December 16, 2011, - 4:40 pm

Wknd Box Office: Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Young Adult, The Man Nobody Knew: In Search of My Father, CIA Spymaster William Colby

By Debbie Schlussel

Sad to say, but the new Tom Cruise movie is really the only good new movie at the box office, this weekend.  I already reviewed “Shame” (read my review).  Here’s my take on the rest:

*  “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol“:  Before this, I’d never seen any of the “Mission: Impossible” movies, and you don’t have to, in order to enjoy this movie and follow what’s happening.  It’s filled with action, suspense, physical fights with bad guys, fantastic feats (too fantastic to believe, but still cool to watch, nonetheless), car chases, and excitement.

I could have done without the gratuitous, if brief, inclusion and promotion of anti-Semitic, anti-Israel Dubai and its Burj Al-Khalifa skyscraper hotel.  It wasn’t necessary, and considering Dubai’s anti-Semitic, anti-Israel travel apartheid (you can’t go there as a Jew, if you have an Israeli passport or Israeli stamp in your passport), it’s a disgusting whitewash of Islamic bigotry.  On the other hand, it wasn’t exactly the greatest promotion of the Gulf state, given that it looked like a miserable place to live because of brutal sandstorms.

The movie takes place in several international locales, beginning with Budapest, then Russia, and later Mumbai.  Tom Cruise is broken out of a Russian prison by his fellow IMF agents, Paula Patton and Simon Pegg.  He is given a mission to get codes from the Kremlin.  But, instead, he’s set up to make it look like he’s the one that set off a bomb in the Kremlin, pitting Russia against the U.S.  Cruise and Jeremy Renner, join the other IMF agents, traveling to several locales trying to get the nuclear launch codes, so they can avoid a war between the U.S. and Russia, which an evil guy is trying to set off.

Not believable or a “great” movie, but fun, lots of eye-candy, and you definitely won’t be bored.  It’s movie escapism done good.  I saw it in IMAX, which made it even better.

If only IMF personnel had guts and courage like this in real life, instead of being typical, gutless liberal-socialist usurpers of American tax dollars.


Watch the trailer . . .

*  “Sherlock Holmes:  A Game of Shadows“:  In my review of the first “Sherlock Holmes” movie starring Robert Downey, Jr. , I told you  it should have been called, “Not Sherlock Holmes.”  This second installment should have been called, “Not Sherlock Holmes 2, Even Worse.”  At least the first one had a semi-understandable plot.  This one is just confusing, cockamamie, and convoluted.  And ridiculous, too.

In the first movie, Sherlock Holmes and Watson are action heroes doing all kinds of acrobatics and swashbuckling.  In this one, Sherlock Holmes is not just an action hero, but a superhero with magical powers.  He can read minds, see into the future, communicate with mental telepathy, make people’s minds screw up so they throw their weapons at each other instead of him, look at a wall and see the past and how it was built, etc.  Yup, absurd.

This might be tolerable if the way too long, boring movie actually had some sort of discernible story.  The most I could gather was that Sherlock Holmes was on to some criminal professor who wants to start a world war so he can make money on weapons (kind of like the Mission: Impossible plot–see above).  Somehow, it involves some gyspy-esque French fortune teller chick or masseusse or something whose brother was killed by someone.  Oh, and there are some horses and a war room, as well as a world peace conference in Switzerland.

None of it makes sense.  I guess it’s not supposed to because, again, this isn’t Sherlock Holmes.  It’s some action hero slapped into a non-sensical story with the Sherlock Holmes moniker unduly affixed to him.  A total waste of my time and yours.  Drink lots of caffeine.  This was snorable.


Watch the trailer . . .

*  “Young Adult“:  While this movie had some very funny moments, it was mostly mean, cold, and pointless.  It’s filled with much unnecessary, unentertaining melodrama and shrieking.  Uh, no thanks.  Predictably, most of the mainstream liberal movie critics loved it.  Garbage sells.  And this one is the empress with no clothing.  It starts out as a promising movie, but when it falls down, it goes off the cliff.

