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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller
Cast:
Eva Green, Josh Brolin, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis, Powers Boothe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Writing Credits:
Frank Miller

Synopsis:
Some of Sin City's most hard-boiled citizens cross paths with a few of its more reviled inhabitants.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$6,317,683 on 2,894 Screens.
Domestic Gross
$13,754,898.

MPAA:
Rated R

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English

Runtime: 102 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 11/18/2014

Bonus:
• Both 2D and 3D Versions of Film
• “The Movie in High-Speed Green Screen – All Green Screen Version”
• Character Profiles
• “Makeup Effects of Sin City” Featurette
• “Stunts of Sin City” Featurette
Sin City Trailer
• DVD Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Sin City: A Dame to Kill For [Blu-Ray 3D] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 16, 2014)

Though 2005’s Sin City didn’t set box offices aflame, it earned a respectable $158 million worldwide – and enjoyed a solid afterlife in the universe of home video, where it became a cult favorite. All of that seemed like enough to spawn a sequel, and one eventually emerged, though it took a while.

A second chapter finally hit screens with 2014’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, but I suspect fans shouldn’t anticipate subsequent action from the Sin City universe. Dame completely tanked at the box office, as it took in a shockingly low total of $39 million worldwide. Perhaps Dame will engender such great profits on Blu-ray that the studio will want to pursue another flick, but this seems unlikely given the film’s miserable theatrical performance.

The prospect of no more Sin City movies fails to bother me, as I view Dame as a substantial disappointment after the lively first film. Like that one, Dame splits into separate, semi-connected vignettes set in seedy Basin City. In the first segment, misshapen thug Marv (Mickey Rourke) goes for revenge on some spoiled frat boys who torture a homeless man.

Next we meet Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a self-confident young man who enjoys a profound winning streak when he gambles. This brings him up against Senator Roark (Powers Boothe), a powerful man with whom Johnny shares a secret connection.

In another tale, private detective Dwight (Josh Brolin) hears from his ex-wife Ava (Eva Green). Due to the way she left him, Dwight remains bitter toward Ava, but she uses her charms to entice him to help her deal with her supposedly abusive husband Damian (Marton Csokas).

Finally, exotic dancer Nancy (Jessica Alba) struggles to get past the debt she feels she owes Hartigan (Bruce Willis), the dead cop who sacrificed himself for her. She holds Roark responsible for Hartigan’s demise and plots her revenge.

All of that sounds like a good recipe for more bloody, gritty excitement, but unfortunately, Dame falls almost completely flat. To be honest, it becomes a little tough to specify exactly what goes wrong, as all the appropriate components remain in place. We find the same filmmaking talent behind the scenes, as Frank Miller again adapts his graphic novel, and he and Robert Rodriguez again pair as directors. Dame brings back plenty of the actors from the first film’s excellent cast and adds new talent like Gordon-Levitt and Brolin.

Even with all those positives, Dame never threatens to get out of neutral. The basic problem comes from the stories themselves, as they don’t seem especially engaging. We get the basic attributes we expect from the Sin City universe – slick, dark visuals, graphic sex and violence – but they all seem half-hearted. The movie goes through the motions but doesn’t come across as convincing.

This tends to make Dame an awfully tedious enterprise. Oh, it occasionally feels like it might emerge from its slumber and kick to life, especially when we meet Johnny and embark on his tale; that side of the movie shows the most potential.

Unfortunately, after a quick shot of adrenaline, Dame soon reverts to tedium. The narrative about Dwight and Ava seems to dominate, and that becomes an issue, as that side of things feels derivative and flat. Sure, Green shows an awful lot of skin – and looks incredibly good as she does so – but the Dwight/Ava story still can’t come to life.

The same remains true for the rest of Dame. Marv’s opening salvo feels like a display of nearly pointless violence, and much of the rest of the film follows the same avenue. While the first movie used its over the top mayhem to accentuate its wild tone, Dame appears to use those elements because it doesn’t know what else to offer. Rather than add to the craziness, the film’s visuals become the whole enchilada.

Without a greater sense of character or story, Dame drags. Like its predecessor, the film looks great, and the high-quality actors do their best in their parts.

