Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

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greta de groat

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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostThu Dec 19, 2013 10:20 am

I'm a Sherlockian by marriage and a fan of Rathbone and Brett, but once I finally saw the new series, I loved its clever take on the stories and inventive references to The Canon--these folks know their Doyle. I'm stoked!

By the way, at the multiplex the other day I popped into the new Hobbit movie during the intermission of my show and thought that guy with the pointy ears looked awfully familiar.

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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostThu Dec 19, 2013 10:58 am

fwtep wrote:PBS trimmed the past shows a bit, so this time around I'm going to wait for my Blu-rays to arrive in Feb. Can't wait though.



T he trimming, so far as I could tell from looking at them later on dvd, was about five seconds per episode. I'm glad to have seen the full version and will likely get them for my Ipad, but really no great loss.

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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostThu Dec 19, 2013 11:00 am

greta de groat wrote:By the way, at the multiplex the other day I popped into the new Hobbit movie during the intermission of my show and thought that guy with the pointy ears looked awfully familiar.

Greta


The dragon sounded familiar, too. Very plummy delivery, for a dragon.
Fred
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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostThu Dec 19, 2013 12:16 pm

I watched Season 1 almost a year ago, never got to watching Season 2 till I was on an airplane and caught the Irene Adler episode. Which I had a lot of problems with, or perhaps one big problem, which is that the main crime in the episode is how much it steals from perhaps my favorite Holmes film, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes*, right up to the ending... until it inserts a completely preposterous happy ending designed to keep a character going for future episodes. (And makes Holmes essentially complicit in a 9/11-sized terrorist act, which I'm pretty sure Conan Doyle would not approve of.) More than anything, though certain charms are aggressively displayed, ultimately I couldn't see anything in the Irene Adler character to make her so beguiling to him, unless he has a Joan Crawford fetish...

Image

I'm beginning to think this series is too clever by half, and too determined to show that fact off. The references are fun, and so are the speed-deduction bits ("I have eight possible theories... FOUR possible theories"). Yet the characters basically behave like so many sitcom characters, all making smartiepants cracks at the other's expense all through the show. There needs to be some humanity between Holmes and Watson, or why does either tolerate the other? Elementary, which is more New York cop show than Conan Doyle, and has less enthralling leads, nevertheless gets that right and has more heart (and human believability) in the difficult relationship between recovering addict Holmes and companion/counselor Watson.

Incidentally, speaking of Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, has anyone seen the Danny Boyle Frankenstein thing with them (trading off the parts of Frankenstein and Monster) in that live theater at the movies series? It's coming back here in January and I was thinking of seeing it, but who in which part? I'm inclined to Cumberbatch as Monster but open to alternative points of view...

* Also, another completely preposterous notion is pretty much stolen from this highly obscure 80s scifi movie.
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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostThu Dec 19, 2013 1:19 pm

I am positively chomping at the bit for Series 3. They're such good fun, a nice twist to the canon.
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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostThu Dec 19, 2013 1:43 pm

greta de groat wrote:I'm a Sherlockian by marriage and a fan of Rathbone and Brett, but once I finally saw the new series, I loved its clever take on the stories and inventive references to The Canon--these folks know their Doyle. I'm stoked!


One of my favorites is near the beginning of one of the episodes when they're leaving a morgue and talking about a dead woman with freckles and Watson mentions that he might write up the story of The Speckled Blonde.

By the way, at the multiplex the other day I popped into the new Hobbit movie during the intermission of my show and thought that guy with the pointy ears looked awfully familiar.
Greta


The Necromancer and Smaug should be pretty familiar too.

But oh, you saw the new Hobbit movie the other day and you're already back? I guess this one's shorter than part one.
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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostThu Dec 19, 2013 2:04 pm

fwtep wrote:But oh, you saw the new Hobbit movie the other day and you're already back? I guess this one's shorter than part one.


About the same length, feels far less padded. Although, I have a friend who enjoyed the leisurely pacing of the first film, so different strokes, I guess.
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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostThu Dec 19, 2013 7:08 pm

I know this is OT from this thread, but the new film felt like it wasn't about Bilbo at all. It felt like he had about 12 lines.

As for Sherlock, I've been bookmarking all the web articles about it from England as I come across them but I'm not going to read them (or watch previews) before watching the show.