Charlize “I Love Castro’s Cuba” Theron plays a pretentious, mean alcoholic ghostwriter for a passe series of young adult books.  She is overdue in her last assignment before the series is canceled.  But instead of locking herself in her Minneapolis apartment to finish, Theron travels to the small Minnesota town where she grew up to get back her high school boyfriend (the always bland Patrick Wilson).  He’s married with a new baby, but she won’t let that get in her way.  While she plots and schemes to get him back, Theron becomes friendly with the guy who was the high school geek (Patton Oswalt), beaten up and left for dead by athletes because they thought he was gay.

Why you’d wanna waste two hours and ten bucks for this, I don’t know.  Just awful.  Not that I expected anything better.  After all, it’s written by that skanky former stripper with the pretentious name, Diablo Cody.


Watch the trailer . . .

*  “The Man Nobody Knew:  In Search of My Father, CIA Spymaster William Colby“:  I thought this would be exciting, or at the very least interesting.  When a guy does a documentary about his late father who headed the CIA while the U.S. was in Vietnam and began his career with the agency, helping Italian Catholic Priests fight off Communism, you’d think it would be chock full of interesting anecdotes, intrigue, code names, etc.  But there’s none of that in this.  Instead, it’s a slow-paced documentary that does its best to make an exciting job and the person who occupied it seem like watching paint dry.

As you can tell from the title, the movie is made (and narrated) by William Colby’s son, Carl.  You’d imagine he’d put some love and respect into it, and perhaps in his mind, he thinks he has.  But not in my mind.  Carl Colby sympathizes with protesters against the Vietnam War, who hated his dad, the CIA Station Chief in Saigon before he headed the entire agency.  The Colby son blames his sister’s illness and death on his father.

And aside from the dissing of dear old dad, there’s simply no insight.  Why, for instance, does a man choose a life as a spy?  What motivates him?  What was it like being the son of the CIA director?  None of that is asked, let alone answered.  I wasn’t sure what the point was, other than for Colby to put forth his belief that his father committed suicide.  I don’t need a long, dull, boring movie for that.  Despite the title of this film, there is little in the way of “searching” at all.

The only part I found interesting was Colby’s work to drive Communism out of Italy, and how the CIA gave money and aid to Catholic Priests and the Catholic Church to do it.  If only we’d have done that with Islam all over the world, funding, enabling, and encouraging churches in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe to fight off Islam.  But that was my insight, not the movie’s.  There’s just not much useful information in the movie.  And that’s disappointing, as I looked forward to seeing this documentary.

As I watched this, I thought of my late father, who read a million books about the history of the CIA and its various chiefs. He knew all about the history and loved to watch documentaries and movies about it. This would have been an utter disappointment for him. Just as it was for me.

William Colby deserved better than this.  Sadly, he didn’t get it.  I hope the kids of deceased Mossad chiefs don’t see this and get any ideas.


Watch the trailer . . .

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40 Responses

The original “Mission Impossible” TV series remains a classic. Its really a mind game in which the IMF tries to con the bad guys into folding and when they do the team escapes. It has nothing in common with the Paramount movies that followed it. Its engaging, intelligent entertainment at its most wholesome and you spend a good hour figuring out how they’re going to solve the puzzle. We know they’ll get away but its mystery that interests us. Its perhaps the greatest spy show of the 1960s and has often been imitated but never equaled.

The MI movies are action movies – they don’t have much of a plot line but the stunts are cool. Tom Cruise actually did all the stunt work on them and its adds believability to his role of Ethan Hunt. Its the perfect escapist movie – you don’t come to see it for the plot but for the action and to get away from the cares of life.

NormanF on December 16, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    “The MI movies are action movies – they don’t have much of a plot line”. That’s not true. There is little action in the first one. The film was used as a joke on late night about how complicated the plot was. The first film was possibly the closest to the series you like so much, with the teamwork element.

    MH on December 17, 2011 at 3:28 am

I’ve already given my verdict for this weekend’s entertainment. And for less than 60 dollars, I got more than my money’s worth.

I realized that the MI movies should be renamed “Ethan’s Mission Impossible” because it’s always “Ethan saves the day”.

The new Sherlock Holmes movie? Meh. Maybe next week.

“Young Adult”? More like “Bratty Bitch”. Next…

The Colby documentary? You mean this guy has spent his time, money and effort just to say “I hate you, Dad”??? Sorry.

