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Drama

Brawl in cell block 99 (2017)

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Brawl in Cell Block 99A former boxer-turned-drug runner lands in a prison battleground after a deal gets deadly.

Genre : Crime/Drama
Country : USA

Cast :
Vince Vaughn : Bradley Thomas
Jennifer Carpenter : Lauren Thomas
Don Johnson : Warden Tuggs

Director :
S. Craig Zahler

My opinion on “Brawl in Cell Block 99”

“You said you would never work for Gil.
So we’re both breaking promises today.”

Vince Vaughn in a crime movie where he plays a rough-looking drug dealer? You gotta be kidding me. Although he surprised me with an excellent part in “Hacksaw Ridge“, I always associate him with feel-good, romantic crap movies with the kind of humor I never laugh about in most cases. Well, I was totally wrong this time. Vince Vaughn is ruthless, mega calm and ultra-brutal in this extreme violent film. Better yet. He’s even funny now. Funnier than whatever comedy he played in before. And this thanks to the dryly, humorous remarks he makes sometimes. The moment someone mentions his name again, I’ll see that tattooed cross on the back of a bald skull directly in front of me.

Brawl in Cell Block 99

Vince Vaughn isn’t having fun here.

Life hasn’t been so good for Bradley (Vince Vaughn). After being fired, he finds out that his wife Lauren (Jennifer Carpenter) is cheating on him. Next he starts working as a drug runner to bring in some money. Before he knows it, he’s facing a long prison sentence because of a failed drug deal. And from that moment on, the movie changes into a higher gear. Indeed, the movie wasn’t really fast till that moment. Before you even see anything of a prison, you’ve been watching the screen already for some time. And then it goes from bad to worse for Bradley. His wife is being kidnapped by the leader of the drug gang (who wants to regain his financial loss) and Bradley has to kill an inmate who’s locked up in cell 99 in the heavely guarded prison of Red Leaf.

Brawl in Cell Block 99

Not a movie for sissies !

This is without a doubt Vince Vaughn’s best acting achievement ever. Finally his impressive body is being used for the right purpose. Relentlessly beating up opponents and transforming them into a pile of crushed human flesh. Something that’ll happen regularly in this ultra-violent film. Every time it looks as if Bradley has to lift his immensely heavy limbs and strike a guard or another criminal with devastating force in the face. The result is always repulsive brutal. Seeing a skull bursting open like an overripe tomato or the awareness of what the Korean is going to do with Bradley’s wife, may be a bit too much for some. “Brawl in cell block 99” certainly isn’t a film for sensitive viewers. But this sadistic violence serves a purpose. Bradley has a specific goal in mind and is therefore forced to take this violent path.

Brawl in Cell Block 99

I was totally flabbergasted after seeing “Brawl in cell block 99”

There were a few things in this film that shocked me. The fact that I didn’t recognize Don Johnson baffled me. Was it because of that gigantic mustache? Or was it his age (he’s already 67 years old)? Or is it just me? And then of course the fact that I’m speechles about the acting of Vince Vaughn, who clearly deviates from his usual acting pattern. I don’t think of Vaughn as being one of my favorite actors. But after his performance here, I have to revise my opinion about him. And finally the impression this film made on me. I’m not easily shocked and got my share of extremities used in movies. But this time I was a little bit out of my depth. Somehow the movie messed me up. And that’s not necessarily because of the explicit violence. It’s the overall feeling. I do know that next time I come across a movie with Vince Vaughn playing in it, it won’t be so obvious to just avoid it. He literally knocked himself to the top of my list of “the better” actors.

My rating 7/10
Links : IMDB

Drama

The Craft: Legacy | Official Trailer – Sony Pictures

An eclectic foursome of aspiring teenage witches get more than they bargained for as they lean into their newfound powers.

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Genre:

Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Release Date:

October 27, 2020

Director:

Zoe Lister-Jones

Cast:

Michelle Monaghan, Cailee Spaeny, David Duchovny, Gideon Aldon, Lovie Simone, Hannah Gordon, Nicholas Galitzine

Plot Summary:

An eclectic foursome of aspiring teenage witches get more than they bargained for as they lean into their newfound powers.

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Drama

Retro Review | ‘All is lost’ – Starring Robert Redford

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Normally I start a review with a quote from the film in question. That’s a bit difficult in this case since “All is lost” lacks any conversation. The only thing that would qualify is a frustrated cry of the famous F-word. For the rest it is just sloshing water, creaking wood, noise of hitting ropes, and lots of rain and falling water, you hear throughout the film. I can understand his frustration, because how the hell is it possible to have a collision between your pleasure boat and a container on that immeasurable ocean while doing an afternoon nap?

