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Thread: The Sins of the City

  1. #1
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    The Sins of the City

    In Sin City, director Robert Rodriguez - with the help of his creative partner, Frank Miller - has primarily incorporated three of Miller’s stories, “The Hard Goodbye,” ”The Big Fat Kill,” and “That Yellow Bastard,” into a Pulp Fiction-type narrative, but unlike the model, it never becomes cohesive nor does it ever come alive enough to be cared for. Who would’ve thought that Rodriguez’s biggest sin would his faithfulness to the source material?!

    The third story arc of the graphic novel, “That Yellow Bastard,” is featured first in the film as we see Detective John Hartigan (Bruce Willis), a burnt-out cop with a bum ticker on the brink of retirement take down a child molester (Nick Stahl) - son of a high-class official (Powers Boothe) - as he’s about to rape an 11-year old Nancy (Makenzie Vega). However, he is deceived by a friend (Michael Madsen) along the way and gets framed for various other crimes including the kidnapping of the little girl. We later find him rotting away in prison with the only ray of light being the weekly letters from Nancy who knows the truth.

    The famous first arc which started it all, “The Hard Goodbye,” was originally published in 1991 as part of the Dark Horse anthologies and is presented next as a hideous tough guy named Marv (Mickey Rourke) spends the night with a kind hooker (Jaime King) and later finds her dead body laying next to him. Much like Hartigan, he’s also blamed for the act but he fights his way out and makes his mind about avenging the woman in hysteria. “There is no settling down! This is blood for blood and by the gallons,” and he isn’t kidding! What he finds is that this murder is linked with the highest of places and in his way is a silent killer (Elijah Wood).

    As most of you have seen or heard by now, Sin City is as visually striking as any film ever made. And as I mentioned earlier, it’s faithful to a fault. One simply can’t take a graphic novel (a friend claims that "calling a bunch of comic books a graphic novel is akin to comparing rock ‘n’ roll to Barry Manilow. Why dress up a bastard child?" This is hard to argue even though I kind of disagree) and put it on the screen with all of its content intact. I hate to be so obvious, but on paper, the characters themselves aren’t judged by their dialogue and actions; it’s a freeze-frame and rest is up to your imagination. In Sin City the constant voice-over narration by both Willis and Rourke - while they’re walking around causing mayhem, constantly getting stabbed, shot, run-over by cars etc., then getting up and circling again - becomes tedious after a while and at various points I wasn’t sure whether to laugh to not. I don’t think the intention was there from Rodriguez to initially present these characters as humorous, but they needed to be fleshed out, with substance and weight. And whose brilliant idea was to cast Willis and Rourke? Yes, they do look like the character in the comics but once again, this is a film and it requires the participants to contribute. I’m sure Willis has acted in a few films in front of a blue screen (or is it green?) but it seemed like he wasn’t sure whether to give a professional performance or ham it up. Same goes for his partner Michael Madsen in the initial reel. As for Rourke, a friend said that she would rather watch a colored screen, and I don’t blame her, although he did try.

    Take, for example, Miller’s dark and brooding Daredevil, (made out to look like your average PG 13-ish comic-book adaptation of the month) in which a non-actor like Ben Affleck was thoroughly outclassed by the villain played by Colin Farrell. And even though I don’t care for Spider-Man and/or Tobey Maguire, and a lot of people weren’t happy initially upon his selection, but he isn’t only a minimalist when it comes to his own performance but he has the same effect on his outlandish surroundings. Same can’t be said for the two I talked about earlier.

    In Sin City, things do start falling in place once its labyrinthine third part is introduced with Dwight McCarthy (Clive Owen). And when we find Jackie Boy (Benicio Del Toro) and his band of brothers outside the apartment of a local barmaid, Shelly (Brittany Murphy), the film gets a jolt of subversive charge it was looking all along for. (Dwight comes from “The Big Fat Kill,” even though in the novel, he was first introduced in “A Dame To Kill For,” the second story arc of the novel which isn’t given priority here and that’s a mistake because Dwight’s background and his exploits were key part of it and the film could’ve used a bit more focus earlier on although all isn’t lost with this pick.) One wouldn’t mistake Jackie Boy and his thugs belonging to any place else other than the “City of Sin,” but apparently Dwight got his haircut from one of its suburbs. Anyway, the barmaid’s preference, Dwight, ends up making Jackie Boy taste his own medicine (you’ll see what I mean or you already do) and then follows him and his friends as they make their way toward an area controlled by woman who offer their “services” independently. Led by Gail (Rosario Dawson in a bewitching outfit), who shares a past with Dwight, they prefer to stay out of trouble but when Jackie Boy sets his eyes on a young one (Alexis Bledel), Dwight and Gail’s gang join to help not realizing what might be the consequences

