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Sherlock Holmes Movie Review: Not So "Elementary, Dear Watson"

Sherlock Holmes Movie Poster

What comes to mind when you hear the name Sherlock Holmes? The character has been around since the late 1800s when Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle conjured up a man, who could draw big conclusions from small details. A London-based detective, whose sharp intellect and keen eye could keep him in-the-know, without having to rely on any explosive MacGyver or trigger-happy Rambo skills.

Well, wipe the slate clean, because the enigmatic Robert Downey Jr. has come to town with the wrong hat and without a magnifying glass. It's like James Bond meets Harry Potter, taking a well-respected old school British character and updating the entertainment appeal for a 2000s audience. Downey Jr. defied all prerelease speculation when he took on the role of Tony Stark in Iron Man and now the man thinks he's invincible.

The cunning Detective Sherlock Holmes (Downey Jr.) and his indomitable partner, Watson (Law) lock horns with Lord Blackwood, an evil nemesis and master of the dark arts, who poses a threat to all of London after he comes back from beyond the grave to seize power. It's the sort of plot you'd expect from Inspector Gadget, but hey... The Hound of the Baskervilles has been done already and you're barking up the wrong tree if you're expecting anything other than a whiff of intellect in a ...continued.

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Fan Friday: X-Men Origins - Wolverine

Wolverine Poster

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is the first installation of the X-Men Origins series, and a reboot for the X-Men franchise after X3: The Last Stand. Hugh Jackman returns as title star and producer for the long-awaited superhero release of Wolverine in his own film. The story rewinds the X-Men saga to Wolverine’s childhood as he realises his mutant gift. He and Victor Creed, fight side-by-side like brothers through the American Civil War, Normandy landings and then onto Vietnam, where they are captured and imprisoned after an incident.

The superhuman soldiers are commissioned by William Stryker as part of a special operations unit and sent to Africa. Logan’s humanity overrides the beast within and his blood-lust is diminished after a run-in with Creed. Wolverine disbands the special ops team and heads to Canada to start his life again. However, the simple life, fresh air and mountain views are cast aside when Wolverine is given a reason to seek revenge.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is directed by South Africa’s very own Gavin Hood of Tsotsi and Rendition. Hood demonstrates his range with this superhero film, showing that he can direct on location in the townships of South Africa to the green screens of Hollywood. His job is made easier by determined Australian and Australia star, Hugh Jackman, who reprises his role as the wolf-man with ...continued.

An X-Men Origins: Wolverine DVD is up for grabs for Fan Friday on the SPL!NG page on Facebook. If you want to stand a chance to win this or other fantastic giveaways like this every week, join up... here.

Avatar Movie Review: Another Cameron Epic


Avatar is the space between dreams and reality, fantasy and science fiction, 'Cowboys and Indians'. James Cameron's latest film since Titanic is a dazzling spectacle of computer-generated photographic imagery and vivid contrasting themes. The film's mesmerising visuals capture a world of their own much like Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings Trilogy with 3D effects giving the audience a heightened sense of reality. Cameron has been tinkering away at this project for more than a decade, proposing his $400 million budget movie and waiting for the CGI technology to come to the party.

The story follows Jake, a paraplegic war veteran who becomes part of a 3 month project to relocate an indigenous race of humanoids known as the Na'vi from their spiritual forest realm on planet Pandora. Jake is biologically locked into a man-made Na'vi tribesman, who he can control in a waking-sleep from a remote location and instructed to work his way into the ancient civilization's inner circle as a spy in order to glean valuable information on how to thwart the locals.

While the cast is comprised of a solid ensemble of actors, the CGI is the star. Sam Worthington (Terminator: Salvation) does a good job of playing the pure-hearted Jake, Zoe Saldana (Star Trek) conveys the emotional intensity of Neytiri, Giovanni Ribisi (The Gift) is convincing as the power-hungry, yet inept executive, Michelle Rodriguez (Resident Evil) slaps it on thick as the tough girl marine, Stephen Lang sizzles as the ultimate G.I. Joe tough guy and Sigourney Weaver plays a high-powered expert in a similar role to ...continued.

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Trailer Showdown: Sherlock Holmes vs. Sherlock Holmes in the 23rd Century


Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is a classic detective character, who has been with us longer than James Bond. The fictional character is the creation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who first wrote Sherlock Holmes into existence in 1887. The pipe-puffing detective is renowned for his intellectual prowess, deductive reasoning and observation skills. The character was inspired by Dr. Joseph Bell, who Doyle says also managed to draw large conclusions from the smallest observations. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherlock_holmes)

Countless plays, short stories and film adaptations later... the legend of Holmes still fascinates us with Robert Downey Jr. taking the role to new heights (or possibly depths) in the London-based detective's latest adventure. It's directed by Guy Ritchie of Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels notoriety. His latest efforts with RocknRolla show a return to classic Ritchie, but will this classic adaptation follow this trend?

 The plot: "Detective Sherlock Holmes and his stalwart partner Watson engage in a battle of wits and brawn with a nemesis whose plot is a threat to all of England." (IMDB), sounds like it could be another Johnny English or something more akin to Christopher Nolan's The Prestige. My guess is that it's going to be a mixture... Downey Jr. usually adds his own whimsical humour to whatever role he's playing, including Iron Man. Ritchie also has a penchant for comedy with an eye for action and slick visuals. Whatever the case... it's definitely going to be one to watch. Other stars to look out for: Jude Law, Rachel McAdams and Mark Strong. Opens in South Africa on 1 January, 2010.

It's one of those strange match-ups in the Trailer Showdown today, between the Sherlock Holmes HD movie trailer and a Bravestarr episode entitled Sherlock Holmes in the 23rd Century. Could go either way... :-)


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