Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sin City (Two-Disc Theatrical & Recut, Extended, and Unrated Versions) (2005)

Sin CityWhile it's probably a total cliche to say it by now, Sin City really is a wild thrill ride of a movie, and quite possibly the most entertaining thing that will hit theaters all year. Adapted by director Robert Rodriguez from Frank Miller's graphic-novel series, it's an energetic slab of neo-noir, complete with twisted characters, ambiguous morality, and deadly serious dialogue. For those who thought the Kill Bill movies weren't bizarre or violent enough, Sin City ought to seem like a stylish, action-packed gift from guy-movie heaven. It's filled with negativity, outrageously over the-top bloodletting, and some of the blackest humor known to man, but it all works anyway. I even managed to forgive the incessant voice-over narration, normally a rather lazy device, because it's so oddly poignant and poetic. It's not really that big a deal anyway, because this movie is so impressive visually that the characters could speak in gibberish and I'd probably still be moved to give it at least three stars.

It should be noted right off the bat that Sin City is not a movie for everyone, but if you're the type who would like it you presumably know who you are. IF you like crime movies, especially those filled with action and atmosphere, you will almost certainly get a kick out of Sin City. If you prefer lighter, more "socially redeeming" fare, you may still like it, or you may be overcome with bile filling your throat for most of its two-hour running time. It's all a matter of how willing you are to accept what's going on without asking too many nagging questions like "How exactly did Mickey Rourke just take out ten armed riot cops with nothing more than his fists and a hatchet?" or "is it really possible or even necessary to manually tear off a man's scrotum?". Everything about this movie is utterly outsized, from the themes to the characters to the action, but in the end it's a rousing success at what it intends to do, which is entertain. It's precisely because this movie was so utterly entertaining that I found myself unwilling to nitpick; you'll probably be too busy having your senses assaulted to linger on any problems you may have with the movie. Nothing is more key in movies (or TV, or novels for that matter) than getting the viewer to suspend disbelief, to simply let go and enjoy what's transpiring regardless of the plausibility level. Some of my favorite movies are wildly unrealistic, but at some point when watching them I just decided to go with it. Sin City is one such movie: I realized early on that the events unfolding onscreen bore little to no resemblance to reality as presently constituted; I just didn't care. I went to see this movie with my wife (who is, to put it mildly, not a fan of dark or violent movies), and she may have summed up the experience of watching it the best when she said simply "I was never bored." That, ultimately, is the secret to Sin City's success: it's so gripping to watch that it's hard to care about anything else.

As everyone (and probably their brothers) knows by now, Sin City was filmed using real actors against a black-and-white CGI background with some touches of color added for dramatic effect. It may seem like a gimmick at first, but Sin City is all about bringing the viewer into a sort of parallel universe, so this unconventional device works perfectly. Sin City is a movie dealing with lives on the edge, and it conjures up a delightfully dark, grimy, and gritty atmosphere to go match the depravity of its subject matter. Weighty themes and over-the-top violence abound here, and it's only fitting that the movie's look and feel should be so uniformly haunting. Consisting of three tangentially related stories occurring out of sequence, Sin City brings the viewer into an underworld populated by thieves, murderers, hookers, and dirty cops, and the morality is viewed entirely in shades of grey. In the Basin City of the movie, where the good guys are bad and the bad guys are even worse, violence is often a virtue, or at the very least a prerequisite for survival. If there's one redeeming value to Sin City's cartoonish ultraviolence, it's that it's painfully clear that its recipients generally deserve it.

Anyway, if there's one theme running through all of these stories, it's that of redemption. The protagonist in each tale (Bruce Willis's Hartigan, Rourke's Marv, and Clive Owen's Dwight) is a most unlikely hero (although Hartigan is just a regular cop and therefore not exactly bad, whereas it's clear that Marv and Dwight are murderers), but each finds himself driven to acts of extreme courage and sacrifice in order to see justice done. Sin City portrays a kind of heroism not typically seen in movies (especially big-budget, sanitized Hollywood productions), one that comes from doing the right thing even when it's nowhere near being the easiest thing. Rourke's Marv is probably the most memorable character, a hulking thug with a highly overdeveloped sense of vengeance who managed to arouse some of my sympathy even as he cut a swath of unimaginable destruction through his enemies on his way to avenging a murdered prostitute. Out of the legions of other figures in the movie, the great Benicio Del Toro deserves some special mention as a comically malevolent crooked cop who won't shut up even after he meets his unfortunate end.

Now, although I've gone on too long already, I'd feel remiss if I didn't talk about Sin City's staggering violence quotient. Yes, this an extremely graphic movie, and much of the violence is downright disturbing to watch (Elijah Wood's character being cut up and fed to a wolf is a prominent example, even if much of the violence in that case was implied), but it's just as true that context is an important factor when considering just how offensive such bloodletting is. Now, for one thing, Sin City is meant to be a piece of escapist cinema, so nothing that takes place onscreen should be taken too seriously anyway. After all, no one got offended during the scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail when King Arthur cut off the Black Knight's arms and legs; that scene was meant to be funny and it was. Perhaps more to the point, the violence here is so ludicrously over the top from the opening scene that it's hard to imagine any rational person getting too upset. You have to just go with it; if you're the kind of person who makes it a point to be huffy and offended all the time you shouldn't be seeing this movie anyway. 'Nuff said

The concept for this film started in the Comics revolution of the late 60's with incredible artists like Frank Frazetta, Jim Steranko, Neal Adams, and Barry Smith. They knew anatomy, and they used photographs to compose their backgrounds. Pre-Anime, the characters began to "almost" move off the pages. Frank Miller came along in 1978. He helped to inaugurate the adult graphics novels-larger formats, better paper, brighter inks-coupled to nudity and R-rated dialogue. Some of this has been around since the late 50's, but the new format was gathering speed and Miller was in the vanguard.

