The Empty Hearse (Sherlock Season 3 Episode 1) TV Show Review

Can I just say, IT’S BACK! After two whole years of waiting, the first episode of the third season of the BBC’s award winning series Sherlock has finally aired. The first paragraph will be a spoiler-free review for those who are still waiting to see the episode, until I say “SPOILERS BELOW” where it will be filled with many a-spoiler.

Firstly, for those who haven’t seen it, this is the mini-episode Many Happy Returns that is to be watched before The Empty Hearse:

The first episode of the series, called The Empty Hearse, was written by co-creator Mark Gatiss. It did not disappoint. It had everything a Sherlock fan could have asked for. Action, romance, deductions, amazing cinematography, and of course, brilliant acting by the show’s stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. It was like a fanfiction reader’s dream! A brilliant assortment of references and actions that by no means diminished the essence of the show. The crack-shippers will be happy, and so will the more traditional Sherlock Holmes fans like myself. The music, if possible, was even better than in season two. It consisted of some of the older tracks, and well as some new tracks, and new takes on old tracks. As a whole, I really liked the episode and thoroughly look forward to the rest of the season.

SPOILERS AHEAD (this includes the images as well)

Now, a more in-depth review of the episode, for those who are lucky enough to have already seen it.

One of the things that I was looking forward to most in this episode was John’s reaction when he saw that Sherlock was indeed alive. I have to admit, it was a bit different from what I expected but the multiple beatings that John gave Sherlock were more than enough to make me happy. I actually really like how they didn’t make John forgive Sherlock straight away. He was angry, and rightly so. I love how his character was written after seeing Sherlock was alive. It just gave him so much more depth. I’ve always thought that John was portrayed as a sort of one-dimensional character. Not to say that his character doesn’t have depth, more that we rarely saw it. In The Empty Hearse however, we definitely saw it and it was brilliant. Martin Freeman, of course, did a great job of showing this new character development. I especially loved his acting in the train scene when he thought that the bomb was going to go off.

Speaking of character development, one word; ANDERSON. I don’t think a character has ever had such a quick and convincing turn-around that didn’t seem totally cliche. And it just seemed so natural. I never thought I’d ever feel so empathetic towards him. Another great character development was with Mycroft. We barely got to see any characterisation for him in the previous seasons, but in this one episode we really got to see him for who he is; a lonely man who feels like he has no equals.

Special mention of Amanda Abbington who did literally played the best Mary Morstan I have even seen. She made the character so likeable and I could genuinely see how Mary and John could get along together so well, and her friendship with Sherlock was one of the highlights of the episode.

I really, really liked all the shoutouts to the fandom. The Sherlolly kiss, the Sheriarty almost kiss… The way they did it was just absolutely perfect. In fact, the alternate theories were absolutely perfect. When I saw the bungee-jump one, I honestly thought that was what happened and became so confused that I hadn’t seen the bungee cord! The humour, was just amazing. It really helped lighten up an emotion-packed episode. Speaking of emotion-packed, it made me both laugh out loud and cry which gives the episode a big tick for me.

No fanfiction needed with scenes like this:

Then there’s the actual explanation of have Sherlock Holmes survived his multi-story fall, which I was pretty happy with. Although, it was way more extravagant than any of my theories. The only part I guessed right was the ball under his arm to stop his pulse.

The only real downfall I can find with the episode is that it sometimes felt like it was all over the place, switching back-and-forth from John’s to Sherlock’s point of view. However this could also be due to the stop-start nature of the player I was watching it on. *shakes fist at BBC iPlayer* But anyway, I found this to be a very minor setback.

Fun fact: The actors who played Sherlock’s and Mycroft’s parents, are actually the parents of Benedict Cumberbatch.

The music *sigh* was amazing. Like I said in my first paragraph, I thought it was even better than in the previous seasons. The most notable song was the one that played when the bungee-jump theory was being shown. It was an awesome mix of the usual Sherlock theme with electric guitars.

I highly recommend, that if you haven’t already, you give John Watson’s Blog a good read. It’s really very entertaining.

Favourite character/actor: Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch)

Least favourite character/actor: This is actually impossible, because all of the credited actors were actually amazing

Favourite scene: The Sherlock survival theories

Least favourite scene: The bonfire scene

Rating; 4.5/5 stars

Picture Sources

All pictures/gifs: http://bbcone.tumblr.com

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Love Actually Movie Review

I watched this film a few years ago and remembered it being good, so when Christmas came around again, I decided to re-watch it. Although this film isn’t strictly a Christmas film, it would have to be one of the best. Warning that this post may contain spoilers.

