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Christmas Mysteries: A Sherlock Carol @MaryleboneTHLDN

A mash-up of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol and Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes would seem an unlikely pairing. Yet it provides a surprisingly fun Christmas-themed adventure. These two Victorian tales (albeit separated by about 40 years) provide the basis for an inspired adventure at Christmastime that just also happens to turn out to be a murder mystery as well. With lavish costumes, a few spooky set pieces and some good old-fashioned stage trickery with lights and a lot of smoke machines, it is hard to resist. It returns to the Marylebone Theatre for Christmas after a run there last year.  The premise is that after Holmes sees off the criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty, he is left adrift in London. People thought he was dead, and he might as well be. Disinterested in the misdeeds of other Londoners, Holmes has even given up on his friend Dr Watson. It's almost as if he has become a Scrooge. Or half a Scrooge, moping about shouting, "bah" in respon

Film: Babel

Babel, originally uploaded by stef_install.

Thursday evening I caught Babel. All three hours of it. Sitting there for that long you run through various thoughts such as, "can this drag on for any longer?" or "why is nobody wearing makeup?" "how much blood can Cate loose?". It aims to be a sprawling global story connecting everyone through a single moment but it really boils down to depressing and pretentious story. I can see why Americans may take to it as it is full of angst about Americas place in the world, but it is seriously undermined by really poor characterisations and a never ending stream of unbelievable events.

Not all the actors have much to do in this flick either. Before Cate gets shot she just looks sullen and Brad Pitt looks very old and dusty throughout most of the film. If there was a makeup artist present, you wouldn't know it.

It all seemed a bit depressing, but I left the movie feeling that the central message of the film was that there is hope in the world as long as there is a mute Japanese girl out there somewhere who is willing to show off her snatch. I think there is something in that for all of us. Well at least for those who don't mind the showgrounds looking a bit bushy...

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