Review: ‘God Is a Bullet,’ starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Maika Monroe and Jamie Foxx

June 27, 2023

by Carla Hay

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Maika Monroe in “God Is a Bullet” (Photo courtesy of Wayward Entertainment)

“God Is a Bullet”

Directed by Nick Cassavetes

Culture Representation: Taking place in 2020, in New Mexico, the action film “God Is a Bullet” features a predominantly white cast of characters (with a few African Americans and Latinos) representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: A police officer becomes a rogue vigilante while investigating the deadly cult that kidnapped his 14-year-old daughter and murdered his ex-wife and her lover. 

Culture Audience: “God Is a Bullet” will appeal primarily to people who don’t mind watching ultra-violent and mindless action flicks.

Karl Glusman and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in “God Is a Bullet” (Photo courtesy of Wayward Entertainment)

Trashy and moronic, “God Is a Bullet” is a pathetic excuse to show brutal and violent misogyny. The dialogue is as cringeworthy as the scummy characters. Jamie Foxx is a co-headliner, but he’s in this bloated 155-minute movie for less than 15 minutes.

Written and directed by Nick Cassavetes, “God Is a Bullet” is based on Boston Teran’s 1999 novel of the same name. Even though the movie is adapted from a work of fiction, there’s a caption shown in the introduction of the movie that says, “Based on a true story.” At the end of the film, another caption states that although the movie is based on a true story, parts of the story were fictionalized for the movie. Whatever the filmmakers want to call the movie version of “God Is A Bullet,” it’s still time-wasting garbage.

The beginning of “God Is Bullet” (which was filmed on location in New Mexico) is an indication of some of the nauseating scenes that pollute the movie: A woman is seen vomiting multiple times. That woman is Case Hardin (played by Maika Monroe), a 23-year-old, tattooed vagabond, who has escaped from a small but ruthless cult that has about seven to nine members. The cult kidnapped Case when she was 11 years old. Case lived with the cult for the next 12 years, until recently, when she decided to leave the cult for good.

The mostly male cult is led by a disgusting sadist named Cyrus (played by Karl Glusman), who is shown committing almost every type of heinous violent crime you can imagine throughout the movie. The opening scene of “God Is a Bullet” shows Case, who is a needle-using drug addict, vomiting in a toilet in a jail cell. Some viewers will feel like retching when they see some of the gruesome torture and murder scenes in this vile movie. Case is in jail for heroin possession and assault with a knife.

It’s late December 2020, and people are in the midst of the end-of-year holiday season. An early scene in the movie shows the heavily tattooed members of Case’s former cult hanging out at a parking lot near a strip of retail stores. Now that Case is no longer in the cult, the only woman who’s left in the cult is Lena (played by Gina Cassavetes), who looks like a reject from a Marilyn Manson video.

A little girl, who’s about 9 or 10 years old, is playing with a balloon in the parking lot while her mother is shopping inside a nearby store. And you know what happens next: The cult members kidnap her. It’s later shown in the movie that this cult is involved in child prostitution and other sex trafficking of children. When Case was kidnapped as a child by this cult, she was forced to endure the same sexual abuse. Flashbacks of a pre-teen Case (played by Elise Guzowski) show some of this forced prostitution.

After this kidnapping in the parking lot, the cult isn’t done with its crime rampage. On December 24, 2020, the cult members do a nighttime home invasion of mansion, where they savagely murder two of the mansion’s residents: divorcée Sarah Hightower (played by Lindsay Hanzl) and her boyfriend Sam (played by Kola Olasiji). A third resident of the home is Sarah’s 14-year-old daughter Gabi Hightower (played by Chloe Guy), who is kidnapped by the cult.

The next morning, on Christmas Day, two people arrive at the house for a planned visit: Sarah’s ex-husband Bob Hightower (played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Sarah’s businessman father Arthur Naci (played by David Thornton), who are shocked and devastated when they go inside the house and see the bloody crime scene. They also quickly determine that Gabi has been kidnapped.