    Not only this story is the most complex, with an amalgam of issues including, territory, loyalty, jealousy, misidentification, corruption etc., but here the noir element also properly surfaces as there’s an unknown outside threat looming large if certain acts aren’t atoned for and love triangles are omnipresent. Also, right about at this stage one could also hear Tarantino breathing over the shoulders of the director duo as the violence, now mostly off-screen, is given perspective with a surreal comic-tone; whether it’s the Asian silent killer Miho (Devon Aoki) cutting down bodies so they can properly fit in the trunk or Dwight and a rather fucked-up Jackie Boy having a conversation. The voice-over narration is also more controlled, but most importantly, and unlike the previous segments, these actors make their lines work; the same ones that looked so out of place earlier.

    Unfortunately, whatever momentum Sin City had gathered at this point dissipates when it revisits the shallow, meandering tale of John Hartigan, still suffering in prison, thinking of the little girl Nancy who he refers to as his daughter and what might have happened to her in the meantime. He eventually finds his way out of prison to look for her and ends up finding her working as dancer (Jessica Alba) in a local bar (same one where Shelley and Dwight first locked eyes). The senator’s son also resurfaces, now as “The Yellow Bastard” (an excellent Nick Stahl, once again) still chasing after the girl. The girl’s intentions and perhaps the fact that she now has a fine looking body, Hartigan becomes a little confused whether to hug her or fuck her. This morally bankrupt storyline perhaps ends on a right note, unlike the other recent release, Old Boy. That film not only romanticized its incest-laden relationships but offered us such grand statements as if one spoke out against it, they’ll badly suffer which they can correct by practicing hypnosis. What a disgrace! But may be I’m too old fashioned and we’ll soon see the subject being part of a “must-see” comedy on NBC.

    While Sin City will never be mistaken for a monument of moral righteousness, it doesn’t exactly wallow in mud either. There’s a streak of integrity which runs through many of the characters and justice does prevail – in most cases. But once again, Rodriguez is simply borrowing from the graphic novels of his co-director. Rodriguez is an honorable filmmaker and there is nothing in his oeuvre that would lead him toward such crassness (after all, he has also directed the Spy Kids trilogy). As some of us know, in graphic novels, these situations are heightened and the damsel-in-distress factor is very high to provide a certain experience for their (younger) male readers which doesn’t need an explanation. As for objectification of women, well, one look at Carla Gugino and you’ll forget what that means.

    Using a Sony HFC-950 digital camera, Rodriguez shot the film himself. This IS the most faithful comic-book to screen adaptation we’ve seen yet. Shot-by-Shot the images ring true, but Rodriguez’s City behind its inhabitants gets ignored. The bare and shadowy artificial background is even more convincing than what Kerry Conrad did in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow but it still required a sense of juxtaposed reality from the characters, but instead most of them simply end up chewing the scenery around them (Jim Hoberman is right in his assertion that Sin City lacks the human interest that Pulp Fiction had in abundance).

    More scope for his visuals was needed but, once again, being true to the source was Rodriguez’s mantra. Sin City also features the novel’s trademark black and white style - with the occasional splashes of color. Watching this film I thought of Road to Perdition, also based on a graphic novel, but one that fleshed out its narrative and its characters while making every bullet count. The film had its own problems, but it created a world which was more easily identifiable and that ended up creating a sense of drama. Rodriquez accomplished half the task w/out every needing someone like the late great Conrad Hall but his own stubbornness cost him in the end. (He even resigned from DGA so Miller can share the credit was him as a director.)

