Friday, February 26, 2010

"NORTH AND SOUTH" (2004) Photo Gallery

Below are photos from the 2004 miniseries, "NORTH AND SOUTH". Based upon Elizabeth Gaskell's 1855 novel, the miniseries starred Daniela Denby-Ashe and Richard Armitage. Brian Percival directed:

"NORTH AND SOUTH" (2004) Photo Gallery

Thursday, February 25, 2010

"ROYAL FLASH" (1975) Review

Below is a review I had written of the 1975 adaptation of George MacDonald Fraser's novel, ”ROYAL FLASH”:

”ROYAL FLASH” (1975) Review

Directed by Richard Lester, ”ROYAL FLASH” is a 1975 adaptation of George MacDonald Fraser’s 1970 novel of the same title, the second in a series of twelve (or thirteen) novels and stories about a cowardly British Army officer during the Victorian Era. Both the novel and the movie are comedic spoofs of Anthony Hope’s 1894 novel, ”The Prisoner of Zenda”, about an Englishman assuming the identity of a look-a-like European prince.

This movie does not seemed to be well-liked by many fans of THE FLASHMAN SERIES. One, it was adapted from one of Fraser’s least popular Flashman novels. Two, many of those fans balked at the idea of the medium-height blond Malcolm McDowell portraying the tall, dark-haired Harry Flashman. And three, many did not care how Richard Lester had included the same slapstick comedy that he had used in his two ”MUSKETEERS” movies. It is not surprising that ”ROYAL FLASH” not only failed to make an impact upon the box office in 1975, it remained unpopular for many years.

I must admit that Fraser’s 1970 novel never became a favorite of mine. Because it was a send-up of ”The Prisoner of Zenda”, it struck me as being somewhat unoriginal. And while I managed to tolerate Lester’s slapstick humor in the ”MUSKETEERS” movies, there were times when it seemed a bit too much in ”ROYAL FLASH”. Well . . . except in a few scenes in which I will comment upon later. As for Malcom McDowell being cast in the title role . . . I had no problems with his performance. In fact, I found it more than satisfying.

In a nutshell, ”ROYAL FLASH” began with Captain Harry Flashman being feted in 1843 London for his heroic exploits during the disastrous First Anglo-Afghan War (1839-42). Actually, Flashman’s actions were less than heroic. Being the coward he was, he surrendered to the enemy . . . before British artillery saved him from captivity via a barrage. British troopers came upon his unconscious body – with him clinging to a Union Jack flag – and mistook him as a brave military fighter who was not only the last survivor of Piper’s Fort, but as someone who had fought until the bitter end. Following Flashman’s return to England, the British officer met two people who would endanger his life on the European continent four years later – future chancellor and creator of modern day Germany, Otto von Bismarck; and the Irish-born actress/dancer (if you can call her one) and courtesan, Rosanna James aka Lola Montez. He had met the pair while fleeing from a whorehouse being raided by the police. Being a lustful ladies’ man, Flashy managed to charm Rosanna (or Lola) into a tumultuous affair. And being a vindictive scoundrel, he made an enemy out of Bismarck by manipulating the latter into a boxing demonstration with the famous boxer John Tully. Eventually, Flashman grew weary of Lola’s penchant for using a hairbrush on his backside during sex and ended the affair on a bad note. Four years later, Flashman received a letter from Lola, now mistress of King Ludwig I of Bavaria, asking him for a favor. Upon his arrival in Bavaria, Flashman is framed for the attempted rape of Bavarian countess by Lola and ended up in the clutches of Bismarck and his top henchmen, Rudi Von Sternberg. The pair coerced him into impersonating a Danish prince named Carl Gustaf, set to marry the Duchess Irma of Strackenz. According to Bismarck, the real Prince Carl had contacted a sexually transmitted disease, making it impossible for him to marry the Duchess. As Flashman will eventually discover, Bismarck’s reasons behind this deception are a lot more devious. The German politician did not wish for the Duchess to marry a Dane, since the marriage might tilt the balance on the Schleswig-Holstein Question and interfere with his plans for a united Germany.

