Sin City – A Movie Review

I don’t know if I’m getting older or what, but movies like Sin City just don’t do it for me anymore.  I went into this movie thinking I was going to love it.  I mean, it’s based off a comic book, so right there I was pretty excited.  (Yes, I am an unrequited comic book lover.  Have been since the age of four.  Sue me.)  The commercials proved that it was a unique film in terms of visuals.  And it was.  Just one thing bothered me about the movie so much that I can’t bring myself to say, “I liked it.”

The violence.  This movie was about as masochistic as they come.  Yes, rarely did they show red blood.  It was more often than not stylized so that it appeared stark white against the black and white colors of the movie.  But, the beatings, the shootings, the ripping off of body parts, the sawing off of appendages, the ramming of blunt objects through heads, it just got to be too much for me.

I don’t want to sound like a pansy here, but the movie could have been awesome without all those things.  I keep hearing people say it’s a great throwback to the film noir style of decades past.  I have no recollection of people being shot and stabbed in the genitalia of those old films. 

The man who wrote the original graphic novels (a term for a fancy comic book) is Frank Miller.  He is largely considered a genius in the comic book world.  He redefined Batman in the mid-eighties, and the 1989 Batman was based largely off of his vision of the character.  And his comics are violent, for the most part.  But, the movie took it one step farther.

The acting wasn’t great, although I thought Mickey Rourke did a nice job.  I’m glad to see his career may be revived due to this film, like Travolta with Pulp Fiction.  The lines were supposed to be fragmented, which works great in the comics, but not so well in movies.  It’s hard to get the complexity of the character and the moment across with just three words per sentence for the better part of the entire film.  Rourke pulled it off, but I’m afraid that Willis (who I think is a great actor to watch, but not necessarily a great actor; I mean that as a compliment) and Del Toro didn’t.  I do have to say that the movie had a stellar cast.  I think everyone knew this was going to be a milestone in the film world.

The style of the movie was phenomenal.  It was primarily black and white with splashes of color here and there for symbolism or effect.  Very dark, very moody.  It nailed the heart of the comic in that respect.  It had lots of really cool shots and angles, lots of awesome sets, and the costumes (or lack thereof, in many cases) and make-up were top notch. 

So, if you can handle gratuitous violence and enjoy hyper-stylized movies, this is for you.  If you’re not one for lots of violence, guns, knives, razor wire, bombs, swords, and any other killing device you can imagine, this may not be a first choice for your Friday night. 

Ultimately, I respect the work of Frank Miller, and I respect all artists.  Considering he was a co-director of this film (which I think was awesome of the other co-director, Robert Rodriguez, to include him), I have to trust that he got it the way he wanted.  That’s all I ask of artists.  Do it your way, and let the public make its own decisions.

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300 – A Movie Review

When I first saw the preview for 300 several months ago, I knew that this would be a film that would have the same impact upon the industry as did The Matrix and the original Star Wars.  It looked so unlike anything else out there!

Guess what, folks?  It finally came out last week, and it delivers.  300 was a visual feast from start to finish.  Moreover, it was quite compelling!

Granted, I’m not going to say it will win any awards for story or acting, but I have to tell you, the acting was much better than I expected.  Gerard Butler had me convinced he was King of the Spartans.  That guy just seethed power and passion!  Plus, it actually had much more story to it than I thought it would.  Bonus, right?  At no point did it feel drawn out or overextended, yet it still came in at feature-length.

I was a bit concerned going in because of Frank Miller’s connection to this film.  Miller, who created the source material, is known for his gratuitous violence.  I feared 300 would resemble Sin City in its ridiculously over the top displays of brutality.  Anyone remember the scene where a man had his testicles pulled off in Sin City?  Yeah, that’s when I decided that movie was not for me. 

Not to worry, friends, while 300 was very vicious, the violence, like everything else in the movie, was so hyper-stylized that it at no point even resembled reality.  I think that was a good call on the makers’ part.

Hyper-stylized-that’s how I would describe this film.  Truly a joy to watch.  Some people are complaining that its too testosterone-fueled, there’s too much yelling, too much machismo, but you want to know what I think?  When done in such an interesting manner, I see nothing wrong with those things every once in a while.  I mean, if you’re going to see an action movie, don’t you want action?  Don’t you want fervor?  I do.  I was so in the moment, I didn’t even notice all the yelling.  To me that means it must have fit perfectly within the scenes.

The director of 300 is supposedly in line to direct the film version of Watchmen.  Let me just say that if he does half as good a job on Watchmen as he did with 300, I’ll be very happy indeed.

My only question is, where did those warriors in ancient Sparta get all the ab-rollers?  Seriously, every dude in this movie had a sixteen-pack for a stomach.