Elementary, My Dear, Sherlock Holmes Is The Biggest Moocher

Who me? Robert Downey Jr. plays an inglorious bastard.

If there ever was an inglorious bastard, Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) fits the description. Using Dr. John Watson’s (Jude Law) dog as a test subject for his experiments, dragging his best friend into battle as he runs from the large boulder-like henchmen he just pissed off and shamelessly ruining his friend’s courtship with a lady, Holmes is that friend you all know and love: the moocher.

“Holmes, does your depravity know no bounds?” his friend Dr. Watson even asks him.

It's nice to have famous friends, but too bad Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) is a moocher.

Yet you can’t hate Sherlock Holmes, even as he is rummaging through your clothes because he had run out of clean closes to wear. You can’t hate Sherlock Holmes, even as he lands you in a night in jail, as your girlfriend bails you out the next morning. You can’t hate Sherlock Holmes as he purposefully leaves his gun in your hand, knowing that you will reluctantly follow him into danger.

Yes, you might get frustrated, angry and even despise the bastard who got you into trouble, but you can’t totally hate Holmes because you admire him. You respect the intellectual prowler and his impeccable power of observation. You value his logic and reasoning, despite his ability to uncannily rope you into his latest scheme, abusing your good intentions.

Hey, House and Wilson, no homo or anything...

Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law become the Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) and Dr. James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) from the television drama House M.D. of the big screen in Director Guy Ritchie’s latest released film Sherlock Holmes.

In additional to Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law’s budding bromance (as Holmes succeeds in making Watson his bitch), the fast-paced, action-packed thriller is filled with a bunch of other goodies.

The first few minutes of the film might as well have been a scene from Blizzard Entertainment’s hellish role-playing game Diablo as two guys two guys run through a mausoleum-type building, men in long hooded cloaks following their wake as a woman strapped to the alter awaits sacrifice.

The first rule of fight club is, you don't talk about fight club.

Downey’s Jr. narration of how to properly dispose a guy is reminiscent to the narration of David Fincher’s film Fight Club—dark and biting. The sequence of the fight scenes are quickly spiced with half second clips, and the original music from Hans Zimmer is superb.

Meanwhile, the beautifully filmed filth of London will have you hum Sweeny Todd’s “No Place Like London”: “There’s a whole in the world like a great black pit, and the vermin of the world inhabit it, and its morals aren’t worth what a pin can spit, and it goes by the name of London.”

Like anyone else fond of the television shows such as House, Bones, CSI, Numb3rs, and Criminal Minds, I love a good mystery. In this case, I loved how all the pieces fell in place —much like how all the scenes in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Bastards came together— as Holmes began to question his firm belief in logic with the case of Lord Blackwood’s (Mark Strong) resurrection from the grave.

Meanwhile, Holmes’ peculiar relationship with the Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams), a petty criminal who loved to steal expensive jewelry, will have you questioning Holmes already promiscuous morals.

“In another life, Mr. Holmes, you would have made a excellent criminal,” Inspector Lestrade (Eddie Marsan) tells him.

A threesome, anyone?

Yet despite how close Holmes is to picking the lock for the sole purpose of stealing, he does not pick the locks out of moral ambivalence but intellectual curiosity. Holmes is attracted to Irene Adler, not only because she’s a pretty face who would most likely screw him over like one of John Keat’s “La Belle Sans Merci”s, but because she is a complex character.

As the film ends with hints of a sequel, the ingenious detective of Scotland Yard will guarantee a fun ride.

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Girl Power Makes A Comeback

Sometimes a brilliant performance only needs an open microphone and an empty stage. In addition to these two essentials, the crowd’s enthusiasm and the actresses’ talent made this year’s annual Valentine’s Day production of Eve Ensler’s popular play “The Vagina Monologues” a success.

