Monday, November 30, 2015

From a long time ago, but still fun . . . .

When Steven Spielberg Went in Pursuit of Young Sherlock Holmes, He Nabbed An Unlikely Suspect

His face is a mystery, more haunting than pretty. Pale skin. Deep-set eyes. A nose that rivals Ichabod Crane's. This is not the kind of face that movie careers are traditionally built on. But this is the face that Steven Spielberg selected after a three-month search for an actor to play the title role in Young Sherlock Holmes. Some critics think the reason Nicholas Rowe won the part over several thousand other hopefuls is—well, elementary, my dear Watson. The 19 year old, they say, looks like Spielberg, who produced the reported $18 million film, directed by Barry (Diner, The Natural) Levinson. "I have never had anyone tell me I look like Spielberg before," says Rowe. "All of a sudden I hear this and I don't know what to think. I don't think I look like him at all. I'm 6'4". [Spielberg is about 5'10".] I'm English and he's Jewish. It's silly. As far as I know, Spielberg doesn't like his looks much anyway." Rowe is less self-critical. "I don't think of myself as a pretty boy like Matt Dillon or Rupert Everett. But I think I'm not unattractive to look at. I don't mind the way I look, I mean." 

Blame it on his upper-crust British accent. Or the way he takes a sip of his room-service tea before announcing, "It's drinkable." But Rowe, with his penetrating, deep blue eyes, seems mature beyond his years. For someone who's achieved a major break so fast, he's remarkably low-key. "Do you find me boring?" he asks, pushing his long, light brown hair out of his face. "I think that we Brits have this rather snooty image. But we are not like that through and through." Looking from his hotel window at the shops along Beverly Hills' Rodeo Drive, Rowe pronounces his own verdict on fake friendliness. "When you go into those stores people say, 'Hi, I'm Pat and I'll be serving you.' Europeans tend to view Americans as a friendly lot. But I just feel they're rather phony. Nice, friendly, but phony all the same." 

An only child, Rowe was born in Edinburgh, where his father, Andrew, edited a business journal. His mother, Alison, was a singer with the Edinburgh Choir. "I never really needed anything," Rowe says. "Everything was provided." When Nicholas was 7, his parents separated, he was shipped off to boarding school, and his sugar-glazed world fell apart. "I was really shocked," he recalls. "It seemed to happen so suddenly. It's still a subject I avoid talking about." 

Until he moved into his own flat in January, Nicholas shared digs in London with his father, who, like his mother, has remarried. Two years ago Andrew Rowe gave up his job publishing a small London newspaper and ran successfully for Parliament. "I really admire Dad because he's a Tory Wet," Nicholas says. "He's not opposed to Prime Minister Thatcher, but he's not a sycophant to her, either." 

As for dating, Rowe says, "I haven't had time to get serious with anyone. I am not, to be perfectly honest, in love. Sometimes I would really love to have somebody to just hold or whatever. I really do have the urge to spend time with someone special." Right now, he says, "Most of my close friends are girls. I don't know why. Girls have a certain kind of sympathy. A sense of understanding that a lot of boys don't." 

Even though he completed prestigious Eton in 1984, Rowe doesn't rub it in. "I'm not one of those good old boys who had great-grandfathers who went to Eton," he says. "It was just my father who went. He put my name on the list when I was born so I'd be assured a place." Although Rowe excelled in languages, studying Spanish and French, he admits, "I was very much at the lower end of the academic scale." 

It was Rowe's drama master who told the lad that Hollywood casting agents were coming on campus looking for a "proper young gentleman." Rowe, who had a bit part in the 1983 British film Another Country, tested for the role of young Holmes. "It was the worst experience," he says. "When I went into my dressing room to put on my Holmes outfit, in came this other guy dressed just like me. Real live Hollywood competition!" Reading with Rowe and the other finalist was Alan Cox, then 14, who had already been cast as young Watson, Holmes' pudgy sidekick. "I felt comfortable with Nick, there seemed a chemistry between the two characters," says Cox, who may have helped Rowe get hired. "I told the casting people, 'I like the tall guy with the big nose better,' " he says. Rowe's screen test was then sent to Spielberg. When his agent called in January, Rowe asked, "Did I get the role?" The reply: "Brilliant deduction, young Mr. Holmes." 

