Sin City

Film of the year (for now) hands down. Now read my opinions... if they matter that is.

Spoileroonies may be present. So please avert your eyes!!!

Sin City, a movie that I did not realise was in the works until some time previous to its release. At least 3 years since I had read the graphic novels I did not initially give much thought into the idea of the film. That is until searching around one night I came across a piece of greatness directed by a filmmaker named David Brocca, a member of Pitchfilms, who had created Rats: A Sin City Yarn, not long ago I had read the short ‘Rats’ in one of the Sin City novels, and I had thought it was great. Then to my surprise someone had made a short film of it. Standing at only 3 minutes long, the short itself only ran a couple of pages. But the great length to detail that was made in the film was astounding. It looked straight outta the comic. Shots were framed exactly as they were in the comic, and it was worded exactly to the book.
After I had seen it I immediately praised David Brocca for his work, and he shortly thereafter sent me a copy of it on DVD that he had made; this I of course now keep very safe, and will cherish forever. Unfortunately it will not play on my computer specifically, for reasons unknown.

Anyway, Rats had tripled my hopes for Sin City when it came out and I couldn’t wait to see it at the cinema.
Fortunately it was being shown on a Thursday, and since I was on study leave, it was a perfect chance to go see the film, before its initial release on the Friday. Although I must say that I was a little dishearten by the amount of people in the theatre, there must have been only 15 or so people seated, but I must say I believe that everyone there had enjoyed it.

Starring a host of people, the important players being Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Nick Stahl, Jessica Alba and Clive Owen, of course along with a load of people I do not remember the names of.
Directed by Robert Rodriguez along with Frank Miller who supervised it, Oh my god!! Don’t forget the guest direction of oh yes!!! Quentin Tarintino... geez, really it's not that big a goddamn deal, and yet I swear everyone is like, “Quentin Tarintino, really? I must go see this film, I have no idea what it is about, but who cares if I heard the name Quentin Tarintino!” And that almost every review I have read relates the film to Pulp Fiction’s time frame etc, which it is exactly like a Tarintino movie.... he didn’t create the story... Frank bloody Miller did!!! Seriously if you looked up the word overrated in the dictionary it would say that Quentin Tarintino and Donnie Darko are synonyms of the word. Anyway, now that’s over with I can get on with the review :P

The film follows three different characters, joining three of the series of graphic novels into one, although That Yellow Bastard is splintered into two pieces. To start we follow the beginning of the aforementioned title. Which follows John Hartigan (Willis); a sixty something cop, not too far from retirement in the attempt to rescue a little girl; Nancy Callahan (Alba) from being murdered and raped by the sadist Roark (Nick Stahl) son of the senator, and nephew of Cardinal Roark (Rutger Hauer) From the word go, the stories portray the worst of humanity, an underlying plot of lies and deceit, beginning with the affliction of John’s former partner (Michael Madsen) who in fact has been ensuring that Roark gets his girls, with no hassle from the police. This is followed by much violence, and the beginning of much decapitation of peni (is that the plural :P)
After John is left as what could only been seen as dead, the story cuts to that of Marv.

There’s a nice description of Marv in the film said by Dwight (Owen) . Marv (Rourke) is introduced fairly quickly as a brute of a man, causing destruction left and right while he escapes from the police, on suspicion that he murdered a hooker named Goldie, whom he believed he had fallen in love with. He exacts his revenge, with many humorous scenes, and I believe here I must mention one thing;

The film’s portrayal of the church. Now I had never realised it when I read the graphic novels... I was young. You see the Cardinal proclaiming how he and Kevin ate Goldie, along with Marv going gun crazy with the vicar in the confession box, who was also a little crooked, and I thought, ‘geez! guess maybe Miller doesn’t like the church too much’ But then in Sin City, there do not tend to be many innocents left... or maybe he’s just showing how crooked they can really be, I do not speak with much experience, living in a small village with a little church...

