Event Horizon Meets Lost in Space

 DATELINE: MOVIE MASHUP

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Event Horizon is a mysterious space ship that disappeared in 2040 and suddenly shows up behind Neptune seven years later.

They might as well have called the ship The Flying Dutchman in science fiction garb. This interesting little-known sci-fi thriller is heavy on loud noises to rattle your bones, but the plot owes its being to Alien, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and a dozen other ‘something is lurking in the air shaft’ school of unseen monsters.

Sam Neill is on board as an odd scientist who invented the original ship that would breach black holes. And, Laurence Fishburne is aboard as the no-nonsense captain.

Among the other crew is Sean Pertwee and Jack Noseworthy, both adept in their stereotypical roles. The female leads like Kathleen Quinlan are cast to be politically correct more than developed heroic figures. Of course, Joely Richardson is wonderful, as she always is.

You may keep wondering if the formula means the doctor is actually a robotic computer, as often happens in these pictures. There is fortunately no superhero actor like Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, or Sylvester Stallone, ready to take charge with the action thrills.

With so many space shot movies, this one seems to have slipped between the cracks, but may be ripe for rediscovery. It provides a few thrills, without the comic book special effects.

The screenplay seems written to circum-navigate all the previous tales and still seem fresh.

The notion that the ‘mad’ scientist has no idea what he has unleashed—or perhaps knows all too well—is a time tested plot device, but with Neill’s performance, you may be unsure where he really stands when it comes to creatures from the black abyss.

Event Horizon is pithy and has a Dragnet kind of style. We want the facts, but Sam Neill’s Dr. Weir simply won’t provide them, much to our delight

Alas, in the final ten minutes, all hell literally breaks loose, and we do not misuse our figurative language. The ultimate result looks like Stanley Kubrick directed on LSD.

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Lebron in His Iron Mask

DATELINE: Unmasked

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Lebron’s new mask means to protect his broken proboscis.

Designed by the production team that brought you the Lone Ranger, the mask appears to do its job like a Playtex bra. It uplifts and supports.

We feel compelled to offer a litany of bad jokes, as is our style, but we should start by saying the mask is an improvement. He should have worn it ten years ago.

You seldom find masks that suit your personality. Clayton Moore comes to mind, but Jason Voorhees does not. That white mask makes him the white whale of horror, and we don’t mean James Whale.

We prefer that Lebron rap his face like a mummy or the Invisible Man. That would be horror.

Some have compared the Lebron mask to Batman’s facial cover. However, those masks are intended to disguise and to hide. For Lebron the mask enhances and flatters.

Hannibal Lecter’s mask was unflattering, but Lebron’s has Prada or Luis Vuitton written all over it. Alas, we think it is likely a cheap knock off.

We almost feel that Lebron was born with this mask and has eschewed it for too long. If Lebron has a face meant for radio, the mask makes him a media darling.

Heretofore, all the NBA victims of facial bone breaks have gone with the clear plastic look. Lebron James has always been opaque, if not downright Smokey the Bear.

If Muhammad Ali were playing him in basketball, he would no doubt come to games carrying a bear trap and would have designed the mask personally for Lebron.

We are surprised that Lebron has not made a matching mask for his mother Gloria who has taken to hiding from the media.

Lebron James has become the modern equivalent of the Man in the Iron Mask.

 

Rondo’s Famous Last Words

 DATELINE: HUMOR!

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As Celtics star Rajon Rondo slowly sinks into the team’s worst season with him at the helm, we note that he is in illustrious company.

Some day in the future, the ghost of Rajon Rondo will show up at a training camp like the ghost of Jacob Marley. He will be dragging his baggage behind him in a great sweep of chains. He will tell some future captain of the team: “The Boston Celtics were my business,” when faced with saving some slug from himself.

Rondo has taken on the mantle of Marie Antoinette, and not just in fashion. He now walks a hard road in her sneakers: Told of the suffering of the Boston Celtics, Rondo responded: “Let them eat birthday cake!”

