Tag Archives: Benedict Cumberbatch

The Imitation Game: Oscar Nominee 2015

Synopsis: Mathematician and logician, Alan Turing, is recruited by the English government, to help crack the Nazi code, Enigma, during WWII. Quad_BC_AW_[26237] Imitation Game, The Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode.

I can’t even begin to comprehend the vast abundance of subtext present in this movie. But, we have to begin somewhere…

Having never read the book myself and being aware of the often dramatised events in movies, I was thoroughly amused at the way Alan Turing was portrayed to have solved the Enigma code. There’s fantastic Christopher, the machine to which at first seems is just the most brilliant piece of technology ever built- until it starts taking weeks or months to even crack one code from millions of possibilities. The solution came to Alan in the most strangest way possible: flirting. Let me explain. From a young age, we can see Turing struggling to make friends and was always pointed out as the odd duck. He wonders how people are able to talk so easily to one other when they never say what they mean, yet, the other person understands what is being said. I never really thought about conversations being codes swapped from one another and then our brains deciphering the meanings behind them. It’s so normal and automated- the deciphering, I mean- that most of us probably aren’t aware that we do it on a daily basis. Because Alan Turing had problems with this, he was able to figure out how to solve Enigma, hence the running theme through The Imitation Game, “Sometimes it is the very people no one imagines anything of, who do the things no one can imagine”. Alan, obviously not knowing how flirting worked, watched and listened as his friend, Hugh, showed and explained to him how it worked. This is how Alan solved Enigma:

  1. The woman, Helen, smiled at Hugh and didn’t look back in 15 benedict-cumberbatch-imitation-game-3minutes.
  2. Helen sent a coded a message out to Hugh and Hugh read the coded message
  3. He understood it as he knew what the input the message had been in the first place before coding
  4. She wanted him to come over.
  5. Alan watching this exchange was able to figure out this was exactly the case with Enigma.
  6. Enigma had the same whether words (or “cues” in the case of flirting) when the coded message came through.
  7. He knew then, that he just had to watch out for these words rather than the millions of millions of possibilities beforehand (if we are still going with the flirting comparison, he just had to watch out for the flirting cues, rather than aggressive cues or anxiety cues of conversation).
  8. He also knew someone used the same 5 letters when transmitting because they had a girlfriend hence why he later says, “Love may have cost Germany the war!”

That’s pretty impressive. The reason the Germans got caught in the end was simply because, they were so sure it was impossible to crack Enigma, they became complacent with the coding and used the same words over and over again. Imagine if they had used different words other than whether vocabulary and “Heil, Hitler”? That would have been extremely bad luck for the English.

Now, the morality. Based on a true story and adapted from the book, 2014-12_turing_bookAlan Turing: The Enigma” written by Andrew HodgesThe Imitation Game reveals the government’s actions at winning WWII. Initially, we are faced with the question, “What is he on about?”, as Alan asks to “listen closely” and not to judge. After the amazing feat of solving Enigma, however, they were faced with a dilemma. There was no way they could save everyone or the German’s would become suspicious and change the Enigma’s settings. And now it becomes clear why they asked the audience not to judge in the beginning. How could human’s ever decide who gets to live and who doesn’t? What gives us the right to make that judgement? That sinking feeling hung heavily in the air as they let one of their own cryptographer’s brother die. All these self-righteous thoughts began popping in my head, “How could the government let this happen? How?!” After much deliberation, it became apparent to me that they probably had no choice. Statistics really was the only way to go. They could either use the secret they held to save all the people but then the Germans would change their settings, and they would end up back to square one. And then more people would have died as a result. They had to sacrifice the few for the good of the many. I really hate that saying. It shows just how unforgiving the world can be sometimes. Of course, keeping in mind that this movie is probably in favour of the British Government, it begs the question: Have we just been bombarded with propaganda in the form of a movie so the audience wouldn’t be outraged? Let me know what you think in the comments. At this point, I’m just speculating. 🙂

There is one very unsettling factor, apart from being able to sit and watch mass murder knowing you can prevent it, that becomes quite tumblr_n92l5pLgTP1r1eamko2_500apparent through the movie: the extent of homophobia. I mean, I understand back then it would be pretty bad considering there are still countries today where it is still illegal to be homosexual. But it is still absolutely shocking how people were, and can still be, so blinded by their own self-righteousness, that they fail to see the achievements people have done, the amount of lives they have saved and, instead, judge them for who they are and put them on hormonal therapy?! Whether I agree with homosexuality or not is irrelevant but what I do believe is, if they are not harming or doing any injustice to other humans they should be allowed to be who they want to be without having to live in fear of it and not be driven to suicide. I know this wasn’t explicitly stated, but I felt this was what Alan Turing was trying to tell Detective Robert Nock when he was being interrogated. When Turing asked that just because machines cannot think like humans, does this mean they cannot think at all? and asked the detective to judge him whether he is a human or machine, I think Alan was referring to his difference of sexuality, rather than machine and human. Just because he is different to the majority of humans, does that not make human? After hearing the story Alan Turing had to say, the detective could not judge him. And rightly so.

