Green Room (May 1st, 2016)
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Macon Blair, and Patrick Stewart
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Outland (May 2nd, 2016)
Director: Peter Hyams
Starring: Sean Connery, Peter Boyle, Frances Sternhagen, and James B. Sikking
I love it when a Western is remade in another genre. Westerns are so easily adaptable that you can really shift them anywhere. So it makes plenty sense to move High Noon into outer space, even if it doesn’t sound so at first glance. And when it’s a movie with Sean Connery, helmed by the filmmaker behind 2010, I get interested. And it doesn’t disappoint, coming in a lot more pulpier than I assumed it would be. High Noon isn’t a dirty movie, with no real connections to pulp novels or grindhouse fare. But this movie goes dirty. The violence is bloody and totally ridiculous. When areas are depressurized, human bodies explode into bags of jelly. There’s scenes at strip clubs, complete with nudity. The villains are drug dealers that sell drugs that drive the users crazy, causing them to either commit suicide or go feral and attack people (like a prostitute in a scene). There’s a real grittiness and seediness to the movie that separates it from its western predecessor. It’s not completely nihilistic, as it’s a Connery movie where he fights off drug dealers. But there’s a real sense of place that Hyams injects the movie with to make it feel alive. This feels like an early version of the surroundings to Total Recall. It’s got the tangible, dirty, industrial feel to it. It’s very 80s in a not glitzy or neon colored way. Connery is good in the role, playing a man who isn’t a super hero but is determined to prove he isn’t a loser. No one else really gets any focus here, but Boyle does good work as the bad guy. He’s a middle management drug dealer, just a guy allowing drugs to flow into his purview to boost productivity in the men. And to make money to retire. The movie is a little too long, setting up the drugs effects. It could have spent more time on the relationship between the family, or even making Boyle a more realized character. Or fuck, even Clarke Peters could have gotten more setup since he’s the final fight of the movie. The action itself isn’t astounding, but there’s some originality to it and a dedication to mutilating bad guys. It’s a fun little movie that does enough to stand on its own.
Frank (May 5th, 2016)
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Scoot McNairy
This is a very weird egg to crack. It’s a very unique movie, doing a very odd balancing act in the tone department. It has the feel of a twee indie about music, but a sense that it’s kinda making fun of them too. It’s got a story that’s very much about the differences between commercial ambitions and artistic integrity, done in such a way that isn’t very easy. The fame driven one isn’t completely bad, just a schmo who is looking for an easy way out and is delusional about his talents. The artistic ones are a little mentally disturbed, with art being the only thing that keeps them going. The cast is game and does great work all around. It’s another proof of Fassbenders talent, as it is a performance that is really physical based since his face is covered under a mask the majority of the time. And he is surprisingly an adept physical comedian, as he can be very funny with just his body. Gleeson continues his run as a man who with the drive to be in every movie released, doing good work as a decent guy who’s a little naive and a little devious as well. Gyllenhaal is great as the asshole girlfriend who is trying to do right by her man but is way too self indulgently “artistic” and aggressive to be wholly respectable. It’s a funny movie at parts, dramatic at others. The balancing works. It’s admirable and shows that Lenny is a talent with no limits, continued on with Room. But it’s a movie that I don’t completely love or have much to say about. It’s a great showcase for those involved but doesn’t represent a high point for any of them. So if the talent involved interests you and/or you like the music industry, give it a gander. You could do worse than this. Just on a personal level, didn’t hit that chord.
Captain America: Civil War (May 6th, 2016)
Directors: The Russo Brothers
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Chadwick Boseman, and Sebastian Stan
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