Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
May 10, 2005
Two 2005 Movie Reviews!

I think I've seen a total of two movies in the theater this year, both of which I watched during the past few weeks. So here are brief reviews of them!

Sin City: I really wanted to like this one. Before I saw the movie, I checked out and read four of the original Frank Miller graphic novels (only one of which was used in the film, but that was all we had at the bookstore). I read up on the genre of film noir and rewatched D.O.A. and watched The World Gone Mad and The Amazing Mr. X (which has been described as film noir by some, though it lacks the familiar pre-1960s criminal underground connection). I can't remember whether I watched Mulholland Falls (another noish film) before or after I saw Sin City -- I'm thinking after -- but the point is that I was preparing myself for this film. I'd heard so many good things about it, read so many rave reviews from film critics whose opinions I respect, seen the trailers and comic comparisons -- it looked bloody amazing -- I was expecting to flat out love this movie.

I didn't. I didn't hate it, but I definitely didn't love it. It was just okay. Sure, it looked great, but having read the graphic novels I thought that something felt off. I think it has to do with how one reads -- while it might have felt like an extremely faithful translation of the comic to someone who flipped through the pages rapidly, reading the words without savoring them or thinking them over, but the pacing of the film felt rushed to me. As a result, Sin City had the noir look down but missed the mood -- the relaxed, slow pace that such films seem to have until the action picks up. Because the whole film moved at breakneck pace, the contrast that ideally makes the action all the more engaging was all but nonexistent. And there were other things about the movie that bothered me -- typical of book-t0-film adaptations -- things that were cut that could've been left in, decisions regarding what to show and what not to show. I thought that Marv's visit to his mother, for example, might've given the character an added element of depth that wasn't shown in the movie, and I wonder why they didn't showcase Dwight's first adventure instead. Manute's speech about serving a new master, the comment about Dwight's new face -- all meaningless, since the audience wasn't made aware of the incident involving Manute's old master or the events that necessitated Dwight's change of face. So I didn't much care for the film, but it did look pretty.

Kung Fu Hustle: Honestly, I kept falling asleep during this movie. Sure, I've been pretty tired this week, but I think it owed more to the fact that this movie was just fucking boring, or at least it wasn't engaging in that it gave me no reason whatsoever to care about the outcome of the outrageous battles that comprised the bulk of the film. Fight, fight, fight, fight, brief bit of insignificant backstory, fight, fight, fight. It got old pretty quickly, especially given that the action was of a cartoonish CGI nature -- it didn't even have the grace or poetry of the wire-fu battles of, say, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (which, admittedly, I also found to be pretty dull). Kung Fu Hustle did have one saving grace, however -- the beautiful Shengyi Huang. That woman is bloody gorgeous.

So those are the reviews of the 2005 films I have seen thus far. Ja!

-posted by Wes | 9:59 am | Comments (7)
  • Becky says:

    I pretty much said the exact same thing for my Kung Fu Hustle movie. Now, you will learn your lesson and read my reviews first. J/k. Interesting perspective on Sin City. I went into it without any familiarity and I liked it, though I don't really feel the need to see it again.

  • Wes says:

    Becky: Yeah, I just looked over your review and I'm mostly in agreement, though I don't think that the film's flaws are due to its trying to be too many things at once -- it's just that the one thing that it was and succeeded at being (a goofy parody of kung-fu films and pop cinema in general) wasn't all that engaging for me in the absence of some depth to make me give a crap about the characters.

    But then, I was watching the film in a dark, quiet theater -- I should add that I think it would be ideal viewing for a home movie night filled with drinking and card-playing and boisterous mirth. It's not like you'd miss anything important, and the battles would admittedly provide for something cool at which to point and shout in between turns and shots! :mrgreen:

  • Burton says:

    GOOD FUCKING GASP! you didn't love sin city?! How DARE you?
    heh, sorry, but me and my friends fucking loved that movie. it's all of ours favorite film and i can't imagine anyone not loving it. oh well, you seemed to have built yourself up for it too much. also, i didn't read the books, that might have played a part in it. *shrug* oh well, it's all just opinion.

  • Wes says:

    Sin City is your favorite movie? Dude, you need to watch more movies. I didn't think it was awful, mind you, and it did look pretty, but every single one of the films I watched to prepare for Sin City was better than the main event itself. You and your friends should get together and watch D.O.A. (from 1950; not the 1988 remake with Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan) -- that's a noir classic.

    As far as my favorite movie goes, I'm strongly tempted to go with Before Sunrise... either that or Night of the Living Dead.

  • Greg says:

    I haven't seen Kung Fu Hustle yet, but the previews contain a whole bunch of CGI effects that look so fake it turns me off. The thing I like about classic kung-fu films is that the action is real, only using restraints and wires when needing to. I love Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan because they're actually doing these things. In Kung-Fu Hustle, it's the computer doing these things.

  • Wes says:

    Yeah, Kung Fu Hustle isn't trying to be even remotely realistic in its battles -- it's got dudes playing instruments that decapitate people with their deadly notes and guys doing special moves that leave giant hand-shaped holes in buildings. I'd definitely get a kick out of watching it drunk, but, like you, I'd prefer a good Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan (especially in the Drunken Master flicks) film any day.

  • Burton says:

    well, it's not my FAVORITE, it's just way up there. my fave's are clerks then dawn and shaun of the dead.

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