Commentaries

Thursday, December 29, 2016

THE WITCH & GREEN ROOM



DARK HORSES

Film Reviews by Fiore 


Several films released during the first few months of the year were nominated for various end of year awards.  In all honesty, they probably should not have been nominated.

THE WITCH is a tale set in New England during the time of the Pilgrims.  At its core, it’s a story about a family moving from the city to the suburbs and succumbing to the wilds of the wilderness.  All of Hollywood’s progressive liberals know the folk in the suburbs are evil; that’s how they lost the presidential election.  More specifically, it shows how suspicions, and fake news stories, can destroy a family.

The devil is in the details, or in this case a black goat.  That’s just one of the stereotypical evil archetypes used in THE WITCH, many of which seem to be culled from Wiccan practices.  For authenticity, Screenwriter Robert Eggers utilizes time appropriate syntax.  It makes for some confusion.  While the story is simplistic, the plot meanders.  Pacing is at an old granny level, thanks to Editor Louise Ford.  Visual Effects Supervisor Geoff D.E. Scott attempts to liven things up, but Director Robert Eggers keeps him restrained.

The film stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie; Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Granga and Lucas Davison.  Ineson and Dickie are particularly effective as the beguiled parents, desperately attempting to hold together their family against the destructive powers of Satan.
 

KEY SCENES TO LOOK FOR:

1.      CALEB’S PRAYER
2.      THE ABDUCTION OF SAM

The film’s conclusion is anti-climactic; screaming for another scene or two.  As supernatural evil tales go, THE WITCH is not bad, and worth a look.  While it isn’t award worthy, it will provide some tense moments on a dark and stormy night when the lightning is flashing and the thunder is crashing.


THE GRADE FOR THE WITCH = C




Not as entertaining is GREEN ROOM.  The film’s title refers to the room set aside for performers before they go on stage.  GREEN ROOM is a very basic, low-key thriller that causes me to wonder how it ever became award eligible.  The best reason available is, it is the last starring role of Anton Yelchin.  I believe the film garnered its accolades in respect and homage to him.

A struggling grunge rock band performs an afternoon gig at a concert hall seemingly filled with conflicted patrons.  The venue, and the band’s green room backstage look like graffitied subway tunnels on steroids.  The prominent sigils are swastikas and Confederate flags.  Misnomers, and confusing, as neither symbol relates to the other.  It seems to be more of an editorial comment by Director Jeremy Saulnier on people he is supposed to hate, if he wants to be a part of the H3L. 

We soon discover the divergent symbols are not a political statement, but a method of disguising a heroine distribution center, run by Patrick Steward, as Darcy.  How, or why Stewart became involved with this project is probably a much better story than the one the film offers.

The band happens to stumble upon the murder of a young drug whore, planning to bolt the illegal enterprise.  Trapped inside the green room, they must fight for their lives as Darcy and his band attempt to eliminate all witnesses.  Really cheesy stuff. 

GREEN ROOM attempts to pull from Sam Peckinpah’s STRAW DOGS, demonstrating how peaceful, non-violent people, like Pat (Yelchin) and Amber (Imogen Poots) can rise to necessary violent behavior when the need arises.  

Visual Effects Supervisor Chris Connolly attempts to make the film graphic, but comes nowhere close to Eli Roth, who he seems to be emulating.

Unless it was just a quick payday, I am totally flummoxed as to why these stars would agree to appear in this film.  I was nursing a chilled glass of Limoncello, (‘tis the season, afterall) or I would have stopped watching this one thirty minutes into it.  The folk at A24 may have thought this movie noteworthy, but other than being
Yelchin’s last performance, it’s disposable.




THE GRADE FOR GREEN ROOM = F


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