Movie Review: Hotel Artemis (2018)

At last, first review of the year not featuring a movie starring Ghostface. Don’t get me wrong, I loved going through the “Scream” movies, but a bit of variety doesn’t hurt, you know. So with that out of the way, let’s do this.

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries, let’s check in at… “Hotel Artemis”.

Los Angeles, 2028. The city has been torn to shreds by constant riots. In the middle of this chaos is Artemis, a hotel/hospital dedicated to treating criminals, run by a woman known as The Nurse (Jodie Foster). And we follow her on what might be the most hectic night in the establishment’s history. I mostly enjoyed the story here. When it focuses on the lean, colorful contained thriller aspect, it’s a lot of fun. Where it does falter though is when it tries to go for a more serious tone, developing the backstories of the characters. Wanting to add more nuance and emotional depth to the narrative isn’t an inherently bad thing, but the writing isn’t really strong enough for it to feel successful, which does make those sections feel like a bit of a drag. Luckily, those parts aren’t the main focus of the movie, so for the most part it’s an enjoyable story… bar those select few sections, I mean.

The characters in this are decent, all stand out enough from each other, and work well for the story. But what does elevate them beyond just being passable are the actors. Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Sophia Boutella, Dave Bautista, Charlie Day, Jeff Goldblum, Brian Tyree Henry, Zachary Quinto, and more appear in this movie, and there’s not a weak link within the cast.

The score for the movie was composed by Cliff Martinez, and I think he did an okay job with it. As with most of his work, it’s based heavily in synths, and I think it fits with the neon-soaked, dingy style of the movie. It’s not Martinez’s best or most memorable score, but it worked fine for the movie. There’s also a few licensed songs used throughout, and they work well in their respective scenes.

“Hotel Artemis” was written and directed by Drew Pearce, and I think he did a pretty good job. His style does have this fun, almost comic book-ish charm that really keeps each scene feeling fun and charming. His action scenes are also pretty well handled. Not perfect, but they’re generally well made and fun. What also adds to the overall quality of the craft is the cinematography by Chung-hoon Chung, which is beautiful and really adds to the feel of the movie, making each scene even more engaging.

This movie’s not been super well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 58% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 58/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.1/10.

While it does falter a bit when trying to be more serious, “Hotel Artemis” is an enjoyable contained thriller. It has a pretty good story, okay characters, great performances, okay music, good directing, and great cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Hotel Artemis” is a 7.23/10. So while it is flawed, I’d still say that it’s worth renting.

My review of “Hotel Artemis” is now completed.

Welcome to the Hotel Artemis, such a dingy place, such a dingy place…

Movie Review: Elysium (2013)

Space, the final frontier… the perfect place to go if you’re a rich asshole that doesn’t want to help the poor.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Elysium”.

The world has gone to shit. As the poor struggle to survive in the slums of Los Angeles, the rich have escaped into a space station called “Elysium” because they don’t want to take responsibility. And we follow poor person Max Da Costa (Matt Damon) as he takes on a mission that could help bring a bit more equality to this rich vs. poor world. So now we have our sci-fi movie that wants to deliver a message. And while the delivery of said message can be a little clumsy at times, I think it for the most part works. I think this is an interesting world that gets set up and I also think the overall plot is quite good. I felt invested in it, I wanted to see where it was going. So yeah, the plot here was good.

The characters here are for the most part interesting. I say for the most part because… well, we’ll get to that. Matt Damon plays Max, our sympathetic main character who is likable, funny, and pretty badass. I cared about him, I wanted to see him succeed. And Matt Damon is great in the role. Jodie Foster plays, Delacourt, the sort of antagonist of the film. Let’s put it like this: She’s kind of an asshole that wants to keep the rich at the top and the poor under the shoe of inequality. And yeah, I didn’t really care for her. I didn’t find her very interesting as she was a very one-dimensional character. And while Foster’s performance wasn’t bad, it wasn’t really that great. It was bland and she had some weird accent going on that didn’t really work. Now on the other end of that spectrum we have Sharlto Copley, playing a sort of rogue black ops agent that is out to kill Damon. The character is a total psychopath and Copley killed it as the character, stealing every scene he was in! Alice Braga plays Frey, an old friend of Damon who pops up several times throughout the movie, and she was a pretty good character with an okay arc. And Braga was good in the role. Diego Luna is in the movie as a friend of Damon’s, and he was good. Wagner Moura was also in it, playing a rebel leader of sorts, and he was great. We also got a little bit of William Fichtner in the movie and he was really good in the role. Overall it is a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Ryan Amon and it was quite good. While not doing anything terribly original, it does work very well for the movie, often adding a bit extra excitement/emotion to a scene. So yeah… it’s good. MOVING ON.

