Clive Owen

Sin City

Year: 2005
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller, special guest directing by Quentin Tarantino
Written By: Frank Miller

RYAN’S REVIEW

In the decade prior to the launch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the first Iron Man movie, comic book films were growing in popularity. You had the properties owned by Fox hitting the big screen with titles like X-Men, Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider, and Daredevil. Though only X-Men could be considered a success. You had Warner Brothers still pushing Batman and Superman movies with no continuity between them; they would show up egregiously late to the Cinematic Universe party. Then you had movies like this one. Gritty adaptations to darker comics like 300, and The Spirit. All of these films helped build the momentum that would carry the movie industry into the huge market of films based on comic characters.

Beyond the R rated New Line films featuring Blade this was far and away the darkest of all comic book films that had been released. Not only was it dark but it was violent and graphic in ways nobody had seen before. Twice in this movie Bruce Willis destroys the genitals of a sex pervert, which specifically stood out as a new and obscene type of violence. This movie truly lived up to it’s name with all the evilness going on within the movie. There are sex criminals, cannibalism, corruption, betrayal, prostitution, and brutally satisfying violence. Shot in black and white with specific uses of colors all this sinful behavior is on beautiful display to dazzle the audience. I have never understood why it took nine years to make a sequel and why it wasn’t as successful.

I have never taken the time to see the sequel because I have never heard anything positive about it. I didn’t want a subpar sequel to disappoint me in what I had once hoped would be a successful franchise. I think waiting too long can sometimes hurt a franchise. For example, I couldn’t get into The Hobbit movies because I felt like too much time had passed. The time to make those movies were in a reasonable time frame after The Lord of the Rings finished up when it was still fresh on all our minds. I feel like that is the same reason I haven’t seen the sequel to this movie. Nine years is too long to wait on a sequel and by the time it finally came interest had waned. I wish Robert Rodriguez had continued this franchise in lieu of diving into the Machete movies. However, I have yet to see the sequel and if anybody wants to vouch for it please leave a comment. I only need to be slightly motivated to sit down with it.

This movie is a beautiful adaptation because it looks like the pages of a comic book came to life and started moving around. Shot nearly entirely against a green screen this movie is so clever with its use of color. Only specific items in the film are seen in color and their presence creates such a sharp contrast to the film noir setting, making the movie all the more beautiful. I do not know if the colors show up in Frank Miller’s actual comic because I have never taken the time to read it. Rodriguez is on record stating that he doesn’t really consider this film a adaptation and instead sees it as a transition of the page to the screen. That makes me think that the colors are part of the comic, and maybe one day I will find out for myself.

Robert Rodriguez has always been good at assembling a great cast in his movies and this one is no different. The cast of this movie is truly exceptional in all main roles as well as supporting roles. I have long considered this to be one of the last exceptional movies featuring Bruce Willis with few exceptions like Planet Terror or Moonrise KingdomSpecifically this is before he decided to go back to the Die Hard franchise and destroy the legacy of John McClane. Mickey Rourke enjoyed a nice resurgence in his career around the time this film came out and his role as Marv had a lot to do with that. He was viewed as perfect for the part by creator Frank Miller. In the last of what constitutes the main roles I really liked Clive Owen as Dwight. Owen had burst onto the scene around the time this movie was coming out and just as quickly fell off the map. He is still active as an actor but isn’t anywhere close to the spotlight he found himself in ten years ago in the aftermath of playing King Arthur.

The supporting cast of this movie would just take far too long to cover in its entirety. I think special mention should go to Elijah Wood who is undeniably creepy and evil as the silent cannibal Kevin. Rosario Dawson is overflowing with sexuality as the leader of the Old Town whores, Gail. Benicio Del Toro is barely recognizable in make up for the role of Jackie Boy, which was originally offered to Johnny Depp. The late Michael Clarke Duncan was perfect as the golden eyed Manute. I think he was a tragic loss but find the replacement actor, Dennis Haysbert a good choice to play the same role in the sequel. Josh Hartnett looks quite dapper in his beginning scene with Marley Shelton and I specifically like how he shows back up in the end as kind of a bookend to a movie that bounces around in storylines. I have always been a fan of Powers Boothe, and he plays a great bad guy. As Senator Roark he is specifically scary with his efforts to protect his sex criminal son, even suggesting that he would make him President. Last but not least I feel compelled to mention Carla Gugino who is just unbelievably hot in this movie. I’m a big fan and don’t understand why she doesn’t have a more stacked career.

