Screening Room: Downey Rocks as Sherlock

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SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS (PG-13)

RUSS

“Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” is director Guy Ritchie’s follow-up to his 2009 hit. Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law are back as Holmes and Watson, facing a tough battle against arch nemesis Moriarty.

Ritchie has transformed Arthur Conan Doyle’s ace detective into a 19th century James Bond, so purists beware. Still, the action and production values deliver and Downey’s tongue-in-cheek performance deftly props things up. If you saw the first one, you’ll know exactly what you’re in for.

SHAWN

The world's most famous detective is back and once again effectively re-imagined with the help of director Guy Ritche's signature cinematic stylings (super quick edits, swirling camera shots, stop motion trickery and overly violent "Matrix"-like action sequences) and Robert Downey Jr.'s swaggaliciously cool performance. More action than the first but also way more convoluted. Good luck figuring this movie out. It sort of purposely doesn't make sense. I think. But it totally sucks you in.

"A Game of Shadows" wants to be a smart movie but ends up being dumb mindless but highly entertaining fun. Not even the real Sherlock could figure this movie's tricky plot. Just what the heck is really going on? I'm talking to you Sherlock. But did I mention how cool Robert Downey Jr. is as Sherlock? Props also to Jude Law who is comfortably cool as the side-kick and "Mad Men's" Jared Harris who is delightfully evil as Sherlock's wickedly clever adversary Professor Moriarty.

Overall, a nice companion to the first with slightly better acting and production values. And Robert Downey Jr. being Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes which is always fun.

Russ: 3 out of 5 Popcorn Bags

Shawn: 4 out of 5 Popcorn Bags

YOUNG ADULT (R)

RUSS

Director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody, the team behind the hit comedy “Juno,” have reunited for yet another examination of adolescent angst…but this time the characters carry that angst over into their 30’s.

Charlize Theron plays a former prom queen who returns to her hometown determined to steal her old high school boyfriend away from his wife. Trouble is, he’s happily married.

The direction and dialogue are very sharp and the acting is terrific. But Theron’s character is so dislikable that it makes empathy nearly impossible. As a result, “Young Adult” is a character study of a character you may not want anything to do with.

SHAWN

Charlize Theron is a mean girl stuck in the past in the unfunny and overly mean-spirited dark comedy "Young Adult." Charlize Theron who is usually a rock solid actress delivers a belligerently bad and unconvincingly edgy performance.

"Young Adult" starts nasty and gets nastier. No thank you. The biggest problem with "Young Adult" is with Diablo Cody's overly trite and slightly under baked writing. For the record I've never been a fan. I even thought "Juno" was severely flawed and over-written. There is something about Cody's dialogue that always rings false. "Real" people just don't talk the way she writes. Much of the dialogue is just too "screenplay" cool and if you are going to send me down a dark unforgiving rabbit hole I've gotta have someone I like riding shot gun with me.

There isn't one character worthy of liking in "Young Adult" which ends up being an ugly bore and a painfully dreary experience.

RUSS: 3 out of 5 Popcorn Bags

SHAWN: 1 out of 5 Popcorn Bags

ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED (G)

SHAWN

The lovable singing rodents are back. This time on an adventure on the high seas aboard a cruise ship until Alvin and his crew including the Chipettes end up on a deserted island. Just as playful, colorful and overly loud as ever. The humans are all stupid and the animated stars are all stupid cool. But you can't deny the entertainment factor. This is silly fun at it's best and best produced. Young kids will love it and adults will probably hate it, mostly because those catchy sped up songs will be stuck in your head. Welcome to the kid zone.

RUSS: Did Not Screen

SHAWN: 3 out of 5 Popcorn Bags

ALSO IN THEATRES THIS WEEK:

-“Connected” is a documentary about technology’s effect on our lives.

- “Black Power Mix Tape” features interviews with leaders of the Black Power movement from 1967 to 1975.

-“Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” opens exclusively on IMAX screens this weekend and opens wide on Wednesday, December 21st. We will have our review posted on that date.

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