This movie was directed by Neill Blomkamp and I think he did a for the most part really good job. When not a lot is happening, when something just needs to be shown or when there’s just a conversation between two characters, the movie looks quite good. And the way the visual effects are implemented into the movie is some of the best I’ve ever seen. However, whenever action happens… oh boy. It’s shaky and filled with plenty of cuts and it really annoyed me. Hey Blomkamp, just because Matt Damon is in the movie doesn’t mean you should imitate “The Bourne Supremacy”! Sometimes it isn’t too bad, but for the most part it’s just… yikes.

This movie has been decently well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 67% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 61/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

“Elysium” is a good, albeit quite flawed sci-fi movie. It has a really good plot, pretty good characters, really good performances, really good music, and good directing. But it is brought down by Jodie Foster’s character/performance, and the action ebing really shaky/annoying. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Elysium” is an 8,66/10. While flawed, I’d still say that it is worth buying.

My review of “Elysium” is now completed.

Matt Damon is… Jason Poor.

Movie Review: Money Monster (2016)

Money. An essential part of modern society. Without money we could never really do… anything.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Money Monster”.

Lee Gates (George Clooney) is the energetic host of a finance show called “Money Monster” (roll credits). One day in the middle of his show a young man (Jack O’Connell) comes in and starts waving a gun around and then forces Gates to put on a bomb vest. So now we have a hostage thriller which is linked in some ways to financial issues. And overall I thought the plot was great. The hostage stuff was tense and it made everything a lot of interesting. And while the financial aspects of the movie could get a little preachy at times, I thought it was for the most part fairly well handled. So overall the plot is good. The hostage drama is great and the commentary on finances and the stock market is pretty good.

The characters in this movie are actually pretty interesting and surprisingly fleshed out… or at least the central three are. George Clooney is great as Lee Gates, playing  him with a good amount of energy while still keeping him serious and grounded. Julia Roberts plays Patty, the director of Gates’ show and she’s basically the one who’s trying to make sure everything going as smoothly as possible. And Roberts is great in the role. Then we have Jack O’Connell as Kyle, the young man who crashes the show and demands airtime and tries to get his will through. Not only is he the most compelling character in the movie (for reasons I will not get into because spoilers), but I would say that this is the best performance in the movie. O’Connell is fantastic as this troubled young man who isn’t just doing this to be an asshole, he has reasons that you find out throughout the movie, and I honestly understood where he was coming from with it all. We also get Giancarlo Esposito as a police captain who’s trying to stop this hostage bullshit and he’s really good in the movie. Caitriona Balfe is also really good in the movie. And Dominic West also does a really solid job in the movie. So even though the central three characters are the only ones who are interesting, the entire cast gives some really solid performances.

The score for the movie was composed by Dominic Lewis and I think it’s really good. It’s overall a tense and audibly interesting score that worked very well within the movie. While it leans very heavily on electronic stuff, it still sounds really good.

This movie was directed by Jodie Foster (Yes, THAT Jodie Foster) and I have to say that she did a pretty damn good job. She has a lot of flair in her directing and she makes scenes flow very well thanks to that. And the shots overall look pretty great.

This movie hasn’t been the most well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 57% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 55/100 And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,5/10.

“Money Monster” is a surprisingly solid thriller. It has a good plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing. The only real problem is that the financial aspects of the plot aren’t always the most well handled, but it doesn’t detract from the movie too much. Time for my final score. *Some jingle plays*. My final score for “Money Monster” is a 9,23/10. So even though it is flawed, I’d still say that it’s definitely worth buying!

My review of “Money Monster” is now completed.

If you’re interested in watching this, try to avoid watching the trailer.

Movie Review: Inside Man (2006)

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The amount of ways bank robberies can be executed are astonishing. You can do it all methodical and plan for months every inch of the plan or you could just go in guns blazing. Any way is possible and that is why it is so fascinating with heist movies for me since you never know which way they will go with. So now, let’s look at a movie about a bank robbery.

Men and women… “Inside Man”.

In this movie we see how a group of bank robbers led by a man named Dalton Russell (Clive Owen) enter a bank to rob it (duh), but it soon also turns into a hostage situation. So now it is up to police detective Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington try to get the hostages out and save the day together with broker Madeleine White (Jodie Foster). And from that we get a surprisingly layered story filled with suspense and some pretty great twists. Yeah… I was surprised by the amount of depth to be found in the plot of this heist movie. It always keeps you guessing how it’s gonna go, and when you think you got it, the movie pulls the rug from under you and goes “Surprise, motherfucker!”.

