Monday, 2 January 2012

NO HO NOIR picks the best of 2011

Katherine's picks for the small screen:
Game of Thrones...Everyone said that you could never film George R. R. Martin's novel and everyone turned out to be wrong. We were hooked from the first teasers with the ravens and the spooky old woman prophesying, "Winter is Coming." Peter Dinklage ruled as Tyrion Lannister but it was Sean Bean who was the heart of the story and (having not read the book), we were NOT READY for his fate.
We cannot wait for the next volume coming in April.
Sherlock Holmes...We will admit--we were skeptical. So few updates seem to work these days. By the third episode, though, we were clamoring for more. Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock was a portrait in narcissistic brilliance and Martin Freeman was a conflicted, somewhat troubled Watson touched by his time serving in Afghanistan. Brilliantly conceived and nimbly acted, the three-part series was way too short.
Downtown sometimes pitched as a variation on Upstairs Downstairs, but it's much more than that. Maggie Smith is just one of the stars, which gives you an idea of the level of acting talent here. (Mark has already seen season two of the series, which won't be available here in the US until later in the year. He says it's terrific.)
Hell on Wheels...rebooted the western genre with a noir feel and a kick-ass cast led by the magnetic Anson Mount. It's gritty without getting over the top the way Deadwood could sometimes get. And one of the most entertaining things about the show is Colm Meany's scenery-chewing performance as a corrupt railroad baron.
Katherine's picks for the big screen:
Fast Five ... Dwayne Johnson. Vin Diesel. Fast cars.  Seriously, what more can you cask for?
Rise of Planet of the Apes...Andy Serkis ruled this reboot/reimagining of the classic story. We liked James Franco too.
Fright Night...another great reimagining of a movie we loved the first time around.
Hugo...a treat for movie-lovers everywhere as well as people who flat out love movies, like the director Martin Scorsese, who filled this tremendously visual movie with love and care.  (The Artist is also supposed to be stunningly good but we haven't seen it yet.)
The Lincoln Lawyer ... based on a great book by crime writer Michael Connelly, this was an underrated film starring the frequently underrated Matthew McConnaughey. Yes, we know that Ryan Philippe is a rotten apple from the moment we meet him but there are some twists and turns we didn't see coming.

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