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Hikari

Detectives
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Everything posted by Hikari

  1. RED SPARROW (2018) Starring Jennifer Lawrence & Joel Edgerton This movie only garnered 45% on Rotten Tomatoes and on first viewing I was inclined to agree that it was bad. But it stuck with me nevertheless and I ended up watching it again, with a better opinion of it, or at least, of JLaw's performance the second time around. It is definitely flawed, overlong at 2 hours and 20 minutes, and even for a spy thriller, the scenes of sexual and physical violence become gratuitous. The movie definitely had Bourne-sized aspirations, with an established director (Francis Lawrence, no relation to star Jennifer Lawrence, helmed the last three films in the Hunger Games franchise) and a cast of surprisingly heavy hitters in support (Jeremy Irons, Joely Richardson, Mary-Louise Parker, Charlotte Rampling and Matthieas Schoenaerts) and two leads who gamely go through their paces. They deserved a better, tighter movie but I didn't think it was as bad as its reputation. Rolling Stone gave it 2/4 stars . . I'd stretch to 3 overall. A watchable popcorn thriller if you like spy films like Bourne . . which I do. After breaking out as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, and picking up an Oscar the same year for Silver Linings Playbook, making her the second-youngest Best Actress winner ever at just 22 (Marlee Matlin was a year younger when she won), and gathering a slew of subsequent Golden Globe and Oscar nominations afterwards, JLaw embarked on a trio of consecutive box-office flops from 2016 - 2018. This film is the last in that run and having seen one of the others, I will confidently say this one is the least-bad of the JLaw clinkers, if you can buy into the premise. Having so many excellent actors around helps. The casting is inventive to say the least, with Louisville, Kentucky native JLaw tasked with playing a Russian prima ballerina with Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet, with a heavy stereotypical Russian accent and even heavier brunette bangs. The set-up says Black Swan but the hair is decidedly Fifty Shades of Grey as sported by Dakota Johnson. JLaw looks good as a brunette, though halfway through the film she will undergo the obligatory Covert Agent in a Spy Thriller Makeover to Disguise Her Identity which entails keeping the identical hairstyle, just dying it blonde with drugstore dye from a kit in an inadequate bathroom. One of my failures of suspension of disbelief, though not the first was the implausibility that a woman with that bulk of dark hair extensions could become a convincing blonde with only one box of hair dye. As if. A larger implausibility is accepting someone as curvaceous and endowed as JLaw as a prima ballerina in the first place but the dancing parts are minimal, all the quicker to get to the spy action. As an Oscar-winning actress, Lawrence is deeply, deeply committed to stripping off whenever possible and/or spending a great deal of time with very little on to bring that extra dose of authenticity to her characters. Dominika (Law) lives in a state-provided apartment with her disabled mother (Richardson) and acts as her caretaker by day and by night she dances at the Bolshoi. One night, her partner accidentally (or not so accidentally, as Dominika later discovers) breaks her leg during an awkward jump, instantly ending her dance career. Since she can no longer perform, she will lose her apartment and her mother will have to go into a state hospital, unless she can find another way to be useful to the state. When she becomes a witness to an assassination of a government official, her days are numbered. Her uncle Vanya (Schoenaerts) is a highly placed spymaster with the KGB with connections and also a very non-uncle appropriate fixation on his niece. So Dominika is sent to training to become a Sparrow--a covert operative specializing in seduction as well as an array of other spycraft skills. Her first mission: get close to American CIA agent Nate Nash (an equally miscast Joel Edgerton, pride of Blacktown, New South Wales, Australia) who's been running Russian informants to see what he might know about a mole high, high up in the Russian intelligence community. With a new identity, Dominika follows her prey to Budapest, but while she's watching Nash, his cohorts in the CIA are watching them both. JLaw gets to wear some really great outfits and the locations, principally Budapest and Vienna, give the feel of a Bourne movie. Red Sparrow may have done disappointing box office but it had a lot of budget lavished on it.
  2. THE OUTFIT (2022) Starring Mark Rylance & Zoey Deutch Mad Men style meets The Tailor of Panama in an intimate mob drama that manages to be edge-of-your-seat thrilling despite taking place, like a play, on one set. This is the directorial debut of screenwriter Graham Moore, Oscar winner for The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch. 1956, Chicago: English tailor Leonard lives and works quietly in his shop where he cuts bespoke suits for the discriminating gentleman. Many of his gentlemen are actually 'wise guys' from the local Irish mob family, the Boyles, who use the unassuming Leonard's premises as a stash house for dirty money and other aspects of 'family business'. Leonard is forced to tolerate this arrangement because he owes his shop and his livelihood to the Boyles, who control the entire neighborhood. Leonard has a mouthy receptionist, Mable, who is secretly dating the mob boss's son, Richie, unbeknownst to her boss. When Richie is shot and seriously wounded in a skirmish with a rival family, he comes to the family tailor to be sewn up since he can't go to a hospital. Over the events of one chaotic night, the mousy little tailor will reveal hidden talents. Until then, Leonard knows how to keep his head down and learn more than he gives away. It doesn't sound like a weighty enough premise for a whole movie but Mark Rylance (Wolf Hall, Bridge of Spies) is captivating as Leonard, a quiet man with a quiet gift and a murky past, living on the edge of a very dangerous world. Rylance, the former director for a decade of the Globe Theatre in London is one of the best actors of his generation, bar none. I try to see everything he's in. And if Ms. Deutch as Mable looks familiar . . I will save you the aggravation of wondering *why* she looks so familiar: She is the daughter of Lea Thompson and director Howard Deutch. She's got promise--it's in the genes.
