Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Director: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez
Writer: Frank Miller
Based on: Frank Miller’s comics
Sequel/Prequel to: Sin City
Cast: Mickey Rourke, Josh BrolinEva Green, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Powers Boothe, Dennis Haysbert, Ray Liotta, Christopher MeloniJeremy PivenChristopher Lloyd, Juno TempleStacy KeachMarton Csokas, Jamie Chung, Julia GarnerJaime King, Lady Gaga, Bruce Willis

Plot [with SPOILERS for the first film]:
Basin City is called Sin City for a reason. A town full of crooked politicians, even more crooked cops, murderers, sex workers and pretty much everyone who was thrown out everywhere else. Marv (Mickey Rourke) spends most of his time when he isn’t fighting with somebody in a strip club where Nancy (Jessica Alba) dances. Nancy is still hung up on Hartigan’s (Bruce Willis) suicide to save her and tries to kill Senator Roark (Powers Boothe) who is to blame and regularly plays poker at her club. He always wins, of course, until Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) shows up. But the Senator can’t have people beating him. Dwight (Josh Brolin) is also at the strip club a lot. He is still obsessed with his ex Ava (Eva Green) who suddenly shows up in his life again and severely disrupting it in the process. Now he needs Marv’s help.

I couldn’t tell you what the difference was between the first film and the second since it looks equally great, has an equally good cast and tells equally problematic stories. But in Sin City everything works. In Sin City: A Dame to Kill For I spent very long stretches feeling very bored.

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Re-Watch: Sin City (2005)

Sin City
Director: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, (Quentin Tarantino)
Writer: Frank Miller
Based on: Frank Miller’s comics
Cast: Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Clive Owen, Jessica AlbaElijah Wood, Rosario Dawson, Benicio Del Toro, Powers Boothe, Michael Clarke DuncanRutger Hauer, Michael Madsen, Devon AokiJosh Hartnett, Alexis BledelJaime King, Carla Gugino, Brittany Murphy, Nick Offerman, Nick Stahl

Plot:
Basin City is called Sin City for a reason. A town full of crooked politicians, even more crooked cops, murderers, sex workers and pretty much everyone who was thrown out everywhere else. After the last good cop Hartigan (Bruce Willis) saved Nancy (Jessica Alba) from a pedophile and Senator’s son (Nick Stahl), he had to take the fall for it. But now he is out of prison and full of worry for Nancy’s continued safety. Nancy works as a stripper in a local club. At that same club, Shelly (Brittany Murphy) works as a waitress and she’s freshly in love with Dwight (Clive Owen). But her ex Jackie (Benicio Del Toro) is not done with her yet and Dwight suddenly finds himself in over his head in the part of town run by the sex workers. One of them (Jaime King) was just murdered – while Marv (Mickey Rourke) slept next to her no less. Now Marv is determined to find her killer and to exact vengeance.

I remember when I first saw Sin City – I was completely blown away by it (back then I was also a rather unaware baby-feminist, so I barely noticed the incredible sexism). Now I look at it with a more critical eye, but it’s still an awesome film.

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Re-Watch: The Faculty (1998)

The Faculty
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Writer: Kevin Williamson
Cast: Elijah Wood, Clea DuVall, Josh Hartnett, Laura Harris, Shawn Hatosy, Jordana Brewster, Robert Patrick, Salma Hayek, Famke Janssen, Jon Stewart, Piper Laurie, Christopher McDonald, Bebe Neuwirth, Usher Raymond, Daniel von Bargen

Plot:
Something weird is going on in Herrington High School, Ohio. Even weirder than the usual high school occurrences, that is: aliens are slowly taking over the teachers, starting with the football coach (Robert Patrick). But a group of teenagers notice that something weird is going on: nerdy Casey (Elijah Wood), gothy Stokely (Clea DuVall), jock Stan (Shawn Hatosy), cheerleader Delilah (Jordana Brewster), bad boy Zeke (Josh Hartnett) and country girl Marybeth (Laura Harris) get thrown together by circumstances and decide to fight.

I think I saw The Faculty the first time when I was 14, maybe 15. Until then I hadn’t had much contact with horror in general (though I probably had read a Stephen King novel or two), but I knew high school movies. And in its combination of High School and Horror, The Faculty proved to be my gateway drug into the entire horror genre (arguably also because I was madly in love with Josh Hartnett’s Zeke afterwards). I love it for that. But also as a movie in its own right, it’s pretty damn awesome.

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Machete (2010)

[Viennale.]

Machete is the newest film by Robert Rodriguez, also directed by Ethan Maniquis and starring Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal, Don Johnson, Robert De Niro, Cheech Marin, Jeff Fahey and Lindsay Lohan.

Plot:
Machete (Danny Trejo) is basically the last police man in Mexico, who’s not corrupt. The evil drug dealer Torrez (Steven Seagal) doesn’t take too kindly to this and Machete finds himself trapped while he has to watch how Torrez kills his family.
Years later, Machete is stranded in the US and tries to get by with day labor, rather unsuccessfully. But then he gets hired by Booth (Jeff Fahey) to shoot the right-right-right-wing senator MacLaughlin (Robert De Niro), who wants to build a great electrical fence between the US and Mexico. Machete takes the job – it’s not as if he has much choice about it anyway – and finds himself in yet another trap. But this time, he fights back.

Machete is pretty much all it’s cracked up to be: gory, entertaining, funny… in short, the perfect B-Movie with a pretty strong political message. At times, it’s a bit lengthy, but if you like this kind of cinema, it’s totally going to make your year.

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Grindhouse

I just watched the two Grindhouse movies.

Planet Terror actually met the German standard of Grind (meaning disgusting stuff). Man, that was a gore fest. Some scenes were pretty cool, I liked the helicopter-slicing-zombies-thing and when Josh Brolin gets the pus in his face (twice) I really had to wretch. Insofar, it was really good. But I think what will stay with me the longest is the question: How does Cherry’s (Rose McGowan) machine gun leg know when to shoot? She never pulls a trigger on this thing. Is it a telepathic gun?

Death Proof was fun. I really liked it, it had the usual Tarantino-dialogues which may be nothing new, but they are always good. I also liked that it had two parts, it felt like it was a “what if” situation, especially because in the beginning, some of the dialogue is the same and the way the girls sit in the car etc.

Summarising: Death Proof worth watching though not the best Tarantino (I still think that’s Reservoir Dogs). Planet Terror only if you are a huge fan of gore and fighting midgets (Freddy Rodriguez. Don’t take this personally but 1,68m is not tall…).