Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Directed by David Fincher, MGM Studios, 2011.

Starring: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Stellan Skarsgard, Robin Wright, Joely Richardson and Christopher Plummer.

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery.

Question: Do you have a tattoo? I do not; however, I am seriously considering getting one now. Yes, I just got back from watching The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

I wasn't planning on seeing this movie because I read a review recently that spoiled it for me. The review did not tell the whole plot but it did tell a significant part that immediately turned me off. However, I am on a vacation, of sorts, and have plenty of time to kill. And this was the first movie showing of the day. Well, let me say I am glad I am on "vacation" because I really liked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

It started off with an odd opening. I couldn't tell if it wanted to mimic the opening to a James Bond film at first or if some film artist just wanted to show off their mad skills with oil-laden bodies set to Led Zepplin's 'Immigrant Song'.  Personally I wouldn't have chosen that song, even though I now know why it was selected. First, it reminded me of Jack Black singing the song in The School of Rock. Second, the opening, or let's say music video because that is what it felt like, looked more like something that Tool would have created. Okay, enough of that.

Since the story is a mystery I really don't want to divulge any information that could ruin it for you. The movie is based on the widely successful Stieg Larrson's trilogy, which I have not read, nor did I view the Swedish movies which were made a few years back. I can mention how great a character Lisbeth Salander was and what a unique additive to a relatively standard murder mystery tale, but I'll talk more about that later.

The movie was slower than I thought it would be, not that I minded that - at all. The storytelling really had a way of keeping my interest. Plus, it had Daniel Craig in it for 90% of the time. Speaking of Daniel Craig, he plays a journalist who is hired to research a family's history to reveal what may have happened to a specific family member many years prior. Sounds like a typical mystery but this one is set in an idyllic Swedish backdrop where I couldn't take my eyes off all the fantastic Swedish interior design and landscapes. Sidetracked - sorry. Well, what made this tale so fascinating were the characters which I mentioned above already. The background was just a bonus.

Lisbeth Salander, played by Ronney Mara, is a young investigator with her own unique techniques, who ends up working as an assistant to the journalist to help solve the mystery. However, for part of the beginning of the tale you are introduced to her and the life she endures. Not an easy one, I might say, but she portrays a female heroine that is not a typical personification of many lead female roles. She's young, petite, damaged, quiet but brave and smart as a whip. In fact, I think she has more intelligence and bravery in her little pinkie than all than the whole Swedish Army combined. She doesn't rely on anyone; she takes whatever happens to her and focuses on salvation rather than staying a victim or waiting to be rescued; and she is a good friend when it really counts. I can't wait to see the other two films because I want to see what Lisbeth will do in those.

I will give a little hint that there is one really harsh scene in this film that may be too hard for some to watch. There was a very disconcerting and despicable person in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and for those of you with tender demeanors you might want to skip this film (or at least the scene). However, I will say if you can get through the scene there is another, although tough as well, that will show that pixie-sized women can kick some serious butt and prove that karma really is a HUGE bitch. Thank god!

All-in-all The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a fantastic film that kept me focused tightly on the story and enjoyed the introduction of Lisbeth Salander. I will say it again, I can't wait to see more of her and where her path takes her. Rarely does a specific character do that for me but this one did.

My favorite thing: The petite girls can take care of themselves!

My least favorite thing: Yes, the one scene I mentioned above. It was hard to watch.

Rating: R
Length:158 minutes

Rating: 8 out of 10

 Click on film posters below to watch American version instantly:

Click on film poster below to watch Original version instantly:

The Book Trilogy:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Songs that become a part of our own soundtracks

Hello ToP fans!

A few days ago I randomly posted a quote from Fight Club, one of my favorites films. Later, I ended up having an odd day and couldn't stop recalling the finale from that movie and the song that the film-makers chose for the ending. Wasn't that one of the best endings to a movie ever? And the song just made it that much better! The song: 'Where is My Mind?' by the Pixies. I ended up putting a YouTube video link to the song on my facebook fanpage. I have no idea how many people saw that, but most of the time I speak about movies on facebook, I just want to get out all the thoughts in my head since I have SO many movie details floating around in there. If people enjoy or relate to what I say, well, that is just icing on the cake - or butter on the popcorn!

Now, I am sitting here and thinking of movies, again. Seriously! It's me, what else I am gonna do?

