April 8 - 14 , 2005• Vol. 26 - No. 14

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Sin City—A Different Kind of City,
with Different Kinds of Sin

Robert Rodriguez, the director of such movies as Spy Kids, Desperado and Once Upon a Time in Mexico, not only directed Sin City but produced, edited and did the cinematography. Rodriguez adapted three of Frank Miller’s original graphic novels and weaved them together into one terrific film. This story is a lurid and bleak tale of the denizens of this fictional, rain-swept always-dark city.

The prelude leads to the first story “Yellow Bastard,” with Bruce Willis (Hostage and Die Hard) as Hartigan, a lonely and honest cop hoping to save a young girl from harm as his last hurrah before retiring. He battles serial rapist Roark Jr., played by Nick Stahl (Terminator 3 and In the Bedroom), who happens to be the son of a powerful senator.

Then, we move onto the next story, “The Hard Good-bye” (isn't it always!), with Mickey Rourke (Wild Orchid and Man on Fire) as Marv, who is a wild, huge and not a very handsome man (actually he is quite scary looking). Marv falls for a hooker named Goldie (his perfect woman), who was kind and nice to him, which is quite unusual in his world! While they were sleeping, she was mysteriously murdered and he is framed for the killing of Goldie. Oh how the plot thickens… He sets out for vengeance and winds up getting a lot more than he bargained for.

The final story is “The Big Fat Kill,” starring Clive Owen (King Arthur and Closer) as Dwight, a righteous, hard, reactive, tough guy. Also in this story is Benicio Del Toro (Traffic and 21) as Jackie Boy, an obnoxious, crooked cop. Their battle escalates into an all-out gang war.

Some of the characters are moved from one story to another, but for the most part, each stands on its own. There are too many stars to name all of them, but some are too unusual to omit. There are many cameo villains such as Powers Boothe (Senator Roark), Rutger Hauer (Cardinal Roark) and Michael Madson (Corrupt cop Bob). The most unusual are those villains who are cast against type, for example Elijah Wood as Kevin (OOOH, he's really BAD here) and Nick Stahl (He's BAD TOO!). Josh Hartnett is also in this category as a seductive hit man. Carla Gugino (Spy Kids and The One) is totally against type as a lesbian parole officer who is pretty much naked in most of her scenes. Let's not leave out Jessica Alba (Honey and Never Been Kissed), a stripper who is never nude, and Brittany Murphy (Uptown Girls), the not-so-innocent girl who starts all the trouble. This film is unusual, yet fun to watch, and is filled with many surprises.   

The Blonde: Sin City was like Pulp Fiction meets Dick Tracy meets Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow meets Jeffrey Dahmer meets The Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets Superman meets a guy in the mob I once dated. This film is a kick to watch, because of all the visual effects and its stunning and brilliant visual appearance. The exquisite usage of color techniques that crossed between black and white and red and blue were so cool! This film has a style that seems to pull you in from the get go. So Maven, do you think O.J. went to Johnny Cochran's funeral? He should have! It’s interesting to find out that Cochran was quite respected by his peers and seemed like such a good guy…HIS life had a bigger legacy after all, than just getting O.J. off.

The Maven: O.J. doesn't GO to funerals; he just creates them! I don't know WHERE to begin. Technically, Sin City is a fabulous picture with endlessly amazing high-style. It was aesthetically exciting with a thrilling undercurrent of morality. Rodriguez didn't just make a movie of Miller's graphic novels, he actually puts them right there on the screen.

The Blonde: By the way, Maven, sorry I was late to the screening of this film. I was getting a manicure. Why do they call it a MANICURE anyway? It should be called a fingernail makeover. A manicure should be a doctor for men…  Okay, back to Sin City. I loved the perfect casting… Everyone not only FIT the part but LOOKED the part. I really enjoyed the narrating of each hero's story, narrated by the hero. It added to the dimensions and mystery of the story as they spoke in detailed descriptions and sentences filled with many adjectives. In addition, the low key, tongue and cheek, Raymond Chandler-like, dry and understated humor is what really makes this film work for me. It made all the EXTREME blood and guts tolerable and even funny.