Many years have passed since I last saw ”ROYAL FLASH”. Many years. And after reading several articles about its shortcomings, I really did not expect to enjoy it as I had done in the past. And yet . . . I did. Very much. Yes, I found some of the slapstick humor rather annoying. I can definitely say this about the sequence that featured the police raid on the London brothel, Flashman’s rather silly attempt to prove his marksmanship to the Bavarian military officers, and his duel against Rudi Von Sternberg inside the dungeon that held the real Carl Gustaf. But there were some slapstick moments that struck me as hilarious. One scene involved Flashman (in disguise as Prince Carl) accidentally smashing a bottle against the head of some poor chump during the christening of Strackenz’s new rail train. Another hilarious scene involved Flashman’s “honeymoon” night with the frigid Duchess Irma; along with Flashman’s attempts to escape from Bismarck and his thugs during his indoctrination as the fake Prince Carl. Also, the movie ended with a witty and rather funny duel of “Hungarian” roulette between Flashy and Von Sternberg, after the latter managed to interrupt Flashy’s flight from Germany.

Hardcore fans of THE FLASHMAN SERIES have condemned the choice of Malcolm McDowell for the role of Harry Flashman. It is quite apparent that the actor bore no physical resemblance to the fictional Flashman. But as far as I am concerned, McDowell more than made this up with his superb performance as the amoral and cowardly British officer. Personality wise, McDowell captured Flashman’s personality to a T. For me, he was Flashman personified.

There were other actors who struck me as perfectly cast in their roles – Oliver Reed as the manipulative and vindictive Otto von Bismarck, Britt Ekland as the beautifully cold Duchess Irma, Joss Ackland as the intimidating Danish patriot Sapten, and an unknown Bob Hoskins as the persistent London police officer who led the raid on the whorehouse. I also enjoyed Lionel Jeffries and Tom Bell as two of Bismarck’s thugs – Kraftstein and DeGautet. I must admit that it took me a while to warm up to Alan Bates’ performance as Bismarck’s top henchman, the Hungarian-born Rudi Von Sternberg. His Rudi seemed cooler, more mature and less jovial than Fraser’s literary version. But in time, I learned to appreciate Bates’ slightly different take on the role. However, the one performance that failed to impress me belonged to Brazilian-born actress, Florinda Bolkan, who portrayed the fiery Lola Montez. The filmmakers not only made the mistake of casting a Latin actress in the role, Lester allowed her to portray Lola as a Continental European. After all, the character was originally the Irish-born Rosanna Gilbert James before becoming the famous dancer, Lola Montez. Either Ms. Bolkan should have portrayed Lola as Irish, or Lester and the other filmmakers should have cast an Irish actress or one from the British Isles in the role.

Thankfully, there is a great deal more to enjoy in ”ROYAL FLASH”. George MacDonald Fraser did a first-rate job of adapting his novel into a screenplay. In fact, I found it a little more enjoyable than his novel. Anyone who has seen the ”MUSKETEER” movies must know that Lester had incorporated more realistic style fencing in the movies’ fight scenes. In other words, the sword fights featured a great deal of more bashing and kicking than any elegant swordplay. Thankfully, ”ROYAL FLASH” provided more elegance in its sword fights. I especially enjoyed McDowell’s skills during the kitchen fight sequence that turned out to be a fake rescue perpetrated by Von Sternberg. The legendary cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth did an excellent job of capturing the beauty of German locations featured in the film. However, I could have done without that soft focus look that seemed to scream ”period piece”. Utilizing Unsworth’s photography, Alan Barrett’s costume designs and Terence Marsh’s production designs; Lester managed to effectively recapture England and Germany during the 1840s.

I realize there are hardcore fans of THE FLASHMAN SERIES who will never accept ”ROYAL FLASH” as a worthy adaptation of Fraser’s 1970 novel. But you know what? Who cares? Seeing it again after so many years, made me realize that it had not lost its touch. At least not for me. In fact, I believe that the movie deserves a better reputation than the one it has possessed for the past three decades.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Obssessions" [PG-13] - Chapter 10


Part 10

A shocked Jack McNeill stared at his oldest offspring. "They've found someone to replace DeWolfe Mann? Already?" Disbelief tinged his voice. "And who is she, again?"

