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Sin City

In a word: Awesome. In more words, like Picaresque, this is the sort of thing that I'm very glad isn't what everyone is doing. A cinematic landscape filled with more Sin Citys would be awful. There are very real limits to what can be conveyed like this, and the film has some real limitations on its own terms. But I'm very, very glad that someone did it.

April 2, 2005 | Permalink

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» Two Reviews of Sin City from Political Animal
TWO REVIEWS OF SIN CITY....Matt Yglesias:In a word: Awesome....There are very real limits to what can be conveyed like this, and the film has some real limitations on its own terms. But I'm very, very glad that someone did it.Josh... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 2, 2005 12:34:31 PM

» Sin City from Backwards City
...is an experience, though it may not be one that all people can enjoy equally. This struck me as a very male movie, and in particular it appeals directly to the evil twelve-year-old boy that lurks just beneath the surface of every member of the bad... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 2, 2005 12:44:28 PM

» A Beautifully Horrible Movie from The Talent Show
Sin City is an endless stream of misogyny and sadism as well as one of the most morally shallow films I've ever seen, but its aesthetic brilliance is unquestionable. The writing and acting are Tarantino-esque in their ability to perfectly... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 2, 2005 2:31:57 PM

» A Beautifully Horrible Movie from The Talent Show
Sin City is an endless stream of misogyny and sadism as well as one of the most morally shallow films I've ever seen, but its aesthetic brilliance is unquestionable. The writing and acting are Tarantino-esque in their ability to perfectly... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 2, 2005 2:32:41 PM

» Sin City Review from Jim Snowden's Second Omnibus
Majikthise and Yglesias went on about the movie long enough that, when the opportunity arose this afternoon to check it out, I did just that. [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 7, 2005 1:45:12 AM

Comments

I've seen the TV trailers. Just noticed your comment. Read a couple reviews online after googling (Roger Ebert's doesn't give away the story, but calls it 'brilliant'.)

So now I'm rev'd to see it, and pissed that I can't bloviate just yet.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Apr 2, 2005 3:48:26 AM

Man, that movie really kicked ass.

Ebert gets it. Dargis don't.

Rodriguez has some serious game. I didn't think he'd ever make anything with as pure a groove as Desperado again, but I was wrong. Always trust a director who's his own cinematographer - it's almost always a sign you're in good hands.

It's worth noting just how ambitious this effort is. Folks have been trying to make a movie like this for decades, with many failed efforts along the way like Heavy Metal, Roger Rabbit, Cool World, and Monkeybone. But the technology has finally caught up with the long-standing vision, and Rodriguez is the perfect guy to bring it all home.

Between this movie and the somewhat less successful Sky Captain, it's nice to see filmmakers using the available technology to really innovate, rather than just using it to jazz up the same old LOTR/Spiderman action schlock.

It's also worth remembering that Mickey Rourke will shine more brightly in posterity than he does today.

-----

Speaking of the cast, after Sin City and Spun, we now have a firm rule that movies with both Mickey Rourke and Brittany Murphy in them are definitely worth seeing.

And am I the only person in America with a Brittany Murphy fetish?

-----

Matthew writes: "A cinematic landscape filled with more Sin Citys would be awful."

I'd suggest that this is both untrue, and a common reaction to stylistic innovation in the arts. I'm sure that when Manet first started painting impressionistic pictures, there were those who said, "That's cool, but it'd sure suck if everyone started imitating it." But, of course, there turned out there was plenty of room for people to work in impressionistic styles in a fresh way.

I think it'd be a good thing if formulaic summer action movies looked more like Sin City.

Posted by: Petey | Apr 2, 2005 4:55:04 AM

I presume you're using "Picaresque" as the title for another movie you see as, in your hopes, singular. (I haven't seen anything about Sin City that would make me think "picaresque.")

IMDB has only one movie called "Picaresque," a 2002 Japanewse feature that lists no external reviews or even user comments. I was evidently not widely distributed and I sure can't get a feel of it from the IMDB listing.

What is this "Picaresque" of which you speak?

Posted by: rifffle | Apr 2, 2005 4:55:31 AM

Re my post about "Picaresque" above.