So I want to share something else related to songs and movies: Our own life's soundtrack. We all have those songs that we play constantly, right? On my iPod, I have so many songs, some are of course from movies, that the second they come on I relax. Some tunes are to help me get motivated to perform some menial task like cleaning or laundry. Or there are ones that I listen to on long distant drives. These melodies inspire me - plain and simple. The help me out of a funk, get my toes tapping and evoke strong memories from my past. These songs are MY soundtrack.

I have too many songs I could share here so let me think of one randomly...okay, thinking.....got it!

The first song that popped into my head was 'Kiss From A Rose' by Seal. It's from Batman Forever (1995). Love the song/not so much the movie. But there are others that have affected me, almost as much as certain movies, and several I could post but I'll settle on one of my favorites for now.

I found this song after the movie had long come and gone. The movie: City of Angles (1998) was never a glimmer for me when it was out in theatres. I totally missed it; but when the music award season came around, I kept hearing the song: 'Uninvited' by Alanis Morissette. Intriguing, to say the least. In fact, I couldn't get the song out of my head, and I had no idea it was attached to a film. Once I found that fact out, I had to rent the movie.

No matter what I thought of the movie, the song still remains as one that I can listen to over and over again - really! So, without further ado...it was at this particular moment in time (at the Grammys) where I discovered this song and it permanently became a part of my life's soundtrack.

What songs are on your soundtrack?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Dog Soldiers

Directed (and written) by Neil Marshall, Kismet Entertainment Group, 2002.

Starring: Kevin McKidd, Sean Pertwee, Emma Cleasby and Liam Cunningham.

Genre: Action, Horror, Thriller.

Question: Do you remember the days when you hung out with your friends in the woods with toy guns creating wartime combat scenarios? The plot-line was usually the same but sometimes a friend or two would throw in some super powers they suddenly obtained or they became a fantastical creature that came out of nowhere. Oh, those were the days!

Okay, did I just lose half of my readers? Yes, ladies, this might not be what you did growing up, but when my older brother would allow it, I would jump right in and play along ready to "kill" the next bad guy. Although I was always bummed I could never make the machine gun noises no matter how hard I tried, I still had a blast pretending I was in the middle of a war or fighting off some creature(s). So, when someone suggested, and I finally watched, Dog Soldiers I was immediately thrown back to my 10 year-old inner child.

Honestly, as I was watching Dog Soldiers I kept thinking the film-maker (Neil Marshall) must have never let go of his childhood imagination. His film is about 5-6 British soldiers on a practice mission who run into werewolves that apparently can't die even when shot multiple times with semi-automatic guns.

As usual I don't want to go into much detail about this film - this is a thriller, of sorts. I will say there is a little overacting, some poorly-written dialogue and some over-the-top plot points; however, I think that was all intentional. So you must have a sense of humor while watching Dog Soldiers. It is definitely a B film that had me howling with laughter at certain scenes, covering my eyes over some of 'blood and guts' violence and rolling my eyes at some of the innuendoes.

Also, if you are unfamiliar with British slang, I suggest you click here - this is something I JUST discovered and it might help translate some of the sayings in this movie. A few of the phrases you might not know: 'Big girl's blouse', 'taking the piss', toffee-nosed'. These are used in Dog Soliders, along with a few others, but I'll let you discover what they mean on your own.

If any ladies stuck around for the rest of the review, I can tell you the lead actor in this, Kevin McKidd, is from Grey's Anatomy. So if you have a thing for Dr. Hunt, you might want to watch Dog Soldiers - just don't tell your boyfriend or husband why, but they would probably be too shocked to ask anyway.

This is the perfect movie for the next level of what young-in's like to do in groups: watch cult-like, horror films (that usually scare their little sisters who still want to be a part of the group). So once you've grown out of the 'play outdoors phase', might I suggest Dog Soldiers. However, this is rated R - so if you are under age, please ask your parents, kiddos.

My favorite thing: That I wasn't all that scared watching a horror.

My least favorite thing: Watching some of the gore.

Rating: R
Length: 105 minutes

Review: 5 out of 10

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

This is the BEST!