None of that becomes enough to redeem a slow, boring series of vignettes, however. Dame feels like a franchise running on empty, as it can’t present the same delightful craziness of the first movie and it ends up as a tedious snoozer.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A/ Audio A-/ Bonus C-

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I thought the original movie looked great and the sequel followed suit.

From start to finish, sharpness was immaculate. Wide shots, close shots, medium shots – it didn’t matter, as the presentation always kept the picture tight and well-defined. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I also noticed no signs of edge enhancement. Shot digitally, the movie looked like it came straight from that source., as I didn’t detect any defects through this pristine image.

Like its predecessor, Dame was a black and white film with splashes of color. Within those constraints, the colors always appeared terrific. They demonstrated the appropriate clarity and definition at all times.

Since they dominated the movie, the black and white tones became especially important. They also seemed positive. Blacks came across as deep and firm, while contrast was brilliant within the movie’s design. Low-light shots offered great delineation and visibility. All told, I found nothing about which I could complain in this excellent transfer.

I also really liked the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio of Dame. With all the action of the various stories, the mix had a lot of room for involving material, and the tracks took good advantage of that.

Of course, the many violent scenes worked the best. Gunfire and other attacks zipped around us to fill the room with mayhem. Vehicles also zoomed about accurately and helped this mix create a good sense of place. The track also demonstrated fine stereo imaging for the music and a strong feeling for general atmosphere during the quieter scenes.

Audio quality was top notch. Speech was concise and crisp, with no edginess or other issues. Music sounded bright and dynamic, as the score always appeared lively and full.

Effects packed a wallop. With all the action, they had many opportunities to blast you through the wall, and they used them well. The elements were accurate and clean, and bass showed good definition and strength. Chalk this up as a terrific soundtrack.

While the Sin City Blu-ray came packed with extras, Dame skimps on these materials. The package provides both 2D and 3D versions of the film. The comments above about picture quality reflect the 2D edition – what does the 3D image bring to the table?

A nice sense of pizzazz, that’s what, as the 3D rendering gave the comic book visuals even more dimensionality and verve. Much of the image concentrated on depth, and those elements worked quite well, as the 3D opened up the material to give us a dynamic sense of space.

Occasional “pop-out” moments occurred as well, and those seemed fitting for the wacky tone of the movie. The 2D version offered clearer visuals – I saw more “ghosting” artifacts than I might like – but the 3D contributed a lively sensibility to the action.

The Movie in High-Speed Green Screen – All Green Screen Version runs 16 minutes, 28 seconds and indeed shows a very fast version of the movie as shot – or most of it, at least, as I don’t think it includes literally every image. This means we see the action in color and without the CG sets that would be added later. It sounds silly but it offers a fairly interesting look at the original shoot.

Under Character Profiles, we see four segments: “Eva Green Is The Dame to Die For” (4:08), “Jessica Alba Is Nancy” (3:52), “Josh Brolin Is Dwight” (3:26) and “Joseph Gordon-Levitt Is Johnny” (2:12). In these, we hear from actors Green, Alba, Brolin, Gordon-Levitt, Powers Boothe, Christopher Lloyd and Rosario Dawson, director Robert Rodriguez and writer/director Frank Miller. We get notes about characters, cast and performances in these sequences. A few decent details emerge, but the clips remain pretty promotional in nature.

Next comes the six-minute, 40-second Makeup Effects of Sin City. It offers notes from Rodriguez, special makeup effects artist Greg Nicotero. As expected, the program looks at the makeup work done for Dame. Nothing deep appears here, but we get a mix of reasonably informative comments.

With Stunts of Sin City, we find a five-minute, 38-second piece with Rodriguez, Nicotero and stunt coordinator Jeff Dashnaw. As expected, this one looks at the stunts and action featured in the film.

Lastly, the disc includes the trailer for the original Sin City. Oddly, the promo for Dame fails to pop up here.

A third disc provides a DVD copy of Dame. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

After the gritty, pulpy fun of the original film, I expected similar pleasures from Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Unfortunately, the movie comes across as nothing more than a slick, pointless exercise in style over substance, with little of its predecessor’s vivacity or excitement on display. The Blu-ray provides excellent picture and audio but lacks significant bonus features. Outside of some Eva Green-related eye candy, Dame turns into a bore.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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