Tag Archives: Sherlock Holmes

I watched the Zero Effect with Dr. H a few days ago and came to the realization that the JPFmovies original review of this great (yet sleeper) film was piss-poor and the movie deserved better. So here we go.

To Sherlock Holmes, she is always the woman.  I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name.  In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex.  It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler.  All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but admirably balanced mind.  He was, I take it, the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen, but as a lover he would have placed himself in a false position.  He never spoke of the softer passions, save with a gibe and a sneer.  They were admirable things for the observer—excellent for drawing the veil from men’s motives and actions.  But for the trained reasoner to admit such intrusions into his own delicate and finely adjusted temperament was to introduce a distracting factor which might throw a doubt upon all his mental results. —Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “A Scandal In Bohemia

I watched the Zero Effect with Dr. H a few days ago and came to the realization that the JPFmovies original review of this great (yet sleeper) film was piss-poor and the movie deserved better.  So here we go.

The Zero Effect is one of my favorite movies probably because it is based on the great Sherlock Holmes short story A Scandal in Bohemia by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as quoted above.  The film stars Bill Pullman as Daryl Zero (Sherlock Homes), a gifted but bizarre private detective who is socially awkward and inept when he is not on the job.  His “Dr. Watson” is portrayed as Steve Arlo (Ben Stiller) a lawyer.  Zero keeps himself locked in his apartment where, like Holmes and his violin, he composes dreadful songs on his guitar and subsists on a diet of tuna, Tab, and amphetamines (Holmes’ drug use included cocaine, morphine and other narcotics).

Put succinctly, the Zero Effect starts out as a case of a tycoon who lost his keys.  The keys turn up in the place where most lost keys are found in between the cushions of the couch.  From there, the story opens up into a tale of blackmail, family secrets and a decades-old murder for hire. 

The film continues to mimic A Scandal in Bohemia.  Zero is retained by Gregory Stark (Ryan O’Neal), a wealthy man who hires Zero to investigate who is blackmailing him.  Likewise, Holmes is retained by his Majesty the King of Bohemia to find some compromising documents involving the King and his indiscretion with “the woman.”  During the investigation, Zero ventures outside of his apartment encountering Gloria Sullivan (Kim Dickens) the film’s Irene Adler (Adler, as we know, was the only woman who had the wit to outdo Holmes, and he loved her for it).  Sullivan is the blackmailer (like Adler) and as the film progresses, they begin to fall in love.  While in the end of the film Zero bests his Adler, but because of his love and admiration for Sullivan, he lets her go with the blackmail money to hide from Stark who alludes to killing her.

There are even more detailed similarities between the ingredients of the Zero Effect and those of A Scandal in Bohemia, featuring the sole romantic imbroglio of Holmes’ career as one can see in the above passage—and a minimal one at that.  Likewise, Daryl Zero experiences the only romantic predicament of his career with Gloria Sullivan—though significantly more explicit which can be attributed to the passage of time between the two works. 

Additionally, both the film and the story use false fires to flush out the blackmailer.  In the story, Watson tells us that “at the signal I tossed my rocket into the room with a cry of “Fire!” The word was no sooner out of my mouth than the whole crowd of spectators, well dressed and ill–gentlemen, ostlers, and servant-maids–joined in a general shriek of “Fire!”  Thick clouds of smoke curled through the room and out at the open window. I caught a glimpse of rushing figures, and a moment later the voice of Holmes from within assuring them that it was a false alarm.”

Ryan O’Neal is instructed by the blackmailer (Sullivan) to pull the first fire alarm he sees after depositing the blackmail money at the drop point where Daryl Zero is waiting to see who emerges from the bathroom with the cash.

Written and directed by Jake Kasdan (son of the famed of Lawrence Kasdan whose career includes such works as Body Heat and Dreamcatcher) and considering the peculiar nature and tenor of the film, the Zero Effect should have a following akin to that of The Big Lebowski or Napoleon Dynamite.  Unfortunately, even though technology now allows film watcher to find virtually any movie with little or no effort thereby turning previously disregarded films into cult classics, fate seems to have passed over the Zero Effect.