As a part to the global V-Day movement to end violence against women, “The Vagina Monologues,” performed by the Ithaca College Players took place at 8 p.m. on Feb. 13 and 14 in Emerson Suites. Ending with a standing ovation, the play, under the direction senior Katie Venetsky, showcased immense talent.

Senior drama major Stephanie “Annie” Goodenbour, stole the show with her performance of “The Vagina Workshop.” One breath short of a nervous breakdown and panicked at the prospect of not having orgasms, the actress finished her undergraduate career in the IC Players annual showing of “The Vagina Monologues” as a poised and elegant British woman. The IC Player veteran was stunning, encouraging schoolgirl giggles from the lively audience as she paused briefly before she said the word “vagina.”

In another monologue, junior Yvonne Romero was like the sweet and sexy Kelly Kapoor (Mindy Kaling) from the hit television series “The Office.” Starring in the segment “The Woman who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy,” Romero played a female prostitute who conducted an orchestra of moans. The other actresses hid among the audiences as Romero listed a series of moans. Popular moans included the “twitter moan,” “the college student moan” and the “musical moan” in which the actresses broke into a chorus of Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer.”

Meanwhile, sophomore Melanie Sherman’s “Angry Vagina” monologue was a humorous crowd pleaser, as women laughed at her comparison of having sexual intercourse to having a cotton tampon shoved up one’s vagina. Sherman’s funny monologue preached comfort with pleasure. As she described how one should not compromise her vagina for uncomfortable thongs or floral sprays, the audience filled Emerson Suites with applause and laughter.

While “The Vagina Monologues” included a dozen other performances, other highlights included freshman Nikki Veit pacing the stage like a rock star in the segment “Reclaiming Cunt,” and freshman Pascale Florestal’s mannerisms as a little girl in the monologue “The Little Coochi Snorcher That Could.”

Although some monologues were light and humorous while reflecting larger social issues, “The Vagina Monologues” ended on a more somber note, depicting the countless women raped by soldiers everyday in the Congo. While one may still giggle at the word “vagina,” one cannot help feeling more apt to stand up for women’s rights in the future.

Click here to see this article in The Ithacan. For more information on the V-Day movement, click here.

“Precious” Reminder of Life

Precious (Gabourey Sidibe) dreams of the life on the red carpet.

Red is the color of the scarf hanging around Clareese “Precious” Jones’ (Gabourey Sidibe) neck as she disappears among the crowd of students of her junior high school. Red is the color of the headband on her head as she imagines herself thin and pretty, attractive and white. Red is the color of the carpet as she struts out of the limousine of her imagination, only to wake up from her fantasies with the sound of laughter ringing through her ears as the immature boys ridiculed her. Red is the color of the stain of blood on her lips as her mother throws a frying pan at the back of her skull.

Red is the color of love and desire, passion and fame, but for Clareese “Precious” Jones, red is the color of her mother’s hate, her father’s abuse and her fantasies for a better life.

Precious’s favorite color is yellow.

Set in Harlem 1987, Lee Daniels’ film Precious captures the mind and emotion as one watches an overweight black 16-year-old struggle through her second pregnancy while dealing with family issues and poverty. Although the film’s images are rich and jarring, Precious might as well been Oprah’s Lifetime movie, presenting the life of a woman’s incredible strength, endurance and optimism through pain. Yes, the plot might seem a little cliché, even with mention of The Oprah Winfrey Show conveniently product-placed within the film’s dialogue, but one cannot take pain and suffering lightly.

Sidibe’s convincing voiceover makes the movie, presenting pure, raw emotion, while capturing the viewer’s heart. One joins Sidibe’s character as she wonders why her mother named her Precious, only to scream profanities at her.

Moreover, Precious included strong performances from beautiful and powerful woman including Mariah Carey as the social worker Mrs. Weiss and Mo’Nique as Precious’s abusive mother.