As I mentioned with the story of Marv came some humorous scenes, unfortunately I can only remember two at the moment. One of my personal favourites was when he was interrogating another informant by the process of dragging his face across the road, while in a moving car. At this short scene Marv says something like;

“ I don't know about you, but I'm havin' a ball. ”

I thought that part was great, very funny...not too sure of the audiences’ reaction. Although I do remember one guy laughing his head off at the execution scene. Where Marv was not zapped quite enough ensuing him to ask the line

“Is that the best you can do, you pansies!”

In the process of exacting revenge of those that killed Goldie, Marv comes across Kevin (Elijah Wood) who, playing a rather untypecast character pulls it off pretty smoothly.. Making a disturbing character, with his child-like smile of his.

The third story follows Dwight (Owen) which I felt seemed to be the longest of them all; perhaps this is because I always felt it was a rather long read. But it informs the audience of how in Sin City things are not always as they seem. Now I remembered when watching the film, the shock that Jackie (Del Toro) was a cop was a real twist, something I never suspected. Believe it or not the same thing happened when I watched it at the cinema. Now I love this story full of the twists and turns. I thought as usual that Benicio Del Toro pulled off a great dangerous, crazy cop guy... who although to me looked a lot different from the comic. The story also carried with it, what proved to be the funniest part of the whole film. I am of course speaking of the moment when a message is passed on to Manute (Michael Clark Duncan) through a message on an arrow, pierced through a one of his guys. This scene got uproars of laughter in the cinema, and it made me laugh when I originally read it... something that isn’t common place when reading something for me anyway.

But of course I mustn’t forget to mention this is the story containing what you’ve all been waiting for! Quentin Tarintino’s director spot, ‘Oh Brother!’

The fourth, or second part of story two then follows, wrapping up the following 8 years Hartigan spent in jail, and follows him saving Nancy... again. This story contains yet another great bit, which I had originally loved in the comic. He feeds Nancy what she wants to hear, everything will be alright, I’ll get our revenge. When he knows there’s no chance of anything. So he kills himself.

"An old man dies. A young girl lives. A fair trade. I love you, Nancy."

And of course, I the nit-picker hate the fact they changed the position Hartigan shoots himself, because it looks ridiculous. Other than that, a nice end to the story. Just how it had been in the comic, no happy ending, no fairy tale resolution.

My favourite part of the film hands down was the two shorts involving the hitman; now in the graphic novels, he did appear a couple of times, but I loved both sequences that they had used with him, regardless of the fact that they had used Josh Hartnett, who I thought was just your run of the mill mediocre actor nowadays, he executed the part pretty well. For me the whole of the little scene embodies the spirit of Sin City, the seediness and low down drudgery it involves, the line;

“The silencer makes a whisper of a gunshot. I hold her close until she’s gone. I’ll never know what she was running from. I’ll cash her check in the morning”

Once again, with little words, I cannot explain why I love the scene so much.
This reminds me to mention how much I also liked the music composed for the film; with it all being rather parallel to the action, I believe it was suited beautifully. The score could have gone down a completely different avenue -of rock and metal music- thank god it didn’t.

Another point that I immediately realised while watching the film was how tame it was compared to the original graphic novels... in the graphic novels, everyone tended to be naked at some part... not that I was hoping for that, but it was something that struck me, making the film very different.

Upon watching the film, the immediate aspect to pick up on is the closeness. Now of course, this wouldn’t be if Frank Miller hadn’t been a direct consultant on the film, it would be nothing like it is. Of course when I came back home from watching the film I immediately consulted the graphic novels, finding that it was almost word for word, some shots looking exactly the same as the panels in the comics.

Another point I found funny, when watching it at the cinema, is that you, as an audience, never know when it ended. There were some moments where the screen would fade to black, and stay in the transition for a pretty long time. When the end had finally come around -which I had realised due to the bookend type ending- the audience had to wait for the music and credits to roll before they could be absolutely sure.

It’s strange I find myself continuously comparing films to video games now... now I have to figure out if that says something about the quality of video games, or the quality of films... But regardless throughout the film I did not realise it would make me want to play Max Payne so much in my life. Throughout reading the comics, I never felt the relation with the narration over Sin City. But then I’m only comparing them on the basis of a voice-over... I will not go too deep so as to confuse myself.