The McNeills had gathered inside the large sitting room, waiting for Davies to announce that dinner was ready. Bruce, who had just entered the room a few minutes ago, sat down on the sofa, next to his mother. "Portia Della Scalla," he answered. "She's Italian. And she's got a very sexy voice. Rather bell-like," he said thoughtfully.

"Sexy voice?" a third voice asked tartly. The McNeills turned their heads and found Barbara standing in the doorway. "Exactly how sexy did this Miss Della Scalla sound?"

Bruce shot to his feet, his face hot with embarrassment. "Hey! Barbara! I didn't know you were here. What . . . uh, what are you doing here?"

The blond woman strode into the sitting-room. "I came to deliver a package to your grandmother." He handed a white plastic bag to the McNeill matriarch. "Here you go, Mrs. McNeill." Chilly blue eyes stared pointedly at Bruce. "So, she has a sexy voice. I didn't realize you had noticed."

"C'mon Barbara," Harry protested good-naturedly. "Bruce isn't dead, you know. He's still a guy." The eldest McNeill sibling had a sudden desire to knock his younger brother unconscious. Harry continued, "Besides, you have nothing to worry about. He still loves you. Right Bruce?"

Bruce glared at Harry. "Yeah. Right. Thanks Harry."

Elise McNeill spoke up. "So when will you and Gwen meet this Miss Della Scalla?"

"Tomorrow, during lunch," Bruce answered. He turned to his mother. "If that's all right with you?"

Gwen nodded. "I'll be there. Perhaps I will allow Henderson take a day off, tomorrow. And I might as well act as executive chef for the lunch crowd, while I'm at it."

A concerned looking Jack McNeill said, "Don't any of you find it strange that this woman pops up to take over DeWolfe Mann's job, just five days after his death?"

"I do," Barbara commented. Bruce shot her a dark look.

Jack sighed. "Thank goodness someone is thinking around here. I mean, c'mon people! This woman suddenly pops up to replace Mann. And she also takes over the story about the Golden Horn."

"What's wrong with that?" his wife demanded.

"I thought that Jason Dean was against the idea of a story on the Golden Horn, and that it was Phoebe Halliwell who convinced him to convince him. Now that there is a new writer aboard, why is he willing to continue with the story? Why not just kill it?"

Gwen suggested, "Perhaps Jason is more open to the idea. Granted he and Livy had a messy breakup, but I'm certain that he has put the past behind him. Now that he's dating Phoebe." Her husband shot her a withering look. "Then again," she added, "perhaps not."

Harry said, "So what are you saying, Dad? That is Della Scalla woman is trouble? I mean, I don't see how, considering it was Jason who probably hired her."

"I don't know," Jack said, heaving a sigh. "Perhaps I'm imagining things. It's just . . . something doesn't feel right about this whole matter."

Barbara crisply spoke up. "I heartily agree. Maybe you shouldn't do this interview, Bruce. Or maybe you should let your mother take care of it."

"Barbara!" Bruce glared at his fiancée. "This is getting ridiculous! All I did was comment on her voice and you're acting like a jealous shrew! Stop it, will you?"

The blond woman rolled her eyes and looked away. At that moment, Davies entered the room and announced that dinner was ready. Much to Bruce's relief.

* * * *

Phoebe slammed the door shut and cried out, "I'm home!" When no one answered, she headed straight for the Solarium and found Leo and Paige watching television. Wyatt was snuggled in his father's arms. "You'll never believe what happened!" she declared.

Both Paige and Leo glanced up from the television and stared at Phoebe. "What?" Leo asked.

"Wolfie has been replaced."

Paige frowned. "Meaning?"

Phoebe sighed and sat down in one of the wicker chairs. "Wolfie? DeWolfe Mann? Jason has hired someone to take his place. Some Italian lady named Portia something."

"Why is that news?" Leo demanded. "He was bound to be replaced."

"Five days after his death?" Phoebe leaned forward, barely able to contain her excitement. "And both Jason and O'Keefe hired her. Right on the spot."

Sarcasm tinged Paige's voice. "Again, what's the big deal? So were you."

