‘Hotel Artemis’ Review

Director: Drew Pearce

Writer: Drew Pearce

Cast: Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella, Dave Bautista, Charlie Day, Brian Tyree Henry, Jenny Slate, Zachary Quinto and Jeff Goldblum

Synopsis: Set in riot-turn, near-future Los Angeles, ‘Hotel Artemis’ follows the Nurse, who runs a secret, members-only emergency room for criminals.

 

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

Hotel Artemis, the directorial debut of Iron Man 3 co-writer Drew Pearce, has been on my radar since it was announced. Sure the movie drew comparisons to John Wick right off the bat, so the question was what was the movie going to do to stand out? Well, Hotel Artemis does do enough to make it stand on its own, but unlike its spiritual counterpart – for the lack of a better phrase – Hotel Artemis would rather build up the tension for a grand finale.

Set in Los Angeles in 2028, the city is rioting over the lack of water, but during all of that, two brothers (Sterling K. Brown and Brian Tyree Henry) pull off a bank heist that doesn’t go as planned. After Henry’s character gets injured, Brown’s character takes him to the Hotel Artemis, a secret, members-only emergency room for criminals to go to get patched up and lay low. There, they met The Nurse (Jodie Foster), who runs the establishment with her head of security, Everest (Dave Bautista). The Nurse gives everyone there nicknames according to their rooms; Brown gets Waikiki, while Henry gets Honolulu.

As Waikiki’s brother gets patched up, we meet other occupants of Hotel Artemis in a loud and foul-mouthed businessman Acapulco (Charlie Day), the French assassin Nice (Sofia Boutella), and a cop played by Jenny Slate. Things look to be going smoothly until The Wolf King (Jeff Goldblum) enters the picture, and things go to hell pretty fast from there.

While the trailers and TV spots focus on the action in Hotel Artemis, you’ll be surprised – maybe disappointed if you were absolutely looking for that – that Pearce shows a lot of restraint and keeps the action to a minimal until the very end. What Pearce does instead is build up these characters and world before unleashing the action scenes, which is actually kind of refreshing.

Also, the fact that Pearce was able to get a cast like this on his first feature is quite the coup. Everyone nails their roles to a tee. Jodie Foster, despite being behind-the-camera for years now, reminds us why she was such a great actress. The Nurse is the most fleshed out character out of everyone, reaching every emotion available, and while he’s not as colorful as other characters like Day’s Acapulco, her character doesn’t lend to that anyway.

Sterling K. Brown’s Waikiki is a man with a plan for everything, and more level-head than anyone involved including his mess-up for a brother. Sofia Boutella’s Nice is arguably the most dangerous of them all, and has a history with Waikiki that sadly doesn’t play out the way Pearce probably intended it when he wrote the script. Dave Bautista’s Everest is what you’d expect from a Dave Bautista role by now, and that’s okay in my book. Charlie Day looks to be having some fun with his role, but it doesn’t quite click for me. Finally, Jeff Goldblum’s The Wolf King, the man that runs L.A., is really nothing more, sadly, than a glorified cameo. And while his short time on screen is great, it does lead to some important events for the rest of the movie.

Another thing that sets Hotel Artemis apart from other similar movies – yes it does have some sequel bait/world building – is the impressive production design by Ramsey Avery. We are told by The Nurse, that she has worked for the Artemis for twenty-two years. The halls and rooms look old, but some way they look like a room you’d find in nice hotel. Combine that with the cinematography by Chung-hoon Chung, who did It, and you got yourself a great looking movie.

All in all, Hotel Artemis is a solid action thriller that’s worth your time. What Drew Pearce was able to do with his familiar concept, and what he was able to get from his impressive cast for his first feature is impressive. Despite promotion making you think the movie is a shoot ‘em up action thriller, Hotel Artemis takes you down another road that is actually worth it. With a slow build for a big finale, great character development and fleshed out characters, and great production design and cinematography, Hotel Artemis is something to check it out, and something I wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel to.

Hotel Artemis

3.5 out of 5

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May Movie Releases

Hello Boys and Girls!

It’s the beginning of the Summer Movie Season!

What better way to start off this run of movies than a great month of films. We got a lot of films to get to, so let’s get to it!

 

4th

Bad Samaritan

A pair of burglars stumble upon a woman being held captive in a home they intended to rob. The movie stars Robert Sheehan, Carlito Olivero, Kerry Condon and David Tennant.

 

Overboard

A remake of the 1987 film, but this time with the genders reversed; a spoiled, wealthy yacht owner (Eugenio Derbez) is thrown overboard and becomes the target of revenge from his mistreated employee (Anna Faris). I’ve slowly become a fan of Eugenio Derbez – Faris is always reliable – and while the movie just looks okay, hopefully it’s at least entertaining. Overboard co-stars Eva Longoria, Swooise Kurtz, Josh Segarra, Alyvia Alyn Lind, and John Hannah

 

Tully

Written by Diablo Cody (Juno) and directed by Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air, Young Adult); Marlo (Charlize Theron), a mother of three including a newborn, is gifted a night nanny by her brother. Hesitant to the extravagance at first, Marlo comes to form a unique bond with the thoughtful, surprising, and sometimes challenging young nanny named Tully (Mackenzie Davis). It’s hard to root against the team of Reitman and Cody who did Juno together – I haven’t seen Young Adult – and with a cast like this, we’re probably looking at another hit. Tully co-stars Mark Duplass and Ron Livingston.