I just love when I find others who think the same as me. Saw this yesterday and received permission to post this here from the artist. (Thanks @Hertzen83). No other words need to be said except to say, I LOVE THIS!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Forget Me Not

Directed by Alexander Holt & Lance Roehrig, Quicksilver Films, 2010

Starring: Tobias Menzies, Genevieve O'Reilly and Gemma Jones

Genre: Romance

Question: Do you believe you can fall in love with someone in 24 hours? I do, or maybe I have just seen too many movies. Either way, I think it can happen and Forget Me Not may show you how.

A typical Sunday afternoon in my house involves laundry. One thing I detest so I have to balance it out with something I love. Do I have to tell you what that is? I grabbed my laptop and headed towards the back of my home - a sanctuary from the rest of the house but also where the laundry room is located. First load in, headphones on and I hit play on Netflix Instant Play queue with Forget Me Not.

I didn't know anything about this film except what IMDb said about it in its summary:

"Love Happens. When you least expect it. Forget Me Not is a moving, modern day love story set over twenty-four hours against a stunning London backdrop."

London?! YAY!! I lived in London for a short time and miss it nearly every single day so anything that has "a stunning London backdrop" in it, count me in. Plus, I had just completed watching a foreign mafia film that I did not like and not sure why, so a romance was the best genre to counteract the effects of the other. And it did.

The movie starts off in a London pub with a musician singing and strumming his guitar. The female bartender serves up drinks to the locals watching him out of the corner of her eye or when she has a break from serving the drunk in front of her. His melancholy tune permeates the surroundings but you are too busy waiting for what comes next to take notice. His gig soon ends; he goes home and takes a bath. Then he starts to do something that makes your heart tighten, especially if you have ever been in that state of mind. He tries again but realizes he requires a drink first. Back to the pub. Okay, I am giving a play by play of the movie - I am stopping that now.

At this point you are completely lost as to what is going on, and you desire to find the answers to all your "whys?" But in the back of your mind you really don't want to find out. Luckily the story then has you following the bartender and the musician as they walk through London on their way to a party after an unforeseen run-in with one of the pub patrons. During the course of this walk the two strangers begin to talk and share stories about each other. This is where I really started to drift head, or heart, first into the story...and then...buzzz...pause film...damn, laundry! Second load in. Play.

Where was I? Oh yeah, the strangers continue on through the night walking through the streets of London, revealing stories about themselves that you might not think they would. However, it seems so comfortable that you don't question it. Yet something is held back by both. Understandably. What would make any two people, complete strangers, open up and share personal stories? That is hard to say but perhaps when you are lonely, scared or unable to recall a happy time, a stranger might be the best person to open up to. And they might just surprise you with being the right person for what you need.

Okay, I am giving way too much away on this one. What is wrong with me? Perhaps it's the laundry...anyway.

Dawn soon arrives and a trip to visit someone starts to bring the story closer to its climax. A revelation from one/a reminder to another surfaces, but as the audience member you are still in the dark. Where the love story goes from here was expected but then one stranger finally reveals all about themselves. And in one of the hardest but most understandable speeches it all made sense - the beginning, the middle and the finally, the conclusion. Two people who didn't know each other yesterday, and might not remember later, fall in love because they always have today.

So if you are in the mood for a decent romance - check out Forget Me Not

My favorite thing: That I didn't even notice I was doing laundry.

My least favorite thing: That I don't have plans to visit London anytime soon.

Rating: R
Length: 93 minutes

Review: 7 out of 10

Click on film poster for film:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Small Town Saturday Night

Directed and written by Ryan Craig, Perfect Weekend, 2010.

Starring: Chris Pine, Shawn Christian, John Hawkes, Bre Blair, Octavia Spencer, and Lin Shaye.

Genre: Drama

Question: What draws you to watch a specific movie? Could it be the director, a certain genre or story-line or is it an actor and their skill, perhaps? For me it ranges, but I do have some standards: a recommendation by someone, seeing a good, or even a bad, review makes me consider watching it and then sometimes it is the poster. I did study art history and a visually appealing film poster can really catch my interest.

Today I watched an indie film called, Small Town Saturday Night. Why did I choose to watch this one today? Honestly, I have seen a lot of Chris Pine's movies and he has proved his acting chops to me....okay, okay... I will admit one of the reasons I had it in my Netflix instant playlist was for Chris Pine and those eyes. Plus, this wasn't a horror or sadistic story-line (my last two reviews).

Small Town Saturday Night is about a country singer (Chris Pine), who lives in a small town and is about to move to Nashville. Actually, it sounded relaxing and it was an indie film - something I love to support especially after seeing this was made after Chris Pine's smash hit Star Trek. That scores points in my book.

