“Sin City: A Dame To Kill For”

It’s all about the stylish look of the 2005 original, thanks to returning director Robert Rodriguez and co-dirsctor/comic book writer Frank Miller, giving us intertwining stories with a star-studded cast.

What a fun movie to watch- the coolest actioner of the summer and maybe of the year!! So so stylish, interspersing the black and white film noir effect with splashes of brilliant color- making the film and the pulpy violence comic booky and thus more entertaining than gruesome , though some of the violence is pretty hardcore. Not for the kids at all. This one is a very hard R with lots of violence and nudity.

Bruce Willis returns as the ghost watching over his beloved stripper Nancy, again played by Jessica Alba who remains a PG-type stripper. Think “Maxim” , though I think they even show more. But what a money shot she has at the end!!!

Mickey Rourke opens the film , returning as Marv, who gets his revenge on trust-fund college kids who set homeless people afire just for kicks. You don’t want to piss off Marv !!!

Jospeh Gordon-Levitt joins the cast as a young card shark who humiliates the sinister Senator Roark, played by the returning Powers Boothe.

Also returning: Rosario Dawson and Jamie King.

Among the newcomers with the biggest roles in the film: Josh Brolin and a mostly naked Eva Green (she made her film debut nude in the 2003 film “The Dreamers” with her most well-known roles in “Casino Royale”, “300: Rising” and “Dark Shadows). What a hot couple- and she’s the film standout as the ultimate femme fatale, who also seduces a police detective, played by Christopher Meloni . Jeremy Piven is his partner.

Ray Liotta and Juno Temple have a brief but very fun tryst that doesn’t end well. Lady Gaga has an even briefer but well-played role as a sexy waitress.

The only real waste: the 3-D. And those glasses are so annoying to wear, not to mention the extra cost.

I loved this film – it’s one of the few you must must must see on the big screen.

4 stars

“If I Stay”

The latest teen weeper. But oh- so romantic.

Based on Gayle Forman’s Y.A. best-seller, Chloe Grace Moretz (of “Kick-Ass” and “Carrie” fame) spends much of the movie in a coma , with her between life-and-death spirit eavesdropping on the loves ones who gather around her.

Will she stay or will she go? With music at the heart of this movie, the Clash’s “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” was ironically left off the soundtrack.

Moretz plays Mia Hall, a Juilliard-bound , shy cellist who falls in love with an on-the-verge of stardom rocker, played by Jamie Blackley (a mostly unknown who had a role in “Snow White And The Huntsman”). Mia’s loving and very cool rocker parents every kid wishes they had are played by Joshua Leonard ( ”Higher Ground” and “Hump Day”) and Mireille Enos (a ringer for Leslie Mann and best known for tv’s “The Killing”) with Stacy Keach as her grandfather.

The biggest issues in Mia’s life: her first love and whether she gets into the legendary Juilliard school. Til a tragic accident hits. Chloe Grace Moretz easily carries the film- she’s one fine young actress. Actually , all of the acting is right on the money .

Melodramatic it is. And affected in the way it’s shot with the heavy use of color in the “spirit” scenes. But still effective. The targeted Y.A. audience won’t be disappointed.

The music, with everything from Sonic Youth to Bach, is tremendous. They had me at the opening scene with music by The Dandy Warhols.

Bring the tissues kids!!!

2 stars


“The One I Love”

A “Twilight Zoney” love story

I can’t tell you too much about this Elizabeth Moss (“Mad Men”)/ Mark Duplass romancer because it would spoil it for you. This one’s straight out of “Twilight Zone” territory. I promise- it’s like no other love story you’ve ever seen.

Duplass and Moss star as a married couple whose therapist prescribes a weekend getaway in Ojai, California where weird things start happening. Really weird.

I really can’t say much more. Other than I positively loved this movie and HIGHLY recommend it. Don’t wait for Netflix of VOD because then the surprise will be lost.

Moss is just fantastic in her first movie starring role.

Oh- and this film has the best use of a film-ending song : “This is dedicated to the one I love” by the Mamas and Papas. You will never hear this song the same way again.

4 stars