Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes (2009) Mockbuster Movie Review

That’s right, there was another Sherlock Holmes movie that came out around the same time as the Robert Downey Jr. movie I reviewed last week. Didn’t hear about it? I am not at all surprised. I am a huge fan of what I call “cruddy-good” movies. These are films that you can’t help but laugh at even though they are not meant to be comedies. The Mister and I spend a lot our time wading through the sea of crappy movies out there giving them the old Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment. That is to say, we crack wise throughout at the terrible special effects, mediocre writing, … Continue reading Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes (2009) Mockbuster Movie Review

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) Review

Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law and Rachel McAdams are back to reprise their roles as Holmes, Watson, and Irene Adler. New additions include Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo films), Jared Harris (Mad Men, Mortal Instruments) and Stephen Fry to round out an excellent cast. The film begins a few months after the events of the first installment. Holmes is investigating a series of seemingly unrelated crimes which lead him to intercept a letter from Irene Adler. He is so deep into his case that he totally forgets Watson’s bachelor party, and multi-tasks by taking him to a place where Holmes can find the … Continue reading Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) Review

Sherlock Holmes (2009) Movie Review

I have seen some criticism about Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of everybody’s favorite detective. Sure, he plays the violin, hangs out with Dr. Watson and solves crimes in Victorian England. Some would argue that he is missing the essence of Sherlock Holmes because he spends some of his time running around and getting blown up. I agree that Conan Doyle’s Holmes was certainly more subtle in his approach than the 2009 movie would make him out to be. But it is precisely this departure from the written word that makes this film Steampunk. More Physicality And in some ways, it is not a departure so much as … Continue reading Sherlock Holmes (2009) Movie Review

Stardust (2007) Movie Review

Stardust is a fabulous film both written and directed by Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, X-Men First Class). And even more importantly, it’s based on a book by my all-time favorite author, Neil Gaiman. He is best known for his off-kilter and often creepy tales such as Neverwhere and Coraline. This particular work is a bit of a departure from his normal style. I have seen others liken it to works such as The Princess Bride, and I think this is a fair comparison. As is always the case, the film is not a verbatim copy of the book. But I actually really liked the times that the … Continue reading Stardust (2007) Movie Review

“Winchester” Movie Review

To the Cinema! A Review of the Movie “Winchester” Winchester opens with a scene of a fictional Dr. Eric Price (played by Jason Clarke) taking medications to deal with his troubled past. He’s just been hired by the Winchester Rifle Company to determine the sanity of Sara Winchester, and her ability to head the Winchester Rifle empire. But one immediately wonders if a man so haunted by the death of a spouse is fit to judge the mental capacity of a wealthy heiress? What’s Winchester About? A Widow’s Wild World Dr. Price arrives at the bustling Winchester Mystery House with construction workers swarming all over the … Continue reading “Winchester” Movie Review

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012) Falls Flat

We Steampunk fans enjoy a nice mash-up of literary references. But it takes an exceptional writer to make it all fit together in a coherent narrative. Unfortunately, this sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008) shoehorns this notion between overwrought action and lukewarm family drama. What is Journey 2 About?   A few years have passed since the events the first movie. Sean (Josh Hutcherson) has a new stepfather, Hank (Dwayne Johnson) and his relationship with the former Navy code breaker is rocky. When Hank helps Sean decipher a message from his wayward grandfather (Michael Caine) they find some common ground. The message … Continue reading Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012) Falls Flat

Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008) References but Doesn’t Retell Verne’s Story

My reviews to date mostly focus on stories set during the steam era, but there are also plenty of films that make references to things from that era that occur at later dates. They may lack the Steampunk aesthetic that we know and love, but I think they deserve a nod for their “punking” of the classics. I refer to these movies as “steam-adjacent,” and there’s plenty to tickle a Steampunk fan’s fancy even without gears and goggles. The big-budget Journey to the Center of the Earth is one of these films. It should not be confused with the mockbuster by the same name that came out … Continue reading Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008) References but Doesn’t Retell Verne’s Story

The 2012 Movie “Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island” Adds a Time-Traveling Twist to this Steam-era Classic

  What Was Different? In this made-for-SyFy flick, the island is relocated to the Bermuda Triangle. Ships regularly disappear from this spot because of a rift in time that sucks in travelers. This allows them to include pirates and refugees from the American Civil War, but also some ladies from the present. Ever since the 1961 film, the trend with movie adaptations is to add some kind of creepy critter. In both the 1961 the 2005 versions, all of the animals on the island grew to huge proportions. In this one, there’s a giant octopus blocking their escape by sea. Plus, the island is overrun by … Continue reading The 2012 Movie “Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island” Adds a Time-Traveling Twist to this Steam-era Classic

Sweeney Todd (2007) Review

  Who is Sweeney Todd? The man behind the world’s closest shave first appeared in a serial called The String of Pearls: A Romance. It took place in 1785 and was first published as a serial in 1846-47. The story has been adapted for stage and screen many times over, but in case you aren’t familiar with it, here’s the short version. Sweeney Todd is a barber on Fleet Street in London. He kills his victims (sometimes through breaking their necks and sometimes his straight-edge razor) and then disposes of the bodies by giving them to his neighbor, Mrs. Lovett. She bakes into meat pies at a … Continue reading Sweeney Todd (2007) Review

From Hell (2001) Review

          What is the Connection between the Title and Jack the Ripper? Jack the Ripper was a serial killer immortalized in the London newspapers of 1888. When London’s East End neighborhoods fell victim to a string of distinctive and brutal murders, they attributed them to a single person. The rumors often referred to “Leather Apron” because of the level of butchery. Though the bodies were left out in the open and found soon after the victims died, these murders pre-date forensic science so there was never a conviction. Letters (thought by many to be fraudulent) sent to the press and signed “Jack … Continue reading From Hell (2001) Review