 

All is lost

 

It’s difficult to call this movie unnerving exciting. I dare to say that it was dead boring after a certain time. The only decision I took after watching this film is that I’ll never set foot on such a boat and float around on the ocean with nothing but water around you as far as you can look. And in the worst case, not only around you, but also down at you.

 

All is lost

 

Robert Redford, the icon of the white screen, had to carry the complete movie. He was, after all, the only living figure in this wet movie. Besides an unidentified hand at the last moment. No idea what RR‘s name was. Besides, there is a total lack of background information about his character. Except that we know where exactly he is sailing. I can’t complain about his acting performance because this was sometimes astounding. The only thing that amazed me was how stoically calm he was the whole time. A damn container makes a leak, no electricity or radio, a storm that shows up, the whole boat turns upside down, he hits his head against an iron pole, the boat is sinking, the lifeboat ends up in a storm, also turns upside down and then it catches fire … but does he keep a straight face? Yes sir! He’s a paragon of utmost restraint. I found this a bit exaggerated because I certainly would need a spare box of diapers in those circumstances!

 

All is lost

 

The explanation might be that he’s an experienced sailor. Yet this experienced sailor had to read a  handbook on how to determine his position using the stars. And apparently, he never used a sextant before. There were times when it was so predictable. I said at one time it wouldn’t surprise me if “Jaws” would suddenly show up. Afterward, they wandered around his dinghy. And that his boat could sink at any moment, could not stop him to crawl aboard a second time. And of course the second time it went down.

 

All is lost

 

The movie itself wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t very entertaining either. And sailing seems to be a dull affair after all. The end was cheesy and followed the well known Hollywood guidelines. For me, the end would have gained enormously in strength, if at that ultimate moment RR wants to grasp the saving hand, he’d be dragged down by a great white shark. But that is too exaggerated and would be enormously ironic.

 

 

My rating 3/10
Links: IMDB

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Adventure

Enola Holmes | Very Much Worth A Watch

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Enola Holmes [Netflix]

‘Enola Holmes’ is one of those films that confirms my belief that I will never make a serious film critic. There will no doubt be people who will review this film pointing out the number of flaws, from the inaccurate backdrops to the overtly political messages (BLM and Feminism are all over this film, which personally made me love it more), but none of that concerns me. I thought it was terrific fun and enjoyed it immensely.

I watched this with my 12-year-old daughter who is probably slap bang in the demographic target audience of this film, and like me, she loved it. What is clear is that this is a career goal vehicle for star and producer Millie Bobby Brown, who is allowed to show off her considerable comic timing, her tough as nails action abilities and demonstrate an emotional side she has shown so well previously in three years of ‘Stranger Things,’ and you know what it works. She is a completely enchanting screen presence from the moment we meet her as she clumsily, comedically struggles to ride a bike across a field.

The constant breaking of the 4th wall with narrations and knowing winks to the camera may grate on a few, but I thought it added to the charm of the whole piece, nobody is taking this too seriously, and that surely is the point. Henry Cavill comes in as older brother Sherlock in casting that probably helped get the film made, with Cavill turning up occasionally as the reassuring presence in Enola’s life, but is generally given very little to do. Likewise, Helena Bonham Carter is a touch of familiarity but is sparsely used. The subplot involving the darker side of Bonham Carter’s Eudoria’s disappearance isn’t fully explored and is one of the lower aspects of the film.

The film itself isn’t all slapstick, sweetness and light, Burn Gorman’s Linthorn is at the top end of sinister as a hired hitman who would have served as an equally terrifying adversary in one of older brother Sherlock’s adventures, and Sam Claflin has great fun as moustache-twirling “nasty” older brother Mycroft Holmes.

The film lags a little in the middle third which after the breakneck pace of the opening act is to be somewhat expected but picks up sufficiently for a more than satisfying conclusion.

Like most child stars, the true test is when that child becomes an adult, and Millie Bobby Brown has proved here that she has the presence and personality to be able to have a long and varied career. Only time will tell of course, but if nothing else this is a film that can be enjoyed for years to come. Great fun all round.

You can follow me on Twitter @DomHolder  and read some of my reviews on Letterboxd at letterboxd.com/DomH and read some more of my film blogs on dominicholder.wordpress.com/

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