Recliner Reviews for June 14, 2012

June 12, 2012 

Sometimes it’s a dilemma: what DVD should you rent or what movie should you stream or order-on-demand? Do you want a date flick, an action caper, or a goofy comedy? Weekly Surge is here to help with our reviews of recent at-home movie releases, which we’ve watched from the comfort of that favorite recliner.

“Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows”

There are tons of Guy Ritchie haters out there. Yes, he’s a director who’s made some bad films. What director hasn’t? Yes, he’s turned Sherlock Holmes into an action hero. So what? Sherlock Holmes is not holy ground. It’s not like he made Jesus a commando, taking on the Roman Empire, although, somebody might want to explore that idea. But here are the facts about Ritchie – he’s made three of the best British gangster films ever with “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,” “Snatch” and “RocknRolla.” That alone should buy him the freedom of taking an American, Robert Downey Jr., and pairing him with the British Brad Pitt in Jude Law, and make a smart action film using the name of the world’s most famous sleuth. The story is a continuation of the first movie – it moves fast and you have to think fast but Downey delivers another great action performance. Law is a natural as the reluctant Watson again. And Ritchie brings in Noomi Rapace who’s big in Sweden for “The Millennium” series. OK, there’s a baker’s dozen of Sherlock Holmes’ reboots on BBC TV and films. That gives Ritchie haters an alternative. But bully for Ritchie for trying something different. It’s elementary, dear readers…worth a watch.

“The Darkest Hour”

Emile Hirsch’s ten-year career has been a game of chutes and ladders. He’ll climb up the ladder with four or five good films only to take one bad turn and hit a chute that drops him back to start. For all his advancement in films like “Into the Wild” and “Milk,” there’s also his swift drop in films like “Speed Racer” and this film. A quick scan of the script’s pitch should’ve been enough for Hirsch to say, “No!” Invisible, man-erasing aliens attack Moscow and a handful of Americans are the only ones who have a chance of survival. There are elements of the story that aren’t trash but once again, the filmmakers get too sidetracked trying to make cool special effects to worry about the little things like character development and story arc. The title should be, “The Dumbest Hour-and-a-Half.” Pass.

“The Awakening”

Everyone who loves quality films should know the name Rebecca Hall. She’s a British actress who’s been picking up steam by co-starring in great American movies such as “The Town,” “Everything Must Go” and in 2013; she’ll have a prominent role in “Iron Man 3.” Here she takes the main stage in a British ghost story. Her performance makes a statement. She moves successfully from self-confident to shattered and all points in between. This actress and this movie could be overlooked and that would be shameful because good ghost stories and good acting like this are a hard find – they’re both transient and fleeting. So wake up and smell the Rebecca Hall – this is worth a watch.

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

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