The Dead Don’t Die (Jim Jarmusch – 2019) B+

Jarmusch is definitely a polarizing film maker and this latest installment is not different. If one wants to see a zombie horror movie because they want to see a “scary” horror movie, this is not the right choice. On the other hand if you want a unique take on the zombie genre, a lot of homage to Romero that balances quirky with funny and downright gorry AND you have seen another Jarmusch film before, well, then you might like this. I did.

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A Quiet Place (John Krasinski – 2018) A-

Oh, this one is good. Set in a future not too far from hours where aliens monsters will attack and eat you if you make the smallest of noises. I assume they are aliens because the film does not care to tell us and I do not much care. What I do care about are the high terrible stakes for the family we are tagging along with, those stakes are set and made clear for us in the first 15 minutes. With most of the interactions done without words this movie grips us with its intense well-designed sequences, smart believable characters and tremendous performances by all involved especially Emily Blunt. It is not without its flaws and I do not buy some of the story conclusions but it works so well as a tight smart thriller.

Bad Times at the El Royale (Drew Goddard – 2018) B+

There is a type of movie that I really enjoy. A group of strangers stuck, for whatever reason, in a place. Maybe they are there for different reasons or the same reason or it’s a big explosive coincidence. The process of discovery as we learn why each is there, who is good or bad, maybe they are all horrible people, …is usually if done well a lot of fun. This one is done well and is that type of film. Our characters are all in this old hotel on the CA/NV border, so on the border that it has a line cut through it where you can stay in either state when you check in. The plot can be described as a bit slow but it held my attention due to the excellent set designs, confident story telling and really good performances by the likes of Jon Hamm, Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson and a really fun turn by Chris Hemsworth.

Homicide (David Mamet – 1991) B-

I randomly searched for David Mamet on the Criterion Collection app and started watching this. It mostly works for me as a portrait of a cop (played very well by Joe Mantegna) who seemingly does not know where he fits and what his purpose is. We follow him as he catches a run of the mill convenience store shooting that turns into a much bigger very personal case that tests his ethics, sense of self and responsibility. I did not get that trademark Mamet feel from this one though especially the fast stilted artificial (in a good way) dialogue. You see glimpses of it I suppose but I wanted more.

John Wick: Chapter 2 (Chad Stahelski – 2017) B+

He’s back and it’s still fun. I saw this pretty much back to back after the first one. It’s a similar formula but digs a bit deeper into the world of Wick and the assassins “community”. We learn a little bit how things work in this crazy over the top world and about the cool Continental Hotel. Yes, we also have excellent choreography and over the top violence filmed well. We even see how he dispatches three men with one pencil!

John Wick (Chad Stahelski – 2014) B

I caught up with this franchise finally. It’s a well choreographed violent action movie. His, Wick’s played by the cool Keanu Reeves, wife is dead then they kill his damn puppy and steel his muscle car, these Russian criminals. They just did not know they are fucking with THE John Wick. Apparently everyone knows this crazy skilled assassin as we are constantly reminded, that he sows terror in the hearts of his targets, that he once killed three men with a pencil….yes, fun.