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Posted by on May 16, 2012 in Movie Reviews


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Back by Popular Demand: Emma and Sally Review Monk While JPFMovies Slumbers at his Post (with input from Dr. H and Hank)

Because audiences have been clamoring for another review from Emma (age 13) and Sally (age 8), the girls have agreed to review Monk, USA’s long running series about OCD suffering detective Adrian Monk (starring and produced by Tony Shalhoub) and his assistant, single mom Natalie Teeger (Traylor Howard).

What do you think of Monk?

Sally: It’s great.  It’s funny.  Because Mr. Monk is afraid of ladybugs, and harmonicas, and milk, and heights, and germs, and a hundred and something other things.

What about you, Emma?

Emma: It’s funny.  Because.

Because why?

Emma: Her answer applies to my answer too.

Which assistant do you like best?

Emma: Natalie.

Sally: Natalie.

Why not Sharona?

Sally: She just—I don’t know.

Emma: I think Natalie’s better at dealing with Mr. Monk.

Sally: Because she’s used to dealing with her daughter.  She has better ideas.  And she doesn’t quit.  I also like the theme song!!

Emma: It’s better than the old one.

How about the rapper theme song?

Emma: Oh, that was a good one too.

What’s your favorite Monk episode?

Emma: Umm…well, the garbage one was pretty good.

Sally: I didn’t see all of that. They’re basically all equal.  I think the ones where he gets drunk or sick are best because he does funnier things.


What do you think of the doctor?

Emma: Oh, the one where Dr. Kroger quits is a funny one.

Sally: The ones with Harold are good too.

Who’s Harold?

Emma: He’s his rival.  He’s also Natalie’s rival in the school board election in that one episode.

Does Monk remind you of any other television detectives?

JPFMovies (talking in his sleep): Sherlock Holmes with a germ phobia.

Emma: Hercule Poirot. He likes everything to be very neat and orderly.

Dr. H: Columbo.

Hank: He is quirky like Columbo.

Sally: Who’s Columbo?

Hank: He was an old time detective.

What would you tell Monk if you were his doctor?

Sally: I would bring my harmonica and tell him to play it.  And tell him that ladybugs are harmless.

Emma: We’re trying to watch an episode.

Well, I’m trying to compile a movie review.

Do you think Monk is ready to be back on the police force?

Sally: Yes, I do.

Emma: No.

Sally: What?! What are you talking about, Emma?

Emma: Well, his phobias would get in the way of his police work.

Sally: Yes, but he’s a great detective!

Which phobias would be a problem for a police officer?

Emma: Well, just about all of them. I mean, there’s heights, germs.

Sally: Afraid of frogs, ladybugs.

Emma: Yeah, but that’s not so much of a big deal.

Sally: But what if someone framed a ladybug?

Emma: How would you frame a ladybug?

Somebody framed a monkey once, right?

Emma/Sally: Yes.

Would you like to meet Monk in real life? What if he could come and stay with us for a week?

Sally: Yes.

Emma: That would be…

Sally: It would be weird, but yes.  But we would have to REALLY clean up.

Emma: HE would clean up.

Sally: I mean before he came.  He would put stuff in places where we couldn’t find them.

What would be Monk’s least favorite room while visiting us?

Emma: The kitchen, probably. Or Sally’s room!

Sally: My room!

How would JPFMovies and Monk get along?

Sally: Well, not so great.

Emma: Well…

Sally: Well, not so great.


What do you think Monk would do to the DVD collection?

Sally: Uh…organize it.  Why are you doing this instead of JPFMovies?

Because JPFMovies is snoring.

JPFMovies: zzzzz………..What are you doing? ….zzzzzzzz


What would you rather watch, Monk or Malcolm in the Middle?

Emma/Sally: MONK!!!!

Sally: What a question.


On another note, what do you two think of the allegations that we snuck the My Fair Lady review into the coveted position of 150th post?

Emma: I deny those allegations.

