on May 7, 2004
If anybody says that al pacino isn't one of the greats shouldn't be watching movies, Period.
The first time you watch this movie and the first scene with al pacino you feel his presence and i was in awe of the way he played the part of Tony Montana.
It is without a doubt an amazing story and a great job has been done by Francis Ford Coppola-esque director Brian De Palma.
In brief this is a story of when CUban dictator Fidel castro deported most of his criminals to america in boats which was thought by the states to be reuniniting families.
Cue the crime rate soaring and Tony montana, a small time cuban villain.
The film shows him start at the bottom of the bottom of the business and work his way up with his long time cuban accomplice Manalo Ray. Eventually he takes over the business even tho you could tell it was inevitable it was well thought out and shot.
But by far the best part of the film has to be the ending, i have never enjoyed the ending of a film before but i loved it, it also has the immortal line "say hello to my little friend!" which has been voted numerous time to be the best film quote ever.
All in all this one of the great gangster films ever produced along with The godfather and Goodfellas, this film is a MUST SEE!
on March 11, 2004
Name is Scaarface
Actors: Al Pacino
Scarface was a man who almost everyone knew and if he did not like you or if you got on his bad side or did something to someone in his family he would kill you. Scarface was a man you who would never want to get on the bad side ofor tell something to inportant to you Scarface was someone no one could mess with because he always had to be on the top..
There were to many drugs in this move and every 2 seconds they where doing drugs but after all it was a good movie it kept you interested because you never knew what was going on so it kept you watching it.
The acting of Scarface was really good. it looked very real
all the people that played in Scarface were great.
The soundtrack was really good, they played the right music at the right time which made the movie.
My personal opinion about seeing this flim is I would watch it asain and I would recommendat this flim beacuse it was funny and it kept me and others very interested and wanting to keep watching to find out what going to happen to Scarface...........
on January 12, 2004
Al Pacino's Tony Montana is one of the most over the top, gritty characters in recent cinema. He is one of the thousands of Cuban criminals Castro shipped to our shores in the early 80's and from the moment he steps off the boat, he is all about getting himself to the top, to have all the money and power he has heard about. His version of the American dream. Early in the film, he is working as a dishwasher in a local diner. He tells his friend "I didn't come to the United States to break my back". Immediately after this, he is offered 5,000 dollars to make a drug pickup and quits the dishwashing job on the spot.
This encounter leads him to drug kingpin Frank Lopez (Robert Loggia) who takes Montana under his wing and shows him the ropes. Lopez has a mistress, Elvira(Michelle Pfeiffer) who is just along for the drugs and money. Pfeiffer's performance is a disappointment in the film. She is simply there to wear revealing clothing and look stoned, which she does well. After Lopez is killed, she takes up with and marries Montana, almost not caring who it is she is with, just so she gets her fix.
In the process of placing himself at the top of the drug world, Montana sees a blimp flashing the words "The world is yours" at him during the movie. At the end, when he has achieved all he has blindly sought, this mantra is on a neon sign in his mansion. The world he wanted was money and power and I was reminded of the line from Citizen Kane "It's not hard to make a lot of money, if all you want to do is make a lot of money"
As Montana, Pacino is hard core, loud, boastful, and proud. He aligns himself with a Columbian drug lord at the beginning of his rise by promising loyalty. He keeps his word with this man and is later asked to perform another task for him. The result of this request leads to the film's end. He goes out of his way to protect his kid sister from people like him, but in the end this strategy backfires on him as well. His life is unhappy, desperate, and wanting. Once he reached the top, there is a great scene showing him looking at his vast empire with a blank expression on his face. He has it all, yet he has nothing. In the end, happiness in life comes not from money or power or wealth, rather through the relationships one has in life. Tony's life is totally devoid of such meaningful relationships, therefore he is one of the unhappiest men you will ever see.
on November 20, 2003
HIGHLIGHTS: Al Pacino's exaggerated full-throttle no-holding-back performance; Steven Bauer as his friend sizzles on the screen; cinematography; Oliver Stone's ever-quotable script; certain scenes startle with their intensity.
LOWPOINTS: Giorgio Moroder's score; overdramatized at times; lacks consistent structure; gratuitously violent; Michelle Pfeiffer's acting; overlong.
CONCLUSION: One of the most influential films ever made, 'Scarface' failed both critically and at the box-office when it came out due to its three-hour length, Giorgio Moroder's straightforward synthesizer score and the ambiguous protagonist, Tony Montana. Not sure whether to root for him or loathe him, audiences failed to recognize a hero in the scarred face of Al Pacino, whose overall flaming performance was deemed offensive - Montana only wanter the cream of the crop, and nothing would stop him . Similar to 'Blade Runner', which also failed at its premiere and only now is considered classic due to its influences, 'Scarface' was later established as one of the most powerful gangster epics.
