So I have fallen behind…big time.  There is no way I can write reviews for all of the films I have seen since #123, but I still want to post all of them.  I have some reviews written already, so I will post those first, and then post a catch-up post to follow with all the movies I haven’t written about.  I am coming to terms with my 2011 movie challenge, and I will post that around the end of the year (30th).

I want to thank everyone who continues to check my blog for new material, and I apologize I haven’t posted in a while.  Things got crazy with school and the holidays, as they always do.  I’m surprised at the number of hits I am receiving each day, even without updating as often.  I will continue to write next year, but I will set a goal that I can hopefully manage, especially because I am looking to write a ton more for Inside Pulse – Movies (a site I work for now).  Be sure to check that website out because a lot of my reviews will be posted there as well.

Now, onto the first review I have written.  Again, these will not be in order until I reach the final, catch-up post later.  Thanks for reading!

Movie Number- 125
October Horrorthon Number- 12
Title- The Brazen Bull (2010)
Running Time- 85 minutes
Director- Douglas Elford-Argent
Writer- Thomas Bilyeu, Chris Van de Polder
Starring- Michael Madsen, Jennifer Tisdale, Rachel Hunter

(Originally an IP Movies Review)

With Halloween right around the corner, it is no surprise that the direct-to-video (DTV) DVD market is seeing an influx of horror movies.  The Brazen Bull is the latest upcoming release from Virgil Films & Entertainment.  With this film, director Douglas Elford-Argent provides a different look at the current state of the housing market, and the effects that this economy could have on individuals.  Taking things to the extreme, this horror movie suggests that if the current housing market doesn’t hit an upswing soon, people might start killing over buildings.

The Brazen Bull stars Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill, Sin City) as a man who has been pushed to his breaking point.  Trapped in an abandoned warehouse, Lauren (Jennifer Tisdale – Bring It On: In It to Win It), her friend Ashley (Gwendolyn Garver), and her real-estate investing partner/fiancé, Tyler (David Frank Fletcher Jr.) find themselves at the mercy of a killer (Michael Madsen).  With no way out, and no cell phone reception, they do their best to stay alive.

To say The Brazen Bull is a poor effort is an understatement.  The plot, though amusing, never pans out.  Why these characters are “trapped” in this warehouse is also vague, and having no cell phone reception is a worn out plot device.  The script isn’t terrible, but the dialogue seems rushed, which is the opposite of the snails pace the plot takes.  It takes over 30 minutes for the film to get moving, and once it starts going, it stalls on itself just a few moments later by delivering exposition, or a plot point the audience cannot buy into.  The motivations behind the killer’s actions are as absurd as having no cell phone reception, and nothing to break a window with to jump out the first floor window.  If the movie is going to be based on being trapped in a building, the audience needs to believe that the character really have no way out, and The Brazen Bull fails to deliver on this end.

Worst than the slow pacing is the terrible acting.  The way the movie was acted left me wondering why I should care about their situation if the characters don’t even care.  A man gets his fingers cut off as he is tied up, and the actor only seems mildly annoyed that this is happening!  There is no emotional truth in the acting, save for the veteran Michael Madsen.  Madsen does an excellent job, and brings sympathy and humor to a character that should otherwise be despicable.  Madsen was not enough to overshadow the rest of the casts disappointing performances.

The director decided to keep actress/model Rachel Hunter’s New Zealand accent.  This was completely unfounded, as her daughter Laura spoke with a standard American dialect.  This could have been easily cleared up with just a few added lines of dialogue, but instead director Douglas Elford-Argent chose to fluff up the films length by adding in pointless shots of the abandoned building, and shots of the two female characters walking up 4-6 flights of stairs instead of just the 2-3 that were needed.  These fluff shots added to the movies poor pacing, and could have been removed completely.

The bad acting and slow pacing could have been forgiven a little bit if there were great special effects to talk about.  Instead, The Brazen Bull gives some cheesy intestine-like props with fake blood, a fake hand, and a buzz saw.  For a movie that was “formulated for fans of Saw and Hostel”, there was very little blood, and even less action, which are staples of both the aforementioned series.  The Brazen Bull forgets it’s a horror movie after the opening scene, and the rest of the film is a long, bumpy ride that leaves the audience wondering why they’ve wasted their time.

 

 

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Branden Chowen
Editor-in-Chief at Cinefessions
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn't until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor's and master's degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.