CRIMSON TIDE (1995)
First of all, love the title. It suits you, baby, it really does.
This is a crackerjack little film, hitting hard, fast and on all the right cylinders. The script was credited solely to Michael Schiffer, but word is that a number of writers took a crack at this, not the least of which were Quentin Tarantino and Steve Zaillian. This might explain why you go from tense, end of the world dialogue to Star Trek and Silver Surfer references.
Tony finally finds his muse in Mr. Denzel Washington. Apparently, buried deep in the heart of a white man from the UK was an indignant black American. Denzel, as usual, is solid, as is most of the (great) assorted ensemble. This is such a character piece, it could almost be Twelve Angry Men on a boat. Let’s hope that doesn’t inspire someone to Crimson Tide: The Musical on broadway.
My one slight beef, cast wise, is with Gene Hackman. Yeah, he’s solid in this, but I kinda feel like for a man of his capabilities, he’s phoning it in just a bit. Maybe he’d already lost interest in film at this point. Considering that Hackman is easily one of the first actors I think of when I think of the seventies, the greatest decade for movies of all time, it’s a little sad that the nineties had him reduced to a bunch of generic snarling villain roles.
Sure, it isn’t Das Boot, but what is? I was entertained from through and through, even if the ending is a bit pat.
8 out of 10
WHITE SQUALL (1996)
Let’s get this out of the way, right off the bat: It’s Dead Poets Society on a boat. Now that we’ve mentioned the elephant in the room, we can move on.
This is a very Un-Ridley-like film, both in form and sensitivity. If I didn’t know better, and you told me that this was from the director of Blade Runner, I probably wouldn’t believe you.
Again, nice little ensemble. Well, I probably would’ve picked someone other than Scott Wolf for the lead. He’s like Tom Cruise, minus the charisma. Jeff Bridges is great in this; The temptation would be to go over the top, but he stays extremely sub-Dude.
Parts of it are cheesy as fuck, but I’m man enough to admit that I got a little choked up. Very entertaining, and strangely really makes me want to be on the water.
8 out of 10
THE FAN (1996)
Hollywood Chemistry Lesson: Darius Wolski and Robert DeNiro do not mix. They both have respectable, illustrious careers, but when they come together you get Hide And Seek and this piece of shit.
Respectively, they each both do a good job. Wolski shoots San Francisco beautifully, and DeNiro has got “Creepy Asshole” on lockdown. The blame for this lies with the script and direction. Most of the story is fairly subtle, but the last act is completely ridiculous and totally out of left field (Hi-yo!). Strangely, over the top is where Tony belongs, so it actually is the first two-thirds that end up being incongruous.
Music choices are pretty poor. DeNiro AND Rolling Stones? Scorsese should sue on principal. Also, is NIN the only edgy music that anyone had heard of in the mid-nineties? Extra-demerit for Seven having used Trent so well just a year previous.
The main things I liked were the Aaron Neville cameo, and DeNiro psychologically abusing children.
4 out of 10