Surrounded by the media, besieged by the enemy, like a general in World War II, he has every reason to surrender and offer his apologies. Instead, he comments, “Nuts,” when asked what was sprinkled on his birthday cake.

Like Winston Churchill, he will give every last ounce of blood, sweat, and tears, to fight off the media. “We shall defend our right to eat birthday cake. We will fight them on the beaches. We will fight them at Chuck’E Cheese. We will fight them at the parties.”

Like Richard Nixon, Rondo is even now collecting an enemies list of those in the media who hound him. He plans to make a television appearance to announce, “There will be no whitewash of the white frosting at the birthday party.”

We just hope he won’t be quoted in a final bitter press conference saying, “You won’t have Rajon Rondo to kick around any more. I quit.”

He has even cried out, “Et tu, Brad Stevens!”

For more shockers about Rajon Rondo, you should read RAJON RONDO: SUPERSTAR and its companion piece RAJON RONDO & THE GREEN NEBULA. Both books are available at Amazon.com in ebook format for smart readers, as well as traditional softcover.

Rondo Rips Media’s Groin

DATELINE: Man Up, Groin Down

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While Rajon Rondo spent his birthday in Los Angeles having a party with his mother and common law wife, his best man Kendrick Perkins was preparing for surgery on his groin.

Whatever connection there is between the two events, it means that for six weeks, Perk will be available for parties with Rondo. Don’t ask, and he won’t tell.

The close friends have no doubt been in contact. We only know from the inference that Jared Sullinger has sent best wishes to Perk for a speedy recovery. Sullinger knows that Rondo monitors all good wishes for Kendrick. It doesn’t hurt to stay on Rondo’s best side.

The Boston media threw caution to the wind and entered the Lion’s Den after a home game victory upon Rondo’s return to Boston. They did not see his best side.

Timidity was cast aside and inquiring minds wanted to know: what’s the story about this birthday party in Los Angeles?

Rondo offered his counter: “That’s my business, not yours.” He then ripped a groin or two of his followers in the media, accusing them of making up stuff at every turn. It was reminiscent of Rondo’s Stonewall about the Kendrick Perkins arrest in Texas a few years back.

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, lest you receive a dope slap. And you don’t spit into the wind, as Jim Croce once warned us.

If you try to pull the mask off the Lone Rondo, you may find yourself with a silver bullet imbedded in your groin at worst and a swift kick to the scrotum at best.

Don’t mess with Rajon Rondo. There will be no apologies.

Weakly Leaks Spring Eternal

DATELINE: MOVIE MASHUP

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Cumberbatch Impersonates Assange

The Fifth Estate tells the story of Wikileaks. However, if you are expecting All the President’s Men, you will be sorely disappointed.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s throat isn’t deep enough.

This is a tale of political technocrats, nerds of self-righteous anger. Laden with plenty of anti-American feeling and a holier-than-thou attitude, Julian Assange founds the Internet movement to spill the beans, come hell, high water, or moribund plot.

The metaphor opening the film hints that Wikileaks is on par with Guttenberg’s printing press and the Pentagon Papers.  It’s more like piecing together the Dead Sea Scrolls from a million fragments.

Benedict Cumberbatch again gives a striking performance, looking resplendent in his white wig. Most of the time he resembles like Andy Warhol’s lookalike lurking around Studio 54.

Laurence Olivier never felt comfortable in his acting until he had disguise. Cumberbatch acts with more color than his platinum hairpiece.

Drama from information and disinformation may not be the stuff of gripping conflict. In fact, the film tries to have its cake and eat it too. The privacy of Assange is assailed with more leaked secrets about his psychology than he likely cares to have revealed.

The movie is the ultimate tit for tat.

What’s sauce for the goose is a gander at Wikileaks springing its leaky-cum-mode on nations and their security.

Characters without any audience appeal are a tough foundation as protagonists and a worse sell at the box office.

We’ve always thought Assange was a political version of Bob Lazar who blew the whistle on UFOs at Area 51. This movie would have done better with a few unidentified flying secrets carried by little green men.