I found that the acting in the film was far greater than that of ROTS (Which I have most recently watched). Although I must say I was focused far greater on the dialogue, so I did not really look for bad acting, once again the story far too engrossing I failed to pick up on bad acting unless it was sticking out like a sore thumb (ROTS)

The chiaroscuro *pronounced with awful fake Italian accent* present in the film was marvellous, something that you could think would only be possible if it were drew onto paper.
Overall I must say that the screen adaptation of Sin City is the best new film I have seen this year, and perhaps the best comic-book film I have ever seen. Never has a film so visually stunning, with large usage of green-screen techniques ever made a blip in my radar. This is the kind of film that makes me believe in cinema once again. Perhaps even going so far as to cool my hatred of special effects.

Cptalbertwesker rating 9/10 Best film of the year so-far, can’t wait to hope that the sequels will be as good. I apologise for such a long review... in my defense it was a good film.



Be expectant of reviews left and right, I've found a lot of spare time... I wonder if anyone is reading this... there may be some spoilers, some people have different views on the word.

Notorious, a film I remember watching during a holiday period. Shown in the morning like good old films always are I tuned in and watched it, and found it to be a great film. So like every film I like I bought it a couple of months ago, and finally managed to watch my DVD.
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains in the main roles. It involves a secret Nazi plan which had something to do with storing Uranium in wine bottles. But the subplot for the film is not important. The important factor of the film is that is has:

The Best ending for a film ever!!

(Of course I am not considering any other films when I say this) But it has what I believe to be the best open ended film ever, with a great last line.

“Alex, will you come in, please? I wish to talk to you.” – it’s good when you see it in context.

Like every Hitchcock film Notorious has the great witty humor. Some of the best talent at the time. And a pretty good DVD transfer. It only differs from that of some of his other films, as there is little action, but I would class the film as more of a suspense film so… its not North by Northwest

I keep this review short, because I know what I like about the film, and that’s its end and its great lines. Watching Claude Rains makes me want to watch Casablanca, and watching Cary Grant in it, really reminded me of some kind of Thunderbird, or perhaps Captain Scarlet.. I’m not sure which, he kept moving his eyes, freaked me out :P.

My favourite line from the film;

“This fog gets me?” “That's your hair in your eyes”

Cptalbertwesker Rating 8/10 - hey at least it isn’t German... only I will get this joke... unless Catherine has the off chance of remembering an incident involving the film.


Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Oh Yes, the thing you've all been waiting for my friends!!!

Once again I must remind you, I am reviewing the film, so there will probably be many spoilers within.

I write this review in the most convenient place, my conservatory, which as the fridge thermometer reads is over 30 degrees Celsius (the highest it reads), so the review may not be my best, also considering that I am wanting to review about another 5 or 6 films, which I saw a week ago at the very least.

We all know the story to Star Wars; or at least I hope we do.
Needless to say I’m a big fan, with a modest collection of the figures, the idea for a fan film in the works, as well as my interest in SWG peaking once again. I had built ‘high’ hopes for the last film to be able to contend with the likes of the old trilogy, as I believe did everyone else.

Starring Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen and Ian McDiarmid as well as various other actors, all of course appearing previously in the last two films, I could not see the film getting much better though. With George Lucas’ fascination with special effects I am always a little pissed at, I mean animatronics are a hell of a lot better looking than stupid CGI, anyway I’m getting off track.

The film follows the final days of Anakin Skywalker, showing his transformation to Darth Vader, and as long as you have seen the original trilogy there was little surprise to be had with the newest and final instalment of the historic saga. It was merely filling in a few important gaps. So on with my opinion of the film...

So the film starts with a chase through space; following Obi Wan and Anakin dodging left and right to rescue the precious Chancellor Palpatine. The chase contains much cold, emotionless dialogue being thrown back and forth between the two.

The whole scene disheartened me to the premise of the film as it all seemed very mechanical, with much over usage of CGI, although upon arrival inside the ship they were destined to, it did seem to get better with some humorous antics of R2-D2, who must have forgotten how useful he was later on in life during the old trilogy. And some battle droids, which some would argue are too emotive for droids, but hey, it's a fictional film, no one complains about the Aqualish or the Sullstans being unbelievable.