Bob is a police detective, but he’s not very well-respected in his police department, because he’s assigned to mainly doing paperwork. Predictably, Bob wants to be the lead investigator of this kidnapping/murder case, but he’s blocked by colleagues, who think he won’t be objective, and because Bob doesn’t have enough experience doing police work outside of the office. One co-worker comes right out and calls Bob a “desk jockey” and a “seat warmer.”

Undeterred, Bob thinks that the cult is responsible and goes on a mission to find this nomadic and elusive cult. And it just so happens that Bob finds out that a woman who’s currently in a nearby jail cell is a former member of this cult. Bob visits Case and asks her for information in tracking down the cult members. Bob, who is very religious, is immediately judgmental of Case. When they first meet, Bob treats Case like she’s a degenerate.

Bob is somewhat remorseful when he finds out that Case was kidnapped as a child and forced to be in the cult. She says to Bob about the cult members: “We all came from family-oriented communities—even me.” Case later explains why, as an adult, she has not been in contact with her single mother, who still thinks that Case is missing: Because of all the crimes she committed while in the cult, Case has a lot of shame and is afraid that her mother will reject her.

Case gives Bob this advice on finding his kidnapped daughter Gabi: “If you want her back, you have to get her yourself.” She adds, “You think you can do this alone. No offense, but you don’t send sheep to hunt wolves.” It should come as no surprise that Bob arranges for Case to be let out on bail so that she can help him track down her former cult colleagues.

One of the first things that Bob and Case do is go to a remote desert-like area where the cult members have been known to congregate at a compound. A cult member named the Ferryman (played by Foxx) is still hanging out at one of the houses in this compound. The Ferryman’s skin looks like he has vitiligo. He also has a prosthetic left arm.

Bob thinks the best way to find the cult is to “infiltrate” the cult, even though he looks like he would never fit in with this scuzzy-looking group. It leads to a ridculous scene of the Ferryman giving Bob tattoos on parts of Bob’s body, while Case gives Bob a face tattoo. After getting these tattoos, Bob doesn’t look like a menacing cult member. He looks like a man going through a sad mid-life crisis.

Meanwhile, viewers are taken into the home of a couple with a very dysfunctional and miserable marriage: Maureen Bacon (played by January Jones), who acts like she’s some kind of femme fatale, is shown taunting the masculinity of her police sergeant husband John Lee Bacon (played by Paul Johansson), because apparently she’s fed up with their lack of a sex life. When she starts to ridicule him for liking gay male porn, he brutally assaults her. Maureen’s reaction is to laugh and tell John Lee: “You’re such a wimp!”

John Lee just happens to be a colleague of Bob, who has now gone rogue and decided to become a vigilante, with Case as his sidekick. The hunt for the cult members gets dragged out in mind-numbing ways that include showing more tortures and murders committed by the cult members, with Cyrus the one giving the orders and participating. The other cult members have names like Gutter (played by Ethan Suplee), Snatch (played by Rooter Wareing) and Shitstain (played by Zac Laroc), and they have no distinguishable personalities beyond the mayhem that they commit.

There’s also a sniveling drug dealer named Errol Grey (played by Jonathan Tucker), who gets caught in this maelstrom of destruction. Case knows Errol because he used to be her drug dealer. Case tells Bob that she’s “clean and sober,” but she still pretends to be a needle-using drug addict during their “undercover” investigation when she encounters Errol again.

Several flashbacks show that when Case would try to leave the cult, Cyrus would viciously beat her up. If Lena tried to come to Case’s defense, then Cyrus would attack Lena too. It’s later shown that Case and Lena had some kind of sexual relationship when they were in the cult together. Lena apparently had stronger feelings for Case than Case did for Lena, who gets very jealous when she sees Case with Bob. The purpose of the Lena character is to literally be a token female in a group of men who all seem to hate her.

