom is the culprit, makes for a plot that will have difficulties standing up to the law of good movies.

Of course, most fans of Ferrell may not really care or expect the story, because he is after all known for being the king of slapstick, banter, and inappropriate comedy.  While this movie follows that formula, it’s writing did not quite match the quality of other Ferrell flicks and not just because of the missing story. Holmes and Watson had trouble finding its stride, forgoing classic one-liners for mindless banter and arguing between the titular characters, or extended bouts of over the top slapstick that didn’t pack the punch the scenes sound effects had.  It was comedy that was too forced for me, the lines blunt displays of stating the political injustice we still complain about, which doesn’t have the intended prowess it wanted.  When those styles failed, they switched to the obsessive self-pleasing jokes that although had good chemistry between actors, again treaded down the gross pathway instead of the funny for me. And the worst part is, all of it is in forced accents, the characters pushing into overdramatic displays of emphasizing the words in very forced accents.  All of this boils down to work that either has grown too stale to work in the modern age, or was too forced and lacking the finesse earlier films held.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Holmes and Watson’s trailers have not sold you any lies, it’s a mess of predictable plot antics with overzealous comedic attempts that the two are famous for.  Yet the film does not have the same quality that the duos first film had all those years ago.  Is it because the comedy is stale, or is the focus on being too forced of comedy?  I don’t know the answers, but there is some serious need for plot development and better-balanced comedy to assist for any future installments.  As such, the movie missed its mark on a lot of things, needing to step back to the clever tipoffs, and timing than overstuffing the film with comedic banter. Thus, I can’t recommend this one for the theater, encouraging to hold out until Netflix picks it up.  Sorry guys!

 

My scores are:

 

Adventure/Comedy/Crime: 5.5-6.0

Movie Overall: 4.0-5.0

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The King Has Returned

Kong

 

Giant monster movies are always toss up when it comes to quality.  They either really impress us, or turn us into monsters as we tear the movie apart.  Tonight, the “King” of monster returns to the silver screen, in what looks to be a high-definition adventure made for the theater technology. With an all-star cast including Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John C. Reilly, and John Goodman this could be the giant monster flick we have been hoping.  Robbie K is back with another review, hoping to shed some light on Kong: Skull Island.

 

LIKES:

  • Human perspective
  • Awesome Visuals
  • Awesome Soundtrack
  • Action
  • John C. Reilly

 

SUMMARY: Most monster movies are often focused on the monster (or man in a rubber costume) wreaking havoc on the environment, only occasionally panning on a human actor. This rendition of Kong shifted that balance back to the humans, putting the tale more from there trek across the killer island.  Don’t get heated though, because Skull Island has plenty of moments centered on the big ape and all his…naked glory.

Kong isn’t the only visual the movie has to offer though, as the team is able to create the nightmare that is skull island in fantastic displays of CGI and real life setting. The environment has a culmination of setting that capture both the beauty and horror that an isolated, prehistoric ecosystem has to offer. The flora, and inanimate stone structures, aren’t the only impressive visual though.  Skull Island’s fauna are also stunning to watch, imaginative creatures that fit well into habitats they call home.  Both my friend and I agreed the team did an awesome job crafting monsters that dwell in your darkest dreams, giving them bark, bit, and in some cases slime to truly be deadly.  Visuals aside, the soundtrack also has some diversity to it.  Our humans theme song seems to be songs from the 70s that will have you classic rock groupies smiling with glee. While those who like powerful symphony work, will enjoy the edge the orchestra brings to the more exciting parts.

Speaking of excitement, Kong: Skull Island brings the action to the full front.  Unlike Godzilla (2014), Kong doesn’t skimp on the monsters actually doing something other than walk around. Much of the movie involves the humans lighting the creatures up with their guns as they dodge lethal appendages.  Yet Kong himself has his moments to shine, in heart pounding, special effects laden sequences that will have you screaming in delight.  I myself was impressed with Kong’s sweet wrestling moves, including the epic finishes our WWE guys only dream of copying. Sound like too much action? Not to worry, John C Reilly has got you covered with well-timed, well-delivered comedy to lighten the mood.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Story is okay
  • Uneven characters
  • Rushed Scenes
  • Cheesy Moments

 

SUMMARY: The story of King Kong has been told in so many iterations, but most of these renditions give the beast a lot of character outside of wrestling champion. In this telling, the story takes a major dip in favor of the action.  As laid out in the trailers, Skull Island’s main premise is survival, with a majority of the plot focusing on our human casts journey to get off the land. Oh sure, they try to inject a few other morals into the mix (including vengeance and love) and they do try to give Kong some other qualities in an attempt to develop him.  However, many of these extra points shallowly developed, lost to the special effects and battles waiting in the jungle. I missed the deeper nature to Kong’s character, but I give props for venturing off the traditional path.

In addition to the simplistic story, Kong’s Skull Island also has some editing/developmental issues for me.  First off, the uneven characters. Our band of humans is a little skewed, with some getting decent development to others being just another pretty face (that may or may not get devoured).  It’s the problem when hiring big casts, but this reviewer would have liked a little more backstory to add some emotional turmoil to the mix.  The shallow character development paints predictable targets on most of their backs, leading to rushed moments where a character is abruptly, and in some cases pointlessly, eliminated.  Sure, it keeps in theme with the island is always hungry, but Skull Island’s team needed to go in a clean-up these hasty moments.  Ironically, the one thing (outside of the action) they focused on was the anger/hate between Kong and Jackson.  Yours truly found the intense stare off and peeing contest between the two to be a touch overdramatic and drawn out. Suspense building? Maybe. Ridiculous? You bet it is.

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

Both my friend and I agree that Skull Island is one of the better portrayals of the King of the Jungle. With impressive visuals, dangerous environment, and fantastic battles, this is the monster movie we have been waiting for. While there are some story elements that need tweaking and some balance restored, the film gives me faith for future giants vs. human films and the inevitable sequels to come. With all the special effects and action, yours truly recommends this one for the theater, and could see it having some extra oomph in 3-D. And despite what you may expect, one should stick around when the lights go down. You might just find yourself stoked for what is to come.

 

My Scores:

Action/Adventure/Fantasy: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0