Monday, November 10, 2014

SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR (2014)



Directed By: Robert Rodriguez & Frank Miller 
Written By: Frank Miller (Based on Characters & Graphic Novels created By Him) Cinematography & Editing By: Robert Rodriguez 

Cast: Eva Green Jessica Alba, Jamie Chung, Dennis Haysbert, Mickey Rourke, Josh Brolin, Powers Boothe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rosario Dawson, Jamie King, Christopher Lloyd, Ray Liotta, Juno Temple, Jeremy Piven, Christopher Meloni, Bruce Wills, Alexa Vega, Marton Csokas


Co-directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller reunite to bring Miller's "Sin City" graphic novels back to the screen. Weaving together two of Miller's classic stories with new tales, the town's most hard boiled citizens cross paths with some of its more notorious inhabitants.

Pretty much Robert Rodriguez Continuing to be a one man band with some help

It's nice that this time around instead of it being an anthology with different scenes and stories with sometimes overlapping characters this time. Each story seems to feed Into one another taking stakes and building steam as we get closer to the end. It works well enough as we also get I see Mickey Rourke's Marv character play a role in each scene. As he was the breakout star and story of the first film.

Though it makes the stories less noteworthy on their own and seem like b-plots or an overarching main story. Or a bunch of little stories used to seem like substance of a big one. While each tale is an inspired classic on old film-noir cliches. They feel less substantial when explored and dissected.

One of the problems overall with the film is not entirely it's fault. When the first sin city film came out the effects and the way the background was all effects and photo realistic was breathtaking and amazing. In the years that have followed that techniques has been borrowed and copied so many times that we as an audience have gotten used to it. Even Frank Miller himself used it for his film THE SPIRIT. So using it again --For this film was a no brainer. The weakness unfortunately lies in that nothing new is done with the technology in the film. So that it doesn't truly accentuate any story not have a reason to be there. So it just feels plain. While it does practically illustrate it's scenes. Which leaves it to still look stunning. Just not feel that way.

The film though filled with action feels too chatty. All the inner monologues and narration give us insight and history but maybe point much. As it seems they define the characters thoughts, though we don't need to always know what they are thinking. What always helps in noir stories is the element of mystery. Here all the cards are laid out we just wait for the inevitable and the wait is just monotonous.

The actors are game as they give in to the style of the film and shade their performance appropriately. This style works better for other actors then it does for some. As quite a few sound ridiculous as they try to bring emotion to dialogue that feels stale and reveals way too much. Yet feels false as they speak it. Think Shakespeare even if you don't know all the terms of the language used, you at least understand what it is supposed to say by the emotions put forth by the actors in dialogue and by their physical movements. At least Mickey Rourke looks like he is having a ball. He is put to good use in the first film as well as having a non-stop exciting story himself. Here he is more part of the background a supporting player. --At the end of some stories they feel like hollow victories like Joseph Gordon levitt's story a great character i only wish the story was up to his level.

The lead role was originally offered to Johnny Depp but he declined due to scheduling conflicts. Joseph Gordon-Levitt later replaced him and chose to star in the movie despite offers to star in other movies such as Guardians of the Galaxy and Godzilla. Back in 2006 when Rodriguez first starting putting together ideas for a SIN CITY sequel, he considered Depp for the part of Wallace - the lead character of "HELL AND BACK" which he was hoping to adapt as one of the film's three segments. The idea to adapt HELL AND BACK was scrapped though & Rodriguez chose to adapt "JUST ANOTHER SATURDAY NIGHT", "A DAME TO KILL FOR" & the never published "THE LONG, BAD NIGHT" instead.

In fact I can't say much about the stories bit the actors and characters stay memorable and fun.

I have read the SIN CITY graphic novels but that was over a decade and I can't remember each an every story. It just seems that some are better left in the page rather then brought to life here.

One thing I love about the films is that no matter what as probably as misogynistic as the films can get. They always manage to make the female characters not only look iconic as Femme-Fatales but also so beautiful, that some modern day films rarely can. Most of the female characters are treated more as only objects of desire or objects of sex and lust. More than any kind of depth or real characterization at least until we get to Jessica Alba's story at the end. Even the innocent women. In this film hands down the best performance and most memorable character is played by Eva Green who plays the Femme-Fatale to the hilt and has a role that exploits her beauty so much that she has another film. Under her belt that makes her a silver screen goddess. As this film places her in stages of strategic undress. You can understand how this black widow lures men into her trap with desire. Even though it is obvious they are being set-up for their doom. They happily go along as any attention and time she spends on them is worth whatever she asks for, it works as she is a seductress and the time and place of this story as hard edged as it is and is the main story as the film Is named after it. Seems to be beauty equals innocence. Though many of the characters find out how false that is the hard way.