So leave me alone. I have a date with the Graybeards. I’d like to get my shouts in shape. Skyrim is starting to look a little more interesting each day.

The Reverend Jacques on December 17, 2011 at 2:22 am

“I’d never seen any of the ‘Mission: Impossible’ movies”. You should. “Mission: Impossible” is one of my favorites, and much of that is due to Brian De Palma’s direction. His style fit so well with the movie… maybe a perfect match. I wished he had directed the others. If you liked the fourth one… the first one had a similar plot. Henry Czerny, who played what appeared to be the head of IMF, did a good job, and I wished he had returned. You also have Jon Voight, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vanessa Redgrave, Emmanuelle Béart, Ving Rhames Emilio Estevez. That is some cast (though a few of them are briefly in the film). It is also a film in which the goal of a mission was “zero body-count”, and involved a very suspenseful sequence (I heard gasps in the cinema) that has been parodied many times–with no body-count, “forced” to be creative (possibly), creating suspense a different way, rather than fighting the bad guys (the other films seemed to have gone for the latter).
Since the first film, I have looked forward to the sequels and I am looking forward to the fourth one. Interesting, that Josh Holloway (from “Lost”) was not used in any advertising (including promotional photos) that I saw. I wonder what the reason was for keeping him hidden.

MH on December 17, 2011 at 3:23 am

The only thing about the IMF here – since when is it the job of the IMF to get nuke codes and try & prevent a nuclear war?

Also, this Russia vs America deal is now old – about as obsolete as campaigns against the Nazis. I’d have much preferred something like trying to disrupt a Jihadi plot, which would have been a lot more realistic. Hey, throw in some motivation for Tom by showing some scientologists being tortured in Iran or Saudi Arabia, and take him throughout the middle east battling Muslims so that Scientologists will have their freedom. That would at least have been more credible than things like the IMF trying to prevent a nuclear war where the IAEA doesn’t.

Also, the real Russia today is a superpower only on paper – a recent report pointed out how most Russian parents are scared to let their kids join their army for fear of them being tortured & killed. They can barely hold on to Chechnya w/o Chechen jihadis threatening their entire country. It would be more credible to show Tom trying to take on the militaries of Iran, or Egypt, or Pakistan.

Infidel Pride on December 17, 2011 at 7:27 am

    I agree with you about Islam – the Left though will rarely make a show or a movie showing Islam the way Communism used to be seen in America. McCarthyism and political correctness have made it all but impossible to tell the truth about the clear and present danger of our time. What it won’t do, the rest of us must tell the story. A prophet is unhonored in his own country. One day people will listen.

    NormanF on December 17, 2011 at 9:54 am

On Sherlock Holmes, I don’t know whether the rating of Marx is appropriate, since you don’t have SH pushing leftist, socialist theories. But I agree – there is nothing similar to this, and the ones Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote. Actually, on this subject, I happen to believe that Sherlock Holmes movies and serials should be left to the Brits, and not done by Americans, Canadians, Australians or anyone else. Particularly since all of them are uniquely English (as in England) and the various names, places and other items are just not transferable. And rather than watch non-British actors try and act Brit and fail badly, I’d rather see British actors play the roles.

My favorite Sherlock Holmes serial was always the one starring the late Jeremy Brett as SH and Edward Hardwicke as JW. They were memorable, and to this day, enjoyable to watch. And there are 4 SH novels, which one could use for a movie, if one wants. But other than that, Hollywood should leave Sherlock Holmes alone, and do Perry Mason – they do much better w/ him.

Infidel Pride on December 17, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Arthur Conan Doyle’s short stories and novels captured the Victorian imagination and became the classic of the mystery genre. He told stories like no one else could and they translated believably to film. Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke will always be the quintessential Holmes and Watson. Great acting, beautiful locations, compelling stories and a “period” feel that no other show has ever equaled. The Granada Television production in my considered opinion, was one of the few thoroughly memorable British imports to appear with a favorable reception on this side of The Pond in the 1980s.

