How “The Crow” Changed My Life [Fantasia Festival 2019]

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.

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The Lion King (2019)

Jon Favreau’s “The Lion King” is very much like Gus Van Sant’s “Psycho.” It’s a glossy, new setting, with a bold new cast, but when you cut right through the nostalgia lenses, it’s basically the same movie all over again. “The Lion King” doesn’t leave a lot of room to surprise its audience, as it basically plays it safe and copies the original film almost verbatim. Why watch a remake of “The Lion King” when you can simply stay home and watch the 1994 original? I can’t think of much of a reason, save for the all star cast.

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A Good Woman is Hard to Find (2019) [Fantasia Festival 2019]

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.

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No Mercy (2019) [Fantasia Festival 2019]

The path to redemption is a long and arduous one that can obviously test us and our resolve to the very core. With the South Korean “No Mercy” we see the unfolding of a path of redemption for a woman who has very little in life and is about to see her only good thing be taken away by human cruelty. A mix of “Taken,” “Drive,” and “Dead Man’s Shoes,” Lim Kyoung-tack’s action thriller is a beautifully made, engrossing, and often riveting journey of a woman who is willing to go deep in to the darkness to retriever her sister, and might not have a way back once she’s fulfilled her goal.

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Universal Horror Collection Volume 2 [Blu-Ray]

Now that Shout Factory has re-formatted their Karloff/Lugosi Collection in to the Universal Horror Collection, this has given them carte blanche to release pretty much everything they can get their hands on from the catalogue. I appreciate that they haven’t begun releasing the obvious titles yet, as so far the volumes have been following a specific theme and or formula. The first volume was mainly Karloff and Lugosi team ups, while this second volume is mainly about mad scientist and evil doctor, all of which are played by Lionel Atwill. Buckle up, horror buffs.

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Ma (2019)

We don’t have nearly enough horror movies about the aftermath and fall out of bullying and how often times bullies can destroy us. We’ve had “Slaughter High” in the past, but we’ve come around to sharp thrillers like “The Gift” and “The Final” which depict the victim less as insane, and more as broken people. “Ma” is kind of that film that approaches the very themes, but never quite knows what to make of its titular villain. “Ma” is a sharp thriller with a killer performance from Octavia Spencer that manages to rise above a narrative that’s very confused about what it’s trying to say.

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You Have to See This! Tammy and the T-Rex: The Gore Cut (1994) [Cinepocalypse 2019]

“I was sticking all this shit in it, just to make it work.” – Stewart Raffill on writing “Tammy and the T-Rex”

In the nineties America was obsessed with dinosaurs. For reasons we could never put our fingers on, Dinosaurs were in just about every facet of pop culture you could imagine. Video games, movies, animated series, they were mascots for snack foods, they were the basis for a family sitcom, and yes, they were fit in to movies amounting to cinematic oddities still making movie buffs scratch their heads. We had a family film about miniature dinosaurs, a buddy cop comedy about a female cop and a dinosaur, and yes, we even had “Tammy and the T-Rex.”

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The Universal Horror Collection: Volume 1 [Blu-Ray]

When “The Universal Horror Collection” was originally announced, it was titled the “Boris Karloff/Bela Lugosi Collection” by Shout Factory. One can only assume that they’ve managed to retain the rights to many Universal movies obscure and classic, thus changing their new series to “The Universal Horror Collection.” With that broad a title, the sky is apparently the limit for Shout Factory and what they can do with these volumes. Since this was originally a Karloff/Lugosi four movie set, the whole of the films included star the pair of horror icons. With Volume 1 of “The Universal Horror Collection,” fans will be elated to see that they’re starting us off on the right foot.

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