It's been a downplayed week of cinema for me, with nothing of note until I finally hit the weekend. While most films are getting the full review treatment, there are some that I just don't have much to say on. And for now, I thought I'd hold off on the pre-2011 films I saw and focus on the matter at hand.
Directed by Guy Richie
As hinted at in my box office report, I am of a conflicted nature on Guy Richie's second outing in his "Sherlock Holmes" vein. Yes, the story has expanded to a more relevant, believable, and fascinating nature, which is all the more fitting for the introduction of Holmes' nemesis Moriarty. The problem it faces is the expansion of its own technique, which was fine to begin with in the first film. The relatively low-budget aesthetic worked for what was required. The $35 million more that was spent on it makes it feel all the more like a blockbuster effort, and as such loses a degree of the soul it had. It's that separating factor that was evident in "X-Men" and "Harry Potter" earlier this year, and continues on here.
But again, there is a strong story being put to the test by Richie's group, and Moriarty is depicted as perfectly as he possibly could have been. He's not as intentionally evil as he seemed in the previous film. Jared Harris goes to the limited extremes with his performance, going just far enough to not be a cartoon villain, but not banal either. Harris thrives more than anyone else on the payroll. In fact, since he's not a comedic player, he avoids both the film's advantage and its bane, that being its wit. It's not that it's not funny, but it's thrown in at every possible avenue that it's overkill. It drags the film down with it and becomes repetitive very quickly. However, the scenes with Harris are done to perfection, and one particular action sequence of the film is amongst the more fascinating of this year.
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Scorsese has always been leading the charge as far as the topic of film preservation has been concerned, so it figures that it's only a matter of time before he makes a film about it. "Hugo" is the achievement of that endeavor, but isn't an achievement of much more than that. The story seems to have been selected merely for the relevance of Georges Melies within it. Could he have picked a more in tune story? Sure, but this seems particularly suited to send the message to children generations. What does that come sewed together with? Horrendous child performances from Asa Butterfield and Chloe Moretz, and a typical story that is never really motivating. If it is, that's from simple juxtaposition with "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close". In short, we don't feel his devotion, even if we do see it. I just felt cold and unmoved throughout the entirety of it ridiculous length. Rarely is two hours too long, but a story like this doesn't work for that long.