  3. Really enjoyed this from Amazon Studios (streaming on Prime) that I watched yesterday . . ALL THE OLD KNIVES (2022) starring Chris Pine and Thandiwe Newton Fans of espionage thrillers like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and the Bourne franchise, check this out. 8 years ago, Islamic terrorists hijacked a plane, killing all aboard on the tarmac at Vienna airport, including 9 children and a member of the Vienna station of the CIA who was feeding information about the terrorists to his station colleagues. When this agent was executed on camera and his body thrown off the plane as the first hostage to die, it's clear that someone in Vienna station gave up his identity. The mole was never discovered. Present day, field agent Henry Pelham (Pine) is dispatched by his boss (Laurence Fishburne) to re-interview the two chief suspects of the mole hunt in a reopened investigation into the incident: ex-section chief Bill (Jonathan Pryce) and Henry's former colleague and lover, Cecilia (Newton). After seeing Bill in London, Henry goes to Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA to rendezvous with his old lover, now retired, married and a mother of two, at her favorite wine bar with an ocean view. As the two old flames play a game of intellectual cat-and-mouse over the course of the evening, interspersed with flashbacks to the days in Vienna, will Henry get the answers to his questions? Is Cecilia the mole? Is that why she left him suddenly and without explanation in Vienna, the morning after he asked her to move in together? This twisty and cerebral thriller has got some surprises up its sleeve. Despite the title, there are no actual knives that make an appearance; only the figurative knives of memory, loss and regret. I have wanted to live in Carmel ever since I watched Clint Eastwood's Play Misty For Me back in high school Clint fell in love with Carmel, too. After filming there, he moved there and became Carmel's mayor. The cinematography does not disappoint.
  4. In the mode of The Mentalist meets Columbo with a bit of Sherlock Holmes thrown in for good measure, may I suggest Jonathan Creek? That is a British detective series that started in the late '90s and kept on with intermittent specials until 2015 or so. The show underwent a number of cast changes during its run so I can only wholeheartedly recommend the first three seasons, but this show was a charming little discovery. I'm not sure where it's available for streaming presently but you might find it on BritBox. I watched in on DVD back when Netflix was a DVD-by-mail subscription. The show is named for its eponymous detective played by Alan Davies. Jonathan is a retiring young man who lives in a windmill and engineers stage illusions for a living. Like Sherlock Holmes, he is more comfortable with his solitary work than mingling with a lot of people, and often wears a signature coat. His line of work makes him into a useful consulting detective when it comes to unraveling the threads of 'locked room' mysteries--most often murders--which have taken place under seemingly impossible conditions. He's got a more extrovert friend in wordsmithing business--investigative journalist Maddie Magellan (Caroline Quentin), who gets the duo involved in these cases. Maddie is the 'Watson' of the partnership, I guess, but she's a lot more pushy and less deferential to her star detective than was Watson. Series creator David Renwick was trying for a 'Columbo' vibe, he said . . the cases could get dark but were mostly in a more lighthearted vein, with some zany humor. The protagonist is a bit different than we normally see in this genre. A magic trick engineer who is aces at sleight of the mind. Good chemistry with the leads. Quentin left after 3 seasons to head up her own procedural show, Blue Murder. JC carried on with different co-stars but it was never the same. Quentin's show was good too . . sort of British version of The Closer, with an elite Manchester murder squad headed up by a female Det. Superintendent. Short form, hour long episodes. More lighthearted than Prime Suspect. Then of course, there's my favorite British detective series bar none, New Tricks. I envy the viewer who gets to start at the beginning with those. Incidentally, David Renwick's first choice for Jonathan Creek, Nic Lyndhurst, appears in the last two seasons of that show. I liked his character on NT, but I think Alan Davies was the best choice in the end for the earlier series.
  5. Welcome, Inspector Baynes! It's not often any more that we see new faces around here. You're right about House--his caustic charms do wear quite thin relatively quickly. I've been revisiting the series and my impression on a rewatch is that it's not as good as I remember . . it can seem pretty contrived, and House's tics and misanthropic tendencies only get more cartoony as the series wears on. I really do not believe that anyone who was that big of a arschbole to patients and colleagues would get to retain his position as department head of a major metropolitan research hospital, no matter how brilliant. Sherlock Holmes took the initiative of becoming self-employed so he can do as he likes but Greg House is a man under authority, as much as he resists that authority. The problem is that his field of medicine is by its nature collaborative; House needs entire teams of Others to assist him in doing his work. He must envy Sherlock Holmes a great deal. I'm up to Season 3 which ushers in a particularly good run of episodes as House meets his match in a police detective played by David Morse. House is particularly rude to this detective when the man presents himself at the clinic with an ailment and owing to his misuse of a rectal thermometer, House makes a dedicated enemy. Soon he finds himself arrested for driving his motorcycle under the influence of narcotics, his stash of Vicodin is confiscated and the world of pain is just beginning for his colleagues who are going to have to lie for him in a court of law. Yeah, House's appeal as a character was pretty well exhausted by the end of Season 3 but they dragged it out for another 5 seasons with diminishing returns. I wonder if you would like The Mentalist with Simon Baker. Baker plays a man who occasionally pretends to be a bumbling genius but the bumbling is a bit of an act. I find his character Patrick Jane to be be more of a true homage to Sherlock Holmes than Greg House, because as Patrick, Simon captures the charisma which SH possesses when he's on good form, doing what he loves to do . .solving puzzles. Even when he's witty, House never exudes anything like joie de vivre.