As if this cesspool movie weren’t icky enough, a subplot develops where Bob and Case start to become romantically attracted to each other. It’s not their age gap that’s the problem. It’s the fact that this rotten movie wants to push a narrative that even while he’s searching for his kidnapped daughter and seeking justice, this broken man is still “hot enough” to possibly get some sexual action from someone who’s in no emotional shape to be in a relationship either. Case sometimes calls Bob her “boy toy,” which is a weird thing to say about someone who’s old enough to be her father.

Needless to say, with a terrible screenplay and soulless direction, the acting performances in “God Is a Bullet” range from empty to bottom-of-the-barrel awful. Coster-Waldau looks like he’s sleepwalking through a lot of his scenes. Monroe overacts in many scenes, where she’s trying to come across as part damaged waif, part redneck seductress. Glusman is basically doing a not-very-good caricature of a twisted villain. (On a side note, Monroe and Glusman previously co-starred as spouses in the 2022 horror movie “Watcher,” which is a superior film to “God Is a Bullet” in every way.)

The Ferryman character didn’t even need to be in the movie because he’s barely in the film and has no real bearing on the plot, unless you waited your whole life to see Foxx in a movie where he plays a tattoo-making character who has a prosthetic arm. Foxx’s presence in “God Is a Bullet” is just a manipulative “bait and switch” way for the filmmakers to attract viewers by using Foxx’s celebrity name as a headliner, even though his role in the movie is really an extended cameo.

The movie’s scenes where women and girls get assaulted, exploited or murdered are filmed with a particular glee that is simply atrocious. The film has a “plot twist” that is not surprising at all. There are violent movies that can have meaning if the story is compelling and has something interesting to say. “God Is a Bullet” is just an onslaught of asinine trash that is as putrid as the movie’s nasty characters.

Wayward Entertainment released “God Is a Bullet” in select U.S. cinemas on June 23, 2023. The movie will be released on digital and VOD on July 11, 2023.

Review: ‘A Taste of Hunger,’ starring Katrine Greis-Rosenthal and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

March 5, 2022

by Carla Hay

Katrine Greis-Rosenthal and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in “A Taste of Hunger” (Photo by Henrik Ohsten/Magnolia Pictures)

“A Taste of Hunger”

Directed by Christoffer Boe (also known as Mr. Boe)

Danish with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in Copenhagen, Demark, the dramatic film “A Taste of Hunger” features an all-white cast representing the working-class and middle-class.

Culture Clash: A husband and a wife, who own a successful upscale restaurant, have their marriage put at risk when someone anonymously sends a note revealing the wife’s extramarital affair.

Culture Audience: “A Taste of Hunger” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in watching relationship dramas that have mystery and intrigue.

Flora Augusta and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in “A Taste of Hunger” (Photo by Henrik Ohsten/Magnolia Pictures)

Even though “A Taste of Hunger” centers on a couple who own a restaurant together, the movie is really about what people will do to achieve their definition of success, and how ambition can turn into an unquenchable obsession. It’s a well-acted and thoughtfully written story with plenty of suspense and mystery over who is trying to ruin the marriage of the movie’s central couple. “A Taste of Hunger” shows in nuanced ways how a type-written note is really a symptom, not the catalyst, of this couple’s problems.

Christoffer Boe (also known as Mr. Boe) directed “A Taste of Hunger” and co-wrote the movie’s screenplay with Tobias Lindholm. The movie takes place in Copenhagen, Denmark, and doesn’t waste time showing that someone wants to expose infidelity in the marriage of successful restaurateurs Maggie (played by Katrine Greis-Rosenthal) and Carsten (played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), who co-own a sleek, upscale restaurant called Malus. Maggie is the restaurant manager, while Carsten is the executive chef.

The movie opens by showing Maggie and Carsten in a seemingly happy and passionate marriage. One evening, while the restaurant is closed, they discuss an elaborate decoration that they plan to put display at one of the restaurant tables that’s meant to be showstopper at the center of the restaurant. Later, Maggie and Carsten meet up at a bar. She tells him seductively, “I really crave dick when I’ve had whiskey sour.” Viewers later find out that this comment about whiskey sour is a foreplay joke for the couple, and it’s a comment that’s mentioned more than once throughout the movie.

