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Sunday, January 03, 2010

Things I Did Yesterday 03/01/10

Jesus, it's a bit bloody cold out, isn't it? Anyway, yesterday I:

- Slept in until 9.30 because, well, no reason really. I just did. Tooled about a little, then decided we were going to head up to Wood Green and see Sherlock Holmes. Harangued wifey out of bed so that we could get up there in plenty of time for the midday screening.

- Saw Sherlock Holmes. When I first saw the trailer for this, I thought it looked for all the world like parody: a Player-esque satire of producers cheapening the work of writers who had no doubt crafted an intelligent, literate detective mystery. The fact that it was produced by Joel Silver only helped the impression. But still, I found myself looking forward to it. It looked fun, and I was interested to see what Guy Ritchie - a director whose visual flourishes I generally enjoy for all his flaws as a writer - would be like working from someone else's script. Plus, Robert Downey Jr has just the right charisma to pull something like this off.
Happy to say, I wasn't disappointed. Sherlock Holmes is a well-formed action adventure which isn't quite as Silver-ised as you might assume and actually still provides a surprising amount of Holmesian deduction. Okay, some of it is ridiculous, but then wasn't it always? The fight sequences, where Holmes (with us along for the ride) plans the entire fight out in his head before engaging his opponent is a fun gimmick which isn't overused, but I can see it annoying some. Still, as a means of opening the door to Action Holmes, I think it's a nice idea.
Of course, as a film it's not reinventing the wheel, and the characters are certainly staple archetypes for this kind of adventure: the flawed protagonist; the long suffering sidekick; the sassy love interest with a checkered past who's the protagonist's only true weakness. But it entertains, which is exactly what it sets out to do. Now, if you can't get over the idea of a contemporised Holmes, well then you're probably wasting your time even trying to get with this, but if the idea doesn't make you entirely ill, then give it a go. Big thumbs up. Oh, and I'm happy to see black magic practitioners as the bad guys. Not enough devil worship (or near enough) in movies these days.

- Jumped a bus back down to Clissold Park and went to a pub called the White Horse, which is run by a very nice Turkish guy. The only food they have are Turkish mezzes, so we got a few in and they were absolutely delicious, particularly the chargrilled chicken wings. Nice fresh Turkish bread, too.

- Got home, got a haircut, then got on the bus and headed into town. Wifey stayed at home as she wasn't feeling the best, almost as though she had just had a week of late nights and heavy drinking. Weird. It was Tom Hardy's birthday and he was having drinks down at the White Heart pub on Drury Lane (London's oldest licensed premises, dontchaknow!) The pub has gone back to a pleasant pub-styled atmosphere after a short ill-advised stint as a wine bar. Still a bit more civilised than its Scream chain days though. Lovely night and nice to see the folks there! Left about 9.30, bought some lamb ribs from Chicken Shack, or whatever the chicken joint down near Holborn is called (Chicken Village?) then jumped a bus back home.

- Had a craving to watch Once Upon a Time in the West, but couldn't find my copy. Very frustrating!

- Watched Vengeance instead, a Johnnie To film starring 50's French rock'n'roller Johnny Hallyday, who really needs to stop the plastic surgery. Anyway, it actually worked quite well for his character, and suited the whole cool, distant feel of the film. I enjoyed it; an art-house action film which recalls some of the feel of early-90's Hong Kong cinema when it was still surprising and fresh. Unusually choreographed action wrapped in a story heavy with themes of family, loyalty and brotherhood. Johnnie To is someone whose name I've heard a bit before, mainly relating to the film Election from a few years back, but who I've never actually seen any films from. Well, so I thought (he says, checking IMDB): turns out he directed The Heroic Trio back in 1993, which I loved, so small wonder he should capture that early 90's feel so well. Based on Vengeance, I'm definitely going to track down Election.

- Went to sleep. Badly.

1 comment:

  1. Johnnie To is one of the great pure stylists of modern cinema. Everything he shoots looks great and his storytelling is superb.
    Both Election films are awesome - the best scripts he's had, I think - but Exiled, PTU and Breaking News are all worth tracking down too.
    Good to see you posting again.