The characters in this movie are all thoroughly entertaining to observe as they deal with the different situations throughout the movie. Denzel Washington is at his Denzel-iest in this movie… that’s a new adjective, Denzel-y (Denzel-ier, Denzel-iest). He is just so likeable in his role as this police detective turned hostage negotiator. He is also very believable in his role. Clive Owen plays the leader of the bank robbers and he is excellent in this movie. He plays the character in a manner which makes us believe that he is actually this intelligent and methodical criminal. Jodie Foster is also great in her role as a somewhat slimy yet charming high-power broker. Also, I think that she only gets more attractive with age… I don’t know, call me a perv if you wish. Willem Dafoe is also in this movie as a police captain and he was great. Christopher Plummer was also great as the elderly owner of the bank. And Chiwetel Ejiofor as Denzel’s partner was also great.

The score for the movie was done by Terence Blanchard who apparently is a frequent collaborator with director Spike Lee. And while I can’t recall any other original score he’s ever done, I can for sure say that he did a terrific job with the score for this movie. He uses a lot of trumpets and such to create different styles for different scenarios. And if you listen to the music in general you can hear that he takes some inspiration from other great composers. In the action bits he emulates his inner Hans Zimmer and in the more emotional songs he gets out his inner Ennio Morricone. Now, I wouldn’t say that this score is better than anything I have heard from those two, but I will say that if you like those two composers I think you’ll enjoy the score for “Inside Man”.

Like I said before, this is a Spike Lee joint. And he shows that he is a terrific director in this movie. The shots look great and he manages to he manages to perfectly capture the closed and locked-in feeling of being stuck in a bank with a bunch of bank robbers who might kill you at any second. And by that I mean when you get to see from inside the bank from the perspective of the hostages. But he also manages to catch the feeling of distress that everyone on the outside (except Denzel, somehow) feels over if they will managed to save these hostages or not. Now I haven’t really seen anything from Spike Lee except for “25th Hour” which is one of my favorite movies of all time, but now that I have seen both that and “Inside Man” I will probably check more of his joints out because he’s a great director. Also, here is something that I noticed which was pretty entertaining: in this movie we see both Clive Owen and Chiwetel Ejiofor as characters important in some way to the plot, in a movie that came out in 2006. Both actors also had important roles in “Children of Men” which also came out in 2006. Small world.

This movie has been pretty well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 76/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10.

“Inside Man” is an entertaining heist-thriller that is actually really clever and smart and is held up by a suspenseful and twist-filled plot, excellent performances, great music, excellent direction and a great tone. Time for my final score. GET DOWN ON THE FUCKING GROUND! GIVE ME THE ENVELOPE! GIVE IT TO ME! My final score for “Inside Man” is a 9,81/10. It gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

“Inside Man” is reviewed.

Vladimir, I am Inside Man, what I do?
Boris you dumb borshch, I told you to be Inside Man at bank, not go INSIDE MAN!
Oh… Chert , chuvak.

 

Movie Review: Taxi Driver (1976)

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Martin Scorsese is known these days as one of the greatest directors of all time, and for good reason. He has made some truly great movies such as “The Departed” and “Shutter Island”. But now it is time to take a look at one of his oldest movies which a lot of people call one of his best IF not his best.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Taxi Driver”.

In this movie we follow mentally unstable Vietnam war Veteran Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro). Since he has trouble sleeping at night he takes a job as a nighttime taxi driver (roll credits). When driving around like this he sees every type of person New York has to offer… and that is not really a god thing. All the scum and assholes make him want to take action against it all to both try to stop it and also to save the life of the really young prostitute Iris (Jodie Foster). And with that said we have a psychological and powerful tale from the point of a mentally unstable man. Seeing the plot unfold was really interesting. The further Travis went down the rabbit hole, the more interesting everything got. And seeing as the plot never once got boring, that is awesome!

Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way first… Robert De Niro was FUCKING AWESOME in this movie! I have always liked the guy, he is a really good actor, but here he gives one of the greatest performances I have seen from anyone ever. De Niro was perfect at portraying the psychological decline of Travis. And Jodie Foster in the movie was also really good. When this movie came out in ’76 she was really young, yet her performance was still really good. And every other were also great in the movie. This movie was like “Weak performance? What the hell is that?”.

The score by Bernard Hermann was a mix of soft jazz and darkly haunting tracks. Seriously, the soundtrack will haunt my dreams after this… which technically isn’t a bad thing. And with that said, the soundtrack was great. It all fit so well into every little part that each track was used in.