Brian DePalma ALWAYS exaggerates - it is the director's auterish touch that he inserts into his films to emphasize the action. While the film IS slightly off-putting in its structure (it lingers too long on unnecessary periods of Tony's life and skips significant ones, like his rise to success), and the Moroder score, along with Pfeiffer's uncertain amateurish performance, plainly suck, it is the palpable invigoration of the director at his peak in each scene that makes 'Scarface' a true classic. The violence IS excessive, but all is forgiven, because Pacino's forceful acting accomodates DePalma's style smoothly. Montana is all raw nerve. It is scarier to watch him snap at his friend, played impeccably by Steven Bauer, when Montana's sexually-charged obsession with his sister is challenged.
Uncompromising, elusive, offensive, 'Scarface' has become the landmark for the majority of rappers, including the likes of Method Man, Guru and,um, Scarface. Pacino's character is now a cult figure, cherished amongst the hip-hop community. The reason is clear: Montana's brutality, ambition and arrogance allowed him, a Cuban immigrant, rise to apocalyptic success. Rap artists mostly come from ghettos and projects, so they can sympathize with that strive, they know how it is. For an average viewer the film's brutality (amazingly stretched out in the controversial chainsaw scene) might be too much. Otherwise, 'Scarface' is a masterpiece of bad movies that re-triggered Oliver Stone's career, showcased De Palma's stylistic trends, shocked and provoked with its acting and amounts of gore, and inspired a generation of music and film.
SEE THIS IF YOU LIKED: Gangsta No1; Carrie; Donnie Brasco; Bugsy; Bad Lieutenant; Carlito's Way; Dead Presidents.
DON'T SEE THIS IF YOU LIKED: A Walk to Remember; Bugsy Malone; Hudson Hawk; Empire
on November 14, 2003
The critics mainly got it wrong. This reissue puts it right. Take one great moment in cinema - the setting is Frank's mansion, the time two minutes after 3am about 30 minutes after Frank had had two workers put about five hundred rounds into a nightclub in an attempt to rid the world of Tony Montano (Tony the Mountain aka Mr Pacino)but missed. Tony has just given sidekick Manny (Mr Bauer) the order to give drug "lord" Frank (brilliant Mr Loggia) the what for after Frank sank to his knees and kissed the shoes of Tony pleading for his life, begging for a second chance, crying to be saved, and Manny dutifully puts one into Frank. Tony then turns his attention to bad guy and Chief of Detectives of Narcotics. Tony gives him one in the guts and then lets him have one in the chest. Tony and Manny turn to leave but Manny says "What about Ernie?" Frank's loyal and ucommunicative sidekick who has been watching the evening's events unfold before his eyes, and, let's say, is now facing an uncertain future. A little overweight, in a suit just a little too small, a worker, loyal, Cuban exile, with beads of sweat on his face, which the camera ponders for about five seconds. Then we see Tony's face for a few moments - "Want a job?" he says, knowing that either way, he's got this guy's life. A great moment in cinema. Many good extras too - especially interviews with Mr Stone and Mr Pacino. Very good value.
on November 5, 2003
I missed this intentionally when it came out in 1983 believing it to be another version of the Al Capone story. It is, sort of. Of course Al Pacino would be brilliant as Al Capone and demand every square inch of the screen and get it. And he was and he did. And director Brian DePalma would spray the screen in scarlet, and he did. However this updated and revised version set in Miami from a script by Oliver Stone is very much worth watching even though it's almost three hours long.
First of all, Al Pacino is riveting as Tony Montana, a Cuban refugee released from prison by Fidel Castro in 1980 who arrives in Florida with a yearning to rule the world and a huge chip on his shoulder. His character is an extreme version of the "live fast, die young" species, the kind of guy who takes extreme chances and fears nothing. It is a shame that it is not obvious that for every one of the Tony Montanas in the world who actually made it to the top of the cocaine pile, there are thousands who weren't able to dodge the bullets and died not just young, but very young.
Second, there is not a dead spot in the whole movie. Stone's action-driven script and DePalma's focused direction compel our attention. If you can stand the bestial mentality and the animalistic flash culture of the drug lords and their sleazy world, you might even want to see this twice.
