And You Thought It Was Safe(?)


300 (2006)
February 1, 2011, 12:00 am
Filed under: Movies, Reviews | Tags: , , , , ,
"My 300 friends and I would like to have a word with you. About tolerance."

"My 300 friends and I would like to have a word with you about tolerance and multicultural pluralism."

In spite of all the horrible things I’ve said about him over the years, I can’t really find it in myself to hate Zack Snyder. He is, in many ways, what we’ve always hoped for: a director who stood by his promise to faithful translate one of his favorite comic books to the screen…and succeeded. Unfortunately, he chose to translate this one, and I’ve got more than enough hate in me to spare some for Frank Miller. Despite everything he’s done to change the face of modern comic books, the man’s creative juices just don’t flow the way they used to, and there’s no better picture of the arid waste that lives in Miller’s head than this: his fantastical re-imagining of the battle of Thermopylae.

300 begins with an extended bit of ancient Spartan propaganda, following the long journey of King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) from birth to adulthood, narrated (like the rest of the film) by Leonidas’ friend and comrade-in-arms, Delios (David Wenham). Delios’ narrative selectively edits any embarrassingly-accurate pederasty or slave-killing out of the Spartan agoge in favor of gratuitous slow-motion wolf-killing. Because that’s really so much better. More dramatic than slave-killing, really…especially when the wolf is safely CGI. Continue reading

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Sin City (2005)
That's the power of love...it colorizes.

So that's the Power of Love: color correction.

As I said in my Predators review, Robert Rodriquez earned the deserved love of millions for his quite bad ass, pseudo-mythic Mariachi films…though I only developed my man-crush on him after From Dusk Til Dawn, which is still the best vampire film of the last twenty years. (Yeah, that’s right. Eat it and like it, Twihards.) As a comic book fan, I’m supposed to have a similar man-crush on Frank Miller, but honestly I’ve hated everything with his name on it since about the mid-90s…round about the time he began publishing Sin City under the banner of Dark Horse Comics.

Even my love for Miller’s early superhero work is purely intellectual. I certainly appreciate its influence. Without The Dark Knight Returns, Batman as we know him would not exist…and neither would the rest of modern superhero film. Some might say that’s as good a reason as any to deploy a time-traveling cyborg with orders to kill Miller in infancy…but “some” might just be cynically stalling for time rather than actually talking about Sin City. Continue reading



Predators (2010)

Robert Rodriquez earned the deserved love of millions by sacrificing his own precious bodily fluids to make his first film, back in ’92 (when we were still trapped in a room without a view). Ever since, he’s become a one-man production studio, which is apparently all you need to do to win the label of “outlaw” in modern, mainstream Hollywood circles. Rodriquez is now the Quentin Tarantino of Spanish-flavored gangster films: rich and powerful enough to do more-or-less whatever he wants to do, so long as “whatever he wants” involves flogging the corpse of El mariachi. Or From Dusk Till Dawn. Or Spy Kids.

But that’ll be Machette. In tonight’s case, Rodriquez has flogged the corpse of a film he so obviously loves…almost as much as I…though I suspect for completely different reasons. He’s better at it than the army of inarticulate hacks who took a pair of sheers and some gaffer’s tape to the Aliens vs. Predator films. Whatever else you can say about the man, Rodriquez has the Tarantino Eye for Unflappable Talent. Things could’ve (and have) been much worse…but that feels like the faint praise it used to be before I realized how fucked and shitty things really are. (The films of Michael Bay will certainly do that to you.) {More}