I enjoyed the way the movie swapped between flashbacks and o-the-imitation-game-facebookpresent day rather than a linear timeline. It allows the audience to develop questions and stay compelled, which is definitely what The Imitation Game did. Fantastic performance by Benedict Cumberbatch as always and was delighted to see him be nominated for an Oscar. He was very well practised for the role considering the character of Alan Turing and Sherlock Holmes are both very similar. Keira Knightley was wonderful as well and her talent as an actress truly shone in the film.

The Imitation Game, being the complex film that it is, rightly deserves to be nominated for an Oscar. Whether the movie is propaganda or not we can never really be sure, but one thing is for certain, is that it gives a shout out to those of us in this world who are different to fight to be themselves and that, hopefully, we can reach a time, that they do not have to fight any more.

Verdict: 10 of 10 kicks

August: Osage County

Dysfunctional doesn’t even begin to cover it…

Synopsis: Raised by the mentally impaired woman they call their “mother”, 3 strong-willed daughters return back to Oklahoma after a serious crisis occurs. Women are all sugar and spice…right?

Cast: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor.

august osage county movie poster

What really caught my attention even before I started the movie, was the star-studded cast. This usually leads to the saying , “Too many cooks spoil the broth”, but I was pleasantly wrong.

Let’s get straight to the point: I have never seen a movie so devoted to trashing men in general. From the first scene itself, we see Violet Weston stretch the word “woman” into something that actually sounds like “woe-man”. Bit of a give away, isn’t it? I mean, the amount things that are wrong with the men in the movie? Shall I give a list? Here’s a list:

  1. Poor Little Charles Aiken- he doesn’t even deserve the respect of being called a man with  “little” being insisted in front of his name
  2. Criticised for watching TV and drinking beer- even when relaxing
  3. Bill Fordham is the reason why his daughter is smoking and is leaving Barbara Weston for a younger gal.
  4. All the women envy men for “not growing ugly and fat” when older
  5. Can’t even say grace properly before a meal
  6. At one point, Violet blames her husband for being selfish for killing himself!

Doesn’t really paint a positive light on the male population…but neither on the female. I meryl streep august osagethought I was going to puke with the constant complaining and antagonizing by the women, me being female myself. It was appalling. But this actually happens in the real world. I agree, women should be treated equally, but that doesn’t mean we should expect “special” treatment as well. In the film, if it’s not okay for a guy to strip down to his shirt front at the table, then it shouldn’t be okay for the women to be wearing bath robes. You get the idea. I am sure this was intentional in the film; to expose the bitter-sweet ideals of our society. But they may have over done it a bit in this film; it just made the women seem monomaniac with loathing men and Meryl Streep appeared to be in screaming mode 95% of the time.

Why can’t you call people what they want to be called?” is a running theme in the film. Basically, why can’t people be who they want to be? Everyone is constantly trying to prove themselves to other people that they aren’t who people say they are. Constantly. Bill to Barbara, Violet to Barbara, Ivy to Violet, Little Charles to his mother… At face value, I got irritated with it but then I came to realise we do this all the time in our daily lives, I wonder how sad it must seem to other people…then I thought “hang on, if everyone is busy proving themselves, then the people who we are trying to prove ourselves to won’t even notice because they are probably doing the same thing, too”. It is a huge risk putting such a raw human quality into the film because not everyone will necessarily glimpse the reality of the situation; most people may think “this is too depressing/overwhelming. I’m going to watch a rom-com”. And I appreciated the director’s take on the characters. But just barely. I could tell that this script was made for broadway- and should have stayed at that. It was too theatrical to be a film, too long-winded..

The chemistry between Ivy Weston, played by Julianne Nicholson, and Little Charles, august-osage-county benedict cumberbatchplayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, was so upsettingly pure . I nearly had a coronary when I found out they were brother and sister. I can’t even begin to fathom what a traumatic experience that must be. But this movie was so honest and tragically real, in that, it took literally every family issue that could ever occur and stuffed it into 2 hours; from the fighting, swearing and divorcing to the suicide, drugs and accidentally falling in love with your own half-brother. It must have really hit home for some people and that breaks my heart.

There were these little moments that don’t seem so significant at first glance but really, they are the basis of the movie. The Native Indian that is always watching over the family- there’s even a graffiti of a Red Indian when Charlie Aiken goes to pick up his son, as if Johnna is their guardian angel. Then there is mention of the invaluable books and references to writing- all symbols of knowledge, power and wisdom. When Jean Fordham brought up how by ingesting animals, we are devouring their fear…or when Barbara said that family is a random selection of cells that happen to meet- that sent me reeling. These small points that were made, they don’t seem to mean much, they are just random sentences floating in all of time and space…but that is the sheer genius of it. See, the movie begins with a quote from T.S. Elliot, where Beverly is commending the poet for being the only one brave enough to write ““life is very long”. But the special moments I mentioned above? This film is one of the bravest to speak aloud these things. Utter brilliance right there.

julia roberts and meryl streep

I have to especially point out Meryl Streep’s acting. I was so impressed I could barely keep my eyebrows from rising with awe every 5 seconds. Such a talented woman, if she doesn’t get the Oscar for best leading actress, the awards would be a sham…and Julia Roberts. They acted so well together, I am running out of words to praise them with. Their performances made this movie and, without the chemistry, it would have been very dry. I hope these two actresses get the recognition they deserve because they made a broadway play, that shouldn’t have been turned into film, into something decent.

