Trailer Takes: <i>Hotel Artemis</i>, <i>Backstabbing for Beginners</i>, and <i>Sharp Objects</i>

Trailer Takes: Hotel Artemis, Backstabbing for Beginners, and Sharp Objects


Hotel Artemis

Eman: Hotel Artemis looks like a totally rad John Wick cash-in, revolving around a secret hospital for criminals run by an off-the-reservation physician known simply as The Nurse (played by a haggard Jodie Foster). But in terms of things you can knock off, John Wick ranks pretty high on my list of franchises that I’m cool with people taking inspiration/stealing from. Hell, I’ll admit, it’s the best, most creative and audacious action franchise in current cinema. Take all the cues you want from it! Sterling K. Brown is basically this story’s version of Wick a lethal man on a mission to protect his brother (Brian Tyree Henry) in the titular “hotel” while Los Angeles 2028 burns around themand casting him as a badass criminal type is 100% amazing. Toss in Charlie Day, Jenny Slate, Kenneth Choi, Zachary Quinto, and Dave Bautista as the world’s angriest nurse, and you’ve got one hell of an eclectic cast. The entire cast is made up of actors who make their careers as scene-stealers, so I can’t wait to see all these talented character actors constantly offering a new favorite scene. Plus, Jeff Goldblum plays the movie’s big bad, who’s named (wait for it) The Wolf King. The moment he showed up in this trailer, I cackled with glee. I will watch the fuck out of this movie.

Juliana: This just makes me think, “How come nobody has thought about this before?” Because it’s a brilliant idea. A hospital for criminals is the perfect setting for a pretty awesome plot. And Jodie Foster leads this with all her sass and charisma? I’m down for it. Honestly, this is just the kind of trailer that makes me excited about every single member of the cast. Sofia Boutella and Dave Bautista being absolutely badass with a dash of humor? Jeff Goldblum wearing shades? Sterling K. Brown 3D printing a gun somehow? Zachary Quinto literally doing nothing, but just showing up at the end so I can freak out even more? Someone give this movie’s marketing team a raise, because now I can’t wait for this to hit theatres.

Brynne: It looks like this film is going to get to the root of my inability to fully appreciate action movies. Whenever I watch one, I’m nagged by questions of the realism of it all, despite the inherent necessity of watching any film being to suspend one’s disbelief. When the characters get injured doing super illegal stuff, then end up fine two scenes later, I get peeved. Slightly less than completely lazy writers take the time to whip up a disposable friend character who happens to have some experience or ability administering medical care. Occasionally there’s the scene in which a doctor or some other medical professional is coerced by force or bribe to patch up the leads. By and large, though, even these fixes are lazy, and laziness is largely accepted when it comes to action movies because they’re action movies. The point isn’t to dissect it all and hold your breath for realism, but to watch stuff blow up and people jump out of windows and land without major injury in dumpsters. Hotel Artemis is going to finally show me how all the action villains really would need to get patched up, and for that, I’m already grateful.


Backstabbing for Beginners

Eman: That’s a super clever title, but from what this trailer presents, I don’t see any correlation between the title’s wittiness and the actual tone of this film. I’m sensing a serious-minded Oil-for-Food scandal drama which fictionalizes the incidents during the Iraq War just enough to play as a pacy, borderline noirish thriller. It seems like one of those all-too-serious mid-2000s movies aiming to shed a light on the dark politics of the Middle East. If you want one of those, just go watch Syriana. Backstabbing for Beginners is a straight-to-DTV movie, so that tidbit should tell you exactly what you need to know of its importance.

Juliana: I’m in love with this title. I know the movie itself probably had nothing to do with this, since it’s based on a memoir with the same name, but I love it. Corruption scandal stories tend to be good, especially when there are real events backing them up, so I’m definitely intrigued. Ben Kingsley is also giving a killer performance as the central antagonist. My major problem, though, is with Theo James’ character. I stop worrying about a character’s well-being after they escape death, and this trailer shows him doing that three times. I love action scenes, but I feel like at some point I’ll just get used to it and take it for granted that he’ll live. It probably also doesn’t help that Theo James reminds me of Divergent, which just wasn’t a good movie. Anyways, it’s a good premise, but I’m just not that hyped for it.

Brynne: Backstabbing for Beginners: boy what a terrible title. With all due respect to my fellow writers, I cannot get over how unfitting it feels when I read it. Even before I watched the trailer, it felt like it wasn’t the title of a movie, but rather for a shrewd advice book on how to be a successful business person. Further, echoing what Eman says, I really don’t see the connection between the title and what’s presented in the trailer. This seems to be a drama about a guy who, once in the middle of ongoing humanitarian work, has his rose-colored glasses removed. Unless the leader of the corrupt group of money-grubbing “helpers” takes on a Mr. Miyagi-esk role and teaches our leading man how to participate in such work, I think the filmmaker seriously missed the mark with that title. Titles play huge roles in motivating consumers to go or not to go see any given film, and this one may just hurt their sales before anyone has even seen the film itself.


Sharp Objects

Eman: 2018 is going to be the year where the cinematic component of Gillian Flynn’s writing gets tested to its limits. Not only did the Gone Girl author pen the script for Steve McQueen’s upcoming heist picture Widows (a movie I am utterly dying to see), but now apparently HBO’s also transformed her novel Sharp Objects into an eight-part Limited Event Series, starring Amy Adams and directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (Big Little Lies). I finally read the book a few months back and really dug it. Flynn’s pulpy gothic tale revolves around Camille Preaker (Adams), a journalist who must return to her hometown to report on a series of brutal murders, forcing her to reunite with her strange, abusive mother (Patricia Clarkson). I’m sure Amy Adams will be great, of course (after all, Arrival is one of my all-time favorite films), but Patricia Clarkson as the mother?? She will DESTROY that role.  Plus, there’s a lot more to the bookincluding an in-depth exploration of self-harm and traumathat should make for a rather uncomfortable viewing experience. This teaser really does a good job conveying the text’s sinister tone and gothic sensibilities. With the talent involved, especially on an HBO platform, I’m super pumped for this.

Juliana: Like most horror trailers, I have no idea what’s going on in this. Apparently, it’s about a reporter (Amy Adams) returning home to investigate a murder. Based on the hushed whispers, creepy insects, and multiple little girls, I’m assuming some supernatural shenanigans also occur. The content itself isn’t particularly thrilling, but I’ll probably end up watching it just because of who’s involved in this production. I mean, I’m already down to watch anything with Amy Adams, but it’s also based on a book by Gillian Flynn? And with the same producer as Get Out (2017)? And with the same director as Big Little Lies (2017)? This one is seriously giving Hotel Artemis (2018) some tough competition when it comes to awesome people involved in production. I’ll probably end up watching an episode or two just to see if it’s worth it.

Brynne: As my fellow writers speak to, the initial viewership of this series will stem from the names associated with it. Amy Adams has proved time and time again that she is a remarkably talented actor with a knack for quiet-type, emotionally scarred, female roles. I have no doubt that she will shine here, but I must admit a bit of lethargy watching this trailer, even despite the promise of quality attested to by its director, producer, and distributor. At least with the Gone Girl trailer I knew the scaffolding of the story being told. With this one, and I’ll give it just a tiny bit of slack because it’s a teaser, I’m confused. This is essentially a series of provocative images set over long, buzzing notes with sprinkles of high notes. I’ve seen this style of teaser before, and it’s starting to get old. Give me the story, something I can follow. Spare me the obvious attempt at unsettling viewers by giving them nothing concrete about the series onto which they can grasp.

Image Credits: IMDb

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