DVD Tuesday: ‘A.X.L,’ ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ and ‘Night School’

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1/8/2019 – Film critic Tony Toscano reviewed the following movies for DVD Tuesday. 

In the film a young man discovers a robotic dog the military designed as a weapon.

“A.X.L.” is a run of the mill, teen angst, sci-fi movie that is uncomfortably formulaic. That’s not to say the film is bad, it’s just the film is terribly bland and very forgettable as the film staggers along at an uneven pace while the characters keep changing their minds about what to do with their robot dog. 

“A.X.L.” is not a strong character movie, nor does it garner any real sympathy toward the lead characters or the robot dog. Which is too bad as the film needed to take a few chances.

Because the producers played it too safe, “A.X.L” gets a C and is rated PG-13.

In the film, seven strangers converge on a run-down hotel in Lake Tahoe and discover all is not what it seems.

“Bad Times at the El Royale” is a mediocre and unoriginal film with good performances. The cast including Jeff Bridges, John Hamm, Dakota and Cynthia Erivo all do a terrific job. It is the script that lets everyone down, as “Bad Times” is nothing more than a Quentin Tarantino rip off.

The film follows the same story, nearly scene for scene as Tarantino’s “Hateful 8,” as strangers descend upon a hotel in the rain and each has a backstory that intersects somehow with everyone else’s story. The movie even uses ‘scene placards’ to identify each new chapter in the film.

In the final reel, there is nothing about “Bad Times at the El Royale” that we haven’t seen before.

“Bad Times at the El Royale” gets a D and is rated R. 

A group of misfits and troublemakers have to return to school to pass their GED exam to get their high school diplomas.
“Night School” is an irritating comedy replete with characters no one cares about and a series of horribly timed and horrible jokes that fall flat and dumb ‘we’ve-seen-it-all-before’ situations.
The film’s only saving grace is Tiffany Haddish, who managed to turn her character into something more than a 1 dimensional stereotype.

In the end, “Night School” is a cheap film with cheap plot devises and an incomplete and forgettable script.
Pass it by. It gets a D and is rated PG-13

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