Love Actually was made in 2003, and was written and directed by Richard Curtis, directed by Duncan Kenworthy, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward and Lisa Chasin.

As far as romantic comedies go, this one takes the cake. Taking a quick skim over the plot on Wikipedia, you’d assume that the film is a Love_Actually_movieswirling vortex of confusion, with far too many characters and plots to get your head around. Yet surprisingly, this is not true. There seem to be a few storylines that are major, and yet it’s the minor stories that I prefer, my favourite being the relationship between Jamie (Colin Firth) and Aurelia (Lucia Moniz). The storylines are also amazing because most of them sort of link up to each other, at some points at least.

One of the things I really like about this film is that it doesn’t just show romantic love (although this is the primary theme). It also shows the love between parent and child, friends and siblings such as the relationship between Sarah (Laura Linney) and her brother, Michael (Michael Fitzgerald). This is rarely shown in romantic movies, let alone romantic comedies.

One thing to be greatly admired about Love Actually is its incredible cast list including; Alan Rickman (Harry), Emma Thompson (Karen), Hugh Grant (David), Keira Knightly (Juliet), Colin Firth (Jamie), Martin Freeman (John) and Rowan Atkinson (Rufus). This, of course, makes the acting brilliant. It’s just all, perfect and amazing. Usually I couldn’t really care less what celebrity is in a film (except in fangirling cases) but in this movie it actually makes a difference, and you can tell.

I found this amazing picture that shows all the (confusing) connections between the characters

I found this amazing picture that shows all the (confusing) connections between the characters

Overall, the film is very heart-warming, in a good-corny kind of way. One of the best parts is the way that the start of the movie links up to the ending (I love it when they do that). The real-life footage of Heathrow Airport really seems to sum up the essence of the the movie. These scenes at the begining and at the end of the film always have me struggling not to burst into tears. This is the first quote of the film:

Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.

Some scenes are also hilariously funny, which means the film actually lives up to being a romantic comedy something that other rom-coms really seem to forget. I love a movie that can make me laugh and cry.

The music is mostly actual songs, and doesn’t have very much of  a score. The best thing about these songs is that they weren’t just newly-released songs from the time the film was released. It includes songs that go as early as 1818 (Silent Night) and non-Christmas songs as early as 1957 (Catch a Falling Star).

Favourite scene: The beginning and the ending

Least favourite scene: When Karen finds out that Harry is cheating on her

Favourite character/actor: Prime Minister David (Hugh Grant)

Least favourite character/actor: Karl (Rodrigo Santoro)

Rating; 4/5 stars

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Movie Review

I was so excited to see this film and had very high hopes for it, all of which were fulfilled. I was lucky because I got to see it in 3D and in Xtreme screen. Warning that this post may contain spoilers.

The Hobbit: An expected Journey was directed by Peter Jackson and is an adaptation of J.R.R. Tokien’s novel, The Hobbit. It was The Hobbitproduced by Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner, Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson, with the screenplay written by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro. The cast includes Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins), Ian McKellen (Gandalf the Grey), Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield), Graham McTavish (Dwalin), Ken Stott (Balin), Aidan Turner (Kili), Dean O’Gorman (Fili), Mark Hadlow (Dori), Jed Brophy (Nori), Adam Brown (Ori), John Callen (Oin), Peter Hambleton (Gloin), William Kircher (Bifur), James Nesbitt (Bofur) and Stephen Hunter (Bombur). Ten points to anyone who can remember all the dwarves’ names and place them to a face.

One thing is for sure, The Hobbit is a very long film, going for 170 minutes (almost three hours) and it didn’t pass quickly either. It felt like a long movie. Despite this, I wanted it to keep on going. I wasn’t waiting for it to end but to continue because it was that good. There were parts here and there that bored me a little bit, but they were well worth the rest of the film. There were also a lot of parts added to the film, but they all fitted in with it perfectly. This is because those parts are still cannon. There were taken from mainly the appendixes at the end of The Lord of the Rings, and explained parts that weren’t explained in the novel, like where Gandalf went to when he left the dwarven party. The reason why I don’t usually like it when a movie is different from the book is based on is because it leaves out important plot points or completely changes a scene (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince anyone?) This was not a problem in The Hobbit.

