by Kris Katz
Brief spoiler-free entertainment reviews

Monday, March 17, 2008

Sin City (2005)

Hyper-violent with a wicked sense of humor that could charitably be described as “gallows,” Robert Rodriguez's trip into the dark underbelly of graphic novel legend Frank Miller's imagination is an grisly, brutal triumph of artistic courage and a remarkable purity of vision. Adaptations simply don't come any closer to their sources than this—almost every shot in the entire film is ripped straight from pages it was born on. It even goes so far as to recreate the color scheme of inky blacks and dingy whites, interspersed with the occasional flash of vibrant color. It's an avant-garde feast for the eyes. But the story is all testosterone, blood, and guts as it depicts the dredges of Basin City rising up against the fascist, perverted powers of the city in their own gruesome way. This is truly a movie about bad people taking on worse people. If you crave a bucket of artistic blood-letting, or have an eye for an absolutely unique presentation, then this steroid-infused story of twisted morality is truly something to behold.

9 out of 10.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

House of the Dead (2003)

Don't get me wrong, I love bad movies. Not only do they remind you why you like the good ones, but sometimes there's enough camp value in trying to obliterate good cinematic taste that the whole thing comes off as an unintentional comedy. Not so here. Uwe Boll's first attempt at sullying the already troubled landscape of videogame-to-film adaptations is an abomination of poorly shot violence, superfluous plot mechanics, and Clint Howard. On the surface, that doesn't sound any worse than the average B-movie flop, but Uwe Boll takes himself so seriously with this steaming pile that almost all camp value is lost, giving you an disappointing “horror” movie that is neither interesting nor scary. I mean really, how hard is it to fail to at least be an amusing failure? Many other, less talented directors have done it, Dr. Boll, why can't you?

None out of 10.