Enola Holmes | A Great Synergy of Writing, Acting, Directing and Everything in Between

It was only when the movie was annouced that I became aware of Enola Holmes. Although a newer character in the Sherlock Holmes mythology, I wasn’t phased by it because I’ve been pleasantly surprised by many versions of Sherlock, Watson, and Mycroft. Directed by Harry Bradbeer (Fleabag, Dickensian) and adapted by Jack Thorne (His Dark Materials) , this movie stars Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things, Wonderland) as the titular character, Helena Bonham Carter (Cinderella) as Mrs. Holmes, Henry Cavill (The Witcher) as the famous detective Sherlock Holmes and Sam Claflin (Mockingjay, The Riot Club; Love, Rosie) as Mycroft Holmes. The cast also features Fiona Shaw (Killing Eve), Adeel Akhtar (Les Misérables), Frances de la Tour (Outlander, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), Louis Partridge (Paddington 2), Susan Wokoma (Truth Seekers) and Burn Gorman (Game of Thrones, The Expanse).

This offshoot featuring Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle‘s famous character comes from The Enola Holmes Mysteries a series of six books by Nancy Springer. So if this movie goes well there’s chance for film series. This movie is inspired by The Case of the Missing Marquessbook one of the series and it is set in 1884, England like Conan doyle’s Sherlock Holmes works.

Premise: After a free-spirited childhood, Enola Holmes – Sherlock’s teen sister – wakes on the morning of her 16th birthday and discovers her mother has disappeared, leaving behind an odd assortment of gifts but no apparent clue as to where she’s gone or why. Enola suddenly finds herself under the care of her brothers Sherlock and Mycroft, both set on sending her away to a finishing school for “proper” young ladies. Refusing to follow their wishes, Enola escapes to search for her mother in London. But her journey finds her entangled in a mystery surrounding a young runaway Lord. Enola becomes a super-sleuth in her own right, outwitting her famous brother as she unravels a conspiracy that threatens to set back the course of history.

Review: Giving that the books skew a little younger, I was curious to see how this movie would turn out. The ad campaign for Enola Holmes presented a beautiful and somewhat interesting film, and it very much is.

The run time made me flinch but Enola Holmes is delightful. It’s the easiest two hours of entertainment I’ve spent lately. I was engaged the whole time. The story is easy to follow, some might say too easy but since the books are geared toward children it makes sense to me that the mystery, well mysteries, around the film would also be accessible to a younger audience. The movie has good rhythm and gives the great collection of characters is has enough time to shine.

For a period piece, the diversity is better that what I would have guessed, it’s subtle but very effective. It’s not pandering and very much feels like they picked the right actors for these specific roles.

Speaking of actors, the cast is incredible, the movie is well cast. Like I said in my trailer reaction, Helena Bonham Carter tells you everything you need to know about her character with her casting alone. Obviously the movie gives you more, but I felt I understood who Enola’s mom was without needing an excessive amount of backstory. Sam Claflin and Henry Cavill make a great Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes, they work well as a pair and that’s particularly true for Cavill’s Sherlock. Millie Bobby Brown is perfect in the role, from the breaking of the forth wall to the actions scenes. She makes a compelling Enola, who is not afraid to use all the tools at her disposal, privilege included, to help. The movie goes full girl power but there is no role reversal for the love interest and Louis Partridge does a fantastic job, he’s great match with Brown.

The production design, the score, costumes, the directing, writing and acting compliment each other. It makes for a very entertaining movie that I wouldn’t mind rewatching, or see a follow up story, there are six books after all.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

The book:

Get it here

TV Review: Young Wallander (S1) | Shades of Nordic Noir Mystries

This new contemporary Swedish mystery crime-drama, Young Wallander focuses on Henning Mankell’s iconic detective Kurt Wallander. Adam Palsson (Avenue 5) plays the titular role and is joined by Richard Dillane (Strike Back, The White Princess), Leanne Best (Carnival Row), Ellise Chappell (Poldark), Yasen Atour (Robin Hood), Charles Mnene (The Informer), Jacob Collins-Levy (True History of the Kelly Gang, The White Princess, Holding the Man), Alan Emrys (Johnny English Strikes Again), and Kiza Deen (Hollyoaks).

