HOTEL ARTEMIS

Not sure what to make of this one. It’s a mess but an interesting mess. A visually engaging noir =Nashville= in a future skid-row underworld hospital which seems to operate under the same rules as John Wick’s Continental Hotel. Jodie Foster is deliberately unglamorous and it looks like Jeff Goldblum was hired for one day of shooting. Sofia Boutella is her usual alluring self, and Dave Bautista is Drax. The peripeteia is a contrived groaner. There’s nothing and no one you haven’t seen before but you’ve never seen them all gathered in the same place. FF=1

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PROFESSOR MARSTON AND THE WONDER WOMEN

I found the story fascinating, and it explained many of the kinks in the early Wonder Woman comics (the author was into bondage, lived in a menage a trois, and released all his fantasies onto the page), but it simply didn’t gel as a film.  (I hate to be one of those annoying anachronism nerds, but they annoy me. In a 1920s scene, Marston says he was in the OSS during WW1, but the OSS wasn’t formed until WW2 was underway. Such a simple fact check.)   FF=1

GET OUT

The less said about this, the better (for those who haven’t seen it). I will say it’s crazy, it’s over the top, it’s got twists I didn’t see coming, and even some comic relief. Not your average horror film and well, well, well worth seeing.

DOCTOR STRANGE (2016)

Longtime Ditko fan though I may be, I never got into this comic book. Strange was a total-Ditko creation. Stan Lee came on later. I loved the art but found the stories hokey. Did like this film, though. Some of the effects are mindbending. Cumberbatch brings the right amounts of suavity and arrogance to the character and the pacing kept my finger off the FF button (well, except for the fight scenes). Ditko should have got credit for some of the art direction as well.
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THE MAGNIFICENT 7 (2016)

Okay, the first question is “Why?” The 1960 version, from its iconic cast to its rousing score, is nearly perfect. The remake ups the violence and creates a more politically acceptable villain (i.e., a white businessman instead of a Mexican bandito). Sarsgaard’s villain is a flat, mustache twirling psycho murderer, whereas Eli Wallach’s Calvera was mostly looking to keep his men fed.

But the worst change is making it personal. The charm of the original was that the 7 were dinosaurs with little call for their skills and looking to earn a few bucks. When Calvera captures them, he doesn’t kill them because he’s afraid all their friends will cross the border looking for revenge. The sad irony here is that these guys have no friends up north. All they have are the bonds forged with each other as they worked with the peasants on defense. And lo and behold, they’ve become invested in the village. The remake gives Denzel’s Chisolm a personal reason to gather the 7, which strikes a false note at the end.
Wisely, they kept some of the iconic lines, like, “I have been offered a lot for my work, but never everything.” And “If God didn’t want them sheared, he would not have made them sheep.”

Vincent D’Onofrio (not one of my fave actors, as a rule) is a hoot here; he and Pratt look like they’re enjoying themselves.
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HITMAN – AGENT 47

I never played this videogame so I can’t make comparisons. I like mindless action at times and this had plenty of action with minimal mind. Lots of borrowings from (homages to?) other action films. If you want to feed your eyes while your brain idles in neutral, you could do worse.

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