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David Poland

By David Poland

More On Sin City

I wrote about Sin City in The Hot Button today

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53 Responses to “More On Sin City”

  1. bicycle bob says:

    i hope its good but i don’t see it changing the way we look at movies. its too dark and not enough cross over appeal
    this the same guy who said sky captain was gonna change it???

  2. jeffrey boam's doctor says:

    I have zero interest in seeing this hunk of eye candy – Rodriguez can not make a great film. Period. It’s like seeing the new Dick Tracy on a high-res monitor with the colour off. Whooopee!
    The main reason I won’t be lining up with thousands of goateed virgins, is simply that I don’t masturbate to action figures, call myself a geek or frequent comic book stores. SIN CITY is hyper TV crapola – it’s HD-noir with its soul trapped in FOUR ROOMS. Who cares? Give me some real drama anyday. This attention deficit sector of the public is clogging up screens. Were movies always targeted at slightly retarded 12yr olds?

  3. Sam Adams says:

    Tools are just tools, no matter who uses them. Digital effects allow directors with no talent or visual skills to make bigger and flashier wastes of time, or they allow an artist as seasoned as Eric Rohmer to find a whole new way to express himself. When it’s in the hands of the folks at Pixar, CGI is a tool that rivals the best (or at least second-best) of celluloid filmmakers. In Rodriguez hands, it’s a nerd-boy jerkoff, but then his films were like that before he went digital. If “Sin City” were the megahit it’s not going to be, you could make a case for its long-term influence, but that would still be mistaking the brush for the painter — the way Disney did when it declared that cel animation was dead after “Treasure Planet” bombed (although that was a pretty transparent pretext). There’s nothing wrong with cel animation; it was a shitty movie, and it would have been a shitty movie in CGI. The trouble occurs when execs greenlight movies based solely on technological geegaws rather than remembering that it’s always, and only, STORY that matters. The Polar Express was interesting for 2 minutes, but then that was that.

  4. Terence D says:

    I just do not see how it can be a box office hit and revolutionize the industry. The commercials have not appealed to me and my daughters would rather see Guess Who again.

  5. Man With No Name says:

    A quick look over at Rotten Tomatoes suggests Poland’s not alone on this one. Great eye candy, but little substance. Support “The Upside of Anger” this weekend instead. I love that movie.

  6. jesse says:

    My question is more: What’s wrong with “nerd-boy jerkoff” movies, to an extent? What I respond to as a fan of Rodriguez’s work is the *joy* of his movies– the joy he obviously has in making them, if not the joy of what is actually happening in them. I flat-out loved Once Upon a Time in Mexico because I loved the way Rodriguez threw all of those exaggerated characters together in a stew of double-crosses and gunfights. A steady diet of that would probably be like eating ice cream twice a day every day, but Rodriguez is *good* at this stuff– he’s good at pulp. I cared about the characters because I liked watching them. At least his movies (from what I’ve seen — haven’t seen Sin City yet) aren’t smug with action-movie “attitude” in that Michael Bay, one-big-music-video sense. I’ll take Once Upon a Time in Mexico or Desperado or the Spy Kids movies over at least 3/5 of the best picture nominees of any given year!
    But then, I liked Sky Captain, too, because it was a super-stylized good time. It’s one thing to feel depressed when a $100 million f/x extravaganza has no soul… but when you can do something existing mainly for the sake of style, with *more* visual imgination, for 40 or 50 million… hey, go for it.

  7. GdB says:

    Wow, so many haters today. First, has no one embraced the idea that Rodriguez and Co. were honestly trying to recreate a visual representation of a graphic novel? Whether or not the storytelling format of one medium translates well to another might be something that didn’t register with the filmmakers. But I have no doubts that Rodriguez and company were not trying for a “nerdboy jerk-off” but wanted to try and capture a cinematic representation of a graphic novel.
    I may not like all of his movies but I respect that the guy is following in Lucas’s footsteps and engaging in a more entrepreniual filmmaking that goes outside the system. This technology is freeing the reigns up for more people to create and distribute original content. And when the technology filters to the masses, then we will all learn that story has to come first. But until then, we need to have some patience with our more visual filmmakers to learn that with this technology.
    You guys all sound as bad or worse than the AICN geeks that bash Lucas and make personal attacks on his appearance. Who knows maybe the movie sucks, I haven’t seen it. But I’ll reserve judgement until later. Now, Michael Bay, THAT guy can’t make a film to save anyone’s life.