"Yeah, but I spent most of the day working on that column, because you guys had to keep the previous owner safe," Phoebe explained. "That's when Elise realized I was right for the job. Jason and O'Keefe had hired this woman not long after meeting her."

Leo shook his head. "And that's your reason for being suspicious? Phoebe, for all you know, this woman probably has a reputation for being a top food critic. Or do you know who the top food critics are?" His blue eyes bore into hers.

For a moment, Phoebe wondered if she had overreacted. Or that Leo and Paige had every reason not to feel suspicious. Until she remembered her encounter with Cole. "No Leo, I don't. And neither does Cole."

"What does he have to do with this?" Leo demanded.

Phoebe explained, "He was at the office, today. With Wolfie's sister, Deborah Mann."

"I've heard of her," Paige said, nodding. "From Olivia."

Phoebe continued, "Well, they were there to clean out Wolfie's personal belongings. And they also met this Portia woman. Needless to say, Cole is very suspicious. He wants me to keep an eye on her."

Paige immediately became alert. "Really? Now that's interesting."

"C'mon!" Leo declared. Sounds of whimpering came from Wyatt's mouth. Leo rocked his son a few times, and the infant fell back into a deep sleep. "Just because Cole is suspicious . . ."

"If Cole's suspicious," Paige said, interrupting her brother-in-law, "I'd say that was a good reason to keep an eye on this Portia."

Phoebe fell back into her chair with a satisfied look on her face. "Precisely. Maybe I'll ask around the other newspapers in the city. Find out if anyone has ever heard of her."

"Heard of who?" Piper appeared in the doorway, wiping her hands with a white towel. She glanced at the others. "What's going on?" All at once, Phoebe and the others proceeded to tell her of the new woman who had replaced DeWolfe Mann.

* * * *

It had been another long day for Olivia. After four or five days of investigating DeWolfe Mann's murder, the investigation seemed to have come to a halt. With no results. Not even from Forensics, who now possessed the button found inside Mann's apartment. At the moment, she and Darryl were stuck with a body found inside a locked apartment, no weapon, a button that Forensics seemed to have forgotten and no suspect.

If her professional life seemed to be in a rut at the moment, her love life was in worse shape. In short, she had no love life. During the proceeding months, following Richard's death, Olivia had seemed willing to deal with the lack of romance in her life. She, in fact, practically embraced her celibacy. But that all changed after a certain half-daemon became her new neighbor. Slowly but surely, Olivia found herself falling in love with Cole Turner - aka Belthazor. But there seemed to be a problem and it had nothing to do with Cole's demonic status. The problem centered around the fact that Cole seemed determined to keep their relationship on a friendly footing and indulge in one-night stands with other women, at the same time. Olivia knew the reason behind his actions - Phoebe Halliwell. Cole was still in love with his ex-wife. And if he could not have Phoebe, he apparently decided to sleep with unattached women, leaving Olivia, sexually and emotionally frustrated.

A new romance had seemed possible with the arrival of one Paul Margolin, witch extraordinaire and San Francisco's newest Assistant District Attorney. But once Paul had learned about Cole's identity, Olivia had not heard a peep from him. After she learned from Paige about Paul's confrontation with Leo, Olivia came to the conclusion that she might as well face a future without a nice, steady companion. Then again, perhaps there might be someone other than Cole or Paul for her in the future. At least she hoped.

Upon entering her apartment, Olivia snapped on the lights. Then she tossed her purse and briefcase on the nearby sofa. Before she could head for the bedroom, the doorbell rang. Olivia peered through the door's peephole and was surprised to find a certain attorney standing in the hallway, outside. She immediately opened the door and cried out, "Paul?"

The New Yorker flashed a bright smile. "Hi! I uh . . . I dropped by to . . . uh, I was hoping," he sighed, "hoping to see you. I meant to call. Earlier. But I've been . . . busy." His voice became low.

Olivia widened the door and allowed her visitor to enter. "So, what do you want to see me about?"

"A cup of coffee?" Paul's voice expressed hope. He sat down on the sofa. "And I was also wondering if you were available for dinner, tomorrow night. At the Golden Horn." Another smile lit up his handsome face.

