Tag Archives: Movies

Enola Holmes (2020)

Enola Holmes (2020) - IMDb

What is Sherlock Holmes’s clever but much younger sister to do when her mother disappears and her brothers try and ship her off to boarding school? Head to London, of course!

As a long time fan of the Enola Holmes books, I’ve been looking forward to this movie since my sister first sent me the trailer. And good news: this one really didn’t disappoint. Much. Didn’t disappoint much. But what do you expect from a bookworm when they make one of her favorite series into a movie? I’d give it a B+ and would love a sequel, please and thank you.

The movie does a lot right. The plot is action packed and fun. The costumes are colorful and well done. It tweaks (and Hollywood-izes) the original book but nothing egregious. The changes generally work well.

Millie Bobby Brown does a fantastic job as Enola. She hits the right note of naïve but brilliant. She’s funny and genuinely entertaining to watch. She’s not classically gorgeous and she fits the character perfectly.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Henry Cavill as Sherlock Holmes. I do not understand that casting decision in the slightest. And the fault doesn’t really lie with his acting abilities. He actually hits the right emotional notes as a distant, baffled, but sympathetic older brother. But not as Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes is…quirky. He’s not super attractive. Henry Cavill is the embodiment of Superman. He’s blindingly handsome with his chiseled jaw and blue eyes, and it just doesn’t fit with Sherlock Holmes. Henry Cavill is also charismatic which sits awkwardly because he should be a side character but as soon as he comes on screen, the movie became Sherlock Holmes And The Search For The Missing Sister. Except this is an Enola Holmes movie. So I just….don’t get it.

(As for the rest of the cast, Sam Claflin (aka Finnick Odair) plays Mycroft Holmes and, well, that’s a decision. His hair cut was awful but he does what he can with the role and provides a good foil for Sherlock. Helena Bonham Carter does a decent job as the missing mother and mostly just fades into the background. Louis Partridge also does a good job considering his role is playing damsel in distress most of the time.)

Besides Henry Cavill, the movie suffers from too many attempts to break the 4th wall. Now, some worked really well. A few scenes felt genuinely clever and the 4th wall break enhanced the moment. Most of the time it felt like lazy narration. But then it kept doing it and finally just reached a point of excess.

For the most part, though, I enjoyed it and I really, really, really hope Netflix makes the rest of the series because it only gets better from here!

Did you watch it? What were your thoughts?


Entitled T.V. Watchers

Bethany: “So, what do you want to watch tonight?”

Me: “I don’t care, any preferences?”

Bethany: “No.”

Me: “Well, how about Netflix?”

* we surf Netflix without agreeing on anything to watch *

Me: “Okay, okay. Let’s try Hulu.”

* nothing *

Me: “Disney Plus.”

“Acorn.”

“Viki.”

Nada.

Bethany: “We…could just watch Abominable again?”

Honestly, our level of entitlement is something else. And also, we’re taking TV recommendations.


Beyond the Mask (2015)

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I remember several petitions circling in 2015 among my friends to get Beyond the Mask into movie theaters when it first came out. I don’t remember if I signed it, but I sure hope I didn’t. This will not be a positive review.

Beyond the Mask is an “American Christian historical action-adventure film.” Or at least, that’s what Wikipedia says and I couldn’t describe it better. It follows William Reynold, a British East India Company assassin/mercenary who decides to turn honest when his old bosses try and kill him. When not involved in a fight to the death (which happen about every 30 seconds), he spends a lot of time mooning over the helpless blonde-haired, blue-eyed heroine. But just when you think the movie can’t get any slower…he moves to America and turns vigilante for the American colonists?

It is very clear that this movie was inspired by All Of The Favorite Home School Action Movies. Pirates of the Caribbean, Phantom of the Opera, Les Mis, Lord of the Rings, probably Narnia, The Legend of Zorro, Romeo and Juliet, National Treasure, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Robin Hood, Ivanhoe, The Count of Monte Cristo…and so many more. It scrupulously follows the “arc of a good story”–from the young and handsome hero and his quest to redeem his honor, to the hapless heroine, the wise mentor (a very strange and Leprechaun-like Benjamin Franklin), the evil villain (who is so evil he apparently murders family members for fun.) And yet despite all this, the plot falls flat.

The Good:

(For the record, Bethany says there is no good. But you know what they say–couch insults constructive criticism between compliments.)

The movie tries. I can understand why it generally went over well with Christian audiences. It is full of action and explosions and romance and yet remains squeaky clean. The actors do what they can with the roles they are given. (Bethany says, “No, the acting was not good. Only Gimli was good.” John Rhys-Davies–aka Gimli–plays the villain. So disclaimer there.) The costumes are…sometimes pretty. At least, I usually liked the heroine’s gowns. And…well, like I said. There is clearly a passion for good, swashbuckling stories here. And just because I don’t think it delivers on that passion doesn’t mean I can’t respect the attempt to bring it.

