The condemned: Exit Plan (2020)
The plot: It may be a truism that you can never really know what’s going on in someone’s head, but when a person doesn’t say anything about how they’re feeling, has a range of expressions that varies from “numb” to “slightly less numb,” and barely reacts to seeing a person shot dead in front of their eyes, that’s when you really don’t know. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Max, played by Jaime Lannister himself, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.
Max is an insurance claims investigator whose job involves denying benefits to sad middle-aged women whose husbands have disappeared and are therefore unable to prove they’re dead. We know this because we watch Max do exactly that in the first act of Exit Plan, a movie that announces its “strap in, because this is gonna be a fucking downer” intentions right out of the gate. The first thing we see is a video that Max films announcing his intent to kill himself, followed by a wordless montage of Max being taken to a plane, where he is given a pill and a slug of booze, and he nods off on the flight en route to his presumable death destination. (Deathdination?) He’s checking into Hotel Aurora, a very unusual resort: one that specializes in tailoring suicides to its guests’ specifications. After a few days of rest, spa treatments, and soaking up the austere mountain view, guests are given the assisted suicide of their choosing, whether it be quietly dying in the arms of an actor portraying a loved one or plummeting from a great height.
Max learns of the existence of the Aurora through that same woman whose death benefits he previously denied, after she receives a video from her husband saying he had checked in and would be killing himself that day. This is sounding pretty good to Max; see, our protagonist recently got news of an inoperable brain tumor, one that is growing and slowly killing him. (A doctor informs him that it could cause some speech disorders, then mentions “a tumor this size may change you.” No elaboration. Thanks, doc! More on that later.) Putting on a brave face, he lies to his wife, Laerke (Annihilation’s Tuva Novotny), saying things will be fine, then surreptitiously arranges to disappear and carry out his plan without her knowledge. (To be fair, he overhears her on the phone wondering how much more of their post-tumor existence she can take, so he presumably sees it as a kindness. Also, he tried to kill himself a couple of times already, clumsily aborting each attempt.)
From here, the movie mostly unspools the final days of Max’s time at Aurora, as he meets others staying there, takes yoga classes, arranges his death (a pill, a final meal, in his room), and even samples some opium tea that sends him on a hallucinatory odyssey through one of the Aurora’s ballroom cocktail hours. We see flashbacks to his life with Laerke, too, hints of how he was starting to behave differently, and regret over how he ruined his last birthday meal with her. Then, with about 20 minutes or so left, the movie starts really getting weird (spoilers from here on out): Max has his final meal at the Aurora with Laerke—who hands him the suicide pill—and they lie in bed together, until Max suddenly snaps back to reality and realizes “Laerke” is just an actor playing his wife. He decides he wants to leave, and begins trying to escape, running out into a blizzard in the middle of the night and hiding from the hotel staff tracking him. Is this a good time to mention that earlier he watched a woman he had met try to flee the hotel, only to be shot dead in the back by the hotel manager with a rifle?
In the morning, Max is still in the woods, but falls through the ice of a frozen lake, until he wakes up with Laerke over him, assuring him that they’re in this together. They go out to dinner to celebrate his return, but reality starts shifting, the restaurant floor freezing under his feet. Laerke thinks they should go to the hospital, but he just wants to go home. In what’s a real contender for one of the all-time inexplicable “wait, that’s the end?” shots, Max sits at home, holding his wife, but sees his house plant growing into some menacing foliage. Roll credits. Art!
Over-the-top box copy: There is no wild hype to be found on this Danish film, but there is a tagline: “Once you check in, you can’t leave.” It sounds like ominous over-the-top hype, but what makes it sort of hilarious is that it can also just be read as a matter-of-fact Scandinavian description of the Hotel Aurora: “This is how our facility works. Escape is impossible. Tea?”
The descent: The thing is, both the description on the back of the DVD and the promotional copy make this sound like much more of a thrill ride than it is. Check out how both describe this movie: “Insurance claims investigator Max (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) follows the clues of a mysterious death to the remote Hotel Aurora, a unique and secretive facility that specializes in assisted suicide. His investigation uncovers disturbing revelations that force Max to question the very nature of life and death, and the realization that he may not be able to escape.” Doesn’t that sound exciting? There is no mention of the suicidal depression gripping our main character, or his brain tumor, or any of the actual drivers of the plot, probably because that would sound like a total bummer of a movie, and guess what?
