Jeff Neumann/CBS Broadcasting
Season 2 of Elementary has come to a close and we're faced with several things all at once: Sherlock Holmes throwing his lot in in with MI6, Joan Watson moving out on her own and Mycroft Holmes vanishing in order to escape the potential wrath of the French terrorist group Le Mileu. It's going to be quite interesting to see how this all shakes out.
The first character whose future we must consider is Sherlock, specifically in regards to his decision to consult for British Intelligence. That plainly means that the esteemed detective will be setting up shop in London. What this means for Captain Thomas Gregson and detective Marcus Bell is anybody's guess. Apart from an arc that featured Bell getting shot due to something Sherlock did and Gregson trying to save his marriage at one point, the two were largely reduced to having Gregson yell at Sherlock for breaking protocol and Bell to sitting and scowling next to Sherlock during police interrogations. The writers really need to do something with those two, since Aidan Quinn and Jon Michael Hill are both too talented to just be bit players again during Season 3. A good solution would be for Holmes to realize that New York is too much in his blood and have him return there after an episode or two so they can re-integrate Gregson and Bell as Sherlock realizes his mistake.
What to do about Mycroft? Although Elementary isn't in any way strictly adherent to the canon of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's material, Rhys Ifans didn't feel like the right fit as Sherlock's brother, especially compared to the Mycroft of the BBC's Sherlock. This isn't a knock against Ifans' acting ability, but the show might want to make him undergo plastic surgery and have him coming back looking like an entirely different person. There just didn't seem to be any genuine chemistry between Ifans and Lucy Liu either — the Mycroft/Watson plot just seemed cobbled together to make Sherlock act like an even bigger ass than he normally does.
Speaking of Watson, she is a bigger issue. There still doesn't seem to be an avenue for Sherlock to have any romantic feelings for her, since he is still far too vested in his work, since that is probably one of the only things keeping him from slipping back into an abyss of drug use (though the audience is still going to be very interested to find what he did with that baggie of heroin that he stashed in his jacket pocket towards the end of Season 2. There were some who speculated that he might have intended to slip back into drug use to force Watson's hand into becoming his "sober companion," the pairing that made them fall into each other's orbits in the first place. That scenario was seemingly dashed when he decided to accept the MI6 offer, but that baggie will keep lurking like Chekhov's Gun during the summer hiatus, leaving us wondering what place it had. Will it force a reconciliation of sorts between the two or will it be forgotten?
The show is on a good path, and this upcoming season is going to be an important one in terms of it staying on stable footing. Jonny Lee Miller is a fantastic actor, and he's made Sherlock a must-watch character full of nuance beyond being an arrogant socially inept buffoon, but it's going to be up to the writers to make it must-watch TV. They have ths summer to really hammer that down or they will have even more time the following season to spend on the beach.
Laura Linney has signed on to play Sherlock Holmes' housekeeper in a new movie about the literary detective as an old man. Sir Ian McKellen will play the aged Holmes in director Bill Condon's A Slight Trick of the Mind, and now Linney has been cast as his doting caretaker, Mrs. Munro.
The Truman Show star is a lifelong fan of author Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, and admits she jumped at the chance to be part of the sleuth's world.
She tells EW.com, "I was obsessed with Sherlock Holmes as a young kid. You know how some people are into Dungeons & Dragons? I was into Sherlock Holmes. I loved the atmosphere of the stories. I loved the intrigue, his personality. Bill (Condon) had no idea (when he offered me the part)."
The film, which will begin shooting in London and Sussex, England, in July (14), reteams Condon and Linney, who worked together on acclaimed 2003 drama Kinsey and last year's (13) The Fifth Estate. It will also be a reunion for Condon and McKellen, who worked together on 1998's Gods & Monsters. The project will be Linney's first since she became a mother earlier this year (14).
A Slight Trick of the Mind will be based on Mitch Cullin's 2005 novel about Holmes' later years as the retired detective battles old age and dementia, while trying to figure out one unsolved case.
McKellen joins the ranks of the stars currently portraying Sherlock Holmes - Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch play modern versions of the sleuth on TV and Robert Downey, Jr. took on the character in two Guy Ritchie movies.