When “Taxi Driver” first came out in 1976 it cause a fair amount of controversy and there were two main reasons for that. The first of them was the pretty graphic violence which I can kind of understand. But at the same time, comparing it to “Clockwork Orange” might be a bit of a stretch. Sure the violence here was graphic, but it wasn’t as disturbing as “Clockwork Orange”. The second of the reasons this was controversial is a reason I really do get. *Ahem* They cast a 13-year old girl as a prostitute! And while she is never shown naked and/or having sex in the movie, I can still kind of get behind the argument why that would stir up some controversy. Now with that informative stuff out of the way, this is a great looking movie! Scorsese is a master director who knows how to make a scene look fantastic! And he showed it fairly early in his career with this movie.

“Taxi Driver” has been VERY well-received over the years, being called “One of the greatest movies ever”. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 98% positive rating wit ha “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 93/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 4/4 stars and later added it to his “Great Movies” list. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,4/10 and is ranked #79 on the “Top 250” list. The movie was also nominated for 4 Oscars in the categories of Best Picture, Best Actor (De Niro), Best Supporting Actress (Foster) and Best Original Score. 

People, “Taxi Driver” is a great movie with a terrific plot, fantastic performances, a great score and some great direction/camera work. Time for my final score. *AHEM*. My final score for “Taxi Driver” is a 9,89/10. This is a fantastic movie that of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
Seal of Approval

Review of “Taxi Driver” is completed.

You talkin’ to me?

Movie Review: Maverick (1994)

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As you may have noticed, I love westerns. I’m gonna admit, they are my favorite type of movies. There are a lot of great ones out there. Then there are the not so good ones like “The Lone Ranger (2013)” and “Jonah Hex (2010)”. A lot of times you can see a few re-occuring themes in the good ones, yet it is so good. But then you have some of the more different ones that mix in comedy or Quentin Fucking Tarantino. The movie of today we are looking at contains one of those things, and no it is not the latter of the two. This is a more comedic take on the western genre.

Sirs and ma’ams, the poker playing western comedy…Maverick.

This movie is as you may have realized, during the wild west. It follows a man named Bret Maverick (Mel Gibson) who is stuck, with his ass on a horse, his neck in a noose that is attached to an old tree. He has been put there by a gang led by a man simply called Angel (Alfred Molina). When Angel and his gang leaves, they leave a present for Maverick and the horse…a bunch of motherfucking rattlesnakes. So from that point we get Maverick narrating combined with a long-ass flashback to what the hell got him into that situation. It is mainly because of Maverick wanting to get to a poker tournament with a price of half a million dollars and an entry fee of 25 grand that gets him into a lot of comedic situations that leads up to the point at the beginning. A lot of these situations involve an attractive young woman by the name of Annabelle Bransford (Jodie Foster) and a Marshall named Zane Cooper (James Garner). While the main story is simple enough to follow and the situations are fun to experience through the movie, a lot of times it doesn’t make sense. It is just too weird sometimes. Also, Maverick mostly gets out of these situations with the help of some dumb luck. Also, this movie uses a lot of twists that make no sense and are not the most clever ones to exist. I mean, a lot of these twists are just unnecessary and could have been left out.

The characters are just, awesome! They are unique and just a hell of a good time to watch. They are all horribly flawed and sometimes somewhat douchey…but I don’t fucking care! This is a simple western, we don’t come here to get complex characters, we come to get entertained! And entertainment is most certainly what we get. There is nothing else to say.

Music is for the most part your typical western stuff…in other words good. But there are a few songs that are not even possible to be existing during this time period. And those are a few country songs. But the fact that they are used are still pretty clever since there are a handful of country musicians acting in this movie. Good job Maverick, you clever movie.

Just to mention, Maverick himself in this movie is a little bit of a coward. But he still does more to help than some characters do. Also there is one of the most awesome scenes ever in this when Maverick is in a bank that gets robbed by Danny Glover and his crew. Why is that awesome? Because when Danny Glover looks at Maverick he has this look like “I recognize you, but how? Nah”. It is just a clever nod to them being a team in the “Lethal Weapon” Movies.

Time for my western movie segment called “Gunfights” where I give my opinion on the gunfights in the movies since westerns tend to have those. And they were okay, nothing special. Fun, but a little shallow. They weren’t “Tombstone” quality, but they worked I guess.

Reception for “Maverick” was overall…not bad. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 74% rating. Metacritic doesn’t even know what this movie is. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. He gave it a neat quote to go with it:

“The first lighthearted, laugh-oriented family Western in a long time, and one of the nice things about it is, it doesn’t feel the need to justify its existence. It acts like it’s the most natural thing in the world to be a Western.”

It got the score of 7,0/10 on imdb.com

So overall, “Maverick” wasn’t bad. It was highly entertaining and is perfect popcorn material. Just make sure you don’t choke on it when laughing at the funny parts (which are fairly plenty). I am giving “Maverick” an 8/10. It is very entertaining and is worth a watch.

Wow, I just reviewed a western that wasn’t too well known.

Later.