Tag Archives: Robert Rodriguez

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For * Frank Miller & Robert Rodriguez (2014)

In 2005 “Sin City” blew me away. The author of the comics joined action-director Rodriguez to make one of the most originally filmed films ever; a film that looks like an comic. High contrast black and white with only here and there colour, shots that would have never been used that way in a ‘normal’ film, but that are very recognisable for a comic. Miller performed the same trick later with “The Spirit” (2008) and Russel Mullcay copied the style with “Give ’em Hell Malone” (2009). So what would the original creators of ‘the style’ do 9 years later?

Of course the novelty is gone, so there are little surprises in “A Dame To Kill For”. Many characters are the same, the story is roughly comparable to the first film. All known elements are there. Over-the-top violence, beautifull women-with-guns, comic-action, stories that run through (or next to) eachother, etc. “A Dame To Kill For” is again entertaining, but if you have not yet seen the original, I suggest you first watch that one. When you, like me, have known the other titles for long, “A Dame To Kill For” is a nice for-old-times-sake film.

Desperado * Robert Rodriguez (1995)

The middle part of the Mariachi trilogy may be even better than the last. Rodriguez created a very over-the-top revenge-action. The mariachi (Antonio Banderas) wants revenge for the woman he fell in love with, but who died in the first part, so he goes about to kill about anyone in action scenes with out-of-proportion bloody fights and shoot-outs with a lot of black humour and a guest-part of Quentin Tarantino, but more importantly, Selma Hayik. A good laugh, this film!

El Mariachi * Robert Rodriguez (1992)

This film is from a 3DVD box with Rodriguez’ Mariachi ‘trilogy’. Due to an error in the menu on the disc, it took some effort to watch it, but in the end I succeeded. El Mariachi is about a young, Mexican guitar player/singer (a “mariachi”) who accidentally arrives in a small town where he is mixed up with somebody else. Rodriguez had a budget of $ 7500 (or so) to make this film and he managed to give the impression of having several cameras to his disposal. The slow budget and the fact that this is an early film shows, but generally “El Mariachi” is amusing. The action is a bit tame, but there are some funny montage jokes and descent humour. Next up is the middle part of the trilogy “Desperado”.

Once Upon A Time In Mexico * Robert Rodriguez (2003)

I ran into a box with three old Rodriguez films. For some reason my player would not play “El Mariachi” (the only thing I could play was the director’s commentary on some scenes) and annoyed I did not get the (chronologically) next film “Desperado”, but “Once Upon…”. Of course “Once Upon…” is an over-the-top action film playing in Mexico. I think it is the third part of some kind of trilogy of a guitar-playing hero who is hired by an FBI agent (Johnny Depp) to prevent a coup and meanwhile he can avenge the death of his wife (Selma Hayek) and child who I guess where killed in a previous film. The story is alright, there are some big names on the actors list (Antonio Bandaras, Mickey Rourke, Eva Mendes), but the result remains a dirty and funny action with bloody scenes and a lot of over-the-top explosions and shootouts. Quite amusing!

Planet Terror * Robert Rodriguez * 2007

Planet TerrorI guess this was the first part of “Grindhouse”, since it has a film announcement as part of the film. Rodriguez has some more filmographic jokes in stock. “Planet Terror” is a completely over the top zombie slasher horror, not unlike our local “Horizonica”, but with even more hilarious scenes. In the best scene Quentin Tarantino suffers from a fluid pecker; it has been a long time since I had such a laugh. For the rest of the film, as you may expect, there is little of a story to tell you. This leaves me to repeat that what you get is a gory zombie film with a lot of intestines, exploding zombies, gushing blood and of course beautiful women. This is definately the better part of “Grindhouse”, but a very different film from Tarantino’s.
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(Frank Miller’s) Sin City * Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez (2005)

Sin CityWhen I heard about this film I immediately wanted to see it. It was out of the cinemas before I knew it and we are still waiting for the DVD release. Good that a friend has an import!
I suppose you heard all about the film, if you haven’t seen it yet. One thing is certain, I had high expectations of the film, but it is even better than I hoped! The film is an adaptation of Frank Miller’s own comic. I didn’t know about this, but this man made more films out of comics. Also I don’t know the comic, but that isn’t needed to enjoy this film. Quentin Tarantino is guest director by the way.
I thought that “Sin City” was a film with comic-elements, such as in “The Hulk” (which I haven’t seen), but this isn’t really the case. The film is actually shot the way one would make a comic and this really shows. This makes it obvious that a film and a comic are made from completely different viewpoints (both literally and as a manner of speaking). A comic has a ‘hero’ with his face right in the camera talking, a very simple shot of a driving car, shots in which a lot of perspective is put, surreal stages and characters with very distictive features such as a grim man with a square face or a woman with a superb body and a very outspoken haircut. It is really nice to see this made into a film.
Sin City is a dark city where corruption is the rule. The film consists of three storylines that here and there cross eachother. They go over in eachother abruptly which made me rather confused about whether or not the characters are the same or if the stories have something to do with eachother. In the first story “Hartigan” (Bruce Willis) is the only clean cop left in town. He wants to save an 11-year old girl from the hands of a cannibalistic maniac, but runs right into a massive corruption scandal and lands in jail. Then almost unnoticed we go to the story of the grim and hard-to-kill walking tank “Marv” (Mickey Rourke) who falls in love with a woman who gets killed while he was laying in bed with her, so he has to hunt supernatural enemies and eventually the most powerfull man of Sin City in order to get revenge; this is definately the most ‘comical’ part of the film with flying persons and weird characters. Then we have the story of ‘the old town’ where the police left the maintaining of the order to the beautiful prostitutes-warriors of the old town; a man named Dwight ends up in old town and a cop gets killed, which is a serious problem so he has to get rid off the bodies; this results very surreal scenes and stories. All the sudden we are back with Hartigan, is he the other characters? Did he dream the other two stories while in the hospital? Maybe, maybe not, but it doesn’t really matter.
Shot is moody black and with with great ‘comical’ high contrasts here and there. Only four colours are filled in: red, green, blue and yellow adding to the atmosphere. “Sin City” truely is a great visual experience with uncommon stories, viewpoints, special effects, etc. Nicely dark, sometimes pretty grim and bloody/extreme with a descent sense of humour. The total atmosphere and (as far as I know) sheer originality of the film really makes it by far the best film that I have seen in recent times!

Four Rooms * Allison Anders + Alexandre Rockwell + Robert Rodriguez + Quentin Tarantino * 1995

So why hadn’t I seen this film before? For years I have known that Quentin Tarantino was involved in this film, but I guess I never found it in a videoshop and it had to take until MTV broadcasted it before I finally saw it. A shame, because this wonderfull film is truely entertaining.

“Four Rooms” refers to four hotelrooms in which four different stories, written and directed by four different directors, take part. The film brings great grim comedy that we are nowadays familiar with, but in 1995 it may have been even more funny than nine years later. There is a bellhop (Tim Roth) who has to run an entire hotel alone on oldyears evening. In the first room a group of witches (including Madonna) stay, trying to turn their leader back from stone to a human being. Only… there is one “missing ingredient” for their soup.
Next Ted the Bellhop runs into the wrong room and gets involved in some SM kind of roleplay.
The third room is a great part in which Ted has to babysit the two children of a maffia-man. Of course things don’t entirely go the way he wants to.
The last part is written and directed by Tarantino and he also plays the main role. Tarantino really does his thing with totally useless dialogues, a strange kind of humour and of course violence.

Should you have missed this film until now too, do your best to see it afterall.