Young Mr. Rowe's next step will be off the beaten path. "It is socially correct to earn a college degree," he says. "But I would find it emotionally and mentally difficult to spend four years in a tough university. I was accepted at Bristol but am not going to attend. After Eton, most graduates go on to college after a year of traveling. It is a tradition. One I intend to break. Rather, I plan to go on with acting until people don't want me anymore. I'm excited about the challenges that, I hope, lie ahead." Putting all the clues together, Rowe could very well be headed for stardom. Never mind his lanky build and un-movie-star looks. As any Sherlock Holmes fan knows, never, never suspect the obvious. 


And this shouldn't be missed. . .

One-armed woman and Sherlock Holmes fan among winners at 2015 International Pole Dancing Championships

No more is the art of pole dancing associated with lap dancers and strippers, as competitors in the International Pole Dancing Championships will tell you

A woman with one arm and a Sherlock Homes-inspired routine were among the winners at the International Pole Dancing Championships.
National champions from all over the world took part in the competition, held in Hong Kong.
Overall champion was Finland's Oona Kivela, who said after her victory that the perception of pole dancing is changing.
"There is still so much exotic pole around," the champion said.
"And I understand, how can people not know, when let's say, a stripper and an exotic pole-dancer could style-wise look extremely the same.
"But we have this style.
"And I don't think the pole necessarily defines the style at all.
"I think the dancers do."
Rookie Russian duo Evgeny Greshilov and Kira Noire won best couples routine, and described the feeling of winning as "unbelievable".
Kristy Sellers, from Australia, won performer of the year with a routine inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous consulting detective.
And fellow Aussie Deb Roach, who was born with one arm, won the disabled category.
Competitors from countries including Argentina, Australia, Finland, Japan, UK and USA were in competition for 11 world titles, Reuters reported.
There are five divisions: Men's, Women's, Doubles, Disabled and Masters.
The International Pole Dancing Championships was founded in 2008 by Ania Pzeplasko, who is lobbying for Pole Dance Fitness to be recognized as a sport by the Olympic committee.

All righty then. . . .

Putonghua-speaking fans of BBC TV's super-sleuth Sherlock Holmes to ponder special clue in New Year's Day episode

Putonghua-speaking fans of the BBC TV series Sherlock will don their deerstalkers when the latest episode airs in the UK and America on January 1 to decipher a special clue that only they will be able to unravel.
Writers and producers of the series about super sleuth Sherlock Holmes - played by Benedict Cumberbatch, with Martin Freeman as his sidekick, Dr Watson - have included a special Putonghua reference in a special, one-off episode called The Abominable Bride, which takes the show back to its Victorian-era roots.
"It's a new story, but if you know the original stories, you'll see it's fashioned out of quite a few others," said the show's writer Steven Moffat, referring to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novels. "We've chosen several [stories] and there are loads of references. One of them you have to be able to speak Chinese to get."
While the show has a legion of loyal fans worldwide, those in China have adopted the duo with such gusto that the pair have been given nicknames based on how their characters' names sound in Putonghua. Holmes is known as Curly Fu, while Watson is called Peanut. Both terms are hugely popular on mainland social-media sites such as Weibo.
Fan clubs for the show have sprung up in major cities across the mainland, and it was the first country to access episodes of the recent series, just hours after it aired in Britain, media reported.
A BBC spokesman told the Sunday Morning Post that while the special Chinese reference was not a direct message to fans in China, its popularity in the region was recognised.
"The Chinese element is simply a nod to an original Conan Doyle story, which features the Victorian version of Chinatown," he said. "Although we're delighted that Sherlock has been so warmly embraced by viewers in China, this wasn't deliberately included in order to reference the show's popularity there."