The special guest direction from Quentin Tarantino seemed more like a favor to me than anything else and it turns out it was. Rodriguez did the soundtrack for Kill Bill Volume 2 for one dollar and Tarantino returned the favor by directing a scene in this one. This was during the time I specifically began to despise Tarantino and thought he brought nothing to the table. He directs the scene in which Dwight is driving the bodies to the pit and he has a conversation with a dead Jackie Boy. I didn’t think the flashing colors worked with the continuity of the film and I felt the whole scene was too full of dialogue. That’s Tarantino’s thing though, give him a window and he’ll drone on forever with needless conversation.

This movie wasn’t the start of something greater as I had hoped but it stands on its own just fine. The sequel came out far too late and without the same enthusiasm that was put behind this one. Again, I haven’t seen it so anybody who has please share your thoughts. I think this movie is one of the finest adaptations to a comic I have seen and it was an important film for the future of the comic book era of films. I don’t know what went wrong with the sequel and can’t vouch for it but this movie is easily worth your time. It’s not for the faint of heart but if you have an appetite for something devious than you can’t do much better than this one.

NEXT MOVIE: The Sixth Sense (1999)

 

 

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Inside Man

Year: 2006
Directed By: Spike Lee
Written By: Russell Gewirtz

RYAN’S REVIEW

Let’s face it; the bank robbery movie has been done to death.  This movie quickly gets the regular things out of the way and then distinguishes itself quite nicely. Early on we see a time jump that clearly lets us know that the police are clueless; they have no idea who perpetrated the crime.  So we are left to wonder as the robbery unfolds how exactly the criminals manage to succeed and what exactly they are after.  This one will keep you guessing and intrigued all throughout. It has an excellent cast and a wild story that threads a great web of mystery.

I have never really been a fan of Spike Lee, although I do like that all his movies are referred to as “A Spike Lee Joint.” I do not think he is a bad director; I have just never been a fan of his specifically.  In fact I think this is the only movie he has made that we own.  I have never seen Malcolm Xbut it has been on my list of movies to watch for over ten years now.  It is completely possible I have just not seen enough of his work; I just haven’t liked the few that I have seen.  This one was incredible though, he did an excellent job in putting the film together.  His camera angles are all great, his sets look good, and more importantly his movie kept me interested and guessing the whole time.

I’m not a big Denzel fan either but I cannot deny his talent. He has a great track record and will be remembered forever for his talent, but I have just never been a fan.  Personally I feel that he brings too much racism into his films. I specifically hate racism and it always bothers me.  He has always had a knack for playing the black man being persecuted, a role that needs to be played.  My problem comes specifically from his role in Remember the Titans.  He was great in that movie but there was one scene where he got into a confrontation with Will Patton.  It bothered me because Patton played a character that was on Denzel’s side, yet Denzel treated him like he was being judged.  I know that is how the character was probably written but still feel Denzel overplayed the part and was trying to get a specific point across.  For whatever the reason it bothered me. I can’t think of any other immediate example but that one is specifically the reason I don’t like him.  He has also made many movies I have enjoyed and this one is one of them.  Denzel fits the part well and delivers his performance as a seasoned pro.  I am not a fan of his but my opinion should not matter because his talent speaks for itself.

This was another good role for Clive Owen in 2006 but for whatever reason I find myself wondering “what happened to Clive Owen?” in 2012.  I have always like Owen but his career seemed to fizzle out somewhere over the last few years.  In fact, looking over his track record it is arguable that this was the last movie he made worth any salt.  He is listed as filming the sequel to Sin City and I am very hopeful for that. (Check that, in the time it has taken to publish this post -waiting on my wife’s input- Clive Owen’s part in Sin City 2 has been recast. Josh Brolin is now playing the part that Owen played in the first movie. It makes sense because in the first movie he is said to have a new face, but it still blows. I’d take Owen over Brolin any day.) Despite Owen’s drop in popularity I think he undoubtedly has more to offer as an actor. Speaking of actors who have fizzled out, I think this was a great role for Jodie Foster as well.  I have always liked Foster and I think she was really badass in this movie.  I am a really big fan of Willem Dafoe and I like any movie a little bit better when he is in it.  I spotted Daryl Mitchell in a small supporting role and wanted to mention him because he was awesome in Galaxy Quest

Movies are always a little bit better when they center on Nazis somehow and I love how this movie brought that into the story line. As the story unfolds things only get more interesting. The cops don’t know what was going on, they know who did it but can’t prove it, anybody can be a suspect, and no money was taken.  This is a crazy mystery for a long time and then it all comes together so perfectly.  There was a larger game being played in this one and it kept us all on the edge of our seats.