The execution: For all its dour-sounding descriptions, Exit Plan is actually not bad. It doesn’t pay off any of its mysteries—at least, not in any coherent way—so I can’t wholeheartedly recommend it, but it’s an engaging watch. The question of whether or not it pivots on a Jacob’s Ladder-esque “dying man’s fever dream” remains technically open, but come on—there are at least two clear back-to-back scenes in which Max should die by any reasonable assessment. The first is when he flees the Aurora—he’s wearing a coat, but has no hat and the thinnest of pajama bottoms on, and he’s spending the night shivering against a tree in what is clearly freezing temperatures. Still, even if by some miracle he survived that (he didn’t), the next morning when he comes to, he walks onto a frozen lake and falls through. Sorry, Max, no way did you come back from this:
Of course, that’s assuming he’s not hallucinating his entire escape. Given that the whole movie is from Max’s point of view—and what with the whole “a tumor this size can change you” thing (essentially a get-out-of-jail-free card for whatever weird shit the movie wants to throw at us)—it’s entirely possible everything happening in the last act is a product of Max’s tumor-addled mind. Maybe he really does wake up in a hospital with Laerke. Just kidding, he does not. Come on, the whole point of Hotel Aurora is that you’re not getting out alive. Though even that could be more metaphor than reality—all the guests are required to wear striped pajamas, which is not exactly a subtle visual cue.
But the movie is pretty to look at, and its vaguely Lynchian mood always teases sinister goings-on just below the surface. That ominous creep factor bubbles up once Max tries to make his escape attempt. Here, check out what he stumbles upon when he descends into the hotel basement in an attempt to find a way out. It’s the idea of natural, organic burial taken to a whole new level.
The movie starts to slide off the rails right around the one-hour mark, when Max sees a woman executed in front of him. Rather than a reaction shot, we just cut to him desultorily waiting around for his last meal. He doesn’t really react. Sure, he’s got a tumor, he’s already basically non-responsive to most things that happen, but you would think seeing a desperate woman shot in the back would elicit a response more significant than, “Huh. Anyhoo, supper time.” Then again, he was told you can’t check out. Perhaps this is just some stoic Scandinavian pragmatism.
But let’s talk about the final scene. I’m sure there are all sorts of symbolism you could read into the growth of the plant in Max and Laerke’s apartment during the movie’s last seconds, but frankly, I was too thrown off by the cut to credits to bother. This is the end of the movie? It does not feel like an ending, at least not one that’s been earned. The movie’s abrupt pivot into surrealist psychological thriller territory comes too late in the game, and without sufficient justification, to land with any real force. But perhaps I’m being too churlish: Watch this scene, and tell me if you think it feels like a proper ending.
Haha, what? That’s a wrap, everyone! We got the shot of Nikolaj staring at the plant!
Likelihood it will rise from obscurity: Exit Plan is a reasonably entertaining little drama, and there’s enough weirdness in the last act that it could conceivably work on the midnight-movie circuit. But the whole thing is so understated and restrained, with so little to really energize it in the first hour, that it seems more likely to remain an odd curio that the occasional curious viewer might stumble upon while cruising through streaming catalogs.
Damnable commentary track or special features? Not a one. Whatever happened to the obligatory behind-the-scenes bonus features on DVDs? It’s like you’re not even trying any more, folks.
How Las Vegas became the world’s casino capital
These days, it’s impossible to think of Las Vegas without the image of the lights on the strip and glamorous casinos coming to mind. But the Vegas we know of 2020 wasn’t always that way; and it took a long, long time to get its reputation for being the world’s casino capital. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and get to the root of how Las Vegas became the city that never sleeps.
A historical journey
It’s hard to believe these days, but the Las Vegas region was once an abundant marshland stock full of rich vegetation. That is, until the marsh receded, and the waters disappeared, transforming the landscape into a desert, with the trapped water underground sprouting life and forming an oasis.
