By: Hawk Ripjaw –
Bad Times at the El Royale
Ah, original films. There are not nearly enough fresh ideas in movies anymore. Everything is a sequel, adaptation, true story, or remake. That’s mostly because studios don’t have much interest in something that isn’t an established property that people will recognize. The box office generally shows that fresh stories and concepts just don’t make very much money. So when something unique does come out, it’s usually high-priority for me to go see it and show my support with my wallet. Luckily, Bad Times at the El Royale looks like it’ll be worth the money. The trailer shows a lot, but doesn’t offer a lot of context or background for any of it. There are almost definitely spoilers in there, but they’re all surrounded by mystery. There’s no real idea of who is there for what reason, who is good and who is bad, what exactly is going on. It might be great fun, or it might completely crash and burn. But with Drew Goddard writing and directing, the former is looking likely.
I think we’re finally getting back into the season of great movies.
Damien Chazelle is on a wicked hot streak. Both Whiplash and La La Land, his second and third directorial features, were critically acclaimed and made it to awards season. He looks like he’s gunning for a hat trick with First Man. What originally piqued my interest was when a few months ago he stated that First Man, about Neil Armstrong’s mission to the moon, would have “four or five big set pieces.” Chazelle is a gifted and energetic filmmaker, so a drama from him that incorporates thrilling action-y setpieces about the tests leading up to the moon landing sounds tantalizing. Hopefully everything surrounding it isn’t as boring as some early screening audiences said.
It’s a damn crime that A Star is Born is taking up the Dolby auditorium instead of this.
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween
I really enjoyed the first Goosebumps movie from a couple years ago. It was a clever idea to have RL Stine’s creations come to life “in the real world” and it was equally clever to cast Jack Black as the famous writer. The movie was surprisingly fun and exciting for what it was. It wasn’t perfect but it was a good time. That’s why the trailer for Goosebumps 2 is so disappointing. The quality seems significantly lower on all fronts. The CGI looks somehow more fake. The story suspiciously appears to be something of a retread of the same basic idea. Entire scenes appear to be lifted wholesale from the original with minor tweaks. The characters are incredibly irritating. And Jack Black is nowhere to be found. This is one of the laziest-looking movies I can think of from recent memory, and I’m honestly surprised this is coming to theaters instead of VOD. Well, money, obviously.
It doesn’t happen often, but I am refusing to see this bad-looking movie.