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Sherlock Holmes Sells The Chipmunks an Education

By Genevieve Burgess | DVD Releases | March 30, 2010 |

By Genevieve Burgess | DVD Releases | March 30, 2010 |

An Education: “The dilemma at the center of Lone Scherfig’s British coming-of-age drama, An Education (2009), is quite simple. Jenny (Carey Mulligan) is an attractive, incredibly smart, and witty 16-year-old growing up in a drab suburb of London in 1961. Judging from the lifestyles of the female role models around her, her future can be narrowed down to two options: housewife or schoolmarm. In order to meet the requirements of one of those employment opportunities, Jenny’s caring but overly concerned parents (Alfred Molina and Cara Seymour) and school teacher (Olivia Williams) forcefully suggest an education at Oxford. In order to market herself as a valuable candidate, Jenny must ace English, Latin, French (hence the title), and show cultural breadth (her “hobby” is the cello). Yet, if all goes according to plan, Jenny will meet a similarly cultured wealthy man and will no longer need to do any of those things. The irony, of course, is that an Oxford education is simply a means of making the bait more alluring. Jenny comes to this realization early into Scherfig’s film and asks the question “Why must I attend Oxford when I could easily take a shortcut and reach the same inevitable conclusion by attending the school of life? I’d have a lot more fun.”” - Drew Morton

Sherlock Holmes: “To say much more about the plot would ruin the Holmes’ adventure — needless to say, as is customary in one of Arthur Conan Doyle mysteries, the script — from Simon Kinberg, Michael Robert Johnson, and Anthony Peckham — pits Blackwood’s possible supernatural conspiracy against Holmes’ powers of logic, with the added benefit of foresight, in the form of the knowledge of 20th century technological advancements. And make no mistake, though Ritchie’s frenetic and fast-paced action adventure is not exactly in line with the tone of Doyle’s mysteries, the characteristics of Doyle’s Holmes are all there - the meticulous powers of deduction, the manic-depressive tendencies, the personality disorder, and the substance abuse problems, though Downey’s Holmes is more vigorous than academic’ still, Ritchie’s version keeps in line with the evolving nature of Holmes over the 20th century. More importantly, most skeptical Holmes’ aficionados will likely be converted, if only because of the script’s attention to detail and the way it incorporates so many of the elements of Doyle’s novels into the movie, from Holmes’ obscure interest in the violin, alchemy, and firearms, to the Irene Adler character, the Jersey girl who resurfaced in several of Doyle’s books and was only one of a few people who ever got the better of Holmes (and was one of only two (?) characters that brought out something other than Holmes’ asexual side). Ironically, even the black magic elements of the plot are keeping in line with Doyle, who turned to writing about the occult after he stopped writing Sherlock Holmes’ mysteries.” - Dustin Rowles

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel: “If Alvin and the Chipmunks was, as I stated in 2007, “inevitable,” then its $217 million domestic gross ($360 million worldwide) firmly established that a sequel (which I refuse to refer to by its “proper” name) was as unavoidable as catching rigor mortis from tap dancing in heavy traffic. In this second feature film, the three rodents of doom — Alvin (Justin Long), Simon (Matthew Gray Gubler), and Theodore (Jesse McCartney) — are back to trip the light fantastic upon our own rotting corpses. This time around, though, Ross Bagdasarian Jr. is not merely content to drag his father’s creations into CGI hell but also enlists the Chipettes (created by Janice Karman) to up the annoyance factor. Parents will be relieved to know that, in the sequel, nobody eats anyone else’s poop, but there is a fetching dutch oven joke and plenty of butt references to feed those with bodily function fetishes. However, the undeniable “zip” of the Chipmunks’ frenetic rise to fame has been muted in this sequel, which revolves around the boys’ assimilation to daily teenage life and all its trivial tribulations. The first movie’s sole strong point, energy, has entirely dissipated for this sequel, and the only thing that I truly find interesting here are the dramatics involved with a morphing cast.” - Agent Bedhead

I Sell the Dead: “Regardless of those minor flaws, I Sell The Dead is all good fun. It’s not a game-changing entry into the genre — it’s a zombie movie… only it’s not. One of the things that made I Sell The Dead refreshing was McQuaid’s refusal to use many of the conventional horror movie tropes. It’s a throwback to the heyday of Hammer films, a tasty treat of spooky atmospheres and clever startling moments. It’s not terribly gory (although there’s definitely some enjoyable, satire-filled bloodletting), or even all that scary, but it’s got a lot of heart and the players are clearly enjoying themselves. Given the shoestring budget that it was clearly funded on, it’s a remarkable accomplishment. That’s not to say that it’s good in spite of its budget — it’s good regardless of it. It’s an enjoyable little picture that speaks to the viewer with its deft writing, cheeky nods to the classics. It’s a modern horror movie that doesn’t pander itself with cheap gags, torture porny gross-outs, or rote, annoying characterizations — in fact, its plot and characters are strikingly original. I highly recommend that you join them as they merrily wade through a strange little world of minor-league undead carnage.” - TK

Also on DVD this week: Afghan Star, 3 Idiots, Baader Meinhof Complex, iMax: Under the Sea, Weapons of Self Destruction, Yes Men Fix the World

Pajiba Book Club: The Graveyard Book | Pajiba After Dark 3/30/10

Genevieve Burgess is a Features Contributor for Pajiba. You can follow Genevieve Burgess on Twitter.