Verdict: I’m going to give two scores: 10 of 10 kicks because of the compelling acting                                                                        6 of 10 kicks for the movie as a whole

Check out the Oscar 2014 nominees here!

Let me know what you guys think? 🙂

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TV: Sherlock S3 Ep3

Utterly dumb-stricken…

Synopsis: Charles Augustus Magnussen; the ultimate form from which blackmail appears- and is very honoured by Mycroft Holmes. Sherlock is sought out to put an end to Charles, but with a twist. A big twist. The client seems obvious at first…but of course, is not. And what is said client have to do with Sherlock and John? What does it mean for Sherlock Holmes?

Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs, Rupert Graves

his last vow

What a show-stopping, heart-wrenching, emotion-galore episode. I have to admit, I was slightly apprehensive before viewing this episode. The last two episodes have been very comical and have had a different tone- which was brilliant because it was different- but I was starting to miss the “thrill of the chase”. Having that in mind, I went into battle and came out flabbergasted- in the best way possible.

First off, Mary. Moffat and Gatiss are geniuses. I remember my friends telling me, “I hate mary his last vowMary. She doesn’t contribute anything to the show; such an empty individual”. I, however, maintained faith that these writers don’t introduce characters for nothing. And boy, was I right. They made her look like just another ordinary character so that the audience would be like “Whaa…?!” when they saw it. I mentioned this in my The Empty Hearse review, but only as an odd thought: Mary and Sherlock are severely alike. Mary is a master of disguise, clever and, most of all, a liar. But so is Sherlock; when he was pretending to be in love with Ginny (which, by the way, initially left me incapable of thought for the next 5 mins. I was sure the loneliness had broken him and was mortified that they humanized him to the extreme- which, we find out, is not the case), Sherlock and Mary both care for John deeply, they both hurt him and they have histories of psychotic behaviour. Yes, I’m saying John, basically, married Sherlock.

In this episode, it does feel that the duo have regressed to the characters in the beginning; Sherlock with drugs, John having nightmares about war, even Moriaty being, in some form or the other, “back” has an aura of the first 2 seasons. What really had me, is when Sherlock had moved John’s seat back to its original place- as if he knew John was going come back to 221B. But I dismissed it because I figured Sherlock must’ve thought that John wouldn’t want to go back to Mary after this. Oddly though, later we see Sherlock helping John to understand that Mary is not an assassin but a client, so Sherlock knew John well enough to know he wouldn’t just walk away from Mary. But why is the chair back then? Sentimentality? We see a lot more of that in this episode, especially Sherlock’s dog, Redbeard, and the constant references to his childhood and parents. Yet…what if it is foreshadowing? A small, extremely subtle hint about Mary’s future…will the TV show conform to the Doyle canon of Mary?

The plot itself was just mind-blowing. I mean, Charles Augustus Magnussen sent shivers charles augustus magnussendown my spine. Moriaty was the lovable, childishly passionate villain that you can’t ever truly hate. But Charles was so intelligent, mature and being the most powerful man in the country next to Mycroft. Although, having the mind palace, essentially being able to tell people’s vulnerabilities or “pressure points”; he reminded me so much of Sherlock. I bet if Sherlock did turn his incredible gift against the law, he would be Charles.

Molly standing up to Sherlock- and slapping him- was strangely heart-warming. She has grown so much with her persona; no longer the in-love-clumsy little lab girl, and Sherlock turns to her face in his time of death- again- in his mind palace…god, that mind palace was definitely my most favourite scene. He actually had stored in his head all the different ways to fall if shot to minimise injury- definitely keeping that in mind- and, once more, Mycroft for intelligence and a bit of Anderson, as well! Can I just mention that, even though John marrying Mary, nearly- literally- killed Sherlock, he still- literally- fought death to save John? That is 100x more beautiful than watching two straight people in love. They may not be in love, but that is one helluva friendship (and how symbolic that death should come in the form of Moriarty). Sherlock is always there for John, even if John has lately not been there for him. In The Sign Of Three, Sherlock’s first and last vow was to always be there for the couple, and, fittingly His Last Vow, was obviously referring to that; the depth, sincerity and truth of that pledge.

moriaty his last vow

Conclusively, an epic ending to an epic season. If it had ended with Sherlock going to prison for giving state secrets and murder, that would’ve been terrible. It would have been even more disappointing if they left at him leaving John but it was saved when we saw Moriaty’s face plastered on every screen. Steven Moffat said in an interview that he’s definitely dead; he blew his brains out. And it’s not Moriaty’s spider web either who want vengeance because Sherlock spent two years dismantling the web. So who is behind this? Me and my sister came up with a crazy theory:

In The Empty Hearse, we see the last scene, where Tom, Molly’s ex now, is dressed like tom sherlockSherlock and, as Anderson and Moriaty have proven, fans will go to great lengths to capture Sherlock’s attention. What does this mean? Well, either Molly dressed him like that, or he’s a fan. There is also a scene in The Sign of Three, where Sherlock is flicking through the telegrams and everyone laughs but, for the smallest bit of a second ever, the camera cuts to a scene of Tom looking…strange, out-of-place. And why did they break off the engagement? When Sherlock bought it up, Molly looked hurt so most likely, it was Tom that left her…conveniently when Moriaty is supposedly back. Does Tom have anything to do with it? This show has knack of turning the tiniest bit of detail into being extremely relevant (*cough* Mary *cough*). Perhaps Tom is a psychotic copy cat? Or maybe he’s just an odd guy. This is just day one; we have two more years- let’s see how crazy the theories get.