The war on invasions of our privacy should be one to prize, but this one is populated with booby prize material. Misdirection by Bill Condon doesn’t help.

Rondo Lets Them Eat Birthday Cake

DATELINE: BIRTHDAY CANDLES

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Mother of Mercy, can this be the end of Rondo?

The mercurial Boston Celtics star Rajon Rondo was not scheduled to play in the back-to-back game in Sacramento.

It was also his birthday. So, as the logic goes, he decided to skip the team flight and stay in Los Angeles to celebrate his natal day.  If you are looking for logical explanations, you might be advised to avoid NBA point guards.

RondoBulksUp More birthday cake, please!

Talk about being born yesterday!  Rondo seemed oblivious to any kind of issue with his skipping the jet jump up the California coast.

Like Marie Antoinette facing the guillotine, Rondo told the assembled media in regard to his teammates, “Let them eat birthday cake.”

Rondo has always been an advocate of noblesse oblige, which may be a term too fancy for Celtics fans and parvenu media members. We use the royal “we” only slightly less than Rondo.

We don’t think Rondo sees himself as the Queen of Sheba, but many others now most certainly do.

If you want to create an atmosphere that greases the skids to the summer lottery and a trade to heaven knows where, Mr. Ainge, then Rondo is on his way.

Watch that first step, Rajon. It falls out of the captaincy and into oblivion.

Though Rondo saw the hullaballoo as a tempest in a teapot, Trader Danny Ainge was less trivialized. He plans on speaking to Rondo when returns to Boston. This is about serious as Ward calling the Beaver into his study.

We expect Rondo to be given forty lashes with a wet noodle, grounded for a week, and forbidden to read GQ magazine for a month. Ainge is a hard taskmaster.

Of course, the real punishment will be forthcoming when Rondo will be sent packing in the summer when the trades come fast and furious.

Be sure to read RAJON RONDO: SUPERSTAR to best follow the royal headaches suffered by Rondo at the hands of cruel fans. Available on Amazon.com for smart readers.

Brad Stevens Faces a TKO by NBA Referees

 DATELINE: HUMOR

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With all the patience and measured temperament of Old Testament figure Job, or Chaucer’s Griselda, coach Brad Stevens of the Celtics was thrown out of a game by an official.

Never in his college or short professional career had Stevens ever experienced the heady rush of being tossed out on his keester.

Welcome to the NBA, Brad, where bad calls have given Hall of Fame coach, player, and broadcaster Tom Heinsohn dyspepsia for decades.

If you are wondering how bad the referees of the NBA are, you have only to marvel at one of them throwing out the Boy Scout Emeritus of basketball. Brad Stevens is a man of such rectitude that he has never jaywalked or littered.

Yet, the power drunk zebras of the NBA seem to be auditioning to work the Harlem Globetrotter games.

Indications are that Stevens did not raise his voice, lose his temper, or use any language that is typical of NBA thugs.

It was his time of initiation. Next week the referees will make him run a gauntlet while they try to use paddles on his rear end as he dodges their slings and arrows.

Players from across the Twitterverse expressed shock and surprise that the Teflon coach had egg stuck on his smooth surface.

How calculated was Brad’s desire to be thrown to the dogs? Let’s just say he wants to live life as a NBA head coach to the fullest.

For those wondering, Rajon Rondo took over the team in the absence of Stevens. The assistant coaches never knew what hit them.

 

Fans of Rajon Rondo may want to read RAJON RONDO: SUPERSTAR or its companion piece RAJON RONDO & THE GREEN NEBULA for more insights into the Boston Celtics. Books are available at Amazon.com for smart readers.

Brooklyn: Home for Old Celtics

DATELINE: HUMORESQUE

GarnettKevin Garnett has not proposed to Big Baby Davis, nor to Jason Collins, but he wants them more than Uncle Sam wants you.

Valentine’s Day and NBA Trade Deadline Day often become confused because teams send flowers but eschew the fatty chocolates.

First openly gay basketball star Jason Collins has been left at the altar after making a modest proposal about playing on any team that would have him. And, overeater and underachiever Glen Davis has been bought out by the Orlando team, letting him ply his wares on any street corner of his choice.

