"KEEP BUSTIN'."

Posts Tagged ‘Harris Yulin’

Cutthroat Island

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019

It took me nearly a quarter of a century to get around to giving CUTTHROAT ISLAND (1995) a shot. Certified by the Guinness Book as the biggest financial bomb of all time, it got poor reviews, bankrupted Carolco Pictures (FIRST BLOOD, T2) before it even came out, diverted director Renny Harlin (following DIE HARD 2 and CLIFFHANGER) from the A-list and failed to create momentum for its revolutionary notion of giving a woman the lead role and top billing on a big budget summer adventure.

But I had reason to be suspicious of its reputation. Many of Harlin’s ‘90s movies, particularly his also-starring-Geena-Davis followup THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT, deserve more credit than they got at the time. And there’s definitely precedent for mob mentality panning of movies that have been heavily covered as over budget, out of control productions. This had the additional gossip-bait of the star and director being married to each other, causing mean-spirited speculation that one was only hired because of the other one’s clout. (For example, an informative 1996 Independent article about what went wrong manages to refer to them as “Renny Harlin and his demanding wife.”) On top of all that, you know how it is with what I call the Old Timey Adventure genre. They almost always lose money, even when they’re great. That’s just how it is. (read the rest of this shit…)

My Soul To Take

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

tn_mysoultotakeI don’t know if “good” is an adjective I would apply to Wes Craven’s little-seen latest horror movie (his first writing/directing joint since NEW NIGHTMARE). Other than the synonyms for “strange” there aren’t many adjectives that really do the job here. So it’s hard to explain what this movie is like, exactly, but I’ll try.

MY SOUL TO TAKE looks like a pretty typical glossy teen horror movie, with characters that could be in FREDDY VS. JASON or a FINAL DESTINATION, plus your standard Marco Beltrami score infused with an occasional rock song. Although it’s not a remake, a sequel, a prequel or a prequmake it does fit your modern mainstream horror mold by being released in last-minute-post-production-3D (LMPP3).

Yeah, it looks normal from a distance, but when you get up close it’s clear that something’s off here. (read the rest of this shit…)

Scarface

Friday, April 22nd, 2005

Shit man, there’s no other movie like SCARFACE, is there? Even the original SCARFACE, I bet, is nothing like SCARFACE. We got several high quality American gangster epics, but they’re always about gangsters of the Italian American persuasion and usually in New York, New Jersey or Las Vegas or somewhere. This one feels so unique because it’s about Cuban-Americans and it takes place in Miami. It has a real strong sense of place. Its wicked heart pumps the tainted blood of that godforsaken Floridian peninsula, even though they got chased out of there and had to film most of the movie on neutral territory in L.A.

This is the perfect exaggerated painting of the 1980s and the cocaine wars. The good old days. And it even makes you root for this psychotic egomaniac shithead, Tony Montana (Al Pacino [Scarface]). ‘Cause first you see him as an immigrant getting hassled by the man, working as a dishwasher and tough talking his way into bigger work, dropping off some money for some cocaine. His higher ups (small time hoods themselves) don’t believe in him. But when the dealers pull a cross on Tony and his friends and it turns into an insane bloodbath (literally, come to think of it, because alot of the mayhem takes place in the shower), all involved must admit that he handles it with, uh, flair. He leaves with the money and the yayo (a term now popular because of the movie), tells the middlemen to fuck off and brings it all straight to the area boss, who is very impressed. This is typical of his quick rise up the totem pole. Initiative, elbow grease, bootstraps, etc. (read the rest of this shit…)