Verdict: 10 of 10 kicks

What are your theories? I would love to hear them! 🙂

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12 Years A Slave

Synopsis: Based on a true story, Soloman Northup was a free black man living in New York when he is abducted and sold into slavery. Soloman struggles against the cruelty of man, the unexpected kindness of some and glimpses at the rarity of honourable men. He strives for dignity all while trying to survive and longs to see the day when he returns to his family once again.

Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch

12 years a slave movie poster

Brutally truthful, the film spares no gory detail in recounting Soloman’s painful years. The torture scenes were long, violent and not for the faint-hearted. To think this actually took place, even if once upon a time, is utterly horrific.

Sentimentality is a recurring theme seen through out and should be as empathy and sentiment is what separates us from animals. Northup wistfully remembers the beautiful moments with his family as he carves their names into wood. Even Benedict Cumberbatch’s character, Ford, cannot bare seeing a mother part from her children and disagrees with the tradesmen who says, “sentimentality does not exceed the length of the coin”. How discouraging that the core of humans can be so fragile and overturned with something so materialistic as money. Soloman is in an even worse state than the rest because he knew what it was to be free and having known that freedom, for a long time he refuses to be in the same category as a slave from his name, to the clothes, to the writing, until one day, a fellow slave dies and he starts to sing with the rest of them at the funeral, acceptance of what he is.

Sleeping in one room with no beds, very little to eat and tortured if not obeyed- indistinguishable from the way we treat animals. Referring to them as “niggers”, even when talking to an individual strips them of any identity they ever had and becomes as similar as saying “sheep”. The thought of the slaves being able to read and write frightened their owners as being literate is always a sign of intelligence and determination, so they deprived them of education as well.

Ford is the first master that Soloman encounters and we realise quickly that he is made offord and soloman violin kindness, mercy and is a man of god as he recites the bible to his household staff. The scene where Soloman was on the brink of death from being hanged, standing there for hours and hours while everyone, including the rest of the slaves, not dare to help him in his horrendous ordeal, with Mr Ford being the only to put him out of his misery. While Ford does offer him tenderness, it is the bare minimum of what man is actually capable of doing- he hates in his heart of the circumstance but does very little to do anything about it.

Mr Epps, played by Michael Fassbender, represents the worst of humanity- from epps and solomanmerciless beatings to rape, he is ruthless in his dealings with the slaves, only barely redeemed by the woman, Patsey, with which he rapes and has feelings for- but even then, he beats her when is wife urges him to. He uses the slaves for entertainment and forces them to strip in order to be beaten- all dignity gone. A massive amount of time is drawn out and stressed on Mr Epps’ story- perhaps that is to depict how common it was to have the misfortune of falling into the hands of a master like Epps. Additionally, even though the slaves are seen being treated like animals consistently, Mr Epps allows us to perceive something different: the slaves were not only treated like animals, but they were being treated by animals.

bass 12 years a slave brad pitt

Bass, acted by Brad Pitt, encompasses the nobility of mankind and the rarity of that nobility. He insists on putting himself in the slaves shoes, working the hot long hours with them in the field and defending their rights as human beings when being attacked. Ultimately, this just man is the one to free Soloman.

These three white men, Ford, Epps and Bass were probably the three type of men you were likely to encounter in pre-civil war America; the kind, the ruthless and the honourable. By displaying these three characters side-by-side we are able to observe without great difficulty the contrasting nature of man; that one point in our history, the morals of man were tested to limits; will they feel in their hearts but turn away from the horror? Will they succumb to the animal-behaviour of torturing? Or will they be gallant?

Once or twice in the film, Soloman is presented with the opportunity to escape but he doesn’t take it. Sacrificing what is probably short-term freedom, for long-term freedom, he survived with what dignity he could posses as a slave until the time came when it was legally free of him to leave. Intriguing how at such unjust times, he still felt the law will come through for him and wanted to leave an honest man. As Bass stated, “the law changes but universal truths are constant”.

The ending was a bit abrupt I admit but maybe they wanted to emphasise the shock of his freedom? It was a bit disappointing to see that he got his liberation from the hands of the law rather having taken it himself. As he left, all he could offer the slaves he left behind was a hug and a look of pity and forgets about them as he rekindles his relationship with his family. It wasn’t an ending of victory but of mercy. He survived and that is triumph enough I suppose but it still felt lacking. They should have spent a little more time on the how Soloman went on to lecture and fight for liberty of his race and less time on the gruesome, torture scenes. This way, the film might have felt a little bit more empowering when ending with the strength of the best of us rather than the disgust at the worst of us.

