Goddard Textiles, TSG Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox,

Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Cailee Spaeny, Lewis Pullman, Chris Hemsworth, Nick Offerman, Russell Crowe, Alvina August, Mark O’Brien

The El Royale is a run down hotel on the border between Nevada and California near Lake Tahoe. Half of the rooms are in one state and the other half are in the other, decorated especially for each state, but there is a red line running down the middle of the main lounge that divides the room in half. The hotel used to be a hot destination, but is dying since they lost their gambling license and all the slot machines are out of order. Now no one stays here. A tired old priest (Jeff Bridges) shows up at the same time as a lounge singer (Cynthia Erivo) who is staying at the El Royale because it is very cheap. When they enter the lobby the find the hotel empty except for a traveling salesman who is also looking for an attendant. Over time, a few more people show up, but nobody is what they appear, all are hiding deep secrets, and things are going to go bad due to a whole bunch of bad choices as well as a great number of misunderstandings, and it truly is Bad Times at the El Royale for everyone.

I was intrigued by the trailer and really wanted to get to see it in the theater, but for some reason I never made it. I was excited when this was released on DVD, and was anxious to see it. It was well worth the wait, and I’m glad I finally got to see this. In fact, it was so much fun, I watched it twice. This is a mystery from start to finish, and it was really fun trying to figure out who the people really were. As you go along, as soon as you figure it out, you find out you’re completely wrong. As the pieces are revealed bit by bit, the puzzle comes together, and it was a really exciting movie. This reminded me a lot of “The Hateful Eight” in the way that nobody actually was who they claimed to be. This was a very insightful film, very dark, but yet somehow really beautiful. The way they built the set completely from scratch, and built the entire lobby building as a single set, allowing them to do long and complex shots in a single take without a cut. It was very well crafted and I enjoyed the movie twice from start to end, and really enjoyed the extra features that were were included on the DVD with info about how and why the film was made the way it was. The actors were superb. Jeff Bridges and Jon Hamm were outstanding. Cynthia Erivo did all the singing herself, and she was exceptional. Though this movie is pretty dark, there are enough puzzles and loose ends to keep us very interested in what’s going to happen. I am glad they didn’t tell us who was in the film at the end. I’m sure I know, but I’m only guessing. I really enjoyed this film.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Original Film,

Taylor Russell McKenzie, Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll, Jay Ellis, Tyler Labine, Nik Dodani, Yorick van Wageningen, Adam Robitel, Jessica Sutton, Kenneth Fok, Vere Tindale

Six strangers are given unusual boxes with a ticket inside for an Escape Room attraction, but when they are sitting in the waiting room, they soon come to realize they game has already started. After one close call after another, they soon find out the game is for real and death is not only possible, but highly likely. A sequence of challenges, each harder than the previous one is knocking them off one by one.

This was an interesting film. It is similar to many of the other puzzle films, such as the SAW series, and a number of others, but the freshness of the Escape Room concept is very current. The rooms are very well thought out, and the mix of players is an interesting twist. Each has their own special skills and talents, and the puzzles are certainly very well done. This is a unique look at this genre and it was very well done and worth the price of admission. I totally enjoyed it, and the suspense level was very intense. Very cleverly put together, and one I can recommend for those who love suspense.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Condé Nast, Endgame Entertainment, Identity Films (I),

Robert Redford, Casey Affleck, Danny Glover, Tika Sumpter, Isiah Whitlock Jr., John David Washington, Tom Waits, Sissy Spacek, Elisabeth Moss, Keith Carradine, Jordan Trovillion, Augustine Frizzell, Robert Longstreet, Patrick Newall, Kevin McClatchy, Gene Jones, Barlow Jacobs, J. Todd Anderson, Warren Bryson

This is supposedly the true story of Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford) and his outstanding escape from San Quentin at age 70. He was a robber, and had a great time confusing the heck out of authorities including detective John Hunt (Casey Affleck) and the general public who was supposedly entertained by his antics. Along the way, he met Jewel (Sissy Spacek) who loved him in spite of his tendency to rob people.

It’s rare that I neither love nor hate a movie. This one left me yawning and I just could not get into or care about anyone in this film. I am not sure what has happened with Bob Redford, but may his politics have gotten him so far out of the mainstream that he can’t determine what is an interesting role anymore. It seems everything he’s been in lately has been extremely bland. This story just didn’t grab me in the least, and i felt tortured sitting though this clunker. Forrest Tucker, if this is a true story, must have been an ass, that’s for sure, and I don’t ever recall Sissy Spacek playing a character that was so devoid of any kind of feelings at all. All in all, this movie just left me bored to tears, and i wouldn’t recommend it. Save yourself some time, and just skip this one!

