Category Archives: 3 Snobs

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (Crime-Thriller-Action)

Dame“A crisp storyboard aesthetic with a dull and nonchalant ignoramus calling the shots”

Three separate tales all set in the same vicinity; which is that of Sin City. An urban cesspool of degenerates, crooked politicians, and those seeking justice from their those who wronged them fill up this dark place. Meet a gambler who has lady luck on his side until he gets a bit cocky and out plays the corrupt senator with the law in his pocket. Encounter a hired blackmailer and the battle against his kryptonite, which is in the form of a conniving seductress coaxing every man she meets. Last but not least a new chapter is opened in Nancy’s story, a dancer whose savior was killed and now she is seeking revenge on the most powerful man in the city.

Though on paper these stories look as absorbing as the first, this sequels fresh concept was diluted over the decade of its absence. The drawback lies mainly within the stock dialogue and overemphasized character arcs, making the whole experience seem adolescent. When a viewer is captivated with the cameos more than the featured cast, poor writing is usually to blame. This consequently disconnects the audience from the plot points altogether, but on the contrary left due attention to the visually enticing collage of violence and erotic prowess.

The graphical nature and overall ambiance of the film gave an idea where the budget dollars were spent. As anticipated for a graphic novel film, static set design along with lighting and deep contrasts fashioned a sharp pane-like exhibit which back-dropped the mood of every scene.  If the viewer is able to look past the obvious faults and be hypnotized by the plethora of artistically intoxicating effects and hidden ques, they won’t finish the film looking for a dame to kill.

Advertisements

Snowpiercer (Sci-Fi-Action-Thriller)

Snowpier“Social status has a predetermined position and must not be disturbed”

A gifted man by the name of Wilford built a train that travels around the world in 365 days, coincidentally completed during a time of great environmental change. Once an ice age eventually freezes the world over and everyone on the planet is destined to become popsicles, 1,000 lucky survivors were given the opportunity to become the only living civilization left on earth by boarding this locomotive. Having the train cars split into societal classes, a hard 17 years of predestined ranks in the rear brought forth a revolution to disrupt the social order.

Aside from the premise of the actual rebellion and bloodshed, there are also back-stories explained and other mysteries unraveled at every steel-encased venue.  Accompanying the development of the story with every open door, the overall tone became more vibrant and elegant entering each upgraded compartment. This framework took a very unconventional and enlightening turn when they reached the front, obscuring the lines distinguishing the rich and poor.

Taking this very centralized idea revolving around the caste system, a stage was set to proclaim that even after the gift of life a certain level of decency is merited. Over the span of human existence, uprising have taken place revolving around this same situation and many can sympathize and admire this spirited underdog story. Unfortunately, this awareness of discrimination became a bit too overindulged and preachy to the point of ignorance. The main character began to become so consumed with the hatred that good judgment, a clear vision, and common courtesy left him all together. Most audiences will begin to understand the reason the adults don’t invite the children to the grownup table, and in hindsight this revelation made a slight mockery of the entire revolts backbone.

Before Sunrise (Drama-Romance)

Before Sun“A chance encounter producing an impartial outlook on life and love”

A young man and woman meet on a train and begin to have a very natural conversation. When it is time to go their separate ways, they mutually decide that a connection between them is too strong and it would be foolish to not continue their engagement. Through the remainder of the day and into the night, their relationship becomes stronger as they delve deep into each other’s personal lives and philosophies.

Richard Linklater produces a convincing modern-day fairytale, which is developed solely through captivating dialogue. Aside from a few awkward moments and verbage one will inevitably indulge in when falling for someone, the predictable love story formula was left on the passenger car in act one. In place of the generic romance, is spontaneously spellbinding rhetoric tied into logical debates between two individuals who are discovering themselves through one another. Caught in an immersion of intellectual and sometimes playful conversations, a bond is persuasively formed beyond any superficial physical attraction.

With pivotal importance to the success of the overall pace and tone of the screenplay, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy enthrall the audience with a sincere chemistry. An intriguing emphasis on their personal immaturities was gradually uncovered, showing how disadvantages could disrupt the passion if their relationship was to grow into something permanent. Within these vulnerabilities a secondary nuance was introduced with their departure, bringing forth a curiosity of how their relationship would evolve if they were to be reunited in the future.

Jug Face (Horror-Drama)

Jugf“The sacrifice of one to uphold the health of a society is easy to accept, until you are the one on the chopping block”

From the opening credits a story is delivered through child-like drawings displaying the essence of the communities belief system. It then transitions to present day with Ada who is part of a backwoods population who live very simple lives, grounded by a foundation of ideals controlled by a magical pit. Once she finds out she is pregnant the day her family signs a marriage contract with another family, she feels alone and nervous about bringing her family shame. She seeks comfort from a feeble minded friend, Dawai, who also inherits the gift of being the spirit of the pits hands; shaping a clay jug of the next sacrifice. On her way out she secretly opens the oven, only to reveal a jug with a face eerily similar to her own.