  6. Herl, I attended a virtual presentation on the Ripper last night that I think you really would have enjoyed. It was by our new Ripper expert on Heygo. I tried to send you the link but having recently changed my Google password for work reasons, it wasn't letting me access my Google mail from my phone app. Frustrating. Anyway, it was a very good talk. He presented contemporaneous newspaper articles and drawings of the time along with books and marginalia created by various primary investigators in the case. The Assistant Chief Superintendent favored Montague Druitt, the schoolteacher who suicided right after the last Ripper killing but whose body was not found until 7 weeks later. It's a wonder they were able to make an identification. Despite such a high-ranking proponent of his, if that's the right word. Mr. Druitt lived miles away in Kent and the only 'proof' of his guilt was in killing himself within days of the Kelly murder. Most likely he was despondent over having been let go from his position as a schoolmaster due to being homosexual. There's an idea in the popular mind that Saucy Jack was a gentleman or at least was able to present himself as one, and Druitt is one of the few suspects that fits the bill . . but I rule him out, poor man. The favored suspect of the lead detective, and I suppose, our presenter was a man identified as a Polish Jew with at least one eyewitness at the Elizabeth Stride scene. There were three men who could have plausibly seen the doer in that case but they refused to give up one of their community to the police. Further complicating matters is the possibility that Liz Stride was not actually the first of a double-header of Jack murders the same night but was actually done for by another killer. Apparently the knife was dull . . our Jack took great pride in a sharp knife and seems to have brought one to the second murder of the evening, that of Catherine Eddowes. The fact that Long Liz was not tampered with like the others could point to the killer being interrupted, perhaps by the three gentlemen who were passing . . or perhaps she wasn't completely butchered because Jack didn't do her. Copycat opportunist? If Martha Tabram is added to the Canonical 5 as the first, then we still have the same number of victims, just in a slightly different formation. I am agnostic, though it doesn't seem like Jack would've forgotten his favorite knife to do the Stride job. Martha, killed in August months before the others was not dissected, but she was stabbed 37 times. Practice run, maybe? Our two Heygo Ripperphiles seem to think so. But the identity of the 'Polish Jew' at this scene is hazy. Last night was the first time I learned that there were at least 6 extended Jewish families in the district with the surname 'Kosminski'. Aaron was not even formally identified with a first name in the case notes . . just a 'Kosminski' was listed. Aaron was a weirdo, but it might have been his father or a brother or uncle or another family altogether. There is another man . . a Nathan Kaminsky . . who apparently is also known as 'David Cohen' who is also in the frame, who died in Colney Hatch institution shortly after the events of 1888. Aaron Kosminski was committed to the same institution but didn't die until 1919--and with a birthdate of 1865, was 33, not 23 at the time of the murders. I have routinely read Aaron's age listed as 23, so it seems that even some of the investigators conflagrated these two names. But I can only find a birthdate of 1865 for Cohen as well, meaning that the two men were nearly the identical age. Seems that '23' is an erroneous age. That is very young to both have established oneself in business and have already become a full-fledged serial killer. Early 30s fits better . . but what are the chances that *two* Polish Jewish men of the same age residing in Whitechapel would be subject to intermittent bouts of homicidal mania, and would both have professions which were germane to Jack's skill set--one a barber, the other a tailor? Hmm . . tailors would carry chalk as a matter of course, which kind of makes Cohen look good for the Goulston Street graffito if nothing else. It seems pretty unlikely that even these desperate women would have willingly gone with either of these madmen as a potential customer likely to have money. And in Kosminski's case, his refusal to ever wash or bathe must have meant you could smell him coming from a mile away. Neither of these guys would have been able to keep up the pretense of being paying customers able to lure the women to the kill spots, and would have had to forcibly abduct them. Not out of the realm of possibility but several of the victims were reported to have been speaking to a man dressed more like a gentleman. Could have been another unrelated customer, of course. Nothing remotely gentleman-like about either Aaron or David aka Nathan. It's rather a let-down if it's either of them, if I'm honest. Those poor ladies are just as dead, but the lore of a crafty toff down on wh*ores slumming in Whitechapel and meting out his idea of justice and slipping back into his milieu of high society . . perhaps even the highest echelon . . is captivating in a perverse way. There's a whole mythos built up around Jack because, foremost, he succeeded in eluding capture. If he was banged up in Colney Hatch the whole time, taken from the dregs of the streets, it's deflating. I suppose that in 30+ years of incarceration, Aaron Kosminski might've let his identity as the Ripper slip, if it had been him. No indication that that ever happened. Just like with the Moscow Idaho police department, I feel I owe the Metropolitan police of H division and their command an apology. Given the primitive nature of forensics at the time and the overwhelming, chaotic nature of the crimes and the potential suspect and witness pool, they did astoundingly well. 2000 people looked at, 300+ interviewed . . all those man-hours. Like Moscow PD, it seems they very likely had their perpetrator in their sights very early on, but they weren't able to bring any charges. It'll be different for the so-called Idaho Ripper. That's what he'd like to be remembered as at any rate. He's as arrogant as he was inept. Idaho has the death penalty and I hope they get to use it.
  7. Welcome to the forum, Inspector Baynes. I direct your attention to another blog which might be of interest to you: http://17stepprogram.blogspot.com/ A Seventeen Step Program (referring to of course the 17 steps up to 221B) is the brainchild of American author and Sherlock expert extraordinaire David Marcum. Mr. Marcum is by day a civil engineer, and in his other time runs the Diogenes Club West (membership: one) and works as an editor and creator of Holmesian Pastiche. He says his life's work is compiling the 'Great Holmesian Tapestry' with the threads being all the other adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson which Dr. Conan Doyle neglected to give us. In regards to "the late Irene Adler of dubious and questionable memory" . . The Woman has indeed passed on by the time Dr. Watson puts pen to paper for this story. The story is the first case in the Casebook after ASIS, but the order the stories appeared was not necessarily the chronological order of the cases, since Watson would sometimes wait many years before publishing a case. If memory serves, Scandal is pretty early on in the partnership, but Watson published his case notes years later, by which time Ms. Adler had died. His description of the Woman has always been quizzical to me and does not reflect generously on him. Because the story following this harsh assessment of her character in fact displays a resourceful woman of integrity and honor, not a 'dubious and questionable' person. It could be that Dr. Watson means that it's his own memory that is 'questionable'. To me it sounds as though Watson is a bit jealous perhaps, all these years on, of the Woman . . the only person who represented a rival to himself for the attentions of Sherlock Holmes, and maybe he's feeling insecure (dubious) when he remembers Irene because her intellect and gifts ran circles around his own. Irene was not a conventional Victorian housewife like his own Mary, so the Victorian attitudes toward 'theatre' people are seeping out there, perhaps. Irene is an 'adventuress' which could mean a woman of loose morals who collects boyfriends for cash; in Irene's case, she gets labeled an adventuress because she's an accomplished professional woman living independently of any man. As a top-grade operatic diva, she's not in the 'vaudeville actress with low morals' category, which readers who press on with the story discover. The 21st century version of Irene in the BBC version is definitely a a woman of 'dubious and questionable' character and occupation. A professional bondage dominatrix is what it takes to be labeled 'an adventuress' these days but that's basically what the Victorians thought of women who travelled around without husbands and made their own money---they must be prostitutes after 'nice' women's husbands. The most likely explanation is that when Conan Doyle started his story, he perhaps intended to make Adler a 'bad' girl and as her character developed, she morphed into something else--a worthy sparring partner for Sherlock Holmes, but not an evil one like Moriarty. Arthur never cared much for editing, which is why so many contradictions exist, to be pored over by Sherlockians ad nauseum for the next 100+ years . . (how many war wounds does Dr. Watson have, and where are they? How many wives? The attitude toward Irene Adler changes as the story moves on so it's just another anomaly to the list.
