Incredibly Well Done
sillyrabbit | 12/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A MURDER OF CROWS redeems Rowdy Herrington and Cuba Gooding Jr. for every bad film they have ever made, and combined... that's a lot of bad films.MURDER revolves around a disbarred lawyer who scams his way into a success, but, through a devious plot twist, becomes the main suspect in a string of brilliant homicides. The script by Herrington is absolutely involving. It's detailed, well paced, and very smart. Despite a few goofy or cheesy lines, which are pretty much due to bad acting in certain parts, the script is solid.The direction is as haunting as it should be in this type of film and Herrington really turns up the suspense. His slow shots or disoriated handhelds are in the right places, and it only adds to the tenseness of the story.Cuba Gooding Jr. is completely fascinating in this role. He gets into it all the way and makes you believe him, even in the most incredible scenes. Tom Berrenger, however, does not fare as well. Even though he proved in the past that he was a decent actor, he slips a bit, and some of his lines are given like he was reading them off of cue cards. However, he's good enough that it doesn't distract from anything else, and in some scenes, he's excellent. The supporting cast, including Marianne Jean Baptiste and Eric Stoltz, is very good and only adds to the film. Stoltz is smarmy and oozes charisma and Baptiste has a very soothing, sweet, grandmother-type air about her. They are the best they could be.Overall, A MURDER OF CROWS is a highly overlooked film that should be scene by lovers of suspense. The guessing game that is involved throughout the story doesn't make you feel stupid, but it doesn't give much away either."
Robert P. Beveridge | Cleveland, OH | 04/12/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A Murder of Crows (Rowdy Herrington, 1999)
Herrington, best known for the Patrick Swayze vehicle Road House, turns in a by-the-numbers thriller here. Not awful, but not great, either. Lawson Russell (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) is a recently-disbarred lawyer who got the ax after recusing himself from the trial of Thurman Parks III (Eric Stoltz), a slimeball even Russell can't bring himself to defend. A year later, low on cash and running a fishing boat in the Florida Keys, working on his perpetually-unfinished novel, he meets an old man with the improbable name of Christopher Marlowe who wants him to read over a manuscript. He goes to return it the next day and finds the old man has died of a heart attack, so Russell appropriates the manuscript, which of course becomes a smash success-- after which Rusell becomes the target of obsessive-cop stereotype Clifford Dubose (Tom Berenger), because all the murders in the book Russell appropriated really happened, and now he's the prime suspect. I'm pretty sure you can figure out what happens from there.
It's mildly amusing, and good acting is turned in by Stoltz, Gooding, and Berenger, though they have little to do other than play cardboard cutouts. Ashley Laurence also shows up as Gooding's publisher, and any excuse to see Ashley Laurence on a screen is worth your time; it's got an empty-calories feel to it, however, and a few days after seeing it, you're likely to start wondering if you remember certain details (say, for example, the entire last half-hour of the film) correctly. ** ½"
Great movie, lousy transfer
C. A. Luster | Burke, VA USA | 05/08/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is an interesting mystery with Cuba Gooding Jr., and Tom Berenger. They do nice jobs of playing a corrupted lawyer and a good cop. Gooding after causing the mistrial of his guilty client, is disbarred and tries to write a book to get by at a home he inherited from his father. He is tempted by a book offered to him to critique by an elderly man that dies shortly after that. What ensues takes many twists and turns that keep you guessing. It is ashame the transfer from the film to DVD was done in such a poor manner. Sterling Millenium Series should be avoided if this is the type of DVD quality they produce. I have purchased many movies that were 30 or more years old that were a much better transfer (e.g. The Vikings). If it was not such a great movie I would have sent it back."
New Orleans Noir
Mel Odom | Moore, OK USA | 05/27/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Cuba Gooding, Jr. plays Russell Lawson, a black defense attorney in present day New Orleans, Louisiana. The film opens on Lawson, who is having an epiphany regarding his perception of his job and the people he defends. The camera picks up a red-faced devil walking deliberately through the Mardi Gras-packed streets and the metro party that is in full swing. The devil pays a visit to Lawson, pulling out a pistol and preparing to kill him when he hears Lawson tell the judge that he wants to pull out of the current case he's trying. Thurman Parks III, Lawson's client, only that afternoon admitted that he killed the lap dancer he's accused of murdering. The next day, Lawson destroys his legal career, throws away his future, and crucifies his client on the witness stand. In only a short time, Lawson is a fishing charter captain in Florida. He meets an old man who gives him a novel about the murders of five attorneys who used their skills to help killers go free. Later that day, the old man turns up dead. Having what he is certain is a bestselling novel, Lawson rewrites the book, claims it is his own, and becomes an overnight sensation and millionaire. Then he's arrested because the murders in the novel were all based on the murders of prominent attorneys. Lawson becomes part of a cunning cat-and-mouse chase that keeps the viewer glued to his or her seat.Cuba Gooding, Jr. has been in dozens of movies and has been an outstanding actor. Writer/Director Rowdy Herrington has also written STRIKING DISTANCE and ROAD HOUSE, both action flicks known for cunning little plotting loops. Although only in the movie for a short time and never completely living up to his past potential, Tom Berenger plays the NOPD homicide cop that chases Lawson down. Eric Stoltz plays the positively smarmy lap dancer murderer.A MURDER OF CROWS stands out as a suspenseful thriller. Enough twists and turns exist within the movie to keep even the most jaded thriller fan on the edge of his or her seat. Conventional double-crosses only set the viewer up for plot twists and turns that throw monkeywrenches in even the astute thriller fan's pre-conceptions of how the movie is going to turn out. Although the acting performances are good, the thing that really drives the movie is the plot. The action is tight and the pacing moves along quickly. The literary and philosophy clues will catch the eye of a student of both or either, and plays fairly with the viewer on those accounts.One aspect of the film and the plot that rankles somewhat is the fact that the ultimate villain is completely hidden from view. Also, Lawson's ability to move around in plain daylight while a massive manhunt was underway for him takes an effort to suspend the disbelief. How Lawson and Dubose linked up would have been nice to see because that came out of left field at one point. The movie was more about the plot twists and turns than about the way Lawson survived financially, but those aspects would have tightened up the viewing experience a little.A MURDER OF CROWS is great movie for the thriller/suspense fan who likes a little whodunit? in his or her viewing experience. People who liked TWILIGHT, SPY GAME, THE GINGERBREAD MAN, OCEAN'S ELEVEN, or SHATTERED will enjoy this movie as well."