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Bill Condon
Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Hiroyuki Sanada, Milo Parker
Writing Credits:
Jeffrey Hatcher

The Man Beyond The Myth.

An aged, retired Sherlock Holmes deals with dementia as he tries to remember his final case and a woman, the memory of whom still haunts him. He also befriends a fan, the young son of his housekeeper, who wants him to work again.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$2,434,908 on 361 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 105 min.
Price: $24.99
Release Date: 11/10/2015

• “Icon” Featurette
• “Story” Featurette
• Trailer and Previews


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Mr. Holmes (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 4, 2015)

What happened to Sherlock Holmes after his sleuthing days came to an end? 2015’s Mr. Holmes explores that concept, as it views the detective in his waning days.

In this universe, Holmes (Ian McKellen) was a real detective, one who earned fame due to the fictionalized stories written by his former partner, Dr. John Watson. Set in 1947, the 93-year-old Holmes retired long ago and now lives a sedate country life with housekeeper Mrs. Munro (Laura Linney) and her young son Roger (Milo Parker).

Bothered by the fictional version of himself propagated by Watson’s stories, Holmes decides to set the record straight via his own writing. He encounters a problem, though: as dementia sets in, the elderly Holmes finds it tough to recall events.

This comes to a head as he works through one particularly troubling case that still haunts him decades later. Flashbacks show us aspects of this investigation as well as the impact it has on the 1940s Holmes.

If nothing else, Holmes comes with a clever concept. I like the idea that Holmes really existed and has to deal with the reputation achieved by a phony version of himself. That notion adds an intriguing undercurrent to the film.

Otherwise, Holmes feels like something of a mixed bag. On the positive side, it boasts a nice cast, led by a terrific performance from McKellen. Because the film forces him to play Holmes at two different ages – 60s and 90s – the actor needs to offer very different takes on the character, and he does so well. The 60-something Holmes doesn’t feel like a different person than the 93-year-old version, but McKellen gives us enough differences to depict the impact of age. McKellen does the heavy lifting here, so when the film works, it’s mostly because of his contribution.

Linney offers a suitably grounded performance as Holmes’ primary caretaker, and Parker provides nice work as her son. He doesn’t turn into a cutesy-pie movie urchin, so we can see why the salty Holmes bonds with him.

Unfortunately, the connection between Holmes and Roger becomes one of the movie’s weaker elements. Roger mostly feels like a plot point, honestly, as he seems like a device who exists to prompt Holmes’ actions and memories. Sure, Roger also gives Holmes something of an emotional life, but I think he largely becomes unnecessary. The story has enough intrigue without the need for a semi-manufactured relationship between Holmes and a kid.

That said, the Holmes/Roger moments stay low-key enough and they avoid much movie schmaltz. While I don’t think the tale really needs them, these sequences create no obvious problems, and some may feel they add warmth and depth to the film. I don’t really agree, but I don’t strongly disagree, either.

Holmes does work better when it concentrates on Holmes’ aging-connected issues and the case that continues to bother him. The film relates these elements in a compelling manner, as it dollops out just enough information along the way to create its own mystery.

Not that the movie treats the decades-old case like a standard Sherlock adventure would. Instead, Holmes infuses emotional elements that let us see why the elderly detective remains focused on those earlier events.

All of these elements add up to a reasonably satisfying drama. While Mr. Holmes can drag at times, it still gives us a fairly involving look at its subject and connected events. I can’t call this a stellar story, but it does enough right to entertain.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus D

Mr. Holmes appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not stellar, the transfer was good.

Overall definition seemed positive. A little softness crept into some wider shots, but not to a major degree. Those instances were infrequent, so the majority of the movie appeared accurate and concise. I noticed no signs of jaggies or edge enhancement, and shimmering was absent. The film lacked print flaws and seemed clean.

Many period pieces opt for subdued palettes, and that was true here. The colors tended toward teal tones, with some amber along for the ride as well. These appeared fine within the film’s stylistic choices. Blacks seemed dark and tight, and shadows demonstrated good clarity. This added up to a satisfying presentation.

A character drama wouldn’t seem to be a candidate for a whiz-bang soundtrack, and the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio of Holmes fell into expected realms. A few scenes – mainly related to train. – used the various channels well. Usually the track remained oriented toward ambience, though, so don’t expect lots of sizzle from the mix.

Audio quality satisfied. Although didn’t get much score, the music was full and rich, while effects showed nice clarity and accuracy. Speech – obviously an important factor here – appeared concise and crisp. Nothing here soared, but it all seemed positive.

Two featurettes pop up here: The Icon (2:21) and The Story (2:49). These offer notes from director Bill Condon, screenwriter Jeffrey Hatcher, author Mitch Cullin, producer Anne Carey and actors Ian McKellen, Milo Parker and Laura Linney. These offer some minor story, character and cast notes. They’re wholly promotional in nature.

The disc opens with ads for Love & Mercy, Some Kind of Beautiful, Z For Zachariah and The End of the Tour. We also get the trailer for Mr. Holmes.

While it doesn’t quite live up to the expectations created by its clever concept, Mr. Holmes mostly succeeds. With a good cast and a largely well-told drama, it creates an interesting view of its subject. The Blu-ray boasts very good picture and acceptable audio but it lacks substantial bonus materials. I can’t call this a terrific movie, but it’s above average.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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