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Review: Enola Holmes

Raise your hand if you knew legendary fictional detective Sherlock Holmes had a sister? I didn’t. But then again, I grew up in the Nancy Drew era. I wasn’t aware of the emergence of the Nancy Springer young adult book series “The Enola Holmes Mysteries,” starting with “The Case of the Missing Marquess” (2006). Those books, and the Enola Holmes movie, honor the Sherlock Holmes canon (launched by Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887) while offering up a fresh, female perspective designed to inspire and empower girls and young women. Now let me clue you in:

Gone Girl

Gone Girl is very good. And, I suspect, it’s probably even better if you haven’t read the best-selling book by Gillian Flynn (which I did, about two years ago). It’s just a solid, well-cast thriller that has enough twists and turns to keep things interesting, even if it does feel a tad too long.

I won’t say much about the plot, because the less you know going in, the more you’ll get out of it. But here’s the gist: Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) arrives home on his fifth anniversary to find his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) missing. A media circus ensues as questions arise about Nick and Amy, the state of their marriage, and Nick’s potential involvement in his wife’s disappearance and possibly, her death. The clues – literal and figurative – stack up as the movie flashes back on the couple’s path from instant attraction and romance to marital dysfunction.

Prisoners

This one’s tough. The performances are excellent, but I kind of wanted my two-and-a-half hours back. Prisoners is intense and plodding and psychologically taxing, and every parent’s worst nightmare. Hugh Jackman plays Keller Dover, a desperate father who decides to take matters into his own hands when his young daughter and a neighborhood friend go missing. Jake Gyllenhaal plays the lead detective whose entire life revolves around his job.

Safe Haven

I’m an easy sell when it comes to cinematic sap. So I had my tissues at the ready for the latest Nicholas Sparks novel-turned-romantic-drama. But alas, not a single tear was shed. In fact, I was rather bored. If you want to see sparks fly, you may have to see Die Hard 5 instead – lots of stuff blows up real good in that one. Or Beautiful Creatures – a supernatural romantic drama about a teenage witch (though she prefers the term ‘caster’) and the mortal guy who catches her eye. Bottom line: I’m not really feelin’ the love from, or for, Hollywood this Valentine’s Day weekend.

Unknown

If you’re a fan of Liam Neeson and you like movies like The Bourne Identity, then you really can’t go wrong with Unknown. It’s a classic psychological thriller that leaves you wondering what’s what for a solid, fast-moving two hours.