Saturday, August 24, 2019

Movie Review -- Hotel Artemis

hotel artemis movie review

Let me preface this review with a short discussion. Why do they make movies? To entertain, of course and to make money, obviously but movie making is mostly about telling stories. Excepting flicks that are derived from books or comics, or retellings of actual events or documentaries, movies give a writer a chance to tell a story he/she came up with. And there are basics to story-telling.

Characters are defined, events occur, one or many of the characters travel an arc of some kind -- evolving or devolving to a point different from when the story starts. That's kind of Storytelling 101.

So anyways . . .

It's Los Angeles in 2028. The city is in turmoil over water shortages as the multi-national corporation ClearWater (in one of many too on-the-nose identities in the film) has restricted access to clean water for the general populace. A private contractor Pro Shield has been given authority to put down protests with deadly force if necessary. Against this backdrop we are introduced to two of the movie's characters and why they are headed to the Hotel Artemis.

The Artemis is technically the penthouse floor of an abandoned 12 story building in a run down area of L.A. Styled lush and baroque and old, it's had some upgrades layed over it that provide security and medical tech to turn it into a secure four room hospital for criminals. The set design is pretty well done, though everything is a bit dark and occasionally hard to see. But that's a fairly minor annoyance.

Also giving me pause is the "tech" at the Artemis. As I said, the year is 2028, and I'll go out on a limb here and say that I doubt we'll have nanites doing massive cellular repair, 3D printed organs, and medbots that can clean and dress wounds or remove shrapel/bullets on their own, in just 10 years. I'm not really complaining here, the writers had to pick a date in the near future and they needed the right tech for things to work, so it's a minimal bit of artistic license. Just pointing it out to give you a sense of what's on screen.

Running the "hotel" is Nurse played by Jodie Foster. I'm not sure how old Foster's character is supposed to be here, I'm guessing somewhere between 60 and 70 years old. Probably older as she's sporting old lady white hair and a lot of wrinkles and age spots added to the 56 year old actress by the makeup department. Foster's gone full method in this role, adopting a bizarre shuffling walk reminiscent of a geisha and a clipped staccato line delivery that I suspect is suppose to sound northern big city-ish. Whatever it is, it's beyond annoying. I'm not exaggerating when I say I had to watch this film over six times with the volume cranked way up to get all her dialogue and there's still some stuff I can't make out.

Her orderly, Everest, is played by Dave Bautista (see what I meant about "on-the-nose"). Bautista is riffing on what is becoming a common character for him -- the mildly dense hulking guy. I don't say that as a knock on Bautista. He's got that part down pat, seems comfortable in it and I enjoy watching him play that sort of character.

The two criminals we met in the beginning are Lev, the troublesome younger brother of Sherman (played by Sterling K. Brown), who we learn has spent his whole life pulling Lev out of one self-made bad situation after another. The rooms in the Artemis are all named after various cities around the world and the room names serve as codenames for the patients to insure confidentiality. Thus Lev becomes Honolulu and Sherman becomes Waikiki. The other patients are a coke-snorting douchebag arms dealer Acapulco, played by Charlie Day and a French assassin Nice played by Sofia Boutella. Again, see what I mean by a little too on-the-nose?

So the characters are in place. And . . . what? Stuff happens. People die. There are some interactions between the characters. We learn Nice and Waikiki already know each other and may have had some sort of romantical thing between them that didn't work out. We get to see Boutella doing another of what are becoming her signature fight sequences (aside: how is she not in one of these MARVEL movies? SJW's keep shrieking for a female led spy series, my god, here's your lead. Why can't someone give this woman her own kick-ass movie?! My suggestion -- put her and Hannah John-Kamen in the same flick and watch everyone's sultry meters explode! just sayin'), but all in all, what was the focus of the movie? Was there one? Is there one particular thing we're supposed to take away from watching this movie?

The Artemis is a hospital for criminals. They have something approximating morals -- no pedos, no serial killers, no terrorists . . . but bank robbers, assassins, drug lords and their underlings . . . totally cool. Seems a bit arbitrary to me. We learn that Nurse's teenaged son died of what she believed to be an overdose and that turned her into an alcoholic who lost her medical license. But she was picked up by the drug lord who runs L.A., the Wolf King, who created the Artemis and put Nurse in charge of it.

Are we supposed to care about any of these people? I mean, I liked Boutella's character simply because I like her. Same with Brown, he was much better here than that execrable Predator movie. Point is, I was only rooting in any way for either of them because of the "actors" not the characters they portrayed.

Despite why the Nurse was at the Artemis, she's spent 22+ years healing drug dealers, thieves and murderers. I'm not really moved by what happened with her. Waikiki is a robber who we're pretty sure has killed his fair share of people. Nice is an assassin working world wide. Everest is practically the only "pure" character in the movie.

The movie is like a random snapshot someone took and handed to you. You look at it . . . yeah, it's nice, and . . .?

I'm not hating on this movie, it's just something that struck me after I watched it. I just didn't get the point of it. You should watch it for yourself and see. The cinematography is very good, as is the set design. The performances, with the exception of Foster's annoying method dialogue, are excellent as well. There's some good bits of dialogue, two of which are spoken by Bautista -- one where, when referencing his position as a "health care professional" in a threat to someone, he remarks that he'll "Hunt them down and unheal the sh*t out of them." I got a chuckle out of that.

Like I said, watch it yourself, feel free to come back and let me know how far off base I am here. Wouldn't be the first time . . . heh

Surprisingly, it's fairly difficult to find sexy images of Sofia Boutella online. I'm not sure what's wrong with photographers or magazines these days, I'd be working with her every chance I got. Anywho, here's a few that I found, enjoy:

sofia boutella sexysofia boutella sexysofia boutella sexy sofia boutella sexysofia boutella sexysofia boutella sexy

Did you find this review helpful? Check out my other reviews for my thoughts on the flicks and the occasional gallery of hotness that accompanies them:

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