Michael Clarke Duncan

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)

 

 

The Island

Year: 2005
Directed By: Michael Bay
Written By: Caspian Tredwell-Owen, Alex Kurtzman, and Robert Orci

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie is pretty much a conglomerate of all Science Fiction movies merged together. Themes upon themes upon themes repeated and taken from other classic films.  Yet despite what many critics think I happen to be a fan of Michael Bay.  His movies may not have a whole lot going on sometimes but they are action packed and this guy has a gift for special effects and action sequences.  It’s why Bad Boys was so cool; it’s why the first Transformers movie was so good.  Yeah the guy is overseeing many remakes of timeless classics and butchering them, but he can make a cool action movie.  This is a stupid movie and a rip off at that, but that doesn’t make it any less cool or exciting does it?

I really don’t want to go into the specifics of which movies this one reminds me of because frankly I’m just not in the mood to think that hard.  If you see it yourself and you are a seasoned viewer you will recognize the many recycled Science Fiction themes all throughout the film.  I don’t think any of that matters with this movie because I happen to like it despite all of that.  Like I said, it’s a cool film and sometimes that is all that matters.  I have always been a sucker for special effects and nobody does them quite like Michael Bay.  Michael Bay has this real douche bag aura about him. The type of guy that wants to pretend he is in his 20s forever.  The kind of adult male that goes to a tanning bed and gets his hair done by a professional.  He might have a hand in many movies that make me shake my head in despair but I also think he has a specific talent that works out for him when he gets behind camera. He makes fun and exciting movies plain and simple. So despite his flaws and the movies that make me shake my head (the Friday the 13th remake, or…well Transformers 2……maybe also 3) I still like him and appreciate some of the movies he makes.

I am not particularly a fan of either of the two stars in this film.  Ewan McGregor has always been a solid actor but I haven’t liked many of his movies. Scarlett Johansson was really starting to explode around the time this movie came out but I have never been a big fan of hers either. Despite my opinion of the two stars they aren’t bad in this movie and they work with a fantastic supporting cast. I think Steve Buscemi is awesome and always have.  I have been really happy to see his career only get better and better over the years. I think he is great in Boardwalk Empire and I think he has been awesome in every single movie I have ever seen him in.  I have literally never seen Steve Buscemi in a movie and thought jeez he played an awful part but he is just that damn good.  I also think Sean Bean is awesome, one because he played the part of Eddard Stark in HBO’s Game of Thrones, and two because of all the other parts he has played over the years. Michael Clarke Duncan also has a small part and may he rest in peace.  His unfortunate and premature death left the movie industry with a significant loss.  He was a good actor and made many memorable characters over the years, he will be missed.  Djimon Hounsou has a significant role and I really liked him a lot while his star was shining bright. In very small roles are two characters from shows that I love. Kim Coates from Sons of Anarchy and Yvette Nicole Brown from Community both play small bit parts and it’s cool to see them in a big time film. I seem to see Coates all the time but this is a rarity as far as Brown goes.

I don’t usually like a movie that is like another movie but I made an exception in this case after first seeing the film.  I realized how cliché it all was but liked it despite that and added it to the collection early on; buying it nearly right after it was released. Watching it now I think the decision was justified, and am glad I chose to get it.  It’s a cool movie that has great effects and an exciting, fast paced story line. Aside from being a sucker for great special effects I am also a big sucker for the elaborate chase scene.  This movie has some great ones and that is probably what swayed my opinion in the end when I first bought the film.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I feel like this is an interesting movie. Wouldn’t it be crazy if that were our insurance policy? A complete clone that is just waiting to help us with whatever ails us or happens to us. I think this film is a really interesting look at a possible future.

theisland

When I searched for this poster, I was honestly expecting the worst. I actually like this poster. The image in the typography is a nice touch and the typography is nice. Although, if I were really, really picky I hate that ESCAPE is on the bottom and it is supposed to be holding the weight of PLAN YOUR. That’s super picky and subjective. The Island typography is cool and futuristic, but it doesn’t really go with the main font very well. It seems I am a little back and forth here. Heh.

NEXT MOVIE: It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963)