This low budget mystical creature-feature uses a very basic system to deliver an ever-looming terror. The tone was established by mixing elements of harsh religious traditions and a boondocks culture. The ruthless sacrifices were a bit hard to stomach using a rusty instrument to slit the throat of the martyr letting them bleed out into the pit which dripped down a tree stump before your eyes.

It is difficult not to parallel many passages of the Biblical Old Testament when comparing names, teachings, and the overall ideologies of this tale. Comparisons can also be made with many Native American beliefs and Japanese folklore of forest spirits of the deceased trapped because of their transgressions. The plot itself was very predictable leaving the variability lying solely on when the creature was to take its next victim, and if or when Ada was going to give herself up for the greater good of her people.

Blackfish (Documentary-Thriller-Drama)

Bfish“Want to swim in a pool with Killer Whales? My boss said their trade name is just for show”

Bringing an audience to a constant level of suspense with a film involving one of children’s most magical shows was unexpected.  Those who hear about this film would assume to see a liberal “save the whales” campaign on how we shouldn’t be removing these beautiful animals out of their habitat and forcing them to put on a show for money. Undoubtedly they allude to the root of the problem being the psychological torment these Orcas go through by the conditions they are in, but this element was only a precursor to the overall message of the film.

Interestingly enough this was a occupational health and safety expose’, the focus being around how SeaWorld’s negligence, even after recognizing the dangerous behavior shown by specific whales, lead to harmful accidents. These documented “misfortunes” began piling up, and the owners still continued using these valuable whales for both breeding and shows until the short fuse in one was ignited.

Through former whale trainers and other professionals with experience with these sea mammals, an inside look is given to the sequence of events that led to a veteran trainers death by a dominant Orca named Tilikum. This documentary reveals the information SeaWorld and its affiliates have been submerging for decades case by case, until this fatal accident brought it all up to the surface.

Big Trouble in Little China (B-Movie-Fantasy-Action)

cina“They stole my truck and my friends girl, and I’ll go through all the Chinese hells to find them!”

A hard-ass truck driver by the name of Jack Burton (Kurt Russell), is passing through Chinatown and visits his local “buddies” to play a few games of cards.  When he cleans out his friend Wang Chi for all his cash, he agrees to give Wang a lift to pick up his fiancee at the airport.  Once Wangs fiancee arrives she is kidnapped by knife wielding men.  After finding her location, Jack and Wang try to rescue her when a turf war begins accompanied by the awakening of supernatural forces, forcing them to flee and leave Jack’s truck behind.  With word of Jack’s truck and Wangs fiancee being held captive by a dark mystical Chinese sorcerer and his minions, they begin a dangerous quest to recover them.

Just leave your brain at the door and prepare yourself for a dark magic film with non-stop PG-13 dumb action.  If you are unable to look past a script so bad that the characters actually have to narrate you through the ludicrous plot-points, then don’t even bother.  Please keep in mind that this film was made for teenagers, which is apparent throughout.  From the decision making, immature relationship mindset, and contrived Chinese myths that you never learned in history class you can clearly see the target audience.

Nevertheless this film had so many surprises it was hard not to get sucked into the adventure.  If you’re into oriental stereotyping, Kurt Russell playing himself, a two-millennium old decrepit man, random mythical beasts pop outs, unexplained sorcery, exploding heads, or constant Kung-fu that defies the laws of physics this is the film for you.

The Square (Documentary-War-Drama)

square“Winning a battle brings morale, but uncertainty grows when you realize your next battle is against a presumed ally”

This documentary depicts the modern historical tale of the 2011 non-violent protests that took over the Tahrir Square in Egypt for almost 3 weeks.  This occupation of the landmark was used to passively persuade Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to resign and give control to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.  With the presidents resignation, hopes of liberty and reform was on the brink of reality, but a few months later the square began to fill up once again.

The story was technically told through the eyes of six revolutionaries, but only two men stood out as the main protagonists of the film.  One of the men is Khalid Abdalla, who is a Hollywood actor best known for his role in The Kite Runner.  Khalid was the man who could reach the world media through his notoriety, and share footage and updates.  The other man was Ahmed Hassan, the native revolutionary seen at the front lines passionately recruiting and fighting alongside his fellow patriots.  Having these two perspectives provided the audience with two very different objectives yet paralleled their ideas towards a common goal.

One critique is that the actual demands of the people was glazed over, and for people not as knowledgeable on this topic, this may have discredited their cause.  The reason for the first protest is well explained, but when new powers came to be and no “change occurred” there were protests again 3 months later without any tangible requests at the forefront.

In essence this film brought you in the middle of the revolution, shooting footage at the square with millions as well as on the dangerous battlefront during the protests.  The violence, death, and mayhem was very real and may have been unsettling to some viewers.  Nevertheless this portrayal of the circumstances was necessary to provide unfiltered coverage, and inevitably generating a strong emotional impact.  You ate, sang, and fought in the company of these revolutionaries which made everything feel much more personal.  By the end you really wanted a resolution, even though at the back of your mind you know this issue is still going on to this day.