Hotel Artemis Review

Welcome to the Hotel Artemis
Such a lovely place (such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face.
Plenty of room at the Hotel Artemis
Any time of year (any time of year) you can find it here.

And if your a naughty boy or girl that may well be a good thing. Because the Hotel Artemis follows the Nurse, who runs a secret, members-only emergency room for criminals. As long as they follow the rules.

Wait a second… a secret society of criminals living under our noses with rules and punishments and a sense of style that seems to exist about 50 years ago? Why does that seem so familiar…

Actually comparisons to John Wick aren’t really helpful because those comparisons are only skin deep. If anything, this is almost Tarantino level stuff. Early Tarantino. Reservoir  Dogs Tarantino . Not ‘I’d like to make a Star Trek film’ Tarantino. Seriously, whats up with that?

Back at  the Hotel Artemis,
Such a lovely place (such a lovely place) we find such a colorful group of stock characters (assassins, arms dealers, criminal kingpins, a drink and pill addled nurse among others!) that it was with some surprise that  I looked at my watch and noticed that over an hour and ten minutes in and nothing had happened! There was a lot of talking, of building people up and enough burbling about nano machines to almost make this a Metal Gear Solid Game. As well as a good job of setting up this world (it basically reads like a run up to the Judge Dredd universe.)

And for a first time director, Drew Pearce has managed to get some pretty great performances out of people who are pretty much playing the same people that they always play. But add a slight twist to what you would expect. Dave Batista is still a man mountain, Sofia Boutella still plays a bad-ass who would have had a fight scene to rival THAT corridor scene in Daredevil had the editor had slightly less ‘energy powder’ that morning, so on and so forth.

We even get New Spock sporting a ridiculous mustache, a crybaby persona some of the worst, clunkiest dialogue/exposition I’ve heard in a while and a character that flips depending on what the scene needs him to do. Jeff Goldblum appears in a cameo (sadly keeping his shirt on again) but this is Jodie Fosters film. (How has she not been in anything since Elysium?) From her way of walking to her mannerisms she inhabits her character completely and is the heart and soul of the film. I could have done without the flashbacks – Not only is Foster good enough to not need such an obvious crutch, they don’t add anything to the film, spoil the tone and wreck the tension of untrustworthy people holed up with all their secrets, clashing agendas, mistakes, missteps and misunderstandings whilst attempting to ride out a huge riot that will kill almost anyone caught outside. Aka, a cracking setup for a siege film. A cheap to make, highly effective and sadly very rare genre. (Which, coincidentally, has spawned some of my favorite films).

Sadly though, after all of that build up the entire third act just seemed very rushed and a few too many things happened off screen, as if the budget ran out just a heartbeat before the director needed it too and as a result, one or two scenes that would have been awesome we’ll never see which is annoying as it’s what the whole film has been building towards and there’s a bit of jumping around the set as well, as well as a primary ending which seems to ignore much of went before in order to make for a more conventional ending. Which is naff as it’s endings that people remember most. (Which is why deserts are almost always the best bit of dinner)

Make more of the third act, rewrite Spock completely or just gt rid of him, scrap the flashbacks, maybe put in a touch more action and this could have been as good as it could have been. Mark the director as a rising star (as a director- I’m perfectly aware that he wrote Iron Man 3). And just hope that people treat this a hell of a lot better than last years also excellent Free Fire. 

My Score- See It

 

 

 

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Baby Driver Review

 

Coming out of my screening I heard another audience member say that ‘fast and the furious is dead. Too much green screen and it got too silly, this film is the madness’. And I agree completely, because yes, I had a ton a jokes about fast and furious reboots and how vin now has hair but why would I silly this, this masterpiece with comparisons to that beached whale of a franchise? Because this is light years beyond fast and the furious.

Imagine the film that you thought drive was going to be, then throw in the verve, swagger, attitude, soundtrack and sunglasses of The Blues Brothers, throw in a spark of madness and your pretty much at Baby Driver.

Edgar wright has truly made his masterpiece in a film that far surpasses the ice cream trilogy.

Taking the relatively simple story of criminal meets girl, criminal has to do one last job, last job goes sideways, allies and enemies shift… you may think you know the drill but there’s enough twists in the tale to keep you entertained throughout.

Special credit has to go to the cast , from Lily James as the love interest, to Keiza Soz… I mean frank Underwood as a mob boss, even Jaime Foxx- attempting to atone for Sleepless whilst still chewing all the scenery he can get his mitts on. But special credit has to go to Ansel Elgort of Divergent franchise fame, as the titular character, who dances around the set rocking a seemingly unlimited supply of sunglasses, iPods and attitude whilst speaking maybe 10-15 words in the film.

Speaking of iPod’s, forget Guardians of the Galaxy, this is the soundtrack to own this summer. I’ve had it on repeat since I got home from my screening and it rules. My neighbors seem to like it as well- they keep banging on the walls to get me to turn it up.

And I guess spending all that money on song rights meant that the reason that there was no cgi or green screen was because Wright had run out of cash? Either that or Wight had a deep desire to show actual pulse pounding car chases instead of CGI cartoons? Either way he’s proven my theory that CGI and green-screen will never, ever, look as good as an actual car driven by an actual person doing actual stunts.

Throw in some amazing one take shots of car chases, Baby dancing around apartments and Atlanta whils’t never being placed in the corenr, that must have been a nightmare to film and you’ve got yourself a classic.

Hell, I haven’t even gotten to the dialogue which cracks and sparkles better than Tarentino on his best day. My audience laughed more at this than any comedy more that I’ve sat through this year.

I mean, one poor, brave soul even tried to applaud at the end credits.

But, as this isn’t mad max fury road, this isn’t a perfect film. It could do with 15 minute being taken off the runtime and the main couple fall in love faster than a Disney princess. And i’ll be charitable and say that the characters aren’t exactly for the ages and that unless Keizer Underwood has one hell of a cleanup team or the dirtiest cops outside of The Shield every single person in the film would have been arrested within about… hmmmm 15 minutes.

But these minor quibbles aside? Nope. Nothing else from me. Drop everything , SEE IT NOW and please don’t let it turn into this years The Nice Guy’s.

Please?

For me?