Bad Times at the El Royale

Bad Times at the El Royale ★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

I really love how high concept Drew Goddard is as a director and writer. It's the type of movie making that I love and even if it fails I applaud a person for going the extra mile to go into high places in creativity. Bad Times, like his debut The Cabin in the Woods, is another one of those high concepts that isn't so out of this world high like Cabin was but is a big juggling act making sure each story arch for the characters work simultaneously to fit the large puzzle it leads up to. The entire cast is excellent and work very well together and this is by far one of Jeff Bridges strongest performances in a studio movie in quite some time. He has that charming winking devil performance that we all love him for but doesn't sleep walk or slur his speech like he has in a lot of movies lately. I already knew she was a musical force but Cynthia Erivo announces herself as a movie star with this performance holding her own to someone as legendary as Jeff Bridges and showing she can dominate the screen just as well as the stage. Can't wait to see her thrive as a movie star especially after this. Jon Hamm is good but exits the picture pretty early on and Dakota Johnson works fine in this role but the big surprise here is Lewis Pullman, son of Bill Pullman, who I did see in Battle of the Sexes last year but is really good here and looks like Tom Holland's twin brother. He is destined to be a big movie star just like his father. Chris Hemsworth gives us another stellar performance as a weird goofy character that he seems to really nail after Ghostbusters and even Vacation. I want to see him do more of these roles rather than the action movies he does on off Thor movies. Cailee Spaeny is great as Johnson's sister and one of Hemsworth's cult girls and has moments when she reminded me of a young Michelle Williams. The soundtrack is amazing, production design is stellar, cinematography is excellent, and screenplay is so fun and well structured. Its long running time does suffer some for the story because after a lot happens you kind of forget what Hamm's whole mission was at the hotel but I think it justifies itself because it was trying to juggle and link so many stories up to make for a thrilling finale. I also don't know if the ending scene was worth while except for a lead in to the credits but I could have used a scene or two more or just ended off at the El Royale instead. I also wish the management had more of a presence towards the end of the movie to understand why they had those spy rooms and who Pullman's bellhop reports to. If you loved Cabin in the Woods like I did and love a good high concept mystery, you'll have a Great Time at the El Royale.

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