After watching Bone Tomahawk back in 2015 my anticipation for the next S. Craig Zahler movie grew feverpitch, his simple style blended with a cult laid cast pumped with an explosive violent finale had me wondering how can this realatively new filmmaker top what I have classed as an instant cult classic? Well it only took 2 years and I had my answer BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99 is intoxicating in it’s execution, it’s sublime storytelling, it’s trade mark gut wrenching finale but most of all it’s one hell of a performance from Vince Vaughan as Bradley Thomas an ex-con boxer trying to make a living in any way which he can to provide for his wife and their unborn baby when all shit rains down and things get really ugly – Zahler’s writing and filmmaking style is kept simple but engaging, his use of character invention is spectacular almost Tarantino-esque, he knows how to deliver these weird, wonderful & downright nasty son of bitches to the screen, casting old pro’s such as Don Johnson to bring home key roles in his movies, and what about the great Udo Kier as the mysterious Placid Man, Kier’s role maybe small but it’s so pivotel and I can’t think of anyone I would rather play that role, Dexter’s Jennifer Carpenter gives a good turn as Bradley’s wife and Buffy’s Marc Blucas is eye catching as Bradley’s boss – but essentially Brawl in Cell Block 99 is Vince Vaughan’s movie, it’s a role that’s truly up there with some of the memorable film roles of all time, such as Travolta’s Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction, Nicholson’s Jack Torrance in The Shining and more, Vaughan at times prowls the screen like The Duke did back in the old western’s of yesteryear, his wrestling background and stature is used by Zahler to great effect giving his character this imposing look who carries this quiet yet unsettling demeanor, for me a bit like Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk, those fight scenes in the last 40mins are quite something….
So to be very clear Brawl in Cell Block 99 is not for everyone, if you hate violence & don’t like to hear bone crunching sounds or watch torture and all sorts of blood curdling tear ups then please stay well clear of this movie – but if like me you like your films hard hitting with slices of no nonsense movie escapism then you will revel in this brutal uncompromising cult classic – now I only have to wait till next year for S. Craig Zahler next movie the epic titled Dragged Across Concrete that stars Mel Gibson & Vince Vaughan, my mouth is drooling already…. ★★★★½
Who else loves a good old fashioned alien invasion romp? Well this guy does and Roland Emmerich’s INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE does not disappoint, it’s a flash of 90’s nostalgia, a total blast from start to finish and a devilishly fun movie ride that I wasn’t expecting – from Jeff Goldblum’s one liners, Liam Hemsworth’s dashing leading rogue & the Emmerich blueprint of breathtaking action, earthly destruction & patriotic ass kicking, this is a fine example of why I love the movies, not all films need to have a complex narrative, actors in search of that golden statue or film-makers attempting to baffle you with science, sometimes we the viewer just need to unwind take in some popcorn and be entertained and it’s my view that Roland Emmerich is one of the best out there in feeding me that cinematic treat – Overall: Resurgence is a real visual gem, jam packed with fist pumping action scenes and a young emerging cast that keeps the film’s pace moving faster than my heart beat – Resurgence is right up there alongside it’s ’96 original, Will Smith was not missed one bit and overall a hugely fun night at the movies was had by all ★★★★
If you enjoyed Jeremy Saulnier’s epic “Blue Ruin” then you will love the grittiness, the uncompromising & at times the shockingly uncomfortable GREEN ROOM – from the time the punk band “The Ain’t Rights” hit the neo-Nazi club and takes to the stage you just know things are going to get downright ugly – Saulnier’s strength as a filmmaker is the weaving of realism into his characters, most are broken individuals (or soon will be) and Saulnier is the master of taking you into their world, a world that’s not pretty or glossed over, a dark unforgiving ferocious world and if you dare Saulnier will take you there – along with a very intriguing, delicious band lineup the movie is jam packed with interesting characters from the white supremacist club owner a creepy individual played by Patrick Stewart, a crowd of badass skinheads that look ready to peel your head from your neck like an orange, a mysterious girl at the scene of a crime, some vicious hungry looking dogs & a bunch of club management ready to spill blood for their leader – Saulnier weaves these characters almost Tarantino-esque in & out of his picture with great style, you just never know whats coming next – Overall: GREEN ROOM may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I loved it – it’s an unpleasent suspenseful and at times dark humoured little gem that nails you to seat and makes you beg for more runtime at its conclusion ★★★★½