As far as acting goes, it was all round very good. I was a bit disappointed, however, that Martin Freeman’s acting was not exceptional. I mean, he played the part very well part it wasn’t amazing. Although, the character he’s playing isn’t extraordinary either. He’s just an ordinary hobbit. Maybe Freeman was just playing the character as he is? I think this quote from Steven Moffat sums it up:

Whereas I think Martin Freeman does the exact opposite: he makes ordinary people fascinating. He finds the poetry in just being ordinary, and that’s an extraordinary, exquisite gift. He can tell the story of our lives and make it fascinating.

One thing’s for sure, The Hobbit was fascinating. Then there’s the acting of the dwarves and Gandalf, which were all pretty amazing. But it’s not really the acting the makes the film, it’s the perfectly woven story, special effects and music that makes it what it is.

The hobbit sceneryI’m normally not a big fan of 3D but I highly recommend it when seeing this film. Unlike other movies in 3D, The Hobbit rarely has objects flying straight at you, but rather the 3D just adds more depth to the film. It makes it seem more real, and really shows off the movie’s doubled frame-rate (from 24 FPS to 48 FPS) which is only shown when watching it in 3D. I was originally a bit worried about the frame-rate because of what I heard critics say, but I thought it looked stunning. Yes, in some parts the scenery look a little fake, but not in the bad CGI kind of way. It did it in the magical and fantasy type of way. It sometimes looks less realistic, but more full of wonder. Something that The Hobbit is supposed to be. The scenery in it was absolutely amazing.

The music was written by Howard Shore, who also did the score for The Lord of the Rings. I think this was a good idea to use the same composer, because it was one of the ways that films for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are similar. Some of the music is nearly identical and the songs that are different, have the same feel to them. I was a little disappointed in that respect, because I hoped there would have been more new songs, but I also liked it because it brought back memories of The Lord of the Rings. This is one of the new songs that I really liked (turning your sound up all the way is necessary):

Favourite character/actor: Radagast the Brown  (Sylvester McCoy)

Least favourite character/actor: Azog the Defiler (Manu Bennett)

Favourite scene: The giants in the mountains

Least favourite scene: The beginning was a bit slow

Rating; 5/5 stars

BBC Sherlock (Season 2) TV Show Review

Coming up to this season I was really worried. The first season was so short that I didn’t know if it was just luck that it was good. Would this season turn out to be better or worse? It turned out that I had nothing to worry about. Warning that this post may contain spoilers.

I think I’m beginning to see a pattern with this series. The first episode of each season eases people back into the show, nothing too intense but a good story. The second episode is generally the worst of the season, it doesn’t have much to do with the overall story and is just there. The third episode is epic and stressful and awesome, ending on a massive cliffhanger. Time will tell if the following seasons will be like this as well.

This season was the one that was based on the three most popular of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories; A Scandal in Bohemia, The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Final Problem.

The first episode was pretty good. Despite the large level of nudity (not that anything is actually shown) it’s still rather tactful and these scenes are not the most… Awkward for John. The episode introduced a new character, Irene Addler (Lara Pulver), who is played very well. I admire Pulver’s acting skills in this role. The ending of the episode is very touching, it is one of the first inkling we get that Sherlock (played once again by Benedict Cumberbatch) actually cares. Another moment when Sherlock’s caring nature is shown is when we see his reaction to Mrs Hudson (Una Stubbs) being hurt. It actually made me scared! One thing that did annoy was the way that the strokes of the violin didn’t match up with the sound of it; I just close my eyes in these parts. The overall genre of this episode, surprisingly for a Sherlock Holmes story, is romance.

The second episode has the genre of horror, but it didn’t really scare me that much. It was very interesting how they made this story modern and I think it was very well done. There was another new, one-episode character in this episode called Henry Knight played by Russell Tovey. Unlike Pulver’s character, Tovey’s just wasn’t as engaging. I felt little pity for him and didn’t think his acting was as good as it could have been. The best part of this episode was probably the ending with Mycroft that continues on with the backstory with Moriarty, but the episode had lots of really awesome small moments in it. It’s these moments that makes me enjoy this episode.

I loved episode three. It had me on edge the entire time. I was constantly feeling worried, angry, surprised and sad as I watched it. It was so amazing that I can barely describe it. I have to commend Martin Freeman for his role of John Watson in this episode. The amount of emotion he showed brought be to tears. There are so many hints and clues in this episode, you can tell that it’s leading up to something. It builds up to massive climax which doesn’t disappoint.

