Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)

“All Roads Lead Here”

Directed by Drew Goddard
Starring Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Cailee Spaeny, Lewis Pullman and Chris Hemsworth

Four people check into the El Royale hotel, a once-thriving establishment straddling the California-Nevada border in Tahoe: Vacuum cleaner salesman Laramie Seymour Sullivan (Hamm), Catholic priest Father Daniel Flynn (Bridges) and traveler Darleen Sweet (Erivo) arrive first, followed by a moody hippy (Johnson) whose name we ultimately discover to be Emily. They are greeted by the manager, Miles (Pullman) and check in on the Nevada side of the hotel. Then the secrets start to come out.

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The House with a Clock in its Walls (2018)

“This house knows what makes you tick.”

Directed by Eli Roth
Starring Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, Owen Vaccaro, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Sunny Suljic and Kyle MacLachlan

Recently orphaned and deeply eccentric ten year old Lewis Barnavelt (Vaccaro) travels to New Zebedee, Michigan, to live with his late mother’s estranged Brother Jonathan (Black). After a slightly rough start, Lewis learns that Jonathan is a warlock of middling talent, and his best friend and next-door neighbour Florence Zimmerman (Blanchett), is a once-mighty witch currently off her game. Also, the house they live in is almost alive, and it has a clock, hidden somewhere in its walls by Jonathan’s late mentor, Isaac Izard (MacLachlan), ticking constantly and counting down to… something.

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BlacKkKlansman (2018)

“Infiltrate Hate”

Directed by Spike Lee
Starring John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier and Topher Grace

In 1979, the Colorado Springs Police Department recruits its first black police officer, Ron Stallworth (Washington). After a rough start, Stallworth is recruited to work with the undercover narcotics team to infiltrate a rally by former Black Panthers spokesman Kwame Ture (Corey Hawkins), where he meets student activist Patrice Dumas (Harrier). This assignment nets him a permanent move to undercover work, which is where he stumbles on a newspaper ad and makes contact with the local chapter of the KKK.

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Rebourne: The Predator (2018)

“The Hunt Has Evolved”

Directed by Shane Black
Starring Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, Sterling K. Brown and Yvonne Strahovsky

The Original

In 1987’s Predator, an alien hunter comes to Earth and stalks an elite US military rescue team led by Major Dutch Schaeffer (Arnold Schwarzenegger, at the height of his powers.) As in the previous year’s Aliens, it opened with all the trappings of a war movie – muscular action heroes of the 80s breed, mowing down hundreds of nameless enemies without regard to cover or return fire – and then throws these characters up against an unearthly foe that they are utterly unprepared to face. Both embracing and puncturing the machismo of the period, it is rightly remembered as a classic, and was followed by a sequel in 1990 which wasn’t half bad, and did the same thing with a violent action cop movie as Predator did with jungle warfare.

There followed a twenty year gap – I don’t count the Alien vs. Predator movies, because they were a pile of crap, and they didn’t show up until 14 and 17 years after Predator 2 anyway – before Predators in 2010, which pitted a group of abducted hardcases against a trio of bigger, better, faster, more Xtreme Predators on a planet which served as a game run. Predators was produced by Robert Rodriguez, who had plans for further sequels, but they never materialised.

Fast forward eight more years…

The Late Sequel

When a fugitive Predator (Brian A. Prince) crash lands in South America, US sniper Quinn McKenna (Holbrook) loses his unit. Fearing that he will be swept under the rug by the government, McKenna mails the Predator’s mask and wrist computer to a PO box and swallows a cloaking device, only for these to fall into the hands of his son Rory (Tremblay) when the PO box is closed and the package delivered to Rory and his mother, Emily (Strahovsky).

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Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again (2019)

“Here We Go Again”

Directed by Ol Parker
Starring Amanda Seyfried, Lily James, Christine Baranski, Jessica Keenan Wynn, Julie Walters, Alexa Davies, Pierce Brosnan, Jeremy Irvine, Colin Firth, Hugh Skinner, Stellan Skarsgård, Josh Dylan, Dominic Cooper, Andy Garcia, Cher and Meryl Streep

We join Sophie Sheridan (Seyfried) as she prepares to reopen the hotel she has inherited from her mother, Donna (Streep), a year after the latter’s death, supported by hotel manager Snr. Cienfegos (Garcia), her local father, Sam (Brosnan) and her mother’s best friends Tanya (Baranski) and Rosie (Walters). Unfortunately, her other dads – Bill (Skarsgård) and Harry (Firth) – are unable to make it, and her partner Sky (Cooper) is delayed in New York, where he is learning the hotel trade, but has been tempted by an offer of a permanent job. As the stresses pile up on Sophie, flashbacks take us to the earlier life of Donna (James), who graduates from Oxford with Tanya (Wynn) and Rosie (Davies) in 1979, and sets out to travel across Europe.

