Tag Archives: Charlie Day

Hotel Artemis

Picture it: Los Angeles, 2018. The city is in its third day of violent riots. The people are demanding access to clean water. The power is flickering, a curfew is in effect, rich people are sending servants to deposit “lootable” goods at the bank. Which means there’s all the more for a bank robber (Sterling K. Brown) with an entrepreneurial spirit to steal. Unfortunately he and his gang of merry men escape with both bullet wounds and an accidental $18M in diamonds that ruthless mob boss Wolf King (Jeff Goldblum) is definitely going to come searching for.

But first things first: with his own brother bleeding in his arms, our intrepid bank robber checks in at the Hotel Artemis, a “dark room”, or a high-security, members-only hospital for the criminal underground. I believe they’ve ripped this idea directly from the John Wick movies, but it’s a good one. There, the doctor, who is called Nurse (Jodie Foster) is guided by a very strict set of rules:

1. While on the premises, no fighting with or killing other patients.

2. No disrespectful words or actions allowed against Hotel Artemis staff.

3. No guns or any type of weapon permitted through the gates.

4. Membership must be paid for, full and in advance.

5. Prior but lapsed members will not be admitted

6. No photography or video allowed.

7. No outside food or drink.

8. Absolutely no visitors.

9. If member is found to have compromised, or led to compromise of location, membership will be revoked.

10. Hotel Artemis rules are final and non-negotiable.

Tonight, with both the police, the rioters, and the Wolf King’s men bearing down on them, the brimming with injured criminals, no-vacancy hospital will come under siege, its only protector a dedicated health care practitioner named Everest (Dave Bautista), and every one of these rules will be broken.

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With such a potent premise and an A-list cast, Sean was curious as to why he was only hearing about this now. Usually, there’s only one answer: it’s no good. But actually, it’s not bad. Maybe not good, but it depends what you’re looking for. At times it reminded of Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise with all these people stuck in a building that’s starting to resemble hell. But Hotel Artemis has more modest ambitions, and if you start to get an inkling of an allegory, well, it’ll be dashed soon enough so don’t expend too much brain power on it. Sit back and enjoy the villainous Jeff Goldblum (which is THE BEST Jeff Goldblum, isn’t it?) and the kick-ass Sofia Boutella and Jodie Foster in an actual role, an actual meaty, outside-the-box role (her first since Elysium!). Of course, the downside to a cast like this is that we don’t spend oodles of time with any of them (the movie has a trim 94 minute run-time) but when Bautista calmly unclips his hospital badge from its prominent breast-pocket display and pockets it, oh hell, you know you’re in for some fireworks and it doesn’t matter if we’ve gotten to know all the players because they’re about to become hunks of meat only suitable for stewing.

So maybe it’s disposable. Fuck it. You’re not watching for the depth of the satire, are you? No, you’re watching it because someone’s about to get PAPER-JAMMED TO DEATH (wait for it) and goddamn if you can’t look away from that.

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Pacific Rim Uprising

It’s been 10 years since the conflict ended. Jake was born when the world was still fighting the Kaiju monsters, and his father, Stacker Pentecost, gave his life to help win the war. Jake is not his father. He lives in a coastal city that never recovered from its attack, in half a mansion that was destroyed by the creature whose skeleton still adorns the property. He steals to make a living, and nothing pays more than stole jaeger tech (jaegers being those massive, two-pilot robots used to win the war against the giant monsters).

When Jake (John Boyega) is inevitably caught, he’s sentenced to teaching kids to be 21-pacific-rim-uprising.w710.h473jaeger pilots where he immediately meets and dislikes fellow pilot Nate (Scott Eastwood), who resents him for having the special privileges granted him by his last name. Of course, Jake and Nate must become co-pilots of a new flagship jaeger meant to reassure people that the world would forever more kept safe, but its designers should have perhaps heeded another movie’s admonition – if you build it, they will come.

