By G. Michael Dobbs
The return of Sherlock Holmes and a cute romantic comedy are in this week’s viewing list.
Sherlock Season Three
When we last saw Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch), he had fallen to his apparent death in front of his friend and associate Dr. John Watson (Martin Freeman) in an effort to defeat the arch criminal Moriarty. Although the audience knew Holmes had somehow faked the fatal fall, Watson did not.
The challenge of the season opener of the three new Holmes/Watson movies was how to bring back Holmes, explain how he created the illusion and how he was going to re-introduce himself to Watson.
The answer is the writers, directors and producers took to those challenges well and created a group of films with strong storylines, heartfelt emotion, twists, turns and humor.
The first episode is dominated by Watson trying to adjust to Holmes’ return, especially in light that he has fallen in love in intends to propose marriage to Mary (played by Amanda Abbington).
The second film is undoubtedly the one with the greatest humor as Holmes has to be Watson’s best man at his wedding as well as solve a murder mystery taking place at it.
The last movie is a pretty amazing piece of work with essentially two mysteries interwoven with one another. All of the stories are based on specific Conan Doyle stories and I’m being careful not to reveal too much of the plots as the way they unfold is certainly part of the pleasure of the series.
I was raised on the Basil Rathbone films, discovered Peter Cushing’s Holmes in college and enjoyed the Jeremy Brett series as well. Holmes is not a character that can be played by every tall, sharp-featured actor and I’m certainly picky about Holmes and who portrays him.
Cumberbatch has carved out his own interpretation and it fits not only 21st century expectations for the character, but is a truthful reading of the Conan Doyle characterization.
I’m even more impressed with Freeman’s Watson. Watson was no idiot in the original stories, even though all too often he is some sort of comic relief in adaptations. Freeman plays a complex guy, who clearly cares for Holmes while also resisting the urge to strangle him.
If you haven’t seen season three as yet, get ahold of the DVD and reserve time on the couch this weekend.
A Case of You
I’m also intrigued when well-known actors write or produce material for themselves and since I like Justin Long’s work a great deal, I popped this romantic comedy just released on home video into the machine.
The result was a happy surprise. Although I only laughed out loud once during this film, I found it sweet and sincere and easy to endure.
I say “endure” because romantic comedies follow a pretty predictable format: a couple meets, fall in love, one or both people do something stupid and there is then an emotional reunion.
To be successful, a romantic comedy must give audiences what they expect, but then must do it in a way that adds some originality to the proceedings.
That is what happens here. Long wrote the script with his brother Christian and his co-star Kier O’Donnell and included enough funky urban details to make it different.
Long stars as Sam, a writer who makes his living turning movie scripts into novels. He doesn’t like the work, but feels stuck. He is also lonely but is very uneasy around women. He has a crush on the barista at the nearby coffee shop, Birdie (played with great appeal by Evan Rachel Wood) and hits upon a plan: he will mine her Facebook page for her likes and dislikes and become the man of her dreams.
The premise is intriguing for a comedy – it would also suit a thriller or horror film as well – and the two leads are very likable.
While no classic, “A Case of You” isn’t a bad way to spend 90 minutes.