Ultimately, a raw and powerful film on our growth as human beings from history. Watching this film has made me realise what a long way we have come from those treacherous ages. There is still human trafficking and slaves in today’s world but at the very least, it has become illegal and we do the best we can to protect the people of this world from the worst of humanity to this day, inspired by the heart-breaking but great history of our planet.

Verdict: 8.5 of 10 kicks

What do you guys think of the movie? Feel free to leave a comment 🙂

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TV: Sherlock S3 E2

Synopsis: Wedding bells are in the air and Sherlock has the honor of being best man. Is this the wisest choice John has ever made? And what does it all lead to?

Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs, Rupert Graves

sherlock-sign-of-three-01

We sigh in utter contentment as Sherlock- being ever so Sherlock- pulls Lestrade away from what could potentially make Lestrade’s career to help him write his best man speech- Sherlock’s idea of impossible. Just like this, this episode, was in essence, solidifying Sherlock and John’s relationship rather than John and Mary’s. How you may ask? Did you think it was an act of laziness or accident that John and Mary’s vows were never shown and we are only shown Sherlock and John’s words to each other? This was intentional. The show has always been about Sherlock and John and it always will and should be. We see the lengths to which Sherlock is willing to go to for his best friend. From using Youtube to learn how to fold pretty origami serviettes to giving the best man speech to monitoring the people in the couple’s lives. We also learn the titillating fact Sherlock secretly loves to dance! Additionally, we know from A Scandal In Belgravia, John tells Irene Adler, “Sherlock always replies; He is Mr. Punchline. He will try to outlive god having the last word”, to which she- and the audience- asks, “Am I special?” Sherlock being dumbfounded and quiet as John asks him to be his best man because he is John’s best friend is particularly satisfying as we now have conclusive proof, if you already didn’t believe it, that John is “special” to Sherlock.

The telegrams scene was sheer hilarity as Sherlock so awkwardly read the emotional sherlock-series3-e_2779858bletters. His best man speech was an emotional journey recounting their mysteries together. We are shown that there is a case The Bloody Guardsmen that Sherlock cannot solve and The Mayfly Man who John just assumes is human nature. The case seemed so simple and yet, the one time Sherlock didn’t think it was clever, was the time it was the most. We later discover that everything is intertwined and how the photographer murdered? I don’t know whether to be sick to my stomach or praise that he fooled even Sherlock for a second. One thing’s for sure though: I’m going to be obsessively checking my belts for a long time. Intriguingly, we find Sherlock turning to his brother’s voice to guide him when he is at a loss. This reveals how much he actually idolizes Mycroft and respects him for his intelligence.

Thank you Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat for finally introducing to us to, non-other than, drunk Sherlock and John. Seeing Sherlock produce two measuring cylinders for drinking had me sprawled on the floor laughing and the deductions when he was drunk were very ordinary; a chair being “chair” and a taxidermy bull head being “death”. Quite rightly, too, Sherlock. The cinematography during the drunk scene had the visuals slightly stretched out and blurry which was very fitting. John, very drunk-confident saying (referring to Sherlock) “He’s clueing for looks” made my day. Likewise, are you sure you are not alarmed by sex, Sherlock? Because you seemed pretty shell-shocked when Molly bought it up.

Now to bring up the elephant in the room- no pun intended. Sherlock’s loneliness. In The Empty Hearse when Sherlock was advising Mycroft to stop being lonely and find some friends, I thought they were foreshadowing Mycroft’s future; but I should’ve realized that it was actually Sherlock’s. Usually, Sherlock doesn’t ever realize he is alone but, this time, after developing so much as a human being, it breaks my heart to see him so alone and wounded and realizing his situation. Especially, when he brings up the joke about having a baby to care about other than him; the look on his face is painful as we realize what humanizing Sherlock means. He feels the happiness and the sadness of life- and it hurts to see it. And, fascinatingly, we see that Molly, “the one that mattered the most”, is the only one that notices Sherlock slipping out on his own.

uktv-0701_sherlock-2But one thing I feel compelled to mention is this: Sherlock telling John that his choice of best man is disappointing; that Sherlock is not the best of man and is arrogant and selfish and starts rattling of all his bad traits- I wanted to deck him in the face- and then give him a hug. Sherlock thinks he is not the best of man because he is “…dismissive of the virtuous…” Well, Sherlock was so intent on stressing the fact that he “solves murders”  and John “saves lives” but in this episode, towards the end, we see Sherlock saving a life for John’s wedding; how is that not virtuous? He continues on, rattling he is “…unaware of the beautiful…” If that were true, Irene Adler wouldn’t still be popping in his head at random moments (how often does he think of her when he is not busy?!) and “…uncomprehendable in the face of happiness…” Now he is just being stupid. Seeing how smiley he is with John, congratulating Mary and John being together and then being happy for them for the baby! Mr. Holmes, in the very first episode, we see the ultimate foreshadowing: Officer Lestrade says “Sherlock Holmes is a great man and I think one day, if we’re very very lucky, he might even be a good one too.” And now, without a doubt, he is.