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Gray Wednesday sale - Two for the price of one - Elementary Season Four, episodes two and three. . ..

I have been remiss. Partially due to sciatic nerve or slipped sacroiliac issues that have made it uncomfortable to sit for any prolonged period of time. And partially because I have found little Sherlockian to review in the last two episodes.

But with all that said, I do think season four is starting out as one of the strongest seasons yet for 'Elementary'.

Episode Two, 'Evidence of Things Not Seen' main purpose was to introduce Sherlock's father to the story line, with the excellent actor John Noble playing Morland Holmes. John Noble has been in two of my favorite series, 'Fringe' and 'Sleepy Hollow'. Unfortunately his character in both those shows ended up taking a path that left me not enjoying either of those shows as much. I hope that is not to be repeated in 'Elementary'.

I have to admit, something that is painfully obvious to any one who has followed this blog for more than a couple of weeks, that I am probably not the most scholarly Sherlockian or person in general to review any show. My reviews are based on the very unintellectual of observations. More of just a Sherlockian gut reaction than anything.
I recently read a review that was able to identify several Biblical references in dialog this year, and while I very much admire someone so knowledgeable, rarely will you find a review of that nature here (unless I cut and paste someone else's thoughts here. With credit of course).

Again, with all that said, I have been enjoying this years episodes very much.
I really enjoyed that latest episode, 'Tag, you're me' and feel it is one of the strongest so far.
The case involving the search for doppelgangers was very well done and had some very interesting twists. It was, once again, a timely subject and explored our modern world of being so connected.

John Noble's turn as Morland Holmes so far feels like the show is apologizing for having a very weak Mycroft in earlier episodes,  with Morland not only being Sherlock's father but also the connection to world governments as well as Sherlock's "Smarter Brother". The tit-for-tat between the father and son at the party and a few of the closing remarks reminded me very much of the discourse Canonically between the two Holmes boys.

Many books and several films have explored Sherlock's relationship with his father, for better and for worse, and 'Elementary' is taking that same step with this season.

The strongest aspect of 'Elementary' is not it's ability to deliver a good adaptation of a Sherlock Holmes like character, but to make us ask questions and examine uncomfortable issues relating to Sherlock. So many times, in the exploration of the Canon, explanations have been given on Sherlockian things without exploring how that one thing fits into a complete picture, placing each aspect as a part not as the whole.  I believe 'Elementary' achieves that and makes us examine if we agree.

 I think if 'Elementary' could start putting some good 'Sherlockian' habits into the mix this would be a really strong year for the show.

One of my favorite lines from the last episode was when Sherlock's father said something along the lines of, "Sulking doesn't suit you Sherlock." The show does still like to portray Sherlock as a rather, at times, immature individual, but so far this season it has not become unbearable.

So, with all that said, these last two episodes get a combined score of;

Friday, November 13, 2015

"The new phone books are here! The new phone books are here!"

Well, okay, not exactly.
I did not get to watch 'Elementary' last night, but that doesn't mean it can't still be a Sherlockian day.
In the morning 'post' I recieved my copy of the new film 'Mr. Holmes'.
So the next couple of days may require a meal fit for 'Simpsons' (roast beef and yorkshire pudding) and a good glass of Claret and maybe a fire in the fireplace.

Monday, November 9, 2015

SHIN - Gillette's Film

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Canon-era Adaptation


Sherlock Holmes fandom continues to embrace Victorian/Edwardian-era adaptations, even in light of such popular modernized versions as television seriesSherlock and Elementary. The plethora of recent Victorian Sherlock Holmeses includes Ian McKellen as the aging Mr. Holmes, Benedict Cumberbatch as an earlier incarnation of his modernized sleuth in Sherlock: The Abominable Bride, and the still-popular Robert Downey, Jr. action hero model in the Sherlock Holmesfilm franchise. Despite these actors’ brilliant, if widely varied, interpretations of Holmes, as well as the fantastic achievements in cinematic technologies in the past century, the recent attempts to capture canon-era Holmes on film cannot compare to the first actor to personify Holmes, William Gillette, and the recently restored first full-length feature about the Great Detective, Sherlock Holmes (1916). . . . . . . .