Returning the smile, Olivia replied, "I'll see what I can do about that coffee. As for dinner," she shrugged, "sounds like a great idea. I accept. Excuse me." Olivia proceeded to the kitchen. There, she poured cold water into the coffee machine. As she reached for the jar of coffee, the doorbell rang again. "I'll be right there!" she cried. Olivia rushed back into the living room, flashed Paul a quick smile and peered through the peephole. Her heartbeat increased tenfold. It was Cole.

"Something wrong?" Paul asked.

Olivia shook her head. "No, it's . . . it's just a neigh . . . it's Cole." She noticed how Paul's face quickly tightened and she opened the door.

The half-daemon stepped inside the apartment. "Hey! Ready for some exercises?" He paused at the sight of Paul, sitting on the sofa. His expression assumed that of a cold mask. "Oh. I see you have a guest."

"You remember Paul, don't you, Cole? He only dropped by for some coffee. What are . . ." Olivia glanced at Cole's outfit - black gym pants, black sneakers and a gray T-shirt that accentuated his muscular frame. "Oh! Oh God! I forgot! We were supposed to do exercises this evening."

"Exercises for what?" Paul demanded. He stood up and walked over to the couple.

Olivia replied, "Uh, to help me control my new power. It's . . ."

"You have more than one power?"

Cole replied coolly, "She has two - telekinesis and pyrokinesis, a fire power. The latter carries quite a punch." His mouth formed a sardonic quirk.

Paul's mouth dropped open. "You have a fire power? But that's . . ."

Glaring at her neighbor, Olivia added, "It's pyrokinesis and nothing more, Paul." She faced the ADA. "It's not a demonic power, if that's what you think. But it is quite strong. Very strong. And since it involves fire, I need Cole's help in teaching me how to control it better."

"Oh. Well, I guess since it involves fire . . . a demon would be the best person to help you control it." Paul coolly raked his eyes over Cole. "Especially since he would have much experience dealing with fire."

Cole's blue eyes became hard as marbles. "And what exactly is your power?" he asked.

"Cryokinesis. The ability to freeze," Paul replied. "Literally."

Cole's brows formed two small arches. "Really? I knew at least three daemons with the same power."

Anger flared in Paul's eyes. Before an outburst could follow, Olivia stepped between the two men. "Uh, look Cole," she said to the half-daemon, "could I get a rain check on the practice session? Perhaps we could meet on Wednesday?"

"I'll be having dinner with a client on Wednesday evening. How about tomorrow?" Cole paused momentarily. "If you're available."

Longing and regret surged through Olivia. She shot Paul a quick glance, mindful of his dinner invitation. "Sorry, I have another engagement, tomorrow."

"Dinner," Paul added. "With me."

The half-daemon's expression became even more business-like. "Oh." Olivia thought she had spotted a brief flare of pain in his eyes. Then it disappeared. "Well, so much for that. As for that practice, I'm sure that we can postpone until next Monday."

"What about this upcoming Sunday?" Olivia asked. "At my parents' house."

Coolly, Cole replied, "I'll be out of town that day. Next Monday will be fine." He turned away and started for the door. Then he halted. "Oh, by the way," he said, facing both Olivia and Paul, "did you know that the BAY-MIRROR had hired someone to replace DeWolfe Mann?"

The news took Olivia by surprise. "What? I mean no . . . no I didn't know. When did you find out?"

"This morning. I was at their office with Deborah Mann to help her collect her brother's belongings."

Olivia could not believe this. "And exactly when were you planning to tell me?" she demanded. She could not believe Cole! All day long, she and Darryl had been busting their asses to find a break in the Mann case and Cole had been holding out on them, since this morning!

Cole rolled his eyes. "Well, I thought we would be practicing this evening. Especially since I have been busy all day. With a job?"

"And I suppose you've never heard of that wonderful little invention called the telephone?" Olivia shot back. "Or a cell phone?" She sighed, as she struggled to keep her frustration in check. "You know what? Never mind. I don't suppose you know the name of this newcomer?"

"Portia. Portia Della Scalla." Cole walked over to the door and reached for the doorknob. "She's Italian and very beautiful. I'll see you later." He opened the door, spared both Olivia and Paul a cool look and left.

