*NEW* GREEN ROOM REVIEW *NEW*

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This should have stayed in the cutting room.

A punk rock band is forced to fight for survival after witnessing a murder at a neo-Nazi skinhead bar.

An intriguing premise hampered by an agonising pace, lack of suspense and interesting characters. A shame that this will be remembered as one of Anton Yelchin’s last works.

The opening 20 minutes felt like a completely different film. Having not read anything about the film beforehand and going in only on hype, I thought I was watching a gritty indie drama with Yelchin’s punk rock band The Ain’t Rights struggling to gain fandom or even a gig.

Squatting in a fan’s apartment and siphoning fuel out of cars to keep their mini-van going. Their bohemian lifestyle and music escaping the suffocating realms of social media. Trying to make it the old fashioned way.

Despite the meandering pace, I would have been much happier to watch this subplot than the actual story that unfolded.

This could have been the perfect platform for some underrated actors to shine; Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development), Joe Cole (Peaky Blinders) and Mark Webber (Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World) BUT alas it was not to be.

They did their best with the wafer thin characters BUT it just wasn’t enough.

The tension bubbled away nicely when the band arrived at a neo-Nazi bar. I cringed at the uncomfortable atmosphere as if I was there. “If you back out, I’ll tell them you’re Jewish”. Especially when the first song was “Nazi Punks, F*ck off!”.

However, it wasn’t the nerve wracking gig where the problem lied. It was the body waiting for them in the green room.

Cue a dull and dreary nihilistic slow burner that not even Captain Picard could save.

The band are soon thrown into an Assault on Precinct 13 situation with the skinheads desperate to remove all witnesses.

A stand-off that should have been tense and suspenseful. Initially for 15 minutes or so, it was.

I kept waiting for Patrick Stewart to appear. He was a nasty piece of work and really carried the piece when it tragically dragged. His presence missed in every scene. Even if his mangled accent sounded like a Deep South Gandalf.

BUT from all the hype, you’d think that critics have never seen play him a bad guy before. Conspiracy Theory, anyone? Hell, Star Trek for crying out loud (Resistance is futile!).

It really was a waiting game BUT one that was frustrating me. The squabbling and escape attempts were feeble.

The inevitable unfolding as each band member was picked off one by one (and quite graphically).

When the pit bulls were released on the unsuspecting prisoners, my grumbling ceased as Yelchin’s Pat tried to outwit the relentless skinheads.

Other than Stewart, Macon Blair (Blue Ruin) was probably the only other supporting character to make an impression as the conflicted underling. Desperate to keep a handle on the situation as it escalated beyond his control.

Yelchin did his best and was a charismatic lead. His reunion with Imogen Poots (Fright Night) could have been so much more.

She really got on my nerves and her character only really got going in the final moments when it was too little, too late.

There was only going to be two outcomes with this situation and either way I wasn’t interested by the time the end result arrived. I just wasn’t invested in it.

There were moments to be had BUT a few tense scenes compiling 15 minutes does NOT a good movie make.

Dreadful. Move on from this bore-fest!

2/5

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BLUE RUIN REVIEW

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It’s always the films that you expect to do nothing that surprise you. I went in fearing the worst (my usual stance these days) and was rewarded. This time it’s with a hard boiled, gritty Deep Southern revenge flick. That being said, it’s not without its flaws but worth a watch. Just has enough to stay afloat among the swamp of bottomless flops that have flooded our local cinemas.

At its best, it mixes the darkly comical moments of No Country of Old Men with a splash of Dead Man’s Shoes. At its worst, you can’t help but feel I could be watching either of those two films instead.

Here we follow Macon Blair as a mysterious hobo wandering the desolate harbour, salvaging scraps from bins and seeking shelter in a battered up blue car. It makes for an intriguing, if slow, opening as all the usual questions pop up; why is he in this state? What happened? The general point of a film.

However, his strange and sheltered existence is soon turned upside down as he returns to his childhood home to carry out an act of vengeance. Proving himself an amateur assassin, he winds up in a brutal fight to protect his estranged family. I won’t divulge too much and spoil the story as I have tended to do when I rant. This is hardly a film to rant about. Praise, more like. But basically by trying to do what’s right, our hero inevitably puts himself in even more trouble by upsetting a nasty family deep South.

His transition from a hapless hobo to a calculated killer is very well done and well acted. Blair is a likeable lead, even if his character is a little strange. A stumbling nervous individual. His initial first kill came as a shock because you honestly thought he wasn’t going to do it or balls it up, which he nearly did. At times, it does make for infuriating viewing because at times his character makes so many stupid decisions that you are practically (well literally in my case) yelling at the screen; “Don’t do that!”, “Pick the weapon up”, “Don’t go in that room”. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Unfortunately, at times the film is left to Blair a little too much and his character doesn’t have enough charisma to carry it in parts. The supporting cast are limited and bar a few exceptions are hardly memorable. When Blair is on the run or staking out his hunters, the suspense is executed perfectly. A brilliant scene in which Blair hides out in his sister’s home for his supposed captors is fantastic and nail-bitingly tense. It almost became a a dark take on Home Alone. An opportunity involving Blair and a garden tool was horribly wasted.

When Blair finally gets to deal with his estranged sister (Amy Hargreaves – Homeland) does make for good viewing as we get to see a little more into his past. The pair work well together and to be honest, I would have been happy to see more on that side of the story. The actual villains in this piece are very stocky and generic, bar Kevin Kolack who was delightfully snidey and creepy. A nasty addition that was heavily wasted as his counterparts were very weak, stereotypical and . . . weak, mainly. The other stand out performance was Blair’s gun-toting old high school chum Ben (Devin Ratray). Devin Ratray. Ring a bell? No? It’s only Buzz from Home Alone. I kid you not. Couldn’t believe it. A good performance with a darkly comical encounter that broke up the slackening pace.

It’s stuttering pace is relieved by solid, suspenseful moments but I have seen this sort of story line done a lot better before. However, it’s not all bad and definitely worth an investment. Blair’s transition is very good and the final moments make for brutal if predictable viewing as one man’s search for redemption leads him into more chaos that will require even more redemption.  3/5

Currently ranks #78 out of 177!