UPDATE: I have read other reviews of the episode that have been tearing this episode apart for it’s lacking in complexity in mystery, that Sherlock is becoming too human and that we don’t need- or want- to know how he’s feeling. While I do understand these can be putting off- initially I was upset that he seemed a bit more sentimental- there are justified reasons for them. I’m sure the reason why the mystery hasn’t been intense with a passionate villain is to, hopefully, make the third episode a bit of a shock and increasingly compelling to the audience when we are introduced to something darker in contrast to the rest of the perky season. As for not caring about how Sherlock is feeling is entirely up to how you perceive your heroes. If seeing them having human vulnerabilities such as loneliness and jealousy upsets your ideals of  a hero remember this from the man himself:

Don’t make people into heroes, John. Heroes don’t exist and if they did, I wouldn’t be one of them.

We are shown from an early stage that this Sherlock was going to be vulnerable. The writers and directors wanted the show to be more than just case after intense case- there is no need for an hour and half to accomplish that- but rather about what actually happens to people. And this is the reason I have yet to be disappointed with the show because we should have been expecting this. If you do not want to be shown the truth about a hero’s life, that is unfortunate but that is what Sherlock is; not about what the characters do, but why and how they do it because that is what makes the human race so awe-inspiring.

Verdict: 10 of 10 kicks

TV: Sherlock S3 Ep 1

Synopsis: After two years, the famous detective arises from the dead to stop a terrorist attack- but not so smoothly. He expects a warm welcome from his partner in crime, Dr Watson, but does he get it? How did he fake his death? And why?

Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Una Stubbs, Rupert Graves.

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The episode starts of with a heart-stopping recount of Sherlock surviving the fall- or at least, we are fooled into thinking so until we are shown it was just Anderson’s theory. There was even dramatised soundtrack for it! It was heart-warming to see the way Mark Gatiss had cleverly poked fun at the die-hard Sherlockians and their oh-so extravagant theories of how he survived and choosing Anderson out of all people to represent the fan-base! There is even a second theory that appears half-way through but with a bit more of the sultry fan fiction you tend to see on the internet. This connection with the audience does wonders for the show; it let’s us know, as fans, that our voices are being heard.

Intriguingly, we see a bit of a character swap between John Watson and Sherlock Holmes. John not contacting Ms Hudson at all suggests lack of sentiment and emotional distancing from hurt. Watson is, also, usually a very flexible person able to put up with all of Sherlock’s quirks but this time, it took him quite some time to adjust with Sherlock being round and wasn’t very accepting. Sherlock on the other hand, boy did they humanize him. From rekindling old relationships with friends (sentiment) , to sibling rivalry; being more open about his feelings- especially in the scene in the train with John. And was it just me, or did he look so happy in the episode? Mostly with a smile. And the most humanizing thing about him? He has parents! Actual normal parents. Even John seems baffled by that fact. He seems to care much about Mycroft’s loneliness. Mary said Sherlock didn’t know about humans or nature and he agreed- but I disagree.  Realising the instinctive need for collaboration with others by saying being different isn’t a reason for Mycroft to isolate himself- referring to Sherlock as well- how is that not understanding of human nature? This is all character development but I feel like they developed him from non-human to superhuman (I say “super” because of his gifted ability) a bit too fast. He is still arrogant, show off and impatient Sherlock Holmes but maybe they should’ve left the parents for another episode; when we are a bit more familiar with him being humane. .

Coming back on to Mary, played by Amanda Abbington, Martin’s real-life girlfriend, I reallysherlock season 3 wasn’t sure whether I’d like her or not or whether she’d disrupt the dynamic duo. But I was pleasantly surprised to see that, as of yet, she didn’t interrupt in their process and is an interesting addition to the cast. If anyone didn’t catch Sherlock’s deductions of her whizzing about, here they are: linguist, only child, guardian, short-sighted, part-time, clever, nurse, liar, disillusioned, lib, dem, bakes own bread, cat lover, size 12, romantic, appendix scar, secret tattoo. Is it intentional that linguist, clever, liar and disillusioned are traits displayed by Sherlock? What do you guys think?

The episode wasn’t intense at all. There was comedy in every scene; Sherlock being beaten up three times by John, the show still ribbing John about being gay and my favourite?

Mycroft: He’s got on with his life (referring to John)

Sherlock: What life? I’ve been away.

The terrorist attack in the episode isn’t as intricate as some of the previous cases but this episode was devoted to answering questions left with Reichenbach Fall which, in itself, is a mystery. Also, we are introduced to a new “fan” of Sherlock’s causing hell in his life again. Of course, we see towards the end the actual strategy used to survive the fall. Anderson may have been right when expressing his disappointment with the lack of extravagance. I mean, really? An inflatable mattress? But the sheer simplicity of it is what makes it so brilliant I suppose. Why did he not include John if the roads were sealed and he was the only real witness? Is it to protect him? Is it to give him  a chance at life? Nope. It was simply because he would blab to the world about it *chuckles to self*. In addition, the code word for the plan “Lazarus” stems from the story of Saint Lazarus who was the subject of a miracle by Jesus who restores him to life after being dead for four days. Genius.