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Pathé, Potboiler Productions, Element Pictures,

Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson, Will Poulter, Charlotte Rampling, Liv Hill, Kate Phillips, Josh Dylan, Anna Madeley, Lorne MacFadyen, Sarah Crowden, Kathryn O’Reilly, Tim Plester

Dr Faraday (Domhnall Gleeson) is a country doctor, who came from humble beginnings in the quiet English countryside. His mother was a housekeeper at Hundreds Hall, one of the stunning spectacular mansions of the past. When he was a child, his mother took him to a celebration at the house, and he was enthralled and instilled with the desire to fit into the gentry himself. In the summer of 1948, he is called to visit a patient in Hundreds Hall, and he becomes obsessed with the Ayer’s family who live there, but the house is in a shambles, and the great days of the past are long gone. He finds his patient Roderick (Will Pulter) and his sister Caroline (Ruth Wilson) who has just returned home to care for her brother and the aging mother (Charlotte Rampling) who are all that’s left in the decaying house. As Dr. Faraday gets more and more obsessed with inserting himself into what he remembers of the glory days of Hundreds Hall, he sets his sights on Caroline who is the unmarried heir of the family and the home. But everyone has a feeling that something is wrong at hundreds house, and someone or something wants to destroy everyone in the household. This mysterious Gothic style ghost story tells the events that happen in a slow, meticulous way that will give you the creeps.

The Little Stranger is advertised as a horror film, which it’s not, and it’s not really a ghost story either. The suspense is real though and I found it fascinating to spend some time watching this DVD. Many critics describe it as slow, which I understand, it is slow for sure, but the methodical deliberate way this story unfolds is very creating and artistic. Obviously some tragedy happened which leads to the destruction of the legacy of Hundreds Hall, but the director is not going to wrap it up and present it to you in the ending. It’s going to take some effort and heavy thinking before you’re going to be able to figure this one out. Many people do not like movies that make you work. Most people are going to either turn this off in the first half hour, or stick with it and find themselves thinking about it for a long while. I did enjoy this movie, and found it very out of the ordinary, which is why I did enjoy it. The key to understanding is to realize before you go in, that this is a psychological study of Dr. Faraday and his burning desire to move up in his station. Being a respected doctor is not enough, he wants to be an aristocrat at whatever the cost. This is not a ghoulish ghost story with lots of blood and guts, but rather a suspenseful journey through some very dark places with a lot of quiet terror along the way. It was very well done, if you know what you’re going into, but if you’re looking for a teen slasher, this isn’t going to make it happen for you. If you can handle a classic horror tale of the old days, this is a good period piece of post war Britain and the mysterious goings on in this house.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Bona Film Group, Columbia Pictures Corporation, Pariah,

Ashley Judd, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jonah Hauer King, Edward James Olmos, Alexandria Shipp, Barry Watson, Wes Studi

Bella is a lonely pit bull pup who was abandoned and lost, but taken in by a mother cat. He’s adopted by Lucas, a young medical student who’s landlord does not allow dogs. Lucas works for a veteran’s hospital and sneaks Bella into the hospital to interact with the patients, but he knows he has to send Bella off 400 miles away for a while while he finds a new place to live. Unfortunately Bella escapes and undertakes a long journey to travel the 400 miles or so to find his way back home.

I actually wanted to see this, even though it looks like a really sappy dog story like many in the past, but I found myself really enjoying it to the top. Although it was obvious what would happen, the voice acting was good, and the photography is absolutely stunning. Bella naturally makes a few friends along the way, which really added to the story a LOT, and it was very touching, but insanely interesting. I was pulled in through the entire story, and really enjoyed a nice relaxing evening in the recliner chairs, munching popcorn, and enjoying the journey. I highly recommend this film for #1 – dog lovers who are going to love the dog story. #2 – Parents and grandparents who want to really enjoy a PG movie with the little ones who will also love this, and #3 – basically anyone who wants to relax and enjoy a pleasant story with a happy ending. I found this movie really well done, and the live action animal actors really entertaining. Furthermore, it does bring up some really good issues to talk about, or at least think about after the film. This is a winner!

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

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