Sunday, December 24, 2017

Two Paragraph Review: Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017)

Copyright: RLJE Films
I went in with big expectations when I started watching Brawl in Cell Block 99. S. Craig Zahler, its author, and I really mean author because the man wrote, scored and directed the film, completely mesmerized me with his previous film, Bone Tomahawk. Now, the story of a weird Wild West is exchanged for the universe of drug pushers and the things they willing to do to protect their loved ones. Also, it uses Vince Vaughn in his best form as the main character who finally provided his career with the thing he should have gotten from True Detective.

But, while it’s a fun and gritty movie, Brawl in Cell Block 99 is basically a reskinned Bone Tomahawk. Its first half features a long exposition and plenty of character building, which then drastically switch at one point, landing its protagonist in hell (again). From there, he has to fight to find salvation (again). While this is loose setup, it still feels very repetitive and for me, takes away a lot of points for this otherwise promising weird thriller. Zahler needs to mix it up a bit for his next film because this formula is getting a bit stale.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Indie Showcase: Hongo (2017)

For any independent movie, there is always the dilemma of how should a particular film present itself. Should it be flashy and shocking from the first moment, trying to catch the viewer with this effect alone? Or should it try to play it cool and slow, allowing the viewer to gradually become immersed?

Hongo, made by the Misguided Perceptions Media Group is an interesting movie that apparently uses a little bit of both approaches. The film tells the story of a convict that get paroled and released into a world where he ends up struggling just to get by. Desperate for any option, he listens to the recommendation of this parole officer and contacts a man who offers him a job.

At this point, the film takes a sudden and menacing. In an unknown open space, he and other individuals are placed in a surreal, but a very deadly situation.  As their plight begins, so does the film take a step into a horror-thriller domain.

Aside from an interesting plot, Hongo features great cinematography, with excellent shots of serene nature, which is a complete contrast to the frightened and desperate character. The film also features really cool editing, especially when it comes to its action-drive second part. The trailer clearly shows this fact near its very end with a great jump-scare.

All of this makes Hongo a very promising gender-bending film that you should check out. If you want to learn more about the movie and where you can watch it, use this link.