Meitantei Conan: Hannin No Hanzawa-San

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Conan’s got himself a new spinoff. Having the main character be one of the villains is definitely a fairly unique idea. We’ll see if it pays off for the series or if it’ll end up jumping over the shark here. One thing’s for sure, I’ll have the review up once the series ends.

Overall 7/10

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Scooby-Doo! and the Gourmet Ghost Review

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It’s time to look at the recent Scooby Doo film. This series has definitely been a fun one that adapts over time. The first few films took themselves rather seriously with life and death stakes at play. This gradually changed as the films got a little more self aware and decided to play around with the ghosts. Nowadays the series likes to poke fun at itself while heading to the goal. It’s not necessarily a bad thing as the humor tends to work well but I will say that the original films still tend to be the best ones. This one is a solid installment that plays out like you would expect. It’s entertaining even if it’s nothing groundbreaking.

The film starts with the gang getting ready to head over to the manor of Fred’s uncle. He is a famous cook who really knows how to get a nice dish on the fryer. Shaggy and Scooby are glad to finally be somewhere where they can eat to their heart’s content. They’re naturally pretty thrilled, but it turns out that this vacation may not be all fun and games. A local ghost has shown up and is terrorizing the cooks. It looks like the uncle might have to finally sell his place to a very eager real estate agent who has been visiting lately. Fred decides that the gang will have to put an end to this, but how can they possibly compete with a supernatural entity like a ghost?

We’ve got a few suspects on the docket for this film. First off we can probably eliminate the guest stars. I mean, the uncle and the other cook could possibly be the crooks I suppose, but doing that to a celebrity guest star would be pretty surprising. On that note, we’ll start the suspect list off with Noseworthy. His name is pretty memorable so you won’t be forgetting him. He’s a disgruntled guy who manages to fields for the cooks. Unfortunately he has a habit of trying to scare off the guests and always brings up the ghosts. The guy was fired but still lives on the land to prove that he can. His motive is clear and the guy is pretty suspicious. Keep an eye out for this guy.

Then you have the very mean cook who is always throwing knives around. She’s rather obnoxious which is a pretty good reason to be the crook already. I have to mention here that from all of the comedy gags in this film hers was the only one that I thought fell flat. It’s not a very funny subplot with her running around making threats all the time. She comes off as mainly a time filler who doesn’t actually contribute to anything that is happening on screen. Without her the film’s pacing would only get better. Then we have the real estate agent. Naturally he wants to buy the place now that it’s pretty cheap. Pretty convenient timing eh? This kind of character seems to show up in just about every Scooby Doo film, but his presence is appreciated nonetheless. He’s also a fun character to be honest and keeps everyone honest. You need a selfish character like this one to provide a nice contrast to everyone else.

There’s also a big fan of the uncle’s who is also one of the biggest writers out there. He wrote a book about Fred’s ancestor who used to be a great war hero during the Revolutionary war. He has built his life around the guy’s reputation and has a lot to lose if any scandals got out. Maybe he needs the place closed down to save his legacy. The whole reputation business is a big subplot here although it’s one that is almost comical to an extent. So, this ancestor was a double agent who was working for America against the British. This is public knowledge. However, the heroes find a book that suggests he was feeding the enemies intel about Washington and his troops. Now, one assumption might be that he was actually working for the British all along, but I like to think that your first thought would simply be that he was keeping up the act and it was false intel. Why suddenly believe that he was turned all along? It leads to some twists and drama of course, but I think the heroes should have had more confidence in him.

The Mystery Gang is basically the same as always. This time around Velma and Daphne don’t get a whole lot to do since this is Fred’s movie. Shaggy and Scooby have a large role in all of the films regardless of who the focus is on so often times out of the main 5, 2 are left out. Daphne and Velma do good in the scenes that they’re in which is good. Fred’s the standout here as he does his best to keep the villains down while saving the food industry. Shaggy and Scooby also have some pretty meta moments like when they admit that they often pretend to be scared so they can score some grub. Depending how seriously you take this quote it has a lot of serious implications. Well, I suppose that’s why they say it’s always good to have these two in your corner. Scooby still comes across as very petty next to Shaggy though. He’s constantly stealing food from the poor guy even when Shaggy is always careful to share the food equally.

We’ve also got some cats running around who are fun enough. I don’t ultimately think they had much of a purpose being here, but at least Scooby isn’t the only animal running around now right? From the two celebrities, the best one was probably the heroine. She learned self defense and many forms of combat as a hobby which lets her help the team out when the ghost shows up. When you consider the fact that she can fight, you’ll probably just start to wonder why they’re running at all. Surely the group can handle one ghost right? Meanwhile the uncle bakes some mean cookies so that’s something to be admired. I could go for a few homemade chocolate chip cookies myself to be honest.

