By: Hawk Ripjaw –
When it comes to movies like Hereditary, it’s important to temper one’s expectations. It’s true that our very own Bill Arceneaux gave the movie a glowing review on the podcast, calling it an exercise in increasing insanity. I believe he also said it was one of his favorite films of the year. This is high praise from Bill, who is usually unfazed by horror, often laughing at it. But he frequently mentions how excited he is for us to see the movie, and coming from Bill Arceneaux, that is high high praise indeed. I’ve intentionally avoided everything except for the first trailer, and only know a tiny bit about the story. I’ve got the script but will not read it until next week. I am ready to be blown away. Good horror is hard to find, and Ari Aster has enough style and uneasiness in his excellent short films to get very excited for. But I’m getting ready for the horror film of the century. It won’t be that good. It’s probably not even as good as The Exorcist or any other classic movie this is being tethered to. It’s already on a lot of “best horror movies ever” lists. It probably won’t be that good.
But it might be.
I feel like I’m being cynical this week, but Hotel Artemis feels, as so many have pointed out online, like something that was developed when someone watched John Wick and thought the idea of a posh criminal underworld with rules and a hotel and colorful production design sounded cool. Honestly, though? This looks fun. Not necessarily awesome. Not really that memorable. Just fun. That’s totally fine. We’ve hit a weird pocket of great movies with Upgrade, First Reformed, American Animals, and hopefully Hereditary, so it’s good to balance that with a silly throwaway action movie like Hotel Artemis. It appears to be taking the exactly correct tone. It’s dumb, it’s kind of cool, it’s got fucking Jodie Foster. What more could you want? You won’t remember this in a month’s time, but you’ll appreciate what it’s trying to do while you’re watching it.
This is gonna be dumb, but it’s probably going to be the right kind of dumb.
I find the trailer for Ocean’s 8 unfortunate, because as much as I love nearly every single actress heading this movie, the trailer has a distinct lack of fun. Sure, it looks fine–and there’s definitely not a feeling of directly aping the source with a handful of tweaks (Ghostbusters, I enjoyed you but you were derivative), but this trailer does not have the energy and intrigue to make me want to see the movie. Luckily, those actresses do have the energy and intrigue to make me want to see it. I’ve always kind of loved Sandra Bullock for some reason (though I avoid her rom-coms), and I feel similarly about most of the cast I’ve seen here (although I’m pretty sure the only movie I’ve seen Rihanna in is Battleship, and even the hardest of hearts could feel bad for her and the rest of the cast in that). Their apparent chemistry is not the problem. The problem is that the direction by Gary Ross looks exceptionally boring and basic. Soderbergh’s Ocean’s was a product of care and craftsmanship. Ocean’s 8 looks like Gary Ross was hired to do a job. And that’s a bad look.
I trust the leading ladies in this to give it a watch this weekend, but I can’t say it’s high on my list.