Friday, November 6, 2015

Elemenetary S4E1 - 'The Past is Parent' - Let the fun begin!

Season four began last night with Holmes facing repercussion from beating a drug addict/criminal at the end of last season. And of course at the end of the episode we see him picking up a container, well, containing Holmes drug of choice.

We find out early in the season four opener that Holmes has fallen off the wagon and had indeed taken the drug.

We also find out that there is not much chance of him working for the NYPD again, at least this week, and has probably drug Watson down as well.
Gregson and Bell only make brief appearances in this episode, so indeed, we do not know what lays ahead for them.

Holmes is also not sure if he will end up in jail or not for the beating.

This episode mostly deals with happenings from the past. We find Holmes investigating an unsolved crime from the 20's in one of the opening segments. And the episode also finds Holmes and Watson investigating the disappearance of two women 15 years earlier, which ties into a case from last season.

Throughout the episode Holmes' father keeps cancelling appearances as well.

The episode had nothing new to add to it's now episodic structure. Holmes has still toned down his behavior and his character is not as likely to go for shock value as we had feared was going to be the trend. The Canonical tidbits are either repetitive or rare with the ones this week perhaps being a mention to old cases, the mention of Moriarty and the fact that Holmes had a father.

The most redeeming aspect of this episode for me, however, were a couple of things.
First of course would be the examination of Holmes', and somewhat Watson's, behavior after Holmes has fallen off the wagon. Canonically were some of these 'brown study' episodes a reaction by Holmes to his giving into his habit, or were they indeed just a sign of boredom when not involved with a case? We know the Canonical Watson had to probably deal with this situation more than once, while for the TV Watson this was the first relapse.

Another well done aspect of this episode was the defense of the friendship and loyalty by both Holmes and Watson. While Holmes was trying to make plans to 'protect' Watson, Watson had no intention of continuing without Holmes. Canonically we see Holmes and Watson separating a few times either by Watson's choice or Holmes'. It was never a business relationship.

It will also being intriguing, since he finally showed up, how the show will handle the presence of Holmes' father. Canonically often examined without any firm conclusion.

The show is still brave enough to examine some touchy subjects in a very un-Canonical kind of way, which, thankfully, makes one examine things from a different point of view and test our own Canonical beliefs.

So for the lack of anything new, yet still making good conversation I give this episode:

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Hey Brad! - Season 4 of Elementary starts tomorrow.

Elementary Season Four, Nov, 5th.

Let the fun begin.

If this season makes it all the way to the end, it will be about 96 episodes.
Is that a record for TV show episodes of a character named Sherlock Holmes?
Whether we like him or not.

And this is sure to raise some eyebrows, "Season three continues the Elementary‍ '​s trend of a positive critical response. It holds a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on five reviews, with an average score of 9.1 out of 10."

Could we learn anymore?

Dr Who, Sherlock Holmes and Predestination: What I learned from Steven Moffat

I can't remember seeing this many aliens in one place ever before. It was like a massive version of Star Wars' Mos Eisley Cantina with every conceivable type of extra terrestrial you could imagine. I visited Comic Con London this year, a mammoth invasion of comic book, fantasy and science fiction fans into the Excel Centre. This year's event welcomed 130,560 people over one weekend making it the third largest Comic Convention in the world. Unlike me, most of the visitors were wearing elaborate costumes depicting characters from video games, Japanese animations, science fiction movies or cartoon series. I was struck by the friendliness - those who had spent the most time dressing up were very willing to stop for a conversation and a selfie. One young person I was accompanying to the event commented: "I have finally come home. Finally somewhere I belong."