Fantastic Fest 2017 - Day 2
3 FT BALL AND SOULS (grade: 3/5)
It's an uplifting dramedy about a group of people re-living over and over again through the same time period of them committing suicide together. Naturally it's from Japan. The setup is intriguing, and the characters are interesting for the most part. But I'm not that into the melodramatic acting that a lot of Asian actors (especially Japanese and Korean) exhibit, and there's plenty of that here. The story is predictable if you have seen any movies with a similar premise like GROUNDHOG DAY, and the ending is schmaltzy as fuck, but I dug it.
THE MERCILESS (grade: 4/5)
Crime drama from Korea? That's a no-brainer. Just put me in the seats because I'm sold. Koreans have become the kings of this genre now that Hollywood has stopped making these types of movies. Sad for the fans, but at least you're getting them from somewhere. This is a way more entertaining version of DONNIE BRASCO. And the way the story is told through constant flashbacks and jumps through character perspectives kept the audience on their toes. Each revelation and twist made sense and was consistent for all characters involved. Great acting, dialogue, and editing. Oh, and the slap-fights. Awesome slap-fights. I wanted more slap-fights. GIMME MORE SLAP-FIGHTS, KOREA.
BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99 (grade: 4/5)
Holy shit, Vince Vaughn. I didn't know you had this in you. I mean season 2 of TRUE DETECTIVE showed a glimmer of his viciousness and cold brutality, but this is on another level. I didn't know until now how much I needed to see Vince Vaughn going HAM on gangsters, prisoners, and prison guards. And Don Johnson as a sadistic prison warden? Fucking cherry on top.