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Wednesday, 01/12/05

Robert Rodriguez is in a very small category of directors I respect, and whose movies I will generally go and see, despite liking little of his output -- basically just El Mariachi and the first Spy Kids. There are almost always some terrific images (like the lunchbox full of money, or Johnny Depp's philosophy of puerco pibil in Once Upon A Time In Mexico), but they seldom add up to a movie I'd recommend on its merits. I'm familiar with Frank Miller's graphic novels only by reputation, and I knew nothing about Sin City beyond the title.

All that said, this trailer for Rodriguez' adaptation of Sin City is seductive. I may be susceptible to stylized urban noir, but I can't recall a trailer that did a better job of communicating potential. It not only fails to give away the store, it refuses to communicate anything of substance about the story.

Actors' careers are openly leveraged to telegraph personality with a few frames (e.g. Clive Owen, Brittany Murphy, Bruce Willis), or else they're hidden so far behind prosthetics and makeup (Mickey Rourke, Benicio Del Toro, Alexis Bledel) only their voices and silhouettes feel familiar. The music is brain-stem catchy and so tightly wrapped around sub-second cuts that I was surprised to learn it existed in any other form. The just-shy-of-three-dimensional CGI sets look like they were constructed using Mystery Spot tricks and shot with an antique lens in a suburb of Toontown, as opposed to last year's Sky Captain, whose sets looked like they were cooked up in a dingy computer.

I've seen it eight or so times since noticing it yesterday, and I can't figure out how the movie is supposed to live up to the standard set by the trailer. Come April, I'll be happy to shell out ten bucks to find out. 02:53PM «

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