Overall, The film is pretty fun. The pacing is solid and the adventure goes by very quickly. Aside from the old lady the humor was on point. The characters don’t come across as overly annoying or anything like that. If there was anything else that was a little weak for the film it would be the ghost. It probably has one of the worst designs for a villain that we’ve seen in Scooby Doo. It’s played a little more for laughs than usual and he could have looked a whole lot more intimidating. It is what it is I suppose, but giving the heroes someone to really fear would have gone a long way.

Overall 7/10

Phone Call from a Stranger Review

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It’s time to look at an old film that you may or may not be familiar with. It’s a story with the highest of stakes and the most personal of characters. A fun movie all around even if the mistakes that some of the characters make are too big to be easily overlooked. It’s got a good message at the end though and you’ve always got to hope for the best.

The film starts off with the main character running away from home because his wife cheated on him. She says that it was just a moment of weakness but Trask can’t live with that and takes a train far away. As he heads to the plane he runs into a few other characters dealing with their own hardships. They may be a bit loud or overzealous at times but they make the trip go smoother. That’s when the plane crash occurs and now it’s up to David to finalize everyone’s situations so they can move on. However, will the families want to hear anything that a stranger has to say?

The film is pretty long which is what helps it put in the first half purely so we can learn about the other characters. They’ve all got their own journeys and such going on which the main character learns gradually. You may not even suspect the second half’s plot if you didn’t know it beforehand. It’s a rather drastic change in the direction of the film but the fact that it happens so quickly is what helps it succeed. It’s a little tough to have things occur unexpectedly nowadays but this film pulled it off.

The writing is pretty solid as you would expect. The characters all sound reasonable and that’s part of how the film was able to be as engaging as it was. The pacing is also good so the film doesn’t drag on. The long length was definitely a good thing in this case since it allowed the movie to give us a few scenes with each of the characters before the second act. Had the film been shorter like most old movies, then they would have had to axe most of the first half.

For the characters, it’ll really depend on which ones you sympathize with. I certainly couldn’t root for the doctor as drunk or not, he went way too far off the deep end. Especially if it was a recurring issue with him then he should have not even let himself near a drink. His issue also affected a lot of other people besides himself so even after he apologized it was a little iffy. Better late than never though and at least he did regret it. His son definitely didn’t take any of it well though and was the biggest ingrate in the film.

Then we have the aspiring actress who was good at reading people. Her story was probably the most entertaining despite being tragic as her husband’s mother kept trying to sabotage her at every corner. We even get a flashback from the mother’s point of view where we see a twisted version of the past. I did like the heroic outfit she had on and the over the top theatrics of the scene are part of why it was so fun. If you’re going to show us a make believe story you may as well make it completely crazy to ensure that it’s super amusing. In this case, the husband has to be blamed for most of it since he comes across as incredibly gullible. He just looks so bad here and in the end the mother basically won. She may have been the antagonist with malicious intent, but the husband is still the worse character.

In the final plot we had the flirt who was always laughing. Some of those laughs felt so sudden that you could swear that the channel added them but I don’t suspect that TCM would do such a thing. They’re usually on the up and up to be honest. This guy always jokes around but apparently he is a devoted husband otherwise. Definitely not the best of tropes and I can’t say that I ever liked him. Then we have the wife who was cheating on him until the rebound guy ran away. It’s hard to sympathize with anyone here so it makes sense that their plot was left for last and seemed to be the shortest. If the guy hadn’t ducked out on her then the wife wouldn’t have even gone back to the guy. The guy still flirts behind her back as well so it just seems pretty bad for both parties involved.

As the film ends you’ll keep on waiting for a twist involving the 2 survivors, but it never comes up. I suppose in a way that in itself is a twist. After all, what are the odds that the other two survivors would be anyone important? Technically it makes sense that they would have nothing to do with the movie. I suppose it would have been nice to have seen them, but it certainly wasn’t of any real consequence. It’s not something that will likely hurt your enjoyment of the film at any rate. Only the flip side can possibly do that as some of the characters who die could have been more likable than the ones who lived in which case you, the viewer may not take it as well.

Overall, This was definitely an interesting movie. It had a lot of twists and turns within it. I definitely don’t think I’d be thrilled to have a random stranger show up to give some last words but it’s still a thoughtful gesture regardless. I’d recommend checking this film out. As long as you enjoy a good story I think you’ll like this movie. There aren’t any big explosions or danger in general, but it does a good job of being a drama film without having to rely on anything extra. It’s all about the dialogue and the film does a good job of selling itself.