Miller's graphic novel's about SIN CITY contained art in panels that broke down like very detailed storyboards. When Robert Rodriguez decided to court Miller and sell him on the idea of converting the graphics to digital video-Miller loved it. Their partnership went so far as to have Rodriguez dropping out of the Director's Guild so that he might be permitted to put Frank Miller in the credits as co-director. Rodriguez created a B&W world where color was used sparingly-and for great effect. Blood was white-or bright red. Some eyes were blue. Some hair was blond. Pale green and pale blue showed up on classic cars.

Rodriguez assembled a powerhouse cast. Bruce Willis was first up, to boost the sales of the production and the star power. He was excellent in the film-beginning to appear very Noir-very Chandler and Hammett-a modern Bogart. Using CGI and live actors, Rodriguez was able to do most of the work in his homegrown studio in Texas. Miller created a world part pulp-novel, classic cars-and part hyper-violent martial arts and splatter film. Everybody smoked, many of them drove a ragtop-they could shoot guns with both hands simultaneously-and women, regardless of how far they had fallen-were still treated with respect. More than an adaptation of Millers comic book art-it is literally his artwork brought starkly to life. The effect is original, violent, sexy, existential-and very effective.

The film worked off three Miller "stories"-and the best of the three-THE BIG FAT KILL-starred Mickey Rourke. He can think of this film as his return to the big time. He is brilliant. His character, Marv, is perfectly fitted for this new genre-and his acting, and the action he precipitates-blows all the others in the film out of the water. This may be Rourke's finest performance. He has been a pro boxer, as well as actor-and he needed that physical prowess for this role.

Everyone in the film was impressive-with the likes of Clive Owen, Powers Boothe, Rutger Hauer, Nick Stahl, Benicio Del Toro, Elijah Wood, Michael Madsen, Josh Harnett, and Michael Clarke Duncan all making love, murdering, or slapping around women like Jessica Albo, Jamie King, Rosario Dawson, Carla Gugino, and Brittany Murphy. One critic wrote," This is a Mickey Spillane fever dream!"

There is a rumor that in the director's cut RR will include some deleted scenes that he shot to flush out all three of the Miller stories. It appears that a sequel is imminent-absolutely necessary. Most of us can't wait for the next installment-to cruise Old Town, prowl the Roark farm, beware of the warrior hookers, love the hot babes, dodge the bullets and swords and knives, and stare at those great cars.

Buy Sin City (Two-Disc Theatrical & Recut, Extended, and Unrated Versions) (2005) Now

I wish the rating scale went up to 10 stars because I'd enthusiastically give them all to Sin City. I've watched it a dozen times and am still blown away by the dialog and gritty throwback feeling it evokes of the old 30's and 40's hard-drinking, hard-fighting tough guys. It actually inspired me to sit down the night I saw it, and jot down the outline for a Film Noir type novel that's now moved to my front burner after completion of my third novel in my McCarthy Mystery series. I just hope I can write something half as compelling as Sin City.

The film makes no apology for the raw lust and violence and yet never falls into campy self-parody.

But it's the film-work, the use of light and shadow and especially color that really blows you away. Yellow for the corrupt, cowardly blood of the pederast villain. Masterful!

If you haven't seen Sin City, give your senses a treat and buy the DVD.

You won't be disappointed!

Read Best Reviews of Sin City (Two-Disc Theatrical & Recut, Extended, and Unrated Versions) (2005) Here

It is now official that Robert Rodriguez will be releasing a full, 2-disc special edition copy of Sin City in early December. It will feature the film (theatrical version and a version in which the three tales can be viewed separately)and a disc of bonus features (ten minute cooking school, ten minute film school, a few commentaries, trailers, poster gallery, and a load of featurettes).

So if your just looking for the theatrical version and nothing more, buy the featured DVD now. If your a fan, and want all of the nooks and crannies, I think you can hold out until late November or early December, trust me, it should be worth it.

Want Sin City (Two-Disc Theatrical & Recut, Extended, and Unrated Versions) (2005) Discount?

Sin City has finally come out on PSP, and my god it doesn't get better than this.

A few words about the movie This is, without a doubt, a MASTERPIECE of film-making, and definately live's up to the hype surrounding it's release.

Now that's said, let's get onto technical side of the UMD disc.


Sin City looks absolutley JAW DROPPING on PSP. Consistently sharp, contrasty as hell with solid "BLACK" blacks, no evidence of grain or compression artifacts, and no bleeding's a SOLID performance from Mirimax/Dimension. The OAR is untouched, keeping it's original 1:85 ratio (with tiny little black bars at the top and bottom). Subtitles are large, displayed in yellow, and easily readable against the image. Overall, this is a faultless presentation.

Video: 5/5


The sound on this baby packs quite a punch, and right from the word go you'll be pleasantly surprised. Make sure you crank this up to full volume, as it deserves this experience to be fully appreciated. Overall, a nice job boys.

Audio 4.5/5


Now, this is the first UMD disc that i own, to spoil you with more than just your usual trailers. Like the DVD release, we get the gorgeous animated menus aswell as the 8 min "Behind-the-scenes" featurette, giving you a teaser of what we'll expect on the future Director's edition coming out.

Extras: 4/5

Overall this is, without question, the disc to own this season. And for under $20, there's no excuse not to buy. Fantastic Visuals, Excellent Audio, and great extras, this is the benchmark for future UMD releases. Get used to this kinda UMD treatment boys and girls.

Overall 5/5


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