  8. I'm passing that article on to Herlock Sholmes, although it's almost 4 years old and he may have already seen it. If I recall, Kosminski is his favored candidate. The evidence is compelling, and Kosminski has certainly been a name in the mix since Day 1. He had means and opportunity; a barber would study anatomy since barbers used to also practice as surgeons, though in the Victorian era, that was coming to an end. But those with few means, like the denizens of Whitechapel, would more likely go to a barber for first aid or rudimentary dentistry than seek out a doctor they could not afford. It seems the working girls of Whitechapel were all afraid of Aaron. He is very young to fit the profile of a serial killer, went through extremely disorganized periods of insanity for which he was periodically institutionalized, and IIRC lived with family . . ? 'Jack' seemed to be pretty methodical until going off the rails with the 'From Hell' letter and the final atrocities done to Mary Jane Kelly. Could be him; if he were locked up again permanently or committed suicide it would explain why Jack stopped his devilish work. Aaron would not have been able to pass as a gentleman customer, which is how I always assumed Jack got close to his victims. The identity of Jack is known only to himself and God, not that I think he's hanging out with God in the afterlife but rather the other place. Aaron looks good for it, as much as anyone does. I was never in favor of Walter Sickert as the doer, largely on account of his status as a visiting American . . I think these crimes were definitely committed by a Whitechapel native or someone who knew the district like the back of his hand. Maybe was even known to his victims, or some of them. Sickert (aptly named) was a voyeur who was drawn to grotesque subjects . . he loved to paint crime scenes, I gather. If it were him, I'd suppose he'd want to kill indoors for privacy so he could then paint his handiwork. 'Jack' did not seem interested in that but he did enjoy staging tableaux for others to see. It's Jack's continuing anonymity plus the additional touches he made to what would otherwise have been fairly unremarkable knifings of vulnerable women that lends him such a mythos as the greatest murdering monster of all time. It might be arguable that the 20th and 21st centuries have produced far more prolific monsters . . Manson, Dahmer . . the guy who inspired 'Psycho', Bundy, et. al . . and most recently, the killer in Idaho who apparently nearly decapitated one of his victims. Sometimes Jack's legacy can seem almost tame in comparison (save poor Mary Jane).
  9. Hi, Herl, The eye funk has cleared up but I've been brought low by a cold and hacking cough this week. Finally feeling more human today and capable of a full day of work. This is why I haven't been communicado but I hope everything is well with you. I'm in Season 2 of House and stalled a bit because I have been obsessively following from my sickbed the terrible crimes in Idaho. It's going to be a very mournful holiday season for many families out there and the festive season starting with Thanksgiving will never be the same for them. In a recent episode I was reminded that House's address is 221B, so the Holmes/'Homes'---> House homage is definitely overt for those in the know. Even though The Mentalist isn't quite that obvious in taking its inspiration from the Great Detective, Patrick Jane is a very Sherlockian character. Unlike House, he actually interacts with people and reads cues off them using the art of deduction. I had a post once detailing all the ways Patrick Jane is like Sherlock Holmes, but the Glitch ate it. Both have waistcoats as part of their daily uniform and a puckish sense of humor when they aren't depressed, which happens quite often. They both have a nemesis in the form of a faceless but ever-present threat that leaves fingerprints all over their lives. For Holmes it's Moriarty. Jane has Red John, the psychopath that murdered his family. The two shows are completely different sorts of procedurals but I like both of them. Both overstayed their welcome a few seasons too long but they each did something different in the genre and the star detectives (both playing American but not) are top-notch.
  10. In "A Game of Shadows" Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) has a similar employee/employer relationship with Moriarty and it does not end well for her. It also ends very early. Silly rabbit. I forget who wrote that Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler are 'friendly antagonists'. It might have been Conan Doyle himself. At the beginning of the case they are at cross purposes because Holmes is working on behalf of his client . . the very man who is threatening Irene's life. So of course she's got to be wary of the detective. But SH realizes that his client is a complete POS and Adler is a noble lady. Besting the Great Brain (twice) is almost like foreplay for these two . .in a Victorian sort of way, because the case ends with SH actually assisting his former quarry in getting away with the very evidence he was hired to retrieve and providing a valuable service in acting as witness in her marriage to Mr. Godfrey Norton. Some puckish Great Gamers say that the wedding at the end of SCAN was actually Sherlock's own wedding to Irene, since witnesses are not required to 'mumble responses' the way he says he did. Despite the rather inconvenient presence of Mr. Norton, I like this theory very much. Norton could be say, an escort out of the city, a travelling companion, protection until Adler gets out of the country to France. A marriage to Sherlock would be very unconventional (and long-distance) but there is that theory about Nero Wolfe being their love child . . . The 21st century versions of Conniving Hussy Adler can't compare to The Woman of legend. But I do like BBC Irene's flat very much. And the closet!