While on this date, Maggie and Carsten are in their car, and they have an amorous moment where she’s about to give him oral sex. But then, they get a call from a restaurant employee that there’s a man dining by himself who could be a Michelin reviewer, based on his actions during this meal. There’s been a rumor going around the Copenhagen restaurant scene that a reviewer for the prestigious Michelin Guide has recently been dining at restaurants in the city.

Michelin reviewers, whose identities are supposed to be a secret, tend to dine alone and pay in cash, so Maggie and Carsten assume that this customer is probably a Michelin reviewer. By the time they get to the restaurant, the diner has left. All the information that Maggie and Carsten have is a vague description of what he looks like. And even then, it’s not absolute proof that he’s a Michelin reviewer.

Just like many restaurateurs, Maggie and Carsten dream of having a restaurant that gets a Michelin star. Getting one Michelin star is considered a worthy accomplishment. Getting two Michelin stars makes a restaurant even more prestigious. Getting three Michelin stars (the highest rating) is the ultimate endorsement that’s reserved for restaurants that are considered the best of the best. Over the course of the movie, Maggie and Carsten’s ambition to get a Michelin star affects their actions in how they handle their business and their personal lives.

While Maggie and Carsten seem to be doing well with their restaurant and their marriage, their marriage is actually in trouble. An anonymous person is seen typing something on a computer: “Your wife loves someone else.” One day when Maggie is at the restaurant, she sees a stack of mail with a folded note on top. The note, which address to Carsten, was not sent through a postal service because there’s no envelope, mailing address or stamp for the note. The note was placed there by someone who had access to the restaurant and knew where the mail was kept.

Even though the note is addressed to Carsten, Maggie opens up the folded paper to read the note. And that’s when she sees the words that horrify her: “Your wife loves someone else.” Someone knows about her secret affair and wants to tell Carsten. This threat to expose the affair comes at a bad time because Carsten and Maggie are about to be interviewed for a high-profile article about them and the success of Malus.

In addition, Carsten and Maggie desperately want to get a Michelin star for the restaurant. Maggie knows that an infidelity scandal could ruin the image that they’ve carefully crafted for themselves and the restaurant. And so, for most of the movie, Maggie tries to find out who sent that note before that person can find another way to expose Maggie’s infidelity.

On the surface, this story seems like it could just be enough for a short film. However, “A Taste of Hunger,” which is told in a non-linear way, shows a lot of flashbacks to give background information on how Maggie and Carsten met, fell in love, got married, started a family, and decided to open their own restaurant. The editing of this backstory is done in such an engrossing way that it won’t confuse or bore viewers. The flashbacks (which also reveal the identity of Maggie’s lover) put the present-day situation of Maggie and Carsten in better context so viewers have a better understanding of why the stakes are so high for this couple.

Maggie and Carsten met when she was at a house party, and Carsten was a caterer chef in the kitchen. At the time, Carsten and his older brother Torben (played by Nicolas Bro) co-owned a small catering business, but the two brothers often clashed with other in decision making. For example, at this party, Torben is upset and yelling at Carsten because they agreed to the client’s request to serve sushi with “normal” rice and lots of chili mayonnaise. However, Carsten served something else that was in season.

In order not to upset the client, Torben orders a halt on what was about to be served to the guests, and he decides to go out and buy the necessary ingredients for the menu that the client requested. In the meantime, the party guests are waiting for food to be served. That’s why Maggie goes to the kitchen to see what’s going on and witnesses this angry dispute between Torben and Carsten.

Torben is also angry because he has to buy more food than expected, so the catering company will lose money on this party job. In order to save money, Torben orders Carsten to dismiss the two or three catering assistants who were hired to help at this party. Carsten apologetically tells the assistants that they will get paid for the time that they served, but he says it in a way that’s not very believable.

Maggie is a little inebriated when she first meets Carsten in the kitchen. When she strikes up a somewhat flirtatious conversation with him, there’s an instant mutual attraction. Maggie likes how Carsten seems to be a visionary chef who has his own ideas of what should be on a menu. She’s also a foodie, but she’s more interested in restaurant management than in being a chef.

