Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)

Director: Drew Goddard

Writer: Drew Goddard (Screenplay)

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Caliee Spaeny, Lewis Pullman, Chris Hemsworth

 

Plot: Seven strangers, each with a secret to bury, meet at Lake Tahoe’s El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one fateful night, everyone will have a last shot at redemption – before everything goes to hell.


Tagline – All Roads Lead Here

Runtime: 2 Hours 21 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderfully Stylish Movie

 

Story: Bad Times at the El Royale starts as a priest Daniel Flynn (Bridges), a singer Darlene Sweet (Erivo), a vacuum salesman Laramie (Hamm) and a woman on the run Emily (Johnson) all arrive at the El Royale, a hotel that sits on the state lines of California and Nevada, the manager Miles Miller (Pullman) does every job at the hotel and not everything is as it seems.

As the night unfolds the guest turn out to have their own secrets with on bringing along the psychopathic cult leader Billy Lee (Hemsworth) who only makes this worse for the guests at the El Royale.

 

Thoughts on Bad Times as the El Royale

 

Characters – Father Daniel Flynn is an ageing man whose memory just isn’t what is once was, he has selected the El Royale for his own reasons, which will become clear, he comes off like the calm presence you would imagine any priest, with a dark past. Darlene is a singer that is dreaming of her own big break, she uses the hotel as her halfway point in her latest gig, she is easily the most innocent resident at the hotel this night. Emily comes speeding into the hotel, on the run from someone, she is trying to help somebody and will do everything in her power to save them. Laramie is a vacuum salesman that has a secret, one we learn early on, he ends up being the catalyst for everything that happens at the hotel. Billy Lee joins the hotel late, he is the psychopathic leader of a cult that enjoys to torture and put people through games for his own pleasure. Rose is Emily’s sister who has been sucked into the cult, she will following Billy to the ends of the Earth for her devotion to him. Miles Miller is the hotel manager, well the only member of staff here, he has the secrets which will only make his come off shady, though he past will be the thing that sets him free.

PerformancesWe have a wonderful cast here with Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm giving us the performance we know from them, Chris Hemsworth continues to prove himself in a different genre once again. Newcomers Lewis Pullman, Cailee Spaeny and especially Cynthia Erivo who easily steals the scenes.

StoryThe story follows the group of strangers that end up at the El Royale hotel for one night, when the secrets of the characters comes out as the night unfolds which only gets placed in the middle of the battle with a cult leader who wants his members back. This story does keep you guessing and uses the different perspective of different scenes only adds to the story. We don’t seem to have a wasted moment here either which is important because the clues will be there ready for the completion of the film.

Mystery The mystery in this comes from learn each character’s motives for being in the hotel, we learn from each new revelation that, they have a different reason that will make them stronger and be able to twist what we first thought of the character’s actions.

SettingsThe film keeps nearly all the action in and around the hotel, the only time we leave is when we look at flashbacks to where the characters have come from. The hotel does have a stylish look which adds to the creepy nature of events within the hotel.


Scene of the Movie –
The roulette gang.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Could I find one? no.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful stylistic movie that has wonderful performances throughout, a story that keeps you guessing and even feels unique for a cinematic experience this year.

 

Overall: Must watch mystery thriller.

Rating

 

 

Chris Hemsworth Weekend – Cabin in the Woods (2012) Revisited

Director: Drew Goddard

Writer: Drew Goddard, Joss Whedon (Screenplay)

Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Brian White, Amy Acker

 

Plot: Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin, where they get more than they bargained for, discovering the truth behind the cabin in the woods.


Tagline – If you hear a strange sound outside… have sex.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Stand Out Horror

 

Story: The Cabin in the Woods starts when five college friends Dana (Connolly), Curt (Hemsworth), Jules (Hutchison), Marty (Kranz) and Holden (Williams) head off for a break in the cabin in the woods, with plenty of booze and laughs.

With the friends starting to act strangely we learn of an operation being run below the cabin, with Sitterson (Jenkins) and Hadley (Whitford) pulling the strings for a much bigger picture, where the teens are selected as sacrifices with the rest of the world getting their plans to suit their cultures.

 

Thoughts on The Cabin in the Woods

 

Characters – When we look at the teenagers, we have Dana who is making up for her own relationship woes with a teacher, being set up with Holden, but downstairs she is classed as the virgin. Curt is dating Jules, he likes his sport especially American Football and is well educated, at the cabin he turns into the jock figure. Jules is the best friend of Dana trying to support her through her problems, she turns into the slut at the cabin. Marty is the stoner, the fifth wheel if you like, he has the funniest lines of the whole movie, best scenes and has found a way to stay immune to the toxics effecting the others, pointing out the horror clichés mistakes. Holden is the friend of Curt’s sent to hook up with Dana, he is a good guy with what he does though, even if we don’t learn that much more about him. This characters are designed to become the stereotypes in the horror genre.

When we look at the people conducting the operations we have the two leaders Sitterson and Hadley who have been doing this for years, Hadley is waiting for a merman which is an on running joke through the film, while Sitterson knows how to fix every single problem. We do have the newest member of the team Truman that questions what is going on with Lin trying to help him understand the situation they are working for. This is all before even showing us the creatures will we be seeing through the film, each one bringing a new level of horror unlike anything we could have imagined.