  11. At first I thought you were disagreeing that Lara Pulver's Irene Adler was psychologically aberrant, but I see that you actually want to ramp her up from my diagnosis. I'm not well-versed enough in the distinctions between sociopathy and psychopathy, though I would consider the level of antisocial behaviors to be on a spectrum. In my opinion, Adler is a sociopath in a mutually advantageous arrangement with a psychopath--Moriarty. Irene is his handmaiden, very definitely his subordinate. She works for him. She gets him juicy information on the powerful men she sees to be used for his own nefarious purposes and in return she gets the protection which he can offer her from her powerful enemies. Her phone is her protection, for what's on it, but I'd wager Moriarty has duplicates of all that information. He protects her as long as she is a useful tool to him. Once she stops being useful or compromises his own operation . . she gets turned into shoes . . or allowed to be captured and beheaded by the Taliban who whoever. She was in that spot at the end of the episode because Moriarty had withdrawn his protection. At Christmas, when the dead doppelganger turned up in the morgue, Adler was still useful to M, still supplying information, and principally, still in communication with Sherlock Holmes. Irene had infiltrated herself with Sherlock . . on her boss's order. He lets her pretend that she's got autonomy but the fact that she's working with him shows that she's not a free agent. So when she needed to 'disappear', a convenient body that looked just like her was provided for the purpose. Don't we think it's more likely that Jim provided that body? I do. He made all the arrangements and got her out of London because she was still a useful asset. Frankly, this Adler isn't that smart to be an international criminal mastermind. She picked a pretty simple code for her phone in the end. Her feelings for Sherlock where her undoing in the end. If she were a true psychopath, she wouldn't have any feelings. She could fake some, but her pulse wouldn't have risen. The way it was explained to me is: Sociopaths are made, through early trauma but psychopaths are born that way. Their brains and limbic systems do not function like normal people's. They have no conscience, which is also shared by sociopaths, but they also do not experience any physical reactions to stress. They have no fear. Sociopaths can still experience being upset, they can be afraid or panic if things are not going according to their plans. They are slightly more human. Adler is a bad girl but she's a rank amateur when you stack her against psychos like Moriarty or CAM. She can dominate weak and needy men for money and thrills but she is the dominated one in the relationship with Moriarty. Hence that's why Sherlock saved her from being decapitated in Karachi. She'll get in with bad types again, so a smarter tactical move would have been to let her get executed. But Sherl likes her, despite the risk to himself. Which proves that he's not a psychopath, either. Moriarty blew out his own brains just to screw with Sherlock. We really didn't see that coming, but real psychos aren't attached to anything, even their own continued existences.
  12. Welcome, Tiger! A Scandal in Belgravia is possibly my favorite episode of the series. Some stiff competition from The Reichenbach Fall, but the character of The Woman has always fascinated me. They may have only had a brief encounter, but Irene Adler stood above all others in the Great Detective's memory, not just of her sex but of anyone, save friend Watson, as the only person who bested him with her wits. Twice. This gets respect from Sherlock because it never happens. She was a worthy adversary that humbled him a bit, and whether or not he was attracted to her in a physical sense like ordinary men, he was definitely attracted to her other qualities--resourcefulness, honor, great artistic skill, cleverness and the bravery to take on hostile forces in a man's world. Conan Doyle's Adler, unlike the modern day one is an honorable lady. Modern-day Irene is more in the line of a sociopath, I think. Sherlock has surprised her by breaking through her defenses and making her experience emotions like an ordinary woman. They are well-matched. I think the best descriptor for this relationship is 'friendly antagonists'. They are matching wits almost for fun--it's a game, and neither means the other harm. Sherlock has to rescue Irene because she decorates his mind palace and saves him from being Bored. It's not the suburban white picket fence and 2 kids kind of love but it is the kind of regard of which these two singular minds are capable.
  13. Nobody ever gets ahead by overestimating the altruism of the general public. As my father said, when we were learning to drive, "You've got to assume that everyone else is going to be an A****e." Fewer events in recent memory have demonstrated this more vividly than the societal divide over personal freedom vs. communal responsibility that Covid brought to light. The official position of my workplace, especially since 2020 is, if you feel sick, stay home. This also coincided with the slashing of paid time off benefits for our staff who are part-time, meaning if they stay home, they don't get paid. This is sort of counterproductive to the purpose . . though my library board generously paid the entire staff our regular salary for the 6 weeks we were completely shut down and the further 6 weeks after that that we had severely reduced hours. So we got full pay for three months and only worked half-time for 6 weeks of that time. I think it comes down to the very human tendency to denial. People justify that they aren't sick, that they are imagining it . . or that they don't feel *that* bad, so they aren't bad enough to stay home. I feel like my case of pinkeye (though when both your eyes look like raw hamburger, it's beyond 'pink') is directly related to the current uptick in all viruses lately. There's now way of knowing without lab cultures what virus was in my eyes but since I made it through 5 decades and NEVER had this before--I wonder if it wasn't Covid-19 in my eyes or something else like RSV or a weird flu strain that is prevalent this year like never before. The timing is just a bit too coincidental otherwise . . .I've been working here for 22 years and just *now* I get this? We've had an exceptionally windy fall here, though . . .warm and windy . . . and something might have blown into my eye at some point. Since my job is highly public facing, I will probably be going back to masking at least for the winter. A cruise ship just docked in Sydney with *800* active Covid cases. No quarantines . .they let everybody off who wanted to get off and just told them "Stay off public transport." This is the difference between March 2020 and now.