 

11th

Revenge

Never take your mistress on an annual guys’ getaway, especially one devoted to hunting – a violent lesson for three wealthy married men. The movie is lead by Matilda Lutz.

 

Life of the Party

Written by husband-and-wife duo Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy; when her husband suddenly dumps her, longtime dedicated housewife Deanna (McCarthy) turns regret into a re-set by going back to college – landing in the same class and school as her daughter, who’s not entirely sold on the idea. Plunging headlong into the campus experience, the increasingly outspoken Deanna – now Dee Rock – embraces freedom, fun and frat boys on her own terms, finding her true self in a senior year no one ever expected. I honestly don’t know what to make of the movie. I know there are some people out there that don’t like McCarthy, but I still think she can churn out some great comedy, so hopefully it happens here. The impressive cast includes Gillian Jacobs, Maya Rudolph, Julie Bowen, Adria Arjona, Jessie Ennis, Matt Walsh, Jacki Weaver and Christina Aguilera.

 

Breaking In

A mother (Gabrielle Union) takes her two children on a weekend gateway to her late father’s secluded, high-tech estate in the countryside. She soon finds herself in a fight to save her children from four men who break into the house in search of something. It’s kind of nice to see Union back on the big screen, and while the movie hasn’t completely sold me yet, it could be a worthwhile small thriller.

 

Terminal

The twisting tales of two assassins carrying out a sinister mission. A teacher battling a fatal illness, an enigmatic janitor and a curious waitress leading a dangerous double life. Murderous consequences unravel in the dead of night as their lives all intertwine at the hands of a mysterious criminal mastermind hell-bent on revenge. Terminal stars Margot Robbie, Simon Pegg, Matthew Lewis, Dexter Fletcher, Max Irons and Mike Myers.

 

18th

Limited Release: First Reformed

A former military chaplain is wracked by grief over the death of his son. Mary is a member of his church whose husband, a radical environmentalist, commits suicide, setting the plot in motion. The movie stars Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried and Cedric the Entertainer.

 

Show Dogs

Max, a macho, solitary Rottweiler police dog is ordered to go undercover as a primped show god in a prestigious Dog Show, along with his human partner, to avert a disaster from happening. I honestly couldn’t get passed the trailer, so I don’t think I’ll be personally watching this. The live-action cast includes Will Arnett and Natasha Lyonne, with the voice cast including Ludacris, Alan Cumming, Shaquille O’Neal, Gabriel Iglesias and Stanley Tucci.

 

Book Club

Four lifelong friends have their lives forever changed after reading 50 Shades of Grey in their monthly book club. The movie stars Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, Alicia Silverstone, Craig T. Nelson, Andy Garcia and Don Johnson.

 

Deadpool 2

Directed by David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde), Deadpool 2’s story has been mostly secret, but from what we can tell in the trailers it looks like Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) has to protect a young mutant (Julian Dennison) from the future, time-traveling mutant known as Cable (Josh Brolin). To do so, it looks like Deadpool forms the group X-Force. We can assume hilarity and action ensue. The rest of the cast is filled with the returning Morena Baccarin, Brianna Hildebrand, Karan Soni, Stefan Kapicic, T.J. Miller and Leslie Uggams. The new cast also includes Zazie Beetz, Bill Skarsgard, Terry Crews, Shioli Kutsuna, Jack Kesy and Eddie Marsan.

 

25th

Solo: A Star Wars Story

During an adventure into a dark criminal underworld, Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) meets his future copilot Chewbacca and encounters Lando Clarissian (Donald Glover) years before joining the Rebellion. Obviously, Solo had a very public behind-the-scenes debacle and drama with Phil Lord and Chris Miller being fired weeks before principal photography was done, over creative differences that spanned before then. Ron Howard then came in to not only finishing filming, but reshoot footage – a lot of it. That said, the prequel is dividing a lot of fans, and for good reason. Do we need a Han Solo origin story? Probably not. Will it be good? Let’s hope so. Solo also stars Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, Warwick Davis, Jon Favreau and Paul Bettany.

 

What are you looking forward to?

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Review

Director: Rian Johnson

Writer: Rian Johnson

Cast: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Carrie Fisher, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Gwendoline Christie, Andy Serkis and Benicio Del Toro

Synopsis: Having taken her first steps into the Jedi world, Rey joins Luke Skywalker on an adventure with Leia, Finn and Poe that unlocks mysterious of the Force and secrets of the past.

 

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

When The Force Awakens ended, everyone went crazy trying to figure out how the next movie was going to approach everything we just saw and was introduced. Enter director Rian Johnson and when that first trailer dropped everyone went crazy all over again after hearing Luke’s words of “it’s time for the Jedi to end.” Since then The Last Jedi has been on everyone highly-anticipated movies of the year. So now that it’s here, was the wait worth it? Is it too over-hyped? Both? Neither? Well, let’s find out.

The Last Jedi has three stories going on. The first is the story that ended The Force Awakens, Rey (Daisy Ridley) has found Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and is there to try and convince him to come back and help the Resistance, but to also help her find her place in everything and help her with her newfound abilities. The second follows Poe (Oscar Isaac), along with the Resistance Fleet fending off an attack by the First Order and butting heads with Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) and even Leia (Carrie Fisher) herself. Poe, finding out something dire, decides to send Finn (John Boyega) and a technician, Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran), to another planet to find someone that can help them. The final story is Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) still struggling with the darkness inside him and finally trying to prove himself to Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis).

The Last Jedi is an interesting film. On one hand, it is a true Star Wars film that is filled with great visuals, great cinematography – here by Steve Yedlin – an amazing score by John Williams and great moments that the franchise is known for like epic battles and twists. On the other hand, the film feels a bit too messy for its own good, but in that messiness it does bring some surprises that is obviously causing some fans to be very divided. Yes, that’s vague but this is a spoiler free review.

What I’m okay with saying and giving away is The Last Jedi does have some pacing issues. You definitely feel that the movie’s length by the end of it all, but at least director and writer Rian Johnson is able to make it captivating that you don’t really care too much – at least at the end of the movie. The subplot with Finn and Rose going to a different planet and run into Benicio Del Toro’s DJ, feels a little off from the rest of the movie, and while I think I understand what Johnson was trying to do with that part of the film, that section could have been cut down a little.

Other big thing that The Last Jedi does is that it does take some risks – at least in terms of revelations – with its storytelling. However, those risks/revelations are the things that are diving fans, at last from what I’ve seen. Storylines and teases from The Force Awakens are brought up and played around with, even going as so far to give us some answers or, unfortunately, more questions. It’s these little things that pile up that keep The Last Jedi from being the awesome and great film we’d hope for, and instead being a messy Star Wars film that has awesome and great moments.

This isn’t me saying The Last Jedi is a bad film – you notice I never said that – but after watching The Last Jedi I felt a lot of conflict – like Kylo Ren – about my impression of the movie. I’ve seen it twice now, and while the second time I had some more fun with it, the flaws are there once you start to dig around and discuss the film. That said, the pretty great moments are there too, but that’s not enough for me.

All in all, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is definitely a film that Star Wars fans will argue about for a long time. Does it have everything a Star Wars film is suppose to have? Yes. It’s fun, action-packed and funny when need be. Does it extend the ideas and uses the storylines that were paved for it in The Force Awakens? Yes, but it also does something that is frustrating, and has made frustrated which I understand. However, at the same time, I see what Rian Johnson was trying to do, so I can’t be too upset over it.

Needless to say, if you’re a Star Wars fan, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is worth the watch, and, for the most part, you’ll have a great time watching. Visually, the film is great to look, and the cast is finally able to cut their teeth in more meaty material this go around. Finally, yes, like The Force Awakens, this draws a lot on past Star Wars movies – whether that’s good or bad is up to you.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

4 out of 5

November Movie Releases

It’s Turkey Month ladies and gentlemen!

Happy Early Thanksgiving! It’s now at the point that we have a great film or films coming out every week and some that will for sure divide films fans. Now let’s jump right into the fray and see what’s coming out!

 

1st

A Bad Moms Christmas (Comedy – STX Entertainment, Huayi Brothers Pictures)

Amy (Mila Kunis), Carla (Kathryn Hahn) and Kiki (Kristen Bell) struggle to cope when their respective mothers visit for the holidays. I’m sure I’m with many who were surprised at how funny the first Bad Moms was and how successful it ended up being. So, and I can’t believe I’m saying this; I’m looking forward toward the sequel to Bad Moms. The film co-stars Jay Hernandez, Peter Gallagher, Cheryl Hines, Christine Baranski and Susan Sarandon.

 

3rd

Limited Release: LBJ

The story of U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson (Woody Harrelson) from his young days in West Texas to the White House. The film has a pretty impressive supporting cast in Bill Pullman, Jeffrey Donovan, Jennifer Jason Leigh, C. Thomas Howell, Michael Stahl-David and Richard Jenkins.

 

Limited Release: Last Flag Flying

Written and directed by Richard Linklater, and a spiritual sequel to the 1973 film The Last Detail. Thirty years after they served together in Vietnam, a former Navy Corpsman Larry “Doc” Shepherd (Steve Carell) re-untied with his old buddies, former Marines Sal Nealon (Bryan Cranston) and Reverend Richard Mueller (Laurence Fishburne), to bury his son, a young Marine killed in the Iraq War. The film looks pretty funny with three friends getting together on a road trip with some drama. The film also stars J. Quinton Johnson, Deanna Reed-Foster, and Yul Vazquez.

 

Limited Release: Lady Bird

Written and directed by Greta Gerwig, in only her second directorial film but her first solo film, Lady Bird follows Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan), who tries to get through life in Northern California while dealing with her mother (Laurie Metcalf) and her sick father (Tracy Letts). The film looks pretty great and a nice character piece with Ronan adding another potential great character to her resume. The film co-stars Odeya Rush, Timothee Chalamet, Kathryn Newton, Laura Marano, Daniel Zovatto and Lucas Hedges.

 

Limited Release: Blade of the Immortal

The 100th film by legendary director Takashi Miike (Ichi the Killer, 13 Assassins), and based off the manga by Hiroaki Samura. The film follows Manji, a highly skilled samurai, who is cursed with immortality and whose path is crossed by young girl looking for the legendary immortal samurai to help her avenge her parents, who were filled by a ruthless warrior and his army. This looks like a crazy, bloody, fun ride that only Miike can create.

 

Thor: Ragnarok (Sci-Fi Action Adventure – Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Pictures)

Directed by Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) finds himself imprisoned on another planet, and forced into a gladiatorial game against fellow Avenger, The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Thor has to survive and must race against time to stop the powerful Hela (Cate Blanchett) from destroying Asgard and everything in her way. I don’t know about you, but I’m stupid excited for this…that’s all, I can’t wait for this. The film co-stars Tom Hiddleston, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Idris Elba, Jaimie Alexander, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, Benedict Cumberbatch and Anthony Hopkins

 

10th

Limited Release: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Written and directed by Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths), in what is described as a “darkly comic drama,” a mother (Frances McDormand) personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter’s murder, when they fail to catch the culprit. I’m a huge fan of what McDonagh has done so far, and I can’t wait to see what he does here, with yet, another great cast. The film-co-stars Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Peter Dinklage, Abbie Cornish, Caleb Landry Jones, Zeljko Ivanek, Lucas Hedges and John Hawkes.

 

Daddy’s Home 2 (Comedy – Paramount Pictures, Gary Sanchez Productions)

Brad (Will Ferrell) and Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) must deal with their intrusive fathers, played by John Lithgow and Mel Gibson, during the holidays. I didn’t watch the first Daddy’s Home until this year, and I didn’t mind it, so now with the sequel coming out, I’m kind of looking forward to it. The film co-stars Linda Cardellini, John Cena and Alessandra Ambrosio.

 

Murder on the Orient Express (Crime Mystery – 20th Century Fox, Scott Free Productions, The Mark Gordon Company, Genre Films)

Based on the novel by Agatha Christie, renowned Belgian detective Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh, who also directs) investigates the murder of a wealthy American traveling on the Orient Express, the most famous train in the world. I loved the teaser trailer with that great tracking shot. Now that we’ve seen a little more of the trailer, I’m hoping this turns out to be great. The film also stars Daisy Ridley, Michael Pena, Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr., Penelope Cruz, Lucy Boynton, Derek Jacobi, Tom Bateman, Marwan Kenzari, Michelle Pfeiffer, Johnny Depp and Judi Dench.

 

17th

Limited Release: Sweet Virginia

A former rodeo champ befriends a young man with a propensity for violence. The film stars Jon Bernthal, Imogen Poots, Christopher Abbott and Rosemarie DeWitt.

 

Limited Release: I Love You, Daddy

Directed, co-written and starring Louis C.K., when a successful television writer’s daughter becomes the interest of an aging filmmaker with an appalling past, he becomes worried on how to handle the situation. The film co-stars Rose Byrne, Charlie Day, Helen Hunt, Edie Falco, Chloe Grace Moretz and John Malkovich.

 

Limited Release: Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Directed by Dan Gilroy, the film stars Denzel Washington stars as Roman Israel, a driven, idealistic defense attorney who, through a tumultuous series of events, finds himself in a crisis that leads to extreme action. The film also stars Colin Farrell, Carmen Ejogo and Shelley Hennig.

 

The Star (Animation – Sony Pictures Animation, Columbia Pictures, The Jim Henson Company, Walden Media, Affirm Films, Franklin Entertainment)

A small but brave donkey and his animal friends become the unsung heroes of the first Christmas. This animated film came out of nowhere really, so I don’t know if I’ll be watching this. The voice cast is impressive though with Zachary Levi, Gina Rodriguez, Steven Yeun, Keegan-Michael Key, Kristin Chenoweth, Ving Rhames, Anthony Anderson, Tyler Perry, Oprah Winfrey, Kris Kristofferson and Christopher Plummer.

 

Wonder (Drama – Lionsgate, Walden Media, Participant Media, Mandeville Films)

Based on the New York Times bestseller by R.J. Palacio. The film follows August Pullman (Jacob Tremblay), a boy with a facial deformation who enters fifth grade, in a mainstream elementary school, for the first time. I haven’t read the book, but just seeing the trailer, it looks like we’re in for a dramatic and touching story. The film co-stars Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Izabela Vidovic, Noah Jupe, Daveed Diggs and Mandy Patinkin.

 

Justice League (Action Adventure – Warner Bros./DC Entertainment/Dune Entertainment/Lensbern Productions)

It’s about time! The other big team-up of well-known superheroes is finally coming to the big screen, whether we like the approach or not. Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s (Henry Cavill) selfless act, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), to face an even greater enemy. The film also stars Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Jesse Eisenberg, J.K. Simmons, Willem Dafoe, and Diane Lane. Look, the DCEU has been shaky at best – expect you Wonder Woman – so here’s hoping that Justice League can at least put some stability to it.

 

22nd

Limited Release: The Man Who Invented Christmas

Based on the book by Les Standiford, the journey that led to the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer) and other classic characters from “A Christmas Carol.” The film shows how Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) conjured up a timeless tale. The film also co-stars Jonathan Pryce.

 

Limited Release: Darkest Hour (War Drama – Focus Features/Working Title Films)

Directed Joe Wright (Atonement, Anna Karenina, Hanna) Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) leads a charge against Hitler’s army in the early days of World War II. I have to admit this looks pretty damn good. It also helps that the movie has been getting a ton of Oscar buzz. The film also stars Lily James, Ben Mendelsohn, Kristen Scott Thomas and John Hurt.

 

Coco (Animation – Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios)

Aspiring musician Miguel (newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) teams up with charming trickster Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal) on an extraordinary journey through the Land of the Dead. As much as we have come to learn not to doubt Pixar, but this is going to have a hard time surpassing The Book of Life in my mind. But, like I said, never doubt Pixar. The voice cast ranges all over the place from unknowns to be names like Benjamin Bratt, Cheech Marin, Renee Victor and Edward James Olmos.

 

24th

Limited Release: Call Me by Your Name

Based on the novel by Andre Aciman, in the 1983, the son of an American professor is enamored by the graduate student who comes to study and live with his family in their northern Italian home. Together, they share an unforgettable summer full of music, food, and romance that will forever change them. I didn’t know too much about this until I starting seeing the film festival buzz, and after watching the trailer, it could not be too bad. The film stars Armie Hammer, Timothee Chalamet, Amira Casar and Michael Stuhlbarg.

What are you looking forward to?

‘Blade Runner 2049’ Review

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Writers: Hampton Fancher and Michael Green

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Jared Leto, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James and Dave Bautista

Synopsis: A young blade runner’s discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former blade runner Rick Deckard, who’s been missing for thirty years.

 

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

The first, since Blade Runner 2049 is a sequel, Blade Runner came out in 1982 and was directed by Ridley Scott. The film, in many people’s eyes changed the way sci-fi films, and even regular films, were made. The film raised questions and with all the different versions of the film, made the audience fill in some gaps. With the sequel, it expands on a lot of points the first film brought up, while giving us an enthralling story, great characters, and beauty cinematography.

That being said, I want to note that this review is going to be pretty vague. Not because the movie is a sequel – although if haven’t seen Blade Runner by this point, will you? – but because I think the less you know about the movie the better.

Set thirty years after the events in the first film, Blade Runner 2049 follows new Blade Runner in LAPD detective “K” (Ryan Gosling), who hunts down the synthetic humans created as a work force called replicants. On his recent assignment, he comes across something that is not only surprising, but something that can change everything. This eventually puts him on track to find former Blade Runner, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), who has been missing for thirty years. Unfortunately for K, this also puts him on new replicant creator Niander Wallace (Jared Leto), who sends his employee Luv (Syliva Hoeks), to keep an eye on K.

Right from the opening scene, we know this story is going to be different on a lot of levels. Most of it comes from Gosling’s K. Again, I’m going to give you very little about the film, and even the characters because it’s pretty great to watch them evolve and react in front of you. Gosling does do a great job here, having K be a man of a very words when need be, and having a certain restraint for most of the film. On the other end, there’s Harrison Ford, who thankfully doesn’t even give an impression that he’s phoning it in. Although, I will let this slip, he’s not in the film as much as you think or as the ads would make you think as well.

The rest of the cast is a mixed bag, not in the usual way where there’s good or bad performances because the film is filled with great performances, but in terms not everyone has enough time to shine. Most of the characters that enter server their purpose like Lennie James’ Mister Cotton, Barkhad Abdi’s Doc Badger, Hiam Abbass’ Freysa and Dave Bautista’s Sapper, but it’s the other characters that you think would have a bigger amount screen time. Jared Leto’s Wallace, who could easily be the “villain” of the movie only has a handful of scenes, while Hoeks’ Luv does all the heavy lifting on the antagonist side of things. Mackenzie Davis pops in as Mariette, and has a scene that I’m curious how people will react too, and Ana de Armas plays Joi, which will undoubtedly make her a household name.

However, one of the best things – besides the mystery story – is the production design by Dennis Gassner and cinematography by Roger Deakins. If anything, the film is stunningly beautiful to look at it. The use of colors and sets are pause worthy so you take it all in. I don’t want to say this is Deakins best work – only because I haven’t seen all of it – but I don’t think anyone would argue with that statement.

Unfortunately, not everything about Blade Runner 2049 is great. I’m not one to complain about a film’s runtime, but Blade Runner 2049 does feel like a long film. That’s not to say the movie is boring, but there are a lot of shots that are long and maybe too drawn out for their own good, but the run time did way on me, which doesn’t happen often. If anything, that would be one of my complaints and cons for the film.

All in all, Blade Runner 2049 is a great film with amazing production design and, to no surprise, amazing cinematography by Roger Deakins. Ryan Gosling delivers on everything he given, and works well with the supporting cast of Harrison Ford and especially breakout star Ana de Armas. Take my word for it, the less you know about the film, the better the experience will be. Also, if you can, watch it in IMAX, or at least Dolby.

Blade Runner 2049

4 out of 5

October Movie Releases

It is October ladies and gentleman!

This month looks pretty great and, yet again, some early Oscar nominations could come out. Of course, let’s not forget that it is the month of Halloween, so there are some potentially great horror films out this month. But let’s stop talking about them and actually get to them!

Also, Happy Early Halloween!

 

6th

Limited Release – The Florida Project

Sean Baker, who directed the first film to be entirely shot entirely on an iPhone in Tangerine, returns to direct The Florida Project. Set over one summer, the film follows precocious 6-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Disney World. The film stars newcomer Brooklynn Prince, Caleb Landry Jones, Bria Vinaite, Valeria Cotto and Willem Dafoe.

 

My Little Pony (Animation – Lionsgate/Hasbro Studios/Allspark Pictures)

When a dark force threatens ponyville and the Mane 6, they go on a journey to the end of Equestria to save their beloved home and they meet new friends and dangerous challenges along the way. I… I don’t know guys. The voice cast includes Emily Blunt, Liev Schreiber, Michael Pena, Uzo Aduba, Kristin Chenoweth, Taye Diggs, Sia, Ashleigh Ball, Shannon Chan-Kent, Andrea Libman and Tara Strong.

 

The Mountain Between Us (Romance Drama – 20th Century Fox/Chernin Entertainment)

Based on the novel by Charles Martin, stranded after a tragic plane crash, two strangers must forge a connection to survive the extreme elements of a remote snow covered mountain. When they realize help is not coming they embark on a perilous journey across the wilderness. The film doesn’t look too bad, of course having two big names like Idris Elba and Kate Winslet leading your film for what looks like the majority of the film it’s got to be at least a little good right? The film also stars Dermot Mulroney and Beau Bridges.

 

Blade Runner 2049 (Sci-Fi – Warner Bros., Columbia Pictures, Scott Free Productions, Alcon Entertainment, Thunderbird Films, 16:14 Entertainment, Torridon Films)

Set thirty years after the events of the first film, a new Blade Runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD Blade Runner who has been missing for 30 years. The long-awaited sequel is finally coming out and boy does it look great! From the cinematography, the visual effects and the cast, Blade Runner 2049 could be one of the best films of the year. The film also stars Jared Leto, Dave Bautista, Ana de Armas, Mackenzie Davis, Sylvia Hoeks, Barkhad Abdi, Carla Juri, Lennie James and Robin Wright.

 

13th

Limited Release: Breathe

Directed by Andy Serkis, making his directorial debut, the inspiring true love story of Robin (Andrew Garfield) and Diana (Claire Foy) Cavendish, an adventurous couple who refuse to give up in the face of a devastating disease. The film has been getting a lot of love on the film festival circuit so keep an eye out of this film when it comes out. The film co-stars Diana Rigg, Tom Hollander and Hugh Bonneville.

 

Limited Release: Goodbye Christopher Robin

A behind-the-scenes look at the life of author A.A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) and the creation of the Winnie the Pooh stories inspired by her son C.R. Milne. The film stars Margot Robbie, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Nico Mirallegro, Alex Lawther and Kelly Macdonald.

 

The Foreigner (Action Thriller – STX Entertainment, Huayi Brothers, thefyzz, SR Media)

Based off a novel called The Chinaman by Stephen Leather, a humble businessman with a buried past seeks justice when his daughter is killed in an act of terrorism. A cat-and-mouse conflict ensues with a government official, whose past may hold clues to the killers’ identities. I didn’t know this movie was even happening, but when I watched the trailer I honestly can’t wait. The film stars Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan and Michael McElhatton.

 

Happy Death Day (Horror Mystery Thriller – Universal Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, Digital Riot Media)

A college student relives the day of her murder with both its unexceptional details and terrifying end until she discovers her killer’s identity. The Groundhog Day-esque slasher idea sounds cool, but it’s all really going to come down to the execution of the idea that makes this film either memorable or forgettable.  The film stars Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Rachel Matthews and Charles Aitken.

 

Professor Marston & the Wonder Women (Biography – Annapurna Pictures, Stage 6 Films, Topple Productions, Boxspring Entertainment, Opposite Field Pictures)

The true story of William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans), the polyamorous relationship between his wife (Rebecca Hall) and mistress (Bella Heathcote), the creation of his beloved comic book character “Wonder Woman” and the controversy the comic generated in its earlier years. The film looks pretty interesting, and to be honest, I don’t know too much about Marston – especially this – so this has definitely peaked my interest. The film also co-stars Connie Britton, JJ Field, and Maggie Castle.

 

Marshall (Biography Drama – Open Road Films, Starlight Media, China Wit Media, Chestnut Ridge Productions)

The film is about a young Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, as he battles through one of his career-defining cases. It looks like Chadwick Boseman is the new king of biopics, already playing Jackie Robinson, James Brown and now Thurgood Marshall, in what looks to be a great film. Also, I like that they aren’t going with the Brown v Board of Education trail, and one that maybe not to many people know about. The film co-stars Sterling K. Brown, Kate Hudson, Josh Gad, Dan Stevens, Keesha Sharp, Jussie Smollett, Sophia Bush, Jeffrey DeMunn and James Cromwell.

 

20th

Limited Release – The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Directed by The Lobster director Yorgos Lanthimos – Steven, a charismatic surgeon, is forced to make an unthinkable sacrifice after his life starts to fall apart, when the behavior of a teenage boy he has taken under his wing turns sinister. The film stars Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Barry Keoghan, Raffey Cassidy, Bill Camp and Alicia Silverstone.

 

Same Kind of Different as Me (Drama – Paramount Pictures, Pure Flix Entertainment, Reserve Entertainment, Disruption Entertainment)

International art dealer Ron Hall must befriend a dangerous homeless man in order to save his struggling marriage to his wife, a woman whose dreams will lead all three of them on the journey of their lives. The film stars Greg Kinnear, Renee Zellweger, Djimon Hounsou, Dana Gourrier, Olivia Holt, and Jon Voight.

 

Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween (Comedy – Lionsgate, The Tyler Perry Company)

Madea, Bam and Hattie venture to a haunted campground and the group must literally run for their lives when monsters, goblins and the boogeyman are unleashed. The film stars Tyler Perry (obviously), Cassi Davis, Patrice Lovely, Brock O’Hurn, Yousef Erakat, Jc Caylen.

 

Only the Brave (Drama – Sony Pictures, Black Label Media, Di Bonaventura Picture)

Based on the elite crew of men who battled a wildfire in Prescott, Arizona in June 2013 that claimed the lives of 19 of their members. Going through two different names until landing on Only the Brave, the true story film looks pretty good, and I’m sure it’s only going to be easy to watch, but with a cast like this, it looks like we’re in for a great film in this busy week. The film stars Miles Teller, Taylor Kitsch, James Badge Dale, Jennifer Connelly, Ben Hardy, Andie MacDowell, Josh Brolin and Jeff Bridges

 

Geostorm (Sci-Fi Action – Warner Bros./Village Roadshow Pictures/Skydance Productions)

As a man heads into space to prevent climate-controlling satellites from creating a storm of epic proportions, his brother discovers a plot to assassinate the president. Honestly, I don’t know how to feel about this. On one hand, it looks absolutely ridiculous, but on the other, it looks absolutely ridiculous that it could be dumb fun. The film stars Gerard Butler, Ed Harris, Katheryn Winnick, Abbie Cornish, Jim Sturgess and Andy Garica.

 

The Snowman (Crime Drama – Universal Pictures/Village Roadshow Pictures/Working Tile Films/Another Park Film)

Based on the novel by Jo Nesbo, Detective Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) investigates the disappearances of a woman whose pink scarf is found wrapped around an ominous-looking snowman. The trailer makes this look like an uncomfortable crime thriller, but one that will be great to watch – as weird as that sounds.  The film also stars Rebecca Ferguson, J.K. Simmons, Chloe Sevigny, Charlotte Gainsbourg, James D’Arcy, Val Kilmer and Toby Jones.

 

27th

All I See is You (Drama Thriller – Open Road Films, Wing and a Prayer Pictures)

A blind woman’s relationship with her husband changes when she regains her sight and discovers disturbing details about themselves. This movie has been moved around a few times, it was supposed to come out last month, but got pushed back to his month, so let’s see if that sticks. The movie stars Blake Lively, Jason Clarke, Yvonne Strahovski, Wes Chatman, Ahna O’Reilly and Danny Huston.

 

Jigsaw (Horror – Lionsgate, Twisted Pictures, Serendipity Productions, A Bigger Boat)

Bodies are turning up around the city, each having met a uniquely gruesome demise as the investigation proceeds, evidence points to one man: John Kramer. But how can this be? The man known as Jigsaw has been dead for over a decade. The film stars some unknowns for the most part with the biggest names being Laura Vandervoort, Callum Keith Rennie and Tobin Bell (somehow).

 

Thank You for Your Service (Biography War Drama – Universal Pictures, DreamWorks, Reliance Entertainment)

Based off the book by David Finkel, a group of U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq struggles to integrate back into family and civilian life, while living with the memory of a war that threatens to destroy them long after they’ve left the battlefield. This looks really good. I wasn’t really all that excited for the movie when I first heard about it, but the trailer has really turned me around. The film stars Miles Teller, Haley Bennett, Joe Cole, Omar J. Dorsey, Beulah Koale, Keisha Castle-Hughes and Amy Schumer.

 

Suburbicon (Crime Mystery – Paramount Pictures, Silver Pictures, Smokehouse Pictures, Dark Castle Entertainment, Black Bear Pictures)

Directed by George Clooney and co-written by him and the Coen Brothers. A home invasion rattles a quiet family town. This looks absolutely fantastic! That’s it. The film has an impressive cast in Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Noah Jupe, Glenn Fleshler and Oscar Isaac.

 

What are you looking forward to?

August Movie Releases

Can you believe it’s already August? Seriously, where has the all the time gone geez. Anyway, August is filled some films that could have potential. It’s also the last month of the Summer Movie Season, also known to some as studios’ “dump month.”  Let’s hope that it is not the true case.

 

4th

Expansion Release: An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

 

Limited Release: Wind River

Taylor Sheridan (Sicario, Hell or High Water) writes and makes his directorial debut here which follows an FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) teaming with a town’s veteran game tracker (Jeremy Renner) to investigate a murder that occurred on a Native American reservation. The film looks pretty great to be honest and seeing Sheridan make his directorial debut with great leads is going to – hoping – be great to watch. The film also stars Jon Bernthal, Gil Birmingham, Martin Sensmeier and Julia Jones.

 

Kidnap (Thriller – Aviron Pictures, Well Go USA Entertainment, Di Bonaventura Pictures, Gold Star Films)

A mother, played by Halle Berry, stops at nothing to recover her kidnapped son. This was supposed to come out last year, but got shelved after Relativity Media and got picked up some by another studio. It also doesn’t help that the movie doesn’t look all that great, but you never know. The film stars Sage Correa, Dana Gourrier, Christopher Berry and Lew Temple.

 

Detroit (Drama Thriller – Annapurna Pictures, MGM, First Light Production, Page 1)

Amidst the chaos of the Detroit Rebellion, with the city under curfew and as the Michigan National Guard patrolled the streets, three young African American men were murdered at the Algiers Motel. The film is directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by Mark Boal, the duo already have The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty under their belts and are now tackling this story set against the backdrop of the famous Detroit Riots. It looks absolutely great and has a great cast lead by John Boyega. Detroit also stars Will Poulter, Jacob Latimore, Jason Mitchell, Kaitlyn Dever, Jack Reynor, Algee Smith, Ben O’Toole, John Krasinski and Anthony Mackie.

 

The Dark Tower (Sci-Fi Fantasy – Sony Pictures/Media Rights Capital/Imagine Entertainment)

Based on the Stephen King stories, The Dark Tower follows Gunslinger Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), who roams an Old West-like landscape in search of the Dark Tower, in hopes that reaching it will preserve his dying world. This puts him at odds with The Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey. This movie has been in the works for so long, I’m happy to finally see this get made, and more importantly it doesn’t look that bad. The Dark Tower also stars Tom Taylor, Abbey Lee, Katheryn Winnick, Jackie Earle Haley, Fran Kranz and Dennis Haysbert.

 

11th

Limited Release: The Only Living Boy in New York 

Directed by Marc Webb, adrift in New York City, a recent college graduate’s life is upended by his father’s mistress. The film stars Callum Turner, Kiersey Clemons, Kate Beckinsale, Jeff Bridges, and Pierce Brosnan.

 

Limited Release: Ingrid Goes West

Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza) is an unhinged social media stalker who takes a liking to Taylor Sloane (Elizaebth Olsen), a life influencer, who looks to live the perfect life. Ingrid moves to L.A to try and become friends with Taylor, but eventually – like always – takes things too far. The film also stars O’Shea Jackson Jr., Wyatt Russell and Pom Klementieff.

 

Limited Release: Good Time

A bank robber (Robert Pattinson) finds himself unable to evade those who are looking for him. The film is by A24, who has been on a tear lately, and sees Pattinson’s character also trying to save his brother from being kept in prison. The film also stars Ben Safdie, Barkhad Abdi, and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

 

The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature (Animation – Open Road Films, ToonBox Entertainment, Shanghai Hoongman, Gulfstream Pictures)

Following the events of the first film, Surly and his friends must stop Oakton City’s mayor from destroying their home to make way for a dysfunctional amusement park. The voice cast includes Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl, Maya Rudolph, Jackie Chan, Isabela Moner, Peter Stormare, Bobby Cannavale, Gabriel Iglesias, Jeff Dunham and Bobby Moynihan.

 

The Glass Castle (Drama – Lionsgate, Netter Productions)

Based on the memoir by Jeannette Walls, the film follows a young girl who comes of age in a dysfunctional family of nonconformist nomads with a mother who’s an eccentric artist and an alcoholic father who would stir the children’s imagination with hope as a distraction to their poverty. The film has a great cast of Brie Larson, Naomi Watts, Sarah Snook, Max Greenfield and Woody Harrelson.

 

Annabelle: Creation (Horror – New Line Cinema, Atomic Monster)

Several years after the tragic death of their little girl, a dollmaker and his wife welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home, soon becoming the target of the dollmaker’s possessed creation, Annabelle. Directed by David F. Sandberg, who did the impressive Light’s Out, the film is a prequel to the first Annabelle, which of course itself a prequel/spinoff of The Conjuring. The film stars Miranda Otto, Stephanie Sigman, Anthony LaPaglia, Lulu Wilson, Adam Bartley, Alicia Vela-Bailey, Philippa Coulthard, Javier Botet, and Mark Bramhall. I was lucky enough to see an advanced screening late last month, and I really liked it. The film just never lets you go. I highly recommend.

 

18th

The Hitman’s Bodyguard (Action Comedy – Lionsgate/Nu Image / Millennium Films/Skydance Productions/Campbell Grobman Films)

The world’s top bodyguard (Ryan Reynolds) gets a new client, a hit man (Samuel L. Jackson) who must testify at the International Court of Justice. They must put their differences aside and work together to make it to the trial on time. I like to call this the quintessential Samuel L. Jackson movie given the red-band trailers have Jackson yelling “mother fucker” for most of it. The film also stars Salma Hayek, Elodie Yung, Joaquim de Almeida, and Gary Oldman.

 

Logan Lucky (Comedy – Bleecker Street Media, Fingerprint Releasing, Trans-Radial Pictures, Free Association)

Two brothers (Adam Driver and Channing Tatum) attempt to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race in North Carolina. Steven Soderbergh returns to the big screen after his semi-retirement with this great looking comedy heist film including to wacky characters like Daniel Craig’s Joe Bang and a one armed Adam Driver. The film also stars Katherine Waterston, Riley Keough, Sebastian Stan, Katie Holmes, Jack Quaid, Seth MacFarlane and Hilary Swank

 

25th

Tulip Fever (Romance Drama – The Weinstein Company, Worldview Entertainment, Ruby Films)

Based on Deborah Moggach’s novel, an artist falls for a young married woman while he’s commissioned to paint her portrait during the Tulip mania of 17th century Amsterdam. The film has been moved around so many times now, let’s hope it finally sticks. The film also has a nice cast of Alicia Vikander, Cara Delevingne, Holliday Grainger, Dane DeHaan, Christoph Waltz, Zach Galifianakis, Kevin McKidd, Jack O’Connell, Tom Hollander, David Harewood, and Judi Dench.

 

Crown Heights (Drama – Amazon Studios, Black Maple Films, Washington Square Films, Iam21 Entertainment)

When Colin Warner (Lakeith Stanfield) is wrongfully convicted of murder, his best friend Carl King (Nnamdi Asomugha) devotes his life to proving Colin’s innocence. The film also stars Bill Camp and Nestor Carbonell.

 

All Saints (Drama – Columbia Pictures, Affirm Films)

Based on the true story of a salesman-turned-pastor Michael Spurlock (John Corbett), the tiny church he was ordered to shut down, and a group of refugees from Southeast Asia. Together, they risked everything to plant seeds for a future that might just save them all.

 

Birth of the Dragon (Action – WWE Studios, BH Tilt, Groundswell Productions)

Set against the backdrop of 1960s San Francisco, the film is a modern take on the classic movies that Bruce Lee was known for. It takes its inspiration from the epic and still controversial showdown between and up-and-coming Bruce Lee (Philip Ng) and kung fu master Wong Jack Man (Yu Xia) – a battle that gave birth to a legend.

 

Leap! (Animation – The Weinstein Company, Quad Productions, Caramel Film, Main Journey)

Originally a French film, an orphan girl (voiced by Elle Fanning) dreams of becoming a ballerina and flees her rural Brittany for Paris, where she passes for someone else and accedes to the position of pupil at the Grand Opera House. It looks like foreign animated films with an American voice cast is starting to become a trend, but for me, Leap! doesn’t look all that great. The dubbed voice cast also includes Dane DeHaan, Maddie Ziegler and Carly Rae Jepsen.

 

So, what are you looking forward to?