Unfortunately, this film just did not deliver a huge surprise as many of the other independent movies that I have stumbled upon on Netflix. It kept my interest but the story was...how do I put this...uneventful. The story takes place over one day in a small town called Prospect. I kind of thought it would take place at night but not until the very end does the sun takes its rest. Anyway, it showed a slice of American life, which some may get and some may not.

Rhett Ryan (Chris Pine) has one more day at the gas station before his final gig at the local bar before him and his girlfriend (Bre Blair) and her daughter make the big move. Then you are introduced to other locals in the town - specifically the local deputy (Shawn Christian), the ex-husband of Rhett Ryan's girlfriend, who waits for his brother, Donnie (John Hawkes) coming home from his stint in prison. For the next hour or so you witness Donnie, Rhett, Donnie's brother and father and countless others interact. Sometimes it made for a cohesive story and sometimes it didn't. If you have ever lived in a small town, I assumed this would show a fairly typical summer day but I kept waiting for more.

Did I get it? More, I mean. Well, there were a couple of semi-intense scenes with one scene where Rhett (Chris Pine) and his girlfriend have an intense conversation. However, by that point, I had lost my patience with the story but trudged on. One more scene with Donnie (John Hawkes) finally got the blood pumping in this tale but ended with no fanfare. My guess is that Small Town Saturday Night was going for realism and it delivered. I am just not sure it was a reality that interested me. Oh well.

One small little surprise did happen. Not with the story but there was a scene between Rhett and his father and I kept thinking, "WOW, they really do look alike - great casting." So I looked it up. It was a real father and son. Don't ask me why, but I enjoy knowing small trivial things like this; and if you look up Chris Pine's father you will know him. You may not know his name but you will recognize him. I am pretty sure.

So do I recommend Small Town Saturday Night? Maybe. It really depends what you are in the mood for, I suppose. But if you want to see Chris Pine strumming a guitar and actually singing, check it out.

My favorite part: Chris Pine playing guitar.

My least favorite part: One scene where you witness neglected and abused children playing in a front yard.

Rating: R
Length:  94 minutes

Review: 4 out of 10

P.S. If you want to see an indie film that is really good that stars Chris Pine, might I recommend Bottle Shock? Great film.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Funny Games

Directed (and written) by Michael Haneke, Celluloid Dreams, 2008.

Starring: Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Brady Corbet and Michael Pitt.

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Question: Do you like it when a story is told in a unique and brilliant manner? Of course you do. How about when the story is about two young males who like to play mind games, torture and....oh wait, almost gave a little too much away. Well, I just finished watching Funny Games (the American version) and feeling a little guilty for liking this film.

I have to remain vague in this review. As you can see Funny Games is a thriller and a really good one. Trust me, you think you will know how the story ends, because of the fact that this movie takes storytelling to a whole new level. And as a storyteller myself, especially about movies, I loved how this movie ended up playing its own mind games. Unfortunately, I felt a little sick to my stomach during and after watching Funny Games. Again, I can't say why.

Let's see, what can I tell you all about this film? First, it was remake of an 1997 Austrian film of the same name. Second, the director/writer Michael Haneke, directed both films - shot-for-shot. Although the actors used in each film were cast differently. Third, it is a very sadistic story...okay, did I just lose you all with that point?

Okay, here's the gist (somewhat): a well-to-do family drive to their summer home on Long Island for a relaxing weekend. They stop to say hello to some neighbors, who behave strangely but they continue on to their home all ready to start their vacation - golfing and boating. Their dog runs around gleefully saying hello to the mother, father and son. They unpack and prepare for the weekend; a neighbor stops by with a white-gloved "friend" and help put their boat in the water. This "friend" ends up staying and another white-gloved "friend" shows up asking to borrow 4 eggs for a neighbor.

From this point everything just starts to go wrong. So, so wrong. I mentioned something about torture and that is what the rest of the story is about. These two young men (white-gloved "friends"), who revel in the enjoyment of causing pain and suffering (mental and physical) to others, may end up being the most evil characters I have witnessed on screen in a long time. Actually Michael Pitt, one of the young fellows, is definitely the scariest characters ever and almost gave me nightmares with the final shot of the movie.