Brooklyn unloaded Jason Terry, never a real Celtic, but now wants Davis and Collins to join Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce as they make a push to avoid the lottery.

The only player Garnett would send flowers to is Rajon Rondo, but that bromance is off limits.

Garnett blew a gasket when the media hinted he had the hots for Big Baby. Garnett’s heart may be green, but not just for any former Celtic player.

You can bet your bottom dollar that KG does not want the Brooklyn Nets to let Ray Allen walk through that door.

Across the country in Los Angeles, former Celtics coach Doc Rivers also wants Glen Davis—and he wanted Garnett and Pierce too. The NBA does not like little green teams growing all over the country and put the kibosh on those reunions.

We like the idea of old Celtics becoming the new Andromeda Strain. Let them proliferate and congregate.

We will have another Celtic banner after all—it just won’t be in Boston.

Is Rondo Aging Like Fine Wine?

DATELINE: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RAJON

RondoBeardWith another birthday, Rajon Rondo is no longer the new kid on the block. Indeed, on the present Celtics team he is the graybeard on the point.

He can no longer play back-to-back games, and at times, he has even worn a beard to prove that at 28 he is no spring chicken.

Aging like fine wine is an art usually lost on basketball players. They go out like a supernova in a spectacular explosion, usually at knee level.

The fact that no one would cough up two draft picks for him at the trade deadline could be considered a great birthday present. Every year the Celtics have given Rondo a pass on trading him as a birthday gift.

Rondo is still too young to serve in the United States Senate, but that may be the only reason he has not run for the seat.

Unlike David Ortiz whose age is considered somewhere between 40 and death, Rondo is only as old as his tongue  and slightly older than his teeth. In that way this recent birthday keeps Rondo’s maturity on an even keel.

No one is calling Rondo ‘Methuselah’ or even ‘grandpaw.’

The only one on the team who does not call Rondo “Shorty” is Phil Pressey whose genuflection to Rondo takes the form of calling him “Uncle Rajon.”

Rondo is a man who has everything, making birthday gifts difficult to find. This year he finally was given a three-point shot, making his game complete.

Kris Humphries is giving him a scratch ticket for his birthday, in honor of their catfight several years ago that left Humphries with talon-like scratches from Rondo on his back.

Danny Ainge has given Rondo a fish tank for his birthday with no other message.

Happy Birthday, Rondo, and we hope your returns are happier than this season’s road games.

We’d give Rondo a copy of RAJON RONDO: SUPERSTAR for his birthday, but he has enough joke gifts. You can find a copy at Amazon.com.

No-Trade Provision for Rondo Next Time

 DATELINE: BAD HUMORS

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With another excruciating trade deadline passing, Rajon Rondo has had enough. He is not yet ready to go gently into the night, and he is not exactly ecstatic about the nuisance frills that go with being an NBA star.

He plays basketball for the millions of dollars it provides, but he’d rather be using his other artistic talents on the whole. The NBA money will let him pursue whatever avocations he likes upon retirement.

In the meantime, he did not sign an extension with the Celtics for one big reason. Extensions do not permit “no-trade contracts.”

And after another two months of daily speculation that he should go, or will go, or must go, he wants the security of saying: “No one can trade me, so shut up.”

Rondo would take great pleasure in putting a muzzle on his critics and his detractors.

“No trade” would be the perfect contractual provision for a mercurial point guard who must suffer fools gladly day after day.

The media makes its living off Rondo rumors, and he’d like nothing better than to take the words out of their mouths– and the food off their tables.

Rondo makes a good living, and the working stiffs and assorted dopes that cover basketball and host sports talk radio in Boston must make their bloated salaries too.

What Boston saw this trade deadline was an immoveable object hitting an unstoppable force. Rondo will change the laws of physics on his next contract—with whatever team gives him that luxury.

Free agency gives Rondo at long last the no-trade protection that will allow him to avoid media speculators. Right now that provision is worth more than the millions some teams would throw at him.