    Sin City is one of the most original films ever made.” One way or the other this line is being repeated by most of our critics and the fan boys. While that isn’t exactly false, it also doesn’t mean that this is a great film. Only few of them, you all know who they are as their names are often mentioned here, have decided to “review” the film while the rest have only used the opportunity to comment on how it looks. Good writers aren’t necessarily good critics and a lot of us make that mistake after reading well-written analysis, but I’m sure no one has made that mistake here if you’ve gotten this far reading this piece of shit.;)

    There’s a strong rumor floating around that Sin City will be at Cannes next month. I have nothing against that but there are also indications that it will be presented IN-COMPETITION. If that occurs, there’s a strong possibility that it will take away from another, more deserving film so I’m hoping that doesn’t happen. History indicates that Rodriguez’s will follow this up eventually with another similar film and I have no doubt that he is capable of making a masterpiece using the graphic imagery he has invented, but we’ll have to wait for that one.

    SIN CITY - Grade: C+
    Last edited by arsaib4; 04-12-2005 at 10:02 PM.

  2. #2
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    You've made some sinfully relevant points

    --Thanks for the thorough discussion, which goes into more detail than my review does over on the other thread http://www.filmwurld.com/forums/show...=9904#post9904 I frankly found Sin City somewhat distasteful -- I can't altogether say why, but Rodriguez has never been much to my taste -- and that kept me from studying it really as closely as I needed to, to be able to reply in full detail to its vociferous admirers.

    --You mention Cannes. If Tarantino's jury picked Oldboy for a grand prize, will that mean a backlash or will Sin City do well too? And what do you have to say about Oldboy? And Kontroll, which Armond White links with Oldboy in a joint condemnation of a slimy, slick hipster trend http://www.nypress.com/18/12/film/ArmondWhite2.cfm. (I have been dying to cite White, the Dismeister, somewhere about Oldboy. He's over the top -- and hates Fahrenheit 9/11 and loves The Passion of the Christ -- but I always want to see what he has to say. Oldboy, Kontroll, and Sin City all coming out at about the same time in this country is rather telling, in a way, though to see this as any kind of trend is facile and dubious.)

    One simply can’t take a graphic novel (a friend claims that "calling a bunch of comic books a graphic novel is akin to comparing rock ‘n’ roll to Barry Manilow. Why dress up a bastard child?" This is hard to argue [with]even though I kind of disagree) and put it on the screen with all of its content intact. I hate to be so obvious, but on paper, the characters themselves aren’t judged by their dialogue and actions; it’s a freeze-frame and[the] rest is up to your imagination.(Emphasis mine.)
    --This is excellent and if I hadn't already written my review I'd want to steal it wholesale. I commented on how Rodriguez loses Miller's typically comic-book use of eccentric angles in his drawings (which I think may come out of noir cinematography); this is another important point you make here: that they're "freeze-frames" and "the rest is up to your imagination." I would also rely on your discussion of the various books though I can't always follow what you're saying. More careful proofreading might have helped and you get a bit lost in the details of the plot. Some paring down and simplifying would have helped too. At close to 2,000 words this is too long for most readers at least of online reviews and you yourself call it "this piece of shit." Incidentally I do not follow the paragraph where you use that phrase about yourself. "Good writers are not necessarily good critics." No, but good critics have to be good writers so their points will get across. Your statement is true but the reverse is not true.

    Anyway, that excellent point you are making about comic or graphic novel images being freeze-frames, simple and yet overlooked in the discussions I've seen, has to be considered when anyone, including you, says the film is a slavish copy. There's something slavish about the movie but it's something different than even a mere copy. In filling in the spaces, it is deadening. That's why I said "the effect is of a waxworks." But you've made this point better than I did.

    --Though you and I and everybody grants that it's visually striking, you considerably overstate the case when you say that Sin City is "as visually striking as any film ever made." If that were the case it would be extraordinary and it would be illogical to give it a C+. You say at one point, "these actors make their lines work." That brings up a question: which is the part directed by Tarantino? One reviewer identified which part he had directed, and said it was the only one whose characters came to life in their dialogue. Can you clue me in on that? Which was the sequence Tarantino directed?

    --I don't understand how you can give Sin City a C+ and yet at the same time say that if Rodriguez wins at Cannes he will be able to go on and make a pulp comic book masterpiece. C+ is harsh, but I can understand that. But what is there to make you or anyone think Rodriguez, who with this has only merited from you a C+, is capable of a "similar film" that will be a "masterpiece"? The conclusion defies logic. You lost me on that one, as in your intricate dissection of the plot, though the latter obviously contains some salient observations about what works and what doesn't in the Sin City movie.

