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Dino screams his review of LAZARUS AND THE HURRICANE

Hey folks Harry here with Dino's enthusiastic (to say the least) and all-caps look at Norman Jewison's latest film, LAZARUS AND THE HURRICANE. I'm a pretty big fan of Jewison's work. From IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT to FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR to ROLLERBALL, A SOLDIER'S STORY to AGNES OF GOD. And some of those in between. He's been a filmmaker to watch closely, though lately I haven't been the biggest fan. Hopefully, and from the sound of it, this film will be one to really show off his talents as a fantastic filmmaker again. If you have anything more on this film... Let me know. Now here's DINO with his report and there are spoilers in it!

SAW THE NEW NORMAN JEWISON FILM LAST NIGHT, AND LET'S JUST SAY ONE THING: "AND THE NOMINEES ARE.....". I'M NOT EXACTLY A BIG FAN OF DENZEL WASHINGTON, BUT IF HE DOESN'T GET A BEST ACTOR NOMINATION, I'LL LOSE ALL FAITH IN THE ACADEMY.

SPOILERS AHEAD.

THE FILM STARTS OFF IN BLACK AND WHITE FOR THE FIRST FEW MINUTES, (ALA RAGING BULL)SHOWING US THE HURRICANE IN ACTION IN THE RING. DENZEL GOT HIMSELF IN INCREDIBLE SHAPE FOR THIS FILM, AS HE IS AS RIPPED AS I'VE EVER SEEN HIM.

THE HURRICANE IS SHOWN BEATING THE HELL OUT OF SOME POOR CHUMP ENROUTE TO A WIN. WE LEARN ABOUT THE HURRICANE'S CHILDHOOD, SEE WHAT HAPPENED THE NIGHT OF THE SHOOTINGS IN PATTERSON, AND HOW HE WAS ARRESTED BY A RACIST COP, (PLAYED BY DAN HEDAYA)AND CHARGED WITH MURDER EVEN AFTER ONE OF THE VICTIMS SAID IT WASN'T HIM. THE HURRICANE IS PUT IN THE HOLE, BY THE PRISON WARDEN, AFTER REFUSING TO PUT ON THE INMATES UNIFORM, STATING THAT SINCE HE DIDN'T COMMIT A CRIME, HE SAW NO REASON TO WEAR THE UNIFORM. THE HURRICANE SPENDS 3 MONTHS IN THE HOLE, WHERE HE SLOWLY LOSES HIS MIND.

WHEN HE'S SENT BACK INTO THE GEN. POP. HE IS BEFRIENDED BY A GUARD (PLAYED BY THE GUY WHO PLAYED THE GAY INMATE WHO ATTACKED TIM ROBBINS IN SHAWSHANK) WHO LETS HIM WEAR PRISON ISSUED HOSPITAL CLOTHES, SO HE WON'T HAVE TO LOOK LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.

THE HURRICANE REFUSES TO PARTICIPATE IN ANY INMATE ACTIVITIES, AND SPENDS ALL HIS TIME READING, AND WORKING OUT IN HIS CELL. AFTER SEVERAL UNSUCCESFUL ATTEMPTS AT AN APPEAL, AT A HE ENDS UP WRITING HIS BIOGRAPHY, AND IT BECOMES A BEST SELLER.

A FEW YEARS LATER, A YOUNG STREET TOUGH ILLITERATE BLACK KID NAMED, LEZRA (A NEW ACTOR, WHO MAKES JAKE LLOYD SEEM LIKE OLIVIER) BUYS THE BOOK AT A FLEA MARKET, FOR A QUARTER. LEZRA LIVES WITH A HAPPY WHITE COUPLE WHO TOOK HIM IN AFTER MEETIG HIM AT AN EPA PROGRAM. HE CHOSE THE BOOK AS HIS FIRST BOOK, AND BECAME INSTANTLY FASCINATED WITH THE HURRICANE'S STORY.

HE BEGAN WRITING, AND VISITING THE HURRICANE OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS, ALWAYS BELIEVING IN HIS INNOCENCE. HE AND HIS FOSTER PARENTS END UP MOVING FROM CANADA, SO THEY CAN BE CLOSER TO THE HURRICANE, AND WORK WITH HIS LAWYERS TO PROVE HIS INNOCENCE.

WE ALL KNOW HOW THE STORY ENDS, BUT WATCH OUT FOR AN INCREDIBLE COURTROOM SCENE WITH A SPECIAL CAMEO BY ROD STEIGER AS A NO NONSENSE JUDGE.

NOT TOO MANY DRY EYES AFTER THIS ONE. THE ONLY NEGATIVE ABOOUT THIS FILM WAS THE KID WHO PLAYED LEZRA, IN ONE OF THE WORST PERFORMANCES I'V EVER SEEN. DURING ONE SCENE WHERE HE'S SLEEPING, HE WAKES UP AND ANSWERS A SPLIT SECOND BEFORE A KNOCK ON THE DOOR IS HEARD. I DON'T KNOW HOW THEY LEFT THAT IN THE FILM.

ON THE OTHER HAND, LOOK FOR WASHINGTON, JEWISON, AND HEDAYA TO NAB OSCAR NOMINATIONS.

DINO.

Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 5, 1999, 10:53 p.m. CST

    This looks very good

    by Lost_contacts

    Harry, I salute you for finding people who will report on such things. This is a film which I highly anticipate. Though I am no big Jewison fan, I like Denzel and am familiar with the case. it sounds very good.