And when the Kaiju do attack, it’ll be Jake & Nate & a bunch of kids standing between alien monsters and the earth’s destruction, which is a discomfiting thought. But the most important thing to know about Pacific Rim: Uprising is that it is not directed by Oscar-winner Guillermo del Toro, who gave us the first one, and this one lacks the conviction and subtlety that made the first so special. Guillermo’s movie about gigantic monsters and robots fighting each other still managed to have a greater message and a lot of heart. The sequel is its empty shell. It’s got all the parts, and plenty of punchy action but it’s missing the movie magic that connects with audiences and transcends the outward trappings. Uprising is intent on being bigger, louder, dumber, and never, not once, equal to, let alone better. It’s content with ticking boxes: one liners, big hunks of metal, migraine-level sound effects, frantic Japanese people. And most egregiously, it sets itself up for a third installment, and if it comes to that, I hope the Kaiju fucking win.

Pacific Rim

Some sort of portal opens up in the ocean’s floor, and the aliens that flow through are immense monsters called Kaiju. A war ensues that humans seem poised to lose until they develop humongous robots called Jaegars controlled neurologically by two synched-up pilots. The world’s resources are devoted to these specialized weapons, but the Kaijus only up the ante. Now, with resources dwindled and the world seeming defenseless, we’ve got one last chance, with a fallen, washed up pilot in Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) and a complete novice in Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi).

Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) runs the last-ditch program but even he doesn’t have confidence in the only option they’ve got left. And two wacky scientists (Charlie Day, Burn Gorman) on his team are devoting their time and energy to connecting neurologically to the Kaiju, which is either a brilliant idea that will reveal the Kaiju’s plans or a terrible idea that will spoil the only thing the human race has going for them – the element of surprise.

Pacific Rim is a send-up to the fantastic monster movies of yore with the benefit of tumblr_mgeodlgqPl1qcga5ro1_500.gifmodern effects and technology – and yes, it looks slick as hell. It’s basically Transformers fighting dinosaurs, which appeals to the little boy that exists surprisingly near the surface of nearly every man I know. This movie was released just before my dear sweet nephew Ben was born, but it strikes me now as made especially for him. I know one day we’ll watch it together, and my old bones will creak for the next six months as we painstakingly recreate every battle scene without the benefit of CGI.

I may prefer del Toro’s smaller films, but his visionary genius means that when  you give him a pile of money to make a monster movie, he’s going to make you feel every inch of the enormity on screen. The scale is astonishing. Del Toro likes to create huge sets, giving his actors plenty of real stuff to react to, so though this movie is of course effects-heavy, it’s probably not as heavy as you think. There’s loads of practical stuff in there too – miniatures, and models, whole sets built on hydraulics so things will jostle exactly as they should when a mega monster stalks by. Guillermo del Toro is a world builder, and Pacific Rim has a lot of his usual hallmarks, just swathed in the gleeful fantasies of his inner 10 year old child.

This is likely the movie that keeps Michael Bay up at night, eating too much Häagen-Dazs: it’s the movie he always means to make but never knows how to.

You may have heard that a new Pacific Rim sequel (“Uprising”) is about to drop – without del Toro at the helm. He’s still producing but declined to direct in order to make The Shape of Water instead (good call, Guillermo!). Charlie Hunnam isn’t returning either (opting to do Pappillon instead, with Legendary’s blessing), so instead John Boyega fills his shoes as Stacker’s son and Mako’s new partner. Are the monsters back? Substitute director Steven DeKnight will attempt to answer – but as a noob, he seems at an immediate disadvantage. I mean, he did direct one episode of Daredevil and 2 of Smallville, so as a white male, that more than qualifies him to have a go at a $150M project. I can’t imagine that he’ll replicate anything like Guillermo’s instinct and soul, but we’ve not got long to wait: Uprising drops in March 2018.

 

Fist Fight

The first mistake Fist Fight makes, and it makes it before it even starts, is assuming everyone in the audience is high. Not just assuming, but requiring. Requiring it, necessitating it with its very premise, yet rudely NOT passing out joints before the opening credits roll. There is nothing about this movie that will make sense unless you are largely mentally incapacitated. Let me be clear: there is no amount of marijuana that will help this movie to make any sense in the strictest definition of the word. There may, however, be a sweet spot where you just don’t care, and if you find it, let me know.