    NormanF on December 17, 2011 at 9:47 am

      Norman, you’re absolutely right. If you’re looking for authentic Sherlock Holmes mysteries/detective stories, look no further than Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke. Although I will always have a soft spot for Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce films, this Granada TV series is like a work of art, with great script writing, top-notch acting throughout, inventive direction, masterful photography, and magnificent art direction, capturing the spirit and flavor of the characters from the original Conan Doyle creations.

      I recently took out “The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes” Granada TV DVD collection from my local Free Library Branch, and played it on my Optoma Movietime Projector, plugged into my stereo system, and projected onto a 92 inch screen. (It’s actually an economy home theater set-up, but almost as good as systems costing thousands of dollars.) Under these circumstances, it usually takes an exceptional movie to get me into the movie theater; and from the sounds of it, after having already seen the first Downey/Law film in the theater, this second entry is likely to be even more disappointing than their original outing.

      Ralph Adamo on December 18, 2011 at 8:04 pm

        NOT BY RALPHADAMO who lives in NEW ORLEANS. 92 inch screen indeed.Hilarious.

        Ralph Adamo NewOrleans on February 6, 2012 at 11:47 pm

I can see Debbie’s point with Young Adult. From the description given,Charlize Theron’s character is a loser who has nothing better to do than to go back home in order to disrupt the life of a married man that she at one time went to high school with. That does sound like stalking to me. Ironically, Charlize Theron finds redemption with a guy who was beaten up for his seeming gayness earlier in life. We have moved from the vile to the absurd here. Charlize Theron, as an Afrikaner, was a novelty for a time. That time has long since past. Charlize is also a big supporter of PETA, which tells you quite a bit about her intellectual capacity.

As for the William Colby film, it sounds like another worthless son doing a hatchet job on a deceased father for profit. It is a very tiresome genre.

worry01 on December 17, 2011 at 8:41 am

Worry, when someone leaves their country, their views can change. Theron does not represent the views of the typical Afrikaner. She’s descended from French Huguenots and the rest are Dutch and German.

NormanF on December 17, 2011 at 9:50 am

A great new version of Sherlock Holmes can be found in the BBC re-imagining – “Sherlock.” Benedict Cumberbatch retains the eccentricity and mystery of Holmes, but in a contemporary setting. Dr. Watson (played by Martin Freeman) is an indispensable partner to Holmes, and quite effective ( as well as a veteran of Afghanistan, just as the original Doctor.)

It’s available on Netfix on demand! (More to come, once the current movie has played out)

Charles Alexander on December 17, 2011 at 10:26 am

On Mission: Impossible (and Sherlock Holmes) … they peddle the same anti-American line that has been the favorite of the left since the Viet Nam War, which is that the only “bad guys” are people who contrive conflicts in order to sell weapons. From the “gun control” people who blame crime on gun manufacturers and advertisers (as opposed to criminals) to the folks who blamed the Cold War and now the war on terror on “the military-industrial complex.” They were the ones who convinced themselves that all good, moral people (from the politicians to the average Americans) wanted to end the Cold War on Soviet terms and allow the Soviet and Chinese communists to dominate the world (the “peace movement”) but the only thing standing in the way was those weapons manufacturers who – like everybody else – knew that the triumph of communism was inevitable (because of its, you know, inherent superiority and the inevitable march of human progress that it represented) but still wanted to make money.

Hollywood does this so often that I don’t even watch action movies anymore. I grew up on action movies in the 1980s when the bad guys were actually the bad guys. But now, the bad guys aren’t communists or terrorists, but corporate CEOs (or conservative politicians) looking to create conflicts for money and power. It makes you wonder just how many Hollywood types are members of the 911 truther movement. (We know from Fahrenheit 9/11 that Michael Moore is kinda sorta one of them.)

Gerald on December 17, 2011 at 10:55 am

I may’ve said this when the first “Sherlock Holmes” film came out from this crew, and I’ll say it again: Holmes in this piece of you-know-what seems to have far more in common with the 1956 Daffy Duck/Porky Pig cartoon “Deduce, You Say,” relatively speaking, than the Holmes of the Arthur Conan Doyle novels (and Jeremy Brett TV series). And if you saw that cartoon, you’ll see Daffy’s Holmes was every bit as un-Holmes-like as you can get.

ConcernedPatriot on December 17, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Too bad. The first seconds of the trailer for the Sherlock Holms movie reveals that it’s the kind of botch were the camera is always moving because the plot isn’t.