The music, oh, the music! It was amazing. While re-watching the episodes and thinking about which scenes were my favourite, I realised that it was the music that made them. They all had that music that had a fast undercurrent with a slow and strong melody. It sends shivers down my spine. Of course this music wouldn’t be as good is the theme song of Sherlock hadn’t been brought in during season 1. Here’s one of those incredible songs composed by David Arnold and Michael Price:

Favourite character/portrayal: Sherlock Holmes/Benedict Cumberbatch

Least favourite character/portrayal: Henry Knight/Russell Tovey

Favourite scene: When Moriarty is telling Sherlock the story about the knight and when John is in the graveyard.

Least favourite scene: When Henry is reminiscing the past

Rating; 5/5 stars

BBC Sherlock (Season 1) TV Show Review

I’ve watched the old Jeremy Brett version of Sherlock Holmes, the new Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movies and I have to say that the BBC’s Sherlock easily beats them all. I have seen both seasons one and two of this series, but seeing as this is the first one I’ll try to avoid references to the second season. Each season consists of three, 1.5 hour episodes. Warning this post may contain spoilers.

In a word; brilliant. The storyline is brilliant. The acting is brilliant. The filming, directing, everything is brilliant. I absolutely adore this series, so much so that led me to read all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. Sherlock is the Sherlock Holmes stories modernised and set in 21st century London. Despite this, in every other aspect it is perfectly in tune to the books.

The first episode called A Study in Pink (not the pilot, I will talk about that later) starts from the beginning. If you’ve been living under a rock for 100 years and have no idea who Sherlock Holmes is, you could watch this series and it would make total sense to you. The first episode is told through Dr. John Watson’s (played by Martin Freeman) eyes as he tries to figure out Sherlock Holmes (played by Benedict Cumberbatch). Benedict plays Sherlock extremely well. He has such a Sherlock Holmes aura about him; one of arrogance and brilliance. Freeman is also a good John Watson. I hate it when Watson is presented as an idiot and Freeman does the opposite if this. Watson is shown as exactly what he is; a caring invalidated army doctor who admires Sherlock’s skills. One of the unique things about this series is the way writing pops up on the screen to show texts, emails and even thoughts. Whenever I talk to people about this series it’s one of the first things they mention. I’ve never seen it before and I love it!

The second episode The Blind Banker isn’t as good as any of the other episodes. Unlike the other episodes, you can only really watch this once without getting bored. Despite this, it’s still a lot better than most TV shows. I think one of the reasons why this episode wasn’t as great was because it didn’t contain as many of our lovable characters; DI Greg Lestrade (Rupert Graves), Mrs. Hudson (Una Stubbs), Mycroft Holmes (Mark Gatiss), Sergeant Sally Donovan (Vinette Robinson), Anderson (Jonathan Aris) and Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey). The stories seem to really need them to add extra humor and interest to them. The guest appearance of Gemma Chan as Soo Lin Yao really brought down the episode as well. I can say I am not a fan of her acting and I’m glad she won’t be on the show again.

The third episode The Great Game I thought was even with or better than A Study in Pink. The start of the episode was priceless; so funny! The actual episode has a lot of cases in it that keep your mind racing. It also has the introduction of a character that has been hinted out through the first two episodes; Moriaty (played by Andrew Scott). We find out more about Sherlock and John in this episode too. I think this quote sums it up.

  • John: “There are lives at stake, Sherlock! Actual human lives! Just so I know, do you care about that at all?”
  • Sherlock: “Would caring about them help to save them?”
  • John: “No.”
  • Sherlock: “Then I’ll continue not to make that mistake.”
  • John: “And you find that easy, do you?”
  • Sherlock: “Yes, very. Is that news to you?”
  • John: “No… no.” Sherlock: “… I’ve disappointed you.”
  • John: “It’s good. It’s a good deduction, yes.”
  • Sherlock: “Don’t make people into heroes, John; heroes don’t exist, and if they did I wouldn’t be one of them.”

The Pilot was an unaired 1-hour version of A Study in Pink. Although it isn’t as good as the aired episodes I think it deserves a mention because it has some funny and interesting scenes in it. It also shows the difference between good editing and great editing.

The music in this series is also very good. Whenever I think Sherlock Holmes music the first thing that comes to mind are violins and the score for Sherlock does not disappoint in this field. I think the best type of music for a TV show/movie is either when you don’t even notice it’s there, or you really notice it and love it. One of the main theme songs, The Game is On, is here:

Favourite character/portrayal: Sherlock Holmes/Benedict Cumberbatch

Least favourite character/portrayal: Soo Lin Yao/Gemma Chan

Favourite scene: So many! The interplay between Sherlock and Anderson (hilarious) and the end of A Study in Pink, when Watson makes a very good analysis of Sherlock

Least favourite scene: When Soo Lin is explaining about her past

Rating; 4/5 stars