Overall 7/10

Stranger on the Third Floor Review

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It’s time to look at a really old noir film. This one deals with the court system which is always fun and the heroes have to wonder if the Jury is really paying attention. After being on the jury I can say that this film was actually super realistic both in how the jury absolutely doesn’t care in with the judge who has already made up his mind. The film is a pretty solid thriller throughout and while a certain character can be rather annoying, it’s a fun package overall.

The movie starts off with Mike finally getting his big break. He noticed someone talking tough about murdering another guy and shortly afterwards we find out that the person was stabbed. The suspect is taken into court and thanks to Mike’s testimony he is taken to prison to await the chair. Mike’s friend Jane isn’t thrilled about all of this and decides to guilt trip Mike. She basically says that he should have just pretended not to notice and then the guy would have been caught. She believes that he is innocent and this gives Mike nightmares. A similar situation occurs in his house and now the cops think he is the murderer of a different case. How will he get out of this one?

In case you didn’t guess, the character I didn’t like here was definitely Jane. I definitely don’t think she was in the right with guilt tripping Mike so much. Once he was on the stand he was obligated to tell the truth after all. If her issue was that he let the cops know in the first place she should have specified that a little more. Even so that would be morally dubious as well.Maybe it was the fact that Mike seemed to take a little joy in all of this for his promotion. Either way she just didn’t handle the situation well and then showing up in court only to make a scene and run off didn’t help either. She shouldn’t have gone if she was going to be that excitable. She just didn’t really contribute much until the very end. At that point her plan also could have sued some serious work as she needed to call the cops right away or force herself into the house. Walking around with a murderer just usually isn’t going to end well. She also looked bad in the dream, but I guess I won’t count that since it wasn’t technically her.

Mike is a reasonable main character even if he tends to overthink things quite a bit by the end. Especially after the whole gloves thing he probably shouldn’t have just grabbed the door so casually. Beginning to pack was also sketchy since he knows that it didn’t really help the other guy’s case all that much. Phoning it in to the cops was definitely the right move at least even if it came close to backfiring. Mike just didn’t really think these things through. He was a fun character for the first half, but he just wasn’t very smart and got maybe too distracted by romance as well. Then we see his flashbacks where he constantly flies off the handle and is tempted to murder someone multiple times so I think the guy was just unhinged. It would explain his dream sequence as well.

The dream was quite good though. Also, while I wasn’t a big fan of the main duo, this was still a very solid film. The writing is on point and the court scenes are fun. It’s a quality thriller that builds up the tension and doesn’t go for any crazy shock value. That’s the kind of film that you want in your corner. The pacing is on point and even though it seems to be made on a fairly small budget you never feel confined to any one backdrop. The core characters have enough personality to keep you entertained.

I was getting mixed signals from Jane the whole time though. The scene inside Mike’s apartment was just odd as she kept moving away from Mike and denying him the whole time. She would do that, but didn’t actually leave and came across as half flirting. I thought the film was going to have her admit that she didn’t actually like him, but the movie never goes there. It just feels like a random plot point.

This film made sure to make the neighbor rather unlikable, but he wasn’t too terrible I’d say. The guy was rather annoying, but not completely unreasonable in some areas. If the rule really is not to have any guests over then he’s not technically wrong. The type writer part is tricky but it did seem rather loud so maybe Mike could have done something to be quieter. I don’t think he was ever intended to be a sympathetic character though.

The dream sequence is rather long, but certainly well done. It’s a nice look at what could have happened and the whole situation almost came to pass. I have no doubt that Jane would take the stand against Mike and the Jury probably wouldn’t believe his story. Especially since Mike was intent on mentioning his dreams and pre-cog abilities. Since he is a reporter you’d think that Mike would realize how crazy that all sounded. Again, he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed.

As for the actual villain in this film, I can’t say that he was very smart. He was constantly tempting fate by staying near the scene of the crime. It’s hard to even say what his goal was here. I assume he is murdering people to get some money and he doesn’t want to go back to prison, but once he has the money what is he doing with it? You’d think that he would have skipped town or something. He also doesn’t even have a home despite robbing 2 people successfully. I think this guy wasn’t very good at budgeting.

Overall, The Stranger on the Third Floor was pretty interesting. The title is almost a little odd though as the stranger doesn’t show up for a very long time in the film and technically doesn’t even appear all that much. I guess it will help you stay alert for when he pops up though. If you haven’t seen a quality Noir film yet then this is the way to go. It’s basically the complete package so you can’t go wrong here.

Overall 7/10

Sherlock Holmes: Terror by Night Review

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Sherlock Holmes has returned with another film. The villains just can’t get away from his extensive mystery solving skills. He is just not the kind of opponent that you want to risk toying with. This film is definitely a mystery movie through and through as we get a lot of suspects and a jewel that has been stolen. With everyone stuck aboard a train it gives Holmes time to interrogate everyone, but at the same time the villain has the edge of being able to act first. Holmes will have to bring his A game to win this match of wits!

