Thursday, May 1, 2014

Best of March/April 2014


The Iron Giant - Brad Bird's first feature film, a creative, innovative story about a boy and his alien robot pal. For an animated movie, it's very visually interesting. While featuring some rather ham-fisted political commentary, it also delves into surprising moral depths, much like his later film The Incredibles, and does avoid caricaturing its bad guys (just).

Ordet - a strange, entrancing German movie from 1955. An instant favorite, but difficult to summarize. Basically, it's about the spiritual journey of a small farming family in the 1920's, and an intriguing representation of rational, intellectual religion versus irrational, powerful faith (though it's not quite that simple). My review.

Sherlock Holmes - Immensely theatrical, unpredictable, and charming, Jeremy Brett isn't really my image of Holmes. To be fair though, neither is Benedict Cumberbatch's petulant boy-sleuth, or Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron-Man-With-A-British-Accent riff, enjoyable as they are. Brett himself recommended Clive Merrison's radio adaptations and I'd have to agree. All that said, Brett creates a dark, moody man that is a terrific contribution to the canon of on-screen Holmeses. He's nicely balanced by his two Watsons, light-hearted David Burke and levelheaded Edward Hardwicke. Much like Poirot or Morse, this showcased the Who's Who in British acting, including Ciaran Hinds, Jude Law(!), Hugh Bonneville, Robert Hardy, Antony ValentineJames PurefoyPeter Vaughan I totally feel like a sexist, but there were women too. Anyway, it amounts to one of the monuments of British detective TV, unlikely to ever be surpassed as the most authentic adaptation of Conan Doyle's character.

Endeavour - As a big fan of Inspector Morse, I've tremendously enjoyed this prequel/reboot series, but at this point, it has begun to run entirely on its own steam. How does it perform? Quite well, for the most part. After a while, its slow pace feels a little fatiguing, but the great performances and chemistry between the two leads, Shaun Evans as Morse and Roger Allam as Thursday, salvage even the cornier moments. On the other hand, it ends on a high, with an episode focusing on this relationship. Bring on the third season. My reviews: Trove, Nocturne, Sway, and Neverland.

Hannah Long

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