Monday, August 26, 2013

Celebrating World Dog Day today


World Dog Day Aug 26 2013 Poster Message

Happy Dog Day to everyone. Let us celebrate Man's Best Friend today and every day.

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Image Source: A Place to Love Dogs

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

The trailer for the new Russian adaptation of Sherlock Holmes is here!


Igor Petrenko as Sherlock Holmes and Andrei Panin as Doctor John Watson in the new Russian Sherlock Holmes 2013 television series

Dear Readers,

The trailer for the upcoming Sherlock Holmes adaptation has been released.

Starring Igor Petrenko as Sherlock Holmes and Andrei Panin as Doctor John Watson, the series is directed by Andrey Kavun.



From the slapstick comedy to the ritual sequence and Igor's portrayal of Holmes, the influence of the Guy Ritchie directed movies is obvious. Irene Adler has a much larger role, which again could possibly be attributed to the Ritchie movies.

Vasily Livanov is my all-time favorite actor to portray Sherlock Holmes and the Russian adaptation (1979 - 1986) featuring him and Vitaly Solomin as Dr Watson is a classic. The new series has some big shoes to fill.

The opening shots of the trailer indicate that Igor's version will be radically different from that of Vasily. There is a reference to the boxing scene in the first episode ("Acquaintance") of the Livanov series.

Andrei Panin passed away in March 2013. RIP.

The Granada adaptation had a change of actors (David Burke to Edward Hardwicke) after the first series and still proved to be as popular as ever.

Click here to read all my posts about the classic Russian adaptation of Sherlock Holmes.

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Image Sources: Wikipedia

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Russian Sherlock Holmes 2013 "221 B Baker Street" - Recap and Review
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Friday, August 23, 2013

Ben Affleck is the new Batman!


Ben Affleck is the new Batman and Bruce Wayne in Henry Cavill's Superman Man of Steel sequel in the DC Cinematic Universe after Christian Bale

Ben Affleck has been announced to be Christian Bale's successor to play the Dark Knight in Zack Snyder's sequel to Man of Steel.

I personally consider Chris Bale's performance as Batman/Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Trilogy to be definitive and as one of the best by a leading actor in the superhero movie genre.

Ben Affleck has won Oscars for his work for Best Writing (Good Will Hunting, 1997) and Best Picture (Argo, 2012). He is one of the most talented people of his generation.

Interestingly, Ben also portrayed the Marvel Comics superhero, Daredevil in the poorly received Mark Steven Johnson directed movie in 2003. He is one of the few actors to play characters from both DC and Marvel Comics, along with Halle Berry (Storm in the X-Men movies and Catwoman) and Ryan Reynolds (Green Lantern and Wade Wilson/Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine).

I am not still sure about this casting decision. I am interested to hearing from readers about their thoughts.

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Image Sources: Warner Bros. Pictures, Wikipedia

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

TV Review: CBS Elementary

Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson in CBS Elementary

After reviewing the cast, here is my second post in my blog series about the first season of CBS Elementary.

Confession time: I was eagerly looking forward to Elementary's pilot episode.

I liked the first season of BBC Sherlock and “The Hounds of Baskerville” from the second season. But certain aspects of “A Scandal in Belgravia” and “The Reichenbach Fall” struck me as odd in a Sherlock Holmes adaptation. I was hoping that Elementary would rectify these (what were in my opinion) issues.

What happened was the exact opposite: Elementary only made me enjoy BBC Sherlock even more and made me appreciate how tough it is to make a modern day adaptation without sacrificing the essence of the characters and the trappings of the Victorian era stories. BBC Sherlock accomplishes what every adaptation sets out to do: pay a loving homage to the legendary creation of Arthur Conan Doyle, while retaining its own unique identity.


Lucy Liu as Joan Watson in CBS Elementary

Elementary, on the other hand….

The show had a weak start with the Pilot Episode and "While You Were Sleeping". The third episode, "Child Predator" was excellent. The fourth episode ("The Rat Race") was OK and the fifth one ("Lesser Evils") was remarkable for the way Joan Watson came into her own for the first time.

The sixth episode ("Flight Risk") is one of my favorites as Miller finally started growing into the role of the fictional detective. This was the time, when I thought: here is a contender for Benedict Cumberbatch’s title as the best modern version of the world’s greatest fictional detective. Boy, was I mistaken.

Click on the link below to buy your copy of Season 1:


The next few episodes were so-so. The series again reached its high in episode # 12 ("M") when one of the famous characters from the Canon made his appearance: Sebastian Moran. As played by the ever reliable Vinnie Jones, Moran remains one of the best aspects of Elementary.

The show maintained its standards with the Super Bowl episode # 14, "The Deductionist".

And the decline started from there.


Guest star John Hannah as Rhys Kinlan in CBS Elementary Episode 15 A Giant Gun, Filled with Drugs

Episode # 15 ("A Giant Gun, Filled with Drugs") was only passable, despite the presence of guest star, John Hannah.

Episode # 16 ("Details") was one of the weakest with the main plot focusing on Detective Bell. Even worse was a running gag that involves Miller’s Holmes conducting surprise attacks on Joan to “prepare” her for any unforeseen life threatening situations.

