December 28th, 2008

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

"The Spirit" lacks soul

One film that will not make the top ten list will be "The Spirit," by comic book artist turned movie director Frank Miller. Based on the Will Eisner’s comic book of the same name, **The Spirit** was created in 1940 and was a congruence of popular genres of the time; gangster noir, romantic comedies and caped crusading heroes with masks. Frank Miller faithfully captures the tone and atmosphere of Will Eisner’s literary work.

The film collapses like a house of cards when it does not follow the Aristotelian rules of drama; creating a cohesive narrative and character development. "The Spirit" opens with the hero (Gabriel Macht) being summoned by the police to fight the crime lord, Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson). After a fight in either a swamp or a sewage basin, the Octopus gains the upper hand. To complicate matters for the Spirit, his old flame, Sand Seref (Eva Mendes) returns to the old neighborhood to steal the same thing that the Octopus wants. Two hours later the conflict of "The Spirit" is resolved and , based on the box office results, for forever.

A fan of the comic book genre, Samuel L. Jackson gives an energetic performance as The Octopus and steals the show. One could hear the audience members wait in anticipation for the next scene featuring the Octopus. While flamboyant when wearing a samurai or a Nazi uniform, Jackson earns his biggest belly laugh by simply saying ;

“I have got egg on my face! I have got EGG on my FACE!”

As the femme fatale, Eva Mendes reveals just enough curvy nudity to keep a middle school boy interested in her. Sadly the leading man, Gabriel Macht, does not generate enough interest in the character to sustain a "Spirit" franchise without an egg covered Octopus.
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

"Hellboy the Golden Army" has much food for the soul

One film that might make next week’s top ten list is "Hellboy 2 the Golden Army," recently released on DVD for the holiday season. This sequel reunites the original cast and crew. Lacking the pretentious nature of "The Sprit," "Hellboy 2 the Golden Army" presents a pulpy narrative involving Hellboy (Ron Perlman) battling an invincible army of golden robots.

"Hellboy 2 the Golden Army" works because director Guillermo Del Toro confidently meshes outrageous situations with human motivations. One memorable sequence features Hellboy dueling a Godzilla-sized vegetable while holding an infant in his arms. Like a fireman after a rescue, Hellboy is not hailed a hero, but is second guessed by an ungrateful crowd. "Hellboy 2 the Golden Army" contains multiple thoughtful scenes that provides a spotlight on humanity, a quality that is lacking in "The Spirit."