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DVD Review: Sin City (Blu-ray)
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Sin City Blu-ray DVDSin City
Directed by Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller and Quentin Tarantino
Starring Bruce Willis, Clive Owen, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba
Release date: April 28, 2009

Every so often a movie comes along that startles and stirs conventionalism and ushers in a new brand of filmmaking; filmmaking which possess dualities ranging from oddly enchanting to vigorously ruthless. In 2005 Robert Rodriguez‘ film version of Frank Miller‘s graphic comic Sin City was that force of a movie that abandoned traditional comic book adaptations and elaborated upon the film noir genre, which has been around since the late 1930s, by initiating a unique update while still holding true to the meat and potatoes behind a genre that glorified gloomy alley ways, dampened cobblestone streets and gorgeously delicious femme fatales possessing diabolical schemes and knives prepared to be impaled into the backs of delusional men.

Now don’t think that if a director wakes up one morning deciding to reinvent and upgrade a genre that his illusions will turn into an artistic triumph. Evidence for such directors making boneheaded decisions by injecting hyper-serum and hypnotic imagery are Michael Davis’ Shoot ‘Em Up and, surprisingly, Frank Miller’s The Spirit. Not so much do these films qualify as cinema but they are better placed within the category of pointless parodies. These two such films were still able to break the conventionality that’s tied to the gangster picture as well as the action picture. But one ingredient they forgot to include in their dream projects, and that’s a heart dedicated to initiate and defend its change.

Without that movies looking to trigger a drastic change are going to be labeled dead on arrival. Sin City is alive. The same can be correlated to the film’s energetic scenery, their character’s actions and thoughts. To see three rugged men, Sin City having taken its toll on all of them, put their lives at risk for women is reminiscent of all classic film noir pictures. In those films the upstanding man in need of a quick fix puts his life at risk for going along with a murder contrivance or to cover up some dirty secret. In Sin City the women are beefed up, everyone has to be in order to roam the city’s appallingly unpleasant streets, but they still hold that womanly trait of being able to seductively lure man into a situation no matter how dark and dangerous it is.

Bruce Willis‘ character, a cop, throws his life on the line just so he can protect the innocent Nancy (Jessica Alba) from a rapist turned curb-yellow demon. Mickey Rourke’s steroid ridden Marv is already a psychotic recluse to begin with, but when the only woman that ever showed him love dies he’s forced to excavate even deeper into the depths of Sin City to avenge her death. And finally Clive Owen’s ultra-cool secretive assassin who desires to confront evil in the face, even if all-out warfare is evident, while protecting a band of hookers is totally in his environment but at the same time completely out of it. All three overlapping scenarios contain their own voice-over and their own experience in their excursion into the darkest possible streets which also double as the human soul. These characters venturing into the gloomy night face the true horrors that plague this world, facing them is the only way to defeat them and with Rodriguez, Miller and Tarantino helping us to envision such a world they happen to draw us in to face the same evil. It’s an overwhelming experience.

HD Picture: Every little crevice, behind every corner, there is a feeling of reoccurring angst to see what is lurking behind it. Presented in 1080P, “Sin City’s” transfer embodies the historical feeling of an old film noir while boasting clarity to create a revamped color palette that guides the film noir genre, as far as visuals go, into new heights. Virgins approaching this genre for the first time will find it hard to cope with the grainy originals of the 1940s. Making their way into the black & white feature on are warm and lucid colors such as red, yellow and brown, with the occasional cold colors such as blue and green. The colors are used to highlight important facets of a character, to trigger feelings to the audience and to impose on characters visual proof of the way they are feeling. This Blu-Ray transfer puts a forceful emphasis on dictating the crispness and vivacity of such colors. Frank Miller’s graphic comic grew arms and legs with the film and DVD version, but now on Blu-Ray his comic has derived a way of thinking, a way of acting on its own. With the graphic comic alone Sin City was able to create visuals that popped off the pages, now wielding it with high-definition the movie adapts an entirely new meaning, making this underworld even deeper and more unsuspecting tha n ever.

Blu-Ray Exclusive Special Features:

“Kill ‘Em Good”- HD: An 8-minute short story charting Marv’s descent into the underworld to revenge his lover’s death. Throughout the story this feature allows the viewer to come in and control Marv as he dodges po lice cars, throws money at strippers and fend for himself in the wild against men with guns. It’s a unique feature that would work much more fluently if I had a standard Blu-Ray control; instead I have a PS3 controller that makes it hard to use the number pad which is so often implied in these games.

Commentary Experience: View the film with the actual audience reactions to a screening in Austen, Texas.

Special Features:

Audio Commentaries: Two commentaries from Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller, and the other, and more entertaining, containing Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino exchanging dialogue that would be found useful in any of the latter’s films.

Extended and Un-cut scenes: 1. The Yellow Bastard (47mins book 1) 2. The Customer is Always Right (8mins book 2) 3. The Hard Goodbye (41mins book 3) 4. The Big Fat Kill (45mins book 4). All of these scenes are found in the movie’s original version, but Rodriguez alters and injects new ideas , especially in YELLOW, that all seem to contain too much more information.

How it went Down – SD (6mins): See how a meeting of the minds (directors and actors) took Sin City from graphic novel to groundbreaking movie.

Special Guest Director – SD (7mins): A unique look at the harmony union of the tender trio; Tarantino, Rodriguez and Miller.

“A Hard Top with a Decent Engine” – SD (8mins): Find out how the distinctive cars from the film were brought together from all areas of Texas.

“Booze, Broads and Guns: The Props of Sin City” – SD (11mins): Tour the prop shop where the unreal world of Sin City is made real.

Making the Monsters Special Effects Make-Up – SD (9mins): Special makeup effects supervisor Greg Nicotero transforms the cast to represent the actual comic book characters.

Trench Coats and Fishnets: The Costumes of Sin City – SD (8mins): Get into the unique gear that defines each character.

Teaser and Theatrical Trailer

Rodriquez Special Features

15-Minute flic school with Robert Rod – SD (13mins): Robert explaining how he adapted Miller’s black&white comic novel into an actual film.

All Green Screen Version – SD (12mins): The entire movie how it appeared on set in front of the green screen presented in high-speed with background music.

The Long Take – SD (17mins): 14 uninterrupted minutes of Tarantino’s segment containing Clive Owen and Benecio Del Toro working out, in real-time, the nuts and bolts of a particular scene. Tarantino and Rodriguez also make their way into th e frame as they present the two actors with ideas to improve the scene.

Sin City Live in Concert – SD (9mins): Filmmakers, cast and crew party.

10-Minute Cooking School – SD (6mins): Rodriquez shares with us what kept him and his crew alive while working on “Sin City:” BREAKFAST TACOS. He lends us his secret recipe so we can try and imitate his cooking skills.

Movie: * **1/2 out of ****
Picture Quality: **** out of ****
Special Features: *** out of ***
*: More features in HD would be an improvement.

Verdict: Worth the Purchase

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