It was during the 19th century that the explorer Antonio Armijo from Mexico foraged the way from New Mexico to California on the first commercial caravan. It was a member of the group, Rafael Rivera who rode west to find water and venture through the desert, setting his eyes upon Las Vegas Springs. Las Vegas was therefore named ‘the meadows’ after the grasses found growing there.
Years went on and both Mormon and Mexican settlers began to filter through. In 1890 it was decided by railroad developers that Las Vegas would serve as a spot along the San Pedro, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles railroad route as well as connecting to major cities along the Pacific Coast. From there on, Vegas boomed with stores, boarding houses and saloons popping up around the area. This was the beginning of the Las Vegas as we know it — with railroad workers and ranchers enjoying the gambling and drinking through illegal speakeasies and bootleg casinos operating despite the ban on gambling in Nevada in 1910.
In 1931 gambling once again became legal in the state, with new casinos and showgirl venues opening up along Fremont Street to entertain the thousands of workers who flocked the city during the construction of the Hoover Dam. The first hotel, El Rancho Vegas, opened up in 1941 along Highway 91. Its success inspired others to open up their own hotels along the highway which would one day become the strip. Tourists began to flock to the city over the next few decades to enjoy the casino scene and see incredible artists like Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra perform.
The birth of the mega resort
It was in 1966 the businessman Howard Hughes purchased the Desert Inn hotel; this was followed by over a dozen more hotel purchases, pushing out the mobster-owned hotels that had previously dominated Las Vegas. The concept of the mega hotel came about in 1989 when Steve Wynn opened the Mirage as the first hotel resort in the city. By 1994, Las Vegas was the home of more than 86,000 hotel and motel rooms with 13 of the 20 largest mega resort hotels in the world. It was during this era that the Strip became populated with more hotels and casinos, with developments inspired by the iconic cities and countries of the globe including Egypt, Paris, New York and Rome.
Las Vegas in the 21st century
The Las Vegas of today is well and truly established as a home for entertainment and casinos — which remain the biggest source of income for the city. However, there’s no doubt that Vegas faces more competition than ever before from the virtual world, with more people than ever before opting to play at an online casino, rather than play in the old fashioned way, but Vegas will always have the advantage. For many, it’s a once in a lifetime trip that an online casino can’t replicate, but do the online equivalents help to increase interest in Vegas?
The bright lights of Vegas is attracting billions of dollars in investment as many try and get a slice of the revenue that the sector has to offer. During 2019 over 42.52 million people came to visit Las Vegas from all around the world. Domestically, it was shown to be the second most popular destination for U.S. traveller’s dream spots after New York.
These days, Las Vegas continues to thrive and be a source of entertainment for millions of visitors from around the world looking to experience what the city has to offer. With new generations becoming interested in casino games — and some incredible musical residencies continuing to be announced — Las Vegas surely will continue to be one best places to go for a unforgettable dream destination for many.
What can people find at some of the biggest land-based casinos in Canada? From Niagara Falls to Toronto, there is something for everyone at casinos in Canada, including table games, slots, roulette, blackjack, and other games. There are also many poker and blackjack tournaments held throughout the year and it is easy to find jackpots or slots with free spins at the casinos. Many casinos also have hotels, bars, and numerous restaurants which are perfect for players seeking some comfort. A relaxing casino experience for all ages can be found in many different places in Canada. Choose one from below.
Choosing a casino depends on your tastes and location within Canada. Do you want to experience the grandeur and splendour of nature while placing a bet? Then head to Niagara Falls. Do you want to see a show? Choose a casino with a show that will be perfect for you. If you are looking for pure relaxation, then check out some of the casinos with spas and world-class dining. Entertainment is also a large part of the casino experience in Canada. Musicians, bands, comedians, and other types of entertainment continue to be found at all of the biggest casinos.