  • Aug. 5, 1999, 11:39 p.m. CST

    Hey, I think I heard a song that went something like that!

    by BDDres

    All I know is, I love the song by Bob Dylan. If any of you people didn't know, Bob Dylan has a song named "Hurricane" which is what this movie is apparently based on. Only thing is, I've always wondered whether it was a true story or not. Can anyone help me on that? Aside from the cool song, (which I think would be a travesty if it is not played in the movie!) this sounds like such a great idea. "The Shawshank Redemption" is one of my favorite movies and if this movie can even partly duplicate what "Shawshank" did, it will surely be a good film.

  • Aug. 6, 1999, 12:04 a.m. CST

    HURRICANE

    by Vitti

    The title has been shortened from "Lazarus and the Hurricane" simply to "The Hurricane" to be released Dec. 25.

  • Aug. 6, 1999, 1:51 a.m. CST

    speaking of "the hurricane"....

    by gaveltogavel

    man, I just had to post to express my views on the best movie ever, which is Carl Franklin and Billy Bob Thornton's "One False Move". In it, Bill Paxton plays a character named Hurricane which is a metaphor for the real life hurricane, as recreated in this denzel washington schwill. If you haven't seen it (which, you all being movie geeks, I'm sure you have), FRIGGIN RUN to the video store and pick up a copy. It's been my favorite flick for, jeez, closing in on 10 years now.

  • Aug. 6, 1999, 9:20 a.m. CST

    "Here Comes The Story Of The Hurricane....."

    by mrbeaks

    Damn, my ears are still ringing from that review. To BDDres: yes, Dylan's song was based on the real-life, wrongful imprisonment of Rubin (sp?)"Hurricane" Carter. In fact, Dylan's ode was actually credited with drawing a great deal of attention to the case, and, ultimately, winning Carter his freedom. It's a great story, and I'd love to see Jewison return to form with this flick (it's hard to see a man who once gave us IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT reduced to knocking out BOGUS.)

  • Aug. 6, 1999, 12:15 p.m. CST

    great song....

    by Mean Ween

    but what was he thinking when he put that damned violin in it.

  • Aug. 6, 1999, 12:57 p.m. CST

    I Always Liked The Violin

    by mrbeaks

    Leave it to Dylan to throw in something that'll completely undermine the potential commercial appeal of his song. All from a guy who writes some of the best rock lyrics ever, then mumbles them so you can't understand a word. Gotta love him.

  • Aug. 6, 1999, 3:29 p.m. CST

    The Song

    by The guy

    I also saw the screening of the film, and the song is used to great effect, during the movie, and right before the end. Dino was right, the crowd was in tears (men and women!)and it received a nice 2 minute round of applause.

  • Aug. 6, 1999, 3:48 p.m. CST

    Lezra and the Hurricane

    by psiKick

    This movie is not based on Dylan's song, it is based on Rubin Carter's books "The 16th Round" and "Lazarus and the Hurricane". I read a version of this script a while ago, and it was very good then. I know there was once talk of casting Wesley Snipes in this and I am very glad that fell through. Denzel will be able to invest the role with the dignity and force of character that marks the real Hurricane. I know that this project has been a real labor of love for the Beacon Pictures, so I am really glad that it appears that their goal of producing a film that will honor Carter is coming to fruition. I will definitely see this one in a theater.

  • Aug. 7, 1999, 5:59 p.m. CST

    Denzel in prison again!

    by paragonian

    Harry forgot to mention Only You and Moonlight which are two really great Jewison films.

  • Aug. 19, 1999, 2:42 p.m. CST

    I found I

    by nightrain

    just had to drop a line to let you know that I saw the "finished" cut last night. The final credits were still missing but everthing else seemed finished. Jewison himself introduced the screening with Rubins family and several members of the press in attendence. The film plays long at slightly over two and a half hours but was without question the best dramatic piece that I have seen this year. Denzyl was fantastic in conveying the intense innner strength Of the "Hurricane". As well as Carter's personal philosophys on how to obtain freedom. Washington will be a clear Oscar favorite when the film hits. As far as the ending goes not a dry eye in the house. In fact Ms. Train cried for the last third of the film.

  • Aug. 20, 1999, 6:35 p.m. CST

    Hurricane and Shawshank

    by mrsgirl

    Awesome review!! Can't wait to see it!! One thing though, in comparing to Shawshank, let's get one thing straight. The inmate who kept going after Tim Robbins wasn't gay, he was just a rapist! Both Stephen King and Frank Darabont wanted to make that perfectly clear!! By the way, the actor's name is Mark Rolston . A film w/ Mark and Denzel?? I'M READY!!!!

  • Aug. 21, 1999, 3:51 p.m. CST

    Re: Hurricane and Shawshank

    by DevonAdair

    I thought I'd also mention another similarity between Hurricane and The Shawshank Redeption. Clancy Brown, the actor that played Capt. Hadley in Shawshank, is also playing a prison guard in Hurricane.

  • Sept. 12, 1999, 7:46 a.m. CST

    Canadians

    by sQuirrell

    The review mentions a "happy white couple" who are his foster parents. In things I've read about the real story, I thought Lesra was taken in by two men. I've never heard mention of a woman being involved. Was she added so that there would be a female character? Or was she involved in real life? Deborah Unger, I assume, plays the Canadian woman... is she with John Hannah's or Liev Shreiber's character? Where does John Hannnah's character, Terry, come in? I hope someone's seen the film or knows some background about the true story and can help me out. SRAH

  • Sept. 12, 1999, 9:17 p.m. CST

    another question

    by sQuirrell

    Earlier, I heard Greg Kinnear was supposed to be one of the Canadians, but I haven't heard him mentioned recently. Was he or not? SRAH

  • Aug. 20, 2006, 9:40 p.m. CST

    QueSarah was ignored.

    by Wolfpack