In loooking around the site some I see that's the name of a CD by The Decemberists that you like, and not a movie after all.

So, never mind.

Posted by: rifffle | Apr 2, 2005 5:16:24 AM

Perhaps I'm not artsy enough, but I thought the movie was just a cartoonish revenge flick with a not so subtle castration theme to boot. Don't get me wrong, the visual effects were nice, but really, I got bored with it after an hour.

Posted by: KC | Apr 2, 2005 6:08:19 AM

I wonder if Oliver Willis has seen it yet. :)

Posted by: Adam Herman | Apr 2, 2005 6:55:57 AM

"I'm sure that when Manet first started painting impressionistic pictures, there were those who said, "That's cool, but it'd sure suck if everyone started imitating it.""

And it did, Petey. Boy, did it ever suck. LOL

But that list; Did you somehow miss Dark City?

Posted by: Brett Bellmore | Apr 2, 2005 8:39:46 AM

In the movie theater on North Michigan in Chicago last night, roughly half the audience broke into applause at the end (including me, certainly)-- while a significant minority were heard to say, loudly, things like "What the f*** was that?"

Posted by: Jacob T. Levy | Apr 2, 2005 9:57:32 AM

Sin City was fantastic. Amazing action, smoking hot girls, and the writing for Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, and Jessica Alba's characters inspired real sympathy.

But it was the utter kick-assedness of Marv (Mickey Rourke) that stole the show for me. He holds a guy by the neck and smears his face in the road while driving. He drops down 10 stories then jumps feet first into the windshield of an oncoming car.

Oh yeah, and this voiceover line from Clive Owen: "She doesn't exactly decapitate him, but make him a human Pez dispenser." Just brilliant. Unafraid, perfectly executed comic book violence.

Posted by: Kuz | Apr 2, 2005 10:01:01 AM

Jacob -- I saw it in Evanston, and same response there.

Posted by: Kuz | Apr 2, 2005 10:03:50 AM

Was it as good as Spy Kids?

Posted by: praktike | Apr 2, 2005 10:24:49 AM

Matt, did you see it at the Uptown? Seems like the perfect venue for it.

Posted by: jw | Apr 2, 2005 11:05:57 AM

And am I the only person in America with a Brittany Murphy fetish?

No.

I have to agree with Matt that, while Sin City is a great movie, it'd suck if every other action movie from now on tried to imitate it. Part of the appeal of the movie is that it was visually stunning; I'd have enjoyed it even with the sound of. But picturing Bad Boyz 4 in eerie black and white is nauseating.

It'd be interesting to see more female reaction to Sin City. It might be the most blatantly sexist movie I have ever thoroughly enjoyed.

Posted by: WillieStyle | Apr 2, 2005 11:28:57 AM

jw, I don't know where MY saw it, but I did see it at the Uptown. It was indeed the perfect venue, and it sure is a great movie.

Posted by: Haggai | Apr 2, 2005 11:43:10 AM

MaryAnn Johanson

One female reaction. MaryAnn is one of my regular online review stops.

Was Bellmore being ironic? Not to take this into a discussion of painting, but I do visit people who think decent painting ended at the impressionists. Haven't met many who think Pissarro,Monet,and Van Gogh are garbage, tho. Met one.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Apr 2, 2005 11:43:12 AM

By the way, I can't imagine that I'm the only one who thought of this guy whenever the Yellow Bastard appeared on-screen!

Posted by: Haggai | Apr 2, 2005 11:47:26 AM

And am I the only person in America with a Brittany Murphy fetish?

Given that she's also Luanne Platter, probably not.

I keep wondering whether this movie will do quite as well as people are expecting it to. It seems like its appeal is going to be almost exclusively to guys. Part of the reason Hollywood stopped making film noir movies in the '50s is that those types of movies didn't appeal to women. Of course, back then a higher percentage of filmgoers were female, and today's Hollywood is now fixated on teenage boys, so this may not be a problem anymore...