Henning Mankell’s best-selling “Kurt Wallander” novels have inspired many films and TV series in both Sweden and the U.K. Featuring a Swedish and British cast this English-language original new telling sees young Kurt in his first steps as a policeman.

Premise: The personal and professional formative experiences of recently graduated policer officier Kurt Wallander as he investigates his first serious case.

Review: I am in awe of the pilot. The situation Kurt’s in is amazing, a great recipe for drama. A young white Swede officer – all those words are important – living in a council estate unbeknownst to his neighbors until a tragic night. Great set up, right there, but then what happened with his work, ratcheted up the tension to an uncomfortable level for me. And it all happens completely out of his control, it brought the series up to nice level for me where the emotions of the character plays as big of a part in the show.

The investigation is interesting and warrant a six parter. There are enough moving pieces to keep you entertain, even if there’s a slight predictability factor that goes into it. I had the culprit figured out but the show did manage to sway me from my theory for bit.

There’s a naïveté in Wallander that feels very genuine, it comes from a good place but it brews trouble for him. I could see how this would turn him into a grizzled detective, or how this is the early years of what would become the brusque disillusioned character known in Mankell’s books. Adam Palsson does a great with the character. I like his speaking voice, it’s maybe a weird thing to note but I like it.

I was impressed with the show’s diversity but I couldn’t help but notice that one particular person of color, who got sidelined, became the helper. That character was only there to help Wallander move up while he stayed down. Once you see the show you’ll know who I’m talking about and will see how they did him dirty, but you what? It looks like real life to me.

I loved the way the season ended, it was grounded, realistic and not so optimistic. There’s enough material for a second season without it overwhelming future storyline. Young Wallander is an easy binge or episodic vieawing with shades of Nordic noir mysteries

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

For the first book in the Wallander series, click here

Bloodshot | When visuals supersedes story

Inspired by a comic book by Bob Layton, Don Perlin, and Kevin VanHook, Bloodshot was helmed by first time feature film director Dave Wilson and stars Vin diesel (Guardian of the Galaxy) in lead, co-starring Guy Pearce (Iron Man 3), Sam Heughan (Outlander), Eiza Gonzáles (Alita: Battle Angel), and Toby Kebbel (Fant4tic).

Premise: After he and his wife are suddenly assassinated, Marine Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel) is brought back to life by a team of scientists. Enhanced with nanotechnology, he becomes a superhuman, biotech killing machine – Bloodshot. As Ray first trains with fellow super-soldiers, he struggles to recall anything from his previous years. But when his memories flood back and he remembers the man that killed both him and his wife, he breaks out of the facility hellbent on revenge.

Review of the feature adaptation of Bloodshot

Review: Writing the premise, I omitted part of the last sentence which is, “only to discover that there’s more between what he originally feels and a conspiracy.” I’m not sure that it is necessary to sell this movie, I’m on the fence. Selling it as a revenge movie with cool visuals would probably work for Diesel’s core fanbase or anyone who just love action scenes no matter what the story is about. The phrase I highlighted and took out of the premise gives more subtances, more meat to the story. It could intrigue a casual action movie fan into seeing Bloodshot trying to figure out what the conspiracy is about. Saddly the marketing took that away from the viewer.

It’s not high art, and that “conspiracy” is not too difficult to figure out but they could have tried. Tried, among other things, to not give it away before the movie was out. Since for almost two third of the movie it is not adressed. They could have put more subtle clues about what’s really going on before Ray discovers it, enticing audiences to watch the film a second and/or third time instead of the one and done it turned out to be.

There are actors that I love in this film but they failed to level up the story. The performances were a little wooden but to be fair you can’t make up what’s not there. Although, Toby Kebbel kind of made it work, I really saw two dinstinct versions of the character he was playing. As for the rest of the cast they can count their blessings because people will forget they were even in this.

The visuals are clearly a selling point of the movie – that is if you count Vin Diesel as a reason to see a film – and it’s the only thing that some thoughts went into. For a debut film Dave Wilson has shown that he’s good with action scenes and visual effects but still needs to show that he can direct actors, maybe in another movie with a…story.

