It’s not often I sit down to watch a DCAU movie and want to immediately desire the original source material instead. I’ve never read “Batman Hush” but from what I originally gathered it was an iconic storyline that made waves in the aughts. The movie however is a disappointing, half baked and painfully boring Batman adventure that never really goes anywhere. Rather than treading new ground or giving us something completely different, “Batman Hush” just feels forced and never quite rises above the anemic energy.
The “Arrow” series finally comes to its natural peak as season seven loosely adapts Green Arrow’s iconic comic storyline “Super Max.” Once optioned for a movie and basically in development hell for years, “Arrow” realizes the narrative for a full season arc. After Oliver Queen is finally pushed in to a corner in season six he’s forced to out himself as the Arrow for all of Star city. In season seven he’s jailed in Maximum Security and forced to confront all of the criminals he’s put away since he arrived, prompting some tense unfolding of events.
“The Tough Ones” is one of the pair of films that Umberto Lenzi directed that spotlighted the character Tanzi, a man almost driven mad by his need to thwart crime at every corner. Tanzi is something of a great scale anti-hero who spends a lot of his time tracking down a petty thug who is very much a creep and noting very spectacular. Tanzi inspects this crime and chases the criminals like his life depends on it. He spends a majority of the film talking through gritted teeth and shouting at just about everyone and he almost always is on the verge of hurting someone. Tanzi is not meant to be a hero or even a heroic vigilante so much as he’s the corrupt law that’s hell bent on taking down the larger criminal element including Tony Parenzo (Ivan Rassimov) and his efforts to create an underground criminal network.
Jealousy, bad tempers, and violence explode between Richard, his girlfriend Sasha, and their best friend Jonah. Trying to make peace, they all head out on Richard’s family board. Soon, they find themselves stranded at sea without food or drinking water.
Attempted peeks behind the curtain of the Manson Family and what led to the murders of Sharon Tate and her friends is a rocky road. It’s a narrative that can be exploitative, cheap, disrespectful, and either glorifies Charles Manson or worse, paints Manson’s cult as victims that were manipulated in to becoming murderous monsters. “Charlie Says” dabbles in the latter material where Mary Harron’s film boils down to a bunch of women being conned by a failed musician who would have sold them out at the snap of a finger.
Munro Chambers is one of the most underrated actors working in film today. He’s been a man mostly working in the corners of film with unsuspecting genre fare and every time he’s managed to turn in stellar performances. In “Harpoon” he manages to deliver a very layered and impressive turn as Jonah, a perpetually cursed protagonist who is revealed to be something and someone completely different every time Rob Grant’s twisted dark comedy reaches a new turning point. “Harpoon” is a fantastic addition to Fantasia this year, putting to film a morbid and weird amalgam of comedy, relationship drama, survival thriller, and horror.
This year, Fantasia International Film Festival is screening a nice collection of vintage titles and anniversary screenings. One of these is The Crow coming up on the 30th of July at 7pm and it’s one screening I hate to miss.
The Crow turned 25 this year and it has been just about as long since it became my favorite film, hence why this is one of the hardest films for me to write about. There is no being objective, this film is entwined in my teen years and my adulthood. It’s one of those films that had such a big impact, it’s almost impossible to separate the emotional from the reality of the film. So, as it’s playing, I wanted to write a deeply personal piece, a piece that it nowhere near objective, a piece that is about my history with The Crow.
If you’ve ever seen Sarah Bolger act, it’s stunning how she can go from innocent to cold as ice in a second flat and make it believable. Seriously, check out the under seen “Emelie” for proof. What she does in “A Good Woman is Hard to Find” is portray the quintessence of the lengths parents are willing to go through to protect their children. Not only diving head first in to violence, but the willingness to delve in to darker corners of our own humanity, and what we’re capable of sacrificing in order to create a future for our kids.