And last, but by far the least, the cinematography. If I ever meet the cinematography team, I am so giving all of them a hug. We are introduced to the famous “mind palace” in Hounds of Baskerville but the train analysis was just show-stopping. The ETA and, ofcourse, the floating texts on screen so we are aware of what the characters are aware of is just utter brilliance as always. And the use of fast-paced scenes combined with slow motion? That is my favourite, producing the effect of time warping and bit like the Matrix even.

Overall an extremely satsfying episode. I wasn’t sure if they could reach the bar set by Reichenbach Fall, but was I wrong; they set it even higher. I hope the next episode will expand more on Sherlock’s “fan” and Mary, as well as, should we be worried about Molly’s fiancé , Tom?

Verdict: 9.5 of 10 kicks

Let me know what you guys think in the comments and if I have missed out anything 🙂

The Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug

Synopsis: Having conquered all the dangers of the Misty Mountains, Thorin and CompanyThe Lonely Mountain must travel through Mirkwood Forest and the Town of Lake-Men before entering The Lonely Mountain- without their trusted wizard. And once they do enter The Lonely Mountain, how does our little thief handle one of the most frightful of all dragons?…And what does it lead to?

Cast: Ian Mckellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott.

If you think Peter Jackson out did himself in the first Hobbit film, think again. The story lifts off with Thorin and Gandalf having a heart-felt conversation about Thorin’s dad that may or may not have been seen alive. It was interesting to see how the movie wanted to touch upon this even though the book did not go into much detail (maybe the third movie might feature Thorin’s dad?) This was the perfect place to pick up from the last film, as it did not waste time reminiscing the previous battles, continuing straight into the journey. Basically, what they’re saying is, “Want to know what happened before? See the first film.”

Throughout the film, we see Martin Freeman’s Bilbo Baggins gain more and more confidence and courage, mainly due to the ring but it helps him wield a sword with a warrior’s hand and make intelligent decisions. The dwarves, also, start respecting Bilbo, turning to him in their time of dire need (just like they did with Gandalf) and asking him for his wisdom.

In the book, Kili and Fili get killed in the last battle but this has an intriguing twist with Kili legolas and taurielbeing poisoned and nearly dying…but with the Wood Elves helping out. The Wood Elves certainly had a much more significant and heroic role in the movie, compared to the book, where they were mostly hostile to the dwarves. Not really sure how I feel about this…For some reason,  I preferred the Elves stay arrogant. But humanizing them into having mixed feelings wasn’t terribly bad. After all, the story isn’t about Bilbo’s story alone; it’s about how everyone goes on a self-changing journey, so why not the Elves?

Gandalf going off to sort the Necromancer out is where the movie strays from the book the most. Literally, the Necromancer is mentioned as a justified means of Gadalf’s abandonment of Thorin’s Company; no mention of an epic battle or proper background or intent of the Necromancer. The movie devotes a good amount of its time depicting Gandalf’s journey and a story of how the Necromancer is actually a threat, who and what he is. I have never been more pleased by a stray-off of a book-to-movie adaptation. However, I am worried that in the third movie, the resolution of the Necromancer won’t, in fact, live up to the rest of the epicness of the Hobbit. Even though the Necromancer story won’t really make or break the trilogy, if it did, however, not live up to expectation, it would fall flat and be an unnecessary addition to the film that should’ve just stayed out, similar to the book. But why all the gloom? If it is amazing, it would be just another factor contributing to an already-beautiful film.

Now Smaug, *shivers*, just…absolutely stunning. Benedict Cumberbatch‘s voice as Smaug keeps you riveted in your seat as his words fill the air you breathe with

impending-smaug and bilbo  talkingdoom. Everyone is cast under a spell as the dragon speaks and no one dares make a peep. But that was how Bilbo felt and, damn, did Benedict make us feel that way . I thought it was actually quite hilarious that, initially, Bilbo didn’t seem to realise the complete severity of the danger he was in. He goes in quite confidently and only when Balin ditches him, do warning bells start to ring in his head. The look of utter shock and terror as he realises the full presence of Smaug was just priceless.

The reference to the greed of the dwarves, mostly Thorin, for the treasure and the famous Arkenstone was brilliantly executed with Bilbo always managing to keep his head above it all. We see how different characters- Bilbo, Wood Elves,  even Gandalf who is humbled by the Necromancer – change along their journey, but up until this point you don’t really see the dwarves change all that much. And then they see the treasure. Strange how no matter what creature you are, shiny valuable things have to capability of altering someone’s state of mind. And then, another character-change happens to the dwarves, when- in a moment of desperation to kill the mighty dragon- they melt down all the gold and use it to burn and try to turn the dragon into a big golden statue. Of course, the gold stays where it is, but imagine having to rework all the gold into jewellery, cutlery, cups, crowns…they’ve got their work cut out for them. But that’s what danger exposes: our priories, which in this case, is saving each other and themselves.

