Posts Tagged ‘Frank Miller’


Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 4.44.30 PMCanada AM’s film critic Richard Crouse shares his reviews for ‘Sin City’, ‘The F Word’, ‘If I Stay’ and ‘When the Game Stands Tall’.

Watch the whole thing HERE!





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The new Sin City has a cast many directors would kill for

GagaSinCity_2989923aRobert Rodriguez, co-director of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, has assembled an impressive cast of marquee names for the long awaited followup to 2005’s Sin City.

Actors like Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson and Bruce Willis are returning from the first instalment, while newcomers to the series include Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green and Josh Brolin.

Rodriguez welcomes back another name, Lady Gaga, who he first cast in Machete Kills.

“When I asked if she was interested in acting she said, ‘I studied acting and I always wanted to be in one of your movies because of the theatricality and the showmanship.”

When she finished shooting her role of a deadly assassin in Machete Kills, Rodriguez tweeted, “Holy Smokes. Blown away!” and promptly cast the singer in A Dame to Kill For.

For years, directors have looked to musicians to bring their natural charisma to the screen. Perhaps no one more than Nicolas Roeg has explored the potential for rock stars to become movie stars. “They have,” he said, “a greater ability to light up the screen than actors.”

In 1970 Roeg and co-director Donald Cammell made the psychedelic crime drama Performance, starring Mick Jagger in his first on screen role. The Rolling Stone played the mysterious Mr. Turner, a jaded former rock star who gives shelter to a violent East London gangster (James Fox). In 2009 Film Comment declared Mick Jagger’s Turner the best performance by a musician in a movie.

Next came The Man Who Fell to Earth, an existential sci-fi film about an extraterrestrial named Thomas Jerome Newton, starring a perfectly cast David Bowie in his feature film debut. Roeg says he “really came to believe that Bowie was a man who had come to Earth from another galaxy. His actual social behavior was extraordinary. He seemed to be alone — which is what Newton is in the film — isolated and alone.”

Finally, Bad Timing was advertised as a “terrifying love story” and called “a sick film made by sick people for sick people” by its own distributor. Art Garfunkel, of 60s folk duo Simon and Garfunkel, stars as a psychology professor living in Vienna whose sadistic relationship with a pill addicted woman (Theresa Russell) ends with a battle for her life. The sexually explicit film was difficult for the actors, and at one point Garfunkel even wanted out. Over martinis Roeg told his nervous actor, “I must ask you to trust that I know where I’m going. It’s a maze, but there is an end to it.’”

Garfunkel stayed on, delivering a performance that the New York Times called “very credible.”

300: 3 ½ STARS

butler-leonidas-300-kopis300 is the film equivalent of a heavy metal concert—it’s loud, brutal and completely uncompromising. The story of the battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, in which the King of Sparta led three hundred soldiers against the might of the Persian army is bloody, and like the soldiers it celebrates, takes no prisoners.

Based on the Frank Miller graphic novel of the same name 300 stays true to its graphic roots. Director Zach “Dawn of the Dead” Synder and his team of tech wizards created something called “the crush” which desaturated the black areas of the image while enhancing the color. The result is a visually arresting look that is utterly unique and brutally beautiful. Imagine a neoclassicist painting come to life and you’ll get the idea. Shot entirely on soundstages against blue and green screens in Montreal the backgrounds were added in during post-production and are surreal, though meticulously crafted.

Also meticulously crafted is star Gerard Butler’s sizeable six-pack, a grouping of muscles so impressive they really should have been given an above the title credit of their own. Butler, best known for his roles in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life and The Phantom of the Opera is a charismatic actor with a rabid fan base who hasn’t quite broken through to the mainstream yet. 300, with its excessive violence isn’t likely to change that, but it does showcase his leading man charisma, and of course, those abs.

300 contains more than a few jolts of adrenaline, but aside from the battle scenes—the bloody ballet of the film—there is much to admire. The breakneck speed at which Synder attacks Miller’s story is breathtaking and exciting. He has paired the plot down to the essentials and doesn’t allow for any fat. He keeps his foot on the gas the whole time, allowing scenes to flow effortlessly and quickly.

300 is bound to be controversial. Critics of the film will cite its violence and surreal staging as overkill, but I would argue that any movie that features a blood soaked poster with a tagline that screams Prepare For Glory isn’t going to be subtle.

Politicos will wonder about the film’s idealogical stance. Are either Spartan King Leonidas or Persian leader Xerxes modeled after George Bush? Some will cry that Bush is Xerxes, the Persian God-King who let loose a million man army on a small country defended by zealous patriot soldiers to finish a job his father had started. Others will compare Bush to the Leonidas who vowed to defend freedom at any cost. Either way it can’t be denied that 300 is timely and bound to provoke conversation.