Some Big Casinos Near Nature
Casino Niagara is located in one of the most beautiful places in Canada and the world. People from all around the globe come to experience the best of both worlds at Casino Niagara. Players have access to beauty and scenery while spending time at one of the biggest casinos in Canada. The casino has two floors with over 1200 slot machines, poker, and other table games. There are also many different restaurants and even a comedy club. The sports bar and casino was refurbished back in 2017, meaning that it has not lost any of its charm and shine.
ST Eugene Golf Resort: Casino of the Rockies is a golf and nature lovers’ paradise. The location could not be any more splendid. People can find the casino between the Rockies and Purcell Mountains. Furthermore, the casino has an interesting history after it was converted from an Indian Residential School. It was then opened in the early 2000s. St Eugene has table games, electronic roulette, baccarat, and blackjack. There is also a golf course, restaurant, bar, spa, and hotel that is highly rated in Canada. Overall games are limited so most people come for golfing and betting fun.
Caesars Windsor is famously located on the riverbank in Windsor, Ontario. Visitors from both Canada and the States frequent the casino and hotel. Players can see the Detroit and Michigan skyline from the area. There are two floors of slots, table games, and plenty of poker tables. Blackjack, baccarat, and roulette are also available at the casino. It has beautiful restaurants, a gym, bars, slots, and live sports. Check out the Titan 360™, a 10-foot tall slot machine with 5800 pounds of wins at the click of a button. It’s the largest slot machine in the world and great fun.
- Enjoy the size of Casino de Montreal and Hard Rock Casino
- Enjoy the big and beautiful Casino Niagara or ST Eugene Golf Resort
- Enjoy High Culture at Elements Casino Brantford
River Rock Casino Resort – In Transit
Are you passing through Vancouver Airport and have a long transit? Hire a cab and spend some time enjoying slot machines at River Rock Casino Resort. There are slots galore and the different themes make it an enjoyable visit for all. There is even a Dungeons and Dragons slot for gamers. A fourteen-table game room can be found at the casino and international poker tournaments are held regularly. Other features include a VIP area, spa, live music, 24-hour food and drink, as well as other entertainment. Richmond is also worth a quick visit, especially for some delicious seafood.
Casino de Montreal – The Big Gun
Casino de Montreal is 526,488 square feet of casino excitement. The casino has around 20 thousand visitors each day and is one of the biggest casinos on the globe. If you are still unconvinced about the size of the place, then imagine five floors of slots and table games. 3,000 machines and 111 table games make the casino seem even more mammoth. Casino de Montreal games can be played in a smoke-free environment and many players comment on the user-friendly games and helpful staff. Complimentary drinks and top-rated gourmet food is all part of the experience at Casino de Montreal.
Hard Rock Casino – Another Big One
Hard Rock Casino is another large casino located in Vancouver, British Columbia. The casino is over 80,000 square feet, making it a big one in Canada. Hard Rock has gaming tables, slots, baccarat and a poker room. The casino includes 70 casino tables and 1,000 slots. Private rooms and high roller areas are also available. However, the Hard Rock name is known for excellent food and this is what people love about this casino. Many players comment on the quality of the food here. It even has a 1,000 seat theatre, making it great for dining and a show.
Elements Casino Brantford – Enjoy High Culture
Elements Casino Brantford is a historical gem for culture in Ontario. It is a charity casino that was established last century. It includes the Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts, which is a high society entertainment venue in Ontario. The centre is well known to performing arts enthusiasts in Ontario and Canada. Players come to see a show, enjoy some gourmet food and a game. The casino also has plenty of slots, table games, blackjack, baccarat, sic bo, three card poker, roulette, and other games. There is also a 14-table Texas Hold ‘Em poker room. Enjoy all the excitement.
River Cree Resort and Casino – Sports Lovers
River Cree Resort and Casino is a sport and gaming venue located in Edmonton that should not be overlooked. It has 39 tables of various money limits and over 1,000 slots. There are also a few different places to dine while enjoying a bet and other things to experience. There is a fitness centre, spa and a 200 room resort. However, the most interesting feature of this casino is the two hockey rinks, which are often used by the Edmonton Oilers for practice. It is possible to watch the team practice and go for a meal and some gaming fun.