  8. Mark says:

    I prefer the other blog set up. But thats just me. I think the people who are saying that this movie is going to change the industry and just trying to get buzz and spin this movie. The problem is in the story and the direction. Having stories about the technology a day before it opens, leads me to believe that theres a problem with the story.

  9. Spam Dooley says:

    See the film
    Marvel at the BO receipts
    Laugh at the predictions
    This film is amazing

  10. Joe Leydon says:

    DAVID: “Are we fetishizing filmmaking tools instead of drama?”
    Yes. Don’t get me wrong — I want see “Sin City” anyway. But this much-vaunted “digital revolution” is, at best, a mixed blessing.
    JEFF: “Were movies always targeted at slightly retarded 12yr olds?”
    At the risk of sounding like an old fogie — no, an ANCIENT fogie — I am reminded of a throwaway comment by a NYT writer a couple of years ago in a piece on “The Rat Pack” — The Sixties were the last time that adults set the pop culture agenda.

  11. L&DB says:

    I have no idea where any of these haters are coming
    from. Critics slagging the story does not surprise
    me. Since this happens to be the SAME group of
    people who miss the story in genre films time
    and time again. They always bash these films for
    either not enough character or too confusing. Yet
    the stories are usually a lot easier, but missing
    the all important “ACHE” the critics love to get
    from a movie.
    What offends me most about this post has to be
    jeff broam’s doctor. On what realm of existance are
    you living in Jeff? Did you miss the last four months
    of non-stop ACHE filled dramas featuring schlubs
    and stools of paraplegia? Glad you want DRAMAS, but
    some of us have had enough of that shit.
    Sin City might not rock my world. Yet I would rather
    have that any day of the week over something like
    Clint Eastwood presents; “MAGGIE VS THE STOOL OF
    PARAPLEGIA!” Somehow we are a rather diverse
    filmgoing nation. Let those of us who hate the
    winter movie months enjoy our time in the sunlight.
    This marks the beginning of FUN coming back to
    the cinema! HOORAY FOR FUN!

  12. jeffrey boam's doctor says:

    yeah raping women – yay – hoooray – bring on the fun – gratuitous dumb violence – hooray – bring on the fun – cgi overload – bring on the fun. MEXICO was an eyesore waiting for a grave in which to lie down and be pissed on. I’m not even wasting my urine on this cine-turd in Mickey Spillane’s glass.

  13. Spam Dooley says:

    Dipshit Boam
    No raping in the film, you dildo
    Mexico was smart
    You are dumb

  14. jeffrey boam's doctor says:

    all penetration is rape according to my buddy Andrea… lets move on. I don’t like Rodriguez’s work at all. MEXICO was smart?! Not in this universe amigo. I’m sure many will dig the sins of the city. Just not me.

  15. Spam Dooley says:

    Andrea the fat dyke nobody would rape with a ten foot dildo?
    God you are a sad sack….

  16. David Poland says:

    First day. Let’s restrain the dyke attacks.

  17. Aaron says:

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if Sin City (whose trailer is the most thrilling I’ve seen since the original trailer for The Matrix) is worse than Domino (whose trailer is the worst I’ve seen since, well, since Miss Congeniality 2, but is really terrible)? Perhaps Rodriguez should get a job cutting Tony Scott’s trailers, and then we’ll get the complete package.

  18. Rostrum says:

    You are so painfully showing your age here, David. Enough with the declarations of Miller/Rodriguez’s film as fulfilling “geek thirst” and other such easily-stooped-to lows for writers lacking the ability to fully process what the point of not only the graphic novels, but their transition to the silver screen has been.

  19. Geoff says:

    Man, I saw this coming. That review from Dave is about exactly what I expected, several months ago. And he could be right, it could just be a visual orgy looking for a story. But couldn’t you say that about Titus, too, which was his best film of ’99? Yeah, I know, it had the Shakespeare story and bravura acting turns, but really….the film made no sense and was just an exercise in gore. There
    I go up and down with Poland’s reviews. He was obviously nursing a grudge with Kill Bill 2, last year, because I found the film very engaging and his criticisms were really just spitballs at Tarantino.
    But then again, he was one of the few critics to praise the insane genius of Matrix Reloaded, when most were just dismissing it as mindless eye candy.
    I can’t describe why I knew he was going to pan Sin City, but seeing the previews and the buzz at Ain’t It Cool News, you just knew he was going to bash it.