Lebron James: Cartoon Mascot at Heart

DATELINE: TOON TOWN SHOCKER

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Move Over, Oscar (Robertson, that is)

Word has come out of Toonville that the looniest cartoons are celebrating the sequel to 1996’s Citizen Kane of animation. Yes, we speak with ironic reverence of Space Jam.

In the world of bad movies, you need Porky Pig to show you how to find the truffles.

And, the silly symphonies of Mighty and Mickey made an icon out of Michael Jordan in his audacious film debut. Jordan was sentenced to his element, trapped in a Technicolor cel.

And now, for those too dumb to realize, history is about the repeat itself with Lebron James taking on the role of Elmer Fudd.

Space Jam 2 has all the earmarks of an Oscar winner, starring one of the biggest wieners of the NBA. If Lebron thinks such a film will put him into the pantheon with King Kong, Godzilla, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon, he is sorely mistaken. Those were great roles played by great actors.

Worse yet, we have heard that Lebron recently broke his nose with a poorly executed flop. His beauty will now turn beastly until he has his rhino job. The camera never lies when it comes to sex appeal.

What happened to the grand days of great athletes taking the screen? We recall the highly respected Woody Strode who could tangle with spaghetti Western villains and Spartacus with equal adeptness and dignity. He would never be caught dead in a sequel Space Jam.

Dare we point out to Lebron that the original Space Jam convincingly ended Michael Jordan’s movie career?

Of course, there are many who believe that Lebron can give Roger Rabbit a run for the warren while tumbling into Wonderland and Tinsel Town simultaneously.

With careful direction by a director like Spike Lee or Kenneth Branagh, Space Jam 2 may rival Vertigo, Casablanca, and Lawrence of Arabia for sheer audacity. Those films never allowed a flopper to be the star.

 

 

Trader Danny Ainge Becomes a Traitor to the Tank Set

 DATELINE: Tanks but No Tanks

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This is not Danny Ainge.

Boston Celtics honcho Danny Ainge did not trade anyone at the NBA deadline.

As a result, he is being vilified as if he had punched Larry Bird in the nose when he walked through that door.

The good sports fans that advocate tanking would be known as cheats in another context.

A grab-bag of sports radio people in Boston continue to assault Ainge and harangue him for not hanging Rondo out to dry.

There is an assumption out there that a low lottery number requires tanking the team. And, as the false analogy goes, a low number means an instant superstar on the roster. Just add water. Hunh?

History has already condemned these illogical media folk.

These people are indignant that the Milwaukee Bucks are a worse team than the Boston Celtics and will reap the rewards. Never have the loser advocates been quite so strong in the absence of gray matter.

EINSTEIN'S PICK This is not a member of the Boston media.

What makes matters worse is that these self-same experts are not watching the games: too torturous to see Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk developing.

Of course, these self-same experts will in a few years claim to be the ones who witnessed the miraculous transformation of the young players into superstars.

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This is not a loser.

And when these experts and insiders trade Rondo, they have not figured out that this leaves a void. Or perhaps they do know that their next line of attack will be that the Celtics don’t have a point guard of Rondo’s caliber any more.

We do not suffer fools gladly, nor at all. Please send these media experts to Milwaukee where they will be at home and can be sautéed in their own juices.

 

Beethoven’s Opus 131 as Soap Opera

 DATELINE: MOVIE MUSIC MASHUP

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With the untimely death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, we had on our list one of his lesser-known movie roles in A Late Quartet.

It seems altogether fitting and proper that we review that little known and recent film as indicative of his career.

He plays a New York classical violinist, second violin in his quartet for 25 years, stifled by other members and too timid to strike out as a soloist.

Hoffman’s performance is dead on as an artist subservient to his art. He is ably supported by Christopher Walken as the leader of the quartet and dynamic force that starts to lose a battle with Parkinson’s Disease and chooses to give up his career as soon as possible.

The dramas around classical musicians are well-known to those who have had the pleasure to socialize with them. With Walken setting the stage with quotations from T.S. Elliot to start the film, we have something not quite for everybody, but especially for those with a taste for quality drama, solid acting, and sensitive writing.