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Top 8 Online Games That Kids Can Play Without Much Parental Supervision
The gaming industry has been quite widespread since its inception. With the advent of globalisation and technology, this industry is reaching new heights. Kids these days are more inclined to the internet than they are to books.
The internet has more information about everything than anywhere else and is very easily accessible. This further makes some parental control necessary. Most parents are worried about their kids playing violent video games that can further affect their mental health.
Nevertheless, you cannot stop a kid from finding ways to log in to the internet, nor can you keep them away from playing video games. You can always supervise them on their media consumption. But that also gets tiresome after a point. This is when it gets necessary for you to introduce them to games that are not only kid-friendly but are also of their liking.
If you are in a similar situation, looking for a way out, this article will surely help. Further mentioned are a few games that you can let your kid play while you concentrate on your work and well-being.
1. Gummy Drop
Finding games that you can let your kids play without supervision is quite a task. With games like Gummy Drop, you do not have to worry one bit. With beautiful graphics and interesting gameplay, it does not take long for your kid to get hooked to the game.
With new cities and interesting content being added almost every day, this 3 puzzle game is a good choice for your kids to play. It also connects to your Facebook account, letting you play with your other friends. It is also a nice way for your kids to improve their general knowledge and problem-solving skills.
If you were a fan of Pictionary when you were growing up, you should definitely introduce your kids to this game. While the rules of Pictionary remain the same, this game improves on the visual aspect. With all of their friends in the same server, your kid can easily get hooked to this game.
Easy and fun to play – once the server is set up, each player will get a word that they have to draw on the screen. The motive of the game is to help the other players guess your word. Each round chooses players at random. While it is advised that you use a tablet and a stylus to play this, you can always sketch with your finger.
3. Ludo Supreme
A classic in every sense of the word, online ludo needs no introduction. There are some new features that are added in the game version of this app. It lets you connect to your Paytm account and earn real money while playing the game.
Along with such amazing features, you can also play it for fun with your family or friends. It has other versions as well that come in different languages, especially in India, given the diverse nature of the country. You can download the LUDO for your android phones.
There is no doubt that Houseparty has been one of the most popular downloads this pandemic. This is a networking app that lets you add as many as seven friends and play different games face-to-face via video calls.
The novel approach of phone gaming made this a very widely chosen app. While playing games with your friends is always fun, this app lets you see and talk to them as well. Some of the most played games in this app include Heads Up!, Chips and Guac, Trivia and Quick Draw. With such amazing features and games, this is a worthwhile download for your kid.
Monopoly is a very interesting game, which you can get your kids. Along with being fun, it can be played by any age group and is always stimulating your brain. This board game is an all-time classic that is now available on mobile platforms.
The good thing about it being on the phone is that now your kids can play it with their friends as well, and all from the convenience of your home.
6. Rocket League
If you have ever wondered what it would be like to play soccer but with cars, this game is exactly that. You get to pick a car at the beginning of the game in an oversized field with an oversized ball. Then start the five-minute matches where you have to score goals against them.
To make it even more fun, this game allows the player to add up to three friends on the same server. It also has options where you can choose between casual play and ranked online play. Nevertheless, in both gameplays, you can earn new cosmetic looks for the car and get a chance to score more goals.
Another all-time classic, UNO has been a very celebrated game all these years. The original company of UNO came out with the online version that is available on both iOS and Android devices. Since they are the copyright holders, you already know, the gameplay cannot get any better than this.
Nevertheless, since it is a multiplayer game, you can play it both against your friends or strangers. It’s fun aesthetics, and new rules make it more interesting. It now has different modes of play and tournaments as well. You can also partner up and play 2v2 to win together. With servers available all around the world, you can connect to anyone you know.
8. Guess The Word
Very obvious from the name itself, this game is known to be one of the most popular downloads in this list. It not only helps your kids spend some unsupervised time with themselves but also ensures that they learn new things in the process.
The game contains different levels which get harder as your kid progresses, further making it more interesting and attractive. If you have some free time on your hands, you can also jump in and play with your kids.
So, these are the 8 games that kids of all ages can play without any tension. Above all, parents don’t have to panic or keep an eye on them all the time.