There are a lot of parties on the train of course. For starters we have the lady and her coffin. It’s perfectly natural to bring a coffin on board since someone died after all but it’s rather large so someone could possibly fit onto it. There’s also the matter of the jewel that the rich lady brought on board. She has had it for many years, but this is the year where someone will finally try to snag it from her. To that end she wants Holmes to prevent this. Fortunately the cops are also on board led by Lestrade. Surely no criminal can get past the air tight defense of all these heroes…right? The elites are on the case so the villains should be very scared.

Watson’s old friend shows up which is certainly interesting. It makes sense that Watson will know some people since he isn’t with Holmes 100% of the time, but naturally since this is the character’s first appearance that will make you very suspicious. It’s like when any 00 agent shows up in a James Bond film. It raises a lot of red flags. We’ve also got a very confrontational character who doesn’t like the way that Holmes and Watson are always bursting onto crime scenes. While he may have a point it might also be an attempt to get them off his back. He intimidates Watson so much that the old man almost breaks down.

Then we’ve got the train conductor who really doesn’t want Holmes to snoop around. As far as he is concerned everyone needs a permit and to do things officially. He has a habit of writing things down as well which is awfully suspicious. Then of course we have the ladies from before. There is the rich one who is very adamant about Holmes protecting the jewel, but perhaps it is all an act to cover up the fact that she is attempting to fake the theft. There is also the younger lady who isn’t very co-operative and doesn’t like talking all that much despite seeming to know a lot more than she lets on. We’ve also got the tea thieves, but there’s not much to say about those guys.

Sherlock Holmes is on point as always. He’s still the same genius that he always is and learns a lot about the case right away. He solved it rather easily this time around as it was clear that he knew who the culprit was very quickly. He simply had to wait for some actual proof before coming forward with it. He played more mind games with the villains than usual here and substituting the diamond multiple times is a good way to always have control of the playing field.

Things get a little dicey for Watson as always. I don’t think it was his best appearance although he certainly came in handy towards the end of the film though so that’s a good thing. Useful or not, I’ve always been a fan of Watson and it’s easy to root for him. He may not be a genius like Holmes and his ego can get in the way at times, but Watson always tries very hard. You certainly can’t say that he isn’t doing his best to nab the culprit by the end. Even when the suspects get personal like in this film.

It’s been a while since we have seen Lestrade get some action so I was happy to see him return here. He actually looks fairly good here as he picks up on the final plan of Holmes before anyone else. That’s pretty impressive and he holds around 4 people at gun point. I do think that getting in a car with them is risky though especially since he has the villains driving the car, but this man’s a pro so who am I to point out the flaws in his plan? He also doesn’t let the passengers push him around the way that Watson does. Lestrade always assumes control.

Moran is the main villain here and apparently used to work with Moriarty. Naturally he is in disguise as one of the suspects mentioned earlier. You’ll probably figure out who it is right away but you’ll still be intrigued from start to finish on what his end game is. He’s a fairly good villain and definitely had a solid backup plan as well. He’d probably make the top 5 Holmes villains, but is still a step down from some of the others. His sidekick Sands is not very noteworthy though. The guy only appears for a few scenes and is easily handled by Holmes.

There isn’t much more to be said that I haven’t already talked about in these films. The Holmes movies are very direct so they are short and to the point. This does wonders for the pacing of the film and more importantly, it is backed up by impressive writing. You’ll be hard pressed to find any scene that isn’t written quite well. This is in fact one of the better Holmes films as it feels authentic from the start and isn’t trying to phone the plot in. Some franchises start to weaken after so many films but not this one.

Overall, I highly recommend checking this Sherlock Holmes film out. It’s a solid adventure with a lot of twists and turns. The atmosphere is just right and all of the characters are quite solid. It’s easy to see why this Holmes line of movies is so well known. It has completely earned its reputation and I imagine we will be lucky to ever see another depiction be quite as awesome. The current films do a good job but we’ll see if they can manage it for 10+ like this one did. I do miss how quickly they churned out films back in the day.

Overall 8/10

Sherlock Holmes: Dressed To Kill Review

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We have now come to the end of this Sherlock Holmes series. It’s definitely been quite the ride with a whole lot of excellent films. Interestingly enough this one is more of a thriller than a mystery since we all know who the villain is, but that’s where the game of cat and mouse comes into play. We even get to see the villains trick Watson one last time.

