By Andrew Nogay
Assistant Web Content Manager
Each week when movies are released, some are released wide, meaning they play in basically every theater, and a few are released limited, meaning they only play in specialty theaters or are on Video on Demand. This week there are a few wide releases, which would be The Jungle Book and Barbershop: The Next Cut. Out of the limited release movies, there are some that sound interesting, and then there’s Green Room, which I could not recommend enough and it’s my personal pick of the week.
The Jungle Book
This movie is interesting because it is marketed as a live-action Jungle Book, but just about everything in this movie is CGI other than the kid, so is it really live action? I don’t know. What I do know is that the studio is so high on this film that a sequel is already in the works. Another thing I know is that it gathers an absolutely exceptional voice cast: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba, Giancarlo Esposito, Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyong’o and it was the last thing Garry Shandling worked on before he died. Also, we know that Jon Favreau can direct movies that make a ton of money. Based on the evidence provided, we can assume this will be a hit, especially among kids.
Barbershop: The Next Cut
This is the first Barbershop movie in more than a decade, and I didn’t know it had been that long. This one is unique in that it deals with actual issues, mainly gang violence. It’s a comedy with a message, which critics have responded to more positively than you would think for a sequel. The one thing that still doesn’t exactly make sense is that the main characters live in a tough neighborhood, but everything looks nice and shiny. I’m not expecting The Wire or City of God or anything, but that would take me out of the film.
After watching the trailer and reading the plot summary off imdb, which reads “In a last-ditch effort to stop a diabolical plot, a dead CIA operative’s memories, secrets, and skills are implanted into a death-row inmate in hopes that he will complete the operative’s mission,” I made a quick game of phrases that may or may not have come into my mind when thinking of this movie. Check all that apply to you:
( ) Meh.
( ) Is that Kevin Costner?
( ) Helicopters blowing up are overrated.
( ) Submarines are underrated.
( ) If you cut a hole in a net, you end up with less holes than when you began.
( ) This movie reminds of Phil Collins for some reason.
( ) Have all of these main actors been major characters in comic book movies?
( ) Eh.
( ) A ham sandwich sounds good right now.
( ) Anyone who sees this over Green Room is totally not punk rock.
( ) If I were going to rename this movie, I’d call it “Tommy Lee Jones and the Electric Snakes,” because at least that isn’t as dull of a title as Criminal.
( ) This ham sandwich tastes really good.
If you checked more than two, I don’t know if Criminal is the movie for you.
That trailer for Green Room isn’t necessarily the best representation of the film, but all the other ones are pretty NSFW. This one better shows what the movie is like, but be warned it will have some bloody stuff.
I am not one to overreact to movies, especially new releases. But I saw Green Room last year during Fantastic Fest, and not only was it the best movie I saw there, it was the best movie I saw all of last year. It hit me like few movies do.
Directed by Jeremy Saulnier, who directing the amazing Blue Ruin and the criminally unknown Murder Party, Green Room is about a punk band who plays a show at a neo-Nazi bar. They understandably don’t make any friends and the situation is heightened when they witness a murder. The band holes up in the green room and try to fight their way out of a skinhead beehive who want to silence them. If there are four things I love in the world, it is punk music, neo-Nazi antagonists, gut-churning violence and Patrick Stewart, who plays the leader of the skinheads, and Green Room has all of that. It borders on horror pretty much all the way throughout, and there are absolutely shocking deaths and shocking imagery. Tension is built up, then released in waves of blood. It is stylized and unforgettable. Plus, this movie doesn’t have any poser punks; if the main characters were a real band I would totally go see them live.
Sing Street is the other music-based film come out, and this one looks totally different from Green Room, though it has also gotten rave reviews. This is a coming-of-age romance sort of film about a teenager who starts a band to impress a girl, a situation we’ve all been in. It looks funny without losing its heartfelt nature and being about British music in the ’80s will be interesting. I mean, it features music by The Cure, The Clash and A-Ha; what could go wrong? The director John Carney has been on a run of late with good independent films about music, and Sing Street looks like it’ll continue that streak. A funny thing about this movie is that it is rated PG-13, which includes “some bullying behavior.” That’s so specific and weird for a film to name. What movie about teenagers doesn’t have bullying? Meanwhile, in the Green Room trailer, we see a guy give another person’s arm a compound fracture, so yeah, one of these two movies is made for a wider audience.
That trailer didn’t give much about the movie, though its atmosphere made me uneasy. Emma Watson is still riding her post-Harry Potter fame and what’s interesting is that a lot of critics are lambasting this movie for being a sort of exploitation B-movie. Slant said that “Colonia is nothing more than leftwing exploitation cinema, a cheap thriller dressed up in the guise of a social-justice exposé,” and that Michael Nyqvist as the villain gives an “over-the-top performance as Schäfer exists in the same B-movie universe as Dieter Laser’s in The Human Centipede,” which honestly sounds pretty awesome. Who needs another dull drama about a lost love or whatever? We need more crazy movies about cults and more misguided visions. That makes it so much more interesting. Or this movie could just be trash.