Here's one interesting tidbit I did read, that you might find interesting. It's not about Series 3, so it's safe to read (though there are a couple of pictures and mentions of some new cast):

http://www.digitalspy.com/british-tv/s129/sherlock/news/a536572/sherlock-showrunner-steven-moffat-molly-broke-our-first-rule.html
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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostThu Dec 19, 2013 7:09 pm

fwtep wrote:But oh, you saw the new Hobbit movie the other day and you're already back? I guess this one's shorter than part one.


I saw about 3 minutes of the Hobbit movie during while waiting for the second act of the Metropolitan Opera Faltaff. Unfortunately missed the plummy-voiced dragon--that would have been funny! Saw a couple minutes of Thor as well. Is that guy as bad an actor as he seems at first glance?

As for Frankenstein, I saw the one with Cumberbatch as the doctor and both leads were excellent Cumberbatch has a particular gift for blind arrogance that works well in the part (I loved his gleeful way with the line: "He reads Milton!"). Unfortunately I missed the reverse casting.

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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostThu Dec 19, 2013 10:57 pm

Mike Gebert wrote: Yet the characters basically behave like so many sitcom characters, all making smartiepants cracks at the other's expense all through the show.


Has there been an episode in which someone slapped him up side his enormous head? (A cricket bat would do the job nicely.) If so, that episode I'd be eager to watch. Otherwise, I'll cleave to "Duck Dynasty."
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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostFri Dec 20, 2013 8:57 am

greta de groat wrote: Saw a couple minutes of Thor as well. Is that guy as bad an actor as he seems at first glance?
Greta


He's not (he's quite good in Rush), but Thor is a big hunk of beef.
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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostFri Dec 20, 2013 9:47 am

Frederica wrote:
greta de groat wrote: Saw a couple minutes of Thor as well. Is that guy as bad an actor as he seems at first glance?
Greta


He's not (he's quite good in Rush), but Thor is a big hunk of beef.


Good acting would have been entirely lost in THOR, though Hiddleston is rather fun. Even with the Harryhausen films no one really gave a damm who was in the cast (even with Honor Blackman) it was the effects that mattered.
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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostFri Dec 20, 2013 10:12 am

FrankFay wrote:
Frederica wrote:He's not (he's quite good in Rush), but Thor is a big hunk of beef.


Good acting would have been entirely lost in THOR, though Hiddleston is rather fun. Even with the Harryhausen films no one really gave a damm who was in the cast (even with Honor Blackman) it was the effects that mattered.


As a comic geek I'll disagree with that, but to each his own.
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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostFri Dec 20, 2013 10:23 am

Frederica wrote:
FrankFay wrote:
Frederica wrote:He's not (he's quite good in Rush), but Thor is a big hunk of beef.


Good acting would have been entirely lost in THOR, though Hiddleston is rather fun. Even with the Harryhausen films no one really gave a damm who was in the cast (even with Honor Blackman) it was the effects that mattered.


As a comic geek I'll disagree with that, but to each his own.

It takes a special gift to handle that kind of role without looking silly, no matter how good an actor you are. And in the scene I watched no biceps were in view. I didn't even recognize Anthony Hopkins as Odin but he was having a grand time blowing him off the screen. I had hoped to catch a Loki scene but no luck. Effects tend to bore me, I'd rather have some old fashioned scenery-chewing.

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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostFri Dec 20, 2013 10:49 am

greta de groat wrote: It takes a special gift to handle that kind of role without looking silly, no matter how good an actor you are. And in the scene I watched no biceps were in view. I didn't even recognize Anthony Hopkins as Odin but he was having a grand time blowing him off the screen. I had hoped to catch a Loki scene but no luck. Effects tend to bore me, I'd rather have some old fashioned scenery-chewing.

Greta


No biceps? That's a damned shame, because they are impressive, very, very impressive. Thor is a god, so his behavior and personality are limited to being...well...godlike. Kinda dull. He's also saddled with Mjolnir, a really stupid weapon (although Hemsworth works it, snaps for that). Loki has more going on character wise, and Hiddleston had fun with the role (he also had fun doing the publicity poledance, which is enjoyable to watch).

The thing about superhero comics is that many of the characters have been around for 40-50 years, some longer. They have backstories and they have defined personalities, just like Sherlock Holmes, even if they do spend a lot of time whacking supervillains. Get the personality wrong and your movie tanks (think Ben Affleck in Daredevil). Get it right (think Hugh Jackman as Wolverine or Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man) and you have a cinematic cash cow, and a lot of happy fans.
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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostFri Dec 20, 2013 11:10 am

greta de groat wrote:Effects tend to bore me, I'd rather have some old fashioned scenery-chewing.
Greta

Good lord, Greta, are you and I the only ones left?...
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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostFri Dec 20, 2013 12:44 pm

R Michael Pyle wrote:
greta de groat wrote:Effects tend to bore me, I'd rather have some old fashioned scenery-chewing.
Greta

Good lord, Greta, are you and I the only ones left?...


