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Non-Review Review: Sin City – A Dame to Kill For

It is very hard to get the same trick to work twice.

When it arrived in cinemas, Sin City was a visceral punch to the gut. It was powerful and shocking, and utterly unlike anything that had ever been seen before. It had its fair share of problems, mostly inherited from Frank Miller’s source material, but it managed the rare treat of being incredibly raw and stylishly slick at the same time. Even years later, the images and characters from Sin City linger in the popular consciousness.

It would be too much to expect the same from Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, but the movie lacks the youthful energy that made the original such a classic and the memorable images that imprinted themselves on the collective imagination. Sin City arrived with a reckless irreverence and a whole new bag of tricks. Ultimately, A Dame to Kill For feels like an old dog, and you know what they say about those.

Green-eyed monster?

Green-eyed monster?

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Taking the Mickey: Vote Mickey Rourke No.1

They’re describing tomorrow’s election as one for the history books. The eyes of the world are on Ireland at the moment. However, my eyes are squarely on a dark horse candidate: Mickey Rourke. Bavaria Beer, the favoured beverage of many a young student, are running an Irish campaign based around the big screen icon – urging voters to put their faith in the Oscar-nominated lovable lug. I have to say, I actually think the campaign’s kinda cool. If only because I’ve always heard of advertising campaigns carried out by actors overseas, but it’s kinda cool to see one first hand in my own country. I realise that Rourke himself is probably unaware of the campaign, but it’s nice to know that the Irish election has garnered enough attention to attract this sort of wonderful parody.

All you Americans take note: you might have a surprise candidate in 2012. You can’t argue with the policies. Because Mickey might wrestle you if you do.

Note: I don’t actually drink myself, so don’t consider this an endorsement in any way shape or form. It’s just a reflection on an interesting advertising campaign.

When Does a Movie Star Become an Actor?

I think that most people would agree that there is a distinction between a “movie star” and “an actor”. I think that the great Nicholas Meyer offered a definition that fits quite well:

What’s the difference between an actor and a movie star? An actor is someone who pretends to be somebody else. A movie star is somebody who pretends that somebody else is them. Actors will change their face, will change their hair, will change their voice, will disappear into the role. A movie star doesn’t disappear.

That might sound quite harsh towards a “movie star”, but I think that you could argue that a movie star (if applied correctly) can add a certain amount of artistic weight to a film:

A movie star is someone whose past work enriches your experience of, and deepens your pleasure in, his or her present work. In other words, a movie star is someone whose baggage you want to carry.

I don’t mean that the terms are mutually exclusive insofar as they apply to a specific individual (indeed I can think of several performers who are both actors and movie stars), nor that it’s a fixed position (I can think of many individuals who have started out as what might be considered an “actor” before becoming a “movie star” in their own right). In fact, while it’s easy to think of any number of performers who have repositioned themselves as movie stars after beginning as actors, it’s somewhat rarer to see it happen the other way around. Is the road from actor to movie star a one-way trip?

Is it a rocky road to being taken seriously as an actor?

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Non-Review Review: The Expendables

Nostalgia is a double-edged sword. When it was mentioned that Sly Stallone would be putting together a dream team of action movie stand-bys – Jason Statham, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dolph Lundgren – our minds immediately go to a happy a place. We remember the joys of films like Rambo: First Blood or Die Hard or Total Recall. However, we forget that a great many of the films produced over that iconic era we look back to were also just plain terrible (or, at best, woefully mundane): Red Heat, Cobra, Tango and Cash, among many others. Sadly The Expendables stands more with the latter than the former. Which is a damn shame.

Sly managed a long and arduous shoot...

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Non-Review Review: Iron Man 2

Legacy. It’s all about legacy. What we leave for our children and what we inherit from our parents. Sometimes it’s bitterness and hatred, sometimes it’s more than we think. Iron Man as a concept is inherently linked to the Cold War and American foreign policy, so it’s a fitting theme for the sequel to tackle. Fathers and sons dominate the film, as does the simple and haunting fact that the now is shaped by the then. Some of us get to change the world, some of us simply leave big smoking craters behind us. Even the bad guy, a Russian, consciously evokes conflicts fading from memory that shaped our modern world.

Sometimes you just need to slow down and take a break...

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When Did The Oscars Become a Lifetime Achievement Award?

There’s been a fair amount of hub-bub (it’s a word – I swear!) about these year’s presumptive Academy Award winners. I’ve been following the Oscar race since early last year, and I was as surprised as anyone when Sandra Bullock’s name came into the race, first as a nominee and then as the sure-bet winner, for her dramatic turn in The Blind Side. I was also, I must admit, a little chuffed when the ever-loveable Jeff Bridges moved to the head of his pack for is own turn in Crazy Heart. However, I’ve noticed a lot of people talking about these two nominees and one question seems to be coming more than others: do those favouring these performers believe that they deserve to win for these roles, or simple that they deserve to win for years as solid and respectable actors? Do these roles just offer us a chance to recognise their longterm contributions? And is that necessarily fair?

Don't worry, Colin, your time will come...

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Backlash to Mickey Rourke’s Whiplash…

I’m on a bit of a comic book binge this week (it helps that Hollywood is churning out so many of the damned movies), and I couldn’t help but not with a wry smile on my face the internet response to the first pictures of Mickey Rourke as the villain (or “a” villian, given the ambiguous roles played by Sam Rockwell and Scarlett Johansson as a business rival and catsuit-wearing spy) in the new Iron Man film. There had been a lot of gossip about whether the loud-mouthed Oscar-nominated actor would be playing Whiplash or Crimson Dynamo. From what fans are saying about the image (appearing below), it appears he’s playing a weird amalgamation of both… and a few more to boot. Though most of fandom appears to have taken this pastiche in their stride, there are a few cynical souls remaining out there who are a little ticked off to see these characters revamped in such a strange way. However, mixing and matching and distorting is by no means anew thing when it comes to adapting iconic characters to the big screen.

It looks like someone has finally tamed Mickey Rourke's wild streak by making him wear an over-sized shock collar

It looks like someone has finally tamed Mickey Rourke's wild streak by making him wear an over-sized shock collar

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