Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014) star-full1.jpgstar-full1.jpgstar-full1.jpgstar-no1.jpgstar-no1.jpg

You know, I was really looking forward to this movie. The original Sin City has such an amazing aesthetic about it, perfectly translating the gritty graphic novel look into something that works beautifully on the big screen. The action is intense, the characters are colorful (figuratively speaking) and the pacing is near perfect. Of course, they say that sequels rarely hold up to expectations.

And that’s sadly what happens with A Dame to Kill For. Maybe the project was put on hold for too long. Maybe Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller were a little too ambitious this time around. On paper, it seemed like it would work.

Like the original, the second Sin City movie is composed of multiple inter-linking storylines and they take place before, during and after the action of the original. Unfortunately, despite the clearly self-indulgent visuals, A Dame to Kill For feels dull. There are no real rises or falls in the plot; everything just strolls along in a flat manner, including the ultimately predictable and anticlimactic climax.

You’re right, Marv. “There’s no up or down. I don’t weigh a thing.”

Instead of jumping from one narrative to the next, after each tale is introduced, each is then effectively presented in its entirety before moving on the next. We almost forget some of the other storylines. And yes, the visuals are a big part of the appeal of Sin City, but it’s almost like they went too far in their artistic vision. It’s almost too self-indulgent. I really wanted to like this film, but like Dennis Haysbert replacing Michael Clarke Duncan as bodyguard Manute, this movie can’t live up to the power and presence of the original.

The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story (2014)

The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story (2014) star-full1.jpgstar-full1.jpgstar-no1.jpgstar-no1.jpgstar-no1.jpg

The high school life depicted in the original Saved by the Bell TV show defined a generation, even if it wasn’t entirely accurate. We didn’t all have geeky friends who could build robot companions, nor did we all have friends who were “so excited” and “so scared” about their future. We identified with those characters, for better or for worse, but what if we were to go “behind the bell” into the real lives of the real teenage actors?

This “documentary” was inspired by (but not necessarily based on) Dustin Diamond’s tell-all biography and, as such, it is told largely from the perspective of the actor who played Samuel “Screech” Powers. We learn, for instance, that Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Zack Morris) and Lark Voorhies (Lisa Turtle) had a thing for one another. We also learn that Dustin Diamond was ridiculed for being an awkward dweeb in real life, tried as he did to fight that image.

We start with the promise of shocking revelations about these real-life teenagers and we end up with something that could have been a lot better. The drama ultimately isn’t all that dramatic and it’s more about the little tidbits of gossip gathered along the way. If anything, it’s another “woe is me” cry for sympathy from Dustin “Screech” Diamond. What a dweeb.