I know, that headline is trouble. You're always treading dangerous ground when you insist on defining what makes a good this or the right kind of that, as if there is no room for change or improvement when it comes to classic properties. Of course there is — Jason Segel's 2011 Muppet film approached the concept from an entirely different direction. It didn't hit all of its marks, but it prevailed overall in its conceit: make a movie not about Muppets, but about Muppet fandom. But Muppets Most Wanted, in absence of a clear mission statement and fueled largely by the monetary glimmers of the sequel game (the film's opening number admits this outright), has fewer marks readily available to hit. Landing in the ambiguity between the classic Muppet adventure formula and Segel's post-modern Henson appreciation party, Most Wanted feels like a failure on both counts. It doesn't know which kind of movie it wants to, or should, be. So it doesn't really be anything.
On the one hand, there's the half-cocked "get-the-band-back-together" through line, mimicking but not quite accomplishing the spirit of the 2011 picture. None of the Muppets are particularly likable or charming in this turn, and even fewer of them actually given anything to do. Kermit loses his s**t in the first act after a spat with Piggy and a barrage of insubordination from his troupe (provoked by the nefarious Dominic Badguy, Ricky Gervais), storms off in a huff, and gets swept up in a case of mistaken identity when his criminal doppelganger Constantine pulls the old switcheroo, landing Kermit in a Russian gulag. You'd think this would be a good opportunity for the second tier of Muppet favorites — Piggy, Fozzy, Gonzo, Scooter, Rowlf, et al — to go on a search and rescue... but save for a very brief sequence at the tail end of this achingly long film, none of the other Muppets are giving anything to do. They just hem and haw and perform the occasional "Indoor Running of the Bulls" while Dominic and Constantine scheme, rob banks, and bicker.
Meanwhile, Kermit has some fun in prison — a far more endearing plot that sees him befriending the merry convicts, organizing a penitentiary revue, and even winning the heart of the vicious warden Nadia (Tina Fey). If only we could spend more time with real Kermit and less time with fake Kermit and his second banana Gervais, an effectively boring pair.
On the other hand, though, there's the Muppet shtick that fans of The Great Muppet Caper and Muppet Treasure Island — and yes, The Muppet Show itself — will deem the movie's best material: CIA Agent Sam Eagle and Interpol Agent Jean Pierre Napoleon (Ty Burrell) hot on the trail of Constantine and Dominic. Here, we get a different type of Muppet movie entirely from what Segel and the A-plot in Most Wanted are opting: the old fashioned vaudeville act, with Sam standing as an independent entity from his googly-eyed brethren, on a goofy, musical prowl with Burrell that fuels the film with its best and most consistent chuckles. Their "Interrogation Song" number is outstanding, exemplifying the many talents of Flight of the Conchords' Bret McKenzie, who wrote all the music for this and the previous film.
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Unfortunately, Muppets Most Wanted isn't sure that it wants to be The Great Muppet Caper, beheld so stubbornly to its Segelian roots. There's a palpable compulsion to stick with this agonizingly self-aware, nostalgia-crazy, brimming-beacons-of-the-past-in-a-callous-today theme that doesn't work a fraction as well as it did in the 2011 film. Without a legitimate celebration of any of our favorite characters, how could it? With so much going on in this movie, and such a lengthy runtime at just under two hours, it's a sure sign of failure that we walk away feeling like we spent barely any time with the Muppets.
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Benedict Cumberbatch, Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Downey, Jr. have formed a bond over their roles as Sherlock Holmes on the big and small screen. Cumberbatch and Elementary star Miller are old friends and a recent meeting with Downey, Jr. made the Star Trek Into Darkness star realise he struggles with the same Sherlock issues as his peers when suiting up to play the sleuth in Guy Ritchie's movies.
Cumberbatch tells WENN, "I sat down on the sofa with Robert Downey, Jr. and we had our first conversation and shared notes on playing Sherlock Holmes.
"This is the most dramatised fictional character of all time so there's a lot to talk about. And Jonny (Lee Miller) is incredibly busy playing Sherlock just by happenstance and we both started on our separate journeys with it so we haven't had a proper sit down about it. We had contact but the last thing we want to do is talk shop, so I see as much of his (Sherlock) as I can and he's seen our three.
"We are fans of one another and we all support each other no matter what bulls**t the press is trying to whip up in the past. We're really good friends. I can safely say that Robert is in the same camp now; we had a wonderful chat."
British TV veteran Jean Alexander has landed a role in an upcoming episode of America's Sherlock Holmes drama Elementary. The actress, who portrayed Hilda Ogden on longrunning U.K. soap series Coronation Street from 1962 to 1987, will play an old pen pal of Jonny Lee Miller's Holmes character.