The Bad

To be blunt, the very thing that probably brought Christian audiences in is what lost my sister and I. It is the problem of most Christian movies and books. Namely, it brings a sledgehammer to do a chisel’s job.

The hero’s conversion experience is the great climax of the movie. Which isn’t necessarily bad. But there is no subtlety about it. He misunderstands grace and love. Then someone reads him a lecture about grace (granted, it was the heroine and not a random pastoral character, so I guess that was good.) Suddenly, his motivation, his understanding, his life changes. He is empowered to change the world. It is a familiar, basic plot and allows for no subtly. You will not be allowed to miss the message about grace. They will say it…and say it again…and again in case you missed it. Honestly, it is not the worst part of the movie and it has been done much worse before but my sister and I rolled our eyes frequently.

This is also just a terribly plotted movie. Characters die for the hero and my sister and I kept going, “Wait! Who was that? Why did he do that? Why do we care?” The bad guys are cookie cutter villians without clear motivation. (Maybe greed?) The romance was insta-love and unbelievable. The transition to the American Revolutionary War was awkward. And it was all so, so historically inaccurate.

My sister refused to believe home schoolers directed this thing. “No home schooler would make such egregious mistakes!” she kept saying. (Alas, both directors were homeschooled according to their bios.) Instead of enjoying the climatic final action scene, we spent it Googling “When was rubber invented?” “When was wire invented?” “Where did bombs come from?”

Finally, the movie itself. We tried to grant it grace because of the budget (hopefully most of its 4 million dollar budget went to paying John Rhys-Davies because he deserves something for being in this movie.) But the green screen was awkwardly evident and frequently the background characters’ costumes are…odd. (At one point, the villain attends a party where all the background characters are wearing the same coat.)

This is yet another attempt to make a Christian movie that falls short…and I think most of the problem lies with the plot. (Bethany: “And everything else.”)


The New Emma Movie

Have you seen the trailer for the new Emma movie coming out in 2020? 

I was skeptical when I first saw pictures for it but it looks like they’re going more comedy than romance and now I cannot wait to see it. Really curious to see how they do. 

Speaking of trailers, I stumbled upon this short “clip” made about one of my favorite non-Heyer/Austen Regency novels, Mr. Malcolm’s List. I do hope they make it into a full movie someday. Or at least give us a Part 2.


Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

I am super late to the party but let me just echo all the reviews I’ve seen elsewhere and say…Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was an awesome movie. 

It was interesting. It was funny. It blended humor and action in a way that didn’t feel at odds. It had cool animation. There was a great lesson at the end. It left me wanting more while simultaneously wrapping everything up enough to be satisfying.

I won’t lie, I was skeptical about the hype. But there is a reason for it. 

Totally worth watching. 

Image result for into the spider verse


Save the Popcorn

I saw Avenger’s Endgame (sooo good) this afternoon with friends. They were running late so I bought all the popcorn and drinks. I did not make it far.

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It was too risky balancing it all so I stood over the popcorn for a good 20 minutes. The cleaning lady kept glaring at me.


Bride For Rent (2014)

I am on a role with finding good movies on Netflix! 

Image result for bride for rent

Bride For Rent is a Filipino movie about a guy who hires a fake bride in order to inherit his trust fund early. Of course, predictable hijinks and miscommunications occur. What I liked about this movie was that it did not follow all the usual cliches. Oh sure, it followed some, but it broke from the usual tropes in interesting ways and produced a romance that actually came across quite believable. Don’t get me wrong – some terrible acting at times. But fun despite it all. 

Either I’m seeing more Filipino options because I am in Thailand or Netflix just downloaded a bunch of Filipino movies. In either case, I’m looking forward to further exploring! 


Favorite Hunger Games Memes

This post is in honor of my cousin, Ella, who just finished reading the Hunger Games. Enjoy 😉

 

 

And let’s not forget Peeta’s love of bread.

 

 

 

Bonus Round: <Spoilers>

 


Rated R Movies

My sister got off work and needed a ride home so all of us siblings piled into the car to drive the one mile to go get her. (Irrelevant to the story, but quite a fun adventure.)

Me: Have you all seen that movie Game Night?

Brother: *in a judgmental tone* Isn’t that rated R?

Sister: She’s 25. She can watch rated R movies. 

Brother: Yeah but she asked if we’d seen it. 

Sister: You’re 17. You can watch rated R movies too. 

Brother: Oh, right. *long pause* But what do you think I do? Watch rated R movies all day?

 


Late Night Movie!

Catching a late night movie with a friend. There are far too many small children here for the time of night.