Yes, I’m aware I’m about a month late on this one, but better late than never, right?
I’ve been a fan of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes for many years. In fact, The Hound of the Baskervilles was the first Victorian Era novel I’d ever read when I was younger. So I definitely have some healthy respect for the character and a slight attachment to the traditional way Holmes is portrayed.
I will say that I’m extremely surprised that Guy Ritchie did not chose a Brit for the titular role of his reboot, but this is not a complaint in any way. After 2008′s debut of Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr had a solid franchise under his belt that would promise years of steady entertainment. He now has two.
Downey Jr, absolutely nailed the role and did it without dropping the English accent at any point in the film (I’m looking at you Kevin Costner). Using a subtle combination of arrogance, intelligence and sarcastic humour, he transformed the character of Holmes into someone a modern audience could really relate to.
A thinly moustachioed Jude Law also delivers a slightly different version of a Watson that is just a little bit grittier. This Watson is an expert marksman and kicks in doors. And he does this while simultaneously making the incredibly short list of Hollywood actors who can sport a moustache without looking like a porn star.
Mark Strong as the mystical zombified Lord Blackwell added a perfect villain to tide us over until the inevitable appearance of Holmes’ archnemisis, Professor Moriarty.
I did feel that the one weak acting link was Rachael McAdams. I found her performance to be unconvincing and more than a little cliched. However I think it might be just my general distaste for her so I will give her a weekend pass on this one.
The Holmes reboot is filled with action and adventure and interestingly enough quite a bit of unarmed combat filmed in bullet time a la the Matrix. All in all, I was a big fan and I can’t wait for the sequel.
Recently caught these guys live at Skipper’s Smokehouse in Tampa FL (a great venue btw) and was so impressed with their music that I ordered some of their CDs from Amazon and I wasn’t disappointed. Think of a laid back Key West sound combined with a bluesy, jazzy New Orleans style. Now add an accordion player (yes, a rock ‘n’ roll accordion player!) and you’ll come close to what the Subdudes are all about.
They have a number of albums out and I haven’t heard them all yet so I’ll mention a few pretty notable songs:
Need Somebody – Kind of an upbeat and positive song despite its somewhat lamentable lyrics. You feel this guy’s pain when he really wants to ask out the barista but can’t muster the courage to do so.
Tell Me What’s Wrong – Kind of got a really good 80′s classic rock feel to it while still letting that signature jazz sound seep into it.
Push and Shove – I’m having a really hard time locating a copy of this song. It’s either very new and will be on an upcoming release. Smooth and sexy type of love song, perfect for dancing in your living room with your significant other after a couple glasses of wine.
Check out those songs and if you dig them, you’ll dig the rest of their stuff. Anyone who can work an accordion player into a rock band and still manage to have it not sound hokey has to be a good band in my book.
Classic GiJoe: Vol 3
I’ve been really impressed with Marvel and Devil’s Due hammering out their differences especially when it means we get graphic novel versions of the ENTIRE GIJoe comic book series. After viewing the GIJoe movie released this summer and noticing the reimaging of most of the character’s storylines, I started to wax nostalgic about reading those comic books when I was a kid. So I started ordering these books from Amazon and I’m very glad I did.
I sometimes find it amazing that the animated cartoon was so cheesy (but in that good 80′s kind of way) yet the comic book was so rich and developed. Characters were able to be fleshed out in ways that a cartoon simply could not do. Plotlines could be threaded across issues that were years apart. Violence and death were fully shown and not masked behind laser fire that never hit anything or major characters going into comas. In general the stories being told in the comic were much more “adult.”
Volumes 1 and 2 were definitely good, but the third book contains the issues that really put Larry Hama on the map as a phenominal storyteller. Volume 3 covers issues 20 – 29. And as me and the rest of my fellow geek-boys of the 80′s know, that means Snake-Eye’s back-story in “Snake-Eyes – Origin”. It’s all here: The LRRP in Vietnam with Stalker and the Japanese kid who would one day become Storm Shadow. The murder of the Hard Master which sets off years of rivalry between Snake-Eye and his former ninja brother-in-arms. The heroic act which saved Scarlett but left him horribly disfigured and severed his vocal cords leaving him mute. Seeing these events that shaped the most intriguing character of the series is definitely worth the price of admission. It makes Snake-Eyes a much more interesting character and puts his back-story on par with Marvel characters like Wolverine.
We also get another rather interesting Snake-Eyes story called “The Silent Issue” which contains no dialog. This is both an interesting way of telling the story as well as an eerie tribute to our favorite Joe who does not speak. On the non-Snake Eyes front is the first appearence of Zartan and I forgot how great of a character he was.
If you’re a child of the 80′s who lived for the likes of GIJoe and Transformers these books are worth picking up. But if you’re a fan of both Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow (as most of us were) you definitely don’t want to miss out on Volume 3.