Charlie Day is a mild-mannered English teacher and Ice Cube is an intimidating history teacher at the same “rough” high school where it’s the last day of school, students are fistfight0003wild, and everyone’s job is on the chopping block. Before first period is even over, Ice Cube takes the chopping a little too literally, taking an actual fire ax to a student’s desk. Mean principal Tyler (Dean Norris) insists on firing one of them on the spot, and since Charlie Day’s got a baby due any minute (and is in fact NOT the one to threaten students with an ax), he lets Tyler know that Ice Cube is perhaps the obvious choice. This enrages Ice Cube, and instead of taking his anger out on the student who pissed him off, or the principal who just fired him, or the superintendent who made him interview for his own job, he for no apparent reason zeroes in on the innocent and oblivious Charlie Day, who we’ve already established as a “coward” for no particular reason, but he’s wearing khakis and a nubby sports coat, so let’s go with it.

Charlie Day spends the rest of his day in a total panic, trying to avoid this #teacherfight. Will he stoop to black mailing students? Planting drugs on fellow teachers? Lying to his pregnant wife and disappointing his young daughter? Of course he will. And most egregiously, he will go to Tracy Morgan for advice. I mean, I can suspend my disbelief enough to allow for a horse amped up on homemade meth. Sure. But someone seeking out Tracy Morgan for advice? Come on.

I have an enormous crush on Ice Cube, and he’s very Ice Cube-y in this. And Charlie Day is fistfightquite Charlie Day. It’s too bad nobody wrote for them. Or really wrote at all, period. The run up to the #teacherfight is so standard you’ll wonder where you’ve seen it before and realize the answer is: everywhere. This movie borrows heavily from all kinds of mediocre movies and doesn’t even bother to steal the best stuff. It’s lazy. And absurd. And when the fight occurs, it’ll require exceptions to the rules of time and space that your brain won’t even be able to handle, nor will it want to because this movie just doesn’t deserve that kind of effort.

Fist Fight has all the makings of a mid-February comedy. It’s like it didn’t even try to be anything more.

Horrible Bosses 2

I haven’t been so surprised by a movie poster since Night at the Museum 2. Horrible Bosses 2??? I probably shouldn’t have been- the first movie ended with the threat of a sequel but I didn’t think that any studio would let them get away with it.

Then I saw Jason Sudeikis on Letterman talking about how Horrible Bosses made $300 million (he sounded like he couldn’t believe it either). I had no idea. I used to recommend it to people, describing it as “kind of funny” as if I had discovered it myself- a mostly forgettable but worth watching comedy that had flown below the radar. Apparently, I had under-estimated how much the average movie-goer could relate to wanting to kill their boss.

This is my first review so it might be too soon to admit something so embarrassing but, yeah, I liked Horrible Bosses. I have always liked Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis and, though I wish they had teamed up on something a little more inspired, watching Sudeikis and Day talking (screaming, in Day’s case) over each other while Bateman rolls his eyes makes me laugh every time and a screenwriter doesn’t have to be brilliant to make this trio funny.horribler

How much you like Horrible Bosses 2 depends both on how you feel about Horrible Bosses 1 and how you feel about sequels in general. If you loved the first one and would be content with just more of the same, I can’t see you finding fault with the sequel. It plays like a 109-minute deleted scene on the Horrible Bosses dvd. Nick, Kurt, and Dale (be careful reading that out loud) are in over their heads again, dream up knuckle-headed ideas to get out of trouble, and argue amongst themselves even more than Asshole Watching Movies.

I enjoyed almost every minute Nick, Kurt, and Dale were on screen, particularly whenever they’re trying to break in and out of places as they congratulate each other on how good at this they’re getting. The movie drags only when other characters are in the spotlight, especially Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Aniston- both of whom made me laugh once or twice in the first film but are completely unnecessary in the second. A drawn-out scene where Aniston eagerly fishes for graphic details when another characters talks about his first homosexual encounter in a Sexaholics Anonymous meeting is probably the most tedious part of either of the two films.

