Reviewed by A.D. Beal

A tragedy tears a family apart as Annie (Toni Collette) realizes how much her mother had an effect on her kids.

This needs to be said: Hereditary is not an easy watch, and if you’re going in expecting a regular horror experience, you’re going to be shocked, disturbed and sad at the same time… which is why I recommend it. Ari Aster’s debut feature frightens you in several ways, both in the scares that this film presents (which includes scenes reminiscent of The Exorcist) and the family drama going on, sometimes both happening at the same time. Toni Collette and Alex Wolff are the standouts in this film, both expressing grief and anger in different but excellent ways (not to say that Milly Shapiro and Gabriel Byrne don’t also do well in this). Again, this is a film that is not for everyone, but those who appreciate high concept horror will likely love this. Be warned though: you may want to watch something much ‘happier’ to reset your brain after seeing this.

Solo: A Star Wars Story
After abandoning the Empire, Han Solo participates in a job to steal hyperfuel for a massive gangster.

Solo’s broken production could have led to a really bad film (to put it mildly), but the final film actually turned out well. Alden Ehrenreich deserves a lot of credit for his portrayal of Han, showing him at a point where he’s less hardened but still smart. He manages to capture the feel of Ford’s performance without just imitating him. The rest of the cast ranges from great (Woody Harrelson, Donald Glover) to good despite not much material to work with (Emilia Clarke, Paul Bettany), to wasted (Thandie Newton, Ian Kenny). It’s a very action heavy film, quickly going from set piece to set piece. Each is exciting and are shot/edited well to give a nice flow of adrenaline. Perhaps the biggest flaw of this film is that it feels safe, not really trying anything different, or adding much to the Star Wars universe like the last three films have done.

A man has a chip installed into his body that gives him the ability to move and fight after being paralyzed in an attack that killed his wife.

Logan Marshall-Green deserves much more praise as an actor, as his roles in works such as The Invitation, Quarry and now Upgrade show his expansive range. In what would be a normally generic role, he adds personality to the lead role Grey with both his dark humor and chemistry with the AI Stem. Yes, even the AI in the film has a personality, leading to some humorous moments between the two. It’s also worth giving this film praise for its fluent action scenes and nice visuals given the low budget compared to other action films (and of course some nice brutal gore as well). If it weren’t for the thin story and forgettable supporting cast, this could have been a great underground cult film.

Hotel Artemis
A hotel in Los Angeles that houses criminals with injuries is under siege by a notable crime kingpin during a citywide riot.

Hotel Artemis has all the elements of a great film: a mid-budget film with an original idea and an all-star cast, that should mean we got something great. And there are glimpses of that in the film, with some stellar performances (notably Sterling K. Brown, Dave Bautista and Jeff Goldblum) and the cinematography by Chung-hoon Chung. But it seems like there was just so much more that could be done with this film beyond the basic plot. We don’t get a good indication on how important the hotel is or how LA has gotten to this point, which leaves the viewer wishing for more background. There are also flashbacks involved in this film, which are presented sloppily, to put it simply. It feels like a short film that was extended into a feature, which is an absolute shame because there was so much potential for greatness. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.