Archive for Tony Scott

THE HUNGER :: FANTASY :: 021

Posted in Drama, Fantasy, Horror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 11/23/2009 by joycereview


The Hunger, a film by Tony Scott (Man On Fire, The Taking of Pelham 123) is a vampiric work of art that is, in many ways, a few pints [of blood. (enter maniacal laughter here)] away from a masterpiece.  Certainly for Mr. Scott, this film is one of his most creative and interesting pieces and often gets overlooked due to the Hollywood appeal of  his other films like: Top Gun, Days of Thunder, Crimson Tide and Deja Vu.  Tony Scott has an obvious penchant for creating stylized, and hard-hitting action, but in The Hunger, we see a softer, less commercial, and certainly more seductive quality.  This, of course, gives us artists something to “sink our teeth into.”

The film begins in hard-rocking goth fashion, with the song “Bela Legosi’s Dead”* by the English band Bauhaus, and feature’s a stunningly lascivious nightcap between our two vampires (John and Miriam) and their victims (classically 1980’s with leather and “flock of seagulls” hair).  Miriam (Catherine Deneuve) is a 2,000 year old vampire of Egyptian origins whose centuries-old relationship with companion John (David Bowie) is on decline.  Several hundred years after Miriam’s love-bite, John comes down with a condition of rapid aging and, as a race to a cure, seeks out Dr. Sarah Roberts (Susan Sarandon), a specialist in premature aging.  After John withers to nothing, Miriam finds a new partner in Ms. Roberts, but is Miriam’s effort in vein/vain?

Arguably one of the most visual and stylistic pieces in vampiric film history, The Hunger is the byproduct of an ingenious formula.  The acting is superb, Catherine Deneuve, “the grande dame” of french cinema is ravishingly elegant and mysterious, and each scene is highly polished in the way only a young Tony Scott knows how.

That’s one of the beauties of youth – that a young director’s (39) first feature film hold with it a vibrant, adroitly creative energy (like Sam Mendes’ debut, American Beauty).  However, to many (including myself) the plot begins to slacken once Bowie’s character is set to rest.  In a short time, we are able to witness and appreciate John’s joie de vivre and passionate companionship with Miriam.  John’s departure from the film seems only to set the stage for the sherry-influenced lesbian seduction which, although quite smoldering (even in 2009 standards) becomes one of the film’s last memorable parts.

You’ll be back.  When the hunger knows no reason! And then you’ll need to feed, and you’ll need me to show you how!

The Hunger is a visually-stunning, but often highly-underrated film that is a must-see for fans of vampire movies and films that happen to encapsulate the visual stylings of its time.  However, for most audiences (especially the ‘philistine-types’ [you know who you are] with little appreciation for the talents of Deneuve, Bowie and Sarandon) the movie will be amorpheus (this is not a reference to The Matrix) and will drag at parts.  I found it to be intriguing, sometimes chilling, and moreover, quite “to die for.”

Have a happy Fangs-giving everybody!

Stay tuned Wednesday night, when I unleash the review for part deux of the Twilight Series, New Moon.

*The reference and use of the song “Bela Legosi’s Dead” is notable, as Bela Legosi, the Hungarian actor that became the original Dracula in the 1931 classic.

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THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123 :: ACTION :: 015

Posted in Action with tags , , , , , on 11/09/2009 by joycereview

5beartaking_of_pelham123Tony Scott had me at hello.  But here we are, halfway in our conversation and I want to say [as I look down at my watchless wrist], “Jeepers! Would you look at the time.  I’m late for a thing.”  Top Gun was the first R-rated movie that my parents let me see.  I got to see fighter jets and I was introduced to the french kiss.  Four years later, he even momentarily smoothed over my distain for Nascar racing when he made Days of Thunder.  At the age of 65, he’s still at the top of his game when it comes to blowing back our hair with sheer, unadulterated speed.  I always knew that I could turn to Tony Scott when I felt, “The need for speed”… and apparently he can even do it with trains.

The Taking of Pelham 123, is a remake of the 1974 film of the same name (alternate spelling; One Two Three) and features two of Hollywood’s premier actors, John Travolta and Denzel Washington.  Denzel plays Walter Garber, a MTA dispatcher assigned to Railway Control when train Pelham 123 is hijacked by a man calling himself Ryder (Travolta).  Ryder demands $10 million (in 100 dollar bills) within an hour, and tells Garber that he’ll kill a passanger each minute that they are late.

This film shows clearly that the making a movie is a team effort and can’t rest on the abilities of one Mr. Tony Scott.  He was, however, a very naughty boy in allowing such unneeded and unrealistic crash scenes.  You’d think that the NYPD would be much more careful in its transportation of $10 million greenbacks.  And I thought the streets were closed down?  New York’s “finest” still managed to crash 3 times, with the final wreck coming from an ambulance no doubt… that t-bones the speeding prowler and knocks it so hard that it can no longer conform to the rules of physics and gravity… they tumble, log-roll-fashion through the intersection, off a bridge, landing on an underpass to be met by on-coming traffic.  Ouch.

As much as I like Travolta and Washington, they weren’t right for this movie (at least this script).  Denzel can be a tremendous force if given the right role (ex. Glory), but here we get apple sauce when we asked for curly fries.  Travolta spends most of the movie acting tyrannical and forcefully authoritative.  But I don’t know if it’s just me, but I can sometimes tell (without even listening to them) if they are a true-blooded bad ass.   Travolta is Danny Zuko, Tony Manero, and Vincent Vega.  Now Harvey Keitel, or Samuel L. Jackson; either one of these would have made a much better Ryder.

Oh yeah, and when an Army Ranger has the guts to step in front of a madman with a gun, just to get shot, he should have the guts to try and take the gun from the lunatic’s hand, methinks.  All in all, good action and soundtrack… no depth or real substance.  Strongly mediocre.  Your thoughts?