Wondering no more on December 17, 2011 at 11:39 pm

“The Man Nobody Knew” was obviously made into a movie to help sustain myths about William Colby and the CIA. Colby was a very unusual CIA employee and there has never been a CIA director like him before or since. For someone in the spy business, Colby was always, remarkably, a straight-shooter. Colby had testified many times before Congressional committees, and astonishingly he was very candid when responding to questions; so much so that he drew the ire of Ford and Kissinger, among many others.

Nobody who knew Colby well believes that he committed suicide, and I don’t think Colby’s own son really believes it, even if he is saying his father committed suicide in his book and the this movie. If he is, he is trying to make a buck safely as a cover-up “artist.”

The facts and circumstances of Colby’s death have convinced me that Colby was almost certainly murdered. And for anyone into history, political intrigue, and investigatory techniques, here is a good starting place for a look into the Colby “hit” in 1996. There is definitely a great book or movie here to be made about this story, but it would be very difficult to get the real story into the daylight, let alone running it in a darkened screening room.

Ralph Adamo on December 17, 2011 at 11:52 pm

Sigh! The IMF that Tom Cruise’s character works for is the Impossible Missions Force, a fictional US espionage agency, not the International Monetary Fund.

T: Thanks. Like I said, I’ve never seen any of the M:I movies, so I didn’t know that and they don’t explain it in this movie. DS

Taz on December 18, 2011 at 6:27 am

I’m disappointed though not surprised to hear that the Colby movie isn’t all that it could be. I suppose that it could have done worse than “boring,” but the subject matter had a lot of promise. Maybe it will still catch my eye on DVD some day.

Brian R. on December 18, 2011 at 3:50 pm

I saw both this and the previous Mission: Impossible movies and I agree with Debbie’s review.

To Debbie and others who didn’t see the other M:I movies, I recommend them. However, let it be warned that in the first movie, Vanessa “Zionist Hoodlums” Graves is in it. But fortunately, her character dies within the first five minutes or so of the movie. The rest of that movie and all the other M:I movies are VG-free.

JeffE on December 18, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Correction: Vanessa “Zionsit Hoodlums” Redgrave … VR-free… .

JeffE on December 18, 2011 at 10:24 pm

One more time (sigh):

Correction: Vanessa “Zionist Hoodlums” Redgrave … VR-free… .

Sorry everyone.

JeffE on December 18, 2011 at 10:25 pm

Not only could this Sherlock read minds, see into the future, communicate with mental telepathy, make people’s minds screw up…he could also put me to sleep. Wrong title for the movie. …But on the other hand, I’ve needed some sleep for awhile.

Not Ovenready on December 18, 2011 at 11:36 pm

Sorry, but I have to say I laughed during the trailer for Young Adult (Charlize Theron). I enjoy films that portray the manipulative women I’ve suffered at work. I actually plan to see the film. Thanks.

TomT in SF on December 19, 2011 at 1:12 am

I liked Ghost Protocol. In my opinion, it’s the best so far of the Mission Impossible franchise. It certainly is excellent eye candy as you point out; also it’s a well-crafted and sophisticated espionage story for those who enjoy the genre. Even more welcome was the subtext which was conservative (surprising for a film produced by Abrams). In this film the CIA (or a comparably secret U.S. government organization) is empowered to direct agents to interfere in other countries, steal papers from the Kremlin and kill various bad guys–all without asking permission or reciting Miranda rights. The secret agency and its members are shown as capable, smart, and indispensable to our public safety. This is more Flemming or Clancy than Ludlum or LeCarre and doesn’t follow the usual misrepresentation of the CIA as being corrupt, greedy, cold and incompetent. The subtext behind the story is a throwback to a time when realism and good judgement prevailed.

As for Game of Shadows, it’s a waste as you say–absurd, boring and many other bad things. The ultimate purpose of the film is to deconstruct the original Doyle along with old-fashioned conservative English values. It does this by “outing” Sherlock Holmes, representing him as a cross-dressing, Watson-obsessed closet gay called “Shirley” in the story. The strategy here is the same as that adopted by gay-rights-advocate Dustin Black who “outed” Hoover in his recent screenplay J. Edgar, making him wear a dress as well. Next we’ll see a film where George Washington wears high heels and lipstick.