    Nonetheless thank you for all of this, which goes into more detail than anybody else has bothered to do so far. This is a movie that is being and will be much discussed, and what we need is detail in the discussion.

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    A Movie That Will Stand The Test Of Time

    I think back to Bladerunner and even Alien and the initial response to the movies. Critics and skeptics alike. Based on the amount of discussion this single movie has created, it is sure to stand the test of time for being a momentum accomplishment because it is a breakthrough movie even with any of the flaws one might be able to pick out. Road to Perdition, that is on my best movies (except for its overly dramatic ending/meet Saving Private Ryan again), while good, will be lost as just another good movie without any specific elements to remember while Sin City will make its mark for its smashing the graphic novel theatrical barrier so successfully.

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    Re: You've made some sinfully relevant points

    Originally posted by Chris Knipp
    --Thanks for the thorough discussion...
    I truly appreciate your remarks . I made a few blithe-spirited comments near the end but overall I'm relatively satisfied with how the post turned out; however, I've noted your suggestions.

    --You mention Cannes. If Tarantino's jury picked Oldboy for a grand prize, will that mean a backlash or will Sin City do well too? And what do you have to say about Oldboy? And Kontroll, which Armond White links with Oldboy in a joint condemnation of a slimy, slick hipster trend http://www.nypress.com/18/12/film/ArmondWhite2.cfm. (I have been dying to cite White, the Dismeister, somewhere about Oldboy. He's over the top -- and hates Fahrenheit 9/11 and loves The Passion of the Christ -- but I always want to see what he has to say. Oldboy, Kontroll, and Sin City all coming out at about the same time in this country is rather telling, in a way, though to see this as any kind of trend is facile and dubious.)

    I think Old Boy has sailed rather smoothly since it won the 2nd prize at Cannes. Most people recognized that it won because of Tarantino's presence but his choice was respected. The film has also benefited from the current obsession that western critics and programmers have with Korean cinema. There are certainly some talented filmmakers there but a lot of their genre films are nothing more than better packaged versions of what went on in Japan during the 80's and 90's. This has also undermined the films from the younger Chinese filmmakers working under strenuous conditions in need of more exposure. It might've sounded like I took Old Boy a little too seriously but I didn't. I was certainly not pleased with how sadistically Park manipulated his audience but in the end it's nothing more than an exercise. A remake is already under way starring Nicholas Cage, I think.

    Armond White is certainly having a field day out there. (Kontroll is my pick from the bunch, followed by Sin City.) You're right, it's all or nothing with White. It does work sometimes and I've acknowledged that but how can you simply blow off films like Million Dollar Baby and Before Sunset? That's just not good criticism.

    Good Point about these film coming out relatively close to each other. You can probably add Kim Ki-duk's Bad Guy which didn't get as much publicity. However, it is probably nothing more than a coincidence.

    --Though you and I and everybody grants that it's visually striking, you considerably overstate the case when you say that Sin City is "as visually striking as any film ever made." If that were the case it would be extraordinary and it would be illogical to give it a C+. You say at one point, "these actors make their lines work." That brings up a question: which is the part directed by Tarantino? One reviewer identified which part he had directed, and said it was the only one whose characters came to life in their dialogue. Can you clue me in on that? Which was the sequence Tarantino directed?

    Again, Sin City's visuals are only a part of its aesthetics. I wish more reviews and comments took some of the other aspects into consideration. Tarantino directed the sequence in the car between Owen and Del Toro.

    C+ is harsh, but I can understand that. But what is there to make you or anyone think Rodriguez, who with this has only merited from you a C+, is capable of a "similar film" that will be a "masterpiece"? The conclusion defies logic. You lost me on that one, as in your intricate dissection of the plot, though the latter obviously contains some salient observations about what works and what doesn't in the Sin City movie.

    This technology (which is relatively cheap) can open a door for him or anyone else to tell other tales existing in Sin Cities. Imagine a more earthy film-noir, thriller, sci-fi (Dark City was a smartly mentioned in your review), or just a simple story w/out an over-emphasization on the surroundings. Look how Japanese Anime artists seamlessly blend their visuals and if you've seen the best of 'em, cartoon is the last word that comes to mind. The grade given is for the film as whole and not for one particular aspect of it.

    *I should've made the link more obvious, but if you click on Sin City (next to the grade) it takes you to a website comparing various images from the comics to the film. They are shockingly similar.