Legends say that there are 3 music boxes which hold immense power. If you gather all 3 and listen to the music, it will tell you a secret code that will lead to a treasure worth a large fortune. Naturally the villains want to grab these 3. They manage to snag 2 of them, but an innocent small business owner bought the third and then Holmes bought it from her to keep the lady out of danger. Hilda and her posse are prepared to fight to the death with Holmes. Can the detective really hope to come out of this unscathed?

In a way this film also felt a bit like a homage to the others so I wonder if the series knew that it was coming to an end. For example, it has been quite a while since Holmes was knocked out by the enemy and captured but that happens here. It wasn’t part of the plan or anything like that either so it certainly wasn’t his best moment. Still he did a good job of thinking up a plan on the spot and finding the escape route with the largest % chance of escape is just what you would expect from him. He’s still the best character in this film and definitely appears to be a little more merciless at the end as well as he talks gleefully about how the villains will be hanged.

Then we have Watson who is tricked by the villains one last time. It is child’s play for Hilda to use a smoke bomb to distract the assistant while she got away from the loot. It wasn’t a very promising start for Watson and he looked pretty bad but at least he took it in stride. Surprisingly he didn’t really help at the end to make up for this moment. I guess he can’t come out on top every time.

Next up is Hilda who makes for an interesting antagonist. She is definitely intelligent as she outwits Holmes in their first outing and comes close to achieving her objective. She isn’t quite as ruthless as some of the other villains as she prefers not to destroy her opponents but that can also be her undoing. Had the bald man been spared he could have easily identified her to the police which would be risky.

As always the writing is on point here. All of the characters are very polite even when threatening each other with death. They are chivalrous all the way through and one villain even allows Holmes one last smoke before he is to die. It’s definitely something that will be missed in the newer films. It’s also impressive just how much content the film is able to squeeze into each case since the movies are always so short. It always does a good job of making each scene count.

That being said, this film may have had one of the weakest intros. Maybe it wasn’t actually that long but it felt like a little while before Holmes and Watson actually appeared. At first the film was showing off the boxes and explaining that origin but the whole time you are just waiting for the crime to start. The auction was pretty interesting though.

Overall, Dressed To Kill is a reasonably good send off. It would have been perfect if it had ended with the second to last film instead, but we’ll take what we can get. Imagine ending on the first World War II adaptions…now that would have been something. Sherlock Holmes never overstayed his welcome in the cinema and managed to end without missing a beat. I highly recommend checking this film out to see just how much fun these old school murder mysteries are. I don’t know what mystery film I shall be checking out next but it certainly has a high bar to match.

Overall 8/10

Sherlock Holmes: Pursuit To Algiers Review

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Back to back Sherlock Holmes reviews? Yes, it’s time to jump right back into the land of mystery. This one throws the cast on a ship which means that there isn’t a lot of room to run for both the heroes and the villains. They will have to execute their missions with a lot of strategic planning in order to come out on top. It’s a pretty fun film and probably has the most direct confrontations between Holmes and the villains that we have seen in quite a while.

The film starts with a mysterious group luring Holmes and Watson to an abandoned house. They want Holmes to guard Prince Nikolas by getting on a plane with him and acting on an escort. Holmes accepts but there is no room for Watson so the sidekick heads on a boat to meet up with Holmes again later on. Holmes pops up anyway though and tells Watson it was all a trick. The problem is that 3 Russian spies come aboard and want to destroy Nikolas. There is also a mysterious lady named Sheila who always panics at the sight of Holmes. What secret is she hiding and why should she be terrified of Holmes? Time to find out!

At first the film plays out like your typical mystery as we are introduced to a bunch of suspicious characters and naturally they are all very sketchy throughout, but then we see the actual villains come aboard the ship. This means that either one of the suspects is an accomplice or they were all red herrings. Either way it makes for a fairly tense atmosphere. Also, the boat has a lot of people on it so in theory that makes it hard for the villains to try anything, but it can also be hard for Holmes to protect Nikolas without making it too obvious either. A lot of mind games are had here.

One such moment that worked really well was when the villains challenges Holmes and Watson to a game of curls. Throughout the match they use game lingo to attack the other person’s strategy about how to deal with the Prince. Holmes ends up doing pretty well in both arenas while acting innocent as he always does. Holmes likes to put up a humble facade even while he is smirking on the inside. He is fairly aggressive here as he breaks someone’s wrist and certainly doesn’t back down from the opposition. He even steps in to save the prince from an untimely swim when Watson proved unequal to the task.

This was definitely one of Sherlock’s better appearances. I’m also glad he was pretty careful about not actually getting on the plane that was pretty obviously a trap. He was maybe a little too trusting in even getting into such a situation, but I have to assume that he recognized the people he was dealing with right from the start. I’m also confident that he wouldn’t have fallen for a certain voice trick that was near the end of the film.