The Maven: … It was so hard getting in and out. My hip was always hurting and some days I couldn't even get my right leg up. I'm glad it's over!

The Blonde: Okay, Okay, I think I missed the first part of your prior statement. Are you talking about your love life?                                              

The Maven: No, you Blonde!  I switched automobiles from an S.U.V. to a Volvo sedan.



The Blonde: Mazel tov, and drive it in good health.  Thank goodness, so that means your love life is okay! Why do they call tending to one’s feet and toenails a PETACURE? It should be called a toe and foot makeover. A peticure should be a doctor for ones pets….. 

The Maven: A doctor for one’s pets is a veterinarian, and it is spelled P-E-D-I-C-U-R-E!!!

The Blonde: That's another thing, why do they call a VETERINARIAN a doctor for animals? It should be called a PET doctor. A veterinarian should be what we call a retired person who was in the armed services. Now… back to the film. Unlike all other heroes of the world, the writer (Miller) wrote the Bruce Willis hero (Hartigan) as sickly. It provided a touch of realism to the hero's character for a change, as all the rest of us (especially at his age) have some sort of health problem.

The Maven: Even better than a hero with a health problem was the fact that all three of the heroes were involved because they were defending women—not necessarily women who were helpless, but women who were wronged in some way. I liked that!

The Blonde: Okay, readers, I need to be serious for a second…

The Maven: Oh please don't!  You really might hurt yourself.

The Blonde:  Ouch, ouch! I don't want to get into my views on the Terri Schiavo situation but… I do want to address the problem that got her into this tragic mess in the first place. Why has no one addressed the serious problem of bulimia or anorexia? With the unrealistic, perfect bodies of the movie stars and models (oh why be modest, AND the Blonde and the Maven) flashing daily in front of the faces of teenagers, it makes most woman feel imperfect and find themselves being pulled into these very serious eating disorder illnesses. It is truly dangerous and ONE of THE important lessons that should be learned from Terri's life and death. Children and young woman (even men) should be educated on the dangers of this life-threatening illness. Okay, I am finished! You're right, I did hurt myself! My head hurts now. But this topic was worth the pain.

The Maven: I'm glad you focused on this subject and not the political aspect of whether or not they should have allowed her to die.

The Blonde: By the way, Maven, it's the strangest thing, after all these years, my high school sweetheart got in touch with me this week, online.  

The Maven: How many years has it been?

The Blonde: Since I graduated high school? Eight…

The Maven: A-HAA, SURE IT WAS?

The Blonde: I wonder what his reason for contacting me is?

The Maven: Maybe to take you to your 10-year reunion! OR, MAYBE TO SEE IF YOU ARE IN MENOPAUSE?? HA HA HA HA HA HA!

The Blonde: HA HA HA HA… Unlike you, I have decades until I have to worry about that!! And… why DO they call it MENOPAUSE? It should be called Hot-flash-world! Menopause should be the word for the pauses in-between men…. By the way, everyone, next year Elton John is coming out (no pun intended) with a new Broadway musical based on Ann Rice’s movie and novel, Interview with a Vampire and is calling it Lestat… SOUNDS GREAT!  It's definitely time for a NEW Phantom!!
The Maven: By the way, I can't believe the gas!

The Blonde: Oh, I am so sorry!  I had a huge bowl of chili, cheese and onions for lunch…

The Maven: I was talking about the high rising prices of gasoline.

The Blonde: NEVER MIND… Okay, then PLEASE omit my last comment….And why do they call it a CAT scan? It should be called 3-D pictures of people's organs. A CAT scan should be a scanning device that tells the customer what a cat cost.

The Maven: Okay, that's it…I don't care! I just can't take this anymore! What is with you this week? This Royal Wedding is REALLY stressing you out!  Go have some coffee. A CAT scan is a Computerized Axial Tomography Scan and NOTHING WHATSOEVER AT ALL TO DO WITH CATS.

The Blonde: OKAY, you made your point. You're also right, about me being stressed over the royal wedding, AND I am NOT GOING!  I don't care how much CHARLES or the QUEEN beg me to go!

The Maven: Charles is too busy whispering about reporters he doesn't like to even think about BEGGING you to come to his wedding.