Salma Hayek, Rose McGowan, Angelina Jolie, Rachel Weiscz, Michelle Williams, Helena Bonham Carter, Scarlett Johansson, Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Lawrence were all considered to play the role of Ava Lord before Eva Green was cast.

This is clearly Eva green's year to break out not only with the successful series Penny Dreadful bit also with this film and her performance in the similarly effected 300 sequel 300: RISE OF THE EMPIRE she is truly fearless on screen as she can go from seducer to murderer so quickly.

It more than makes up for what seemed gigantic leaps in time between roles in films such as THE DREAMERS her debut film role the. Didn't seem to appear in anything noteworthy until CASINO ROYALE. Though had kept herself busy and employed in plenty of indie films.

Then there is the Contrast of Eva green and Jessica Alba. One is fearless, charismatic, drips sexuality an is believable and fully committed and mysterious

The other has a sexier role by feels at least to me closed off and will only go but so far and nowhere near to close so far. A pg-13 type of girl vs an NC-17 kind of hot that shows an unruliness in this film where as in first film it all felt the same. Jessica Alba seems here more as to continue her story though she was more the sexpot in the first film. She still kept it clean here she barely manages to raise an eyelash. The film seems more interested in making her an action hero rather than a Femme-Fatale. Which is a strange move for a movie that already proven itself to be misogynistic as the first film.

It is only a shame that once again Rosario Dawson isn't used to her fullest as I have always thought of her as an actress who deserves more lead roles and herself could be an on screen goddess. Though so far only Danny Boyle has used her in similar way with glimpses in film by spike lee and Oliver stone. She Is a character actress who deserves more open of substance and that allows her to use her skills and talents to showcase her beauty. In this film they never allow her to use her feminine wiles to the fullest. As far as desirable and giving her a character who appears throughout.

The tales throughout the film are hard boiled, though not particularly intriguing as you have seen the types of stories before. Even here they don't break any new ground.

The film's budget was $60 million, making this the most expensive movie Robert Rodriguez has ever directed.

Even some of the casting feels more like stunt casting. rather than who was right for the role and let's the filmmakers add big names to the cast. At least for the cast members who don't return like Clive Owen whose character only looks like Clive Owen in the first film due to plastic surgery here Josh Brolin plays him Pre-plastic surgery. The random celebrities are a cast of characters that most wouldn't think to assemble.

Clive Owen was set to reprise the role of Dwight in the final scenes of the "A Dame to Kill For" segment, playing the "new face" of the character. However, due schedule conflicts with THE KNICK, Owen wasn't available Brolin ended portraying Dwight's new face with the help of prosthetic makeup.

Dennis Haysbert fills the same role as the late great Michael Clarke Duncan played in the first film and though his character meets a similar fate he keeps popping up. Some are relegated more to cameos then full roles and some recast all together. Though it is nice to see powers boo the again in the all too powerful villain role that he seems to relish and remind us of the good old days when he had roles like this on lockdown more regularly.

Due to Devon Aoki's pregnancy at the start of production, the character of Miho was also recast, with Jamie Chung replacing Aoki. Jeremy Piven also ended up replacing Michael Madsen as Bob. Who I didn’t even realize he was replacing in the cast

I can see how the film would disappoint some audiences an while it doesn't leave me wide eyed with wonder. I liked the film even with it’s style over substance. It was a nice impaired follow up. To a series of films I wouldn't mind seeing sequels to though I doubt will ever happen die to disappointing box office returns.

Maybe it's just that the sequel seems to bathe itself in all the wrong things and the tales are so bleak and sorrowful. That used to be shocking and not mainstream but as more and more underground subjects become mainstream. If you aren't pushing the button it seems tame to most audiences or like they are wasting their time.

It's another film based on a graphic novel so it does. Count as a comic book film. Though more for adults as it is too intense or racy for children. The film does seen more for teenagers as it has plenty of material they would enjoy more and seems like it would be more surprising and revelatory to them. Rather then adults who this might be warmed over too much for. A nice up of the hat to the film noir of yesteryear with some modern touches not allowed back then.

This film feels like the product of a wet dream mixed with a nightmare. The scenery feels like clouds thy you could easily get lost in of you tried to touch. Though I can say I admire the look and style of the film. I wouldn't want to live there.

The film has a distinct feeling of been there done that and brigs nothing new not exciting to the table.

None of the stories are revolutionary, surprising or that original no real connection with the audience not a favorite tale

Doesn't feel energetic, no vitality it feels like the film is on auto pilot, no new ideas lacking an introductory scene that helps to define the rest of the films world we are entering.

Marv is back and feels dulled doesn't really have a sort of his own really just a returning guest star supporting actor

At this point maybe these stories would make a great anthology series rather then films.

Grade B-

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