We have always had a weakness for movies that use classical music as a backdrop—whether it’s Humoresque with Joan Crawford or Nijinsky with Alan Bates.

Such films are an acquired taste, savoring the metaphor of great composers as a sound track. We aren’t sure Beethoven or Wagner would approve, but they might recognize the breed.

Alas, the film screenplay borrows heavily from a play called Opus about the same music and a quartet in turmoil. No credit is given, but is surely due.

If this isn’t plagiarism, it is odd coincidence. One big change was to eliminate the gay character in favor of a female violinist. Odd, indeed. It seems as disconcerting as Hoffman’s death.

 

Is Rondo Going, Going, Gone? Fat Chance

DATELINE: NOT FORGOTTEN

RondoLaughsFacing his final game for the Boston Celtics, Rajon Rondo was wistful as well as mercurial.

Everyone has him traded at the deadline for popcorn, peanuts, and two first-round draft picks.

How much does Rondo believe the rumor mill?

Apparently plenty. He came to the arena in warm Phoenix for his game wearing a black and white stripe pullover sweater. It looked like he had just broken out of Leavenworth during a bad Western movie. Danny Ainge had given him 24 hours to clear out of town.

And, then, he took to the court in his throwback uniform. Yes, the headband that was part of his game costume for the championship season was back. It was not upside down, but he wore it like the kid who bossed around the Big Three in 2007.

Prof. RondoWhat are we to make of the headband for the head case?

This season the headband has been the purview of Gerald Wallace who wears his like ear muffs, and Jared Bayless  who needs something to heep his bald head warm.

If Rondo were a sentimental guy, we would say he was saying goodbye in a unique fashion statement. He was returning to the thrilling days of yesteryear one more time.Rondoshirtless

If this is Rondo’s last game as a Celtic, we have a Hamlet speech all ready for delivery. Alas, poor Rajon, we never knew him, Horatio.

The good of Rondo may be buried with his bones wrapped in Banner 17.

Of course, as we are wont to say, reports of Rondo’s demise and trading may be greatly exaggerated.

Sherlock Holmes in America

 DATELINE: MOVIE MASHUP

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Jonny Lee Miller with Aidan Quinn in Elementary

We resisted for as long as possible, but respected opinions convinced us to give Elementary a tryout as another incarnation of the Conan Doyle fictional detective.

The American television show runs simultaneous with the British Sherlock features Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes in contemporary New York. The two Holmes/Watson series contrast more than they compare. Yet, apples and oranges inevitably remain fruit.

Miller is not Benedict Cumberbatch. The Americanized Holmes is seen in the pilot show with a dominatrix (wasn’t that in season two of Sherlock?). He has tattoos, is introduced shirtless and wears trendy stubble.

Perhaps the most irksome twist is to make Watson a discredited doctor and a woman. Yes, Joanne Woodward played Watson forty years ago to George C. Scott’s New York Holmes (sort of, he was a deluded mental case and she his psychologist in They May Be Giants).

The more things change, the more we find that characters in Elementary all call Holmes “insane” after meeting him. Yes, he is a high-functioning sociopath, like the PBS version, yet the charming Cumberbatch is not quite the psychopath that Miller plays.

Clever ingredients and startling powers of observation remain hallmarks of the original reborn. Still, we feel like we are watching House (the other Holmes spinoff) transplanted in déjà vu..

Lucy Liu is Watson in exasperation mode, and Aidan Quinn shows up as Inspector Tommy Gregson, another Scotland Yard cop that the British version has eschewed in favor of Lestrade (Rupert Graves).

The American series is more than watchable—after all Michael Cuesta directed the pilot. It is also more linear than the British version and watered down enough for wide-scale American viewership. Too bad we can’t mix and match the best elementals from each series.

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Downey & Cumberbatch

Both new versions of Holmes are preferable to the Robert Downey/Jude Law crap that hits the big screen with a thud. It’s elementary, Sherlock.