Genre : Action
Country : United States
Rating : R
Director: Drew Pearce
Sterling K. Brown
Few film genres are able to jump on top of a trend as well as the action genre. When something is a hit studios will do their best to ride that wave as long as possible. When early John Woo movies gained cult status in the early 90’s fellow directors Dante Lam, Ringo Lam and Tsui Hark started finding work in the United States. After The Matrix surprised the world seemingly every action hero wore Ray Bans and shiny leather jackets. And that’s saying nothing about the glut of superhero movies to hit the big screen after the success of 2000’s X-Men. Clout chasing is a common occurrence within the action genre and the most recent film to influence the genre has been 2014’s John Wick.
Directed by stuntmen Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, John Wick was a surprise hit. Mixing Hong Kong-inspired gun fu with a modern, blood soaked revenge story, John Wick was a treat for audiences and critics alike. Since then not only has John Wick become a full-fledged franchise (with John Wick 3 coming out in 2019) but Stahelski and Leitch’s distinct style started to appear more and more. Aside from Leitch’s own Atomic Blonde movies like Run All Night, The Accountant and The Foreigner have similar elements either thematically or visually. The latest film to be inspired by Keanu Reeves’s master assassin is Hotel Artemis.
The year is 2028 and Los Angeles is on the brink of destruction. With corporations in control of water rioters have taken to the streets demanding justice. Using the riots as a cover career criminals Waikiki and Honolulu try to rob a bank when Honolulu is shot. With nowhere else to go they head to the Hotel Artemis, a hospital for criminals run by The Nurse (Jodie Foster). Things quickly go from bad to worse with the arrival of LA’s biggest crime lord, the Wolf King.
A shady criminal organization, enclosed spaces, Sofia Boutella, all things considered Hotel Artemis sounds like the perfect scenario for an action extravaganza. The kind of movie that should make Smokin’ Aces or Shoot’em Up look like My Dinner with Andre. Unfortunately that isn’t what we get. Whether due to a short production schedule or its lower budget Hotel Artemis can feel surprisingly sparse when it comes to action. After an exciting bank robbery in the beginning action comes in short spurts throughout Artemis‘s lean 97 before an explosive climax. I have to admit it left me wanting more. What little action we do get is great. With the carnage mostly focusing on nurse Everest (Dave Bautista) and assassin Nice (Sofia Boutella) their fight scenes play to their strengths. With Everest coming off as a monstrous bruiser and Nice being the agile yet deadly femme fatale it feels like a mix of WWE and Atomic Blonde. Their dual scene makes for a fun watch, I just wish there was more of it. This isn’t to say the movie is a failure on all fronts. In fact, I found Hotel Artemis to be quite a fun watch.
Perhaps most obvious is the film’s look. Like his Iron Man 3 collaborator Shane Black, director Drew Pearce does a masterful job making LA feel like a live, vibrant place. Despite mostly taking place at the Artemis his use of flashback and news reports make Los Angeles feel alive. Just as much detail is given to the Artemis. Practically a world unto itself Pearce does just as good a job making it feel like a real Old Hollywood hotel.
The second big reason for Hotel Artemis works is the stellar cast assembled. A mix of Emmy and Oscar nominees they are able to elevate what could just be a mix of crime movie clichés. At the center of the film is Sterling K. Brown as Waikiki. Far away from This Is Us, Brown is able to give the role a deepness you wouldn’t expect. Despite doing some awful things he straddles the line between sympathetic and bland quite well. A big part of this being due to his scenes with Honolulu, played by Brian Tyree Henry (Paperboi on Atlanta). Not only are the two able to pull off their roles but they interact like real brothers. The two have a chemistry that just feels authentic. Like Waikiki is someone trying their best to deal with a troubled younger brother. The kind of dramatic performance you would expect in a family drama yet makes it work into the neon-soaked world of Hotel Artemis.
The movie’s other main character is The Nurse, portrayed by Jodie Foster. Her first on screen role in several years she’s perfectly cast as the troubled yet resilient manager of the Hotel Artemis. While she has her own demons to confront, she continues on and does the job she was born for. It’s a role that could easily be overacted or feel hackneyed but Foster handles it with the same skill and talent she would a bigger movie. But as good as she is the films real star is the Wolf King.
Throughout the film the Wolf King is talked about in hushed whispers, projecting a presence that seems larger than life. Then, amidst an entourage of armed thugs is a middle aged man in sandals and a fur coat. And as ridiculous as it sounds it works. Portrayed by Jeff Goldblum, he peacocks onto the screen with the quirky charisma we have come to expect from him. Eccentric yet threatening he is followed around by his youngest son, portrayed by Zachary Quinto. Following his father wherever he goes he is on a constant quest for his father’s approval. A quest he continually fails at. An antagonistic relationship the two have a great rapport that would be perfect in a Quentin Tarantino film.
From the look to the frenetic action one can’t help but think of John Wick and its signature hotel The Continental. Despite the advertising that isn’t quite what we get. While the fight scenes are well choreographed what we get is a slower, more deliberate film focusing on character instead of action. Despite its outstanding cast providing some memorable performances Hotel Artemis is hindered by a script and characters we have seen dozens of times already. Regardless it can be overlooked thanks to some enjoyable bursts of action and the always delightful Jeff Goldblum. Like a real hotel it’s a fun place to visit but you may not want to stay for too long.