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    I about said all I could for now on this topic but I'm glad my comments engaged you and at least showed somebody out there is reading you. I'd like to watch the car scene again to see if I can feel Tarantino's touch. I haven't seen Kontroll; I suppose Armond White's dismissal put me off, but time was short. I'll see it later. I would dread seeing Nicolas Cage do Oldboy; I dislike remakes anyway, but Cage works too hard and Choi is an impossible act to follow. What is Cage going to swallow to top the octopus, an alien? Maybe they'll make the plot more coherent but that's unlikely. I actually find Oldboy sticks in my head more than Sin City. I don't think overall Oldboy is worthy of the highest marks either, but it has some of the most intense moments I've seen in a new movie for some time whereas Sin City is a blur in my mind of mashed bodies and made-over famous or almost-famous actors' faces.

    Your points about Korean films are well taken. They have been having a mini-flowering of their movie industry and they've had a few beautiful films result, but it's inevitably hard to compete with HongKong, Japan, and mainland China's film traditions. I didn't know western critics had an "obsession" with Korean cinema, just thought they were recognizing the energy coming from that direction. Kim Ki-duk's Bad Guy is one I need to see, especially since he did the (to my mind overrated, but beautiful and attention-getting) arthouse favorite Spring, Summer, Autumn...etc.; apparently this one is a minimalist movie with no dialogue shot in 16 days and edited in 10.

    To go back to Armond White, the NYC tabloids have a certain status that ones elsewhere, other than the Chicago Reader, just don't have. It's important to have a platform and he has one. What might seem mere bitchiness somewhere else gets one's attention coming out of Manhattan. The tabloids in the Bay Area don't seem as well written as the East Coast ones, and the film criticism here is all syndicated through Denver or somewhere.

    jiankevin (Kevin Lee) on IMDb, who lives in NYC, makes some keen remarks on White apropos of his comments on The Corporation:
    Armond White's rapturous praise of it, and his damning of "Tarnation." But now having seen it, it's another case of White wanting to be a voice of dissent on a small film that gets successful (as opposed to a small film like this that isn't very well-known), so he picks a film with superficial similarities and champions the one people haven't heard of, no matter how different the films are in tone or even approach ("Tarnation" is an actual documentary; this is a "pretend" documentary, like a Christopher Guest film without the comedy).
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This is definitely White's key detraction as a critic -- too often relies on the bait-and-switch, having to cut down some film he finds overhyped and talking up some other film, based on associations that don't truly do justice to either. His contrariness sometimes gets the better of his discerning judgment.
    [http://www.imdb.com/board/bd0000010/...35204#17535204]
    But again, this shows the smart jiankevin does read and consider Armond White's diatribes, as one does.


    In response to tabuno, I think Sin City's big response isn't a sign that it's epoch-making cinema but rather is due to its being a relatively fresh-looking product for a certain demographic. To my mind, it's like, or in the same direction as, the mechanical-on-the-human extremism of recent animation-effects like those of Polar Express. What is the point of making humans look like animations? Wasn't the whole object to make animations look real? But I'd rather see the two kept separate, but brought together, as in American Splendor or Waking Life. When they can talk to each other and comment on each other the result is more intelligent.

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    Nature of Critical Response and Animation

    Chris Knipp: "In response to tabuno, I think Sin City's big response isn't a sign that it's epoch-making cinema but rather is due to its being a relatively fresh-looking product for a certain demographic. To my mind, it's like, or in the same direction as, the mechanical-on-the-human extremism of recent animation-effects like those of Polar Express. What is the point of making humans look like animations? Wasn't the whole object to make animations look real? But I'd rather see the two kept separate, but brought together, as in American Splendor or Waking Life. When they can talk to each other and comment on each other the result is more intelligent."

    Tab Uno: What is not so obvious apparently is the initial response to 'Bladerunner' was definitely mixed and somewhat critical a response that in some ways is similar to 'Sin City.' Of course 'Bladerunner' would eventually become on of the masterpieces of science fiction history. In some respect, I would say that 'Sin City' could be remembered on the level of say 'Jaws' that captured blockbuster status for its amazing ability to put together various psychological components that impelled people to see this movie, '2001: A Space Odyssey' for its fascinating special effects of realism that was a signature move for science fiction in appearance lifting this genre into the realms of serious film-making (though for many boring and unappealing).