So, if you expect a sequel to aim higher than essentially making the same movie again, I’d recommend The Dark Knight or The Godfather Part II. But if you liked these three characters as much as I did the first time around and are up for watching more of the same (just this time even more out of control), consider this my first ever Assholes Watching Movies recommendation to you.

 

 

Want another asshole’s opinion? See Sean’s review of Horrible Bosses 2 here.

Horrible Bosses 2

I am in the same boat as Jay when it comes to Horrible Bosses – I do not remember the first movie at all.  That probably means we went to the drive-in and were not watching the movie, which is fine by me!  Anyway, I do remember watching Horrible Bosses 2 because I just saw it last night, and laughed a lot.

I laughed even though this movie is not particularly clever or innovative and really makes no sense when you think about it (spoiler alert: why not try to sell your 100,000 Shower Buddies to someone else?) until you take Jamie Foxx at his word that NickKurtDale are the craziest criminals he has ever met.  They just like doing this sort of stuff and I guess on that reasoning it makes perfect sense that when they run into adversity they start hatching illegal schemes (which may or may not involve zip lines, trampolines and skateboards). bosses2

I laughed because these three guys (Jason Bateman, Jason Sudekis and Charlie Day) have such good chemistry and clearly are having fun every step of the way, often at each other’s expense.  And I don’t think that’s character-driven, because there isn’t a whole lot of acting going on.  That’s not even a criticism – I wasn’t there to see acting, I was there to laugh, and mission accomplished on that front.  It’s not an Oscar winner but it’s about as much fun as you can have at the movies when the drive-in is closed for the winter.

Well executed and surprisingly good, Horrible Bosses 2 is one to watch, preferably with a few good friends who could help you plan a kidnaping if it ever comes to that.

Live Blogging Horrible Bosses

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD

Since we’re attending a screening for Horrible Bosses 2 tomorrow night, I thought it might be good to review the original. I have indeed seen it before and don’t remember much except a vague feeling that I didn’t like it. I asked Matt, who has a crazy-good memory and near-infinite knowledge of movies if I liked this one and he said, basically, no. That I felt the bosses were “too horrible” and thus not relatable. Sounds kind of like me. So here goes.boss

Saw the original for the first time at the drive-in, so even if I didn’t like it I wouldn’t have felt too bad about it because it’s two for one, first of all, and second, if it’s bad, we just make out.

Kevin Spacey is very good at being a total fucking asshole. A little too good, if you catch my drift. Jennifer Aniston believable as the evil bitch. Oh yeah, and Colin Farrell and his god-awful combover as the dipshit cokehead son. I can already see what I meant about the bosses being a little too horrible.

I wish my boss harrassed me with 18 year old scotch.

Oh! The kid from Freaks and Geeks is in this. That dude grew up hot.

Okay, so there’s a horrible boss, and then there’s these guys, who aren’t just flirting with inappropriateness, they seem to be firmly in the “illegal” and “crazy hyperbolic caricatures” category.  Eye roll.

Oh I see. The premise depends on these ridiculous heights because otherwise we couldn’t spiral upwards to even more ridiculouser heights. Sure sure sure. Makes total sense. “It’s not murder if it’s justified.” So yes. As long as we accept that statement as fact we can roll right along. Except every ounce of my soul is crying NO! No. No. This is not remotely, remotely in the realm of possibility. Remotely.

How You Like Me Now – most overused song in movies? The Internet says Mazzy Star’s Fade Into You, The Stones’ Gimme Shelter and perennial favourite Stayin Alive are all top contenders as well. Still. I’m annoyed. This sounds more like a commercial than a montage.

Is Charlie Day like, Michael Cera about 10 minutes in the future? Same guy, just with facial hair?

Bob Newhart cameo in the house! Okay, I still do think the bosses were waaayyyyy too over the top (of course, murdering your annoying boss is a maybe a touch over the top as well), but the chemistry and all-round buddyness of our 3 boys is pretty fun. So I’ll be looking forward to that tomorrow night, and crossing my fingers for less Jennifer Aniston. Like, 100% less.