And the Oscar Goes To… Not a Clue

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Quickie Reviews: Hotel Artemis; American Animals

If Ocean’s 8 feels too safe a bet, and Hereditary looks too darn creepy, have no fear — you’ve got a couple of quirky alternatives to choose from in a crazy crowded weekend at the box office. Hotel Artemis stars Jodie Foster as “The Nurse”, the caretaker of a secret “members only” hotel/ER that caters to wounded criminals. The rules are simple and few: No guns. No cops. No killing the other patients. But on a single night in riot-torn Los Angeles 2028, rules are broken – and blood is shed.

Mainstream Chick’s Quick Takes: Money Monster; A Bigger Splash; High-Rise

Money Monster is a satisfying crowd-pleaser that definitely benefits from the established rapport between lead actors George Clooney and Julia Roberts and the solid direction of Jodie Foster. Clooney plays an outlandish, self-centered, Jim-Cramer-Mad-Money-type financial TV host named Lee Gates who shares stock tips with what he thinks is an adoring public. Roberts plays his producer/director Patty. She’s the one who keeps Gates and the show on track from her seat in the Control Room. Their usual routine is disrupted on live television when a disgruntled investor named Kyle (British actor Jack O’Connell looking and sounding as American as apple pie) gets into the studio, straps an explosive vest on Lee, and demands to know the source of a so-called ‘glitch’ that caused a particular stock – and his investment- to implode. The result is a tense conspiracy thriller with enough light moments peppered throughout (including some funky dance moves from Clooney) to boost the overall entertainment factor. Money Monster doesn’t really need to be seen on the big screen, but it’s the best of the week’s new offerings for anyone just looking for a solid, well-paced drama with star power.


Set in the year 2154, Elysium is a hero’s tale about one simple man saving the world’s poor from the evil grips of the moneyed elite. The über-rich have moved off earth and live on an idyllic space station known as Elysium, looking down on the earth where the retched poor live a horrid life under the control of all watching ‘droids. Matt Damon plays Max, one of the 99% earthbound masses, who works in an android factory and is just trying to keep keep his head down and stay away from the criminals who he used to run with. But that plan is thrown for a loop when he is the victim of a radioactive industrial accident that will kill him unless he can get up to Elysium and use one of their miraculous medical machines that can cure any and all illnesses. And of course the only ones with the wherewithal to get him there are those bad guys he was trying to stay away from. Damn it!

The Beaver

Mel Gibson is his own worst enemy these days. It’s hard to watch him play a depressed, mentally-unstable guy without thinking about his real-life antics (and let’s face it – they’ve been off the charts). And that’s a real shame. Because The Beaver happens to be a pretty good movie – and Gibson is very good in it, as is director/co-star Jodie Foster and the rest of the supporting cast.