Burke on December 19, 2011 at 1:35 am

If only Bruce Lee were still alive, healthy, fit, well trained, skilled, and making movies.

William on December 19, 2011 at 2:37 am


Sherlock Holmes was called “Sherly” by his older brother, Mycroft, who was the supposed more intelligent of the two siblings. Yes, there were gratuitous leads re Sherlock possibly being gay. (Boo!) Professor Moriarity is the nemesis of Holmes (The Seven Percent Solution). Guy Richie(sp?)produced or directed the movie…Richie is a Scotsman and was married to Madonna.

Yes, there are many tricks in the movie, i.e. the mysticism of the East and Oriental Martial Arts, but consider if seeing through walls, future events, etc were merely visuals Sherlock saw only in his mind, but were projected on-screen so the audience would “see” what he was deducing and the actions to be taken? Also, Moriarity was hedging his bets on being a supplier of war materials, i.e. WW I, and would have become extremely wealthy supplying both sides with his weapons. As for the meeting in Switzerland of the world’s elite, well, could they be the Illuminati? Templars? Freemasons?

Yes, it was not Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock, but how many kids would sit through a “Thinking Sherlock” movie much less read the actual stories?

I liked it!

Dennis on December 19, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Dennis, you’re right to point out that in the film Sherlock was called “Sherly” by his brother and not “Shirley,” as I wrote. Of course, the two names sound identical, and the purpose is the same in any case: to out Sherlock Holmes as a closet gay. What you call “gratuitous leads re Sherlock possibly being gay” is actually the whole point of the movie. All of the humor, from the disrupted honeymoon to the cross-dressing to the last scene where he’s spying on Watson and his new bride–are all based on that one conceit. Yes, I can predict what you’ll say in response: “Boo!”

    I would love to see a revisionist Huckleberry Finn, since that’s a story liberals like. In it, Finn could play a trisexual closet capitalist who secretly runs guns for the South while only pretending to care about Jim’s plight. That will be a lot of fun, and I’m sure kids will like to watch it, too, since there will be plenty of action, explosions and special effects in case their attentions wander. If anyone complains, I’ll remind them that the original by Twain was a bore and needed jazzing up.

    Also, while on the topic, another peeve I have about Game of Shadows has to do with the “guns for money” plot. Downey Jr. and Ritchie should not be dragging in Tony Stark and Iron Man’s anti-greed-and-guns subtext just because they couldn’t come up with anything more original.

    By the way, I’m generally a fan of Guy Ritchie. I just wish he would stick to gangster movies like Revolver and Snatch and keep his crass, liberal hands off my favorite icons.

    Burke on December 19, 2011 at 5:21 pm

      In fairness, though, there is at least one instance that leaps immediately to mind of an English man actually being called Shirley. His proper name was Shirley Crabtree but he was better known as Big Daddy and was a very well-known wrestler.

      Alison on December 22, 2011 at 2:19 am

        Good point, Alison. I’d forgotten about Shirley the wrestler. I still believe the nickname is used in the movie to playfully suggest that Sherlock (in the film) is gay, though. I know…just call me stubborn.

        Burke on December 22, 2011 at 11:47 am

I don’t know how anyone could say that Sherlock Holmes was a boring movie. I thought it had good action, good acting, and good humor. Like Dennis stated above, it wasn’t so much Holmes seeing into the future as it was him deducing from the clues he saw around him. He then used those clues to deduce what he thought had already happened or what he thinks is GOING to happen relative to those clues. To say this movie was a waste of time is absurd. To say it didn’t make sense is equally absurd. I too liked it. I think Downey Jr. plays the role well. Everyone has their opinion though.

Chris on December 19, 2011 at 11:48 am

There have been some (maybe 3?) TV movies of a modern Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock texts people. Watson served in Afghanistan. I love these shows! They take the plots from the original books (Study in Scarlet – they use pink, instead), and set them in modern times. They alter a few things here and there, but the basic story is the same, and the characters are wonderful.

I also love the female character who is Sherlock’s friend – she has a huge crush on him, and he doesn’t know or doesn’t care – possibly both.

