Sin City: A Dame To Kill For

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So I just got back from seeing Sin City: A Dame To Kill For. Good ol’ Tuesday night matinée, in a 3D screening, since the theatres here didn’t get a 2D screening. It made some of the movie that much more painful to watch. Don’t get me wrong, I like this movie, but there are moments that make it a let down from the first movie.

The first movie has 4 stories all knitted together very well, and none of the stories feel like they’re over powering the others. This one however has 3 stories interwoven and one vignette with Marv as the intro. The main focus piece being Dwight and the “A Dame To Kill For” story. The problems I had with the movie was that Dwight’s story went way too long, and it wasn’t the pacing. It was characters are not utilized well, especially in the form of Marv. He returns for this one, because all of it is before his character meets his (Spoiler) death in the first Sin City story.

Marv is fine, but he’s just a side character and gets really sort of flat lines in the movie, because we know he’s thinking them, but it doesn’t mean we need him to say them. He had a lot more character development in the first one, which made sense as he was just a mindless killing machine before he met Goldie. While it’s always nice to see Eva Green on-screen and well nude for pretty much most of her screen time. She plays what she’s written very well, and is very manipulative.

I knew she would be, the problem is we don’t see a lot of development for her, and it makes her two-dimensional as a (spoiler) villain. The 3D has its moments where it’s utilized well, like in the credit sequence, but after a while, it all blends together, so you forget you’re even watching a 3D movie.

Kind of making it rather pointless to be used, and was probably just there to make money for the studio. Though it hasn’t paid off, since the movie is doing rather poorly at the box office. I also can see why, as they put it up near Guardians of the Galaxy and Bay’s TMNT. So it was destined to flop from the get go. What they should’ve done, was released it in March, like they did with the first movie, that way they’re long before Marvel and DC’s slugfest of superhero movies.

Now onto Dwight himself, played by Josh Brolin. He’s perfect for the role of Dwight before his change. Unfortunately with his big change being in this movie, it falls flat, when they merely give him Clive Owen’s haircut from the previous movie, without Clive Owen. He’s supposed to have his face completely changed. All they did was take the scars out and change the hair. I know the movie isn’t meant to be taken too seriously, but takes you out of the story when everyone on-screen reacts to him being “completely different” when its a cleaned up Brolin with more hair. I don’t mean to nitpick, but still.

The two surprising stories were however, Johnny’s and Nancy’s stories. Johnny’s being The Long, Bad Night that didn’t feel long at all. Due to the movie focusing on Brolin as Dwight, we don’t get the sense of Johnny’s strife, only just small scenes and cameos. It made his story feel compressed and not executed well enough. I felt we could’ve done with more of Johnny’s journey through “The Long Bad Night” by giving him more exposition, and more scenes of his night getting progressively worse. Instead its just a few choice scenes of him, which in Sin City terms is a rather dull evening by comparison.

Nancy’s Revenge works out the best, as its interspersed throughout Dwight’s and it gets more building and building until she finally snaps and decides to act. It was the new material, as Nancy’s stories end after Hartigan and she just becomes a side character for the rest of the graphic novels. So seeing her character development was a nice refresher and with Bruce Willis as Hartigan trying to help her from purgatory or hell in a way. Although if you think about it, having Marv in it didn’t make much sense as she appears in the first movie’s story where Marv ends up dead and she’s completely fine. So continuity error there… Oh well.

The other nitpick I have to say is in Little Miho, as much as I loved seeing Devon Aoki in the role in the previous movie, I wasn’t a fan of the giant eye shadow that was her replacement. No to mention this one being taller than Devon, made her less “Little” in that sense. Again its a nitpick, but I felt it needed to be addressed. The 3D doesn’t help, in one sequence they make Marv seem like a cartoon character with cars buzzing around his head like flies.

Definitely a positive for the movie is the music, Robert Rodriguez returns not only to co-direct with Frank Miller, but also to compose the music with some help on the tasty track “Skin City” featuring the vocals of Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. Overall the movie seems like it could’ve done with some editing or a script re-write for more well thought out Dwight story and more of Johnny. Dwight’s story just felt padded, so it was a let down. Since I love the Big Fat Kill story in the first movie.

Final thoughts: If you want to see it and loved the first one, give it a watch, maybe you’ll find it better than I did. Or rent it later, as I doubt it’ll last in theatres much longer.

Side Note: Don’t expect a Guardians Of The Galaxy review from me. I loved it so much, I don’t want to spoil it. It’s very continuity heavy with the rest of the Marvel universe. All I can tell you is believe the hype, and go see it in the theatre. Don’t necessarily see that one in 3D, although I hear the 3D is beautiful in Guardians. So it’s up to you on that one. However, I’ll do a review on Amazing Spider-man 2, as it bothered me too. Not in the same way, but it does bother me, none the less.

