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Archive for January 2017

More Of The Same

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Trainspotting had a phenomenal effect on me when I first saw it. Being from a small town, it depicted the sadness that can hang over any small town anywhere in the world. The lifeless eyes, the shuffling to work, the gut -wrenching and soul cleansing humour, the sadness, the social life and the glibness with which death is met when it turns it’s ugly head. However that is where the familiarity ended as I was wildly unaware of the horrors of hardcore drug and substance abuse that can take hold of those, and indeed in later years our very own small town’s inhabitants. The film made me laugh, cry and staunchly opposed to injecting anything into my blood. Powerful imagery and good story telling that resonated then to a problem that was not as widespread as it is now. A sad indictment of modern society and the hopelessness that can engulf some poor soul. That being said it got me thinking of  last friday’s release of T2 Trainspotting and that much lauded and often derided creature that is the motion picture sequel.

If you think about it the sequel can be traced back to a time before movies even existed and we were rocking around with just TB, plague and the printed word for entertainment and company. And further to that point, you could say that the idea of the sequel started with the bible. Now, you couldn’t publish a sequel to the bible to be fair. Unless it featured a ninja Jesus and some dinosaurs…. That could be awesome….. That would be awesome. Take my money, just take it.

But no, serious now. Books were the first victims of the sequel. Gulliver’s Travels (written by one of our own, Jonathan Swift… Up the Parish). Now this book was written in 1726 but the publishers of the novel rushed out many sequels and follow ups in quick succession. I’ve never read them but would you want to? The disappointment possibility is just too risky and would ruin the story. Oh no wait, that was done already by Jack Black. That film was the drizzling shits.

Motion picture sequels can be traced back as far as the insanely good and personal favorites of mine, the Universal movie monsters. Dracula, Frankenstein being the prime examples. The originals are stone cold classics, the follow ups? Lighthearted and harmless but ultimately shite in the bucket and a quick way to plough more money into the franchise and ultimately into the studio. Dolla, dolla, bill y’all!!

The 1970’s saw some questionable sequels and the arrival of the numbered sequel. Studios were bigger, audiences were bigger and the names were big enough to warrant simply putting the same title out with an adjoining 2 or 3 after it. Most notable inclusions being titles such as The Godfather II, The French Connection 2 and the sequel to the first commercial “blockbuster”Jaws, a film so popular and critically acclaimed that some executive got a pay day for coming up with Jaws 2. If you haven’t seen it, don’t rush out and buy it. Buy some nice cake with the money, less chance of being upset.

So the sequel is nothing new to be honest, I am just hoping to myself that T2 Trainspotting won’t disappoint. I am not expecting wonders, but I expect a decent film and a genuine sense of story, character and the heart that lay within the dark bowels of the first film. At least they called it T2 Trainspotting and not Trainspotting 2 : More Drugs, No Trains. Here’s hoping!!!!

 

Written by thepanch

January 30, 2017 at 9:00 pm

Sherlocked

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Before we go any further, let me assure you this review is chocked FULL OF SPOILERS!! I’ve tried doing it without spoilers, but the sheer awesomeness of this episode is impossible to fully explain without SPOILERS!!! So with that in mind, here’s what I thought of Sherlock: The Final Problem!

The opening scene, (not the pre-credit sequence with the little girl on the plane) filled me with so much giddiness and joy I cannot describe it using mere words. Mycroft Holmes (Mark Gattiss finally getting a chance to shine!) is at home and in a rare glimpse of humanity is watching his favourite movie while enjoying a good whiskey. The film cuts out and is interspersed with cryptic messages and he hears noises and voices. Cue a glorious sequence of horror tinged interruptions, clowns, small girls with pig tails. But it is all a massive ruse by “brother mine”, Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock is not best pleased that Mycroft has been hiding the existence of their younger sister, Eurus (a phenomenal Sian Brooke). Now to be fair to the older sibling, he did it to protect not only his brother but the world in general as Eurus is gifted, and indeed so gifted she could destroy the known world in a matter of minutes. When asked how good she is, Mycroft matter of factly states that she is“the type of person that was on Twitter for an hour and stopped two terrorist attacks. She’s that good.”

The show kicks off in a literally explosive manner as while in 221B Baker Street, Sherlock, Mycroft and the long suffering Dr. John Watson are querying what to do about Eurus and to try and find out what is truth and what is not. A drone bearing an eerie rendition of a childhood verse finds its way up the stairs and the drone contains a grenade using a motion sensor. Any movement and its Bye Bye Birdie. The boys decide to wait until Mrs. Hudson is out of harm’s way before acting. And this is the first of many emotional decisions that are made over the course of the show.

Drone grenade explodes and our boys trek out to Sherringford, a prison in the middle of the sea. Like Alcatraz meets Arkham Asylum. We finally see Eurus in her true form, long haired, wide eyed and down a long corridor behind reinforced “glass”, shades of Silence Of The Lambs. She gets inside Sherlock’s head and we are treated to flashbacks of the three Holmes children. Then the action picks up.

Through other flashbacks, we are given one more glorious glimpse of James Moriarty (a scene stealing, Andrew Scott.) And it is incredibly hard to hate any man that turns up in a chopper to the strains of I Want To Break Free. The cinema audience were very appreciative and met his appearance with rapturous applause. He is here to see Eurus, for a short but pivotal five minutes “completely unsupervised” as a special treat from Mycroft. And the seeds of The Reichenbach Fall, and indeed the whole Sherlock saga are sewn. A wonderful example of long term story-telling and masterful writing.

Eurus puts the three boys into various moral quandaries which threaten the lives of both innocent and guilty people. The result of these tests still result in death but one in particular stands out. Sherlock has to convince Molly Hooper to say “I love you” in order to save her life, he succeeds and it turns out that her life was never in danger, Eurus just wanted to mess with him. A wonderful scene and opens so many worms.

It all leads up to Sherlock finally finding out what happened to his beloved childhood pet, Redbeard. The action and the maze of tests leads the consulting detective back to his childhood home, Musgrave. And it is here we discover that Eurus was behind all of it, the girl on the plane was just a metaphor for her fear and isolation and the little girl’s voice was her pleading with her brother for attention. Redbeard was actually a childhood friend who was left to die in a nearby well in a fit of jealousy by Eurus. And everything comes full circle.

A mysterious dvd turns up to Dr. Watson’s home, containing the title, Miss You. Holmes and Watson watch it and it is Mary Watson. She serves as a recap of what happened since the arrest of Eurus, her subsequent incarceration and where the rest of the characters wind up. In the ending monologue she describes “her boys” beautifully. “A junkie detective who solves crimes to get high and the doctor who never came home from the war.”

Part horror, part thriller with some killer lines and great performances all round. Not quite sure if it is all over and we will never see 221B Baker Street again. But if it was indeed goodbye and goodnight, it was a wonderful send off.

Written by thepanch

January 16, 2017 at 12:01 pm