And, oh, my goodness. Moriarty!

These are a series, and they end it on a cliff-hanger note. Just warning you. Now, they are filming the next batch, so at least we know that Sherlock doesn’t die. But I can’t for the life of me figure out how they’re going to do it, and I can’t wait to see it. May the filming and post-production go fast.

Look it up on the internet. It’s called “Sherlock” and it is well-worth watching for anyone who liked the original works. This is all about watching how Sherlock’s mind works, and the developing friendship between him and Watson.

My sister describes Watson (in this) as “a nebishy hero.” I’m not sure she knows the real meaning of the word nebish. Debbie, if you see this, would you please let us know if she’s right? Personally, I find this Watson absolutely adorable, and quite masculine. The fact that he’s military really adds to his appeal, to me.

Michelle on December 19, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Why does everything have to be a conspiracy theory when it comes to movies? Granted, a lot of directors are liberals, but sometimes a movie is just a movie. I didn’t get the sense that the director was trying to portray Sherlock Holmes as closet gay. I guess I must be a simpleton because that thought didn’t even cross my mind. Did they portray him as such in the first movie? I just sat back and enjoyed the special effects and acting.

Chris on December 19, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Chris, the first movie had hints that Sherlock and Watson were closet gays (some critics catching on, some not), but in this second film, Ritchie and Downey Jr. doubled down and made it the main conceit of the film. Kyle Smith who pans the film in the New York Post mentions various examples that I didn’t list, such as the scene when Watson and Sherlock clown and grapple and Watson “at one point has his face between Sherlock’s knees.” There are many others as well.

Burke on December 19, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Hello Burke,

The “Boo” was directed towards Ritchie as in an objection for using such a cheap implication as part of the story. My take is that Holmes was possibly Gamophobic and / or Venustraphobic. I believe Ritchie over-played the “Gay” innuendos just as he did the nudity scene of Mycroft. Keep in mind that both of the Holmes men were super-intellectuals and in being such, may not have given much thought to their day-to-day actions unless the “Game” was afoot.

I much prefer seeing movies that stay true to the classic original hero. Years ago, I purchased “THE ORIGINAL ILLUSTRATED SHERLOCK HOLMES”, a Castle Books – Twelfth Printing 1979. Anyone who wishes to gain the original Strand-published adventure mindset should read this compilation of 37 short stories and complete novel.

Gay or not…nude or not…the story is the classic contest of minds and will between Holmes and Moriarty…Good vs Evil.

Dennis on December 20, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Dennis,I can tell you’re a real classics and Doyle aficionado, so how can I fault you for enjoying a movie about “good vs. evil” as you put it? I can’t. I’m just glad you came to this site and made some comments. Let me just say, though, before ending, that I liked the nude scene with Mycroft more than you did. I’m not trying to be argumentative here; I just thought it was funny because it was typical British humor which I happen to enjoy. The humor of the scene exploits the basic tension in English culture between matter-of-fact scientific naturalism dating back to Darwin and before, and an obsession with proper decorum which Brits would argue is fundamental to “civilization.” In addition to this humor (everyone acting proper with the maid in attendance while Mycroft stands there nude), the scene advances an important subplot in the film which is to make the fiancee look foolish. For the most part in the film, the fiancee was a foil and the butt of various jokes. The most obvious example of this is when she was gratuitously thrown off the train into the river (and yes, the throwing was gratuitous even though Sherlock gave an elaborate intellectual explanation of why it was necessary). The joke here is that the fiancee is interfering with the “private” relationship between Sherlock and Watson and thus is expendable as the comic butt of many jokes. In this nude scene with Mycroft where she is shocked by the nudity, she is the unwelcome prude. We’re laughing at her, not with her. She doesn’t “get” Sherlock’s family with its superrational eccentricities as we the audience supposedly do because she’s a primitive moralist. All of this supports the basic argument of the film, which is that gay relationships enjoy a certain mystique which straights aren’t sophisticated enough to appreciate. In other words, the nudity is never intended as lewdly suggestive; it’s completely symbolic.