  20. L&DB says:

    I must defend Poland on one thing. Unlike most of
    the critcs out there Poland actually gives a fair
    shake to GENRE films. If he sees them. Seriously
    go look for his reviews for the past genre flicks.
    Critics in general are members of a generation that
    are still caught up in cinema from the past. Since
    1999 they have been presented with many more films
    so far away from their core film center. That it
    would figure a flick like Sin City would either go
    right over their heads, or just bug the hell out of
    them. They are our critics, unfortunately, and I
    guess we have to deal. Even though those friggin
    people…to the moon with them!
    We shall see this weekend what’s going on this
    with this film. I am curious if the R will keep it
    to a second place opening. Or will this film have
    reached more of an audience with those TV spots than
    anyone expected.

  21. KamikazeCamel says:

    (I posted this over at the old one as well)
    “The main reason I won’t be lining up with thousands of goateed virgins, is simply that I don’t masturbate to action figures, call myself a geek or frequent comic book stores.”
    1. I can’t wait to see Sin City!
    2. I don’t have a goatee
    3. I’m not a virgin
    4. I don’t call myself a geek (a movie geek, perhaps)
    5. I don’t masturbate to action figures (I own all of 0 action figures)
    6. I never go to comic book stores
    I don’t really know what movie’s you’re watching but, umm, there’s PLENTY of movies around with your beloved “drama” in them, just don’t expect it from every major action movie filmed on bluescreens based on a graphic novel.
    …I’m sure there’s a Russian impressionist film about turtle doves screening somewhere that is FILLED with drama.

    For once, I actually agree with L&DB. Seriously, if every movie released was a serious drama I’d stop going.
    I also liked Sky Captain, I thought it was visually stunning, fun and filled with so much joy and that’s the same for Rodriguez’ movies. I didn’t like Once Upon A Time… but Desperado and the Spy Kids movies are a blast and I’m sure Lava Girl will be too.
    And as somebody said up there, their is actually a reason for the CGI. It’s to, literally, transport these actors into the comic book world.
    I don’t know who said it, but somebody said that creating a movie like this shows a director as a talentless hack (essentially). Does this mean that Robert Zemeckis is a talentless hack? That all animation directors are talentless hacks?
    …thought not.
    It’s an artistic decision. Period.

  22. KamikazeCamel says:

    BTW: I can’t imagine anyone finding the movie “Spun” at all interesting or, well, good. I connected with characters about as much as I connect with George W. Bush.
    ie; NOT. AT. ALL.

  23. jeffrey boam's doctor says:

    I smell the fear. The fear of real emotion. Yup you guessed it – it’s THE NIGHT OF THE ARRESTED ADOLESCENT. Here they come.. look-out it’s KamikazeCamel, LD&B, Spam and more. They fear women and emotion. So hurry and collect them all from your nearest McFarland orifice.

  24. bicycle bob says:

    i think this movie can open before we start giving opinions based on a few commercials

  25. jesse says:

    jeffrey boam’s doctor, why is it always either/or? (I guess this also applies to L&DB, who cannot go one thread, apparently, without trotting out M$B bashing — L&DB, are you more proud of that “stool of death” thing than anything you’ve ever written? It seems that way.) Why do you play this off as some kind of “choice” between adolescent impulses and “adult drama”? Hey, I love adult drama, done well, which is more rare than you probably think. I also love adolescent fantasies, done well. (An example of one done poorly/stupidly would be Bad Boys II.) Adolescence is a part of life. What, are the impulses of the elderly more noble, more interesting, more universal? Or did you find the middle-age doldrums of Sideways to be a revelation?
    I get annoyed at AICN-style super-nerds all the time, but not all nerds/geeks/comics readers/whoever are like that (I’d say about half of my friends are nerds, and their blogs are a lot more fun to read than the average AICN talkback). I have a nice girlfriend and no goatee. I read some comic books. I also read short-story collections, and a bunch of crappy magazines. You don’t have to be socially retarded to enjoy comics — you dress it up in sort of a vaguely post-modern “anti-picky-geeks” context, but really you’re just shouting “NERD ALERT!” like the jock in a bad teen comedy. I’m really excited about Sin City. I really liked Million Dollar Baby. A lot of these hardcore nerd types really hated Sky Captain and tons of other CGI-fests, so I’m not sure how your generalization even begins to make sense, except in very simplistic
    I am a little fearful that Sin City the film (I haven’t read the comics, though I’ve read other work of Miller’s) will be sort of like Harry Potter 1 & 2 — an overly faithful/slavish re-creation of something that’s already out there. I fear Harry Potter syndrome; I do not fear women, nor emotion. I cry at movies all the time. Should I want to cry at them *every* time? Is that the mature thing to do?

