The Miami Herald from Miami, Florida on July 12, 1991 · 147
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The Miami Herald from Miami, Florida · 147

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Miami, Florida
Issue Date:
Friday, July 12, 1991
Page:
147
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WEEKEND Boyz spins a grim tale of self-ruin By LEONARD PITTS Jr Herald Arts Writer Boyz N the Hood has lessons to impart It wants us to know about the 900-plus liquor stores in South Central Los Angeles and how through them society fosters a climate of self-destruction for urban blacks It wants us to know about the need for positive male role models about the corrosive effects of self-hatred in the African-American community and the importance of sexual protection in the age of AIDS And it wants us to know that the gang-banging young killers South Central is known for are made — not born It is scattershot ambition that fittingly meets with scattershot success The issue of self-hatred surfaces with searing power in the character of a black cop with a special grudge against black kids and more subtly in the self-derogatory monologues of the main characters Flaws augment film On the other hand the issue of self-destruction is shoe-horned in by way of a character's awkward lecture that has little to do with the rest of the film But it's a tribute to the strength of writerdirector John Singleton's story that such failings do nothing to diminish the film's ultimate power In fact in a strange way they add to it by establishing early and often the filmmaker's angry tunnel-vision commitment to this subject The 23-year-old Singleton made this movie — his first — as if it were the last he will ever make Boyz N the Hood is the tale of three young men growing up on the mean streets of South Central: the hoodlum Doughboy (Ice Cube) his brother Ricky (Morris Chesnut) who dreams of a football scholarship and their neighbor Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr) consumed by the need to escape his environs We meet them first as boys the film unfolds at a languid pace taking us on a leisurely tour of their world Early on the tone of that world is set in a perverse homage to Rob Reiner's Stand By Me as the boys follow rail- Rapper Ice Cube is good as Doughboy a hoodlum in Boyz N the Hood tale of three black men in L A MOVIE REVIEW BOYZ N THE HOOD (R) Cast: Larry Fishburne Ice Cube Cuba Gooding Jr and Morris Chesnut Director: John Singleton Producer: Steve Nicolaides Screenwriter: John Singleton Cinematographer: Charles Mills Music: Stanley Clarke A Columbia Pictures release Running time: 107 minutes Vulgar language nudity sexual situations violence) road tracks to view a dead body But where Reiner's film offered the journey as one of self-discovery and ultimate enlightenment Boyz N the Hood offers it as a statement on the cheapness of life — and the ugliness of death — in South Central Poverty amid the palms The film certainly gets the look of the area right — that surreal mix of grimy poverty amid well-tended lawns and tropical palms More important the movie gets the feel right capturing the claustrophobic watch-your-back hair-trigger tension Plotwise it doesn't take long before you've got Boyz N the Hood all figured out You know that tragedy is coming and you have a pretty good idea of where it will strike But knowing it's coming doesn't diminish the movie's impact There is a terrible inevitability to the events here watching this movie is like standing frozen in the path of an onrushing train And when tragedy comes it hits with the power of that selfsame train the power that eluded Dennis Hopper's much-ballyhooed Colors That movie walked this same turf but did the usual Hollywood cop-out looking into black poverty and crime from the outside by centering the story on white police officerf played by Sean Penn and Robert Duvall Boyz N the Hood takes the riskier more honest approach of telling the tale through the eyes of the people who are living it — and of humanizing those people in a way movies seldom do Well-crafted characters Most of the main characters — indeed many of the incidental ones as well — are delineated with finely crafted attention to detail Rapper Ice Cube is believable and surprisingly resourceful while Gooding stalks through the film like a caged panther painting a convincing portrait of the frustrated angry young man who just wants out And Tyra Ferrell makes Mrs Doughboy's and Ricky's mother a deftly textured flesh-and-blood human being where she could easily have become a stereotype Boyz N the Hood is a gripping gritty thought-provoking film Most important of all it lights up a grim corner of American reality — a corner many of us would just as soon ignore Cops robbers go surfing wipeouts abound '101 DALMATIANS' By JUAN CARLOS COTO Herald Entertainment Writer The post-Ghost Patrick Swayze flick Point Break is about Surfing Bank Robbers and Surfing Feds which may sound like good names for punk rock bands — but that would denote a wit and cleverness this movie doesn't have At its worst we could expect cheap thrills from something conceived as a surfing action flick but there are wipeouts all around Keanu Reeves (the Ted in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure) plays a rookie FBI guy who dives into deep cover among the dudes On the coast he meets Bodhi (Swayze) the mahatma Gandhi of the Southern California waves Swayze delivers another plywood performance almost mimicking the Zen-master of bar bouncers he played in Road House Bodhi is full of blah-blah-blah about wave-riding — "It's that place where you lose yourself and you find yourself" Meanwhile we're lost in a buddy-cop plot from MOVIE REVIEW POINT BREAK (R) Cast: Patrick Swayze Keanu Reeves Gary Busey Director: Kathryn Bigelow Screenwriter: W Peter lliff Cinematographer: Donald Peterman Executive Producer: James Cameron Producer: Peter Abrams Robert L Levy Music: Mark Isham A 20th Century Fox release Running time: 120 minutes Violence vulgar language nudity the Hollywood assembly line It's not surprising that Point Break is produced by the same people who made 48 Hrs and by Terminator -director James Cameron the movies' king of heavy artillery and pumping shotguns Gary Busey has the unfortunate task of playing the Gruff Older Partner instantly clashing with Reeves as they attempt to track down four expert bank robbers who wear rubber masks depicting past presidents Reagan Carter Nixon and LBJ But the agents are too busy fiddling with plot gad-getry — the Bitter Love Interest (Lori Petty) and the Screaming Bureau Chief (John McGinley) Directed by Kathryn Bigelow (whose Near Dark and Blue Steel were studies in style over substance) Point Break has some eye-catching visuals in its frenetic action sequences but even the slow-mo surfing gets tedious It's like being trapped in a soft-drink commercial Bigelow (who is also Mrs Cameron) has one other problem with Point Break : The two sky-diving sequences outdo all the surfing scenes The bank robbers in Point Break are out only for an adrenalin rush and some cash to head for better waves But the hackneyed way in which the film unfolds — and slowly at a lengthy two hours — betrays the rebellious spirit these surfers are supposed to espouse It's bogus Betty Lou Gerson supplied the voice for the evil Cruella De Vil in the Disney film classic rere-leased today See review in Saturday's Living 'MY FATHER'S GLORY' The memoirs of the late French filmmaker Marcel Pag-nol — who also wrote the novel that was the basis for 1986's popular Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring — filtered through the eyes of the author at 11 years old See review in Saturday's Living -T1 5 3 I m I m

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