  14. Herlock Sholmes, where my homie at? I just revisited our conversation about House from back in 2021 because I have started the series over again and have resolved to watch it straight through this time. My DVD player is temporarily out of commission so I'm watching on Amazon Prime. Hope it stays up until I get to the end. I don't think I ever finished (or even started) the final season. I have just returned to work after a week and half in quarantine due to a nasty eye infection. [....] Anyway, while I was laid up and feeling sorry for myself, I decided that I'd try to take my mind off it by watching stories of fictional people much sicker than me. I'm halfway through Season 1. I'd forgotten the very first case . . a kindergarten teacher with weird neurological symptoms. That was Robin Tunney. Being the first patient on House was a coup for her. I'd say it led directly to a juicy supporting role in Hollywoodland opposite Ben Affleck, which is were I first saw her and then on to her long-running stint as Detective Teresa Lisbon on another Sherlock Holmes-inspired drama, The Mentalist. Lisbon starts out as 'Lestrade' to Patrick Jane as his immediate supervisor in the California Bureau of Investigation, becomes a sort of Watson as his best (only) work friend . . eventually becoming 'The Woman' as the show ends with the Jane-Lisbon wedding. There's another show for you to add to your view list, Herl. Patrick Jane is an even more overt homage to Sherlock Holmes than Greg House is, helmed by another foreign-born actor who morphs so convincingly into an American it blows the mind. Simon Baker is of course, Australian and was, in his time, junior surf champion of the world, I believe. Simon cut his teeth (under the name, Simon Baker Denny, which is weird because his middle name is Lucas and there's no 'Denny' anywhere on his Wiki bio) on a small but pivotal and touching role in one of my all-time favorite films, L.A. Confidential. (1997) Only in his 20s at the time, he slayed the American presentation . .rock solid.
  15. Hmm . . early buzz for the latest season of the Crown is not favorable. I had very mixed feelings about even watching it due to having vivid memories of living through Diana's death and the aftermath. The Crown was the only Netflix program I watched--on DVD as I am not a subscriber, and since I have some grave reservations about how that company conducts its business, I will never be one. I look forward to other people's reviews.
  16. When Olivia was announced as Claire Foy's replacement, legions of her fans expressed the same sentiment about Ms. Foy. Initially I was not too sure about the casting myself. Claire (prior to the Crown I'd only seen her in a couple of things . . in a little indie film she did in 2011 with Benedict Cumberbatch called Wreckers . . and a supporting turn as Anne Boleyn in Wolf Hall) was a revelation as the young Queen Elizabeth. The voice and mannerisms and eyes were all uncanny. She was brilliant. At first blush, Colman did not seem to be in the mold of QEII. Like the late Queen, Foy is petite, finely boned and has huge blue eyes. Olivia is a more statuesque woman with brown eyes and facially, the resemblance wasn't really there. But after the first episode, she became the Queen in front of our eyes, and inhabited the role with as much command as her predecessor had shown. She was rather too dour much of the time, such as when she enacted Charles's investiture in 1969. They painstakingly recreated the Queen's outfit on that day but Colman wore an expression like a smacked bum throughout, while archival footage of the day shows the Queen beaming over her firstborn. Imelda Staunton is physically more in the late Queen's mold physically again--tiny with delicate patrician features and twinkly eyes. (incidentally, she's married to Jim Carter, Mr. Carson from Downton Abbey). She's got the most unenviable job of the three Queens, as she will preside over not only the most painful period of the Royals' family history at least since 1936, but also the most recent. If Diana (Elizabeth Derbicki) is going to die in Season 5, what are they going to do in S6? Jonathan Pryce is almost a ringer for the late Duke of Edinburgh (which could not be said of Tobias Menzies, despite his best efforts), and I'm really looking forward to seeing Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret. Whatever the liberties taken with the historical events (many) the casting and production values for this series are first-rate.
  17. I can see why some athletes from Northern Ireland might wish to compete for the Republic, if they are republican-minded, and the Republic of Ireland team wouldn't have the depth of field of the GB team, being that much smaller and thus would be glad of the assist . . . but isn't that awfully politically messy? All athletes have the option to compete for any nation they want to who will offer them a place on the team, and many do this but it's generally required to establish a residency in the country for which they compete and sometimes obtaining citizenship from that country is required. I don't know all the esoterica attached to such a decision or how fluid it might be to favor individuals from certain nations over others. When athletes choose to compete for another flag there's usually a lot of hateful fallout that they have to be prepared for. I was very gung-ho for the Olympic Games when I was younger and never missed them, Summer or Winter (though I prefer the Winter Games). In my middle age, I have become disenfranchised viz. the Games because de Coupertin's ideals of international fraternitie though sport have been so corrupted by commercialism, cynicism and political self-interest from the competing nations. Anything will be done to obtain medals and usually is done. I've come around to the view that encouraging our young people to obsessively pursue Olympic glory at the expense of a normal life is a bad road to send them down and with a few exceptions, leads to more unhappiness than benefits. Retired Olympic ice skater Vanessa James is perhaps the most internationally fluid competitor ever. Born in Ontario, Canada, she lived in Bermuda until the age of 10, when the family moved to the United States. In 2007, she moved to Paris. She's had four partners and four nationalities during her skating career. She's got British citizenship through her father, has a permanent residency card for the U.S. and is also now a French citizen. She's competed for all four countries, though her Olympic career was primarily under the French flag with her French partner, Morgan Cipres. A lot of athletes are not particularly motivated by nationalism but pursue opportunities to compete at that level for whichever country is willing to offer them the best opportunities.
