October 23, 2016
        Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars                Tom Hanks to receive Hollywood Actor Award for "Sully" @ Hollywood Film Awards                "Certain Women" showcases Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, and Michelle Williams                Ben Affleck is perhaps Hollywood's biggest and most diverse superstar                "The Birth of a Nation" looks to survive controversy and contend for awards                "The Girl on the Train" hopes to transport Emily Blunt to the Oscar race        

“Sherlock Holmes” Blu-ray overloaded with juicy extras

HollywoodNews.com stays on top of the latest DVD and Blu-ray releases so you know which films are worth your time and money. This week, we recommend:

Sherlock Holmes
Guy Ritchie’s “Sherlock Holmes” almost made my year-end Top 10 list for 2009. The December release was one of the last films screened for consideration, and it immediately struck me as being so unabashedly, unapologetically entertaining. I wanted to check it out one more time before I could determine if it truly was special, though, or if it just caught me at the right moment to first time through.

Circumstances kept me from seeing it in the theater a second time, however, so I was thrilled when FedEx dropped a copy of the film on my doorstep. A return with Victorian-era London was in store, with Ritchie and his willing stars — Robert Downey Jr., Rachel McAdams and Jude Law — as guides. Would “Sherlock” live up to the hype I had created in my own memories?

Elementary, my dear readers.

Ritchie’s Holmes isn’t for purists, even though the director and his cast repeatedly point out in the Blu-ray’s numerous extras that this interpretation harkens back to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s roots. But re-imaginings are welcome with a character as established (and cherished) as Sherlock Holmes. Granted, they have a chance to fall flat on their faces. But Ritchie’s adventure moves far too quick to allow that to happen.

The story tracks Holmes (Downey Jr.) and Watson (Law) as they try and determine if the evil Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) has returned from the dead or is benefitting from the assistance of loyal cultists. Complicating Holmes’ investigation is the return of Irene Adler (McAdams), the detective’s intellectual match, as well as the keeper of his twisted heart. The plot has a tendency to trip over its own tail. But Downey and his crew are having such fun, it rarely matters where we are going. The ride becomes the focus, and rarely does it stop rocketing forward at a rollercoaster’s pace.

For the “Sherlock” Blu-ray, Warner rolls out the tremendous Maximum Movie Mode that they used on “Watchmen,” “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” and others. That means Ritchie conducts a staggeringly in-depth walkthrough of the film, dissecting certain scenes using multiple monitors to give a thorough behind-the-scenes conversation about the film’s construction. The feature also unlocks storyboard comparisons, picture-in-picture clips, stills galleries, “Making of” reels on the film’s production, costuming, editing, and so much more. In a perfect DVD world, these Maximum Movie Modes would be the norm, not the exception.

The Blu-ray rounds out with the exclusive “Sherlock Holes: Reinvented” feature, which is a more traditional, yet still informative, “Making of” clip with cast and crew interviews and on-location shots. And of course, your Blu-ray is the portal to Warner’s BD Live site, where you’ll be able to access even more content.

The movie – ***1/2 out of 4
The Blu-ray – **** out of 4

About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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