No Escape (1994)

no escape

Lord of the Sighs

No Escape begins with a text crawl which informs us that in the then-distant future of 2022, all prisons are controlled by corporations.  It’s a promising enough – though hardly original – basis for a movie, but it turns out to have little bearing on No Escape’s actual narrative, which turns out to be more Mad Max-light than the futuristic prison break movie it initially promises. Continue reading

Overlord

overlord

Overlord, with its high-concept hook of Nazi zombies, itself practically a subgenre at this point, is the kind of movie that could have gone either way.  It’s easy to see how it could have been all concept and no execution, the kind of movie with little to offer besides a catchy gimmick at its center.  Thankfully it turns out to be anything but, taking its gonzo premise and running with it to create a perfectly satisfying slice of B-Movie cheese. Continue reading

American Animals

american-animals-movie.jpg

Were it not for the real-life event upon which American Animals is based, it could have easily been a typical college comedy.  Its deceptively simple setup – four in-over-their-heads students plan to rob their school – sounds more like a 2000s frat movie than the unique blend of genres it turns out to be.  I stress the word “blend,” because the movie is simultaneously a breezy college comedy, a heist movie, and a stranger-than-fiction docudrama. Continue reading

Brawl in Cell Block 99

brawl in cell block

This essentially straight-to-digital movie, released back in October, slipped under my radar until very recently when I caught some online buzz about it.  A serious Vince Vaughn performance is always an intriguing prospect, so I decided to give it a go, expecting a gritty prison movie with (given the director’s previous movie) some hardcore violence.  I wasn’t wrong, but I didn’t expect it to be as damn good as it was. Continue reading

Dunkirk

Dunkirk

One might naturally go into Dunkirk expecting a sweeping action-epic, but Nolan’s latest behemoth is surprisingly intimate.  The movie is essentially divided into three parts, each taking place over a different length of time before the mass evacuation of troops from the titular city: a week-long saga of civilian sailors doing what they can to help, one long day of land troops trying to make it home, and the story of Farrier, an RAF pilot, which unfolds in just one hour. Continue reading