Paul let out a long gust of breath. "Man! That is one cool customer! I realize that you all consider him a close friend of yours, but . . ." He paused and shook his head. "I don't know. Who am I to judge? I hardly know the man."

Glaring at the closed door, Olivia muttered, "You're not the only one who feels that way. He can be so damn difficult, sometimes!" Then with great effort, she dismissed Cole from her mind and returned her attention to her guest. Olivia's smile returned. "Why don't we see about that coffee? Shall we?"


Monday, February 22, 2010

"The Love Triangle From Hell"


Now that the James "Sawyer" Ford/Juliet Burke romance has ended with a blast in "The Incident", fans of "LOST" are once again speculating on whom Kate Austen will choose for her permanent mate by the end of the series - James or Dr. Jack Shephard. Honestly? I no longer care. And right now, I am beginning to wonder if I ever did.

As much as I disliked Kate, I used to believe that she was better off with Sawyer. He seemed more like an equal partner than someone who would look down upon her . . . like Dr. Shephard. Then I remembered. Jack have a bad habit of treating Kate as a wayward child. How many times have viewers seen him vent his anger or frustrations upon her, treating her as someone beneath him? Then again, Jack also had a bad habit of being a pushover for Kate’s schemes and lies. After all, she did managed to manipulate him into opening the U.S. Marshal’s case in ”Whatever the Case May Be”, despite his anger at her lies. Even worse, he allowed himself to be manipulated into supporting her lie that she was Aaron Littleton’s mother.

I had figured that at least Sawyer would never have been stupid enough to be manipulated by an obvious liar like Kate. Looking back on their relationship, I realized I was wrong. Yes, Sawyer would have allowed himself to be manipulated by Kate. And he would have done so with his eyes wide open. Why? Because like Jack, he was stupid enough to do anything for her. He pretty much made that clear in ”The Hunting Party” and in one of the late Season 3 episodes, when they were sleeping together. Even Sawyer has used Kate . . . in his scheme to assume control of the castaways’ guns in ”The Long Con”. He used her to plant a suspicion about Ana-Lucia Cortez in order to distract everyone from his own scheme. But that was a rare occasion. Before Season 5, Sawyer allowed to use him. Especially for sex. What was even more pathetic about their Season 3 affair was that Kate was using him as rebound over her jealousy toward Jack’s new friendship with Juliet. Sawyer knew it and made the choice to be her bed warmer anyway. Moron.

Most Sawyer/Kate fans would see nothing wrong with this, arguing that Sawyer was a grown man who had made his own choice. Well, the Jack/Kate fans can say the same about Jack’s choices. After all, he did commit perjury at Kate’s trial to support her lies about her relationship with Aaron and to continue his own lies about her activities on the island, following their return to the States. And Jack finally did cave in to Kate’s ultimatum after their return to the States that he would be allowed to share her bed – only if he agreed to act as Aaron’s father. Thinking below his belt, Jack caved in to Kate’s demands, until his guilt over their lies led to a fight between them and his abandonment of Kate and Aaron. But it did not take him very long to help her keep custody of Aaron . . . even when the three year-old’s grandmother was in Los Angeles for business regarding her daughter’s death and Oceanic Airlines.

This also brings me to Juliet Burke. Jack had used her back in Season 3 and most of Season 4 to hide his own discovery of Kate and Sawyer’s sexual encounter in the Others’ cages. I think that Jack liked her a lot, but he was never in love with her. Yet, that did not stop him from using her. And I suspect that Sawyer did the same in Season 5. When I noticed Sawyer and Juliet’s interactions between each other in the first eight episodes of that season, I thought they made a first-rate pair and was happy to see their romance confirmed in ”La Fleur”. But recalling Sawyer’s reaction to seeing Kate again after three years at the end of that particular episode and the silent exchange that Juliet had witnessed in ”The Incident”, I now suspect that Sawyer may have used her as rebound for being apart from Kate during those three years. After all, it was Sawyer who had convinced Juliet to remain on the island, claiming that he needed her company. Perhaps he did. But if he really did love Kate more, I have nothing but contempt toward him for using Juliet . . . just as much as I have contempt toward Jack for doing the same thing. And I think I would have been happier if Jack, Sawyer and Kate had ended up in that pit before everything had blown to sky high, instead of Juliet.