Unfortunately this was not one of Watson’s better appearances. He has a little too much fun with Sheila and forgets the situation too quickly. He’s a man on a mission right now so you think he would show a little more urgency. He also doesn’t guard Nikolas too well and tendsto let the guy out of his sight a lot. An old lady is also able to deter him from arriving as soon as he would have liked by putting him in the opposite direction. He was just really careless here and of course that tends to happen when you are the comic relief character of the series, but most of the other films put him in a bit of a better light than this one.

Of course, Nikolas still deserves most of the blame. He knows that everyone is after him but still makes alot of rookie mistakes. When Sheila asks him to go onto the deck with her to hang out he should have realized that this could be dangerous. Despite that, he seems rather oblivious the whole time and doesn’t even look for traps. He goes awful close to the water and just doesn’t show any common sense the whole time. His final scene is just as bad as all of the others and I was almost expecting his end to be a rather tragic one as a result. The guy just clearly doesn’t put too much stock in his own life.

Sheila’s subplot is probably the only one that just isn’t very good here. It’s just unnecessary and taking her out of the film would have put more focus on the actual case. She makes for a good red herring most of the time, but even then her motivations don’t seem all that consistent. From the three villains, Gregor was probably the best one. He is essentially the Moriarty of the group who likes to attack the heroes with carefully thought out plans when they least expect it. He isn’t as quick to act as the other two. Of course, waiting so long has its weaknesses as well, but I can’t say that there was any real fault with Gregor’s plan. It was actually really sound.

Mirko is the most aggressive one in the group and his knife throwing skills were on point. This guy is definitely a fighter. Naturally that’s not enough to take on someone like Holmes though. The detective is always ready for him. Then we have Gubec who gets the smallest role of the 3. That’s likely because he can’t talk so without any lines it was hard for him to be quite as memorable as the other 2. He still does his best though and isn’t bad I guess, but there’s just nothing all that likable about him.

Overall, This was a pretty solid Holmes film. The boat actually made for a great backdrop to the story. It was nice seeing the heroes and villains all stuck on such a small object like the boat. The film maybe spends too much time on red herrings, but at least the suspects are believable enough where you might suspect them for a while. Of course, the more Watson is sure that one of them is the culprit, the more confidence you will get in that just not being the case. It’s almost a little sad when you think about it.

Overall 8/10

Sherlock Holmes and the Woman in Green Review

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It’s time for the next installment in the Sherlock Holmes film series. This one is pretty solid as are just about all of the Holmes titles to be honest. We even get to see the return of Professor Moriarty once more as he proves to be the real mastermind. This means that the woman in green doesn’t get to be quite as important as she might have been, but still makes for a pretty good antagonist. The detectives have their work cur out for them this time!

The film starts off with a lot of gruesome murders occurring in London. Holmes is struggling to find a motive or something that connect the victims while Watson believes that it is probably just an insane villain. Coincidentally enough, hypnotism is starting to become popular and a lady named Lydia has been performing it on people. Watson claims that hypnosis is completely fake and wouldn’t work on anyone with an ounce of character, but is that entirely accurate? Only one way to find out!

As always Holmes is a solid main character who is good at staying one step ahead of the villains. While Moriarty has bested him in the past, I’d say that it was effectively a draw this time. That being said, Holmes’ final plan was rather risky as he left himself with no real out until Watson came. He would have had to try fighting 3 against 1 and even with his skills that may have been tough. I’m glad that hypnosis didn’t work on him though.

Watson is a blast in this film and I dare say that he might have even been better than Holmes for once. I definitely liked the scene where he starts to insult the hypnotists quite a bit. While he ultimately loses in that scene I do tend to agree with him. Hypnosis is not something that should work on anyone so easily. If you’re strapped to a chair and forced to watch a bunch of lights for days or something then that’s one thing. Looking at lights for a few minutes? Nah, I’m definitely not going to buy that one. A bunch of films portray it as some kind of super power that works almost instantly, but I just can’t buy into that. Watson was right even if the film made him appear to be wrong.

Lydia was a decent villain but not as good as the lady from a few films ago. Lydia is more of a minion than a commander even if the whole plan does revolve around her abilities. She does a good job in the role. Moriarty seemed to have a different actor in this film as he looked very different, but the personality was still the same as always. He really does have a flair for theatrics even though it ends up costing him pretty much every time.

As always the writing was quite strong in this film. The banter between the characters was on point and the mystery was fairly sound. It’ll keep you guessing for a little while until the film basically tells you who the villain is. Admittedly this is rather early on, but seeing the heroes try to solve the puzzle is fun as well. The pacing for the film is great and the movie never drags on. That is definitely how a good mystery film should be when you think about it. It’s gotta keep the action and tempo up at all times.