What I found myself watching closely was Michelle Pfeiffer at twenty-something, strikingly beautiful and totally degenerate as the cocaine-addled moll. Also very much worth watching was Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Tony Montana's sister Gina. The big brother/little sister incestuous theme (from the original Scarface of 1931 starring Paul Muni and directed by Howard Hawks) was craftily prepared and reached a striking climax (if you will) in the scene in which Gina tells Montana that he must "have her" (that's not exactly the words she used) since he won't let anybody else have her. The touch of necrophilia that followed was perhaps gratuitous.
What I loved was the way DePalma reminded us again and again of how trapped the characters were by their desperate indulgences, the expensive liquor, the cigars, the cocaine, the stacks of money that took hours to count by machine. The scene in which Pfeiffer takes a snort of cocaine, a puff of a cigarette and a swallow of booze one after the other as the only thing she knows how to do in this world (with the white powder still on her nostrils) was wonderful in its piteous effect. I also liked the scene in which Montana, seated in his black leather chair with his initials in gold lettering, surrounded by his security video screens, dives into a pile of cocaine and comes up with it on his nose. Reminds me of the old doper saying, "Too much is never enough."
The shoot 'em up finale of course was much, much overdone and about as realistic as a John Wayne barroom fight, but I loved the way Pacino played Montana near the end as a kind of paranoid Napoleon, the little guy who wanted to rule the world now finished and insane. Note, by the way, in how many scenes Pacino played a very vigorous persona sitting down.
In the final analysis this is a morality tale, a kind of very flashy "crime does not pay" saga not because the cops will get you (they don't) but because the life itself will corrupt you beyond anything human. Those who live by the gun will die by the gun, and there is no security among murders and thieves.
on October 7, 2003
At this point, there's no need for me to summarize the plot of this much-revered gangster epic by Brian DePalma. Chances are, you've already seen this movie, and if you haven't, then you know somebody else who has. What I WILL discuss is the DVD, which I have been anxiously awaiting for at least a couple years. I bought "Scarface" during my lunch break from the office and waited impatiently for the day to end so I could rush home and watch it later that evening. As most of you all know, "Scarface" was originally released many years ago on DVD, but was slammed by many for its terrible picture quality and crummy sound. It got yanked out of print, and now a 2-disc version has been re-released for its 20th anniversary. So, how's the picture? It's not flawless, but it certainly looks impressive for a 1983 film. The colors are rich and the picture delivers a fairly sharp image throughout. I didn't notice that many print flaws; however, the darker scenes were a bit fuzzy at times. Regardless, Universal redeemed itself in a big way and did a very good job fixing this picture. The sound, however, is my sole disappointment. I own a five-channel system, and most of the sound came from the center speaker. Even the shootings (and there are several) came from the center! This is particularly upsetting, considering that "Scarface" is a very loud and action-packed film. In fact, the main occasion where the sound moved to the front and rear channels is during Giorgio Moroder's chessily synthetic 1980's score. Quite simply, the remastering didn't always allow the sound to utilize all five speakers as it should have. It would have been nice if the sound moved to the surrounding speakers during the more action-oriented scenes. I know this is nitpicking, but I am a royal pain when it comes to these details. However, the second disc of supplements is an attractive package. It has a few documentaries including interviews with, among others, DePalma, Al Pacino, and Oliver Stone (who wrote the script). There's also another documentary that covers the movie's influence on hip hop culture, featuring interviews with P. Diddy, Eve, Snoop Dogg, Russell Simmons, and, yep, the Geto Boy Scarface himself. This clip has prompted some interesting responses from viewers, and others turn their nose at it, asking "What does 'Scarface' have to do with hip hop?" Well, here's my $.02 on this matter. If you don't like hip hop, that's fine. But only an ignorant fool would deny the clear and obvious connection between this film and gangsta rap. Like many rappers, Tony Montana had a tough background, overcame adversity, and quickly climbed his way to be one of the baddest thugs in the business. It is mainly this reason why "Scarface" survived its box office failure and grew to be an underground classic. But hip hop connections or not, this movie is a hugely entertaining film with an explosive performance by Al Pacino. It isn't perfect, but it's vivid, incredibly outrageous, and invites multiple viewings. Even though the DVD's sound leaves much for improvement, "Scarface" gets the green light from me. Buy this movie and reunite yourself with "your little friend."
on October 4, 2003
Scarface, the 1983 action-drama starring Al Pacino as a Cuban refugee is one hell of a movie. Though dealing with much controversy, Brian DePalma makes a striking movie here. Al Pacino plays Tony Montana, a druglord who is involved in the business and gets involved in a deadly trap and soon becomes a target. The plot is isn't incomprehensible nor it is disposable. It's an intitially intriguing film at the look of the drug business and how it can cause so much havoc and ruin a man's life. Based on the old 1932 film made by Howard Hawks, there is a huge difference between them. Scarface also features nice supporting roles from Michelle Pfeiffer, George Bauer, Robert Loggia as well as a few others.
