May 02, 2005

Movies of the week(end)

Saw two movies this weekend -- Sin City and Hitchhiker's Guide. Hitchhiker's Guide was quite enjoyable, albeit not brilliant. The pacing was a little wonky, some of the new bits didn't really work (Ford's interaction with his enormous ex-girlfriend seemed particularly gratuitous), and some of the truncated versions of old bits were noticeably not as good as they were originally. I mean, I don't mind jettisoning jokes for the sake of an adaptation -- it's not like I haven't heard the jokes before, after all -- but to bother including the exchange "The plans were on display," "On display? They were in the basement," and stop there without going on to the "beware of the leopard" bit is lame. (Equally aggravating, but in a different way: when Humma Kavula is preaching, he says "alliterative" when he means "onomatopoeic.")

That said, the casting was inspired all around, the Guide animations were excellent, most of the new bits worked, and when things clicked, they clicked really well. I was amused throughout, even if there are plenty of plot holes that could be retrospectively picked at.

So that was Sunday night. The way Saturday worked out, I had dinner by myself at the restaurant next to the theater (Circles) and Rose met me before "Sin City". And let me say, they really know how to make a solo diner feel welcome. To start with, no one noticed me after I came in the front door -- there was no one at the maitre d' station, and none of the waitpeople took any notice of me, even as I inched my way toward the dining room to make myself more obvious. Finally I walked into the dining room to try to get someone's attention. I got all the way across before a waitress asked, "Can I help you?"

"Yes, I'd like a table for one."

Now, I knew this would be a bit of a problem because they only had four-person tables available. Still, this wasn't really the prime dinner-eating hour, so it wouldn't have been the end of the world to seat me at one of them. Instead she took me toward the back room, which is a room I don't love since it isn't so well trafficked by the waitstaff, but I was willing to put up with it, since I wasn't going to require all that much attention. An individual pizza and a glass of wine and let me read, thank you, that will be all.

Anyway, before we got to the back, we were waylaid by another waitperson. He pulled my waitress aside and a whispered exchange ensued during which it was revealed that the back room was closed. "But he's ONLY ONE PERSON," my waitress hissed. "And I've only got fours!" After a third person consulted on this intractable problem, I was delivered to a table near the bar, where it may have been noisy and distracting for one who wanted to read, for all I know, but I put my MP3 player on.

So. Sin City. Amazing. This really is the first comic book adaptation I've seen that totally looks like a comic book. I haven't read the Sin City graphic novels, so I can't comment on the movie's success as an adaptation of its source material, but I'm quite familiar with Frank Miller's brand of grimness, and the movie skimped on it not at all. It's a violent, disturbing, sour movie that is visually exhilarating and absolutely gripping. I'd buy the DVD today if it were available.

Posted by Francis at 04:12 PM | TrackBack

I missed the "beware of the leopard" speech as well, but Todd pointed out to me later that if the writers had left that in the otherwise (mostly) normal beginning of the movie, it might have felt out of place. Still, I'm holding out hope that it will turn up in the DVD extras.

Posted by: Debby at May 2, 2005 04:59 PM

There were so many instances of setup-without-punchline though, that I really started to wonder what was going on. (Another example, the "So I write poetry because deep down inside this heartless exterior..." dialogue.) Did the screenwriters just not like Adams' humor? And they replaced it with lines like "Marvin, could you give me a hand?" I swear, the next time I hear a character say that line to a robot, I think I'm gonna strangle someone.

Posted by: David. at May 3, 2005 09:49 AM

The Sin City DVD is available.

Just go to Canal Street.

Posted by: Tom at May 3, 2005 11:49 PM