Based on how many times Moriarty has died you will probably be wondering if he is really dead by the end of this film. In truth he should have been dead quite a long time ago and it’s clear that the writers just like bringing him back. It’s definitely possible that he could return, but I wouldn’t mind keeping him out. He is a great rival for the legendary Mr. Holmes, but we’ve had quite a few other villains who were able to hold their own as well. After all, at the end of the day Moriarty is basically just a real smart villain who likes to banter. We can certainly find a few other villains to fit that role.

Overall, I would definitely recommend checking out this film. It may not have a whole lot of unique things going for it, but at the end of the day what else do you need aside from the classic Sherlock Holmes formula? No two mysteries are the same after all so by shuffling the suspects and locations you have created a brand new story. With the film series coming to a close I am glad that it has continued to perform at a top level. The film makes no real mistakes so it’s just a blast from start to finish. It’s easy to see why Holmes is still regarded as the best mystery franchise.

Overall 8/10

Sherlock Holmes: The Pearl of Death Review

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Sherlock Holmes has returned for another film! This is certainly one of the better ones in the series and shows that the franchise has still got a lot of energy in it. The stakes are more personal than ever as Holmes is directly responsible for the villains getting the lead for once. He will have to ask for the assistance of his longtime comrade Watson once more. Time is of the essence, but if anyone can save the world, it’s Holmes!

The film starts off with a villain attempting to get a legendary pearl through the cops by giving it to an innocent old man. Fortunately, that old man was Holmes in yet another one of his disguises. He takes the pearl to the cop, but isn’t too pleased with how they have secured it. He demonstrates how easy the alarm system is to deactivate, but in the meantime the villain makes sure to nab the unprotected pearl. Holmes is to blame for the security features no working as intended, but this is no time to feel sorry for himself. Holmes has to quickly figure out where the pearl is now before it is too late!

Holmes gives the main villain (Conover) a lot of hype throughout, but I certainly wouldn’t say that he is on the same level as Moriarty or the female villain who bested him a few titles ago. Still, he does seem to be pretty intelligent so the guy isn’t your average crook either. Underestimate him at your own peril. Conover doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to get his hands dirty so usually he relies on underlings to do it for him. He does have some swet moves though like when he qwuickly disarmed Holmes at the end. He adapts very quickly and probably just needs to work on his reaction times a little bit. His right hand man the Creeper gets a much bigger role, but isn’t quite as interesting> The Creeper likes the main heroine, but that’s his only real character. It seems like the guy can’t really speak anymore so the super strength came at a very heavy price.

Holmes himself is very solid as always. He probably should have found a way to secure the pearl before doing his experiment, but at that point it would have spoiled his chance to make the point that he was trying to present under the guise of spilling a bunch of fruit. He also figured that the guards would at least be watching the jar a little right? Holmes makes sure to make a comeback from there though and the only thing left for him to fear was his own bad habit of gloating at the end. It seems like this has happened several times throughout the film series where Holmes will get the villain at gun point, but starts to gloat for so long that the villain just yanks the gun away. Holmes really needs to watch that as it could be the end of him.

Watson is also a loyal sidekick as always. He does come close to ending Holmes’ life by mistake though when he delivers a book from the main villain. Holmes very nearly fell for it, but luckily Watson was able to drop enough clues to help him skate by. He may not be the smartest chap, but Watson always tries to protect Holmes from the outside elements like the newspapers and all. He’s just a nice guy so it’s a shame that things don’t tend to swing his way.

Meanwhile Lestrade probably has his worst appearance in a while. Of course, I understand that he doesn’t really care much for Sherlock Holmes at times since he has nothing but contempt for theories. Still, Holmes has a great reputation and he has solved many cases before. Shouldn’t the cop at least believe him a little? Lestrade is so determined to be right that even when multiple people are murdered with the same method he believes that it is a coincidence. I don’t know how he can say that with a straight face. Honestly Holmes has to put up with a lot in this town. The cops even hold things from him to save face which ultimately just makes his job a lot more difficult.

It’s definitely one of his toughest cases as well. The body count feels a lot higher than usual as it takes Holmes a very long time to track down the killer at large. By the time he does only one of the people on the hit list is still alive. Better late than never I suppose right? The pacing for the film is really good and you will definitely feel the intensity all the way through. This definitely isn’t the kind of case that is all fun and games. Lives hang in the balance.