Director Brian DePalma depicts much realism with quite a bit of over-the-top violence, including a chain saw scene (only blood is shown), a hanging from a helicopter but mainly fatal and bloody gunplay as well as excessive profanity, to be more specific the use of one particular word starting with an "f." Though the film has an "R" rating, at first it was rated "X." You may not realize it, but much devotion and hard work was put into making this film. Oliver Stone wrote the screenplay, easy to say why it was controversial now.
The new DVD edition features some nice behind-the-scenes footage, mainly 3 documenataries on the acting, creating and rebirth of the film. All featuring interviews with cast and crew. Though if you viewed the film recently, it may not seem as over-the-top now as it did back in 1983. Scarface is worth owning on Video or DVD. Note: Not a film for young audiences.
on September 30, 2003
For those that have not seen this film and are fans of the gangster/crime genre should see it at least once. I predict that most of the people that will be reading this already know how violent, contraversial, quotable, and great this film really is; so the majority of the review is about the DVD itself. First off, the dust sleeve the DVD comes in is beautifully designed. You'll probably try your hardest not to get any smudges or fingerprints on it...which is pretty easy to do. It is odd that there is no booklet with even a scene selection index. Even the cheapest DVD's I own have some sort of printed out scene selection index. Needless to say, this is a small gripe but I would have rather have had I nice booklet than an ad for DefJam Recordings stuffed in. Most of the extra features are fairly well done. All the documentary features give some good insight into how the movie came about and the censor problems they had to overcome. Although, even Pacino wouldn't give up the secret of what he really snorted in the movie. Even the number of deleted scenes are good. Although not all of them are that exciting it is nice to see before and after "action!" is called. The biggest blemish on the DVD is the DefJams Origins of a Hip-Hop Classic. In my opinion, it sort of cheapens the movie. Yes, most rappers lives of excess are reflected in this movie but...so what! I don't need to know what P.Diddy thinks of this movie. It is just another marketing ploy in my eyes. The widescreen version of the movie looks and sounds beautiful otherwise. If you have a previous widescreen version of the film on DVD it may not be worth your while to get this version since the extras aren't too essential. For those of us that love the movie and never had a good widescreen presentation of it should definately get this version.
on September 30, 2003
Brian De Palma's epic morality tale is, at 20 years old, if anything more powerful than it was in 1983. At several points during a viewing we are tempted to laugh as the movie seems to cascade over the top, but each time we are overpowered and pulled back into this film, which is as forceful and as persuasive as its lead character, Tony Montana. Scarface may not be a realistic movie, but it demands to be taken seriously nonetheless.
At the top of the list of the over the top aspects of this film is Al Pacino himself. I have no idea who/what that caricature on the screen was, but I do know that Al Pacino was that character. A remarkable performance. Other over the top aspects include the cheesy music and close-ups on Pacino's eyes whenever anyone makes advances on his sister. These techniques, along with the Dawn of the Dead-feel of the detention camps give this film a B-movie quality at times. And then there's the jingoistic depiction of the Cubans themselves. But again, somehow these cheap tactics reel in even the jaded viewer here. The movie just insists, through sheer force, on being taken seriously.
Once the viewer acquiesces, they are in for quite a ride. No matter how many times we've heard or seen (in life or film) that pride cometh before the fall, that excess and immorality always come back to burn you, it is impossible during his rise not to admire aspects of Tony including his single minded ambition, confidence, and his absence of duplicity. It's a mutant variation on the American dream, and the ethos that accompanies it. Tony's aforementioned qualities produce some truly volcanic lines (of dialogue), particularly in his scenes with a young and somewhat raw Michelle Pfeiffer.
Several side plots work well along the way, but we never drift far from Pacino. Although we know the fall is coming, it is nevertheless depicted in a harrowing fashion (although the assassination subplot -from lead-up, through act, to denouement IMO detracted). And today's films have nothing on the final shootout.
A close look at the careers of both Director De Palma and Screenwriter Oliver Stone reveal plenty of imperfections. And if the flaws are not altogether hidden here, like magicians the two (or maybe three, counting Pacino) somehow steer our eyes away from them. In addition to a prescient, apocalyptic paradigm of 21st century international, intra-necine violence, the three also give us a 4.5 star film.