Maggie knows that the party guests will eventually expect to be served food, so she offers to help. She suggests that drinks should be served in the meantime, so she helps Carsten make some drinks since she has experience as a bartender. They decide to make whiskey sour for the guests. It’s in this scene that viewers find out why whiskey sour has become a playful inside joke for Maggie and Carsten.

Carsten and Maggie quickly bond during this kitchen encounter. He opens up to her about his former mentor, a restaurant chef named Stellan (played by Dag Malmberg), whom Carsten worked with for 10 years until Stellan fired Carsten because Carsten wouldn’t follow Stellan’s orders. However, Carsten still has tremendous respect for Stellan, and he proudly shows Maggie a carving knife that Stellan gave to Carsten as a gift. Maggie sees that Carsten has an independent streak, so she tells Carsten that he’s too good to be a caterer and should be the chef of his own restaurant.

Some parts of Maggie and Carsten’s life are left out of the flashbacks, such as their wedding and the births of their two children. In the present day, Maggie and Carsten’s children are daughter Chloe (played by Flora Augusta), who’s about 7 or 8 years old, and son August (played by August Vinkel), who’s about 4 or 5 years old. Chloe likes to watch her father work in the kitchen and is perceptive and curious. However, August seems to be the favored child in the family. Maggie and Carsten think that August is pretty much close to perfect.

Of course, there came a point when Carsten and Torben agreed to no longer work together, but their brotherly relationship is still solid. Their catering company also went out of business, and Torben moved on to doing something else with his life. Some scenes in the movie show Carsten and Maggie having family get-togethers with Torben and his wife Pia (played by Maj-Britt Mathiesen) and their respective children.

In the present-day, Carsten is shown to be an almost stereotypical hard-driving chef, who will praise the staff when he’s satisfied with their service, but he doesn’t hesitate to belittle and humiliate his employees if he thinks they aren’t meeting his high standards. An early scene in the movie shows Carsten has a nasty temper. He’s yelling at the kitchen staff because a meal was sent back by a customer. Carsten tastes the meal and finds out it has over-fermented lemons. He throws a plate and shouts, “What is this shit?”

Carsten demands to know who’s responsible for over-fermented lemons being served to a customer. An employee named Frank (played by Rasmus Hammerich) sheepishly admits that he didn’t taste the meal before it was sent out to the customer. Carsten immediately fires Frank in front of the rest of the staff. Carsten later informs the staff that a Michelin reviewer could be in the restaurant at any time and that there better not be any more mistakes. “A Taste of Hunger” shows other signs that Carsten has become a workaholic at the expense of his personal relationships.

Meanwhile, the movie throws in some additional drama over a health concern of Maggie’s where she has to gets testing done for this health issue and finds out the results from a doctor. Flashbacks also show Carsten’s interactions with his former mentor Stellan. And when Carsten became a restaurateur, Carsten was a mentor to a sous chef named Frederik (played by Charlie Gustafsson), who’s in his early-to-mid-20s. Frederik no longer works at Malus and is currently working at another restaurant.

“A Taste of Hunger” has a few twists and turns to the story. However, since the movie already establishes from the beginning that whoever left the note has some type of access to the restaurant area where the mail is kept, the list of possible suspects is very short. Still, when it’s revealed who typed the note and delivered it, this person’s identity might be surprising to a lot of viewers.

All of the movie’s cast members give believable performances, but Greis-Rosenthal is the standout because she has to show the most emotional range out of all the characters. It’s because Maggie is the one who has to “keep up appearances” while frantically trying to find out who wrote the note and if that person will do something else to expose the affair—all while feeling pressure over the possibility that Malus is going to be reviewed by Michelin. Maggie shows that she’s willing to go to certain extremes to hide her secrets, so her character is unpredictable, in terms of what she will do next.