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Gangster Squad… and some updates

Hello All, sorry for the delay, but I’ve gotten a job which tends to eat up a good chunk of my normal sleep time, so sleep was pushed to my normal blog time. This will be changing quite frequently, so expect Blogs to be posted at pretty much any time of day, whenever I am able to. Also, if you notice on the right side of my blog, you can now view the thoughts I have on things and whatever else is feeding into my Twitter.

On to tonight’s review: Gangster Squad.

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Being adapted from a novel, one would think it might try to be like the novel, however. From the director’s previous films, it’s actually something of a fun, popcorn flick. Giving us just enough of a plot and depth to keep us interested, but not driving off some people by being boring. Everything you expect from the trailer, you get in the movie. They could’ve gone hard R with its rating, or 18A if you’re in Canada, but no they went with the 14A rating in Canada, and as I call it, Soft R in the states. Being another MPAA oversight in terms of what’s acceptable to a PG13 audience. Granted there are a couple of shots that show some gruesome-ness, but they’re cutaway shots. I’m not really complaining, that’s just a point I want to mention, since the MPAA are stuck in the 1950’s sometimes.

If I’m going to do a movie about war on a gangster, I would’ve said screw the MPAA, since they’re going to give me an R rating anyway, and I’ll go nuts with the violence and gore, more than we got. Granted it was quite a bit in the movie, but if there is an unrated cut with more scenes, or longer scenes, I’d probably catch that version. The movie is still worth your time and the 5 bucks you may spend on a Tuesday. With this out-of-the-way, as it’s just a minor point I have about the MPAA these days. On with the movie.

The movie presents itself in a very stylish manner, which is nice to see once in a while. It wasn’t nuts with style and flash, it gives you more than the usual, but keeps itself grounded in reality with practical stunts and good camera work. Cars don’t go insanely flipping over like that of an action movie or science fiction, where you sometimes see a CO2 cannon mounted on the bottom of the car and we see a cloud of gas shooting out of the bottom to make the car flip in an insane way. In this movie, we have period correct cars, in action scenes where any flips or rolls, are not huge, insane effects, but just as they sound, a basic car flip, and roll. Which I like in a movie, giving it some realism.

The actors do a hell of a job keeping us interested in the light story we’re given, and show us exactly what we’re supposed to see. Being a writer, I could spot certain instances where particular characters will be joining the fight, even if they previously said no. Ryan Gosling’s character is the one I mention, as we’ve seen his “inciting incident” in the trailer. *Spoiler* if you haven’t seen the trailer, but he previously turns down Josh Brolin’s character for special assignment to the Gangster Squad. We also know that he is very much-needed, as in one instance they make a terrible mistake making a move on a place of interest, and failing miserably. Then the inciting incident happens for Gosling’s character and his motivation to do something about the crime in the city and be an honest cop again kicks in. He then decides to join the squad, and the team is set.

Brolin is an extremely talented actor, showing us that his character’s true colours are that of a fighter and a hero. Now when I say hero as a colour, it’s that instinct one has that says “I don’t like the world around me, things seem wrong, morally and I feel the need to change it.” Its the whole questioning part of one’s psyche. His wife objects to him being the ruthless cop he is, just wanting a quiet life. Kinda seems a bit cliché, but its the 50’s, what do you expect.

Sean Penn is awesome as always, choosing his roles well and delving deep into them. He’s perfect for the role of Mickey Cohen. Not to mention everyone else in this movie. Even Nick Nolte, whom we can all tell is getting up there in years and his smoking has really done a number on his voice. The rest of the cast does great work, not to mention Robert Patrick’s character being something straight out of a western and does a hell of a job too.

As the movie progresses, some character’s don’t seem to fit, at least with the general premise of the movie, as Brent thought Emma Stone’s character only seemed to fit as being the witness in the end, but I found she was the continuing drive or ambition for Gosling’s character to continue to work with the Gangster Squad, as their characters grow closer.

In terms of this movie being style over substance, I don’t see it really, granted yes there is more style than substance, but it doesn’t suffer from it, like the critics say. Which is why it has that divide on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences like it, while critics bash it, seems to be a theme with some movies. Granted it’s not like the live action Resident Evil movies which are really Style over Substance. I find if I want to watch another RE movie, I’ll watch the CG ones, like Degeneration and Damnation.

So in terms of Gangster Squad, I would say its a good movie, not a fantastic one. As I said to Brent in the theatre, if LA Confidential is AAA, this is a solid A. Definitely something to watch to be entertained. So give it a watch, also, there will be a review to “A Good Day To Die Hard” as I’ll be seeing that, since I’m a Bruce Willis fan, after all.