  18. The modern Olympics date back to 1896, but the United Kingdom dates back to 1801, at least. That's when the Kingdom of Ireland joined England, Wales and Scotland as part of the 'UK'. They've always competed under 'Great Britain' in the Olympic Games, though technically speaking "Great Britain" is the land mass that excludes Ireland but contains the other three. In 1922, all but the six northernmost counties of Ireland succeeded from the United Kingdom, forming the Republic of Ireland, a sovereign nation. The northern counties remained under the Crown, which spawned the bitter period of 'the Troubles' which persist to this day. I was a lot of years old before I realized that I'd had it the wrong way round . . I'd thought that Northern Ireland was the independent bit and 'the Troubles' sprang from the age-old conflicts between Catholic and Protestant. It's a very complex and fraught situation. I was privileged to take some virtual tours of Clonakilty, the hometown of Irish freedom fighter Michael Collins. He was able to negotiate independence for the majority of the Irish counties but had to agree that the Crown would retain the northern six. For this concession he was killed by his own people. Besley Bean can speak on this politically sensitive situation with more depth. Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom so their athletes would compete for Great Britain as the team name stands. Athletes for the Republic of Ireland would compete for their own team. as they are two separate nations. Under the circumstances, it'd be hard to imagine a scenario where the two teams could swap athletes.
  19. Yes, to quote KCIII, "Oh, dear oh dear." I saw a funny meme that pictured 10 Downing Street as an AirBnB "Short term occupancies available". I don't know how it's even possible to completely tank a currency in only three weeks or what PM Truss did to achieve that singular feat. I looked forward to getting to know her better. She apparently had an interest in fashion which is not really something one associated with former PMs Thatcher and May, as such . . her curtsies were pretty weak and now she won't have an opportunity to practice more of them. We've got our own leadership woes over here, so one empathizes. Our fearless leader has to be led around, literally, by his wife and his aides because he very often appears to not know where he's going or why he's there. What interesting times we live in, and by interesting I mean, scary and unstable AF. A friend I made through a virtual community dedicated to travel is currently Stateside with her husband from her home in Brighton for a Ruby Wedding anniversary trip to New England. They came over on the Queen Mary 2 in September and have toured New York City, Boston, Vermont and Maine. Her trip coincided with the crash of the British pound against the dollar and they are feeling the sticker shock. I don't think the dollar has been stronger against the pound in my lifetime and that's 50+ years. I had a question relating to GB vs UK: Your Olympic team still competes under "Great Britain" don't they? Since the Olympic Games are certainly political though they pretend they aren't, this is an interesting exception to the 'Great Britain is geographical and UK is political' rule of thumb.
  20. Apologies to any residents of Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and other territories not explicitly covered in my usage of Great Britain rather than the United Kingdom. I suppose a Briton would not have used GB as I did. I beg indulgence, being just an American but according to dictionary.com, Great Britain is synonymous with the United Kingdom in colloquial usage, and inclusion of Northern Ireland is understood, or at least intended. Such was my intention, anyway. ************** The United Kingdom, popularly abbreviated as the UK, is a sovereign nation spread across multiple islands on the coast of northwestern Europe. It consists of the countries of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Great Britain is a large island on which most of England, Scotland, and Wales are located. It is geographically located to the east of the smaller island of Ireland, which consists of Northern Ireland and the separate, independent nation known as the Republic of Ireland. The term Great Britain does not include the Isle of Man or the many smaller islands located nearby that are part of the UK. In technical language, United Kingdom is a political term while Great Britain is a geographical one. However, these two terms overlap heavily in popular usage. Notably, the term Great Britain is popularly used as a synonym of United Kingdom, meaning Northern Ireland is included.
  21. It was 6 weeks almost to the day. She was confirmed by HMTQ on September 6. As the last official duty performed by ERII, who I feel certain gave herself permission to let go of the reigns right afterwards, seeing as she passed a little more than 48 hours later . . what a shame that your third female PM couldn't last longer than that. Lord knows I'm not an economist, but I do wonder if Liz is nothing more than a scapegoat here. Usually it takes more than three weeks to entirely tank an economy, and I can't believe that everything is down to her. She only got what, 3 audiences with the new King? The premiership of GB is considerably more flexible in term than the American Presidency. Once a candidate gets into the White House, no matter how huge a disaster they are, they are guaranteed at least 4 years in office. There is the option of impeaching a sitting President for misconduct, which is not an automatic boot from office, but merely the court proceeding to determine if he/she is guilty of the charges. The process is so lengthy, laborious and politically charged that it's only been employed three times in our history for a President, in 1868, 1992 and 2021. All three were acquittals. An impeachment proceeding could easily drag out for a year or more, so in some ways, it's easier and less expensive/aggravating to the taxpayer to just let the term of office run out. Better luck next time, Great Britain! I could say the same thing about us across the Pond here, but I'm not optimistic. After the election of 2020 and what came afterwards, I have not been back to the polls. I have become a conscientious objector to the whole corrupt process of politics and am withholding my vote until someone appears who is worth voting for.
  22. I think we are approaching the Speedy's question from two divergent purposes. As I am not expecting any more Sherlock to materialize, with or without exterior shots of the facade we know and love as Speedy's, I was focusing on how the restaurant itself might be saved to thrive in the future as a going concern. Its Sherlock connection is what makes it unique as a selling point. I've not heard that there's anything special about it otherwise to distinguish it from any of the other hundreds of cafes in Central London alone. Were Mofftiss to, at this very tardy date, finally decide to squeeze out another season or even one measly holiday special, any production difficulties they'd experience as a result of waiting so long would not stir me to pity. I don't care what they do now; my sympathies are with the heroic cafe owner just trying to keep his head above water. It would be a very simple matter to insert already existing scenes of the facade from earlier episodes into new ones if they wanted establishing street shots of the outside of '221B Baker Street'. Which as we know, has its facade in North Gower Street and its interior at an airplane hangar in Wales. Apart from not being literally on Baker Street, Speedy's Cafe is not a constructed reality but it is exactly in real life what it plays in the show--a functioning cafe. A 'real' location is a precious part of television history and should be preserved. Certainly out of all their pooled and collective millions and millions of pounds the chief quartet has earned off of Sherlock and the part that Speedy's played in their cult success . . one might think they could at least help the struggling proprietor out with the rent. Even if the production paid a consideration to the business for use of its name and exterior, it was probably a pittance and it'd be long gone by now. Do you know if Chris was the original tenant when the show was running? A gesture like that would go some way toward mitigating the utter travesty that Season 4 was to me. I bet they could purchase the building outright and not even miss what it would cost. Martin Freeman's Hobbit residuals alone must be in the several hundred thousand pounds per year. Not to mention the roughly 6 movies a year Ben's been doing since the show wrapped. In a more perfect world, I'd have the money to give to Chris. I've always fancied London; wonder if there's a flat above the store? It's fun to fantasize about.