Meanwhile, Paula Patton as stars as Blu Rain, Precious’s encouraging teacher at the alternative school. While Blu Rain is not a social worker, but she might as well be one. Like Erin Gruwell, played by Hillary Swank, of the 2007 movie The Freedom Writers, Ms. Rain teaches women who don’t know how to read or write, making them journal everyday. However, unlike The Freedom Writers, Lee Daniels film focuses on the student rather than the teacher.

Based on the novel Push by Sapphire, Lee Daniels’ film will have the audience root for Clareese “Precious” Jones in this late-80s David versus Goliath story set in Harlem.

Despite the overwhelming obstacles that Precious is faced with, the viewer is left with glimmer of hope.

‘The Good Body’ resonates with viewers

Eve Ensler (Megan Ort) is every woman that has gone to the gym in order to lose that food baby. She is every woman who has picked up a Cosmopolitan or Seventeen magazine from the aisles of the grocery store, comparing herself to the Hillary Duffs or Kristen Stewarts or the other airbrushed celebrity cover girls. She is every woman who has attended a “fat camp” or a Weight Watchers meeting because she thinks she’s too fat. Eve is every woman who has been tempted by the apple of liposuction, obsessed with what she calls, “a relationship with her stomach.”

In modern society, Eve defines, to be good translates to being thin and perfect. Eve Ensler symbolizes Everywoman, struggling to be “good” in an imperfect world. Perhaps this is what made the play “The Good Body” so appealing to the 70-plus Ithaca College students who attended the showing at 7 p.m. on Feb. 6 in Textor 101.

“The Good Body,” directed by freshman Ithaca College drama major Pascale Florestal, can be compared to a non-musical and hour-long rendition of Chicago’s “Cell Block Tango,” as various characters recount their trials with their bodies. The play, a sequel to Eve Ensler’s ever-popular “Vagina Monologues” was smartly written and well performed by a cast of nine freshman Ithaca College students, revealing their struggles with weight and sex through a series of monologues.

Although there weren’t many props or visual action, and a white-board accompanied the found space in a lecture hall, the audience was very responsive to the narrative-style play. Like in the fifteenth century play “Everyman” following a character’s journey to morality, “The Good Body” follows a similar format as the character Eve embodies Everywoman on a journey to acceptance. Along the way, she meets a cast of funny and memorable characters including “Skinny Bitches” Bernice, “Spread” Carmen, “Perfection” Tiffany, “Dyke Fuck You” Dana, “Sex” Carol, “Breasts” Nina,  “The Industry” Isabella and “Jadhi” Priya. The women’s names and stories were written on the classroom’s giant white-boards as each character exited the stage.

Meanwhile, the audience, made up of a demographic of two men to every seven women, seemed very receptive to the stories and themes of “The Good Body.”

Audience members laughed when Jazzmin Bonner’s character Bernice, played a black girl at fat camp, wagging her finger at “skinny bitches” and compared buying plus-sized clothing to buying porn.

Girls held their breath as Kristen Joyce’s character Carmen, a Latino skinny girl obsessed with what she describes as the “spread” between her thighs, said, “All those years I just want to be pretty, Mommy. Why couldn’t you ever see that?”

A few women pulled tissues out of their purses and wiped their tears as Alyssa Stoeckl’s character Nina gave an emotional testimony about what it was like to develop breasts while losing her freedom in the process.

Meanwhile, Director Florestal herself played an Indian Confucius, telling Ort’s character to accept her body because it is her home. Florestal’s character Priya who describes herself as “Jadhi,” the Indian word for fat, said that her husband Kumar loved her body’s oceans and continents. “If you were to lose your ‘Jadhi,’ I would be a refugee,” Florestal described her husband saying.

Following the stories of these women, one learns that one should love their bodies for what they are. However, the superb performance and expression of Megan Ort and the rest of the girls on the cast gave the performance much more resonance with the audience. “The Good Body’s” sad but poignant message, witty monologues and powerful deliverance made the play much more effective and most satisfying for anyone who has ever thought they were fat.