Episodes # 17 ("Possibility Two") and # 18 ("Deja Vu All Over Again") continued the uneven trend by being boring and interesting respectively.


Candis Cayne as Miss Hudson with Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in CBS Elementary Episode # 19 Snow Angels

Episode # 19 ("Snow Angels") was interesting due to the plot element of power shutdown and the introduction of the next important Canonical character: Mrs Hudson. As played by Candis Cayne, Miss Hudson is a transsexual and is hired by Miller’s Holmes to work on a weekly basis.

If the viewers were expecting to see Miss Hudson as a recurring figure, they were in for a big disappointment. Miss Hudson has never been seen again. Perhaps, she is busy being someone's muse. Only Season Two will clarify this (or I hope it will).

Episode # 20 ("Dead Man's Switch") was Elementary’s first attempt at adapting a original story: The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton. A novel attempt, but eventually proved to be another one of the mediocre episodes.


F. Murray Abraham as Daniel Gottlieb in CBS Elementary Episode # 21 A Landmark Story

Episode # 21 ("A Landmark Story") is memorable for the character of Daniel Gottlieb. F. Murray Abraham gave a very subdued and a mesmerizing performance as Gottlieb, one of the more cerebral agents of Moriarty. I was hoping that he would indeed turn out to be Moriarty, but no such luck.

Episodes 22, 23 and 24 sounded the death knell for the show, at least to me.

The “reunion” of Holmes and Irene Adler in "Risk Management" marked the exact point, when Miller’s version of Holmes proved to be a completely different person from his namesake. His emotional breakdown at the sight of his “lost love” was nothing like the detective I read in the classic stories by Arthur Conan Doyle.


Jonny Lee Miller and Natalie Dormer as Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler Moriarty in CBS Elementary Episode # 24 Heroine

"The Woman" would further prove this point, as we get to see Miller’s version of Holmes and Natalie Dormer’s Irene Adler/Moriarty getting very intimate with each other.  At least, Guy Ritchie had the courtesy to leave such things to the viewer’s imagination during the Holmes-Adler encounter in the hotel room in the first Sherlock Holmes movie.

To add insult to injury, Miller’s Holmes is busy protecting his lady love to pay attention to seemingly trivial things like apprehending Moriarty. He is content to leave such tasks to Joan.

Joan does prove to be the "Heroine" and traps Moriarty using a simple-minded plan that Miller’s Holmes already used in Episode # 2. Not to be outdone, Miller’s Holmes names a newly discovered species of bees (yes, those bees again) as "Euglassa Watsonia" after Joan.


Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in CBS Elementary

In the next post, I will make some suggestions (that if implemented), I think will help justify naming Miller's character "Sherlock Holmes".

Click here to read all my posts about CBS Elementary.

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Image Source: CBS

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Celebrating World Elephant Day today


World Elephant Day 2013 Save Elephants from Extinction

Elephants are gentle giants. There are 2 species of elephants surviving today: the African Elephant and the Asian Elephant.

Elephants are social beings and lead very emotional lives. Elephants live in herds, led by a matriarch. All the female elephants in the herd work together to care of their young.

Elephants, like most other species of animals, have been hunted down to near extinction. The reason is again, sheer human greed and arrogance: The tusks are used as status symbols in certain parts of the world.

Please visit The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to learn more about Elephant Conservation and how YOU can help save this magnificent species.

Elephants need our help now more than ever.

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Photos were taken at Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

CBS Elementary - Cast and Crew - First Season


Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in CBS Elementary
Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes
With the second season of CBS Elementary debuting about a month away, I decided to do a rundown of the first season. Before getting to the episodes, here is a look at the cast.

I enjoyed Miller's performance in the earlier episodes, Child Predator and Flight Risk  But as the season progressed, Miller's version became more and more distant from the Canonical version. By the time, the season reached its end in episodes Risk ManagementThe Woman and Heroine, the only thing common to Miller's Holmes and the Canonical Holmes was the character name and nothing else.

Click on the link below to buy your copy of Season 1:


I feel that the lesser knowledge one has of Arthur Conan Doyle's original stories, the more is his/her enjoyment of Miller's performance.


Lucy Liu as Joan Watson in CBS Elementary
Lucy Liu as Joan Watson
I find Lucy Liu's Watson the better performed and the most consistent character of the show. Despite the gender and racial swap, Liu's Watson is not only one of the best acted Watsons, but also one of the smartest.

Unlike the Canon and most of the other adaptations, Joan herself is a Consulting Detective and is treated as Holmes' equal. In the season finale, she continues Holmes' detective work, when he is too love struck with Irene Adler (aka Moriarty) to be of any use to the NYPD and the general public.

Aidan Quinn as Captain Toby Gregson in CBS Elementary
Aidan Quinn as Captain Toby Gregson
Named after Inspector Tobias Gregson from the Sherlock Holmes Canon, Quinn's character remains one of the least developed recurring characters in the show.

