Caffeinated Clint : Smells like Lean Spirit



So Marvel Studios have apparently offered man-of-the-moment Mickey Rourke $250 grand to play the villain in “Iron Man 2”.

Think having someone lay adhesive rope from your landing strip to your rear end is a joyous experience?

What about wrapping rope tightly around your skin so it grips your flesh?

Or maybe fancy having your testicles chained to the base of a trampoline whilst someone jumps on it?

Yeah? Well come on, down!

If you’re a sadomasochist, you’ll definitely want to check out Frank Miller’s The Spirit! I promise you, you’ll be in cant-walk-from-the-pain heaven!

The sad part? All of us could’ve potentially gotten off on this movie – if only Lionsgate had hall the gonads to fire the director.

I interviewed Frank Miller a year or so back for “300” – which he, of course, wrote with his golden fuckin’ pen – and found him to be a smart, cluey and very interesting guy. Seemed like he was going to be the next big thing in movies. I pretty much welcomed anything he’d get involved in from then on out.…

….. and then I saw “The Spirit”.

Still showing in about two or three theaters across the states, the visual cumbag is all bells and whistles – when it should be drums and trumpets. It shoots in ya face within the first five minutes, then leaves you sticky, unsatisfied and looking for a quick exit.

How could something with so much potential fuck us over!?

I mean, come on! – It’s a superhero movie, based on a terrific little 40s comic series by Will Eisner! It’s the visual team behind ‘’Sin City’’ – and is helmed by its co-director! It’s got an all-star cast including Samuel L.Jackson (OK, so Sam’s about as reliable as a cheap rubber these days but surely he’s still got a bit of that fire he had around “Pulp Fiction”-time, right!?), Scarlett Johansson, Eva Mendes and Jaime King!

As Corey Haim (drop ‘Jaw’ for effect) muttered in the unforgettable trailers for “License to Drive” – “What could possibly go wrong?” (besides dripping gummy drool all over Heather Graham’s frizzy hairdo, pal?)

Seems, a lot.

Take the boring bits of Tim Burton’s ‘’Batman’’ (and admit it, there were boring bits – bits that had you checkin out your watch, hoping Vicki Vale needed saving again soonish) – as well as that’s film score (I kid you not, someone ripped off Danny Elfman’s score! It sounds awfully similar!); the hammy eye-rolling performances of the ill-fated live-action “Super Mario Bros” (1992) movie, and a script that, if you didn’t know any better, seems to have been written by someone who was shown their pink-slip from “Galactica 1980” way-back-when – and you’ve got “The Spirit” – this year’s first contender for ‘film least deserving of a theatrical release’.

Proving he should write comic books – and not direct movies! – Frank Miller (he of such brilliant graphic novels as “The Dark Knight Returns” and “300”) gives in to audiences hungry for more superhero-action, following “The Dark Knight” and “Iron Man”, a film that’s likely got as much razzle-dazzle but far, far, far less class. But, I suppose it does have a guy in a mask….

“The Spirit” tells of a back-from-the-dead cop (a dull Gabriel Macht; can’t believe Lionsgate signed off on this guy!) whose arch enemy is a merciless gangster known as ‘The Octopus’ (Samuel L.Jackson). Johansson, Mendes and King are the eye-candy – you won’t even remember the names of their characters upon exiting the theater.

Miller’s responsible for this car crash – he has no idea how to shoot a movie, no idea how to work with actors, and seemingly no idea how to transfer words to the screen.

S&M parlors should really start playing this puppy in the waiting room. Patrons will love it! (Just wait, I’ll be quoted in a goddamn newspaper ad now. “[Cinema] patrons will love it!” – Clint Morris).

We asked Jaime King at the “My Bloody Valentine 3D” junket why she thinks the film flopped.

Naturally, and admirably, she vouched for the film, expressing her love for Mr. Miller. She did essentially say however that the film stood little chance in the wake of super-superhero-super hits like “The Dark Knight”.

People didn’t really love the film”, King says, continuing “But I think that people were expecting something different than what it was. People see The Dark Knight and see Iron Man, which are awesome films, but then they think all comic book movies are going to be like that. And this is more like a comic strip movie. Do you know what I mean? It was quirky and out there. And I don’t think people were ready for that.”

I agree – yes it was quirky, yes it’s out there, and maybe people weren’t ready for it. But it’s not that people aren’t ready for quirky and out-there (they’ve been packing the theaters for decades to see whatever mind-fuck David Lynch does next), it’s that they’re not ready for a return to the super-shitty comic book films of the 90s….. there’s a reason nobody remains caped wonder flicks “Blank Man”, “Meteor Man” and “Captain America”. Warren Beatty’s “Dick Tracy” might be seen as a comic strip movie, too – but that was entertaining. It had plot to go with its pixels. This is, well, this is… “Dick Tracy” without the Dick, castrated from the very first draft.

Frank Miller is an awesome writer – and I challenge anyone not to enjoy one of his literary offerings. As a filmmaker though, he leaves a lot to be desired. There was once upon a time I was actually looking forward to seeing his “Flash Gordon” movie, not to mention long-gestating “Sin City” sequel, but quite honestly, now, I’m about as eager to play Tetris on my cellphone. He’s truly blown it coming around the second corner (and somehow I don’t think we’ll be seeing that “Flash” movie, or “Sin” sequel, anytime soon – – who’ll want to write a cheque for Frank after this one opened in 9th place at the box office and earned a shitty $6.5 million over its opening weekend?).

Watch “The Dark Knight” on Blu-Ray again, kids.

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Caffeinated Clint
Clint is the creator, editor and maintainer of Moviehole. Loves David Lynch, David Fincher... actually, any filmmaker by the name of David.