Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Trailer: Robert Downey Jr. in Call of Duty Black Ops 2




I am not much of a gamer and most probably will not be playing/purchasing this game.

The ad caught my attention due to the fact that it has been directed by Guy Ritchie who also worked with Robert Downey Jr. in Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Hope they start working on the third Sherlock Holmes movie soon...

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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
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Sunday, October 28, 2012

White Tigers


White Tiger Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
The Majestic White Tiger
White Tigers are extremely rare in the wild and are found in India, Southeast Asia, China and Southeast Russia.

Males weigh between 440 to 570 lbs and Females weigh between 220 to 350 lbs.

White Tiger Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
A White Tiger's length can be anywhere between 4.5 to 10 ft
White Tigers have a lifespan of 26 years in the wild.

White Tigers prey on wild pigs, deer and other hoofed mammals.

White Tigers Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
White Tigers enjoying a nap
White Tiger Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

Taken at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

TV Review: Elementary Episode # 4 - "The Rat Race"


Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in Elementary Episode # 4 "The Rat Race"
Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in Elementary
Click here to read the review of the previous episode - "Child Predator".

The COO of a prominent company is missing and Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) is hired to investigate the disappearance. The missing man is soon found dead with his hand still holding the needle that supposedly delivered the fatal dose. Detective Bell (Jon Michael Hill) is quick to classify the death as a case of suicide.

Sherlock, astute as always, suspects foul play and is proved right when he discovers 3 other previous instances of strange deaths in the company.

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Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) is “ambushed” by her friend for a surprise date with a stranger. Watson starts developing the skills of observation and deduction from her current client and this proves vital to the case conclusion.

I spotted the following Canonical References. There are some spoilers below. If you have not watched the episode yet, skipping this section of the review would be a good idea.
  1. Miller’s Sherlock confesses to a character that he is fascinated with her for her initiative and patience. This reminded me of the following line spoken by Holmes to Watson in The Sign of Four – “I assure you that the most winning woman I ever knew was hanged for poisoning three little children for their insurance-money, and the most repellent man of my acquaintance is a philanthropist who has spent nearly a quarter of a million upon the London poor.”
  2. Miller’s Holmes uses Social Engineering tactics to get inside an apartment. The Canonical Holmes used similar tactics to obtain information from Milverton’s housemaid in The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton.
  3. Miller’s Sherlock mentions to a character about his habit of picking locks and pockets. In the story The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton, Holmes displays his burgling kit, complete with keys, glass-cutter and a jimmy. I am not sure if Holmes actually picked someone’s pockets in the Canon, but he did put the Mazarin Stone into the overcoat pocket of Lord Cantlemere in The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone.
  4. Miller’s Holmes admits to Gregson that he is vain about his talents. This reminded me of the following observation by Dr Watson from The Adventure of the Red Circle - "Holmes was accessible upon the side of flattery…”
  5. Miller’s Sherlock charges the company 12 times his standard consulting rates and later confesses to Watson that he has no standard rates. This is actually a direct departure from the Canon where he states in The Problem of Thor Bridge - "My professional charges are upon a fixed scale … I do not vary them, save when I remit them altogether."
I liked the second half of the episode better. Watson’s scenes with her surprise date were just plain boring. She did redeem herself in the end though.


Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as Joan Watson in Elementary Episode # 4 "The Rat Race"
Lucy Liu as Joan Watson
I liked Sherlock’s exchanges with Gregson and Watson in the closing scenes. They were very Sherlockian in nature and helped the show establish its credibility as a respectable adaptation of the legendary detective.

Click here to read the review of the next episode - "Lesser Evils".

Click here to read all my posts about CBS Elementary.

Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in Elementary Episode # 4 "The Rat Race"
Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes

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Elementary - Flight Risk
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

TV Review: Arrow Episode # 3 - "Lone Gunmen"


Stephen Amell as Arrow in Arrow Episode # 3 "Lone Gunmen"
Stephen Amell as Arrow

Arrow is about to take down his latest target, John Holder (Tobias Slezak). An unknown assassin beats him at his own game and kills Holder just as Arrow is confronting him.

