Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Happy Birthday, Basil Rathbone


Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes image poster
Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes

Basil Rathbone (13 June 1892 - 21 July 1967) is best remembered for portraying Sherlock Holmes in a total of 14 films between 1939 and 1946. He also voiced Holmes in radio shows.

Rathbone made a debonair Holmes. For Sherlockians like me, Rathbone's performance is as close to being definitive as it gets.


Many Happy Returns of the day, Sir! 

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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Official trailer for CBS Elementary is here

Elementary is an upcoming CBS show, starring Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as Joan Watson.


The trailer looks OK and did not do a great job of making the show a must see (at least) for me.

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Movie Review: The Raid: Redemption (2011)


The Raid: Redemption (2011)


Written and directed by Gareth Evans, the movie focusses on an ill-fated attempt by a team of elite cops to storm a building that happens to be the stronghold of an infamous gangster, Tama (Ray Sahetapy). The opening shots of the movie introduce us to Rama (Iko Uwais), a rookie cop and a soon-to-be father. Rama has a long day ahead, thanks to the aforementioned raid.

Rama and his teammates are led by Sergeant Jaka (Joe Taslim). Tama is assisted by Mad Dog and Andy, the brawn and brains respectively. The team enters the building as planned but find themselves the target of an array of opponents, including machete wielding thugs and sharpshooters. Does Rama manage to come out with life and limb intact?

Gareth shows a deft hand in direction and has incorporated some twists and turns along the way that may not surprise astute viewers, but does help raise the movie a notch above than being just another run-of-the-mill actioner. 

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Iko has the dashing looks and martial arts skills and looks all set to have a successful career ahead. He also handled the stunts (along with Yayan Ruhian) and the action choreography is just plain amazing. Special mention must be made of Rama’s encounter with the machete gang. This is easily the best fight scene in the movie, possibly rivaled by the climactic fight with Mad Dog.

Some of the Mad Dog’s scenes reminded me of The Dark Knight’s Joker. I believe the director wanted to create a sense of dread of an implacable enemy akin to the Joker. While Joker was a madman bent on anarchy using his smarts, Mad Dog is the polar opposite. He lives up to his name and uses his physical skills to beat his opponent(s) to death.

Ray Sahetapy is a veteran actor and gives us a great villain in Tama, who is quite ruthless when it comes to protecting his turf.

Ray Sahetapy as Tama in The Raid: Redemption
Ray Sahetapy as Tama

The theme music by Mike Shinoda enhances the movie, especially in the climactic scenes.

This is one heck of an action movie with enough character moments for the actors to become more than just cardboard cutouts as is usually the case in movies of this genre.


Iko Uwais in 'The Raid: Redemption'
Iko Uwais in 'The Raid: Redemption'

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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sir Basil Rathbone complains about fake Sherlock Holmeses



Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) voices his concerns to Watson (Nigel Bruce) about Benedict Cumberbatch/Martin Freeman and Robert Downey Jr/Jude Law.

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Friday, June 1, 2012

TV Review: The Silent Scream (1980)


Peter Cushing poster image
Peter Cushing as Martin Blueck
I watched the classic BBC series with Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes recently and was blown away by his performance. I looked around for more of Cushing and came upon this gem.

Cushing plays an aged pet shop owner, Martin Blueck. He pays a visit to a prison inmate, Chuck Spillers (Brian Cox) and helps him out by providing some financial help. Blueck is a self-proclaimed former concentration camp captive and sees a kindred soul in Chuck. When Chuck is released, he is happily reunited with his wife Annie (Elaine Donnelly). He discusses Blueck’s visit with his wife and pays a courtesy visit to Blueck at his shop and is offered a job.

Blueck has a collection of big cats and other exotic animals in his basement and has trained them so well that the animals are kept in open cages. The cages are powered by electricity and the animals make no attempt to escape whatsoever. Blueck wants to test the concept of open zoos and seeks Chuck’s help in his endeavour.

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As expected, Chuck accepts the job. He happens to notices a safe that is pretty much unattended. Old habits die hard and Chuck is sorely tempted to relieve the safe of its contents. The less than stellar financial well-being of his family does not help matters either. The very next day, Chuck attempts to break the safe and literally falls into a trap. His trap is similar to the cages that house the animals.

Brian Cox as Chuck Spillers in The Silent Scream (1980)
Brian Cox as Chuck Spillers

Annie enquires with Blueck about her husband and is surprised to be told that her husband did not come to the shop, despite the presence of his jacket. She raises the issue of her missing husband with the police, who thanks to Chuck’s history of crime do not take her claims seriously.

Taking matters into her hands, Annie sneaks into the shop and finds her husband captive. Is she able to save her husband? What are Blueck’s intentions?

Cushing is a terrific actor and is in top form here. His performance is a fitting tribute to his versatility. It is amazing that he can pull off Sherlock Holmes as flawlessly as he does with the character of Blueck.

It is interesting to see Brian Cox in one of his earlier performances and he is good as always. Elaine Donnelly gives an excellent performance as the strong-willed and intelligent Annie.


Elaine Donnelly as Annie Spillers in The Silent Scream (1980)
Elaine Donnelly as Annie Spillers

Hammer Studios are renowned for their horror films and this episode is no exception. It is more of a psychological thriller than a horror film and is superb scripted. I would highly recommend the reader to check this one out.

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