ROBERT DOWNEY Jr. – Not Holmes For Christmas

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Sherlock Holmes is the Holiday Season’s #1 semi-flop. Set in late 19th Century London – a favorite locale for winter tales – the film serves up the need for a ghost story (or the resurrection of the pronounced dead) along with the expected murder mystery complete with exotic potions and very dreary weather. The script also engages the Totally Other as might author Jules Verne. The world as everyone knows it is about to change – forever. No matter the clues as to the nature of that mysterious force, time is running out. Add the slightly off-beat leading lady, tons of never-ending paraphernalia, a number of stronger than your average guys, ready combustibles, and all the metallurgy it takes to guarantee crashing, creaking, and clanking – somewhere in this hodge-podge might have been the perfect period Action Movie for director Guy Ritchie. The conclusion is elementary: Sherlock Holmes is a strenuous waste of time and money.

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Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law

Simply stated, Robert Downey Jr. is totally wrong for the role. He lacks the class and sophistication of the elegant sleuth obsessed with minute detail. Instead, the diminutive Downey is an unkempt thug with a grizzly three-day stubble. He is pumped for the boxing ring, mortal combat, martial arts, a special effects high-dive into the Thames, and a silly spread eagle S&M exposé involving wrist restraints and a throw pillow. Absent is the musician who finds solace with his violin. Gone is the dichotomy of the superbly educated private detective who moves about in London society, yet indulges in his fondness for legal cocaine and the occasional head trip at the local opium den. Rather than fresh and perfect wardrobe, fastidious grooming, and impeccable hygiene – this Sherlock Holmes has gone putrid.

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SHERLOCK HOLMES

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Jude Law – as “Dr. Watson”

The script and Jude Law are equally out of sync for “Dr. Watson”. And Mr. Law’s career choices are traveling down the same sorry road as that of Nicolas Cage and Val Kilmer. Loyal fans of the characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle will not rejoice in this episode created by screenwriters Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham and Simon Kinberg. Moreover, a huge percentage of the dialogue is lost because of mush-mouth delivery and the bass-heavy boombox effects from the studio sound department. Hence, motivations are lost and plot lines are difficult to follow. From my center row vantage point there was much nodding-off and whispers of “what’d he say”. No one applauded the finished product. Even so, there are rumors of a sequel.

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GUY RITCHIE, Director

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Rachel McAdams – as Irene Adler.
Costume designs by Jennie Beavan and Melissa Meister

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Robert Downey Jr. Cuffed and fluffed.

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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