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David Poland

By David Poland

Sin City

Jeff Wells was right (GASP!) when he said that the trailer smacks of Beatty’s Dick Tracy

But I’ll tell you what it really strikes me as… the good version of Sky Captain.  I hope there is a script, but even what is in the trailer is richer than SC&TWOT. (Has there ever been a more unfortunate acronym?)  Clearly there is a lot filled in here by a drama queen of a computer.  But here there seem to be some strong characters and a real purpose.

I have not been the biggest Rodriguez fan, but I am already rooting for this one to be on my Top Ten for 2005.

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21 Responses to “Sin City”

  1. Martin says:

    SCAT TWAT was a great fucking movie, it’s obvious you’re just pissed that E!, a part of Viacom (aka Paramount) hasn’t hired you to work on E! News Live. You need to stop putting your personal agenda ahead of your critical faculty, particularly when reviewing SCAT TWATs.

  2. GdB says:

    Where does wells say that? In his Word column?

  3. Mark says:

    You can’t go wrong with the source material. But the look isn’t inspiring.

  4. Josh Massey says:

    It will be about as visually interesting as “Sky Captain”… and will make about as much money, if not less.

  5. jeffrey boam's doctor says:

    rodriguez is the worst director of choice for this material. His fan boy enthusiasm was mistaken for intellect by Miller. SIN CITY from the trailer, appears to be the 4th episode of the SPY KIDS series, this one an homage to video-noir. I called SKY CAPTAIN as a turkey a year out from release based upon initial test footage and my track record is unbeaten. SIN CITY will stink up plexes upon release – only gun/penis worshipping arrested adolescents and critics who still can’t grow a beard will be in hog heaven. Rodriguez is a cameraman and not a very good one at that. He never has really progressed as a director since his great short BEDHEAD.

  6. l&DB says:

    Sky Captain (acronyms are so 1998) just did not
    have any real substances to it. Scream at Poland
    all you want. The film just had nothing going for
    it. A cute Paltrow and a STRUGGGLIIIING Law could
    not save it from being CGI SETS OF DOOM!
    I have no faith in this film. It just seems like
    this will be this years Hellboy, but unlike Hellboy
    it will suck royally. What can you do? Hope for
    the best maybe? Sure. Let’s go with that.

  7. bicycle bob says:

    it looks like a bad kids movie. and mickey rourke as the lead? say it ain’t so

  8. teambanzai says:

    It looks interesting enough that I might see it. Of course I said the samething about Sky Captain and never made it.

  9. Mark says:

    Only way you can screw up this source material is visually. They might have done it.

  10. Dan R% says:

    Well I for one am looking forward to it. I’m not overly familiar with the comics, only half skimming them before, but it does look promising to me. Hopefully Miller was able to reign in RR…if he can’t do that, then who can?

  11. Joe Leydon says:

    Mickey Rourke back in action? Hey, I am so THERE. Loved him in “Barfly” and, more recently, “Spun.” Hell, he was terrific in his cameo in Sean Penn’s “The Pledge.”

  12. Stella's Boy says:

    I am completely unfamiliar with the comic and pretty indifferent about Rodriguez. Not sure what to think about this one. It does have Rourke (I agree, he was excellent in Spun and The Pledge) and Michael Madsen, my favorite guilty pleasure-type actor, in it, so that counts for something.

  13. Eric says:

    Having read the comics years ago, I’ll say that a faithful movie would be something to behold. And the visuals, so far, really are spectacular. I’ve never seen anything quite like them on screen.
    That said, Rodriguez’s talent is not writing. I worry that he’s just not up to the task, and that shortcoming will ruin an otherwise fine production. Making “Sin City” into a good movie would be much more complicated than simply transcribing the comics into a screenplay format.

  14. Mark says:

    How was Rourke good in the Pledge? As an invalid? I can take Eckhart and Nicholson and even Wright Penn being good in that. But Rourke? He peaked in Diner.

  15. J.E.R.M.S. says:

    Looks interesting to me. I’m rooting for this to be good. Especially since it’s opening in April, a time when we’re dying for a good movie to come out.

  16. bicycle bob says:

    again mickey rourke??? after spy kids and those terrible banderas movies, i gotta have some reservations about rodriguez

  17. PetalumaFilms says:

    I think the biggest issue I have with Rodriguez is his half cooked stories/screenplays. Watching “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” is a prime example. About halfway through you realize the story seems based on the first draft (if that) of a screenplay. There’s nothing going on but neat visuals and a vague story. Lame.
    Having read most of the “Sin City” graphic novels and seeing the visuals thus far, I think the movie will be really good. It plays to Rodriguez’s strengths in terms of great camera work and getting name actors for small, but cool roles (if that’s a strength) and keeps away from his crappy, half-baked story ideas.
    I think it’s going to be a good flick. I do agree with J Boam a little bit in that the film will appeal to a younger audience but I counter with “so what?”