This killer turns out to be Deadshot (Michael Rowe) uses bullets tipped with Curare, a rare poison. Deadshot’s next target happens to be Walter Steele (Colin Salmon), Oliver’s new stepfather.



Michael Rowe as Deadshot in Arrow Episode # 3 "Lone Gunmen"
Michael Rowe as Deadshot
Oliver decides to take help from the official force and approaches Detective Lance.

In the episode’s subplot, Thea breaks into a shop in search for drugs and is grounded. We also some more flashbacks about Oliver’s time spent on the island.

Deadshot is a well-known character in the DC Comics and it was disappointing that his character was not given much scope in this episode. In the brief moments, that we get to see him, he is doing the usual lone assassin stuff - striking macho pose, checking his weapons etc. I hope they do a better job with Deathstroke and other prominent DC villains and not treat them as a regular weekly villain of the show type character.

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To make things worse, the show is getting little bit repetitive. I find the same 2 threads in all 3 episodes so far:
  1. Oliver going after a corrupt businessman/mobster.
  2. CWesque romantic subplots
Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak in Arrow Episode # 3 "Lone Gunmen"
Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak

On the bright side Amell is still appealing as Oliver/Arrow. Colin Donnell gets more screen time as Tommy Merlyn.

We are introduced to a new character, Felicity Smoak played by Emily Bett Rickards. Felicity works in the IT department of Queen's company and looks set to be this show's version of Lucius Fox. Oliver gets another ally at the end of the episode and I will leave it at that to keep this review spoiler-free.

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Image Source: CW

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Trailer: Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 3


Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark Iron Man in Iron Man 3

The trailer for the upcoming movie, Iron Man 3 starring Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man is out.



Joining the regular cast Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle and Jon Favreau are Sir Ben Kingsley and Guy Pearce. Ben Kingsley plays The Mandarin, the archenemy of Iron Man. I think he will make a great villain and seems a very inspired casting choice.
Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin in Iron Man 3
Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin

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Image Source: IGN


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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Trailer: Skyfall (2012)


Daniel Craig as James Bond 007 in Skyfall

Here is the latest trailer for upcoming James Bond movie, Skyfall...


Starring Daniel Craig, Helen McCrory and Javier Bardam. Directed by Sam Mendes.


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Image Source: Cinedork.com


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Happy Birthday, Igor Maslennikov


Happy Birthday, Igor Maslennikov Director of the Russian adaptation of Sherlock Holmes
Igor Maslennikov (L) on the sets of the Russian adaptation of Sherlock Holmes

Igor Maslennikov was born on this day in 1931. Igor directed the Russian adaptation of Sherlock Holmes (1979 - 1986).

Vasily Livanov is my all-time favorite actor to play Sherlock Holmes. Vitaly Solomin makes a great Watson as well. The Russian adaptation captures the essence of Victorian England successfully and credit is due to Igor for delivering such a fantastic series. Click here to read more about Igor Maslennikov.

Happy Birthday, Igor and Wishing You a Long and Healthy Life ahead! 

Click here to read all my posts about the Russian adaptation of Sherlock Holmes. 

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

TV Review: Elementary Episode # 3 - "Child Predator"


Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in Elementary Episode # 3 "Child Predator"
Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in CBS Elementary

Click here and here to read reviews of the pilot episode and second episode respectively.

A serial killer nicknamed "Balloon Man" has been abducting and killing children since 2005. His latest victim puts Sherlock on his trail.

Sherlock puts in long hours on the case and even skips his meals. Watson attempts to help him relax by teaching him some squatting exercises.

Sherlock finds out that the perpetrator used a brown van. In an unexpected twist, when cops track the van down, instead of the Balloon Man, they run into Adam Kemper, the first victim way back in 2005.

