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Sherlock Holmes is an Imaginary Chipmunk…It’s Complicated.

Merry Christmas everyone!  Hollywood’s presents to you include an action/adventure update of a literary icon, a romantic comedy for the over-the-hill crowd, an unneeded sequel to an 80’s cartoon, and the film equivalent of a visual acid trip.  Thanks Movie Santa, but there are a few lumps of coal in here with the sugar plums and stockings.  We begin with a stylized update of history’s most notorious detective: Sherlock Holmes (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original story gave audiences a hero that would take heroin and speed to help his mind work faster, so it’s somewhat appropriate that Hollywood’s favorite recovering addict, Robert Downey Jr, dons the pipe for this update.  Since the (re)creators were working with source material that is so ingrained in our culture, critics shouldn’t be able to avoid using Holmesisms to discuss the film.  Observe.

“A handsome, entertaining romp of a film that they really should have called Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Pipes.” Allan Hunter Daily Express

“The script here is a pretext for fatuous action pyrotechnics, misfiring comedy, the inevitable star from Central Crumpet Casting and CG jiggery-pokery evoking Ye Olde London. In short: Doc, Sh’lock and Every Scraped Barrel.”  Nigel Andrews Financial Times

I said Holmesisms not Guy Ritchieisms.

“”Sherlock Holmes” may feel a little too modern, more adrenaline than brain-power, more brash than British, but it’s an all right action-pleasure if you don’t mind that the game’s more a-fist than afoot.” James Rocchi MSN Movies

That’s better.  At least the game is not a-headbutt or a-knee-to-the-groin.

“This is the ultimate sin of the film, generically helmed by lad-auteur Guy Ritchie: Logic seems to be thrown out the window in order to make room for clashes on a partially completed Tower Bridge. It’s way too elementary.” Time Out New York Joshua Rothkopf

And what about dear Watson?

“Challenged by Downey’s energy, Jude Law, who often seems aimless in his movies, comes fully up to speed. He’s virile and quick-witted, and his Watson, if not Holmes’s equal in brainpower, comes close to him in daring. Their repartee evokes the banter of lovers in a screwball comedy; they flirt outrageously but chastely.” The New Yorker David Denby

When playing Holmes at home, kids only have chaste options.

“Something tells me the only good deduction likely to come from this Sherlock Holmes is a tax deduction for Warner Bros.” Mark Ramsey MovieJuice!

There is no mystery to the money-making in this case.  However, sorting through all the reviews, I’ve been able to deduce that the film is a pleasing diversion with action replacing mystery, but enough charm to scoot people out of the theaters with a smile.  I wish the same could be said for Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic).

The original was dizzyingly successful even though it didn’t do much other than squeak out hit songs while occasionally dipping into potty humor for the kids.  And, sadly, sequels are usually more of the same.

“With an unengaging plot, flat jokes and shameless product placement, Alvin is a late contender for worst film of the year.” David Edwards Daily Mirror [UK]

Did it just squeak into the running?  Sorry, I’ll leave the lame puns to the critics.

Remember the good old days when the Chipmunks weren't co-opting black culture?

“The Squeakquel is painfully high-pitched. It reaches frequencies that could make bats plummet from the sky, clutching at their little ears in agony. It’s as if a mosquito equipped with a power tool is attempting to drill its way through your eardrum.” Wendy Ide Times [UK]

Uh-oh, someone weaponized the Chipmunks.

“The film never tries too hard to be cool, features adorable rodents in fetching knitwear, and includes helium-voiced chipmunks shaking their tushes as they cover Beyonce songs. Just great.” Sukhdev Sandhu Daily Telegraph

Did someone get a stocking full of sarcasm for Christmas?  No?  Maybe it was a bowl of low expectations.

“There are plenty of lame pop-culture references to Apocalypse Now and Taxi Driver, should any losing-the-will-to-live parents need a final push over the edge.”  Alistair Harkness Scotsman

Warning: Suicidal filmgoers should avoid this film.

“What we’re offered is a succession of lifeless scenes punctuated by pratfalls that only a handful of kids in the audience found funny. Next.” Derek Adams Time Out

Next?  Did you just call out for another squeakquel to complete the shrillogy?  While we’re realing from that horror, let’s open our minds to Terry Gilium (Brazil, Fisher King, 12 Monkeys) who worked with Heath Ledger right up until his death on The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

“There are thrilling flashes of Gilliam getting back to top form here. A scrappy movie with more ideas than it can control, but one born out of a passion and determination that are wholly infectious.” Empire Olly Richards

I wouldn’t mind an imagination infection, although I don’t know what the cure would be.

“Once an exciting and daring filmmaker, Gilliam is now making movies that threaten to put their audiences to sleep. Ask your doctor if Parnassus is right for you.” Alonso Duralde IFC.com

It sounds like Parnassus might be the antidote for the Chipmunk Squeakquel.

The director/doctor

“An acidic combo of a Super Mario Bros. game on a disastrous drug trip and a bad Lady Gaga video — however, both Mario and Gaga have better premises.” Clay Cane BET.com

Even though Clay’s review is negative, I’m intrigued by the description of the film in terms of a video game, a music video, and a drug trip.

“Despite a shaky framework, the magic works. It’s a chance to see Ledger one last time in the act of doing what he loved. Take it.” Rolling Stone Peter Travers

Well said.

“Crammed with shifting CGI canvases and frenetic revues right out of Monty Python, Imaginarium is a galumphing bacchanal of illusionist clutter that’s frequently unwieldy but rarely less than deeply felt.” Fernando F. Croce Slant Magazine

A galumphing bacchanal of illusionist clutter?  It sounds complicated. Not unlike our last movie which self-identifies as such: It’s Complicated (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

Since the premise is about a woman who cheats on her boyfriend with her ex-husband, the title seems fitting.

“It’s bad enough that Nancy Meyer’s latest conventional romcom is blessed with a title so bluntly unimaginative as to seem facetious; the rub is that it’s not even a truthful assessment.”Time Out New York Nick Schager

But, It’s Simple doesn’t sound very interesting.

“It’s Complicated is middle-aged porn, the specialty of Meyers, who also set ladies and interior decorators drooling over homes and gardens in 2006’s “The Holiday.”” Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

May you keep up with all the Jones' joy.

Are the women meant to drool over the home decor or Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin as romantic interests?

“When a movie with such a high pedigree feels so uninspired, you have to wonder whether there’s any hope whatsoever for the romantic comedy genre.” Edward Douglas ComingSoon.net

Maybe romantic comedies got hope for Christmas.

“There are delicious moments of dark humour about the state of being divorced, sex and the divorced woman, and of course, the etiquette of an ex wife being a mistress to her ex husband.” Andrew L. Urban Urban Cinefile

I would like to try a delicious dark humour bar.  And after our final note, I shall return to my regularly scheduled merry-making.

“Nancy Meyers’ latest confection is like a rich dessert that tastes good to start with but gradually leaves you feeling overstuffed.” Mike Goodridge Screen International

PDJ can't think of a better time of year to be overstuffed.


3 Responses

  1. Merry Christmas

  2. So why are “Up in the Air” and “The Imaginarium” nowhere to be found in Lewiston/Pullman? I blame Chipmunks.

  3. when I saw trailer for this movie I must watch it ASAP and I find it online at w w w . topmovies24 . com

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