  18. Jake says:

    Call me crazy. But I am looking forward to it.

  19. Mayor McCheapo says:

    The stock is tanking on (for what that’s worth). I’ve never read the comic, but I think the Spy Kids flicks are well-calculated fun. Sure El Mariachi, etc. weren’t great stories, but I’m hoping Rodriguez’s fanboyness (ref’d above) will prove the necessary asset. As for Rourke, who thought Travolta would have a comeback before Pulp Fiction?

  20. bicycle bob says:

    travolta never disfigured his face and lose his marbles. he just made bad career choices.

  21. kmorris says:

    I saw Sin City two nights ago at a sneak preview for film critics and fanboys at Winter Park Village in Orlando, FL. My friend got tickets from a comic store. I am probably the biggest fan of Rodriguez out there bc he works outside of the system and came out of nowhere. I really wanted the film to be good. I was so amped on the trailers, I’ve been showing my students them for the past two months. I show his 10 minute Flick School on breaks, his home studio tour during class, etc. I am his biggest fan.
    If you like bad British tv shows and bad off off off Broadway theater, you will love Sin City. The makeup on that Yellow B*st*rd was worth the price of admission to a true fanboy–it was phenomenal; but everything else just blew blew blew. From shot selection to story to dialogue to bad green screen work to pace to character development, it just was a major disappointment. Dont get me wrong, I wanted it to be good, but it was so bad people were laughing at it and some even booed it afterward.
    Shot selection: i foamed at the mouth that he was going to try to shoot it as close to the panels as possible. It didnt work. I was constantly going, ok, who is talking to who? Its called establishing shots, Robert. It took me out of it. The setups were HORRIBLE. The poor environments are partly to blame, but it mostly felt like everything was shot on a green screen the width of a car, and with the heighth of about 7 feet. Everything seemed to be in medium shots and closeups!! You’d think storyboarding would be simple for something emulating the great Sin City, but it just didnt transfer well onto the big screen.
    story: vignette style, which i didnt mind, but I couldnt get into the characters at all. With no character development, the story seemed all sizzle, no steak. 20 minutes into it, no lie, i thought it was going to be over bc i thought I had sat through an hour and a half, but it kept going on and on. I was expecting it to end, and it didnt. The vignette style at least let you know that the next chapter would be coming soon, which meant it was closer to ending.
    Dialogue: it was so uneven! I love film noir dialogue, but no time was spent getting it right with these modern actors (half were miscast–that chick from Gilmore Girls stuck out like a sore thumb! Shame on her for sucking so bad!) People were laughing at the dialogue. Literally, three times I thought they were joking but they were being serious. There is one good part: one guy gets shot with an arrow and its the best part of the movie. Dialogue was tough too buy bc I didnt buy the environments, and when you dont buy that something is REAL, then everything else seems fake too.
    My biggest thing: If youre going to build an all digital city, make it look like its more than one block. And the 3d environments were “gorpy” like some shots in Star Wars 1. Sin City had no depth, it had half depth. The clean 2d style of the comic books was there in ending panels, and they looked hot. You have to go for it all the way if youre going to move away from the 2d, and they went halfway.
    HD doesnt look good with high key lighting. Sin City is all about high key lighting. I’m a huge fan of HD, but HD needs low lighting (Collateral, etc) to look like film. The whole film seemed 3 layers away from believability. Hence, the british TV slam. (I’m sorry, Robert!)
    Ok, now the big one. The reason why this movie didnt work, ultimately, was the script. IT WAS ONE LONG MONOLOGUE. Film is showing, not telling, and you learn every little thing that’s going on in the minds of every protaganist. For example, Bruce Willis is hanging out of a car trying to shoot someone. Instead of just rockin’ action, he has an inner dialogue! explaining why the other guy is missing hitting him–and then he tells you why his own shot will be on target, and gives you extra info about that even, and then he finally friggin’ shoots the guy. I was like, “Shoot him, Yellow B*st*rd! Wait, no, shoot me!” the whole thing felt so slow bc of this. When you finally get to action scenes, they narrate all the way through them! Ack!
    My friend liked it, so this is just one person’s opinion. Maybe you should get your hopes way down, so when you see it, it wont be such a collosal disappointment. I would advise people to wait for it to be on DVD, but only borrow it from a friend. Sit in the back of the theater, or watch it on a small tv. I was in the 4th row.
    After seeing the film, I think he gave Frank Miller co-credit (and Tarantino too) not to be nice, but to shoulder the blame. Rodriguez is a genius marketer.
    But on the film: a turd is still a turd, no matter how much you polish it.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon