Peppermint

When is the last time Jennifer Garner was in an action movie? I really don’t know. Quickly glancing, my guess is in 2007 when she was in The Kingdom, but I could have missed something else over the last 11 years.

She has been “mom” in so many movies for so long, it is hard to imagine her doing anything badass. Hell, she is the current voice for the Mama in Llama Llama, a simple as fuck show on Netflix.

I just cannot imagine her kicking butt and doing anything believable. I can imagine her making me cry, sure. I can imagine her caring for her kids. But the lady who made me teary in a Christian movie (a hard task), Miracles from Heaven, has to do a huge shift in momentum for me to imagine her wrecking house.

All I am saying is that Peppermint has a hill to climb from the get go.

Sad
I too may weep when it comes to the family dying scene.

Riley North (Jennifer Garner) is not a porn star name, but a young mother who just wants to do whatever she can to protect her family. That probably doesn’t make it feel less porn star yet.

Their family is struggling a bit, but they are making things work. Her daughter (Cailey Fleming) is having issues with friends. Her husband (Jeff Hephner) is trying to find additional sources of income. Some low life comes to him with an idea, about stealing from a drug dealer in a fool proof plan. He turns it down overall, but apparently the dealer (Juan Pablo Raba) already got word about it, and wants to make sure a message is sent. And that message involves being gunned down in public, taking out the daughter as well but not fully killing Riley.

Riley takes things to trial, clearly pointing out in a line up the culprits, but yet the crime lord has great lawyers, and has the D.A. and judge in his pocket.

So what’s a girl to do? Maybe get some fat stacks of cash, run away around the world, and train for about five years in combat, shooting, whatever, in order to come back for revenge to take down anyway who let this corruption happen.

Also starring John Gallagher Jr., John Ortiz, Annie Ilonzeh, and Method Man.

Gun
Mommy’s got a gun, bad guns on the run, shoot ’em as they come.

In retrospect, Garner is the perfect person for this role. After the last decade of being a mom, in this movie, her extreme mom-ness mattered. She needed to have that loving, do anything for family look, and she has nailed that over the years. She also has some experience with action films and shows before that time, so working with stunt crews, choreography, etc would probably be second nature, even after this time. Peppermint called for a vengeful mom in order to work, and Garner fit the role very well.

Now, the film on its own does do a lot of strange things. It tells the story out of order early on, which mostly feels unnecessary. We get to see all of this build up of the case that she is so angry about, with these players. We especially got a lot of action with their lawyer. And yet when she is doing her revenge killings, we barely see any of the actual people involved getting punished. We get to see the judge get murdered, we see one of the shooters in a quick tussle, but the lawyer is completely ignored. A man who threatens her, has dialogue, is killed off screen and not even shown a death. It doesn’t make sense.

Instead most of her violent vendetta is shown against the gang itself, who sure, were involved with the death of her family. But didn’t actively do the dead or the cover up, just orchestrated it. It was very strange to not give us that initial satisfaction. They also made it way too easy for these initial things, deciding to brush it all over by turning her into some female batman who had some money and some years of training.

The film is still definitely entertaining. There are twists I tried to guess and was surprised with how they turned out. An okay film overall, one that you can reasonable accept and go along with.

And to answer the question you probably had, no, I did not cry when the family died. That probably says a lot about the film, I imagine.

2 out of 4.

Perfect Bid: The Contestant Who Knew Too Much

I love me some game shows. LOVE. When I had game show network, I would always make that my channel of choice while I worked around the house, or played video games, or tried to sleep. A good show to help stimulate my mind, fill me with useless trivia, whatever. I stopped caring about GSN of course when it just turned into the Steve Harvey Family Feud channel, instead of…well, anything else.

Game Shows have various levels of entertainment for me. The ones that involve being smarter, or clever, they are great. The ones with more blind luck can just go to hell. I never want to see Deal or No Deal. A show like that has no value added to the watcher, who just…watches. Nothing to answer, nothing to do.

So The Price is Right is an okay show to watch. It is very straight forward, the watcher can make their own guesses of course, feel accomplished every once in awhile and go about their day. It is also full of flashy lights and happy people so it is nice. Some people take game shows to an extreme. They find one, they watch it, become experts. And you can do that with something like The Price is Right! They reuse items all the time for their showcase.

And one time, the unthinkable happened. A contestant, in the final showcase, guessed the exact price of their showcase. It is so large and unexpected, but they knew if it happened, that the contestant would win both prizes. It had never been done in decades, and it did within the last decade finally. Was this guy an expert? A lucky old man? Did he cheat? Or did he have a secret weapon he didn’t know he had? This is the story that Perfect Bid: The Contestant Who Knew Too Much wanted to answer.

Perfect Bid
Seems like a good secret weapon should be hairier.

Meet Theodore Slauson. He did not get the perfect bid on the showcase. The picture of him on the show was forever ago. But he was known for watching it a lot, studying the prices, and being an amazing audience member. It took him over ten times of visiting the show before finally being picked, and it was like a dream come true. His downfall was that dreaded wheel, which is hard to smart your way through. He was getting well known for knowing the exact prices of things and yelling them out consistently in the audience. And he helped plenty of people he just met win the show.

It is a fun story for him, and how he eventually got someone to win two showcases. Now the man who won those showcases didn’t acknowledge Theodore. He gave his own bullshit responses in interviews, but the footage is clear that Theodore yelled it out and they have tracked his career enough to know it was definitely the voice the man heard before giving his answer.

And you know what? This is a neat story with a lot of history behind it. But as even a game show enthusiest, I was left a bit bored. It didn’t have the same thrill that Big Bucks: The Press Your Luck Scandal had going for it. This felt good, wholesome, and completely average. A story that could have probably been told in a half hour special with the same amount of fan fare. Easily forgettable and a bit neat.

2 out of 4.

Kin

Editor’s note: Since writing this article, which were indeed my first thoughts on the film, unbiased by others, I have read a review of Kin that I can clearly state is better than mine and makes a better point. Read it here at Texas Art & Film. I am almost ashamed because I usually notice issues like this one, but I simply missed it maybe due to the better cinematography and music of the film.

I went into Kin mostly blind. I didn’t really like the name, but I knew nothing about the story, nor did I see any ads anywhere. It felt like a secret release, but hey, I don’t watch a lot of commercials so it is hard to see.

The only thing I knew was two of the main actors listed in the movie. It still was clearly an indie movie, but while watching it, I was surprised at just how many other actors I knew or recognized. It has at least five famous or notable people, none of which are the “lead” in this film. It is surprising given the lower overall budget of the movie.

Sometimes, actors just do lower budget films for less because they like the story or whatever. And James Franco just does it for shits and giggles. I think he wants half of his films to be movies people have never heard about before.

Truck
Half of this photo is new, half of this photo is really old.

In the near future, Detroit is a piece of shit. This is true generally always, in every movie, about the near future Detroit. It is also somewhat true about present Detroit.

Eli Solinski (Myles Truitt) is a kid having problems at school. He is a black kid. He is getting suspended. Turns out his mom died recently. His mom being someone who adopted him, and he has had a hard time adjusting. His dad (Dennis Quaid) is very strict, but supportive, and stuck in his morals. His older adopted brother, Jimmy (Jack Reynor), has been in prison for awhile due to stealing some things, and he has been a bit of a stain upon the family.

Well, Jimmy gets back home, and it is awkward. It is also awkward because he needs some money. He took out a “loan” in prison for protection, so he wouldn’t have to worry about getting shanked. And his loan sharks want their money back right away, which he doesn’t have, his dad doesn’t have, but the job office might have some.

Around this same time, Eli, who has been stealing copper from some of the many abandoned warehouses, stumbles upon a strange sight. A gun. An…alien gun? Something that whirrs and boops and is totally not normal.

Long story short, Eli and his brother are going on a road trip. Some bad people are after them, but they have money, guns, and Eli doesn’t know anything bad is going on at all.

Also starring James Franco, Zoë Kravitz, Carrie Coon, Ian Matthews, and Gavin Fox.

Gun
Alien guns make my favorite gun sound, pew pew pew.

I really did go into this movie thinking it would be shit, only knowing it was some sort of family film and science fiction. But I was surprised at how hard this film tried to be a contender. It didn’t reach its lofty goals, but it had a lot of good going on with it.

The soundtrack behind it is one that is meant to really draw you in, with an electro pulse to keep tension up in non tense moments. The camera lingered over scenes. The film embraced silence without dialogue constantly to catch us up on their emotions and potential growth. It is a slow build and not just a rainstorm of action scenes to keep the viewers excited while things explode in alien gun glory.

No, it is a film about family. It is slow, and there is some crime and sad killing moments.

Now the ending of the film feels very convenient. The clues are there, and it offers at least one surprise, but it also ends the film in a weird note. Too many things are wrapped up without the appropriate fallout one would expect. It sets up a franchise that everyone can tell while watching will never come to fruition.

And honestly, it is too slow. Build is one thing, but this movie didn’t always build, but instead sort of stalled at points. The road trip felt like it would go on forever, and it was frustrating that things weren’t really moving along faster.

This was a good idea for a film, and clearly care was taken into it. It just could have also been a lot better at the same time.

2 out of 4.

Never Goin’ Back

I chose Never Goin’ Back over Dog Days, and at least at the time of writing this I really feel like I made the best choice.

Sure, I have never seen Dog Days and probably won’t until December at least. But it can’t be good, right?

Sorry, this isn’t a bullshit review of a movie I haven’t even seen.

Never Goin’ Back is set in Texas and that’s why I needed to review it right away. That is the reason it won the screener lottery.

Store
At least it has the Texas feeling of walking into a grocery store right.

Life in Texas can be hard, especially if you have to live near Dallas, which everyone agrees is the worst part of Texas (Houston pride). Angela (Maia Mitchell) and Jessie (Camila Morrone) are roommates in a poor house. Sure, they are just 16 and 17. But they are under guardianship from Angela’s older brother (Joel Allen), who is sharing this home with them and another roommate (Kyle Mooney).

This house is not a nice place to live really. There is a lot of drug doing and lesbian stuff (oh no!!), all from our girls. However, the brother does like to frequent in drug dealing occasionally, which is way worse.

Jessie wanted to do something nice for Angela’s 17th birthday, because they have had bad birthdays in the past. So she spent money on a weekend cabin on the beach! I mean, it is just Galveston, but they have always wanted to do this. It just happens to be their rent money due in about a week.

Oh well, they will just work a shit ton at their waitress job, double shifts every day, to earn it back. Then they can have the best weekend ever.

Unless everything starts to go wrong. Then yeah, that can be an issue.

Also starring Marcus M. Mauldin, Kendal Smith, and Matthew Holcomb.

Work
Get tips, get high, get beach.

Never Goin’ Back is a simple story about girls wanting to leave their hum drum life, if only for a moment, to experience what they feel like is bliss. You know, Galveston’s beach. Galveston’s beach is known for being quite lame, but acceptable for being one of the only fully commercialized beaches in the area. Even other characters mock them when they hear that they are only going to Galveston.

Either way, I laughed quite a few times overall. The situations were relatively unbelievable/over the top, but the girls had a lot of chemistry together, especially Mitchell (Who was one of the stars of Teen Beach Movie and Teen Beach 2!), who was a firecracker with her lines and ideas. Morrone was more of a follower in this film.

And technically the events of this film stem from an issue that isn’t their fault, it is really hard to feel bad for them. The protagonists are main characters who continually make bad decisions, just like those around them make bad decisions. And the fact that it ends in a very gross way doesn’t feel funny, just, well, gross. And of course, the lessons learned at the end of the movie are…um…exist and do bad things and everything will work out at the end?

Either way, Never Goin’ Back does provide some laughs and plenty of shenanigans, but still has a lot to be desired in terms of great story.

2 out of 4.

All the Queen’s Horses

What would you do with $54 Million? Would you buy a lot of cars? Would you waste it quickly and go back to your poverty stricken self? Would you cure world hunger? I don’t know if you can with that much, but would you anyways?

Or would you buy a bunch of horses and go to shows and shit?

Well, if that last one sounds good, then I got a documentary for you.

All The Queen’s Horses is not about a queen, and not really about horses. It is about a Rita Crundwell, a former resident of Dixon, Illinois, the city where Ronald Reagan was born! Yeah! A relatively small town, with a small form of government. The people who ran the government had other jobs as well and they shared a lot of responsibilities.

Crundwell was basically their main treasurer. She helped put funds in the right accounts to pay for things. And for decades she did this job. Their town was losing money, and they had to get loans from other areas, but they were doing their best. Even if they were 4-6 million in the hole each year.

And then one fateful day, an assistant found a bank account that no one else had known about. And in this bank account there were several checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars. She got the mayor to look at it, they contacted the FBI, and the race was on to see where this money was coming from and how much of it is actually missing.

Of course, we know what happened. Crundwell took it! A lot of it! For over a decade! About $54 million in all! And she spent it mostly on horses! Horses!

ATQH
Horses!

I mean hey, people like Horses. I get it. I like things. I like movies. I like games. I don’t think I’d spend that much on any of my hobbies, but how the hell do I know that, I don’t have that kind of money.

To be fair, she had this hobby as a kid, showing some horses. And she just went to be really good at it. And really rich, to buy the best breeds to win more awards to make them worth even more. Her trophy room was huge. She wasn’t just a buyer of talent, she still knew how to work at it and make them win too.

And she knew how to rip off the town she lived in most of her life for millions, eventually getting caught and thrown in jail for forever.

This documentary goes over the whole story. The discovery, the evidence, the trial, the town freaking out, and the after math. After math? Yeah, who is to blame and why did she steal so much without people knowing? Why was a nearby city the first to really figure it out?

And we get to hear about how bad their system was set up including their auditors and banks.

Either way. This documentary was really straightforward. It didn’t offer any overarching theme of american disparity. It just wanted to tell the story and update on how it happened. It did just what it wanted to. It was mildly entertaining and I learned a little bit about the topic.

Nothing to great or groundbreaking. Not something terrible. Just totally okay.

2 out of 4.

Unfriended: Dark Web

Here’s a very important fact for this review. I liked Unfriended! Hell, the movie actually scared me. Gotta watch out for that haunted social media stuff.

I loved the concept of the film as well. All from a screens point of view. This has now happened in various other ways. We had the Modern Family episode like that and later this year John Cho is looking through his missing daughter’s computer in blahhhh. As long as it doesn’t become overused I won’t mind it (note, it totally will become overused).

And when I compare this first film to say, Friend Request, one was entertaining, scary, and fun, the other was just a pile of shit. Similar plots. Very different execution.

Knowing all of that, I assume this one will be shit just from the subtitle. Unfriended: Dark Web? It is going to use a real internet thing and turn it into demon ghost stuff or whatever. Maybe the Dark Web itself will matter. But if it doesn’t, the title is shit and the movie would probably be shit.

...Picture in Picture In Picture in Picture in Picture...
Picture in Picture In Picture in Picture in Picture…

Matias (Colin Woodell) has a new computer! It is a nice mac. He didn’t buy it. He didn’t buy it on craigslist. He found it in a lost and found, no one claimed it for a few weeks, so it is time for him to take it, right?

After figuring out the password, it seems to belong to a Norah C. IV, some rich person, because hey, they are the 4th right? Matias is trying to figure it out right before a game night with his friends (Connor Del Rio, Betty Gabriel, Andrew Lees, Rebecca Rittenhouse, Savira Windyani). Well, one of them is in London, and also they all feel lazy so they will just do it over Skype. That is because their game night is lame anyways, and just Cards Against Humanity. They aren’t even drinking, just playing a lame game over Skype!

Also during this time, Matias is trying to reconnect with his girlfriend, or ex-girlfriend, Amaya (Stephanie Nogueras), who happens to be deaf.

And of course, Matias notices that the computer is extremely full but he can’t find anything. Long story short? Video files, and assassination for higher on the dark web. Bitcoins, human trafficking, the whole nine yards. And now that the computer is on, the hacker wants his machine back. Or else.

Also starring Chelsea Aiden and Douglas Tait.

UDW
This film is about the sexiest of people.

Well, good news is that the movie involved the dark web! It involved several aspects of it, so the title isn’t just crap. The first movie was about a demonic online spirit. This one was about hackers and bad people in general on the internet. It did not connect to the previous film, even though I figured it might just be the same concept. But nope, they changed things up, that’s good.

However, just like the first film, there are technical issues they are just blatantly ignoring. If they are going to make it one screen and click things, they need to commit to their goddamn concept. Right away our main character puts on Spotify, which seems to lower its volume whenever its relevant to the plot without user input. Amazing! And a bigger deal later on, when our main character begins to freak out and do internet things while on Skype, some times he mutes the conversation, some times he doesn’t. And the times he doesn’t, for whatever reason, all 4+ other people are suddenly quiet until he comes back? It does it correctly a few times, but not all the times, and that just becomes lazy editing and helps kill the experience.

As for the actual plot, they still seem to have some sort of supernatural element. The JPEGing thing, when a hacker is on the screen? That is dumb. That isn’t fun to see. That is not how hacking works. Similarly, how the main hacker communicated they wanted to look as spooky and ghost like as possible.

And yet, if they designed this whole film without any of the supernatural or confusing elements, it could have been a fantastic story. It had great elements. How some of them were taking out, using you know, hacking and actual real story kind of things? That worked really well. But by the end, with all of the reveals and screen shenanigans, it made parts feel cheap, and it didn’t feel like a single screen anymore.

The rating is really for effort here, because it could have been better, it was still captivating when it got going, it also just was a bit shit.

2 out of 4.

Ant-Man and the Wasp

The first question you have to ask yourself, does anyone care about Ant-Man? Does anyone care about the Wasp? Does anyone care about Ant-Man and The Wasp?

So soon does this film come out, when just two months ago we had Avengers: Infinity War, a film that made some people cry. Now these titular characters were missing from Avengers of course. Does this happen before IW? After? During? That has to be the majority reason why anyone is watching this film. To see how, if at all, it connects to Avengers. People care about the larger story, not these minor characters.

And this is coming from someone who really enjoyed Ant-Man. I thought the villain was great, and it had the best superhero teaser for a film, that they sadly didn’t recreate for this film.

Either way, if this film ends up being completely stand alone, then a lot of people will be disappointed.

Amatw
Hey look! The titular characters! Together!

This film takes place pre-Avengers: Infinity War, so don’t expect it to start with chaos. Scott (Paul Rudd) is under house arrest for two years following the events in Captain America: Civil War, before he has probation. All of this is explained neatly by the FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) early on, don’t worry. It is boring, he has no contact with Hope (Evangeline Lilly) or Dr. Pym (Michael Douglas), but his daughter (Abby Ryder Fortson) still visits frequently and his ex wife and her husband (Judy Greer, Bobby Cannavale).

But hey, he lives with his ex convict buddies still (Michael Peña, David Dastmalchian, T.I.), and they started a security business themselves.

AND THEN THANOS ATTACKS. Wait, no not yet. Things start to change however, when Scott has a vision of himself inside the Quantum Realm again, including a vision of Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), the lost Wasp. This sucks him back into the technology rich, very steal heavy world of Ant-Man, despite only having days left on his house arrest.

Now they are in a race against time to finish developing a safer way into the Quantum Realm to find their wife, mom, and lady they don’t actually know, depending on what character you ask. We also have a skeevy business man who wants in on the potential profis (Walton Goggins), a girl phasing in and out of the physical realm (Hannah John-Kamen), and an old S.H.I.E.L.D. research buddy (Laurence Fishburne) also going in and out of their plans.

Ghost
Hey look! Ghost is joining their dance party!

I almost gave this film a 1 out of 4.

Figure that is a good starting place for this review. Sure, it is entertaining. It is funny. The cast has good chemistry. A specific Rudd scene where he has to act like an entirely different person is nailed perfectly and doesn’t feel wrong. The crew has less screen time, T.I. almost feels nonexistant, but they still have their moments. And Ghost fights were relatively cool to watch, as was the Wasp kitchen fight scene.

And yet I almost gave it a 1 out of 4. Technically, the reason I gave it the 2 instead is because of Peña’s character. I was worried they wouldn’t continue a joke from the first film and declared it to be an okay movie if they continued it on. Eventually? They continued it on, and sure, an average review.

Because lets face it, you aren’t getting your Avengers tie in until the credit scenes. This movie overall feels like a filler film. We don’t have any real villains, we just have things that consistently make the plot longer. There isn’t a lot of fighting, it is more just car chases and shrinking and growing. It isn’t a film that can feel smart, because all of the science behind it is fake anyways, so when scientific breakthroughs happen, it happens because the characters say it work, not that the audience could figure it out on our own.

Overall, it sets up a little bit in the universe. But it feels too clunk with no real established threat besides time itself. Ghost isn’t even a villain, just another damaged person, which they make sure we understand very early on.

If the MCU was Buffy the Vampire Slayer instead, this movie would fit in the middle of season one, instead of how most other films are clearly in the 2-7 territory.

2 out of 4.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

When Jurassic World came out a few years ago, it was a big deal for me. Jurassic Park is probably the first movie theater expirence I remember. Jurassic World was, at the time, the biggest movie I was able to see early as a member of the press.

And unfortunately, that film had issues. It had some new things, but other elements just felt rehashed, and them we had the ridiculous assistant death and heels fun.

Needless to say, I didn’t care much about Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. The story had a volcano and seemed to sort of give away a lot of the film. I couldn’t tell from the trailer if it really had anything new to say.

Balls and dinos
Look, there’s most of the same cast with the same magical travel balls.

Jurassic World has fallen, from that last film, because the dinosaurs got out and people had a bad time. They had to pay a lot of law suits to cover the costs, and didn’t really fight it too much. But now they are defunct and everyone basically agrees to leave the island alone.

Well, nature doesn’t want to leave it alone. The dormant volcano there has become active, and is ready to fuck a lot of things up. It is riling up, it is getting explosive, and now the dinosaurs might all become extinct, again. Should we save them, or let nature fix is course? The government decides to not intervene, so it is up to private groups to pick up the cost.

Namely, Lockwood estate. It is an old man (James Cromwell) who helped Hammond (Richard Attenborough) back in the day with their initial research to open Jurassic Park. He wants to save several species on the island, more if there is time, and put them on a new island. One that isn’t a volcano, has its own natural borders and it can be a sanctuary where dinosaurs can live peacefully. Something not for tourists. Time is of the essence. They also have a great need for Blue, the velociraptor, as they feel it is the second smartest creature on the planet and the only one left of its kind.

Getting the creatures back is one difficulty, especially when it involves an exploding volcano. Once they are on the ship and ready to get out of the island though, that is where the real drama and intrigue begin.

Also starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Daniella Pineda, Justice Smith, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, Jeff Goldbloom, BD Wong, Geraldine Chaplin, and introducing Isabella Sermon.

Skeletons
Herein lies the sins of Jurassic Park’s past. Dey be ded, now. Again.

JW:FK seems to have heard some of the biggest complaints about the last film and respond appropriately. For example, the footware is more appropriate in this film. But how could they respond to the assistant death? How could they fix something like that?

I don’t know. How about by having that same giant dinosaur do a very similar thing, once again, to an undeserving character. Technically it is acknowledging the controversy by doing it a second time, although a bit less graphically.

JW:FK is certainly an entertaining movie. You will have some thrills, some screams, and some laughs. But overall it doesn’t offer anything really new. Last movie we had a man made T-Rex looking dinosaur that was too smart and caused problems. It was defeated by OG T-Rex. This film replaced T-Rex with Velociraptor. The same shit happens in different scenarios.

It also enforces normal Jurassic franchise tropes. Military people are always bad. Ugly people are always bad. People who aren’t bad but just working are expendable.

Overall, not enough new. What was new was obvious early on, but it didn’t go hard enough into it leaving more for sequels. But hey, Smith was better than expected as well.

2 out of 4.

Thoroughbreds

I tried to watch Thoroughbreds when it was still in theaters, but a lot of things got in my way. The screening was during the day. Then I got free tickets to the Alamo over spring break, but couldn’t fit it in with three other movies I was watching during that week. And after those two attempts, I knew I had to wait.

Critic friends gave me lackluster reasons to go out of my way as well.

But I still knew I had to see it. The cast was too potentially good. And I have loved plenty of films that others have not.

Entry
Now watch as I refuse to type the title, as it gives me too many spelling anxieties.

Amanda (Olivia Cooke) and Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) are not really friends. They are studying together, they are rich, but they have very different interests. They used to be friends, but things change over time. So why is Lily tutoring Amanda? To rekindle their friendship? To be nice?

No, Amanada’s mom paid Lily to do it. But they eventually found things to talk about, like Amanda’s past with potential animal abuse and the fact that Amanda is a sociopath. Fake emotions, no heart, what have you.

It turns out that Lily has the need of someone with her talents. She is fine with her mom, but her step dad (Paul Sparks) is a bit stranger. He isn’t abusive to her, but he does make her feel uncomfortable. It also turns out that he is going to put her in a boarding school that isn’t fun and kick her out. Things have got to change.

They have got to kill him.

Also starring Anton Yelchin, Francie Swift, and Kaili Vernoff.

Couch
There is so much distance between them. Physically, and emotionally.

Thoroughbreds was about two leads who were particularly unlikable. After all, one was a sociopath whose identity in this film was entirely based upon her relationship with the other. And the other is some sort of epitome of first world problems. Some of them are more relevant, but a lot of them just stem from being incredibly rich and lonely.

This is potentially the final new film that will be released with Yelchin in it. I have no idea, because I didn’t know he was in the film until I finally saw it. It wasn’t his best work and he had a small role, so it is going to be a forgettable one if it ends up being his final film.

When it comes to acting, since our main characters are already so emotionless, there isn’t a lot going on there. Cooke is really type casted into these quirky and darker roles, so it isn’t something we haven’t seen before. Taylor-Joy has certainly been better in her other recent genre roles of Split and The Witch.

Overall, this is a film that could have had a lot of potential, but really felt like it dragged due to the longer takes of scenes and build up of suspense. I did enjoy the ending though, and can’t find too many other faults in the film itself.

2 out of 4.

Hotel Artemis

Hotel Artemis started advertising not that long ago and then went really hard at it. I avoided watching any trailers, but it did have a ton of posters, character spotlights, and general social media campaign.

I definitely thought and just assumed it was the same hotel in John Wick: Chapter 2, because again, I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to it.

I also went in expecting a shoot out, broken rules, high famous people death count, and so on.

Really, the only reason I was interested in the movie was due to the people acting in it.

Blooming
Including this formerly elusive fucker who is trying to be in everything the last year.

Hotel Artemis is less a hotel and more a hospital. It is in a penthouse of a large building in Los Angeles and it is a secret organization for criminals. After all, every hospital out there is for the good guys and regular guys, so why not a place for criminals. You cannot just be bad and get in, you have to join their club and pay your membership dues.

Basically, as long as there is an empty room and you are a member, you will have a place to go and get patched up without alerting the authorities. And this film starts with Waikiki (Sterling K. Brown) and his brother (Brian Tyree Henry) hurt after a robbery gone wrong making it over to the facilities. It is the future and LA is having big riot problems over clean water, so everyone is on edge.

Thankfully, they get patched up by the Nurse (Jodie Foster) just swell, and just have to wait for a new liver to be created for his brother. They find out that the current patrons of the hotel are not all there by coincidence, and that greater and more deadly stakes are afoot at this place they thought was safe.

Also starring Sofia Boutella, Dave Bautista, Charlie Day, Jeff Goldbloom, Jenny Slate, Kenneth Choi, and Zachary Quinto.

Big Dog Little Dog
Finally, some hired help who can punch and sew.

Hotel Artemis is a film that has some cool and interesting ideas, but never really reaches its goals.

The plot is a bit shit. We have good reasons for future riots, those are believable, but the backstory for the Nurse takes too long to play out despite being one of our major points. The plot line with Boutella was average, and Brown’s was more fleshed out, but still didn’t feel really worth it. Tons of hype around Goldbloom, but in the end it also lacked a huge amount of oomph in the trunk.

It also didn’t have as much action as promised. Sure, we do get a few creative deaths and really well choreographed and decorated rooms, but the action itself is weak. Near the end it looked like there would be two different hallway scenes. One of them was interesting despite the many camera cuts, the other fell completely flat and denied the viewers of a great brawl aspect.

And yet, there are still elements to praise. For example, Foster was completely into this character. She had the quirks, the voice, everything felt unique. Foster transformed herself for this role and really, I couldn’t tell Foster was behind it at all. Probably her best role in over a decade.

Almost all the actors seemed to be acting in ways that were very uncommon for them. Brown doesn’t really play shooting criminal badasses, Day is generally spastic, but this time he was wormy and theoretically “cool” with a different voice, Quinto played a character who was definitely slow witted, and Slate wasn’t completely annoying.

The cast of characters is the reason to watch this movie, but it will unfortunately leave you just watching it once. Too many plot points that don’t go too many places will leave the story forgettable and the idea a wonderful dream.

2 out of 4.

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