    Burke on December 21, 2011 at 11:54 am


I guess I can’t disagree with that since there were some scenes that are questionable (LOL). I don’t know. I liked the movie. I think it did show some good scenes of Holmes using his powers of deduction. I also thought the conversations between him and Moriarty were pretty intellectual. I just don’t agree with Debbie’s opinion that the movie was a waste of time and didn’t make sense. Then again, it is only my opinion.

Chris on December 20, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Chris, thanks for your comments. I do have respect for your opinion. That’s why I go to this site. It’s the surest place I can find where everyone is allowed to state their own ideas without being hammered for not conforming to the politically correct majority.

    I like highly charged and dramatic scenes between masterminds of pure evil and cultured intellects of good also–some that come to mind cinematically are those between Hannibal Lector and the FBI agent in Manhunter and between Satan and the Jesuit priest in The Exorcist. And there was something of that in this film as well when Holmes bursts into Moriarty’s office and both start talking in foreign languages and commenting obscurely on the classical music being played. To a purist, though, these scenes are laughable. Doyle never made Holmes an encyclopedia of culture. The original Holmes was focused on his detective work. In fact, in a famously quoted segment from the original stories, Watson asks Sherlock a simple fact about astronomy and Sherlock retorts brusquely that he has no need to memorize information outside his specialty because it would unnecessarily clutter up his mind. In the film, though, Sherlock seems to be a supercomputer of facts unrelated to detective work. Kyle Smith comically labels him a “trivia blatherer.” Then, though, when it comes to real detective work, Sherlock is absurdly simplistic. One particularly laughable example is when Holmes is presented with a piece of paper with a wine stain on it, Holmes immediately deduces that “there is a printing press in a wine cellar.” This is supposedly a piece of paper–from France–with a single wine stain on it. Come on. That’s funny to deduce that.

    As far as whether there is a “conspiracy” to introduce gay themes in this film, I don’t think so. British humor is intentionally oblique. That’s what makes it enjoyable. If American director Brett Ratner had made the film, I’m sure there would have been enough smirks, leers, pratfalls, winks and mugging to ensure that everyone in the audience understood the joke. The English have no taste for that. Downey Jr. is studiously restrained in his performance, even when he’s wearing makeup. It’s not conspiratorial; it’s just English.

    Burke on December 21, 2011 at 12:36 pm

I have to say, Debbie, that I saw Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, yesterday and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I found it entertaining, exciting and very very funny, which is the approach that this incarnation is supposed to have.

Basically it’s an enterprise that gently mocks everyone concerned, from the purists (including myself since I was brought up knowing the stories via a dad who was and remains a huge fan of Conan Doyle) right through all points west to those who’ve written Holmes/Watson romantic fanfic – an exercise which goes back decades and is at least as old as the Kirk/Spock slash fanfic which is often mentioned as one of the earliest.

I think the problem most people have – and I don’t know, maybe it’s too British an approach (I can’t tell since I AM English and, therefore, the tone isn’t so jarring for me) – is that perhaps people don’t get the irony and eccentricity of Guy Ritchie’s approach. Just as we foreigners don’t always get the American nuances, it could just be a reciprocal misunderstanding. Of course, I’m guessing here. An example of this is the “mind reading” that Debbie mentioned. I can fully see what she means, and I know which bit she was referring to, but I didn’t see it as mind reading at all. I interpreted that scene as two men, very evenly matched in intellect and physical skill, weighing up both their own and each other’s chances. I liked that it was done in the way it was. Again, though, perhaps that was just me.

But yes. I definitely place myself on the side of those who utterly enjoyed the film. I was entertained from start to finish.

Finally, my good wishes for a Happy Chanukah!

Alison on December 22, 2011 at 2:30 am

Alison, it was good to hear your view of Game of Shadows. It’s a pleasure to have a visitor from England and I hope you come often with your perspective. For the most part, in this instance, I found your ideas reasonable and defensible. I will take issue with one minor comment you made, though. You suggested that Europeans probably miss some of our “American nuance.” The idea that Americans possess nuance could be considered offensive by some. Nuance, dry wit, understatement and sly humor is for “furners” who don’t get us. We are very plain-spoken and obvious and prefer it that way ever since Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone. It’s important that you be careful in your posts a little more so that you don’t accidentally insult us again.

Burke on December 22, 2011 at 12:18 pm

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