Posted by: M.A. | Apr 2, 2005 11:56:44 AM

some of the acting was weak, even by comic book movie standards. I mean, is it possible to over act a role that is supposed to be over acted? Acting didn't compare to the Kill Bill efforts. But not sure if it was a weak screenplay or bad acting or both. Granted, Sin City is supposed to be a movie thrill ride and it delivered on that promise. Problem was that the sub-par acting distracted me from the amazing visuals and crafty plot lines. Bad acting made the 2-person dialogue scenes come off as less than vivid.

Posted by: huh? | Apr 2, 2005 1:06:40 PM

I'm a chick, and I thought it was awesome. There's something exhilarating about Rosario Dawson's deliver of, "Oh, us poor defenseless girls." (And I don't believe I'm the only girl to get a huge kick outta amazons, even if they are hookers.)

I don't believe the film is sexist. Rather, it presents a world peopled by the desperate, both women and men, the latter letting their perspective of women be warped by their own lonlieness and inadequacies. Like, Marv's line about the policewoman who's too hot to be a dyke, that's not the film, that's just an example of his own cluelessness.

But the point is, Sin City is basically a climate of war, and Rodriguez is under no illusions about how such a climate is to women. What's important is that those women are as "real" as the men, as much characters with their own allegiances and motivations.

I'd actually argue "The Last Samurai" (and so much other Hollywood tripe) is much more sexist in that the women act nonsensically to fit the protagonist's arc. If Tom Cruise kills your husband, and he's a dirty stupid foreigner to boot, you're not gonna fall in love with him. Sheesh.

Posted by: Rachel | Apr 2, 2005 1:13:25 PM

Matthew loves Sin City but is glad there aren't more like it.
Matthew loves Million Dollar Baby but wishes he hadn't seen it.

Is this man conflicted, or what?

Posted by: epistemology | Apr 2, 2005 1:24:01 PM

Also something exhilirating about Rosario in a dominatrix outfit!

Rachel, interesting points about the female characters, I think you're right.

Posted by: Haggai | Apr 2, 2005 1:26:03 PM

Unafraid, perfectly executed comic book violence

But I came back home and read "The Hard Goodbye" for the first time after the movie. And the violence struck me very differently. No matter how much the movie was a frame-by-frame recreation, there's something quite different between a still frame with "Blam! Blam! Khuff! Whudd!" sound effect words and continuous movement where it actually sounds like gunfire, heads being bashed with pipes, etc. I've occasionally winced for a moment at the violence in a Frank Miller comic panel, but nothing more than that. The violence in the movie does a lot more than make me wince.

Not a complaint, mind you. High praise, really-- it's an utterly faithful comic adaptation but also utterly faithful to its own genre; it's a *movie*, and a damn effective one. But I think it turns out that movie violence just *isn't* comic book violence even when the blood is yellow and the poses and costumes are the same.

Posted by: Jacob T. Levy | Apr 2, 2005 1:56:01 PM

"Was Bellmore being ironic?"

"Ironic"; Is that some kind of metalurgical term? ;)

Actually, I think that while there has been some good impressionistic art since Monet, and I'm quite a fan of Van Gogh, the majority of impressionism has been crap. Too much imitation, exactly as the man said, with WAY too much of an "Emperor's new clothes" defense in play. Realism, because we all know what the things portrayed actually look like, is much more demanding of the artist; If it looks like crap, the viewer needn't hesitate about saying so.

But what do I know, I'm a fan of Frank Franzetta...

Posted by: Brett Bellmore | Apr 2, 2005 2:28:34 PM

Damn, the Uptown—didn't occur to me! We saw it at the Gallery Place, which continues to woo me with its Green Line proximity.

Posted by: Kriston Capps | Apr 2, 2005 3:32:53 PM

Gee, having to transfer to the Red Line, what a hardship that would be. :) I drove in from Alexandria, although parking wasn't difficult to find, so that was no problem.

Speaking of Alexandria, where I live, it's pretty funny to see that the most lawless and nihilistic part of Sin City is called Old Town. The Old Town neighborhood of Alexandria is the 180 degree opposite of that, one of the last places on earth that a showdown between armed strippers and corrupt cops would ever take place.

Posted by: Haggai | Apr 2, 2005 3:48:01 PM

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