Friday, July 31, 2015

Movie Review - "Mr. Holmes"

Are you getting a bit tired of summer spectacle movies? I know I am and we still have a least the new Mission Impossible movie to go.  Take a break and go see the wonderful "Mr. Holmes.

It's 1947 in post-war England. Sherlock Holmes, now 93 years old, has retired to the countryside with a housekeeper and her young son. He lives a quiet life, taking the occasional dip in the sea and taking care of his beloved bees. And he is writing, or trying to write, the story of his last case, "The Case of The Lady in Grey", which happened some 30 years before. Holmes has long been dissatisfied with Watson's version of the story and wants to put the record straight. The problem is, he can't remember what actually happened. He remembers that he badly bungled the case and this is why he retired.

The movie unfolds on two tracts. In 1947, Holmes, old and ill, makes friends with young Roger, his housekeeper's son. He instructs him on how to take care of the bees and allows the boy to read the manuscript of the story he is slowly writing. In turn, the boy gives him friendship and helps him with his memory.

The second track takes place 30 years before in a different post-war England. The story of the Lady in Grey is told in these flashbacks. A much younger and more sure-of-himself Holmes takes on a case from a young man who believes his wife, the Lady in Grey, is lying to him about her activities.

Ian McKellen is just wonderful as Sherlock Holmes in both tracks of the story. We meet him as a crabby old man, just returned from a difficult journey to Japan. He slowly thaws and becomes friendly with the boy. Young actor Milo Parker is very engaging as Roger. This is only his third movie. I couldn't tell from his IMDB page but I guess he is about 10 years old. Watch out for this kid.
The third major character in the story is Roger's mother, Mrs. Munro, played by Laura Linney. Her story is that she lost her husband to the war and is very protective of Roger. She distrusts Holmes' interest in Roger and see him as trying to take away her boy, the only thing she has left. 

This may not be in the theaters long so go and see it soon.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Photo Reuse - Topps and Panini

For several years now (this is my 4th post on this subject), I've documented where Topps has reused a photo from either a previous year or from a different Topps set. I guess this is standard operating procedure for Topps. Now that I'm through Allen and Ginter, I guess it's time to do this post.

2014 Topps Update #314 Corey Dickerson
2015 Topps #91 Corey Dickerson
Different cropping and an altered contrast do not make these different photos. Dickerson had 478 at bats with the Rockies, hitting .312 and 24 home runs. Surely they could have found another photo.

2015 Topps Highlight of the Year #1 Lou Gehrig

2013 Topps Allen & Ginter #75 Lou Gehrig
 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter #196 Lou Gehrig
 Getting their money's worth out of this picture. I'll agree that there are probably not as many good photos of Lou available as there are for a current player, but it's time to retire this photo.

2015 Topps Heritage #261 Mark Melancon
2015 Topps Gypsy Queen #212 Mark Melancon
His arms got hairier on Gypsy Queen.

2015 Donruss #102 Matt Shoemaker

Hey, Panini does it too!

2015 Panini Prizm Prizms #115 Matt Shoemaker
They fuzzed the background more and made it all shiny but these have the same photo.

2014 Topps Stickers #61 Danny Salazar
2014 Bowman Platinum #50 Danny Salazar
2014 Topps Chrome Purple Refractors #178 Danny Salazar
I seem to have missed this series of cards when I posted about this practice last year. The same image pops up again in 2015.

2015 Topps Archives #146 Danny Salazar
He seems to have been in enough games the past few years to get a new photo.

2014 Topps Update World Series Heroes Roberto Clemente
2015 Topps Archives #189 Roberto Clemente
Should we give Topps a break for players of long ago?  No.

2014 Topps Allen & Ginter #183 Jim Palmer

2015 Topps Archives #284 Jim Palmer
This one was pretty subtle.

2015 Topps #335 Matt Barnes
2015 Stadium Club #178 Matt Barnes
I was hoping not to see this with Stadium Club.

2015 Gypsy Queen #39 Lou Gehrig
2015 Stadium Club #186 Lou Gehrig
Dang, another one.

2015 Topps Archives #70 Jake Arrieta
2015 Topps Allen & Ginter #76 Jake Arrieta
2015 Topps Heritage #384 Jake Arrieta
 I think the Archives and the Allen and Ginter are exactly the same. He's moved his head a bit for the Heritage.

2015 Topps Heritage #144 Aaron Hill
2015 Topps Allen & Ginter #283 Aaron Hill
Aaron Hill asleep on his feet. I guess they couldn't get him to move a little for a second photo.

I thought I was done with this post, then I found this pair.

2015 Topps Allen & Ginter #239 Zach Britton

2015 Topps Heritage #6 Zach Britton
 Really, nothing against Zach Britton, but this photo is too creepy to be used even once.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Craig Biggio - Hall of Famer

Craig Biggio, who was one of my favorite players even before I moved to the Houston area in 1995, was inducted into the Hall of Fame last Sunday. He's not the first guy who played for the Astros to go into the Hall, but he is the first to go in as an Astro. I own 302 Biggio cards. Here's a selection of Biggio cards, one for each year he played.

1988 Fleer Update #89
1989 Upper Deck #273
1990 Topps Big #111
1991 Score #872
1992 Stadium Club #200
1993 SP #29
1994 Studio #17
1995 Emotion #136
1997 Finest Bronze #238
1997 Flair Showcase Row 1 #14
1998 UD3 #168
1999 Stadium Club #25
2000 Crown Royale Red #62
2001 Topps #250
2002 Topps 206 Relics
2003 Topps 205 #53
2004 Diamond Kings #125
2005 Zenith Museum Collection #116
2006 Bowman #196
2007 UD Masterpieces #80