Jon Michael Hill as Detective Marcus Bell in CBS Elementary
Jon Michael Hill as Detective Marcus Bell
Marcus Hill's character is a tribute to Dr Joseph Bell, the real life mentor of Arthur Conan Doyle. Even after an entire episode (Details) was focused on him, the fact that he remains an uninteresting character speaks volumes about the quality of writing behind the show.

Candis Cayne as Miss Hudson in CBS Elementary Episode 19 Snow Angels
Candis Cayne as Miss Hudson
Yet another main character in the Canon undergoes a change - Elementary's Miss Hudson is a transsexual. This character is the best example of the both the strengths and weaknesses of the show writers. Just like Lucy Liu's Watson, Candis Cayne's Hudson is one of the best developed characters, but disappeared out of the show after that single episode appearance in Snow Angels.

Jonny Lee Miller and Natalie Dormer as Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler Moriarty in CBS Elementary Episode # 23 The Woman
Natalie Dormer as Irene Adler/Moriarty
The show took the lazy route of combining the classic characters of Irene Adler and Professor Moriarty. Natalie Dormer did her best with the roles and gave one of the more interesting performances in the show.

Vinnie Jones as M in CBS Elementary Episode 12 M
Vinnie Jones as M
As can be expected of a character played by Vinnie Jones, M is a hulking brute and one of the many agents employed by Moriarty. M is one of the most memorable characters, thanks again to Jones' charismatic screen presence.

Click here to read all my posts about CBS Elementary.

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Image Source: CBS

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Friday, August 2, 2013

BBC Sherlock - Season 3 Teaser Trailer - He is back!


BBC Sherlock Season 3 teaser trailer - Benedict Cumberbatch returns as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as moustached John Watson

Dear Readers,

The teaser trailer for Season 3 of BBC Sherlock has premiered. Benedict Cumberbatch returns as Sherlock Holmes as do the rest of the regular cast. The highlight of the teaser has to be the moustached Martin Freeman as John Watson.



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Image Sources: Hartswood Films, Sherlockology

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Movie Review: The Wolverine (2013)


The Wolverine 2013 Hugh Jackman Logan poster based on Chris Claremont and Frank Miller's 1982 limited series

This is a spoiler heavy review. Readers who wish to avoid plot details are recommended to skip the review.

The movie opens with the nuclear bomb attack on Japan in 1945. Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is a Prisoner of War (POW). Just as the bomb is about to be dropped, Logan is released by a Japanese soldier, Yashida (Ken Yamamura), who in turn is saved from the deadly blast by Logan.

Cut to the present. Logan is living in the woods and has recurring flashbacks of his one true love, the deceased Jean Grey (Famke Janssen). The only other living being, Logan has any connection with is a big, lumbering Grizzly Bear. The latter becomes the target of some hunters and Logan is forced to put him out of his misery.

Rila Fukushima as Yukio in The Wolverine 2013 movie Hugh Jackman Logan

Logan's encounter with the hunters at a local bar is interrupted by Yukio (Rila Fukushima). She works for an aging Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi), who wishes to see Logan one last time. Logan reluctantly travels to Japan to honor his friend's last wish.

Logan soon finds himself in the midst of an ongoing plot to kill Yashida's granddaughter Mariko (Tao Okamoto). This leads to the centerpiece of the movie - a chase sequence that starts at Yashida's funeral, continues on the streets and ends with Logan taking on assassins atop a speeding bullet train.

A wounded Logan discovers that he is losing his healing powers and faces the prospects of being mortally wounded. There are a few other supporting characters - Harada (Will Yun Lee) an archer, Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova), a mutant with the ability to inject poison and Mariko's father Shingen (Hiroyuki Sanada).

Silver Samurai in The Wolverine 2013 movie Hugh Jackman Logan

The movie climax involves Logan facing off against Silver Samurai. The movie's version of Silver Samurai is a hulking robot, operated by Yashida.

This is an out and out Hugh Jackman movie. There are a number of shots of Hugh's immensely ripped body. In his sixth outing as Wolverine/Logan (counting his cameo in X-Men: First Class), Hugh has the role down pat. This time, he fleshes out his signature role more, thanks to the loss of his self-healing ability.

Hugh Jackman as Logan Wolverine in The Wolverine movie review 2013 James Mangold

Most of the remaining cast members are stereotypes - the young sidekick, the damsel in distress, the evil businessman and a few more. Don't miss out the excellent promo for X-Men: Days of Future Past in a mid-credits scene.

Will Yun Lee as Harada the archer, Svetlana Khodchenkova as Viper the mutant, Tao Okamoto as Mariko and Hiroyuki Sanada as Shingen in The Wolverine 2013 movie

Pros

  1. Hugh Jackman's performance
  2. Very much a personal story - No threats of world wide apocalypse or scenes of city wide destruction .

Cons

  1. Badly staged action sequences
  2. Convoluted climax
  3. Lack of chemistry between Hugh Jackman's Logan and Tao Okamoto's Mariko
  4. Jean Grey's flashback scenes

Click on the link below to buy your copy:


Recommended to fans of Hugh Jackman/Wolverine. Click here to read all my posts related to Marvel Comics.

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Image Sources: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Marvel Entertainment and Dune Entertainment

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