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.
It’s shocking how tough it was to find cinematic heroes that are minorities. If I wanted to make a list about minority gang members, or thugs in movies, I’d have a list a mile long, but heroes? It’s tough. In the end I tried to compile a list of ten great minority heroes of the movies that wasn’t too obvious, but it’s slim pickings out there.
In either case, if we missed anyone, let us know in the comments!
The comic book movie has never been bigger in the age of modern cinema, and as a commodity, it’s still a very valuable asset for many studios who once considered the notion of basing a tent pole movie around a superhero laughable. For a long time comic book movies were C grade Television fodder like “Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD” and “Generation X,” and now they’re raking in humongous profits at the box office, have helped fuel media empires, saved comic book companies like Marvel, and have attracted humongous movie stars to portray iconic characters. As such with comic book movies still being doled out in as fast a pace as studios can dole them out, here are ten of my Top Ten Comic Book Movies of All Time. So far. I expect this list to be different in ten years.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost twenty years since the release of Brandon Lee’s final film, but here we were with a brand new release of his landmark film “The Crow.” In a long overdue treatment it deserves more than most titles out on the Blu-Ray format as we speak “The Crow” hasn’t shown wrinkles at all. “The Crow” is a film that garners a soundtrack with some of the most notable rockers of the nineties, along with some rather of the decade colloquialisms, and still manages to feel completely and utterly timeless. That’s because the world Alex Proyas shapes in his 1994 masterpiece is void of shape and time.
With bad editing and terrible miming, Tara Reid (at her usual level of atrocious) cuts out the eyes of Lily (Emmanuelle Chriqui at her worst) and hangs her because she… likes her eyes, she hints. But merely it’s there for shock value sans the shock. Every single performance in this movie is excruciating with Boreanaz mugging for the camera with an over the top zealousness incapable of playing off of Reid who couldn’t act off of a cardboard box. The two have zero chemistry thus you can’t buy that they’re lovers and partners in crime. Then Mungia relies on the talents of Eddie Furlong to carry the movie once Chriqui has worn out her welcome and Reid fails to pick up the slack, which is their biggest mistake because he’s hard to buy as this imposing harbinger of death and looks bloated most of the time.
Dunst, in spite of delivering a pretty shrill performance, works well off of Mabius and portrays an interesting enough character who becomes more and more vindictive when she learns Alex is actually a hero and her heroes the villains. Bharat Nalluri is able to help this entry stand out by painting it with a darker blue hue and grain that makes “Salvation” feel more like a low budget horror film. Mabius isn’t perfect in this role but he does look and sound very menacing when taunting his killers and reveling in their pain. He even manages to horrify a pedophile cop and scares the ever loving soul out of two innocent girls caught in the cross fire. The movie doesn’t completely sink as the supporting cast actually helps it stay afloat, particularly Fred Ward who is a most despicable villain who is the obvious culprit.
I don’t know if it’s the horrible editing or what, but the final moments are painfully jumbled as writer Goyer explains that Ashe’s power was taken so he was destined to be a wandering soul and drift through the world looking for the afterlife… but he also re-united with the spirit of his son and went in to the afterlife. Which is it, exactly? It seemed like Goyer and co. wanted to end the story in case the third film didn’t pan out but leave it open to interpretation in case Ashe and his tale continued on. “City of Angels” was a golden opportunity that was blown big time from a studio obviously hesitant to explore new realms of O’Barr’s story and just stick to the mold set by Proyas and Brandon Lee. Ashe, not surprisingly, did not come for the third outing. As if that wasn’t enough the third “The Crow” film was turned over to IMF Studios, a company related to Dimension and went on to visit the purgatory known as Direct to Video land, allegedly after piss poor test screenings.
They’re all so interchangeable and never quite pose a real threat to anyone. There’s a goon named Spider Monkey obsessed with the drug his boss Judah touts who suffers a fate involving a massive explosion that gives the director an excuse to use pyrotechnics. The explosion in the drug factory is eye catching but then once the crow flies past the palm trees setting them ablaze, I just scratched my head. Was that entirely necessary? Then there’s Rob Zombie’s “Boogeyman” blaring as Ashe emerges from the wrecked factory which would have been incredible had Ashe actually been somewhat of a charismatic force of nature who you’d be frightened of. The confrontation between Ashe and Spider Monkey is lame and I never quite understood why he was worth focusing on for a portion of the film. From there we follow Ashe through the city as he battles yet another annoying caricature Nemo, who dons a red wig because of his baldness and is a veritable addict of sex and voyeurism. How does that play out in the story?