Sally: I don’t really know what you mean.

JPFMovies: zzzzzzz


JPFMovies could not be reached for comment.

*Note JPFmovies was NOT provided an opportunity to respond to these scurrilous accusations.  JPFmovies denies any lack of diligence on the part of the site and/or any claims that JPFmovies “fell asleep at the switch” so-to-speak.  Furthermore JPFmovies maintains the position that it was scammed out of its 150th review extravaganza by the treacherous trio. 


Posted by on November 13, 2011 in Movie Reviews


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Detective Dee—The latest “wuxia” movie recommended by our woman from the land down under.

Detective Dee—The latest “wuxia” movie recommended by our woman from the land down under.  With guest co-author Bonnie (who has not actually seen the movie but still feels free to offer an opinion and research and who may have imbibed some sense of Detective Dee via osmosis when her parents were reading the Judge Dee mysteries based on this character many years ago).

I am sitting in the Houston airport for the next 9 hours waiting for my plane to  . . . well you’ll read about that later.  Anyways, I asked Dangerous what she thought the next movie we may want to take a look at should be and she said take a look at Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (2010).  So I did.

Detective Dee is played by Asian movie and pop legend Andy Lau (Battle of Wits—Mozy Warriors and many others) and is a good “popcorn” movie.  Detective Dee is the latest “wuxia” movie directed by Tsui Hark—a pioneer of the wuxia genre.  Wuxia films are particular to China; they blend martial arts with chivalry and tend to have a protagonist who is similar to, but not quite the same as, a Western knight-errant.

Not only does this movie have Andy Lau in it (which always makes it a must-see in my book), but it is directed by the formidable Tsui Hark (who will, incidentally, be helping to judge the feature films category at the Cannes Film Festival this year). Hark also directed Once Upon a Time in China (for a link to our friend Silver’s masterful review of that flick, click here). Standing at 5’9” (it’s amazing what you can find out on IMDB), he is considered a master of the kung fu action genre and, from what I saw (and what Bonnie didn’t see) here, I have to say that he is a master of the wuxia subgenre as well.

The story is about a woman who is about to become emperor and unite China.  Naturally she is getting many people in the kingdom all pissed off because a woman is about to ascend to the throne.  In honor of her coronation a 1,000 foot Buddha is being constructed overlooking the palace.  Officials working on the statue are starting to self-immolate; that is, bursting in to flames from the inside out. (I hate it when that happens!) With the coronation not far off the soon to be empress needs these crimes solved to avoid any taint on her ascension to the throne.

She calls in Detective Dee, the Sherlock Holmes of China.  Dee also happened to be one of the leaders of a revolt against her when he emperor-husband died under mysterious circumstances.  I guess when you need the best you need the best.

Detective Dee starts his investigation which begins to reveal an ugly trail of deceit and murder perpetrated by the Empress to seize power. Her motto is “everyone is expendable in the pursuit of power.” As Dee gets closer and closer to finding the truth, the stakes get higher and higher for his life. However, it is Dee’s old assistant, who was tortured by the Empress to the tune of having one of his hands cut off, who is responsible for the Phantom Flame deaths. His axe to grind is simple: revenge. He was tortured for years and as we know, payback’s a bitch. His plan is to have the Buddha crash down on the coronation ceremony, killing everyone in the palace. Dee figures this out and puts a stop to the madness.

This movie is interesting because the viewer does not have a clear “hero riding on a white horse” to sympathize with. The Empress and the assistant are each quite a piece of work; the Empress has got a trail of dead bodies as long as the Boston Marathon, while the assistant has been putting beetles into people to cause them to self-immolate (they weren’t really immolating themselves out of anguish over watching a woman ascend to the throne, as it turns out).

Any of you who know anything about me know I am a big Asian movie fan.  So it’s good to see another big budget, big screen Asian movie hit the theaters, though it probably will not get any decent play in the states a la Red Cliff (bastardizing the movie by leaving two hours of film on the cutting room floor).


Posted by on October 31, 2010 in Movie Reviews


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