The Blonde: Fine then, what about the Queen?

The Maven: May I return to discussing the film?

The Blonde: GA-HEAD! What do you want me to do, BEG??

The Maven: Did you know that the Director's Guild would not allow Rodriguez to give Miller a co-directing credit so he resigned from the guild? Rodriguez is quoted as saying, “The only time I've had problems it was the artist's guild, not the studio.” Another gem of information is that, over the years, Frank Miller has turned down a dozen offers to bring his graphic novel to the screen. One of those was to Rodriguez, who has been a fan of Sin City since its creation. The director finally convinced him when he brought him to a test shoot, which ended up being the first shot of the movie.

The Blonde: Well, aren't you just a fountain of information. Why do they call a lot of information a fountain?

The Maven: I WILL NOT answer you, but if you liked the last bit of info… Did you know that the Priest in the confessional was Frank Miller?

The Blonde: Of course I DID!

The Maven: YOU DID NOT! I recommend this movie for its originality. Its storylines will hold your interest and its characters will touch you. It is, however, very violent, vulgar, and gory, and some of the subject matter is distasteful (no pun intended). No one under the age of 16 should see this film. I rate it an A for its Astonishing visuals. 

The Blonde: I DID SO KNOW ABOUT THE PRIEST!  If you enjoy your movies with LOTS of blood, guts, violence, killing, killing, killing, broken off body parts, heads flying off and beautiful girls, then you will LOVE this film…You will also love a football game for that matter. Because of the clever writing and delicate humor, all of the above surprisingly did not offend me. I enjoyed Sin City and rate it a solid B+. For your snacks go ahead and have some popcorn and Raisinets. Enjoy!

P. S.: If you want to see a pleasant little movie, go and see Miss Congeniality 2. Sandra Bullock is just so darn likeable and Regina King has a chance to show off her comedic skills for a change.
P.S. Again: A movie that wouldn't be a bad idea to miss is Woody Allen's Melinda and Melinda. Woody has some greats and some bombs. This one is a bomb, or in other words, a REAL weapon of mass destruction.  Two future movies that might be worth your while are Cinderella Man and Willie Wonka… See you at the movies!

The Blonde and the Maven want to extend our sympathy, prayers, love, warmest wishes and a heartfelt goodbye to The Pope, Johnny Cochran and Terri Schiavo.

Miami Jewish Film Festival
A Complete Success

The 8th annual Miami Jewish Film Festival, presented by The Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education, offered an exciting mixture of film topics, styles and genres. The New Times called it, “the most international” of our city’s film festivals bringing various interpretations on historic events, family interaction and cultural diversity.

French Director Steve Suissa opened the Miami Jewish Film Festival with his bittersweet film, Le Grand Role, a tender tale about the importance of living fully and loving deeply. Following the screening, a gala reception was held at the Alfred I. Dupont Building kicking off nine-days of award-winning features films, documentaries and educational forums.

“Film is an extraordinary medium for helping us understand who we are, our history, culture, art and literature, to feel connected to our own experience and community and to the lives of others,” said Ellen Wedner, Festival Director.

Judaic Art Collection Honors Film Festival
Bernard Markowicz, Director of the Opera Gallery Director in Bal Harbour, hosted a champagne reception honoring the major sponsors of the Festival. After the showing of the French film, The Birch Tree Meadow, starring Anouk Aimee, guests moved on to the gallery, to celebrate the Festival’s success while viewing the magnificent Judaic art collection of original paintings and sculpture that Markowicz assembled in honor of the event. 

The festival concluded with an engaging breakfast forum on American Jewish film followed by a day of sold-out screenings. “We couldn’t be happier,” said Wedner. “Our long time supporters and film goers joined new attendees to make the festival such a success.”

For information on future Miami Jewish Film Festival events, call 305-576-4030.
 1. Filmmaker Mic Criben, Festival Director Ellen Wedner, and French Director Steve Suissa
 2. CAJE Executive Coordinator Roberta Shevin and Gala Chair Rhoda Levitt
 3. CAJE President Dr. Chaim Botwinick and GMJF Executive Director Jacob Solomon

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