The boy is traumatized and refuses to open up. Sherlock attempts to connect with him to solve the case.

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Miller finally seems to be coming out of the shadows of Cumberbatch and Downey Jr’s perfomances. He is putting his personal stamp on the role. We find out that Miller’s Sherlock has been to boarding school and had a bad childhood due to his abusive father.

Lucy Liu’s Watson on the other hand actually took a turn for the worse. She seemed a bit off in some of the scenes.



Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes in Elementary Episode # 3 "Child Predator"
Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes
I spotted the following Canonical References:
  1. In one of his exchanges with Gregson, Miller quotes this exact line from A Study in Scarlet - "From a drop of water a logician could infer the possibility of an Atlantic or a Niagara without having seen or heard of one or the other”
  2. Working non-stop on a case without sleep or food is a trademark of the Canonical Holmes.
Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes, Lucy Liu as Joan Watson and Aidan Quinn as Captain Gregson in Elementary Episode # 3 "Child Predator"
Lucy Liu, Aidan Quinn and Jonny Lee Miller in CBS Elementary

This episode is a definite improvement from the previous one. Let’s hope the show can maintain the same quality or (possibly) improve further in the next episodes.

Click here to read all my posts about CBS Elementary.

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TV Review: Arrow Episode # 2 - "Honor Thy Father"


Stephen Amell as Arrow in Arrow Episode # 2 "Honor Thy Father"
Stephen Amell as Arrow

Click here to read the review of the pilot episode.

Oliver makes a court appearance to have this death certificate nullified. We get more details about the shipwreck in this scene and towards the end of the episode.

Oliver’s mother expects him to take over the company. Oliver is dead set against such a move and even makes a public announcement about his intentions. Not everything is down in Oliver’s life though. On the upside, Oliver bonds with his sister, Thea Queen (Willa Holland).

Willa Holland and Stephen Amell as Thea Queen and Oliver Queen in Arrow Episode # 2 "Honor Thy Father"
Willa Holland and Stephen Amell as Thea Queen and Oliver Queen

The focus of this episode is not only on Oliver, but also on his ex-girlfriend, Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy). Laurel is prosecuting Martin Somers, a mobster with links to the Chinese Triad. Things get personal when the mob makes an attempt on Laurel’s life. Oliver saves the day and goes after Somers.

In one of the secondary plots, Oliver’s friend Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell) is up to no good and is quite resentful of Laurel's affections for Oliver.

Stephen Amell and Katie Cassidy as Oliver Queen and Laurel Lance in Arrow Episode # 2 "Honor Thy Father"
Stephen Amell and Katie Cassidy as Oliver Queen and Laurel Lance in Arrow
Pros
  • Stephen Amell shows strong improvement on the acting front. His facial expressions sometimes reminded me of Christian Bale (as Bruce Wayne). Amell may not be Christian Bale, but he is no Robert Pattinson either.
  • If Twilight was the target last week, this episode takes a nice jab at the Kardashians. I love these digs.
Stephen Amell as Arrow in Arrow Episode # 2 "Honor Thy Father"
Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen

Cons
  • Paul Blackthorne (born 1969) and Katie Cassidy (born 1986) do not make a believable father-daughter duo. They are more suited to be a couple!
  • Kelly Hu does not have much to do as China White, an assassin with an outlandish hairdo. She appears in just 3 scenes and her total screen time would definitely be just around 5 minutes. Her climactic showdown with Arrow is strangely anti-climactic and is a major letdown. Kelly was way more intimidating and effective as Yuriko Oyama / Lady Deathstrike in X2: X-Men United (2003).
Kelly Hu as Lady Deathstrike (R) and China White (L) Arrow Episode # 2 "Honor Thy Father"
Kelly Hu did much better as Lady Deathstrike (R) than as China White (L)

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Summary


The writers have done some excellent character development and Amell is eminently watchable. Both these factors bode very well for the show’s future.

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Image Source: CWComicvine

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