Richard and CP24 anchor Nneka Elliot talk about the weekend’s big releases, the comedy of “Keanu,” the maudlin humour of “Mother’s Day,” the kid’s sci fi of “Ratchet & Clank,” the punk rock fury of “Green Room” and the b-movie action of “Precious Cargo.”
Richard and “Canada AM” host Beverly Thomson kick around the weekend’s big releases. They find out if “Keanu,” the kitten caper movie from Key & Peele is worth a look, if “Mother’s Day” is more than a Hallmark card come to the screen and if “Ratchet & Clank’s” good messages for kids make it a good movie.
When I think of Patrick Stewart I think of heroes. I picture Jean-Luc Picard, stern faced on the bridge of the USS Enterprise, courageously going where no man has gone before. Or I see the chrome-domed Professor Charles Xavier telepathically (and once again heroically) reading and controlling the minds of others.
“Green Room,” a grisly new survival horror flick from Jeremy Saulnier presents a new, but not necessarily improved Patrick Stewart. Don’t get me wrong, he’s great in the film, but heroic he is not.
The action begins with The Ain’t Rights (Anton Yelchin, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, Callum Turner), a punk rock band struggling to make money for gas after a failed tour of the Pacific Northwest. Existing on the kindness of strangers, siphoned gas and Ramen noodles, hoping for a quick payday they take a gig at a skinhead bar in remote Oregon. “Don’t talk politics,” they’re warned by the promoter. Run by the homicidal white supremacist Darcy (Stewart), it’s a hellhole of a place that hosts Racial Advocacy Seminars when they aren’t hosting a hard-core punk shows. Following a contentious set, kicked off with a song called “BLEEP Off, Nazi BLEEPS,” the band grabs their money and gear but just as they are about to leave witness the aftermath of a murder in the club’s dingy green room. While Darcy and his jackboot lieutenants figure out how best to dispose of the band The Ain’t Rights and a friend of the dead woman (Imogen Poots) have to fight for their survival.
Like his Saulnier’s previous film, “Blue Ruin,” the new movie is a stripped down thriller with a focus on the gore and the characters. He takes his time getting to the gruesome stuff, setting up the story as we get to know and like the members of the band. Why else would we care when they (NOT REALLY A SPOILER) start to get picked off one by one? Otherwise it would just be torture porn, and while there are some unpleasant images that wouldn’t be out of place in one of the “Hostel” movies, the point of the story is survival not icky deaths.
The band’s life and death struggle is at the center of the film but the chilling malicious force that propels the movie forward is Stewart’s coldly methodical Darcy. At first he seems reasonable—well, as reasonable as a neo Nazi can be—but by the time he says, “We’re not keeping you, you’re just staying,” you know he lives in a world of his own construction; a world where his acolytes will do almost anything to protect him and their cause, no matter how wet and wild. Stewart is icy calm, a coiled spring capable of anything. Images of Professor X and Jean-Luc Picard will be forever erased from your memory.
“Green Room” is a nasty piece of work, a tense Tasmanian Devil tornado of a movie with solid performances and a DIY feel that meshes perfectly with its punk rock heart.
Richard and CJAD Montreal afternoon show host Andrew Carter talk about the weekend’s five big releases, the comedy of “Keanu,” the maudlin humour of “Mother’s Day,” the kid’s sci fi of “Ratchet & Clank,” the punk rock fury of “Green Room” and the b-movie action of “Precious Cargo.”
Synopsis: Brandy Klark (Aubrey Plaza) is an overachiever. She’s the publisher of her own magazine, Women With a Y, a straight A student with a full scholarship to Georgetown University and her high school valedictorian. She’s also a virgin, a status she hopes to change soon with the help of Rusty Waters (Scott Porter), a college surfer stud with a perfect smile. Attacking her new project with the gusto that won her accolades in school, she gets the advice of friends and family (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Alia Shawkat, Sarah Steele and Rachel Bilson) and makes up a “to do” list, applying the same zeal that made her a mathelete to losing her virginity.
Richard: 3 Stars
Mark: 3 Stars
Richard: Mark, if you’re of the generation familiar with Snackwells and skorts, then this movie may resonate a little louder for you than it did for me. It’s a cleverly drawn coming-of-age picture, set in 1993, that gets the tone of the times right—skorts and all—but it left me feeling as though I was watching a throwback to the sex comedies of the early nineties filtered through a 2013 lens. In other words, less innocence, more bodily fluids. What did you think?
Mark: One of the things I love about movies is how much you can learn from them. Richard, I had no idea how tough it is for an attractive young woman to lose her virginity! Well, live and loin. Switching the gender roles and making the teenage girl the aggressor was a nice touch, and setting it in 1993 made its pre-internet sexuality seem almost believable. It’s John Hughes with an R rating-not a bad thing. What did you think of Aubrey Plaza?
RC: I like Aubrey Plaza. I think if this part had been played by anyone else—imagine Emma Stone or Imogen Poots—it would have lost some of its charm. Plaza is naturally off balance so the stranger moments of this movie don’t feel forced or quirky for the sake of being quirky. As I said earlier, I didn’t much go for some of the bodily fluid gags—or the gross Caddyshack tribute—but Plaza trying to vamp it up in an ill fitting bathing suit is a really funny scene.
MB: I liked Aubrey Plaza too. She was just gawky enough to make the movie seem credible. In fact, the whole movie is well cast. Bill Hader has lots of great moments, and Plaza’s two girlfriends are not the typical cuties you usually find in a teen picture. I actually think there’s another influence working on this picture- Napoleon Dynamite. From the Idaho setting to the oversaturated colours, quirky rhythms and simple cinematography, there’s a lot the two movies have in common, although this one seems more overtly commercial.
RC: Maybe more commercial, but telling the story from a female point of view is a nice change from the usual boycentric sex comedy story.
MB: Richard, in spite of what some people may think, I am not, nor have I ever been a teenage girl. But I found I could relate to the story, because although it takes place in 1993, it takes place in Boise, Idaho, which feels like 1973.