PerformancesThe stars of the movie are good throughout, Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Jesse Williams and Fran Kranz as the teenagers are great with Connolly and Kranz stepping up to steal the show, you do get an early glimpse of what Hemsworth can do for comedy too. Jenkins and Whitford have excellent chemistry together giving us the dry comedy needed for their side of the film.

StoryThe story here turns what we know from your generic horror movies on its head, we know how the cabin in the woods slasher movies go but turning the story into an idea of human sacrifice in a satirical way does make this stand out from the crowd. The story does play into fan service for horror fans by doing this because it does play into clichés for a purpose, though it does go against clichés too and shows us how certain clichés haven’t transferred into the modern horror era. There are so many details you can talk about here and even the later stages go crazy, you will be hooked watching.

Comedy/HorrorThis is a horror movie, there is no questions, we have so many iconic figures from horror concepts, the comedy does show when it comes to going against the ideas of horror, mostly satirising what we know without parodying it.

SettingsThe film uses two major settings, first we have the cabin with the surroundings we know about, it is used for moments of horror too, the underground facility shows us how the operations are unfolding and how the people operate.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film do look great, with the final 30 minutes uses such large amounts of practical and CGI going on.


Scene of the Movie –
Lift opening.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I didn’t not like anything about this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror movie that plays into the horror clichés to make them noticed, much like what Scream did in the 90s, this took things to the next level and with a final 30 minutes which will leave you jaw dropped.

 

Overall: The modern masterpiece of Horror.

Rating

 

 

The Martian (2015)

martianDirector: Ridley Scott

Writer: Drew Goddard (Screenplay) Andy Weir (Book)

Starring: Matt Damon, Kate Mara, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Sebastian Stan, Sean Bean, Michael Pena, Donald Glover, Mackenzie, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Naomi Scott

 

Plot: During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meagre supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the Best in 2015

 

Story: The Martian starts with the first astronaut team on Mars Commander Melissa Lewis (Chastain), Mark Watney (Damon) Martinez (Pena), Johanssen (Mara), Beck (Stan) and Vogel (Hennie) as their exploration mission gets hit by devastating storm leading them to lead for an immediate evacuation. During the storm Watney gets hit and lost in the storm with the rest leaving the planet.

Director of NASA Teddy Sanders (Daniels) announces to the world what has happen and that Watney died on Mars. Meanwhile on Mars we follow Watney as he awakens from his injuries and returns to the command centre to record what he thinks will be his final days on Mars because he knows how long it would take for a rescue team to save him.

Watney refusing to give up so easily decides to fight to survive by using his expertise as a botanist to grow enough food to last the time period he has to wait for any sort of rescue mission.

When Mission Control discover that Watney is alive they have to figure out what to do, Vincent Kapoor (Ejiofor), Annie Montrose (Wiig) and Sanders need to make contact with Watney to make a rescue mission a reality while hiding the truth from his original crew. We have to witness Watney survive, NASA make the big decision and the crew deal with the consequences of leaving him behind, but will he make it home?

The Martian was a film I along with many others thought the trailer could have given away too much, but how we were wrong. Watching the rescue plans being built up is great along with watching how Mark plans his survival. We get to enjoy the non-serious attitude from Mark keeping the story feeling light hearted even though it is a serious situation. Looking back on the film it was hard to find a bad thing as we see the world unite to bring Mark home during the testing time.

 

Actor Review

 

Matt Damon: Mark Watney is the expert botanist who gets left on Mars during the first mission there, he has to figure out a way to survive on this planet where he knows he will not get any support for a long period of time. First he starts by growing food then finds a way to call home and against all the odds he must never give up in his quest for survival. Matt gives a brilliant performance in this leading role which could have been dull but his charm keeps your attention throughout.mark

Jessica Chastain: Melissa Lewis is the commander of the mission on Mars, she has to make the big decision to leave Mark once it becomes clear he gets lost during the storm. When she and her team learn about his survival they have to make their own decision. Jessica does a good job in the role where she handles everything going on.

Kristen Wiig: Annie Montrose is the public relations officer at NASA who has to help spin any decisions being made by the NASA team to make sure they look good through this situation. Kristen does a good job in this supporting role.

Jeff Daniels: Teddy Sanders is the director of NASA, he has to make all the final decisions when it comes to the rescue of Mark, he has moments where he is portrayed as the bad guy but he is making the correct logical decisions when it comes to each idea with the rescue. Jeff does a great job in this role showing that he isn’t just the authority in the situation but part of the world population wanting to bring Mark home.

Chiwetel Ejiofor: Venkat Kapoor is trying to answer the questions when it comes to rescuing Mark, he controls the satellites with his team. He does question enough of the ideas even though he wants full control of the satellites for his own work. Chiwetel does a good job in this role even though it feels very familiar to his 2012 role.vincen

Support CastThe Martian has a massive supporting cast including Michael Pena, Sean Bean, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Benedict Won, Mackenzie Davis and Donald Glover who all gives great performances with the role they are involved in.