  26. David Poland says:

    A couple of small notes… 1. I am not a fan of Spun. It is a miss. But I found more compelling, memorable character moments there than in Sin City.
    2. I was really looking forward to Sin City… more so that almost any summer movie.
    3. The coffee table book from the film, with still frames compared to the comic book, would be a treasure… a wonderful art project… just not much of a film.

  27. jeffrey boam's doctor says:

    Jesse – you makes ya choices in life. I’ve made mine. This ol dog has had his fill of infantile, regressive, overblown, self-indulgent and plain headache inducing cacophonies like SIN CITY. For the record SIDEWAYS made my balls crawl away and die – didn’t buy it for a second. I detest the robotic nature of the arrested adolescent who by his/her very nature get these projects greenlighted. They could be presented with a shiny turd and they’d wolf it down with ecstatic abandon. Zero taste. If you can’t see the fundamental difference between a BB2 and SIN CITY then move along soldier. Manufactured geek cool. Congrats on the girlfriend and non facial hair. Standard for the contemporary girl Jesse. Me a jock in a bad teen comedy? Jesse I think I love you.

  28. Terence D says:

    Jesse, I would suggest relaxing and taking a deep breath.

  29. jesse says:

    boam’s doctor, what I’m reacting against in your posts is the implication that (a.) studio wonks who greenlight this or that are somehow part of this “arrested adolescence” conspiracy — do you think this movie got a greenlight because execs thought “this is just what the geeks want!” or because they thought “this is an action movie made for relatively cheap with a bunch of stars”? As David has pointed out before, no one has ever really gotten rich off of catering strictly to the geek audience. and that (b.) the worst thing about a movie like Sin City would be that comics-geeks like it, because they fundamentally have no taste? Please. 75% or so of moviegoers fundamentally have no taste. It’s not a nerd monopoly. In fact, of the three movies that made over $300 million last year, the only good one was that Spiderman sequel!
    I just don’t see the worst movies as having that common element of “movies for teenagers” or “movies for kids” or however you tag them. I’m pretty sure Miss Congeniality 2 is made for Sandra Bullock fans, who I think tend to be older than 20 (maybe I’m wrong about that). And that trailer made me shudder more than anything I’ve seen at the theaters all year. My point is, good and bad movies can come from anywhere. I mean, I haven’t even seen SC, so I have no idea if I like it, but it’s still insulting to basically hear “if you like this, you’re pathetic,” isn’t it? On general principle? I definitely think so.

  30. teambanzai says:

    I’m going to wait and see, if it opens at the Arclight which I think it does I will see it tomorrow night. I thought Sky Captain was interesting far better visually than as a whole, and though there is a part of me that thinks that Sin City will suffer the same I will still try to have an open mind and reserve complete judgement till after I’ve seen it.

  31. L&DB says:

    First off, Jesse, I F’N hate Million Dollar Baby.
    I am talking about St. Louis Ram and Cardinal level
    hatred here. Excuse me as a give that movie a
    little dig for as long as it’s relevant. Which
    will probably end about; now.
    Now Boam, I do not fear women. Good times those
    people. Nevertheless, like I care if you have a
    problem with arrested adolescences. Because I would
    pretty much rather be a dead asshole than someone
    who does not have a bit of their inner child still
    working inside of them. Nothing worse than people
    who accept their adulthood by become dead inside.
    How wonderful for them, but that’s not me.
    So, I am going to buy my SW figures, by Marvel Legends,
    and so forth because being an adult does not mean
    you have to be a douche. Boam, one last little
    thing that I have noticed about all of those guys
    you hate with goatees; they are all married. Go
    figure that something like similar taste in popular
    culture would bring people together.
    Friggin douchebags man.

  32. jeffrey boam's doctor says:

    LB&D aka Lazy Dumb Bastard – i think i slept with your inner child. For someone who doesn’t care what I think, you do a pathetic job of ignoring me. I do agree with you on one point, we both wish you were a dead asshole. So go and buy your comics and action figures, and don’t let the door hit your childlike ass.
    Jesse – i hear you. I don’t agree but I hear you.

