Green Room is about a punk-rock band who in desperation for gigs end up booking a last minute show at a neo-nazi compound in the backwoods of Oregon. This movie is the Bone Tomahawk of this year in its intensity and brutality and it is executed to perfection. Jeremy Saulnier directed one of my favorite movies from 2013, Blue Ruin, and he is back with another badass movie which is faster paced and more of a situational thriller than anything else. The band get done with their gig and while preparing to leave, one of the band members played by the late Anton Yelchin witnesses a crime scene in the green room, a recreational room for performers, and the band are asked to remain in that room until their leader arrives with instructions. Patrick Stewart plays the leader of the white supremacist group and I have always thought of Patrick as innocuous so this is a different role for him and he is superb as a menacing and calculating leader who is trying to get his crew out of this unwanted situation. The band know that they’re dealing with dangerous people outside the green room and it is nail-biting tension as they’re trapped and trying to figure out a way to escape. This director knows how to build up tension by the minute and there are funny moments in between the madness that ensues; I loved everything about this movie. (9.5/10)
The Witch is a movie I was curious about, but didn’t expect much from. This movie had a massive buzz going and was on every ad when it came out, and that might have led me to believe that it was just another one of many horror releases that is trying to get people to flood theaters. I was mistaken, this movie blew my mind and despite what the marketing for this film would have you believe, this is not much of a horror movie as it is a psychological thriller. It is about a puritan family in the 1600’s in New England who have been banished from their religious commune because of differences in worship. They start a new life near the woods where a wicked witch may or may not be lurking. After the banishing, right at the beginning of the movie we see the main character who is the eldest daughter playing peekaboo with her new born brother and the next second he vanishes in the same fashion as The Leftovers or Picnic At Hanging Rock. But the movie reveals very early on what might be responsible for the disappearance and then completely shifts its focus on the family tearing each other apart, doubting and questioning their faith over the baby’s disappearance. This is Roger Egger’s directorial debut and it is beyond impressive for a first feature film and is beautifully shot as in everything you see just looks dreadful and you wouldn’t want to be anywhere near this time period or this family. The dialogue is true to its time and is very Shakespearean, I watched it with subtitles and that might have helped a bit, but the dialogue feels natural. The main character has three other siblings, a younger brother and two creepy twins who spend most of their time messing with a goat they call Black Philip. These are all amazing performances especially from the lead character (Anya Taylor-Joy) and her religious father (Ralph Inelson) who is trying to keep it all together and he feels everything bad that is happening around him is reflecting on his faith and there is a reference to the Book of Job. This movie slowly gets under your skin and it is terrifying; the family being secluded and doubting each other reminded me of one of my favorite movies from last year, Goodnight Mommy. There is a sense of unease the entire time you’re watching it up to the ridiculous and beautiful ending. (9.5/10)
P.S. Shout-out to the creepiest rabbit ever put on screen with a simple, deadly gaze.
Let’s move on to something a little friendlier, Zootopia is about a bunny who dreams of becoming the first rabbit police officer in Zootopia, a big city where predators and preys coexist in a modern society such as ours. She does make it as a cop and is immediately assigned to parking ticket duties even though her passion is to solve big criminal cases. She inadvertently gets a lead on a big case involving missing mammals after teaming up with a wise-cracking fox (Jason Bateman) who is a low life criminal. Let’s start with the world creation here, it is impressive and everything is well thought out like a mini lane in traffic for rodents and small animals, modifications to appliances for animals of different sizes. This movie has a lot of adult moments in it like the subtle social commentary between the dynamics of the predator-prey (90% majority) coexistence and how they treat each other once something goes wrong; it also has references to The Godfather and Breaking Bad. It is a thoroughly entertaining and funny movie for all ages. (9/10)