Director Review: Ridley Scott Ridley brings us one of the best sci-fi films in recent years.

 

Action: The Martian has good use of action when required but doesn’t go over the top with the ideas.

Adventure: The Martian feels like an adventure from Mark’s side of the story as he must find a way to survive.

Sci-Fi: The Martian is on Mars and looking at NASA trying to rescue a stranded astronaut, could we get anymore sci-fi?

Settings: The Martian creates a brilliant setting location on Mars that all works make us feel like we are on Mars with Mark.
Special Effects
: The Martian has great effects to make everything seems logical throughout.

Suggestion: The Martian is one that really should be watched this year. (Watch)

 

Best Part: Damon shines in this role.

Worst Part: Slightly long.

Action Scene Of The Film: Rescue.

Funniest Scene: I blew myself up

Favourite Quote: Mark ‘I don’t want to come off as arrogant here, but I’m the greatest botanist on this planet.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: You get to see the what happens next for the characters.

 

Oscar Chances: This could easily get a few Oscar nods.

Runtime: 2 Hour 10 Minutes

Tagline:  Bring Him Home

 

Overall: One of the best films of 2015 with excellent sense of survival

Ratingcard

World War Z (2013)

posterDirector: Marc Forster

Writer: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, Damon Lindelof (Screenplay) Max Brooks (Book)

Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale, Ludi Boeken, Matthew Fox, Fana Mokoena, David Morse, Peter Capaldi

Story: Retired United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Pitt) has to use his former connection Thierry (Mokoena) to save his family from a zombie outbreak. Racing against near impossible odds he makes it, but there is a price for his family’s safety. Gerry has to go back into the field and try to discover the origin of the disease. This leads Gerry on a worldwide trip for answers and along the way he meets a string of characters.

 

Verdict: After reading the book I was unsure how to look at this film especially having a main character unlike the book. In the end it turns out very clever and instead of just trying to copy a story from the book it creates its own encounters with one overviewing character. Due to some high tension throughout you hardly even recognise that you have a huge name actor in the lead role. Another thing that really adds to this story is the range of different characters Gerry meets, each one offer something to his mission along with an alternative theory on what is happening.

Action: Some good chase scenes be it car or on foot (9/10)

Horror: for a zombie film this is more about the survival rather than the very graphic death scene which does take some horror out of the film but still leave you in a horrific scenario (9/10)

Thriller: From the first step of each scene you feel the tension raising each encounter leads to more edge of your seat scenarios much like the books encounters. (10/10)

Special Effects: A lot of CGI but some good effects for the closer encounter scenes (8/10)

Settings: The settings for all the encounters are very different and all have interesting outcomes (9/10)

Suggestion: When it comes to anything with zombies in I usually suggest to all horror fans and not many others, but with this one I feel it could be enjoyed by all action thriller fans too. The main reason for this is that the zombies are very almost PG and even though there are deaths they just are not very graphic, which is usually the turn off for certain viewers. The whole film feeling created is very similar to the aftermath in ‘I Am Legend’ along with the situations created in ‘2012’ so if you enjoyed either of these I feel you will enjoy this. (9/10)

Star Performance: Brad Pitt – pretty much because he holds each scene together even though some of the characters steal parts of scenes it’s his ability to look the part that gets him this pick

Favourite Character: Captain Speke (James Badge Dale) – A very interesting solider who has survived the outbreak with his platoon.  

 

Best Part: I will pick the bicycle scene because I enjoyed the uniqueness of the idea.

Worst Part: Even though it is one of the best parts the whole zombie building some form of ladder to climb over the wall is very farfetched even for me.

Favourite Quote: ‘Most people don’t believe something can happen until it already has. That’s not stupidity or weakness, that’s just human nature’.

Trivia: Matthew Fox has a bigger role in the film which would have built up to being a human villain in a potential sequel, but due to re-writes his role ended up having only FIVE lines.

Similar Too: I Am Legend

Overall: A thrill ride from start to finish sit back and enjoy the story unfold

Rating 89%

Film Focus – Cabin In The Woods (2011)

From the writer Joss Whedon and directer Drew Goddard comes the genre busting horror film.

the story follows five college friends who go away for a weekend in a cabin in the woods we have a couple Jules (Annie Hutchison), Curt (Chris Hemsworth) the ‘good’ girl Dana (Kristen Connolly) New student Holden (Jesse Williams) and stoner Marty (Fran Kranz). Soon on the first night strange things start happening leading to the night for their lives.

To mix into their storyline we have an organisation who are watching their moves for what will be a greater good for themselves.

You can throw a mix of classic films together to describe this Evil Dead, The Cube and My Little Eye. Just when you think you know what is happening in the story a new twist gets thrown in to what is going on, it keeps a very comical line to what is going on with the organisation and Marty steals every scene.

This is by far one of the best horror films i have seen in recent years mainly because of the number of different types of horror it offers.

Best Part: The reveal 

Best Character: Marty

Best performable: Kristen Connolly

My Rating 93%