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!!
Kingsman: The Golden Circle and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Kingsman kind of came out of nowhere and surprised everyone with just how big of a hit it became, but then again that’s kind of the most notable thing about Matthew Vaugh’s career so far. Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, and Kingsman were all movies that no one really expected to become huge hits, but he managed to turn all three into huge money makers and even garnered quite a bit of critical praise in the process! Now he’s attempting the one thing that so few directors have been able to pull off which is to make a successful sequel to one of his own films; something that even the best directors aren’t always able to pull off (*cough* The Lost World *cough*)! Will this be yet another unexpected hit from a director who’s known for making those, or is this a challenge that will prove insurmountable even for someone as talented as Matthew Vaughn!? Let’s find out!!
The movie picks up some time after the ending of the first film where The Kingsman Organization is thriving under new leadership and Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is living the super awesome secret agent life while also dating Princess Tildae (Hanna Alström) who was the princess he saved in his last adventure. Now obviously things can’t stay this way for long (lest this be a rather uneventful movie), as Eggsy’s past comes back to haunt him with the sudden reappearance of Kingsman dropout Charles (Edward Holcroft) who somehow survived the events of the last film and proceeds to set off a chain reaction of events that completely decimates the Kingsman Organization; even managing to kill agent Lancelot in the process (Sophie Cookson). With nothing left and the world facing an imminent threat from an organization known only as The Golden Circle, led up by Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore), the remaining Kingsman members (pretty much just Eggsy and Merlin played by Mark Strong) must turn to their American Counterparts known as The Statesmen in order to fight against whatever nefarious schemes Poppy and Charles have planned. Can Eggsy save the world yet again despite having lost so much already? Can the Statesmen be trusted to work with the remaining Kingsman members, or do they have a secret agenda of their own? Seriously, how the hell do they write themselves out of a bullet to the head in order to bring back Collin Firth!?
Hell or High Water and all the images you see in this review are owned by CBS Films and Lionsgate
Directed by David Mackenzie
Can we say award season is in full swing now? Have we run out of DC films to be disappointments after collecting half a bajillion dollars instead a full bajillion? Sure, Doctor Strange is in November and we’ve got a few more animated kids films to suffer through, but the deluge of lightweight and over budgeted boom-a-palooza is over? Well we can only hope, but what we should be hoping for even MORE is that the Oscar bait this year is up to snuff and not a bunch of studio films that cut the budget and let the actors look pensive for minutes on end set in World War 2. At least with this movie, things seem to be off to a good start as this is a down and dirty Texas crime movie starring well known genre actors as well academy award winning ones! Will this be one of the best films of the year (Oscar bait or otherwise), or is there just a bunch of hot air surrounding a mediocre actioner? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with two kinda dopey dudes robbing a small time bank in a small time town in East Texas. They manage to get away clean, more so out of dumb luck than their own skill, but I guess that’s the advantage of robbing bum-fuck nowheres-ville. The two end up hitting a few more places in a similar manner, also getting though it by the skin of their teeth, and this gets the attention of Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) who’s on the verge of retirement but thinks he can nab these two before he finishes up his tenure. He drags along his partner Alberto (Gil Birmingham) to check on those places that have been hit and see if they can predict where the two are gonna strike next, all the while running into reminds of how miserable these areas are due to the recent recession. Our nominal heroes by the way, brothers Tanner and Toby Howard (Ben Foster and Chris Pine) are victims of said misery, but their exact motivations aren’t clear yet as to why they’re raising money and how much of it they need. Will the cops stop the robbers before they can reach their goal? What are Jeff Bridges chances of making it out of this alive considering he’s days from retirement? Is it REALLY that hard to catch these dumb mother fuckers?