Mr. Holmes

By: Mark Barber Current representations of Sherlock Holmes are filled with weighty world-threatening stakes and explosive action sequences.  Bill Condon’s more peaceful and contemplative Mr. Holmes seeks to rectify that inclination, offering a more poignant take on the famous deerstalker-wearing detective. Indeed, Sherlock’s trademark cap never appears in the film, and for good reason.  Mr. Holmes is about the interplay between fact and fiction, spending much of its running time reconciling the elderly Holmes’ (Ian…


The Dead Lands

By: Mark Barber The Dead Lands is a rare pre-colonial narrative.  Rarely does a film provide a cinematic lens through which we may see a pre-westernized, pre-colonial native culture.  Given such emancipating opportunities, it’s curious that director Toa Fraser would make such a comfortable film for western audiences. Featuring an all-Maori (people indigenous to New Zealand) cast, young Hongi (James Rolleston) seeks revenge on a rival tribe that eradicated his people.  To do so, he…