Monthly Archives: September 2015

A Lego Brickumentary – A Review – A Vision

A Lego Brickumentary, also known as Beyond the Brick: A Lego Brickumentary is a very interestingly done documentary that looks at the global culture, appeal, and history of the Lego Company and its building block toys. The documentary borders on mockumentary at times, and it features some rather confusing scenes, but overall, it’s worth a watch, especially if you’re a huge fan of the popular brick company.
The film shows the audience the origin of Legos through its country of origin, Denmark, to modern day. The film goes through both the accomplishments and struggles of the company, and how it almost went bankrupt around 1999. The film shows how the company changed with the times, as well as, footage of Lego conventions, and various fans using their Legos in very creative ways. Creative use of Legos included a person who built an entire house out of Lego bricks, and another person who built an actual car using Legos. Both examples are crazily creative. The movie even contains scenes showing how Legos are improving the world, with some physiatrist using Legos to help their patients, and one boy, named Adrian Pitt, who is using Legos to help with his speech problem.
The documentary is narrated by Jason Bateman, playing a fictional Lego, who appears sometimes in well-done stop-motion sequences and tells the audience about an aspect of Legos. What I appreciated about these particular sequences was the amount of creativity that went into them. It must have taken the filmmakers hours just to make one sequence. We even get to see some behind the scenes footage of the making of the recent The Lego Movie.
The film contains interviews with various people who work at Lego, as well as, entertainers such as Ed Sheeran, Trey Parker, and Dwight Howard, all of whom relate their personal experiences and appreciation for Legos. These sequences are nice, as we get to see that Lego fans go well-beyond supposed children or even nerds.
In spite of all of the praise I’ve given this film, I can’t say it’s perfect. One thing, a Brickumentary falls apart in, is it’s a lack of focus. While all the various Lego stories are interesting, much of the material that happens at the actual Lego studios left me uninterested. Maybe I’m just not into the actual behind the scenes aspects of the company, but I did find the actual Lego creative stories more eventful, and thankfully, they do make up the bulk of the film.
That major flaw aside, A Lego Brickumentary is a fairly well-made, well-done documentary that serves as a good look at the history and success of one of the world’s biggest toy companies, who got popular simply off one product, and not many companies can say that.

Mr. Holmes: A Review: A Different Side of Sherlock Holmes

Much like in the tradition of The Private Lives of Sherlock Holmes (1970), The Seven-Per-cent Solution (1976), and Without a Clue (1988), Mr. Holmes is a widely off-beat take on the world’s greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes. Here we meet a much older Sherlock Holmes (played wonderfully by Ian McKellen) who is almost nothing like his character in the story. Sherlock Holmes is being presented, by Dr. Watson. He never smoked a pipe, and he wasn’t as sharp-witted as the stories might suggest, however, his excellent memory is still left intact. The story follows Holmes living peacefully in retirement in a Sussex Village in 1947, with a housekeeper (played by Laura Linney) and her son (played by Milo Parker), who wants to become a detective just like him. Soon, however, Holmes finds himself confronted by a 30 year old unsolved case, and has to use his aged memory in order to solve it.
Mr. Holmes is an absolute delight. Based off Mitch Cullin’s novel A Slight Trick of The Mind, the film works on so many levels. Ian McKellen, as a beaten down Sherlock Holmes, is as excellent as ever. He brings a sense of wittiness, humor, and realism to the “world’s greatest detective”. The rest of the supporting cast is also solid. Laura Linney does well with an Irish-like accent as the housekeeper, and Milo Parker who plays her rambunctious young son gives a good child performance. There’s even a subplot involving Holmes going to Japan to meet with a Japanese backer, Tamiki Umezaki (played by Hiroyuki Sanada), that manages to fit into the overall plot.
Aside from some of the performances, there are also many other things that work in Mr. Holmes. Bill Condon’s direction is good. The art direction is excellent, and the film definitely looks like its time period. The film’s cinematography is also wonderful and makes the film look very beautiful. Carter Burwell’s (well-known for composing Coen Brothers films) score is absolutely superb. It gives the feeling of mystery, excitement, and finality. As is the case with a lot of films, Burwell’s score adds to the overall feeling of completion, at the end of Sherlock Holmes’s life.
There are a few minor complaints I have about the film. The film doesn’t really have a continuous story plot, instead it has a lot of different stories that all manage to somehow come to together, and the film itself isn’t especially greatly paced.
But those are minor complaints in the grand scheme of things. Mr. Holmes is a superb film, that deserves some kind of Oscar recognition (at least hopefully Carter Burwell’s score gets nominated), and it boasts a great leading performance from McKellen among others. Definitely a movie worth checking out.