Bloodshot is action packed with awesome secenes and weak story, so leave your brain at the door and enjoy your popcorn.

TV Review: The Rook (Season)

Loosely based on Daniel O’Malley’s novel “The Rook Files“, this TV series stars Shameless and The Path alum Emma Greenwell, costars Joely Richardson and Olivia Munn.

Premise: Myfanwy Thomas finds herself at Millennium Bridge in London surrounded by dead bodies with no memory of how she came to be there. She soon discovers that she is an agent with supernatural abilities in a British secret service called the Checquy.

Review: The Rook is an interesting show, it’s intriguing, sleek, and mysterious but it’s one of these shows that would probably be better to read. I could totally see where the internal monologues and feeling would come in. The show is slow at times, I watched the first three episodes the week they came out. At the end of these episodes I wanted to see more but I was wishing for those last scenes to be a few minutes longer, because they’d often end the episode on some sort of bombshell.

The narrative did not exactly feel episodic more like an 8 hour movie with many ups and downs, and yet making it a bingeable show. That’s why I stopped watching it weekly and waited to see all the episodes at once. Besides I was traveling at the time so binging was conviennent.

That being said the actors were amazing, it was nice to see Emma Greenwell in this role. I may not have connected the dots at first but subconsciously I knew I was watching Milkov’s sister from Shameless. Joely Richardson was a dream and it was interesting to see in Olivia Munn in another TV show. I’ve only seen her in the Newsroom and loved her there.

As a book adaptation it’s middle of the road but the potential is there and I’d watch a second season.

The Finest Hours | Trailers

Review: I saw this trailer at the movies in front of Ant-Man, and I have to say it looks epic. The trailer sucked me in within seconds, the action does not looked too CGI-ish, and it showed enough about the story and the characters to peak my interest. The Finest Hours looks like a good dramatic thriller with award worthy performances. 

I like the cast, the time period, the accents, and the action but what about you guys what did you think of trailer?

TV Review: Outlander (S1)

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Premise: Follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened. When she is forced to marry Jamie Fraser, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate relationship is ignited that tears Claire’s heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives. (Source: Starz)

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Review: I am impressed with this show. The premise desn’t sound like much but it’s a good show. Thank goodness I was bored enough one day to check it out. The theme song is just wonderful and intoxicating, a great choice for the show that it is. The pilot set everything up nicely, at least the first part of things, we got to know Claire’s life in 1945 before diving deep in 1743’s Scotland.

The characters and the plots are slowly introduced and developed that they quickly feel real. The slow pace the show took created a solid base to amp up the drama, relate to the characters, and set up the era. I felt like with each episodes I learned a little bit more about Scottish culture. The voice over stayed throughout the season but I didn’t mind it. It was on point, adding to the information that the images and/or the great performances were giving. It also made boring shots (people walking around, landscape shots – however beautiful they were) more interesting.

The show is full of little references, I did not expect to find e.g. “When you eliminate the impossible whatever remain, however improbable, must be the truth.” a quote that many of you have heard in Sherlock.

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The pilot’s development on Claire’s life in 1945 made even more sense once they started to use flashbacks. I don’t know if the flashbacks would have made any sense if they hadn’t spent a good portion of the pilot in 45. Claire strong, pigheaded AND annoying at times. Jack Randall is amazing, powerful, which is even more impressive when you compare the actor’s performance as Clair’s husband in 1945.

The further we went with the show, the more riveting, and beautiful Outlander was. I was giddy and excited to watch the show. Outlander was a little bit all over the place when it came to categorize it, it was a bit sappy, cheesy but it also got dark, I mean really DARK, which was a direction I didn’t exactly expect. Not having any spoilers from the books I thought I was imaging Jack Randall’s proclivities but I wasn’t! It made the show all the more sweater because the creative team was not afraid to get into the sadism, get gritty, and graphic. It got so disturbing but the way it was edited made it bearable.

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Outlander is an emotionally charged and riveting new show, arguably one of the best that came out this year.  What about you, have you seen the show? Any thoughts?