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'Sin City: A Dame to Kill For': Most critics aren't won over by the film

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(Read caption) 'Sin City: A Dame to Kill For' stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

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A sequel to the 2005 film “Sin City,” based on Frank Miller's comics of the same name, about the crime-ridden fictional town of Basin City, hits theaters today. What are critics saying? 

So far, the film “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” which is co-directed by Miller and Robert Rodriguez and stars Josh Brolin, Jessica Alba, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Mickey Rourke, among others, has been mostly negatively received by critics, currently holding a score of 44 out of 100 on the review aggregator website Metacritic. By contrast, the first “City” film has a score of 74. The Monitor reviewed the first movie positively as well, awarding it three stars and writing that viewers “feel pulp pages turning under your fingers and taste grit as cars fly through the air” and noting that it boasted an “A-list cast.” Rodriguez and Miller co-directed the first “City” movie as well.

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Like the first “City” film, the sequel is a collection of various stories set in Basin City, including that of gambler Johnny (Gordon-Levitt) and private investigator Dwight McCarthy (Brolin).

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Chicago Sun-Times writer Richard Roeper did receive the movie positively, calling it “dark [and] exhilarating.”

“Most of the film is in spectacular, stunning shades of black and white, but every once in a while there’s a gorgeous flash of color,” he wrote. “’Sin City’… still ranks among the finest graphic novel adaptations ever… What a lineup of actors, all pouring themselves into the ‘Sin City’ universe and bringing a level of authenticity to their work, even against the super-stylized sets and special effects that make us feel as if we’re immersed in the pages of Miller’s iconic series.”

But Los Angeles Times reviewer Betsy Sharkey found the movie “visually stunning but emotionally vapid.”

“Its splendiferous comic book cast [is] mostly squandered," she wrote. "‘A Dame to Kill For’ has not one but countless tough acts to follow. Still that doesn't mean we weren't hoping Miller and co-director Robert Rodriguez would find a way to up the creative ante. In some ways they have, in many more they haven't… The melodrama is florid beyond belief – and without relief.” 

And New York Times critic Jeannette Catsoulis found that “this marriage of comic-book panels and hard-boiled dialogue has a heaviness that can’t be explained solely by its cynicism or lack of wit.”