Posts Tagged ‘Charlie Day’

The Acapulco Suite

Hotel Artemis

Director: Drew Pearce

Cast: Jodie Foster, Charlie Day, Sterling K. Brown, Dave Bautista, Sofia Boutella, Zachary Quinto, Jenny Slate, Brian Tyree Henry, Jeff Goldblum

A film’s originality is always a bonus. In this case director Drew Pearce’s bizarre yet crazy action thriller Hotel Artemis set in Los Angeles in 2028 is a stark reminder of how chaotic a world can become when law and order breaks down and climate change ravages a city.

A Multi-National Corporation has control of downtown L. A.’s water supply and riots have ensued. In the midst of this anarchy, two brothers codenamed Waikiki and played by Sterling K. Brown and Honolulu played by Brian Tyree Henry get injured in a bank robbery as well as steal some precious diamonds from the Wolf King of L. A. a crime overlord played by Jeff Goldblum.

The only refuge the wounded brothers can find is at Hotel Artemis run by the Nurse, an embittered, heavy drinking nurse, superbly played against type by double Oscar winner Jodie Foster (The Silence of the Lambs, The Accused).

Hotel Artemis set in downtown L. A. is a Hospital for gangsters and has amongst its guests a lethal assassin codenamed Nice played by Algerian actress Sofia Boutella and a cocaine sniffing arms dealer codenamed Acapulco played by Charlie Day (Pacific Rim, Horrible Bosses).

Written and directed by Drew Pearce, who cleverly makes full use of his diverse cast and wisely gives sufficient screen time for Jodie Foster who really holds Hotel Artemis together as the Nurse who suffers from agoraphobia and alcoholism whilst coming to terms with the demons in her own past, namely the death of her son from a drug overdose.

Action man Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) plays Everest, the Nurse’s able bodied assistant, while Zachary Quinto plays The Wolf King’s son and heavy weight gangster Crosby Franklin, who breaches the criminal hotel.

While Pearce devotes the first half of Hotel Artemis to building up the characters and creating the chaotic atmosphere, he wastes no time in the second half with action, as each prisoner/guest turns on each and The Nurse realizes that her best hope for survival in this ruthless criminal underworld is by escaping it.

Despite its originality, Hotel Artemis gets a film rating of 7 out of 10.

I felt that writer/director Drew Pearce needed to spend sufficient time fleshing out the backstory to make the ending more palatable. Audiences that enjoyed Blade Runner 2049, will enjoy Hotel Artemis, a dystopian action thriller without the replicants and sophisticated imagery.

 

 

 

Attack on Mount Fuji

Pacific Rim Uprising

 

Director: Steven S. DeKnight

Cast: John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, Burn Gorman, Charlie Day, Tian Jing, Rinko Kikuchi

Successful sequels only work if they have a cinematic uniformity of vision.

Unfortunately the sequel to Guillermo del Toro’s highly original Pacific Rim (2013) called Pacific Rim Uprising is a paint by numbers sequel without much depth to it beyond massive creatures attacking Tokyo and Honolulu and the defensive Jaegers trying to fight them off.

Featuring rising stars John Boyega (Detroit, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) as Jake Pentecost, son of Stacker Pentecost from Pacific Rim and Scott Eastwood (Fury, Suicide Squad) as Nate Lambert, there are only few of the original cast in the sequel including Oscar nominee Rinko Kikuchi (Babel) as Mako Mori and Charlie Day as the crazed tech genius Dr Newton Geiszler.

Unfortunately no Idris Elba or Charlie Hunnam to light up our screens and make this sequel dazzle.

In trying to prevent another attack of the Kaiju on the Pacific Rim cities around the globe, Jake teams up with a young delinquent Amara Namani played by Cailee Spaeny.

Tian Jing (Kong: Skull Island, The Great Wall) plays Liwen Shao , head of a shady Shanghai Tech giant Shao Technologies which plays on introducing drones to control the Jaegers as a defence mechanism against another impending attack of the nefarious Kaiju.

Jake and Amara try to rustle up a team of young recruits but that is soon usurped by a sudden attack in Sydney of a rogue Jaeger. The action moves swiftly onto Tokyo in the most impressive CGI sequence whereby the roaming sea monsters are intent on attacking Mount Fiji while Jake and his team have to fight them off before they reach their volcanic destination.

As an effects laden CGI movie, Pacific Rim Uprising is fun to watch but lacks originality and the script is lacklustre coupled with the uninspiring direction by Daredevil director Steven S. DeKnight.

Pacific Rim Uprising gets a film rating of 6.5 out of 10 and is recommended for only those viewers that loved the first film. Otherwise this sequel, like many, is not going to have a broader appeal.

The Sequel Syndrome

Horrible Bosses 2

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 Director: Sean Anders

Cast: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Jennifer Aniston, Chris Pine, Christoph Waltz, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx

The original comedy Horrible Bosses was hugely hilarious, so the question begs why spoil it with a sequel?

Especially in light of the 2008 economic recession, Hollywood has increasingly fallen prey to the sequel syndrome as a way of generating additional work for actors and more profits for the main film studios. Not every successful original comedy or action film needs to be made into a sequel. Horrible Bosses 2 and Red 2 are example of this money making cinematic phenomenon which started in the 1980’s. Think The Lethal Weapon, Rambo and Die Hard franchises.

Director Sean Anders’s Horrible Bosses 2 has very little to do with Bosses and a lot to do with three losers Dale, Kurt and Nick played with great glee by Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day and Jason Bateman who after appearing on Good Morning Los Angeles TV show get conned into selling their shower buddy product to a wealthy but unscrupulous industrialist Bert Hanson played by Oscar Winner Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) and his spoiled playboy son, Rex wonderfully portrayed by Chris Pine (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Star Trek).