Now all this talk may not make you want you to run out and rent Funny Games; however, the method the director used to tell this story was nothing short of brilliant. It will make you feel sick to your stomach, although a lot of the violence is not really on screen. And some typical tricks with thrillers that you expect aren't used (sort of) and you almost end up begging for those tricks that usually end up making the story typical. See, mind games.

That's it - I can't say anymore.

My favorite part: The remote control, but then again, it should be my least favorite part. You'll see why.

Rating: R
Length: 111 minutes

Review: 7 out of 10

Click on film posters below to see American and Foreign version of Funny Games:

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Directed by James Wan, Film District, 2011.

Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins, Lin Shaye and Barbara Hershey.

Genre: Horror, Thriller.

Question: How many times do you watch a movie, expect it to be scary and then it does not live up to it's expectations? Well, for me - not that often because horror movies really scare me without really having to try all that hard. But I watched Insidious tonight and it started out good (scary) and then sort of waded into the ridiculous.

My son decided one day he wanted to watch a scary movie and being the fantastic mother I am, I at first freaked out, because I am a big wimp when it comes to the horror genre, I complied. Then I asked him which movie he would like to see (secretly hoping it wasn't too scary). "Insidious. My friends keep talking about it and how much they liked it." My thoughts were not good ones only because my son's friends are 12 years-old who appear to handle the scare factor okay, unlike moi.

Insidious started out really well, as scary movies go. There was little dialogue and not a ton of overly scary music playing which made the story more plausible. The family, who had just moved into their new home, portrayed a "real" family. A mother of three, who stays home and works on her music when she can, and a husband who at first appears caring and kind. The mother, played by Rose Byrne, did a good job showing what it is really like to be a mom - hair up, no make-up, kids needs come first and when any time is left over - time for herself. And more importantly, she is home all day long and multitasking: cooking, cleaning, unpacking, organizing, taking care of the children, etc...and then soon witness to odd happenings.

The house starts to show signs of a haunting, simply and subtly at first. This is where 'this' mother started to get pretty scared (and pathetic). By this point my son is also scared but we struggled on-wards with the story.

Noises in the house increase, items move on their own and a glimpse or two of a ghost pops up just to make my heart beat faster. Then one of the children in the house slips into a coma, and I am intrigued with where the film-makers are taking the story. Although soon after there is more dialogue and something shifts. I found the cadence or the rhythm of the acting falter, and even thought it was bad at a point or two. But I brushed that aside because what worked in the beginning came back: lack of talking, more bumps in the night and an increase of sudden glimpses of more ghosts. Then there is another shift as the story unfolds more.

Slowly I started to recall a film that scared the bejesus out of me when I was 12 years-old: Poltergeist. By the middle of the story it was very hard to NOT compare this movie to the haunted house classic. There weren't any clowns, or fuzzy TV screens or scary looking children-eating trees, but when a woman and her crew show up at the house to discover and document the activity and why the son was in a coma, it was virtually impossible not to see a connection. This is where the movie lost me and I found the rest of the story insincere. I was no longer terrified but bored. It did have a twist at the end but even that didn't scare me.

So, what did I learn here today? Well, it's hard to create a horror story that is really scary, and that perhaps I am not a big chicken after all. Go ahead and rent Insidious because I do think the first half was good just don't expect greatness in the second half. Although one scene actually made me scream out loud suddenly. The editor of this film was brilliant in their way of increasing the scare factor in this film.

My favorite part: That's hard to say since this was a horror - but the editing was really well done.

My least favorite part: That I was almost forced to make a comparison to another movie.

Rating: PG-13
Length: 103 minutes

Review: 4 out of 10

P.S. Alright I have to confess one thing. I said Insidious was not all that scary while watching. However, when I went to bed, after writing the majority of this review, I had a sudden memory of one of the scary elements.Then I realized I AM a chicken as I remembered the light switch was 12 feet away and I was too scared to get out of bed to turn it on.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Preview: Moonrise Kingdom

It's a film by Wes Anderson and Billy Murray is in it. I will see this. Release date unknown.

 Click on film posters above to view Wes Anderson's other films:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Monthly Wrap-Up December 2011

Well, this past year came to a close recently. I still can't believe it's been a year since I started on this little venture but here I am. Honestly, I don't know how I would feel if I didn't review movies now - it's become an integral part of my everyday life. It's like breathing. It fills my soul up and takes me out of any stressful situation...okay, okay..enough...sorry...here's the list. Enjoy!