Most fans would have pointed out that the Terrible Trio should not deserve Juliet’s fiery death. After all, Jacob had interacted with Jack, Kate and Sawyer before the fateful crash of Oceanic Airline’s Flight 815 in September 2004. But you know what? That would not have been a substantial argument for me. Considering Jacob’s view of humanity, I consider him to be a fucking moron. And the fact that he had ”touched” Jack, Sawyer and Kate did not impress me one bit. I still believe that their asses should have been blown to hell. Instead, Cuse and Lindehof will continue one of the most badly written love triangles in television history into the last season of ”LOST”. But I can no longer tolerate watching two men whom I hardly have any respect for, fight over a worthless bitch like Kate. No wonder I can barely muster any further interest in this series.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

"FROM PARIS WITH LOVE" (2010) Photo Gallery

John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers co-star in this action movie about a CIA hunt for a terrorist ring in Paris. Pierre Morel directed:

"FROM PARIS WITH LOVE" (2010) Photo Gallery

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ten Favorite SHERLOCK HOLMES Movies


Below is a list of my favorite movies featuring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes: 


1. "Without a Clue" (1988) - I still love this spoof of the Sherlock Holmes stories in which the real detective is Dr. John Watson, who has hired an unemployed alcoholic actor named Reginal Kincaid to satisfy the public's demand for a real Sherlock Holmes. In this film, the pair investigate the disappearance of Bank of England banknote plates and a printing supervisor. Michael Caine and Ben Kingsley are magic under Thom Eberhardt's direction.


2. "Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows" (2011) - Guy Richie made this second film about the Sherlock Holmes character and the latter's conflict with his worst nemesis, Professor James Moriraty and his attempt to stop a major assassination. I loved it even more than Ritchie's 2009 film. Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law starred as Holmes and Watson.

3. "Sherlock Holmes" (2009) - Guy Ritchie's adaptation of Doyle's character about Holmes' conflict against a nefarious aristocratic with plans to assume political control of the British Empire has become a major favorite of mine. Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, along with Rachel McAdams and Mark Strong star.

4. "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" (1939) - I am a big fan of this adaptation of William Gillette's play about Sherlock Holmes' investigation of a series of death threats against a well-to-do London family. This is the second film to feature Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as Holmes and Dr. Watson. Directed by Alfred L. Werker, the movie co-starred Ida Lupino and George Zucco.


5. The Seven-Per-Cent Solution" (1976) - I have always enjoyed Herbert Ross' adaptation of Nicholas Meyer's 1974 novel about Holmes and Watson recruiting Dr. Sigmund Freud to guide the detective in overcoming his cocaine habit and investigate a nefarious kidnapping plot. Nicol Williamson, Robert Duvall, Alan Arkin, Vanessa Redgrave and Laurence Olivier starred.

6. "The Hound of the Baskervilles" (1939) - This is my favorite adaptation of Doyle's novel about Holmes' investigation of an English family's connection to a "demon" hound and a Candandian heir to the family's fortunes. This is the first film to feature Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as Holmes and Dr. Watson. Sidney Lanfield directed.

7. "Young Sherlock Holmes" (1985) - Steven Spielberg produced and Barry Levinson directed this fanciful imagining of Holmes and Watson's first meeting as adolescents at a prestigious boys school, as they investigate a series of suspicious suicide deaths. Nicholas Rowe, Alan Cox, Anthony Higgins and Sophie Ward starred.

8. "The Hound of the Baskervilles" (1988) - This is one of my favorite adaptations of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes novels featuring Jeremy Brett as the detective. Edward Hardwicke co-starred as Dr. Watson. The movie was directed by Brian Mills.

9. "Murder By Decree" (1979) - Directed by Bob Clark, Holmes and Watson investigate the Jack the Ripper murders. Excellent, although a bit bloody for my tastes. Christopher Plummer and James Mason co-starred as Holmes and Watson.


10. "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes" (1970) - Billy Wilder directed this tale about a bored Sherlock Holmes, who eagerly decides to investigate the attempt on the life of a woman with a missing identity. Robert Stephens and Colin Blakely starred in this entertaining, yet flawed movie.