REVIEW: It’s really ‘Meh’ times at the ‘El Royale’

“Bad Times at the El Royale” is a film that juggles a lot of ideas, and some of them are good. However, director Drew Goddard and company weren’t able to bring everything together, and this feature suffers for it.

The picture takes place at a unique setting. The El Royale is a hotel located with two sections, one half is in California and the other is in Nevada. The film features a group of characters, including a priest named Daniel (Jeff Bridges), a singer named Darlene (Cynthia Erivo), a salesman by the name of Laramie (Jon Hamm) and a young woman who keeps to herself in Emily (Dakota Johnson), who all check into the El Royale on the same afternoon.

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REVIEW: ‘First Man’ provides incredible snapshots of history and humanity

Political capital, time, money and lives. All of these were spent and sacrificed to push mankind out of the atmosphere and travel to the Moon. In “First Man,” all of these sacrifices weigh on Neil Armstrong, played here by Ryan Gosling.

As the name and the main real life character implies, “First Man” is about the lead up and mission by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to successfully land on the Moon. Director Damien Chazelle, known for his work helming “Whiplash” and “La La Land” takes audiences on a biographical tour this time around, documenting Armstrong’s training and following the astronaut’s journey to becoming the lead man on Apollo 11.

The picture covers both the continuous work at NASA, while also showcasing the lives of the agency’s workers in their home life. Specifically, the movie documents Armstrong’s relationship with his family, including his wife Janet (Claire Foy).

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REVIEW: Deeply flawed ‘Venom’ still manages to offer some fun

For those of you who don’t know, this “Venom” movie has basically nothing to do with Spider-Man or the Marvel universe. Sad face.

“Venom” tells the story of Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), a broadcast news reporter who’s had good, consistent success in the journalism industry. His latest story, though, brings him into contact with a powerful pharma exec named Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed). Because he asks too many questions in his interview, Drake manages to end Brock’s career.

As Brock struggles to get back on his feet, Drake’s company does unethical experiments, culminating with the forcing of a sentient alien substance to interact with humans. When Brock finds out, he decides to try his hand at investigative journalism again, but this lands him in more trouble when he becomes attached to one of the aliens named Venom. While the two begin at odds, they eventually form a deal to take Drake down.

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REVIEW: ‘A Star is Born’ will hook you in with passionate musical scenes

I’ll admit, when I hear the title, I think of the song at the end of the Disney “Hercules” movie.

In all seriousness, “A Star is Born” is actually a remake of a 1937 film with the same name. In fact, along with this most recent adaptation, that 1937 movie has been remade two other times in 1954 and 1976. This newest version was directed and co-written by Bradley Cooper, who also stars in the film as the lead character Jack.

Jack is a successful musician with plenty of hits, but also faces problems. Not only does one of his ears have a medical issue, but he’s also suffering from alcoholism. Despite, this, though, he meets a talented singer named Ally (Lady Gaga) who’s been overlooked her whole life. Not only do the two strike up a relationship, but Jack also helps Ally get her talent noticed. A strain remains, though, because of Jack’s health.

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REVIEW: Despite a nice concept, ‘Hell Fest’ feels largely generic

Want to visit a haunted attraction but have none close by? Well, you can always check out the latest horror film “Hell Fest.” Actually, don’t do that, because “Hell Fest” isn’t all that impressive.

This film follows a group of six college students who get together for a trip to Hell Fest. Basically, Hell Fest is a traveling horror amusement park that does the scary stuff better than anyone else in the business.

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REVIEW: ‘Night School’ fails the laugh test

I like Kevin Hart, I think he’s a pretty funny dude. In fact, I like most of the cast featured in this flick. However, I can’t say I actually liked the movie.

In his latest comedy feature, Hart stars as Teddy, a high school dropout who’s always struggled with tests. Despite this, Teddy is still able to claw his way into a fairly good life, becoming a hardworking retail salesman who’s in line to become the general manager of the store he’s at. Additionally, he’s in a good relationship with his girlfriend.

However, through a series of events where Teddy tries to propose to his girlfriend, he ends up losing his job and needs to find new employment. Without a high school diploma, though, it isn’t easy. The end result is Teddy returning to school to get his GED. The task is tough, though, because of a strict teacher named Carrie (Tiffany Haddish) and a principal with a vendetta against Teddy, Stewart (Taran Killam).

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REVIEW: Black and Blanchett elevate otherwise forgettable ‘House with Clocks’

I can’t say that I ever expected Jack Black and Cate Blanchett to make a good onscreen duo, but here we are.

The two performers appear on the big screen in this fantasy film, directed by Eli Roth. While they headline the picture, though, the main character of the picture is Lewis, played by Owen Vaccaro. The film’s opening finds Lewis moving to Michigan to live with his uncle Jonathan (Black) after the death of his parents. Not long after Lewis moves in, he soon finds out that both his uncle and his uncle’s friend Florence (Blanchett) are warlocks.

As he begins to learn about the world of magic, Lewis not only finds out that sorcery exists, but that the house he’s living in contains an evil clock with nefarious designs.

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REVIEW: While entertaining, latest ‘Predator’ doesn’t top others in the series

I don’t get why they couldn’t just call this “Predator 4” and forget the “Alien vs Predator” movies exist. That’s what I do.

The latest entry in this series, directed by Shane Black, mainly follows the character Quinn (Boyd Holbrook). Quinn is a sniper specialist for an elite military unit who sees a UFO crash during one of his missions.

As one might guess, Quinn encounters a Predator. However, those higher on the pay grade decide that  they should cover up the experience and put Quinn with a group of other soldiers who’ve been classified as needing mental health treatment. Because Quinn, and his family, are targeted by the Predator, though, he has to team up with the group to defeat the alien.

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REVIEW: ‘White Boy Rick’ dragged down by story, characters

The latest gang/crime drama has released to theaters, but this one comes with a bit of a twist.

“White Boy Rick,” based on a true story, follows Rick Wershe Jr. (Richie Merritt). Rick lives in Detroit with his father Richard (Matthew McConaughey), who sells firearms in poor neighborhoods. As this process continues, local and federal law enforcement agencies become aware of Richard’s dealings and look to put an end to it.

However, instead of arresting him, the FBI and local detectives give Richard an out by giving Rick the opportunity to be an undercover informant and make controlled drug deals. Rick takes the offer and begins to work undercover, but soon comes to terms with the dangers associated with the role.

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REVIEW: ‘The Nun’ is a generic, one note picture that you can skip

I wasn’t sure if “The Nun” would be all that scary. But what I really didn’t expect was for it to be so boring.

“The Nun” is part of the “Conjuring” cinematic universe and actually takes place decades before the original movie came out. The story follows Father Burke (Demian Bichir) and a young nun in training, Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga).

The two are sent to Romania by the Vatican to investigate the death of another nun at an old abbey. As they begin their investigation with the help of a local farmer (Jonas Bloquet), though, they soon learn that they have to face a horrifying entity.

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