Links : IMDB
Five Reasons To Love ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’
Back in 2014, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opened into theaters with a mixed reception from critics and audiences and has been deemed as the least desirable of the Spidey movies. In the film, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) must face off against another villain who has been given the name Electro. Moreover, our brave hero uncovers some bizarre mysteries surrounding his parents.
Many fans of the series view the film as an overcrowded mess, but I think it might be the most entertaining of all the Spidey films, until No Way Home arrived, and here are five reasons why that remains true.
First and foremost, Garfield is always a delight to have in the Spidey outfit. His charisma and witty banter is almost what makes the film truly great. I have always said that he was the best Spider-Man and this movie proves it with his ability to elevate any scene from dull slog to a comedic venture.
Spidey, in this particular movie, embodies the hero in the original comics with his incessant need to make a fast-talking quip to one of his enemies. There is nothing better than a comic-book character sticking true to his essence and spirit of its source material.
Despite what many people say about the villains, Jamie Foxx as the supercharged baddie Electro proves to be a formidable opponent for the web-head, with his omnipotent powers and overly-powered nature. More than that, Max Dillon is depicted as a quiet, shy loner who is invisible to other people. He is essentially a nobody, until he falls into a vat of electrically-charged eels and becomes the sinister villain Electro.
To better understand a villain, you must understand their plight and Electro’s plight is that of a rags-to-riches success story and the visual effects are certainly something to marvel at.
This article wouldn’t be complete if I decided not to talk about the exhilarating action that embodied the film. Whether we see Spidey chasing down a truck with Oscorp’s product or a massive fight inside a grid that seems like a colossal feat for any Marvel film, the film can take a lot of pride in its action sequences.
One can also never forget the massive and iconic battle sequence between Electro and Spidey in Time Square that seems impossible to be made.
While he remains a secondary villain, Dane Dehaan’s Green Goblin is still noteworthy. Dehaan portrays Harry Osborne who is left with his dead father Norman’s life work and stumbles upon a Goblin serum that enhances his speed, strength, and intelligence.
His little spat with Spider-Man is certainly befitting for the dark, moody tone of the film and entertaining for plenty of comic fans with zippy action and certified intensity. In the end, he is also responsible for the death of Spidey’s girlfriend Gwen Stacy.
Gwen Stacy Death
Speaking of Gwen Stacy, this is the only Spidey film that features his love interest dying. As he battles the Green Goblin, Spidey attempts to hold on to Stacy, literally, by a thread in the clocktower. However, when the thread snaps, Spidey is able to snag her in mid-air but the whiplash of the fall snaps her neck, killing her.
What might be the saddest moment in any Spider-Man film, was brought to life in this extraordinary scene that silenced an entire generation of Spider-Man fans.
Anthony Hopkins to Lead Peacock Gladiator Drama ‘Those About to Die’
Peacock is one of the streamers that has yet to break through in terms of their original content getting recognized for awards contention. One such series that might change that fate for the streaming service is Those About to Die and it’s starting to build out its cast. According to Variety, 2-time Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs, The Father) is the first to join the drama series which comes from Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow). Saving Private Ryan screenwriter Robert Rodat will script the series.
Hopkins will play the character known as Emperor Vespasian in the series which is set in the world of gladiatorial battle. It will be an ensemble drama following many different Roman characters that will set forth for violent affairs in the arena among other complexities such as political power and corruption so expect a starry cast for this Peacock drama. Hopkins’ character is described as “despised by the Patricians jockeying for position in the Empire and looking to supplant his heirs to the throne the first chance they get. Vespasian became the Roman emperor after a ten-year civil war. We expect to get more casting news soon as the show will begin filming in Rome in March.
Anthony Hopkins is coming off a terrific performance in James Gray’s Armageddon Time in 2022 after winning his second Academy Award for his role in The Father the year prior. He’ll next voice a character in Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon for Netflix and also will star in British drama One Life alongside Helena Bonham Carter and Jonathan Pryce. Emmerich is coming off directing the sci-fi disaster film, Moonfall in 2022.
‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ Adds Oscar-Nominee William H. Macy
The Planet of the Apes trilogy headlined by Andy Serkis from the 2010s can be argued as one of the best trilogies of all-time. The technological advances made from motion capture helped actors completely transform into the apes with their interactions with human characters making the story rawer and more emotional. Now, 20th Century Studios will jump back into the world of apes with their latest, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes. Deadline reports that William H. Macy (Shameless, Fargo) will round out the cast for the newest chapter of the franchise.
Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes takes place many years after the conclusion of War for the Planet of the Apes being led by an entirely new cast that includes Owen Teague, Freya Allan and Peter Macon. Details are currently unknown on whether Macy will be playing a human character or an ape. The film series has grossed almost $2 billion dollars for the studio so it’s no surprise that they’re aiming to make more Apes fims.
Macy is coming off his biggest role ever in Showtime’s series, Shameless for which he played Frank Gallagher and was nominated for 6 Emmy Awards for his performance over 11 seasons. Macy is also a former Oscar-nominee for his lead role in the Coen Brothers classic, Fargo. Since then, he’s amassed tons of parts including most recently in Hulu’s The Dropout and a guest spot on the ABC sitcom, The Conners. Macy will next appear in the film, Maybe I Do with Emma Roberts, Diane Keaton, Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon.
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