One Day - 6 out of 10
Things I Don't Understand - 7 out of 10
Love - 9 out of 10
The Next Three Days - 6 out of 10
Rabbit Hole - 8 out of 10
The Adjustment Bureau - 6 out of 10
The Sweet Hereafter - 9 out of 10
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol - 8 out of 10
We Bought a Zoo - 5 out of 10

This past year I reviewed 151 films, and I hope somewhere within those reviews I inspired you to check out a movie or two, three....This year I will try and increase that number, so without further to do...I'm off to watch a movie.

One year and counting...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Directed by Guy Ritchie, Warner Bros, 2011.

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Stephen Fry, Jared Harris, Noomi Rapace and Rachel McAdams.

Genre: Action, Adventure, Crime

Question: How often does a sequel come out as good as or better than the first? It's rare, I know, but Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows might have just done it.

I really enjoyed Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes (2009), so much so that I have probably seen it a half a dozen times. Sure, it may have been for Robert Downey Jr., but he's worth it, right? And that is probably why I saw the sequel. However, it wasn't just Robert Downey Jr. and his portrayal as the world's most famous "consulting detective" that brought me to the theatre this time. It was one of the first movies in a long time, it seems, that wasn't offered in 3D. Finally. It might have helped that A Game of Shadows was in D-BOX though. This was only my second movie viewing in the motion activated seats, and it won't be my last. Anyway...

One thing that a lot of film-makers do when writing and making a follow-up to a blockbuster: adding in way too much of what worked the first time. It's usually the jokes, special effects, or quirky aspects, which are used sparingly, that help make the original a treat and leave us wanting more; but sequels usually get saturated with these details. It happens ALL THE TIME and it, in my opinion, ruins the sequel. Well, not this time.

A Game of Shadows appears to start off relatively soon after where the previous story ended; and I wasn't sure I was going to like it. In fact, I thought it might be trying too hard by what I first witnessed. To be honest there was one aspect of the first film where I thought it was a bit on the hokey side, and I feared it was going down that path again or where the film-makers thought they had grabbed that elusive brass ring. Luckily, the story took a turn or did something I wasn't expecting at all. It was a shock, actually. Although I kept thinking that, "No, they didn't just do that", and that lingered in my head throughout the rest of the movie until I fully believed it. Nice one! I relaxed - well, as best I could in the ever-moving seats.

I would love to go into detail about the story but if I did, I would just ruin it. Even though Sherlock Holmes is probably the only one who can receive this little amount of information and have the ending all figured out before he takes his next breath, I am stopping here anyway. But rest assured this story is worth seeing. It's more complex and ominous than the first; and I believe it might be best seen on the large screen. The very slow-motion scenes that occurred in Sherlock Holmes (2009) showed up here. No, I am not going to complain about that because I really enjoyed this specific effect. Plus, it was used just enough. And without a doubt, one slow-motion scene that takes place in a forest made the price of the ticket worth it - D-BOX or not.

Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes and Jude Law as Dr. Watson, once again, made a great pairing in the sequel, and I can't wait to see them in another one. (Fingers crossed) Watching those two actors play off each other was almost like watching Fred and Ginger dance. I particularly enjoyed the banter back and forth between the two men. I wouldn't be surprised if there was even a little improv in their dialogue. A Game of Shadows shows a greater friendship, collaboration and balancing act that kept this film from being not just another action/adventure sequel.

If you didn't see Sherlock Holmes (2009), it's no big deal (although I recommend seeing it, just the same). There is only one aspect from the first, a specific character: Professor Moriarity, who was mentioned but how they started the story in A Game of Shadows catches you up quickly. In addition, there are new characters introduced here - played by Noomi  Rapace (From the Swedish version of the Stieg Larsson's trilogy) and Stephen Fry, who I hope is in the next one more, albeit more fully clothed. Yep, that's all I am going to say about that piece.

My favorite thing: Robert Downey Jr. - of course.

My least favorite: That the seats didn't move more. D-BOX helps you delve deeper into the story that you almost want it moving the entire time, no matter what's going on in the film. So. Much. Fun.

Rating: PG-13
Length: 129 minutes

Review: 8 out of 10

 Click on film posters below to view films:
BBC's Sherlock Holmes - a fantastic series worth checking out: