Suspiria and all the images you see in this review are owned by Amazon Studios
Directed by Luca Guadagnino
Look if the choice is between an Argento film getting a remake or Argento making another movie, let’s just say I know better than to ask for the latter. Yes, in our never ending quest to make sure every movie gets remade every thirty years (*cough* Pet Sematary *cough*), the Dario Argento classic is getting its chance at nice and shiny new version that if nothing else seems to have some serious talent backing it; not just with actors Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton as the leads, but the guy who directed Call Me By Your Name (a film I still haven’t gotten around to seeing) heading up this reinterpretation. Will this be even HALF as scary as the original film’s trailer with that super creepy skull reveal, or will all the talent in the world fail to capture what Argento did all those years ago? Let’s find out!!
The movie for the most part follows Susie Bannion (Dakota Johnson) who is a rather gifted dancer from the far off lands of the US Midwest and has moved to the Markos Dance Academy in 1977 West Berlin. It was rather fortuitous by the way that there was even an opening for her because one of the other dancers (Chloë Grace Moretz) JUST SO HAPPENED to “leave” the school and has “gone back home” despite none of her friends having no idea that she was doing that or even getting a phone number to reach her at. Yeah, it doesn’t take long to realize that suspicious things are going on behind the scenes, and while the movie is coy with details and specifics it definitely seems to be a bunch of witches running this school; not figuratively even though some of them can be quite unbearable, but in a very literal sense. It seems that the coven is in need of… a sacrifice I think and that Susie might just be the one they’re looking for; assuming they can manage not to screw this whole scheme up before she’s ready. Easier said than done I’m afraid because despite the presumed head witch Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton) knowing just what is at stake if they act recklessly, the rest of them seem to have their own agendas that might just conflict with Blanc’s as well as the secretive Miss Markos (Tilda Swinton again) who we hear is quite eager to get this sacrifice ready to go. None of this is helped by the missing girl’s therapist Dr. Josef Klemperer (wait, that’s Tilda Swinton too!?) who is looking into the school to see if any of the girl’s claims about secret cults and magic powers might prove to have at least a shred of truth to them and if there was some foul play involved with her disappearance. Will Susie uncover the horrifying plot against her and find a way to escape such an unfortunate fate? Just what are the witches hoping to achieve with her, and is it in all of their best interests to play along with the scheme? No seriously, that’s Tilda Swinton as the old guy!? Why didn’t anyone tell me before I saw the movie!?
Bad Times at the El Royale and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Drew Goddard
Oh hey! I know this guy! Yeah, didn’t he do that movie that everyone else liked but I was pretty nonplussed about? Okay, probably have to be more specific there. This is the guy who made The Cabin in the Woods (no not that guy, the guy who ACTUALLY directed it) which was an interesting idea but for me it suffered from a somewhat oblivious tone and an ending that soured me from ever really enjoying the film again. Well after a few years doing quite a bit of writing, he’s back in the director’s chair with this film that looks to be a mishmash of noir tropes as opposed to horror ones, though he managed to keep Chris Hemsworth around. Will this be the movie that sells me on the brilliance of this director after a somewhat disappointing opening salvo, or is this another guy who I’m just not gonna get and be a sourpuss about while everyone else is enjoying themselves? Let’s find out!!
The El Royale is a hotel on the border between Nevada and California, once a hotbed of celebrity debauchery but now a shell of its former self; handing out cheap rooms to unscrupulous and impoverished characters who aren’t really here for the ambiance. On the fateful day that this movie starts, there JUST SO HAPPENS to be quite a few people there who may or may not have nefarious schemes in mind, including the vacuum salesman Seymour Sullivan (Jon Hamm), the kindly Father Flynn (Jeff Bridges), the singer Darlene Sweet (Cynthia Erivo), and the mystery woman who signs the guestbook with an obscenity (Dakota Johnson). Now normally they would just go their separate ways and not bother one another no matter what bad stuff they’re into, but what the concierge Miles (Lewis Pullman) isn’t telling them is that this place isn’t simply a rundown hotel; rather it’s a rundown hotel WITH A SPYING ROOM! As each one of them goes about their business, things start to unravel as some discover this place and see what the others are up to which inevitably causes their stories to intertwine in ways that will either lead to fair and equitable compromises or an utter bloodbath; especially with the Mystery Woman having some serious baggage in the form of another mystery woman with her (Cailee Spaeny) and some dude who just might be looking for them (Chris Hemsworth). Will these lovely guests manage to finish what they came here to do with all their limbs still attached? What is each one of them hiding, and how important will it be to the other people there? How the heck did hotel stay open this long!? They’ve got ONE guy running the darn place!!
How to Be Single and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Christian Ditter
Oddly enough, the really terrible Valentine’s Day film already came out with The Choice a week ago and this movie seems less interested in that market than it is in going after the Pitch Perfect or Sisters audience (hence the reason why Rebel Wilson is so prominent in the advertisements). While I’m glad that this movie was not selling itself as an overly sentimental low budget Chick FlickTM, what it WAS promising didn’t look all that… well promising. Still, trailers can be misleading and it does have Leslie Mann who’s always fun to watch on screen. Does this turn out to better than expected, or is this just a low brow cash grab trying to ride a trend that’s already been defined by much better movies? Let’s find out!!
The movie is about four women for the most part. We’ve got Alice (Dakota Johnson) who’s just moved to the big city and has taken a job at a law firm where Robin (Rebel Wilson) works and the two of them become fast friends as the latter teaches the former how to loosen up a bit and learn how to be a single lady. We’ve also got Meg (Leslie Mann) who is Alice’s sister and she has decided that she wants to have a kid and find a way to make it work as a single parent with a demanding job as a doctor, while also making sure her younger sister doesn’t get into too much trouble. Off to the side (definitely the least important part here) is Lucy (Alison Brie) who… I guess just wants to meet a guy? I don’t know, there’s this thing about her finding an algorithm to find the perfect man, but that kind of drops off. Her character basically gets subsumed by the local bartender anyway (Anders Holm) and, despite the poster, she has zero interacts with our three other leads. Anyway, Alice’s big crisis is that she decided to put her current relationship with Josh (Nicholas Braun) on hold as she wants to experience single life before deciding whether or not she’s ready to settle down with him yet, but you can probably guess that those plans go pear shaped rather quickly and so she has to adapt to being single as a way of life rather than as an experiment. Will Alice eventually find out how to live her life for her and not define it by the relationships she has with other men? Will Meg be able to handle all the responsibilities of being a single mother? Does Deadpool end up being the better romantic comedy!?