I think this movie is worth your time because it is awesome.  There is something deep down inside of all of us as movie fans that undeniably make us love the bank robbery movie.  This one manages to bring something new to the table so it is something we should all be in to.  The bank robbery movie may have been done to death but this movie proves there is still something great to be offered in the scenario.  If you haven’t seen this movie then you should give it a chance and I hope you enjoy it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This is a really cool movie. Denzel is such a likeable actor. What I mean by that is even when he is playing an unlikable character, you still like the job he did acting that part. He is that good. I am aware that Ryan doesn’t like Denzel Washington, but here we split and disagree. I really like this movie and I think you would too.

insideman

This movie poster is SUPER cool. It looks like the designer had free range to do something really creative. They have all of the needed information, but it is arranged in such an unusual manner. Love it. I love the colors, I love the fonts, and I love the grid. LOVE IT.

NEXT MOVIE: Interview with a Vampire

Closer

Year: 2004
Directed By: Mike Nichols
Written By: Patrick Marber

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is an interesting movie about love and betrayal and the complexities of human relationships.  The thing about it is, you can make 100 movies like this and they would all be different yet all be the same as well.  That’s just the nature of how human relationships work though isn’t it? Love is personal in a way that makes us all feel our stories are unique but these things typically tend to follow the same patterns.  I don’t really think there is anything that separates this film from the typical story within the genre but that doesn’t mean it is a bad film.  The film is made by a well renowned director and sports an excellent cast.

This film is based on a broadway show that was adapted to the screen by the original writer, Patrick Marber, and from what I understand it follows the play very closely. It was directed by Mike Nichols who is better known for films like The Graduate and The Birdcage. I don’t think he did anything exceptional with this film but he did a good job, he had some good people to work with. Natalie Portman plays one of the four leads and she is an actress truly bursting with talent.  I have never understood her decision-making when it comes to choosing roles but she is great in everything she is in.  I am not a fan of Julia Roberts but she does a good job in this movie and looks great.  I am not a fan of Jude Law either but I suppose he was appropriately cast as the sleazy British guy.  I have always liked Clive Owen but his career seems to be going nowhere.  He was on a hot streak during the mid 2000s though when this film was made, and he does well in this movie.

I do not like movies that center on infidelity, it usually makes for an awful story in which everybody loses.  This is no different yet I do not mind this movie. Although I think it would have been better with some nudity, there is something unfair about an R rated movie about sex with these two beautiful women and neither of them get naked. One of them even plays a stripper, it’s just a tease to those of us who were good enough to sit through this with our significant others.  I may be a lover of movies and found something to appreciate, but the everyday Joe out there must have been really disappointed.   We own it because Amber liked it but I can appreciate something outside my norm if it is worth wild.  This is a good movie but I would never recommend a movie like this to anybody.  Infidelity is an awful thing, we shouldn’t spend our time with it and I personally don’t like watching movies about it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Obviously, this is my movie. When I was in college I randomly picked it out one night at Blockbuster. I hardly ever got to pick out movies, so I was surprised when I actually picked one out that became one of my favorite movies of all time. I don’t really agree with Ryan’s review at all. This is a love story, but it is not a love story like all of the rest. It centers around infidelity and the real world love stories that happen. And if you think this movie plays out like the rest, you would be wrong. I also want to point out that it is true, Ryan hates movies about infidelity, but what he can tolerate is when men cheat on women. He cannot stand to see a woman cheating on a man. It visibly upsets him to the point of sometimes not even being able to finish the movie. Honestly, I am surprised he lets this film sit on the shelf among the others.

This is a great film, that tells an original story about the way we love, and the way we lose it, and the way we handle ourselves when we do lose it. I completely recommend this movie if you have ever loved someone.

NEXT MOVIE: Cold Mountain (2003)