There are certain parts of the movie where Maggie tries to find out the identity of the Michelin reviewer. Maggie’s search for the Michelien reviewer is actually one of the few weak aspects of the movie. Michelin reviewers go to great lengths to keep their identities secret and would deny being a reviewer if confronted by an over-eager person who has a vested interest in getting a positive review. Maggie should know this already, but it doesn’t stop her from wasting a lot of time trying to find the reviewer in Copenhagen.

As for Maggie trying to find out who wrote the exposé note about her affair, she immediately suspects that the lover in her extramarital affair is responsible for the note, but this person denies sending the note when Maggie confronts this person. Maggie becomes increasingly agitated and paranoid about finding out who wants to expose the affair. Regardless of who sent the note, Maggie experiences a reckoning where she has to face the harsh reality of why she cheated on Carsten in the first place.

In addition to being a stylish-looking film—the movie’s production design of Malus is gorgeous, as is any scene involving the display of restaurant food—”A Taste of Hunger” offers an insightful dissection and observation of a marriage that looks strong and healthy on the outside but is troubled and crumbling on the inside. On a deeper level, the movie also effectively shows that when people get everything that they think they want in life, it doesn’t always make them happy. Viewers of the movie should watch for the end-credits scene, which gives the story’s conclusion a different tone than what was shown before the end credits.

Magnolia Pictures released “A Taste of Hunger” in select U.S. cinemas, on digital and VOD on January 28, 2022.

Review: ‘Exit Plan,’ starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

June 12, 2020

by Carla Hay

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in “Exit Plan” (Photo by Andreas Schlieter/Screen Media Films)

“Exit Plan” 

Directed by Jonas Alexander Arnby

Danish and English with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in an unnamed part of Demark, the psychological drama “Exit Plan” has an all-white cast representing the middle-class.

Culture Clash: A man with an inoperable brain tumor has conflicts over his decision to commit suicide.

Culture Audience: “Exit Plan” will appeal primarily to fans “Game of Thrones” alum Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, because there’s not much else that’s appealing about this excruciatingly boring movie.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Tuva Novotny in “Exit Plan” (Photo by Niels Thastum/Screen Media Films)

The concept of the psychological drama “Exit Plan” could have been turned into a riveting film, but the movie is such a muddled, dour mess that by the end of the movie, viewers will feel like they’ve wasted about 90 minutes of their life that they won’t ever get back. Die-hard fans of former “Game of Thrones” star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau might get something out of watching the movie, since he’s in almost every scene. But most people will find it difficult to finish watching the film if they’ve got better things to do.

“Exit Plan” was directed by Jonas Alexander Arnby and written by Rasmus Birch, the duo behind the horror film “When Animals Dream,” which was released in Denmark in 2014 and in the United States in 2015. “When Animals Dream” was also fairly slow-paced, but at least the movie had some suspense and coherent plot. Unfortunately, “Exit Plan” does not have either, and it’s the type of movie that tries to keep people guessing over what’s supposed to be real or a fantasy.

All of that deliberate confusion for no real purpose just means that the screenwriting is lazy and unimaginative. In “Exit Plan,” which is told in a nonlinear way with flashbacks or illusions, Coster-Waldau portrays a life insurance agent named Max Isaksen, who finds out that his brain tumor has grown and is inoperable.

Max lives with his girlfriend Lærke (played by Tuva Novotny), and they have a loving relationship, but not open enough where Max tells her the bad news that his brain tumor has gotten worse. The movie keeps viewers wondering if or when Max will tell Lærke this bad news. One thing that is clear though is that Max has decided to commit suicide.

His initial attempts to kill himself end when he changes his mind. First, he tries to hang himself. Then, he tries to drown himself. Both times that he stopped himself from the suicide were very close calls, since he nearly suffocated and drowned.

Viewers find out in a flashback scene that one of Max’s clients is a distressed woman named Alice Dinesen (played by Sonja Richter), whose husband Arthur Dinesen (played by Anders Mossling, seen in flashback scenes) has disappeared. Alice is convinced that Arthur is dead, while Max tells her that she can’t collect on Arthur’s life insurance policy until there is proof that Arthur is deceased.

