I’m not going to waste time jabbering on about how much fun I had watching KUNG FU HUSTLE and SIN CITY. These two aggressively entertaining, slapstick slices of super-violence kept me going through an otherwise useless Spring movie season. I’m not writing to defend these films' questionable morality and taste, in the hopes of representing them as something they are clearly not.

I want to spotlight this dubious, double feature because they are both worthy of something they will never even be considered for…Academy Award Nominations. Specifically, I would like to start the protest towards SIN CITY’s certain snub for Best Cinematography, and KUNG FU HUSTLE’s destined shut out in the category of BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS.

For SIN CITY, the case is rather obvious. Pick a shot. Any shot. Any frame of this movie and you will see visual cine-magic. It’s film noir, Black & White, with flashes of color, and highly stylized digital backdrops. The truest translation of a comic book artist’s vision brought to life.

Director/D.P. Robert Rodriguez took care in lighting his cast so that they weren’t swallowed up by the scenery. Everybody looks like a movie star (except maybe Nick Stahl, who’s not supposed to look very human…but he’s beautifully grotesque.) Had this been the look used for CINDERELLA MAN, I think a nomination would be a mortal lock. But this is SIN CITY. Expect it to be ignored.

The same bias applies to KUNG FU HUSTLE. Had this picture been STAR WARS: 1920’S CHINA with effects produced by ILM, it would be the current favorite to win. The sheer visual invention on display in filmmaker Stephen Chow’s dizzying slapstick, kung-fu extravaganza is a fresh blast of helium. For example...

There’s the simple trick of a woman who inhales an entire cigarette in one breath...

The inspired shot of a man stopping a bullet with his finger...

And some extravagant scenes where buildings are obliterated in one forceful blast.

Then we have the musicians…

In what might be the best single sequence this year, a pair of musical assassins show up playing notes that literally cut through the air. Sonic waves become deadly blades and more. With each attack, the effects become more and more imaginative.

And I should mention one very important thing. All of the digital effects in KUNG FU HUSTLE…don’t look digital. I’m not going to go so far as to suggest the effects look real, but in the unreality of the film’s world, the special effects blend seamlessly with the live action.

So rent SIN CITY because it’s one of the year’s best looking films. Rent KUNG FU HUSTLE because it contains some of the year's best visual effects. Then join me in fist shaking anger when the Oscar nominations are announced and these films are nowhere to be seen.


Blogger Jenice said...

This movie is a perfect adaptation of book that one can imagine. Extremely entertaining movie I have seen in decades. I have seen both of these movies but Sin City impressed me the most.
Watch Sin City Online

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