I'll look at NOTHING with CGI. Period.

(Wait a minute...I forgot that "period" has become debased, so I'll just say NEVER.)
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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostFri Dec 20, 2013 1:07 pm

CGI isn't the enemy. CGI can be used to tell a real story. It's just that CGI is an enabler for people who don't have anything to say, but they can hire some programmers to make it look cool, which satisfies people who like to turn off their brains. Who are able to turn off their brains.

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Last edited by boblipton on Fri Dec 20, 2013 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostFri Dec 20, 2013 1:11 pm

entredeuxguerres wrote:
R Michael Pyle wrote:
greta de groat wrote:Effects tend to bore me, I'd rather have some old fashioned scenery-chewing.
Greta

Good lord, Greta, are you and I the only ones left?...


I'll look at NOTHING with CGI. Period.

(Wait a minute...I forgot that "period" has become debased, so I'll just say NEVER.)


I can't think of a single tv show or movie I've seen that was made in the last 10 years or so that didn't have any CGI at all. You'd be surprised at how much CG you don't realize you're seeing (assuming you're not just watching pre-CGI era stuff).
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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostFri Dec 20, 2013 1:47 pm

fwtep wrote:I can't think of a single tv show or movie I've seen that was made in the last 10 years or so that didn't have any CGI at all. You'd be surprised at how much CG you don't realize you're seeing (assuming you're not just watching pre-CGI era stuff).


For me, that's just about it--pre-CGI, that is--save PBS programs like Nature & Nova & a few others, such as a special on Sherlock Homes two days ago.
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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostFri Dec 20, 2013 7:34 pm

I don't dislike effects, I was fine with Hugo. They just seem to go on for an awfully long time and to be the real point of many picture and I get bored with a lot of stuff flying around. Of course if the CGI has Cumberbatch's voice, I probably won't mind.

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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostFri Dec 20, 2013 10:15 pm

I must say, the dragon IS beautifully done.
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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostSat Dec 21, 2013 1:24 am

entredeuxguerres wrote:
R Michael Pyle wrote:
greta de groat wrote:Effects tend to bore me, I'd rather have some old fashioned scenery-chewing.
Greta

Good lord, Greta, are you and I the only ones left?...


I'll look at NOTHING with CGI. Period.

(Wait a minute...I forgot that "period" has become debased, so I'll just say NEVER.)


There's some pretty effective CGI in BLANCANIEVES that blends in quite well with the black-and-white silent style. (Did you think they built a real zeppelin to fly over a practical full-sized period bullfighting arena?)
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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostSat Dec 21, 2013 7:24 am

Yeah, there's a big difference between using it like a matte painting to create a setting, say, and having a 20-minute fight between giant flying robots. (Not that there's anything wrong with that, in case Archie Waugh is reading!) There's the former in practically everything these days, often unnoticed.
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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostSat Dec 21, 2013 7:55 am

1: All Pixar films are all CGI. They range from very good to Tony-the-Tiger Grrrreat!

2: In Jurassic Park, the first big CGI shot is when they spot the dinosaurs and Sam Neill just sits down in wonderment. Neill's reaction is the point of the shot, but the CGI allows the audience to see what he is seeing and informs the scene.

3: In this year's Gravity, every shot in space outside the modules has to be CGI. Again, they let the audience see what Sandra Bullock is experiencing and to tell a Plot 2 (we have to get out of here alive, dating from the Anabasis) story more effectively.

These are all examples of movies in which CGI is used to tell the story more effectively.

On the other hand, we have the CGI fights in the Iron Man trilogy which have the emotional impact of a game of Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots. As Mike notes, big yawn.

There are also the "roller coaster" sequences in movies like Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008) and the barrel sequence from The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug. I find these very uninvolving simply because the visual elements do not match the visceral feelings. If you're on a roller coaster, you feel it in your body. Also, in the latter, there's the "skateboarding elf" bit (my term for the sequence in The Two Towers in which Orlando Bloom basically skateboards down the steps, shooting arrows at orcs unerringly). Things like these snap the suspension of disbelief.