British actress Emma Thompson wants to become the first woman to play Sherlock Holmes. The Love Actually star is a big fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional sleuth, and she is convinced the part could be played by a female.
She tells Britain's Daily Telegraph, "I have always been a huge Sherlock Holmes fan. I would love to play a character like that, but that's a problem if you're a female. I'm always likely to be overlooked for not being male."
Thompson is adamant she would make a good Holmes, and hopes more women will be seen in leading roles in the future, adding, "Is the heroic role unisex? Or does it mean there is an area of life which remains unexplored, which contains stories which remain untold? I suspect that's the case and it will be very interesting as this generation gets into its stride to see what those stories turn out to be."
Actors who have recently played the detective include Robert Downey, Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch, and Jonny Lee Miller, who starred opposite Lucy Liu as a female Dr. Watson in U.S. TV series Elementary.
The New York Times reported that an American judge ruled that Sherlock Holmes, along with friends and foes John Watson, Mycroft Holmes, Moriarty, and more of Arthur Conan Doyle's characters, are now in the United States public domain. The judgement means that no copyright law applies to the use of story elements in any Holme adventures published before 1923. There were a few after that, so adaptors have to take care to not run up a bill with the author's estate by using any characters or plots introduced in those later works. But forget that advice, because we are all set with Sherlock reboots at the moment.
Unless you're as culturally clueless as the detective himself, you know that the character has had a massive renaissance these last few years. Robert Downey Jr. imbued Holmes with serious swagger in the Guy Ritchie-helmed 2009 film version. Between that movie and its sequel, Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat and writer Mark Gatiss launched a phenomenon to drive the internet to insane acts of meme-ing in 2010 with the slick BBC series. And CBS got into the game with its own modernized take Elementary, this time set in New York City and with a Joan, not a John. Even our collective obsession with forensic procedurals hinted at the successful resurgence of this character. There wouldn't be an NCIS without Sherlock Holmes.
And now he's free. And it's tempting. But between Jude Law and RDJ's chemistry; Benedict Cumberbatch's cheekbones; and Jonny Lee Miller's mania, there just isn't room out here for another version. At least not a good one. Any attempt to create a Holmes that doesn't directly copy any of these interpretations will just lead to a watered-down or barely recognizable imitation. And Sherlock deserves better than that.
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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Actress Lucy Liu is set to take on double duty on three upcoming TV episodes of her hit detective series Elementary by stepping behind the camera to direct. The star, who portrays a female version of Dr. Watson opposite Jonny Lee Miller as a modern day Sherlock Holmes, made her directorial debut in 2011 with short film Meena.
At the end of the second episode of this season of Elementary, detective Sherlock Holmes was talking to his partner/trainee, Joan Watson, about the death of a former patient of hers. He then offered to accompany her to the grave site the next time she went. There was a pause as they both looked at each other and then she said she would like that. My immediate reaction was, "Oh, they are NOT going there already, are they?"
I know that every show thinks there has to be some sexual tension to grab viewers, but forcing that would make this one jump the shark way too quickly. We want to see the intellectual sides of the two characters, where they both learn from each other. Jonny Lee Miller plays Holmes as an aloof, detached sort, caring only about the problem in front of him. He came a bit out of his shell earlier in the episode, asking Watson if she was going to pursue a particular avenue involving loaning money to the son of her dead patient. He then advanced her more than she asked for, but seemed content to let her choose her own course of action despite expressing earlier reservations.
The other thing is (avoid this if you have not seen the first season) that Holmes should be very wary of love after finding that the woman that he had been grieving all those years had turned out to be his greatest adversary, Moriarty. Having him fall for Watson and vice versa would make no sense. Then again, I'm not a scriptwriter.
The last thing that we need is for the show to suddenly devolve to sudden sideways glances while the two are investigating something or having their hands suddenly touch when reaching for a particular clue. I know, there's always a subset of people who want to 'ship' two characters on a show. There's those who waited forever to see Rick Castle and Kate Beckett get together on Castle. The phenomenon first came into play on Supernatural when Sam Winchester told his brother Dean during an episode when the characters went out into the 'real world' that people on internet boards wanted to pair those two together. "But...but...we're brothers!" Dean spluttered. Sam's only answer was a shrug.
Elementary just seems to work better with its present equation and I think that even nudging it into 'shipping' territory would be a grievous mistake, The ghost of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is probably nodding his head at this. It's elementary, really.
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