So begins a rather lame ploy on the classic Stockholm syndrome plot as the gang of three attempt to kidnap Pine and in a rather strange twist of events gets manipulated by him into extorting a huge ransom sum for his so called release. The dialogue is not that funny, the script lazy, not to mention the appearance of highly talented Oscar Winner Kevin Spacey (The Usual Suspects), who was one of the original Horrible Bosses, is completely underutilized.

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Even Jennifer Aniston (We are the Millers, The Bounty Hunter) reprisal of her role as a nymphomaniac dentist Dr Julia Harris, also one of the original Horrible Bosses does not save the blighted plot. The best scenes in the film are actually provided by Oscar Winner Jamie Foxx (Ray) as MotherF*cker Jones and of course Pine who has a field day as the manipulative kidnap victim.

This sequel is really cashing in on the success of the first film and let’s hope that Hollywood does not make a third without there being a more credible and inventive storyline. Audiences who loved the first film, might be disappointed, so save Horrible Bosses 2 for some lazy Saturday afternoon viewing.

 

The Jaeger Effect…

Pacific Rim

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Director: Guillermo del Toro

Cast: Charlie Day, Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Clifton Collins Jnr, Diego Klattenhoff, Max Martini, Rinko Kikuchi, Ron Perlman, Burn Gorman

Acclaimed Mexican director Guillermo del Toro’s much anticipated 3D sci-fi film Pacific Rim is imaginative, rich and definitely needs to seen in a 3D cinema with digital surround sound to fully savour the cinematic spectacle.

Moving away from the American-centric location of many recent blockbusters most notably Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel, del Toro firmly aims Pacific Rim at a broader international audience as he centers most of the mind bending action in Hong Kong. Avoiding choosing a purely American cast, del Toro selects a relatively unknown ensemble to head up Pacific Rim, from the buff and gorgeous British actor Charlie Hunnam (looking ever more spectacular in 3D and last seen in Children of Men and Nicholas Nickleby) as the brooding Jaeger fighter pilot Raleigh Beckett and Rinko Kikuchi from Babel fame as Mako, the Japanese love interest who has to come to terms with aliens attacking Tokyo and join humanity to fight the horrific creatures along with Ron Perlman (Hellboy) as Hannibal Chou as a shady Kaiju bones scavenger and British actor Idris Elba as Stacker Pentecost the Jaeger central commander. Look out for a humorous performance by Charlie Day (Horrible Bosses) as the geeky scientist Dr Newton Geiszler who has to discover what the Kaijus really want with planet Earth along with Max Martini as Herc Hansen.

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Warning to most audiences, that if you don’t like Monsters and Robots, don’t see Pacific Rim. However if you have followed del Toro’s cinematic rise to fame from the imaginatively rich Hellboy franchise to the critically acclaimed Spanish language fantasy Pan’s Labyrinth then fans will not be disappointed.

Pacific Rim is set in a 21st century shattered world where giant descendants of dinosaurs known as Kaijus emerge out of the earth’s core and start attacking all the major cities of the Pacific Rim from Cabo in Mexico to Sydney to Hong Kong. To combat these giant sea beasts hugely inspired by Japanese monster movies and anime, humanity has built these huge robotic war machines known as Jaegers which honestly make Transformers look like Lego pieces. The script and backstory does not deliver too much on motive or plot, but del Toro gets straight to the point – Monsters attacking the World and Humans are fighting back using massive Robots. The result is some fascinating visual effects and superb set designs paying homage to Blade Runner and Total Recall, making Pacific Rim in 3D resemble a mixture of Hellboy and Battleship on acid!

The intricacies of operating the Jaegers involves two fighter pilots mentally connecting in a visual process known as drifting overseen by a frenetic controller, the Elvis inspired central ops Tendo Choi played by Clifton Collins Jnr (Capote) so that they can both symbiotically operate these giant robots (Jaegers) and combat the blue blooded snarling monsters known as Kaiju’s.

Pacific Rim has been hugely popular in the Asian markets and when watching the spectacular Hong Kong harbour battle sequence it’s not difficult to see why. Unfortunately the enormity of both Jaegers and Kaiju’s battling each other using tankers and skyscrapers inevitably dwarfs any real human interactions displaying that del Toro deliberately went for cinematic style over substance in what is imaginatively a hugely impressive cinematic experience but don’t expect the character depth or emotion displayed in Pan’s Labyrinth. This is del Toro on a massive budget appealing to a much larger audience and in this regard, Pacific Rim succeeds on every monstrous level and surely will be in line for a Visual Effects Oscar.

See it to believe it and Pacific Rim is not only big in Japan!

Coast to Coast

Going the Distance

Drew Barrymore and Justin Long’s romantic comedy Going the Distance while examining the pressures and joys of 21st century relationships fails to deliver on a solid front with the film undecided about whether the narrative is a comedy or a serious romantic drama. Highlights of the film include great visuals of New York and San Francisco and an awesome soundtrack coupled with some hilarious moments especially the dining room scene, the central premise of the film takes slightly too long to arrive at any serious conclusion.

Meeting halfway – would be the stopover in Jefferson?

Going the Distance is more about the arc of a relationship than the geographic separation that two people feel as they attempt to keep a relationship together across two coasts and timezones. Great Sunday afternoon viewing but Barrymore has done far better films and is immensely more talented than she makes out in this film… Grey Gardens proves that! This film is a coast to coaster but no smooth operator!

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