Monday, December 24, 2018

Cast and Crew - Russian adaptation of Sherlock Holmes

This is my second post about the Russian adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, directed by Igor Maslennikov and starring Vasily Livanov and Vitaly Solomin as “Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson”.

Please click here to read my earlier post.

russian mrs hudson image picture wallpaper screensaver poster

Rina Zelyonaya brings out the motherly and patient nature of the long-suffering landlady of the Bohemian detective. A nice touch is that Mrs Hudson is much smarter than the canonical one and is able to make a few deductions of her own.

Boris Klyuev makes a truly classy Mycroft, whose skills of observation and deduction exceed those of even Sherlock. He is bit on the leaner side, but nonetheless cuts a very commanding figure.

Boris Klyuev as Mycroft Holmes in the Russian adaptation of Sherlock Holmes
Boris Klyuev as Mycroft Holmes
Borislav Brondukov brings down the house with his portrayal of Inspector Lestrade. He is probably the best Lestrade ever in terms of physical appearance: small, rat-faced and sly. Where Borislav excels is the spirit and cheer that he imbues in his depiction of the famous Scotland Yard detective.

Click on the link below to buy the DVD:

Igor Maslennikov, the director of this TV series, has done a stupendous job. He completed his education in Journalism from Leningrad University in 1954. He has worked as editor, script writer, cameraman and director in a career spanning more than 30 years.

Igor Maselnnikov, the director of the Russian adaptation of Sherlock Holmes
Igor Maselnnikov, the director
Maslennikov's work on this adaptation of Sherlock Holmes brought him well-deserved recognition and success. Maslennikov's passion and reverence for Sir Doyle's works are evident in the aesthetically done opening credits as well as the costumes, sets and the casting choices. It would have taken considerable efforts from the director and his crew to recreate Victorian England in Russia. Hats off to the entire team and especially Maslennikov for helming such a wonderful and elegant adaptation of Sherlock Holmes.

He is ably assisted by Vladimir Dashkevich, whose music takes the series to a whole new level. His music is an instant classic, in every sense of the word.

Vladimir Dashkevich, the music composer of the Russian adaptation of Sherlock Holmes
Vladimir Dashkevich, the music composer

The Russian adaptation of Sherlock Holmes is a perfect marriage of great ensemble acting, a classic soundtrack and impeccable direction.

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

Image Source: Lenfilm Film Studio

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Vasily Livanov as Sherlock Holmes
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Friday, December 21, 2018

Hellboy (2019) Trailer - Review/Reaction

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The long awaited trailer for the Neil Marshall directed Hellboy movie was released recently. This is a reboot with David Harbour taking over the mantle of the titular superhero from Ron Perlman.

Joining David Harbour are Ian Shane (replacing John Hurt) as Professor Broom, Sasha Lane, Milla Jovovich and Daniel Dae Kim.

Check out the trailer:

This trailer proved to be underwhelming. The movie tries to ape the MCU movie style of humor that so many recent movies have tried desperately and failed.

This is an important point as Mike Mignola (creator of Hellboy) himself gave his stamp of approval for the reboot and claimed that is much closer to his vision for the character.

It is possible that Mignola and Marshall tried to bring the superhero back to his horror roots and stay away from the particular sense of humor that del Toro and Ron Perlman brought so successfully to the movies. Guillermo's sense of humor was enjoyable and meshed well with the flow of movie.

But here it is a different situation. Perhaps the studio forced the director to include the comedic tone to the movie. The trailer itself starts with a scene that is intended to showcase the comedic nature of the movie, but then the trailer switches gears and becomes a save-the-world movie with our hero being the only guy capable of stopping the apocalypse.

The humor looks forced and either comes off as childish or falls flat most of the time. One of the lines (“Hey, I am on your side”) is directly lifted from the first Guillermo del Toro movie:

Similarly, Hellboy's fight against a bigger opponent reminds one of the encounter between Hellboy and Wink in the fantastic Troll Market sequence of Hellboy II: The Golden Army.

Considering that Mike Mignola clearly wanted this movie not to take the del Toro route, the trailer is just surprising to say the least.

Not only the CGI but even the production values look below average. There is a generic blockbuster feel to the whole movie that clearly misses the unique horror/comic book roots of the character that Mike Mignola repeatedly claimed that this movie would have.

The actors appear uninterested with Ian Shane looking positively bored as Professor Broom. Ditto for Sasha Lane and Daniel Dae Kim. Milla Jovovich seems to be in just for the paycheck.

David Harbour's take on the character might be lost in the obvious (but failed) attempts at humor. Fingers crossed on this.

I was looking forward to this movie primarily for two reasons: the director and for featuring one of my favorite superheroes.

Neil Marshall has directed one of my favorite werewolf movies: Dog Soldiers. That movie was made on a much lower budget than this one and had a great screenplay, acting and action sequences. I also liked Centurion starring Michael Fassbender and Olga Kurylenko.

I can only assume that studio interference has played a significant factor in the dumbing down of his latest effort.

This trailer confirms that it would have been a better idea for Universal Pictures and Mignola to have let Guillermo del Toro make the series finale. He clearly had great ideas for the third chapter that would have completed the story arc for Anung Un Rama and Liz Sherman.

Well, Ron Perlman looks set to be the definitive version of Hellboy and the del Toro movies would remain classics - a recognition very well deserved.

Click on the link below to buy Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy:

Click here to read all my posts about movies.

Image Sources: Nu Boyana FX, Campbell Grobman Films, Dark Horse Entertainment, Lawrence Gordon Productions, Millennium Films 

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) Trailer - Review/Reaction

godzilla king ghidorah 2019 movie poster picture image wallpaper screensaver

The second trailer for the latest movie in Legendary's MonsterVerse has been released. The first two entries in the series (Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island) were both critically and commercially acclaimed.

Directed by Michael Dougherty (Trick 'r Treat), the upcoming movie stars Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance, Ziyi Zhang, Ken Watanabe and others.

Check out the trailer:

The movie promises an epic scope and the monster vs monster action sequences look appropriately larger than life.

I liked the first movie, even though I felt some of the fight sequences were shot a bit too dark for my tastes. Otherwise, Godzilla himself was brought to life beautifully.

The sequel promises to up the ante by adding not one but three fellow Titans. Yes, the Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism (MUTOs) are now referred to as Titans. Speaking of the Titans, we have King Ghidorah, Rodan and Mothra. But honestly speaking, I expect Mothra to be an ally rather than an foe.

Click on the link below to buy Godzilla/Kong:Skull Island:

Michael Dougherty seems to have nailed the money shots really well. There are some delightfully choreographed action sequences that have piqued my interest.

Vera Farmiga is her usual self. Just as Sally Hawkins seems to have stepped right out of The Shape of Water set. I am interested to see what Ziyi Zhang does with her role. While she does give a great reaction shot (like the rest of the cast), hopefully she will bring something else to the table.

All in all, this looks to be a movie made specifically for fans of Godzilla and Kaiju monsters.
Click here to read all my posts about movies.

Image Sources: Legendary Entertainment, Wanda Qingdao Studios, Warner Bros.