As I indicated above, CGI is a technique, like glass shots or miniatures or even Harryhausen animation, which can be used to support the story, or replace it. Like those who hate CGI, my interest is in how people react and feel. CGI can help show us those things. Or it can show us skateboarding elves or Rock 'Em Sock 'Em robots.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Sat Dec 21, 2013 6:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostSat Dec 21, 2013 8:10 am

On the other hand, we have the CGI fights in the Iron Man trilogy which have the emotional impact of a game of Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Sock Em Robots.


My nomination for least enthralling CGI effect of 2013 was Iron Man 3, the plates of armor flying off the stars (so we can see that they really are them) and then flying through the air to reattach themselves to the stars (because necessary for the action). OVER AND OVER. It was like watching animated exploded diagrams of car parts.

On the other hand, let me recommend Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 as the trippiest film of 2013. See it in 3-D if you can, it's the "Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat" of kids' films this year.

Mike,
who at least successfully missed Turbo and The Croods
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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostSat Dec 21, 2013 10:22 am

I think Bob Lipton is correct in all his points. And by the way, the original Jurassic Park only had 6 1/2 minutes of digital dinos. That's peanuts compared to films today but look how effective it was. And the original Star Wars had, if I recall, 412 FX shots whereas the prequels each had around 3000.

I think "CGI sucks" is a symptom rather than the disease itself. The thinking and demands of the studios and marketing people are the real problem, because they drive the "more More MORE!" mentality that ends in complete CG overkill. And due to today's crazy-short production schedules, often leads to sub-par work. It has also destroyed the CG business in America, because it has become cost-prohibitive to do such big shows here; or at least to do them entirely here.

There are two main exceptions to "it's the studios' fault" though: George Lucas and Peter Jackson. The overkill in their films (not in the original Star Wars trilogy though) is of their own design. They try to cram the films full of amazing things-- you like battle scenes? here's a 40 minute one!-- but it has the reverse effect. Also, the writing makes it worse. There are many FX sequences in the Star Wars prequels, the last--wishful thinking!-- Indiana Jones film, Jackson's King Kong, and Hobbit that just go on WAY too long for what the plot point demands. Each of those had sequences where you're just sitting there saying "jeez, END ALREADY!" and that's a writing/structure problem. The original Indiana Jones film had a couple of action scenes that were longer than the ones in the last one but they didn't feel like they dragged on. Ditto for the 1978 Superman vs the 2013 Superman. CGI, like a dialog scene, can either be scripted well and integral to the plot and characters and be thrilling, or can feel like even thirty seconds is too long. But when a dialog scene goes on too long no one blames words. (Well, maybe for the folks here, in a "silent films are better than talkies" way, but you know what I mean.)

(In full disclosure, I've been a visual FX artist since 92 at the dawn of CG. I know of the issues first-hand. And by the way, when I made my own film, about ten years ago, it only had 12 CG shots and about half of those weren't planned, they were just to fix things. The film was boring for other reasons. :-) )
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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostThu Dec 26, 2013 6:25 am

This was posted on the BBC Red Button Service on Christmas.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... wntNANJCOE

Bob
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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostThu Dec 26, 2013 9:04 am

entredeuxguerres wrote:I'll look at NOTHING with CGI. Period.
(Wait a minute...I forgot that "period" has become debased, so I'll just say NEVER.)


Then you probably shouldn't watch any films that used rear-projection, glass or traveling mattes, painted canvas backdrops, or any other cinematic effect. CGI is only a tool. Criticize the workman, not the tool.
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Re: Masterpiece Mystery - Sherlock Holmes

PostThu Dec 26, 2013 10:03 pm

ClayKing wrote:Then you probably shouldn't watch any films that used rear-projection, glass or traveling mattes, painted canvas backdrops, or any other cinematic effect. CGI is only a tool. Criticize the workman, not the tool.


Yes, all those old-fashioned cinematic techniques are "there," & I'm subliminally aware of them; but they don't generally penetrate my consciousness. In other words, I'm not having my face shoved in them, which is the effect I feel with CGI.

In truth, I've actually seen few pictures with CGI, not due specifically to the CGI, but because the content of the pictures themselves does not interest me. Let's see, I saw the first Star Wars & Indiana Jones in theaters, Jurassic & Gladiator on TV, a few more that don't come immediately to mind. Most of the ones discussed here I've not heard of, let alone seen.

I will admit to one BIG exception to my CGI-aversion: the "Walking with Dinosaurs" series, which grew to half a dozen or more 2-hr. programs, every one of which I watched every time they were re-run--which hasn't been for several years, unfortunately.
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