  23. I'm sorry to confuse you . . what I meant was the venue could be suitable for a memorial of that type *now*, if it had been obtained back then. As just one of the potential tie-in events they might have offered, if the space had been converted to such a use. Not to be exploitative or to make profit from something like that, but as a gathering place for fans of the show and the cast to cherish their memories. For something like a Benedict reading, they would have to issue tickets. It's just an idea I was floating but it quite obviously won't be happening.
  24. Chris both is a renter and is responsible for finding a buyer? Or did you mean that he just wants to hand over the cafe business irrespective of the building? The rent is obviously the killing factor, apart from the scarcity of staff. This is why the only way to save the business at its current location would be if someone with the clout (and pockets) to buy out that building in order to preserve it as a sort of living Sherlock tribute could be found. Where is Mycroft Holmes when we need him? There are two main problems to this: 1. Sherlock the show is not fondly looked upon by a lot of the dedicated hardcore disciples of the original Canon, the types that join the Sherlock Holmes Society of London and flock to Conan Doyle related sites. It's considered an upstart crow amongst purists. Without the support of at least some of those folks, high-profile ones like Stephan Fry or Anthony Horowitz, the cafe's tie to a now-defunct quite short-lived TV programme from the 2010s isn't enough to sustain it. Chris's current troubles are proof. 10, even 5 years ago, working at 'the' Speedy's from Sherlock would have been a plum gig, even for minimum wage. The fact that he can barely get staff means that among the demographic most likely to seek employment in a cafe, ie, the young folk, Sherlock isn't even on the radar anymore, hence there's no cachet attached to the location now that the show's been off the air for so long. That's how it usually is with TV--stay current or die or at best become relegated to nostalgia sites like this one. It's now been off the air as long as it was on, with huge gaps between seasons. 2. Circa 2012, at the height of Sherlock-mania, it was impossible to conceive that just a few short years later there'd be such a tremendous cooling off of commitment to the show from its writers and actors, but it was maybe inevitable. One Sunday evening in 2010, Benedict Cumberbatch was a virtually unknown jobbing actor and by the next morning he'd been catapulted into international superstardom literally overnight. Same with Martin Freeman, who was considerably better-known at the time but who was also rocketed onto the A-list in the blink of an eye. Beatlemania was before my time; me and Rubber Soul made our debuts the same year. Who could've predicted that just 5 years later, the band would be kaput? Inconceivable! But that level of fame and its attendant stresses is nearly impossible to sustain over the long term. It becomes monolithic and swallows you up whole. I think of Sherlock and the associated cult frenzy over the storylines and over the minutae of Benedict's personal life and movements in particular as a sort of Beatlemania for our time. The candle that burns twice as bright lasts half as long. If we remove the gaps of 1-2 years between outputs, Sherlock only lasted half or less time than the Beatles did as a working band. What a run it was, though, when it was at its zenith. The Beatles will live on forever and ever, even though half of them have left us and the remaining two are near or past 80. Sherlock is destined to be relegated to 2010s pop culture ephemera, I'm afraid. Without putting too fine a point on it, Sherlock was essentially abandoned by the people who brought it forth and gave it life. Everyone got bored or fed up with it and moved on. It would have been awesome if a group of people affiliated with the series had thought, "Let's buy Speedy's and keep our brainchild alive." None of Mssrs. Gatiss, Moffat, Cumberbatch, Freeman or the Vertues might have wanted to commit to running a restaurant fulltime, understandably, but they could have gone in as a collective to purchase the building and the business and turn it into a destination spot for the show's fans with the right people helping them to run it. It's only a tiny venue but imagine the buzz there'd be if Cumberbatch dropped by for some readings from Conan Doyle, or if they had an annual memorial service there for Una and other members of the cast/crew that passed. The time to strike that iron would have been when it was hot . . 2017, which is the last time that Sherlock was on our screens. I think that ship has sadly sailed into the West, but we can pray for a miracle.
  25. Well, I had thought Speedy's was gone for good. Kudos to Chris for waging the good fight. I suppose Covid shutdowns have ultimately proved fatal to a lot of similar small businesses that were once thriving. Given the cult status of Sherlock I'm surprised that he hasn't been able to find a buyer, though. I would have thought the fans making the pilgrimage to see those locations would keep the business afloat. If the show were in the more recent past, maybe it would still, but the final season (to date) aired nearly 6 years ago now. I think the realistic and practical view is that there isn't going to be more Sherlock to save the business on its own, anytime soon or frankly ever. However, Sherlock Lives! His spirit is alive and well and he's still a flourishing cottage industry worldwide. If influential Sherlockians could band together in a common purpose, as they did to raise monies to save Undershaw from demolition, they could save Speedy's. The location would have to diversify. It could retain its identity as a cafe but it needs to be more--rent itself out for private parties or scion society meetings. Author Bonnie McBird is an American from L.A. but she splits her time between L.A. and London, where she's got a flat on Baker Street and presides as the doyenne of the Sherlock Holmes Breakfast Club. If she could be recruited to host some of her meetings at Speedy's . . if they could have some performative readings there, etc. , it might rise again. Maybe. As much as we loved the show, it has been a full decade since it was at its peak in quality. It was like lightning in a bottle and that kind of electric awesomeness wasn't destined to last.
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