The recent schedule of parties, dinners and visits can lead to a holiday hangover and January sometimes feels as though there hasn’t been a holiday at all. What better way to unwind than to enjoy a movie night without all the hustle and bustle? This edition of Rave Reviews offers two flicks that’ll help you relax before you head off to your next round of festivities.
The theatres are packed with great blockbusters this year, including Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. The second of Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes franchise, A Game of Shadows brings Robert Downey Jr. (as Holmes) and Jude Law (as Dr. Watson) back together for another great caper in Victorian London. The stakes are higher this time around, with Europe set on the brink of war and evil forces conspiring to push the continent over the edge. Holmes and Watson set out on a cross-country manhunt for Professor Moriarty (played by Jared Harris of Mad Men), only to discover that his schemes are deeper and darker than anything they imagined. While many sequels often fall flat, A Game of Shadows delivers great action sequences, clever verbal spars, and a remarkable lack of cheese (something that was all-too-present in the first Sherlock Holmes).
Another option is to bring home The Help. Based on Kathryn Stockett’s bestselling novel, The Help is truly a heartwarmer. Emma Stone (Easy A, Zombieland) and Viola Davis (Doubt, Eat Pray Love) star alongside an incredible supporting cast. Stone plays twentysomething Skeeter Phelan, a southern belle returning home after graduating from Ole’ Miss. Looking to launch her writing career, Skeeter’s hard-pressed to find something to write about but after witnessing her best friend, Hilly Holbrook (played to a tee by Bryce Dallas Howard), make insensitive, racist comments in front of the family help, Skeeter decides to write a book about her hometown of Jackson, Miss. from the point of view of the black housekeepers who worked for all of Jackson’s finest families. She enlists housekeeper Aibileen Clark to help her and as Skeeter and Aibileen work together, they each develop a greater appreciation for the life the other leads, the rich stories they have to share, and the danger they both face. I read The Help, and was concerned that the film wouldn’t capture the true spirit of the book, but I need not have worried—The Help is a great adaptation, and those who enjoyed reading it will delight in watching it come alive on the screen.
Enjoy these silver screen treats, and I look forward to what 2012 will bring to the movie world.