Friday, June 22, 2018

Review of HOTEL ARTEMIS: Tried to be Tarantino

June 21, 2018

Aside from its MTRCB rating of R-16, I had no idea what this one was about. When I learned that Jodie Foster was in it, I thought I should go check it out. Funny that I should watch"Hotel Artemis" today, June 21, when the film's event started exactly ten years from today. Well despite that coincidence, I hope the anarchic events depicted in the film would never come to pass in real life. 

It is June 21, 2028 and the bloodiest street rioting in US history was happening in the streets of Los Angeles because of a water crisis. That day, a gang of thieves led by Sherman and his brother went awry and they were both injured, with his brother in more critical condition. Sherman makes an urgent call to the Nurse, the elderly woman who ran Hotel Artemis, a membership-only hospital for fixing up injured criminals. 

The Nurse was assisted ably in her operations by her right-hand man Everest. Upon admission, Sherman and his brother were called Waikiki and Honolulu, based on the room they were assigned to.  The other patients there with them included an offensive loudmouth arms dealer code-named Acapulco, a sexy ruthless female assassin code-named Nice. as well as the biggest crime boss in town, the Wolf King, code-named Niagara. 

Written and directed (in his feature debut) by Drew Pearce, "Hotel Artemis" had a vibe of a violent non-superhero crime-noir graphic novel like "Sin City". We are brought into a post-apocalyptic world in the near future, where criminals have established their own exclusive hospital facilities in an old hotel building, with strict rules to follow to keep order and technology advanced enough to 3D print a liver. The set design of the hotel with its sense of decaying Art Deco glamour lent its charm to balance the violence of the story being told. 

The hotel also shared the eccentricity of its manager, the Nurse, played by the ever-reliable Jodie Foster. A family tragedy she could not move on from rendered medic Mrs. Jean Thomas a drunkard, until she was picked by the Wolf King himself to run his hospital for criminals. As the unkempt and haggard Nurse, she needed to be tough, but still she shared a genuine friendship with Everest (Dave Bautista), her trusty assistant, and showed real concern for Morgan (Jenny Slate), the girl who once lived next door to her now a cop.

Emmy award-winning actor Sterling K. Brown played Sherman?Waikiki, while Emmy nominee Brian Tyree Henry played his brother Honolulu. They came up with affecting performances as brothers, though unconvincing as notorious criminals. Female action star (ever since her star turn in "Kingsman: The Secret Service" in 2015) Sofia Boutella was an icily effective femme fatale. Charlie Day was as obnoxious as ever as Acapulco. 

Jeff Goldblum may have had only a short screen time as the Wolf King/Niagara, but his screen charisma was really undeniable. His scenes with Ms. Foster were a dramatic highlight of the whole film. Zachary Quinto had a brooding look that worked in his favor as the insecure crime lord-in-the-making Crosby Franklin, youngest son of the Wolf King, even if he was acting was hammy the whole time. 

The whole concept of the hospital was very interesting. However, unlike "Sin City" this one kept real, and thus does not immediately draw you in. So far only the Nurse, Everest and Nice standout as characters whom I want to see back again in case there is a sequel. There was a part in the middle where the momentum sagged, but once the Wolf King entered the scene, the action never let up to the end. Not bad, but this was Tarantino-lite. 6/10. 


  1. The only positive thing about this movie is the acting. The movie does have good performances from Gabriel Byrne and Toni Collette, although I don't feel her acting is "Oscar worthy" like people are saying. 123 movies It just makes me wonder how desperate these two great actors must have been for a paycheck. zmovie
    This movie was marketed as something that would make people rethink what horror movies are all about. In the end, there's nothing to spoil about this movie because nothing happens. The plot develops extremely slowly as a poorly written family drama. Then in the last 20-30 minutes the director must have remembered that he was supposed to be making a horror movie and just slapped together an ending full of countless scary movie cliches that left everyone in the theater scratching their full movies online free Someone at my showing actually said out loud when the credits began to roll "wtf was that movie" and everyone laughed.

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