Dave Finally Watches: Sherlock Holmes, The Informant!, Zombieland

Over the long weekend we watched a few recent arrivals from Netflix. Here’s what I thought of them! (I guess there might be spoilers here, but the whole point is that everyone else has probably seen these already.)

I like Sherlock Holmes, but I’m not a die-hard fan. Still, I was a little concerned that someone was going to decide that what the books needed more of were leather trenchcoats, people running up walls, and giant mechanical spiders. I was pleased to find that this wasn’t the case and that the material was treated well without being too slavish to it. I’m not one of those skeptics who objects to any amount of fantasy in a movie, but I was also pleased to find out that there were more mundane explanations for the “supernatural” events.

I liked Downey’s treatment of Holmes — a bit broken, a bit unrefined, but his heart in the right place — but let’s face it, it’s not too different from a lot of other characters he’s done. I like Downey, but I know he can act. I don’t want him to just be RDJ in every movie he does.

Speaking of acting, it must be great to be Matt Damon. He’s talented enough to get a wide range of roles, and he’s excellent at pulling them off. And in the meantime, he also isn’t too big of a star to do TV-sized foolishness just for the hell of it. This is probably the best Coen Brothers movie that Steven Soderbergh ever made, and in fact it sort of reminds me of what Burn After Reading was trying to do clunkier. As each layer of Mark Whitacre gets pulled off and we slide further down his own personal rabbit hole, your feelings about him just churn and never fully get resolved. I have known characters like him in my life, and the fact that Soderbergh and Damon portrayed one and brought laughs while doing it says a lot for their abilities.

I’m on record as being the one nerd in the world who isn’t sick to fucking death of goddamn zombies. So why did I Watch Zombieland? First, because it was there. I Wouldn’t have put it in the queue, but it showed up, and I was willing to give it a go. Second, I liked Shawn of the Dead, so treating this So Very Tired material with comedy was a possibility.

Man, I hated this thing. Five minutes into it I was sick of Jesse Eisenberg’s “hilarious” narration, and by twenty minutes in I was pretty much done. I didn’t find the comedy particularly funny, as most of it centered on the nerd idea of “bad-ass”, which I also have a very low tolerance of. I can definitely see the appeal here for those so inclined, but I tuned it out pretty early in.

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One Response to Dave Finally Watches: Sherlock Holmes, The Informant!, Zombieland

  1. Stewart says:

    Good reviews, Dave. I also liked Sherlock Holmes, especially since it contained some stick fighting and a few ophthalmology references. The lead actors were all very convincing.

    Haven’t seen The Informant yet, but heard the This American Life episode about the story on which it is based, and that is quite a compelling and scary tale. I’ll put this one on my list!

    Finally, I liked Zombieland more than I though I would, though I agree the whole genre is pretty effed out. I enjoyed some of the special effects, some of the narrative gimmicks, and of course, the celebrity cameo.

    Keep the movie reviews coming! Um, but what about that elephant in the room- Avatar!