In another flashback scene, Alice has another appointment with Max, and this time she says that she has proof that Arthur is dead.  Alice then shows Max a video of Arthur naming the date that he supposedly made the video and reading from a statement that he is of sound mind and wants to commit assisted suicide. Arthur also says that watching the video means that he is already dead. That’s not really proof that he’s dead (where’s the body?), but the movie wants viewers to overlook this silly plot hole.

It’s through this “farewell message” video that Max finds out about the remote and mysterious Hotel Aurora, whose specialty is euthanasia. All of the hotel’s guests have voluntarily checked in so that the hotel’s staff can assist in the guests’ suicides. And once the date for a guest’s suicide is chosen and papers are signed, the guests cannot change their minds.

It’s not too surprising that Max checks into the hotel. At the very beginning of “Exit Plan,” he’s seen giving his videotaped statement and saying at the end, “When you see this, I will be dead.” A no-nonsense hotel employee named woman named Karen (played by Sobjørg Højfeldt) acts as an administrator/guide to the hotel’s activities and regulations.

The rest of the film is a dull stretch of Max at the hotel (where the euthanasia people wear striped pajamas), essentially waiting to die. He makes a friendly acquaintance with a young man named Ari (played by Robert Aramayo), whose reason for wanting to committing suicide is not revealed in the film.

After Ari introduces himself to Max in a hotel dining room area, Ari says, “What are we supposed to talk about around here?” Max replies, “Maybe not the future.” That’s the only sliver of humor in this dark and somber film.

Max also does things such as participating in group mediation classes with fellow guests and choosing the urn that will contain his ashes. And when he looks in the bathroom mirror, he sees a mysterious message that says, “You will get out.” And he sees something disturbing that makes it clear that this hotel is more like a prison.

The only time that “Exit Plan” shows signs of taking the story in a more interesting direction is when a hotel employee tells Max that at the hotel, “There are no taboos here.” That leads to Max having some drug-induced hallucinations that don’t really serve much purpose except to waste more time.

During one of these scenes, he goes to the hotel bar and meets a woman who’s been paid by the hotel to portray a mother figure for the guests, in case they want to get some mommy issues out of their system before they die.  There are other “paid actors” at the hotel bar who are there to also play roles for the guests.

“Exit Plan” would have been a much better film if it had continued with this idea and showed what people would want to do at a hotel to fulfill their fantasies before they die. Instead of just Max, at least two other guests’ personal histories should have been explained, so viewers could know why other people ended up at the hotel.

Instead, the movie focuses only on Max, and there’s not much that can be said about his personality or backstory, because his character has too much vagueness. If Max and Lærke have any family members and friends, they’re not seen or mentioned at all. The closest thing to family that Max and Lærke seem to have is their pet cat.

“Exit Plan” was edited by Yorgos Mavropsaridis, who’s previously edited the Yorgos Lanthimos films “The Favourite” and “The Lobster,” two weirdly wonderful movies where the editing made a big difference in making the stories engaging. So with Mavropsaridis showing great editing talent before, he must have had his work cut out for him in editing “Exit Plan,” which is at times incoherent and has scenes that don’t really go anywhere.

The cinematography of Merete Bostrøm beautifully captures the outdoor scenery of “Exit Plan,” which is supposed to take place in Denmark but was actually filmed in Norway, Sweden and Germany. The movie’s interior scenes are dark and depressing, which is appropriate for a film about a suicidal person’s experience in a euthanasia hotel.

But the morose atmosphere drags the film down even more when the movie is already boring and aimless. Max wants to be put out of his misery. Viewers of “Exit Plan” will feel another kind of misery from watching this film.

Screen Media Films released “Exit Plan” in select U.S. cinemas and on VOD on June 12, 2020.

2019 Primetime Emmy Awards: presenters announced

September 11, 2019

The following is a press release from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences:

The Television Academy and Emmy Awards telecast producers Don Mischer Productions and Done+Dusted announced the first group of talent set to present the iconic Emmy statuettes at the 71st Emmy Awards on Sunday, September 22.