This all leads to one of the first kills on Anakin’s tally, the decapitation of Darth Tyranus (Christopher Lee) which was much unexpected; although in Episode IV you see a removed limb, so the violence isn’t really that bad.
They escape, lots of jumping, running, flying away, crashing into the landing zone etc, ACTION ACTION ACTION. They land at Coruscant, Anakin and Padme have words. She’s pregnant!! Loads of emotion is used in this scene.... I am joking of course... not to mention throughout the whole film Natalie Portman looked a little funny to me, not ha-ha funny.

Now the details of the middle of the film are a little scant. I do however remember lightsaber battles taking waay too long. Much to the joy of the guy sitting next to me (very annoying) when Yoda got his lightsaber out he felt the need to clap...
I thought Kashyyyk was done nicely, looked exactly like Battlefront, although not too much like the Kashyyyk that KOTOR presented me. Although this did not stop that all the while the whole film made me want to play KOTOR, so there was obviously some element in the film which reminded me of the brilliant game.

Now, now Ian McDiarmid… one person who I also knows agrees with this opinion, is he was overacting a little too much... or maybe it was that he was the only person really acting he seemed a little over the top. He executed all of his lines a little too slowly, and made too many growling-like noises when battling Yoda and Mace Windu.
Although I did like the involvement of the mention of previous Sith lords, as mentioned by Emperor Palpatine or Darth Sidious...

The introduction of General Grevious was new to me. I had not seen any of the Clone Wars, bar an episode that I was sent. It was never shown on Terrestrial TV so I never had to the chance to.
Off topic, I had heard the part was to be given to Gary Oldman, but he decided not to, for reasons I do not remember. But I liked the character none-the-less, although he was a little hard to understand. And thinking about it right now, he probably would have looked a hell of a lot scarier/overwhelming if he were made using animatronics, rather that CGI.

I know that much has been said about the political undertones present in ROTS, but they’ve always been there in the Star Wars films, it's nothing new, hell the line that Padme says of ‘who is the real enemy, how do we know if we are not oppressors’ (I don’t remember the exact lines) That is something I always think in my head when watching a film, or playing a game. The idea of the majesty when one person believes they are acting out for the just cause, when that is the exact opposite that the opposition feel about them. I seem to be blabbing, must be this heat.

I must say my favourite part of the film overall was the eradication of the Jedi, as morbid as the sentence sounds, I found it the best because it is something I would expect of Star Wars, especially from what I saw in KOTOR, the oppression the Empire brought down, as well as the racial tendencies of the Republic. I loved every minute of the execution of the Jedi, but as you can probably see for reasons unexplained. I am unable to express it in words myself.

As you probably guess from most of this review I hold much vehemence towards the overuse of CGI in the film, I wouldn't’ get so annoyed with it, but George Lucas had shown in the three older films that he could create a good looking universe full of strange looking aliens and spacecraft, and he never did this using top of the range CGI, meh.
I also must show my displeasure for the rather unimpressive dialogue and acting. Every word the actors uttered seemed too flat and empty; there was hardly ever any expression in Hayden’s voice. I found myself rolling my eyes at some of the conversations because they seemed too unbelievable that what they were saying they actually meant in context with the film.

The music was as always top notch, a good bit of John Williams always makes the story seem better, especially with the use of Binary Sunset at the end of the film (someone please correct me if I have gotten the name incorrect) I must say even with the cheesiness of the end it was great, bittersweet and felt like the end of something.

So I must say although there was much against the film it was still a Star Wars film, which I can unfortunately say I cannot give too much bad word against. Considering that it was much better than Episodes 1 & 2 with a nice end and some nice bits in between....

Cptalbertwesker Rating 6-1/2/10*
*I’d give it a 7 but the acting is really bad :( Considering that my average score for a film is 8, 6 is not as bad as it seems.

So what awaits the fans now, with not much prospect should we hang on to the good old films?
According to George Lucas he was done with Star Wars after ROTS, but now he speaks of Television series; and possibly more films, that is of course once he’s done with Indiana Jones IV *sigh*

Unless there are some good actors, comparable to Harrison Ford, who are willing to sign up to a Hollywood movie, there is little hope for another great star wars film.