Sometimes you sit down & watch a movie with zero expectations & have an absolute ball – M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit is one of them movies – Shyamalan who wrote, directed & financed the movie himself has come up trumps, it’s a film that’s refreshingly original, deliciously quirky and creepy as hell – the movie runs on a budget of $5 Million, and centers around siblings who go to visit their grandparents for a week, Aussie Olivia DeJonge plays the role of the older sibling Rebecca, a keen young filmmaker who has decided to document the visit by filming everything – The Visit manages to create an eerie suspense whilst making you laugh at the various strange goings on at the grandparents isolated farmhouse – the film is a true return to form for it’s director Shyamalan & certainly his best film since 2002’s Signs – if you feel a little suffocated (like me) by all these constant remakes & Superhero movies out there and want your faith restored by original, well acted, low budget film making then please check out The Visit its a little gem ★★★★
3 Days to Kill (2014) – Movie Review ★★★¾
Director: McG – Cast: Kevin Costner, Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld, Connie Nielsen, Richard Sammel, and Eriq Ebouaney– Synopsis: After being told he has months to live, CIA agent Ethan Renner (Costner) decides to quit the agency, mend some bridges and build a closer relationship with his estranged wife and daughter before checking out – but his past wont let go and when’s he’s offered a deal to take an experimental drug that could save his life in exchange for one last assignment Ethan has no choice but to step back into the line of fire and track down the world’s most deady terrorist – Verdict: McG can be quite the filmmaker, he knows how to deliver action to the screen with thunderous results, they’re usually fast flowing, with big set pieces and pretty entertaining affairs such as Charlie’s Angels, Full Throttle and Terminator Salvation – but sadly McG can also direct the odd dud like 2012’s comedy This Means War that had a superb cast but was the worst film by a distance that year and sucked in every department – luckily for us 3 Days to Kill sees the director return to form, it’s smart yet simple script written by the French maestro Luc Besson is played out by a stella cast including the class act that is Kevin Costner, the eye candy Amber Heard and Ender’s Game actress Hailee Steinfeld all giving the movie a solid footing, making the movie enjoyable to watch and bringing believability to their characters and scenarios – I believe most of the outside shots were on location in Paris and Belgrade and this lent to the feel of a European thriller, typical of McG the action scenes are crisp, exciting & at times explosive and the wry humor throughout is delivered with masterclass by Costner who seems to be getting to an age like Eastwood did ten years back where you can see the swagger of an aging acting pro oozing confidence and looking great doing so – yes at times it maybe cliched and predictable, and yes Steinfeld and Heard were underused but Overall I had fun with 3 Days to Kill McG has delivered an energetic action thriller, that’s funny, sentimental and so so enjoyable….
DALLAS BUYERS CLUB (2014) – Movie Review ★★★★
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée – Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner – Synopsis: From director Jean-Marc Vallée comes an autobiographical movie based on the real-life AIDS patient Ron Woodroof, who went against the FDA and smuggled unsanctioned drugs into Texas to help fellow sufferers – the drugs were effective in improving his symptoms so he began distributing them by establishing the “Dallas Buyers Club” – Verdict: I must confess before watching the movie I had never heard of Ron Woodroof and his fight against the AIDS disease and the FDA – I don’t know how much liberty was taken with the story but the Dallas Buyers Club is a very moving, inspiring and at times mildly amusing one – Matthew McConaughey has been ramping up his career of late with killer performances in brilliant films such as Killer Joe, Mud and TVs True Detective and in the Dallas Buyers Club he delivers a mesmerizing performance not only with his appearance but his ability to suck the audience into his character and allow them to feel and root for this Electrician come Grifter Ron Woodroof who’s happens to be not the nicest of guys but you slowly believe in his cause and his overwhelming courage – alongside McConaughey is Jared Leto (Requiem for a Dream) who plays Rayon a transgender woman who also has the AIDS virus and befriends Woodroof, Leto is a talented character actor and is delicious in this role feeding off McConaughey’s energy and looking pretty amazing dolled up with a wig and makeup – the scenes with the Marc Bolan photos had me in stitches – overall the Dallas Buyers Club is a wonderful piece of film-making that is essential viewing and will go down as one of this years finest….