Another month, another film based on a comic book.
Yes, it's Sin City, and yet again we're all waiting with baited breath and fingers crossed, praying to all that is holy that they'll actually pull it off this time.
So what have the critics got to say?
Well we're off to a cracking start in The Times where it's four stars from Wendy Ide who deems the film a "stylistically dazzling adaptation".
According to Wendy Sin City does include "elements that would attract criticism in another, less assured, movie make perfect sense in this hard-boiled, bullet-splattered world." From which we can assume that Wendy really likes a bit of gore. Hurray for Wendy!
The only thing that spoils it for Ide though is the last portion of the film, which just makes the whole thing too long: "two hours is an awfully long time to spend as a tourist in a place like Sin City."
As we travel to the Guardian, the film to drops a star as Pete Bradshaw sums up the whole project as "a flagrant pulp noir, a deeply unwholesome guignol fantasy." We think that's a good thing but we're not 100% sure.
"The comic-book style, the stark framing, the Runyonesque dialogue, the hallucinatory design and strange mix of heartless gore and choked-up sentiment are all meticulously imitated rather than lived," says Pete (who's never been the biggest fan of tech-heavy films), before going on to say what every other comic fan will probably think: "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and From Hell didn't work out. Sin City is certainly better, but not by that much."
Finally we get to the Independent, and by now we’re down to a measly two stars.
"A grisly array of high-tar, blood-spattered, steel-tipped violence," says Anthony Quinn, "the dialogue sounds as though it were written for - and possibly by - a 14-year-old boy." Being a bit snotty this week aren't we Tony? And it gets worse when Quinn decides to take us on a trip back to the 'good old days':
"Time was when movie-makers, even laws-unto- themselves such as Sam Peckinpah, could be trusted to examine the consequences of living every moment in mortal danger: violence meant something more to them than simple connoisseurship. "Yeesh," mutters Owen as he surveys another atrocity. That's about as complicated a reaction as you'll hear in this fiesta of cruelty."
Oh well, we'll have to pin all our hopes on Batman Begins we guess.
This week's second film is also something which has been developed due to cultish devotion in another medium: The League of Gentlmen's Apocalypse.
And again it looks like the transference has not been a smooth one. The film only garners three stars in The Times where it's dubbed "sporadically very funny, combining Pythonesque invention with something unsettling, freakish and slightly grubby, redolent of the Gentlemen’s unique vision."
Bt unfortunately the feature-length version "never succeeds in feeling like a coherent film, more a loosely strung together series of gags, innuendos and sketches."
And it gets worse: just two stars in the Independent, where despite the fact that "No one could doubt the maniacal spirit of invention that lies behind the grotesque goings-on," there are undoubtedly some gremlins which have arisen in the process of "duplicating the show's sketch-based format over the length of a feature."
Apparently, "those who know nothing of the TV series will be perfectly confounded by its through-the-looking-glass antics, while [and here comes the inevitable pun] fans will perhaps wonder if these Gentlemen aren't playing way out of their league."
To drive the final nail in the League's coffin are just two more stars from the Guardian.
"Perhaps only hardcore fans of the TV comedy The League of Gentlemen are going to find this enjoyable or even comprehensible," says Pete Bradshaw, echoing the Independent, "[this is a] chaotic and almost insanely self-indulgent film, though never quite boring, and sprinkled with decent lines and sight gags of the quality we have come to expect from the original show."
Londonist should note here that we managed to see a preview of this film last week at which most of The League... were present. They stated that their aim with the film was to make it accessible for an audience who had never seen the TV show. They obviously haven't done this and most of the broadsheet criticisms are right: the result is a little muddled. Although we wouldn't deter people from renting this on DVD when it comes out.
Lastly for this week then is the 'drug addicts do Dublin' film Adam and Paul.
Despite being "not the most upbeat piece of cinema," this gets four stars from The Times where Wendy Ide calls it "very impressive" and "a scabrous comedy with more than a touch of Beckett...showing a side to Dublin that the tourist boards would prefer you didn’t see."
It's a matching set of four stars in the Independent where Anthony Quinn is pleased to see that "the film never allows sentiment to cloud the view," and goes on to praise both the director and the key performances:
In the profane dialogue and aimless routines of the social outcast one may detect traces of James Kelman and Irvine Welsh, with a pinch of Beckett's Waiting for Godot thrown in. But Abrahamson has made this tragicomic tale his own, and the performances of O'Halloran and Murphy lend a pathos that is raw to the touch
Pete Bradshaw is a little less generous in the Guardian with just three stars, but none the less he notes that Adam and Paul "has an impressive conviction [and] it also boasts strong performances from its two leads."
"The movie never glamorises drugs or tries to make its comedy on the subject dishonestly flippant," says Pete before summarising the film as "not an easy watch, but a worthwhile film.".
So on to a special 'horror edition' of the film news...no reason, we just felt in a horrory mood.
Fans of London-based horror movies should note that London Voodoo gets a Region 1 DVD release this week. If you haven't seen it we can tell you the basic plot: A workaholic banker relocates his family to London whereupon his wife discovers two bodies in a small voodoo-themed tomb in their basement. Cue lots of possession and exorcisms!
Nobody does genre pictures quite like the Russians, which is why we're quite excited about seeing Wolfhound. Billed as "a big historical vampire hunter film" this should tie in nicely with the release of Elizabeth Kostovas' novel, The Historian (you can see the trailer for Wolfhound here (AVI file).