movie film review | chris tookey
harsh reviews
An A to Z of the World's Deadliest Movie Reviews From Affleck
to Zeta Jones
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Renny Harlin
Director, Cutthroat Island (1995)
Who thought letting Harlin steer into Captain Blood territory was a sage idea? To a piece that's intended as a comic, tongue-in-cheek romp, he brings the same brutal, slo-mo pyrotechnics that lit up both his hits (Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger) and his biggest previous miss (The Adventures of Ford Fairlane). Between clockwork explosions that send scores of sniveling males flying on missile trajectories like so many Wile E. Coyotes, Harlin leaves poor, wet Davis to affect an all-for-one air despite witless ripostes on the order of “Do you think I was born last Wednesday?” Some sparks do glow between Davis and Matthew Modine. The chemistry never bubbles long, though, thanks to Harlin's disturbingly gore-minded sensibility. The Finnish born director is the son of a physician and a nurse, which may help explain why he's so fond of spicing the action with clinical cutaways to decayed cadavers, putrefying foodstuffs, and, most often, a treasure map printed on a hacked-off scalp. The light catches the clotted blood and the fine hairs along the edges just so. Somewhere, Errol Flynn is wincing.
(Steve Daly, Entertainment Weekly)
Renny Harlin never really spoke to me on Cutthroat Island. He spent a lot of his time just finding new ways to blow things up.
(Matthew Modine)
Director, Exorcist: The Beginning (2004)
Renny Harlin is kind of a like a poor man's Michael Bay, which is the political equivalent of saying that George W. Bush is the poor man's Dan Quayle. Basically, this means that no matter what he does, no matter what genre he happens to be in, his association with a film is apt to send shivers up and down your spine as though somebody just delivered the bad news that all your living relatives were killed in a plane crash... Apparently, now that Geena Davis has had twins, Harlin is taking his childless frustrations out on the world by torturing the little buggers in his films. What passes for sick in this film is a Nazi shooting a cute little girl in the head, a young boy possessed by the demon, and another being torn to shreds by hyenas... Exorcist: The Beginning lopes along like a rabbit with only two hind legs as Harlin struggles to deliver enough blood and gore to satisfy the studio. Ultimately, the film's big plot twist involves the brilliant ‘it's not this, but THAT’ swerve that could reasonably include virtually any imaginable explanation. Misfiring for roughly 100 minutes, Harlin finally decides to copy what he perceives made the first film scary, which in his mind, appears to consist entirely of the Linda Blair Halloween make-up kit.
(Mr Cranky, Mr Cranky Rates the Movies)
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