    'Polar Express' I agree was an odd attempt at moving animation more towards human form (with zombie waiters), almost making humanity into weird forms and creatures. Yet unlike 'Polar Express,' Sin City is derived not from humanity but from the imagination and sordid dregs of comic book fantasy and it is the pull of the threatical release to move from 2-D fantasy to 3-D fantasy - core substance of the genre and medium remain the same unlike animation to realistic human (compare to Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001) that was a much better attempt at transforming an animated storyboard into a 3-D human, moving experience). There is no implicit attempt in 'Sin City' to make the movie experience anything more than a more viseral, sound and continuously moving event of graphic novel come to life not in terms of human acting in our real world, but as characters living out in their own world.

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    I like the phrase "sordid dregs of comic book fantasy." I can't see why Jaws is anything to aspire to, and I don't think things "become" masterpieces; they come to be acknowledged as one. Blade Runner I like, but it is kind of schlocky. I can't imagine not enjoying Blade Runner the first time through. I liked it from the start.

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    Originally posted by Chris Knipp
    Sin City is a blur in my mind of mashed bodies and made-over famous or almost-famous actors' faces.
    For the most part, I felt exactly the same just couple of hours after watching it for the second time!

    Kim Ki-duk's Bad Guy is one I need to see, especially since he did the (to my mind overrated, but beautiful and attention-getting) arthouse favorite Spring, Summer, Autumn...etc.; apparently this one is a minimalist movie with no dialogue shot in 16 days and edited in 10.

    It's highly unlikely that you'll get the chance to see it theatrically since it was released by a very small distributor and it hasn't expanded much since it opened in February. But a DVD will be out shortly. Bad Guy is flawed yet fascinating character study of one while it accounts the other as a conflicted being. Moral issues are even more pronounced; some will hate it outright and Kim, like Fassbinder, can piss-off both his liberal and conservative audiences (Atkinson puts it well, "kind of a cocktail--simple, bitter, served straight and in an unwashed glass"). SSFW&S was an anomaly for Kim at that point but it worked surprisingly, some said that it was a FUCK YOU from Kim to all of his critics, but he's worked the same vein with his latest 3-Iron which I'm sure you'll be hearing a lot about once it opens here in a couple of weeks. Arguably his best.

    jiankevin (Kevin Lee) on IMDb, who lives in NYC, makes some keen remarks on White apropos of his comments on The Corporation: But again, this shows the smart jiankevin does read and consider Armond White's diatribes, as one does.

    It's been a while since I've spent any serious time at imdb but the name sounds familiar. I bet more people read White than they let on.

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    Jaws and Its Place In Movie History

    "Jaws" is recognized as perhaps one of the first true blockbusters, a movie developed and created in such a way as to lure, draw, compell, tap into some deep inner core of movie-goer psyche. The elements brought into this movie, in my mind, were almost psychologically research-based as if some producer or director had taken a large focus-group and found out what the mass public wanted and had to see. One can continue to watch Jaws over and over again and still enjoy the pure entertainment value, be able to identify with some character, identify with some grudge or pent up frustrating experience that is related to in the movie and by the end of the movie feel redeemed or feel better emotionally that all is well.

    There is no deep substantive dramatic performance or script to this movie. It has no critical acclaim for its quality to enable it to win any movie awards, except for the public's hearts. Yet from a cinematical historic point of view, it has established itself in the annals of history for what it was, what it did to the movie industry and the future storylines of hundreds of movies to come.

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    I'm sorry that Bad Guy probably won't come to a theater. It sounds at least as good as the stuff we're getting. I don't have a picture of Kim's oeuvre the way you do.

    There are clearly some very smart people on IMDb's Classic Film threads, but I find it a baffling maze. Jiankevin is one I've found to be consistently interesting, and he's a young filmmakers in New York. He seems tireless, probably spends too much time on threads, but he makes a contribution. Here at FilmWurld it's cozier.

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    True, some very knowledgeable members post in that thread at imdb, obviously Howard being one of them. If I had more time I'd love to be a small part of it. Do you contribute there?

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    No, I took a stab a year or so ago, and Howard has urged me to continue, but I find it too impersonal and too overwhelming. I can't even manage to wade through the maze of threads. But I take a look at the Classic Film threads every so often to see what's going on there.

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