This week, there are SIX new films out for you to choose from: Hotel Artemis is a hospital run for criminals where visiting hours are NEVER!, Sylvester Stallone is back inspecting prison security in Escape Plan 2: Hades, there’s a fantasic-looking comedy with Michael Smiley in Madame, an illegal massage parlour in London is explored in The Receptionist, Billy Moore needs an escape plan from a Thai prison in A Prayer Before Dawn, and here we go again for Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!
Hotel Artemis is a place run by Jean Thomas (Jodie Foster, in her first movie role since 2013’s Elysium, which I’ve still to catch up on), aka The Nurse.
It’s an ultra-exclusive, members-only hospital hidden in a hotel redolent of faded ’20s glamour. Tough, sharp and utterly fearless, The Nurse (Foster, above, with Jeff Goldblum and Zachary Quinto) treats an assortment of assassins, gunrunners, thieves and gangsters in an unexpected state-of-the-art emergency room capable of providing a new liver with a 3D printer or injecting a patient with nanobots which heal from the inside out.
With the help of her towering assistant Everest, The Nurse wrangles some of the most dangerous criminals in the world, from sultry French assassin Nice, and international arms dealer Acapulco, to bank robbers Waikiki and his brother Honolulu.
One night as a violent riot rages on the streets of Los Angeles, legendary crime boss Orian Franklin, aka Niagara, arrives needing immediate treatment after a failed attempt on his life. Niagara’s sudden arrival creates a violent clash among the criminals in the hospital, with one ‘patient’ having a particularly deadly motive for checking into the hotel. The Nurse makes a decision that could jeopardise the future of the ER and everyone in it.
Now the safest place for criminals in the city has become the most dangerous…
I love the look of this, as well as the line, “Visiting hours are NEVER!” Hmm… rather like Wythenshawe Hospital, then. In fact, the grassy areas near that place were the location for The Last Of Us.
Writer/Director Drew Pearce also brought us the scripts for Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Iron Man 3 and is working on an untitled Ghostbusters project. Now, I loved Rogue Nation, and I thought Iron Man 3 was so-so, but while I loved the original Ghostbusters, and with the sequel being a bit iffy, we still had to suffer the 2016 reboot, PLEASE no more!
Also stars: Sofia Boutella, Dave Bautista, Charlie Day, Jenny Slate, Sterling K Brown, Evan Jones, Brian Tyree Henry, Kenneth Choi, Nathan Davis Jr, Sandra Rosko
Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!
Escape Plan 2: Hades is here.: We didn’t need it. We didn’t ask for it. But it’s here.
Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone – getting second billing, this time) manages an elite team of security specialists trained in the art of breaking people out of the world’s most impenetrable prisons. When his most trusted operative, Shu Ren, is kidnapped and disappears inside the most elaborate prison ever built, entirely computerized and constantly changing shape, Ray must track him down with the help of some of his former friends.
In fact, even before I got to the end of the trailer I thought it had a ‘straight to DVD’ look about it. It also comes from director Steven C Miller, who has made similar dire fodder like the ‘career nail in the coffin’ movie for Bruce Willis, Extraction.
Writer: Miles Chapman
Also stars: Dave Bautista, Jaime King, Wes Chatham, 50 Cent (aka Curtis Jackson), Jesse Metcalfe, Baylee Curran, Lydia Hull
Hit or Miss? Verdict: Read the review!
Adding a little spice to a waning marriage, Anne (Toni Collette) and Bob (Harvey Keitel), a wealthy and well-connected American couple, move into a manor house in romantic Paris. While preparing a particularly luxurious dinner for sophisticated international friends, our hostess discovers there are thirteen guests. Panic-stricken, Anne insists her loyal maid Maria (Rossy de Palma) disguise herself as a mysterious Spanish noble woman to even out the numbers.
But a little too much wine, and some playful chat, lead Maria to accidentally endear herself to a dandy British art broker (Michael Smiley). Their budding romance will have Anne chasing her maid around Paris and finally plotting to destroy this most unexpected and joyous love affair.
I love the look of this and can’t wait to see it, and you don’t see Michael Smiley in too many leading roles when we really should, so I’m really looking forward to this.
Writer/Director: Amanda Sthers
Also stars: Tom Hughes, Violaine Gillibert, Stanislas Merhar, Sue Cann, Ariane Séguillon, Amélie Grace Zhurkin, James Foley
Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!
This is a film based on an illegal massage parlour in London, and follows the lives of the employees and clients as seen through the eyes of a Taiwanese graduate employed as a receptionist.
The trailer is an instrumental affair which doesn’t give much away, but I certainly am looking forward to this.
Director: Jenny Lu
Starring: Teresa Daley, Josh Whitehouse, Chen Shiang-Chyi, Lorraine Stanley
Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!
A Prayer Before Dawn tells the true story of an English boxer incarcerated in one of Thailand’s most notorious prisons as he fights in Muay Thai tournaments to earn his freedom.
I can find boxing films hit-and-miss (ho, ho), but Thailand is a beautiful place, and this film looks like it could be pretty good. It’s based on the true story by Billy Moore who went through this, but as confirmed when he was interviewed on Channel 4 News, he’s now back in jail for burglary. That interview isn’t yet on their Facebook page, but if they do show it on there, I’ll link it in here.
Director: Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire
Starring: Joe Cole, Vithaya Pansringarm, Nicolas Shake, Panya Yimmumphai
Hit or Miss? Verdict: Maybe!
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again returns us to the pain of the movie I never cared for, ten years ago, Mamma Mia!
However, it’s still largely popular, so there’s always room for a sequel, hence this movie.
This one goes back in time with Baby Driver‘s Lily James as the young Donna, whereas the original Donna was Meryl Streep.
Writer/Director: Ol Parker
Also stars: Christine Baranski, Amanda Seyfried, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgård, Dominic Cooper, Julie Walters, Andy Garcia, Cher, Jeremy Irvine, Alexa Davies, Togo Igawa, Hugh Skinner, Naoko Mori, Omid Djalili, Josh Dylan, Jessica Keenan Wynn.
Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.