  33. L&Db says:

    Lazy Dymb Bastard? You son of a bitch. Do not
    start typing some smack towards me you little
    piece of shit. Since people like you can easily
    be torn apart. Again, what on earth have any geeks
    done to you? Unless they declared a fatwah on you
    and yours, then all of this animosity has to be
    Such an angry little bitch of man. Talk some more smack
    why dont’cha? Come on–try harder. You rank

  34. Joe Leydon says:

    Can’t we all just get along?

  35. Joe Leydon says:

    BTW: Gary Arnold of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has this to say about “Sin City”:
    “Sitting through the thing, watching scene after scene in which I was being asked to be entertained by the spectacle of helpless people being tortured, I kept thinking of those clean-cut young American guards at Abu Ghraib. That is exactly the mentality Rodriguez is celebrating here. ‘Sin City’ is their movie.”
    Here’s a link to the full review:

  36. jeffrey boam's doctor says:

    Joe! it’s over when I say it’s over.
    Ummmmmmm okay its’s over.
    ouch. is that the worst of the reviews so far?

  37. L&DB says:

    Youve got to love critics. Exaggerate much? No.
    And it’s not over, until someone says; “That was
    a total dick move on my part.”

  38. jeffrey boam's doctor says:

    okay that was a total dick move on your part. Happy now?

  39. L&DB says:

    No you douche. You are such a fanatical dick, that
    you should have a special listing among the higher
    level dicks and douches in this country. You are
    right above Bobby Knight. That’s quite a distinction
    for a little dicky douche such as yourself.
    You son of a bitch.

  40. Spam Dooley says:

    Wow what if Boam’s Retarded Doctor and Bicyle Babykiller Bob were the same guy?

  41. Joe Leydon says:

    I’m so very glad that the spirited exchange of ideas and opinions in this new area remains at same lofty level of discourse scrupulously maintained in the old area.

  42. L&DB says:

    Yes LAYDON; feel the love!

  43. Cory says:

    Wow, this whole review is one big whinge about CG. You’re an ignorant cunt.

  44. Joe Leydon says:

    According to, “Sin City” made $12 million on opening day. Not shabby. But that’s $2.8 million less than “Ring Two” made on ITS opening day. More to the point: “Sin City” wasn’t up against college basketball coverage last night. What happens tonight? (Don’t misunderstand — I’m not rooting for or against the film. I’m just curious to see how it fares and, yes, how its b.o. numbers will be interpreted.)

  45. teambanzai says:

    Mini review, just as I thought visually it was great. My only real complaint was that the whole Clive Owen/Rosario Dawson sequence could have easily been removed and made it a much better movie. The Bruce Willis and Mickey Roarke sequences were far better and fit together nicely.

  46. Chester says:

    Like we’ve mentioned on the other “Sin City” thread, Joe, there may not have been NCAA competition on TV last night, but there sure was wall-to-wall deathwatch coverage for the Pope. IMHO, I do think it’s possible that a meaningful number of people may have stayed home for that, but I doubt we’ll ever know for sure.

  47. Joe Leydon says:

    Chester: Good point. On the other hand — and I’m only half-joking here — how many people who would monitor the pope’s decline would also be in a big rush to see a movie called “Sin City”? Note: I didn’t say people who cared about the pope would NEVER see “Sin City,” or that EVERYBODY who saw “Sin City” didn’t give a rat’s backside about the pope. But how much of the hard-core, chomping at the bit, gotta-gotta-have-it fanbase for movies like “Sin City” (I’m not gonna use the word “geek”)would stay home to watch CNN and MSNBC for any reason on a Friday night?

  48. David Poland says:

    Is Cory calling me names? Did he read the headline? Did he read the actual review? Or is he/she just seeing what he/she wants to?
    Just checking?

  49. JoeLeydon says:

    Some people have said(to use the pet phrase of Fox News rumormongers) that Cory is a pseudonymn for the arts editor of the New York Times.
    But seriously: See, David. We need registration to weed out the riff-raff.

  50. Stella's Boy says:

    Finally caught Sin City. Glad I went to a first run budget theater (only $6 for evening showings). All style and no substance. The writing is crap and the acting is very hit and miss. Fanboys can cream their jeans all they want. Yes, it looks cool, but so what? You need more than that to sustain a 135-minute movie. Sin City ain’t got it.

  51. Terence D says:

    What did you expect? It is a violent comic book. It will make its money on week 1.

  52. Stella's Boy says:

    Who was that addressed to?

The Hot Blog

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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