Overall, The Pearl of Death is a really great film. Every character gets something important to do and Holmes gets a lot of credit. He looks like the tactical genius that he should be portrayed as but everyone else does their best to pitch in. While Holmes is very competent, he also is shown to not be infallible which is a big part of what this movie is focused around. Some detectives do seem to be perfect like Detective Conan, but for the most part that is too much to expect out of anyone. If you are looking for a solid murder mystery then look no further. This is the film to look out for and it’s easy to jump into with no prior Holmes knowledge. The opening scene is also handled really well so the movie starts off on a high note. At most, the ending might just have the shortest Holmes speech so far which is a shame. They’re all usually so long and over the top with how cheesy they are that it’s the perfect way to end a film.

Overall 8/10

Sherlock Holmes: The Scarlet Claw Review

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It’s time to look at another Sherlock Holmes film. This one’s definitely a pretty intense mystery with a lot of suspects and various red herrings to keep you guessing. It’ll be rather difficult to sniff out the culprit here and even if you do you may end up mixing some of the suspects around since quite a few of the characters look really similar. Still, it’s the kind of case you would expect for Holmes since only a master detective can put it all together.

He was enjoying a nice vacation over with Watson when a lady is murdered. It’s a tragic thing, but there doesn’t seem to be much of a mystery about it so the heroes prepare to go back to London. That’s when they receive a letter from the dead person before she passed asking for their assistance. Holmes officially puts himself into the case and must now find out who is using this claw to murder everyone. Surely there is some kind of explanation for it, but what can it be? You’ve got the local judge, the husband of the girl who was murdered, a maid, an old man with a shotgun, and a few other characters running around. Holmes will have to tread carefully as even the slightest miscalculation could end up costing him his life.

As always the writing and pacing for the film are on point. It’s entertaining from start to finish and the mystery should have you engaged. Sherlock Holmes always acts in a very professional manner and the cops give him his due credit. He can be a little extra sarcastic to Watson at times though. He’s not saying anything mean so don’t worry about that, but it’s pretty obvious that he is just tricking Watson into feeling like he is helpful most of the time. Other times Holmes will actually insult Watson to his face but in a subtle way so Watson doesn’t even notice. It wasn’t Watson’s best showing so I guess even Holmes got tired of that, but still worth pointing out.

Watson is a lot of fun as always and it’s just easy to see why he has a lot of fans. “Rubbish” has started to become his main catchphrase. He is always muttering about something or other and I suppose he has good reason to grumble. He may be a doctor, but nobody really respects him all that much and they certainly don’t seem to buy into his intelligence. Watson ends up falling into a ditch multiple times which didn’t help his case, but at least he always means well. Watson is a very genuine person who speaks his mind. It just doesn’t often work out very well for him unless he is holding a gun. When in combat he is always ready.

Usually Sherlock Holmes is the master of disguises, but in this film the main villain really took that role. His disguises were so intricate and detailed that he would really appear to be more than one person. Quite a few people had alternate forms here though as even the girl who died was actually another person. That’s why it could be tough to keep track of everyone since you had extra characters who were actually not characters at all and were merely trying to fool everyone else. You can’t trust anyone.

In a sense the guy with the shotgun had the best idea. He knew that everyone kept dying so he decided to sit down on his char and get the gun ready. People don’t seem to die during the day so he’ll shoot anyone who tries to enter the room until the next day. He even pretends to have a bad leg to make the villain underestimate him. Unfortunately his whole plan was rendered moot as he decided not to have his chair actually face the door where the villain would come through. Isn’t that a terrible plan then? The whole point of a plan like this is to be able to see every direction from where the villains might come through. Otherwise there just isn’t much point to the plan at all and you might as well have just waited outside. Of course, this guy wasn’t exactly the smartest tool in the shed as Holmes warned him of his impending doom and the guy refused to listen. You should always hear Sherlock Holmes out.

The ending of the film is also fairly unique as one of the suspects decides to take things into his own hands. Usually it is Sherlock Holmes who either captures the villain or forces him to fall into his doom or into the hands of the police. This time he really did lose the guy in the fog and was just fortunate that one of the other characters was around or the villain could have possibly escaped. I was also glad that the character didn’t go out like a 2 bit character and actually managed to block the Scarlet Claw. After all, that weapon is hardly long range so once you manage to grab the opponent’s hand it will lose most of its lethal potential.

Overall , Sherlock Holmes: The Scarlet Claw is a really solid film. It’s probably the most thorough mystery of them all. (From the Holmes films that I’ve seen so far) While it’s still not as high ranked as some of the other mysteries thanks to the cast of suspects being a little less interesting, you can’t really ask for much more than what this film gives you. It has all of the classic Sherlock Holmes’ fundamentals in one clean package. Watson and Holmes still have a great dynamic as always even if I would like to see Watson win a verbal battle one of these days. He’s just too polite to properly defend himself though.

Overall 8/10