The presenters include:

  • Angela Bassett* (9-1-1 and The Flood)
  • Stephen Colbert* (The Late Show with Stephen Colbert)
  • Viola Davis* (How to Get Away with Murder)
  • Michael Douglas* (The Kominsky Method)
  • Taraji P. Henson (Empire)
  • Terrence Howard (Empire)
  • Jimmy Kimmel* (Jimmy Kimmel Live)
  • Peter Krause (9-1-1)
  • Seth Meyers* (Late Night With Seth Meyers and Documentary Now!)
  • Billy Porter* (Pose)
  • Naomi Watts (The Loudest Voice)
  • Zendaya (Euphoria)
  • The cast of Game of Thrones: Alfie Allen*, Gwendoline Christie*,
    Emilia Clarke*, Peter Dinklage*, Kit Harington*, Lena Headey*, Sophie Turner*, Carice van Houten*, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau*, and Maisie Williams*

September 17, 2019 UPDATE:

More presenters have been announced for the 2019 Primetime Emmy Awards:

  • Anthony Anderson* (black-ish)
  • Ike Barinholtz (Bless the Harts)
  • Cedric the Entertainer (The Neighborhood)
  • Max Greenfield (The Neighborhood)
  • Bill Hader* (Barry)
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus* (VEEP)
  • Cast of VEEP: Anna Chlumsky, Gary Cole, Kevin Dunn, Clea DuVall, Tony Hale, Sam Richardson, Reid Scott, Timothy Simons, Sarah Sutherland, Matt Walsh
  • Gwyneth Paltrow (The Politician)
  • Amy Poehler* (Duncanville and Russian Doll)
  • Maya Rudolph (Bless the Harts and The Good Place)
  • RuPaul* (RuPaul’s Drag Race)
  • Lilly Singh (A Little Late with Lilly Singh)
  • Ben Stiller* (Escape at Dannemora)
  • Phoebe Waller-Bridge* (Fleabag)
  • Cast of Keeping Up with the Kardashians: Kim Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner

The 71st Emmy Awards will air live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, September 22, (8:00-11:00 PM ET/5:00-8:00 PM PT) on FOX.

For more information, please visit Find out Where to Watch.

*71st Emmy Awards Nominees

2019 ACM Awards: Luke Bryan, Old Dominion, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban added to performer lineup; presenters announced

April 2, 2019

ACM Awards

The following is a press release from the Academy of Country Music:

The Academy of Country Music has announced that Luke Bryan, Old Dominion, Blake Shelton and Keith Urban have been added to the exciting lineup of live performances for the 54th Academy of Country Music Awards and will be joined by a star-studded list of presenters including Lauren Alaina, Beth Behrs, Clint Black, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Jessie James Decker, Hunter Hayes, Jay Hernandez, Lady Antebellum, Midland, Nancy O’Dell, Danica Patrick, Carly Pearce, Dennis Quaid, Michael Ray, Cole Swindell, and Wilmer Valderrama. The awards telecast, hosted by Reba McEntire, will air LIVE from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 7, 2019 at 8:00 PM ET / delayed PT on the CBS Television Network.

As previously announced, Country Music’s Party of the Year® will also feature performances by Jason Aldean (ACM Dick Clark Artist of the Decade Award honoree), Dierks Bentley, Brooks & Dunn, Brothers Osborne, Kane Brown, Brandi Carlile, Eric Church, Kelly Clarkson, Luke Combs (ACM New Male Artist of the Year), Dan + Shay, Florida Georgia Line, Khalid, Miranda Lambert, LANCO (ACM New Group of the Year), Little Big Town, Ashley McBryde (ACM New Female Artist of the Year), Reba McEntire, Maren Morris, Thomas Rhett, Chris Stapleton, George Strait and Carrie Underwood.

Tickets for the ceremony are available for purchase now at For more information on the ACM Awards and all ACM events including ACM Party for a Cause®, visit You can also like Academy of Country Music on Facebook or follow on Twitter and Instagram for more immediate updates.

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