BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99
2017, RLJE Films, 132 min, USA, Dir: S. Craig Zahler

BONE TOMAHAWK director S. Craig Zahler’s sophomore feature follows Bradley Thomas (Vince Vaughn), a former boxer turned drug runner who is incarcerated after a deal goes horribly wrong. Sentenced to serve time under the watch of the sadistic Warden Tuggs (Don Johnson), Thomas must fight to stay alive and to protect those he loves. In lesser hands this narrative could have beaten a pedestrian path, but here Zahler flirts with viewers, deliberately taking his time to establish Vaughn’s character until he arrives at prison and metamorphoses into a killing machine that is part Frankenstein monster, part shark from JAWS and part monster truck.


THE BEDFORD INCIDENT
1965, Sony Repertory, 102 min, Dir: James B. Harris

Longtime Kubrick producer James B. Harris made his directorial debut with this cautionary Cold War tale. Richard Widmark stars as the captain of the destroyer USS Bedford, which has located a Soviet submarine off the coast of Greenland. Though not at war, the captain insists on baiting the sub, to the increasing concern of his crew and visiting photojournalist Sidney Poitier.


BAD DAY FOR THE CUT
2017, Well Go USA, 99 min, UK, Dir: Chris Baugh

They say good men are hard to find - and maybe it’s better that way. This Sundance hit tells the story of Donal, a sturdy farmer who loves his aged mother, values hard work and is loyal, focused and tough. What he is not, under any circumstances, is someone to mess with. So when Donal’s monastic existence as the good son is tragically upended, his justice is bloody and thorough. Director Chris Baugh and his co-writer Brendan Mullin have created a film as deceptively simple as its hero. Set against the stark beauty of Northern Ireland, the story eschews cheap twists in favor of a slow and steady unveiling of the horrible truths hiding in plain sight. They’re aided by an able cast, especially lead actor Nigel O’Neill, whose performance is infused with the quiet rage of the overlooked.


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