The Dallas Movie Screening Group

This is the homepage of the Dallas Movie Screening Group. To join our mailing list you must sign up at our group page on Yahoo. You will then be connected to receive notices on how to find passes to the local screenings in the DFW area. It's up to you to pickup or sign up for passes. You can also barter, trade or just giveaway passes you don't want, need or share with other members of the group. Please read the instructions on the Yahoo page very carefully before posting. This group is closely moderated so that your mail box is not full of spam or other unnecessary mail. We appreciate everyone's consideration and cooperation.

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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Bad Times at the El Royale

The best way to approach this neo-noir mystery thriller film written and directed by Drew Goddard is not to know anything about it. Because the best part of this movie is to let it surprise you. The set dressing and concept is major enjoyment of the film. The motel itself is its own character. It's kitschy and embodies the slick modern chic of 1969. It's stylish, atmospheric with a soul music heavy soundtrack. The idea was the El Royale is set on the border of California and Nevada. Half the hotel is in one state and the other with a line down the middle. You can choose which state you would like to spend the night.

The characters include Seymour "Laramie" Sullivan (Jon Hamm), a vacuum cleaner salesman who wants the bridal suite a perk he explains can be charged to his expense account. He's brash and loud, so the fact that he is not what he seems is telegraphed right from the start. There is the priest Father Daniel Flynn (Jeff Bridges), lounge singer Darlene Sweet (Cynthia Erivo), Emily Summerspring (Dakota Johnson) a hippie chick with a prickly attitude and her sister Rose (Cailee Spaeny) who never officially checked in. They are welcomed by the motel clerk Miles Miller (Lewis Pullman), a young concierge who explains the differences you have to understand while choosing the state of your room. They all look full of secrets and mystery.

The story relies on some flashbacks to fill in the character development that helps figure out what is going on with these people. There's a Tarantino element to the proceeding like in the Hateful Eight. Several divergent characters supposedly just happens to check in on this particular evening. Everyone seems OK, but as the story progresses there is Billy Lee (Chris Hemsworth) like Channing Tatum surprise appearance in the Hateful Eight to add more violence to the proceedings.

It's always a charm to have Jeff Bridges in a film as he adds a humanity to the story. Cynthia Erivo's voice needs a whole movie of her own. John Hamm is loud and obnoxious for a salesman...but is he really selling vacuums? Dakota Johnson is efficient as the sister to the really sinister Cailee Spaeny who pretty much steals the last part of the movie. As for Hemsworth, the whole shirtless Adonis strut is nice and distracting.

It's a wild ride at the El Royale.
(Review by reesa)

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