The last scene is what really gets to you though, ending the cliffhanger with Bilbo’s words of disbelief,“What have we done?”, as the dragon takes off to kill the Lake-men who so kindly helped Thorin and Company. In the book, the dwarves and the hobbit have no idea that Smaug goes to destroy Lake Town. But in the movie they do, which arises questions: Will Thorin and Company do anything about it? Will we see them take the honourable decision to help Lake Town? If so, how do they plan on doing it? And will Bard be the one to kill the dragon like the book? What about the reference to Thorin’s dad still being alive? And what does the Necromancer have to do in this story?

Oh and can I just say how fitting and lovely the last soundtrack of the film, “I See Fire” by Ed Sheeran, is? One of the best film tracks I heave heard in a long time. Made the ending-credits seem utterly compelling.

Verdict: 10 of 10 kicks

 

 

TV: SherlockLives- How??

BBC Sherlock– Season 2 Episode 3- Reichenbach Fall

It’s nearing that time every 2 years where Sherlock returns to our screens for new deductions, new laughs and new tears. How about one more over-analysis of how our favourite detective survived the heart-wrenching fall that surely should have been his death?…and how does he get away with being dead?Sherlock returns

Clues:

1) Clearly stalling Moriarty by talking until the buses were gone, his truck had parked next to the curb and the “homeless network” had crowded round as Sherlock is seen consistently checking the pavement- would he have had time to contact them? Of course. He said the homeless network are less fussy with bribes. What if he used them to get other info?

2) We see him fall onto pavement- (kind of reverberated like a spring- odd) However he is stationed near a laundry/garbage truck- Mycroft’s people? But Sherlock said he doesn’t have time to ask for help from Mycroft.

3) The bicycle hit John but John seemed like he was dizzy throughout the rest of scene-like he was hallucinating-(constant references to mind games, ideas stemming from own mind-The Hounds Of Baskerville episode comes into play? Narcotics involved?)

4) Molly fakes DNA analysis- A Scandal In Belgravia episode: we are shown that it is possible to fake even the dead body as Irene Adler lies upon cold stone…and is free to walk.

5) The ambulance was there mighty fast- again homeless network + Molly possibly?- whisked Sherlock before actual authorities could get there.

6) Dummy present in the beginning of Reichenbach Fall hanging with a rope- is it the dummy or rope that is significant in how he faked it? Or even both?

7) Piece of string visible from John’s hit-man’s window- possibly red herring because of the different angle of fall.

8) Sherlock’s specific mention of “repel” to the reporter- uncharacteristically subjective rather than pure objectiveness- again bungee rope? A magnetic field? The significance of the reverberation as he hits the pavement?

9) There was a crowd blocking Johns/audiences view for a split second as Sherlock laid “dead”.

10) John was not allowed to take pulse as the crowd around him (who were probably the homeless network) stopped him- stranger because he was the only doctor present.

11) Reference to suicide note in The Study In Pink – “That’s what they do, don’t they? Leave a note?” (Sherlock says how everything is a fake; a lie- possibly trying to hint his fall to death a lie, too, to John?)

12) Sherlock chose a really high spot on purpose.

13) John was only witness that wasn’t probably “part” of it- why? Why did he not include John in plan if he was meant to be the only real witness?

14) He knew he had to die- which meant the key code meant nothing even to change Rich Brooks back to Moriarty cause there would be no “later”.

15) Moriarty says our final problem- staying alive. Maybe that’s how Sherlock guessed that Moriarty was going to kill himself. Or that he mentioned our great fall. Meaning Moriarty’s death, too- the fairytale Hansel and Gretel is played out in the episode (Sherlock says he doesn’t like riddles)- to complete the story the villain has to die?

16) Rhythm key code is Bach- The story of Bach dying yet running off to complete the melody because he couldn’t bear an unfinished melody- resembling Sherlock and Moriarty’s fate? Moriarty has to continue “playing” Sherlock till both their deaths.

17) Sherlock “not on the side of angels”- doesn’t have wings? Rope theory? Or he does have wings?

18) Sherlock in The Great Game ” The art of disguise is knowing how to hide in plain sight”- Continues to be “dead” by “hiding in plain sight” as possibly part of the homeless network?

 

Theories:

1) Bungee jump rope attached to roof somewhere- the rope would slow his descent so no significant injuries sustained on impact- applied blood after when view blocked- But no matter what, he must have been able to foresee Moriarty killing himself to not risk Moriarty looking over the ledge as Sherlock jumps.

2) When jumping from great heights you can reach maximum velocity where your muscles relax- survival like a cat (flaws: muscles need to be relaxed drugged- did not seem relaxed- also need to count on not falling on his neck or back- significance of Sherlock wearing his scarf as he fell?)

3) A dummy replaces him soon after Sherlock hits the pavement from the truck parked right next to the curb

4) John was drugged to see what he wanted to see (flaw: would he have time to come up with drug? Isn’t the drug specific to the Hounds Of Baskerville? Or maybe not…?)

Tomorrow we can satisfy our fluttering hearts from over-analysis and breathe an air of relief- or can we?

From the great detective himself ” Once you rule out the impossible- whatever remains, however improbable- must be true”.