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Kill Command (2016)

“Mercy is Only Human”

Directed by Steven Gomez
Starring Thure Lindhardt, Vanessa Kirby and David Ajala

In the not-too-distant future, a US military team led by Captain Bukes (Lindhardt) and his trusty sergeant Drifter (Ajala) is assigned to a routine training exercise on an island run by the Harbinger corporation, its purpose being to train Harbingers’ AI-controlled drone combatants, intended to replace human soldiers entirely. They are accompanied by corporate cyborg observer Mills (Kirby) on this Totally Routine Exercise(TM).

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The Meg (2018)

“Chomp on This”

Directed by Jon Turteltaub
Starring Jason Statham, Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Winston Chao and Cliff Curtis

Diver Jonas Taylor (Statham) is forced to abandon two comrades in order to save a group of submariners during a deep sea rescue when a downed sub is attacked by a mysterious and powerful something. Wracked with guilt, he abandons the diving life, until his ex-wife Lori (Jessica McNamee) and her colleagues Toshi (Masai Oka) and the Wall (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) become trapped in a deep ocean trench. Joining a team including Dr Minway Zhao (Chao) and his oceanographer daughter Suyin (Bingbing), ops chief Mac (Curtis), financier Jack Morris (Wilson), designer Jaxx (Rose), mechanic DJ (Page Kennedy) and medic Dr Heller (Robert Taylor), he retrieves Lori and the Wall, but Toshi sacrifices himself to save the others from a prehistoric super-shark; a megalodon.

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Teen Titans GO! to the Movies (2018)

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“Because if Aquaman can get a movie, anyone can.”

Directed by Peter Rida Michail and Aaron Horvath
Starring Greg Cipes, Scott Menville, Khary Payton, Tara Strong, Hynden Walch, Will Arnett and Kristen Bell

The Teen Titans are probably among the world’s bottom five superhero teams, largely due to a tendency to go into a hip-hop patter number instead of finishing their foes.  Robin (Menville) is determined to achieve true superhero status in the only way that matters in the modern world: By getting a movie made about himself. With the help of his team mates Beast Boy (Cipes), Raven (Strong), Cyborg (Payton) and Starfire (Walch), he sets out to convince director Jade Wilson (Bell) that her next movie should feature the Titans by securing master manipulator Slade (Arnett) as their arch-nemesis.

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Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018)

“Some Missions are Not a Choice”

Directed by Christopher McQuarrie
Starring Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Angela Bassett, Michelle Monaghan and Alec Baldwin

Since the capture of their leader, Solomon Lane (Harris), the Syndicate has changed its name to ‘the Acolytes.’ Outflanked, Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his team – Luther Stickell (Rhames) and Benji Dunn (Pegg) – lose a shipment of stolen plutonium to the Acolytes. They are able to trick their bomb-maker into revealing the identity of their leader, but the regular CIA call shenanigans on the IMF, with Director Erica Sloane (Basset) going over the head of IMF Secretary Hunley (Baldwin) to assign hatchet man August Walker (Cavill) to accompany, observe and, if necessary, eliminate Hunt, suspected of being doomsday cultist John Lark.

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Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

“Real Heroes. Not Actual Size.”

Directed by Peyton Reed
Starring  Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Tip “T.I.” Harris, David Dastmalchian, Hannah John-Kamen, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne and Michael Douglas

In the wake of Civil War, Scott Lang (Rudd) is under house arrest, while Hank Pimm (Douglas) and Hope Van Dyne (Lilly) are in hiding. When Scott has a dream about Hope’s mother, Janet (Pfeiffer), he is dragged into their work to rescue Janet from the Quantum Realm. Unfortunately, keeping their work under the radar attracts the attention of shady tech dealer Sonny Burch (Goggins), and the mysterious, phase-shifting Ghost (John-Kamen).

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