Movie Fuel is back with a review of the newest Sherlock Holmes movie. I’ll be waiting for this one to get to dvd asap! There are plenty of fun movies to go see right now and I am getting antsy! I have heard that the newest Mission Impossible (number 5) is the best MI yet, full of fun and action! I’d also love to get out to see the Charlize Theron flick, Young Adult.
On to Movie Fuel!
Sherlock Holmes – Game of Shadows (2011)
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Three Stars (Out of Four)
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s literary character Sherlock Holmes has been adapted more than any other, an astounding 25,000 times. It is understandable, as the character is fascinating; a cunning know-it-all who has to always be one step ahead of his opposition, the grandest master of deduction.
Director Guy Ritchie has long been known as a rogue filmmaker who emphasizes style over everything else and knows how to please his audience. He makes unorthodox decisions that others wouldn’t, like telling stories about British Gangsters, using slow motion where it hasn’t been used before, hiring his friends as actors and of course his most questionable decision, marrying Madonna. But, there is no denying Ritchie’s signature style, you know when you are watching one of his films, which include: Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998), Snatch (2000), Rock n Rolla (2008) and the first Sherlock Holmes (2009) film (no need to mention Swept Away (2002), with the aforementioned ex-wife).
He catches your attention early on, grabs you and pulls you into a free-falling chasm. And before you can decide whether or not you like what you are experiencing, you are pummeled over the head with a barrage of quick camera shots, fast action and clever narration. Needless to say, Ritchie can sometimes be a polarizing filmmaker, most audiences either love him or hate him. With the first Sherlock Holmes film, Ritchie took the best of a more recent bad adaptations like Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) and the less than stellar Jack the Ripper Tale, From Hell (2001) and added his own style to create a swift and entertaining film with enough twists to make you care all the way until the end.
With Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, you get much of the same and you like it. However, there is at least a sense that the director is more in control of his craft and the film is driven less on action and more on a chess match of a story. Where the first film in the series concentrates on developing the title character and relies heavily on style more than story , the second installment feels comfortable and confident. Guy Ritchie’s signature is still evident and heavily stamped all over this version (yes, the narrated slow-motion action sequences are still intact, and this time with weapons!) This is all done within the parameters of a well written, cat and mouse tale which is like a puzzle with missing pieces that are only to be found in the exciting conclusion.
In this sequel, we are introduced fully to Holmes’ greatest adversary, Professor Moriart. Almost as clever as Holmes, Moriarty ups the ante and provides a fierce challenge for our hero. The real joy of both Sherlock Holmes films is the dynamic relationship between cohorts Holmes and Watson, played respectively by Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. Over two movies, Downey and Law have developed a friendly chemistry that is sincere and funny. When where every scene when the two are not verbally jousting, we feel like we are watching a filler leading up to the next time they can go at it again.
Game of Shadows takes place in the days and nights surrounding Watson’s wedding, which adds a new level of tension between the friends and partners and adds to the already layered storyline. While this is best described as an action movie, the film is at its best when we are witness to how Holmes mind works. Downey portrays him as a nearly clinically insane man whose ideas and true conspiracy theories constantly push him to the edge, where he prefers to be. Ultimately, Downey is what we paid our high priced admission for; his manic approach to the character is exciting and fun and seems like the perfect role that fits his personality. Early on, the viewer may feel as though they are in a maze leading to nowhere, but don’t be fooled, the filmmakers are fully in control the whole way through and by the end you feel smarter than when you walked into the theater and, as rare as this happens, like you got your money’s worth. –Movie Fuel 2011
Sounds like fun, doesn’t it! Now, what to eat?
- For the fish:
- 1 lb. white fish (cod, haddock or catfish work well)
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- ¼ cup corn starch
- dash cayenne pepper
- dash salt and pepper
- 1 bottle of beer (dark works well, but I used Pliny the Elder)
- 2 cups frying oil (canola, sunflower or safflower work best)
- For the chips
- 2 avocados
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- ⅛ cup corn starch
- 2 cups apple juice or cider
- dash salt and pepper
- Slowly heat your oil to around 350 degrees (use a thermometer) and plan to have a couple of pairs of tongs on hand, one for the raw fish and one to pull from the wok.
- Mix all ingredients in a shallow pan or large rectangle plastic container. Add the beer last and whisk until batter is smooth. Dredge one piece of fish at a time before allowing to fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Don’t hurry your fish by crowding the pan, it will cook best alone. Wear an apron, this dinner is a splashy one. Once your fish looks golden brown, pull the meat out of the oil with tongs and let drain on paper towels. I wanted to try using newspaper for that authentic feel, but couldn’t get over the idea of eating ink.
- The avocado batter will need to be mixed in another container to prevent cross contamination from the raw fish. If you’d like to use beer for this batter, you absolutely can. I chose apple cider to prevent any strong beer flavor for my kids.
- Homemade tartar sauce is super easy too. It’s just a blend of mayonnaise, vinegar, sweet relish, lemon juice and salt & pepper.
Yes, you read that right! Whole wheat flour for the batter and avocados for the fries! This is the Hollywood version of Sherlock Holmes, so I decided to fry California style. The wheat flour gives the batter a little bit of a heaviness to it, but it works pretty well! My husband was a hard sell on the avocado fries until he actually tried one. They were a success, nice and crisp on the outside and mushy goodness on the inside.
I fried my food up in a wok, since I don’t have a frying pan that is all that deep.
Please join me tomorrow to learn about a special family who could use your well wishes this Christmas. I’ll also be reviewing one of my favorite recipes, Pioneer Woman’s White Chicken Enchiladas. Thanks for reading!