The Wailing (2016) & Green Room (2015) Reviews

I’m doing a double review again today. This time I’m reviewing South Korean horror The Wailing & Jeremy Saulnier’s ultra-violent Green Room, the follow-up to Blue Ruin. Here we go…

The Wailing (2016) (곡성, 哭聲, Gokseong)

Directed by Na Hong-jin

Starring: Kwak Do-won, Hwang Jung-min, Chun Woo-hee

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A stranger arrives in a little village and soon after a mysterious sickness starts spreading. A policeman is drawn into the incident and is forced to solve the mystery in order to save his daughter.

My Opinion:

I was really excited about this film as there have been a lot of great South Korean horrors. A Tale Of Two Sisters, The Host, and the brilliant Train To Busan (which I plan to review on Halloween as it was my favorite horror movie this year. Well, that and It). Of those, I think The Wailing is probably my least favorite. However, it’s still a great horror film and far better than the majority of horror crap that Hollywood poops out.

The Wailing wasn’t at all what I expected from the synopsis of a “mysterious sickness”. I was thinking a zombie-like film or something bizarre & supernatural (which I love). I won’t say what it’s about but I’ll say it kind of ended up being a specific horror subgenre that’s a favorite of mine so I’m not sure why I didn’t love it. It did have an eerie atmosphere which worked really well to make it an unsettling film to be watching all by yourself late at night (which was how I watched it). The elements are all there to make it a fantastic horror movie and I did enjoy it but it’s unlikely to be one I’d watch again, especially with its 2 hour 36 minute running time.


Sorry – this is a short review and I doubt I’ve managed to sell this film to anyone even though it’s one of the better horror movies I watched this year. I think it’s because it’s a hard movie to explain and I found the story a bit muddled, which didn’t help. I also found myself not really caring about the characters, which was a shame as the other South Korean horrors I’ve seen (especially Train To Busan) had fantastic characters. However, I do recommend The Wailing to fans of foreign horror as it’s one definitely worth watching. If you’re new to foreign horror, I’d say this wouldn’t be the one to start on & would probably recommend Train To Busan instead.

My Rating: 7/10

Green Room (2015)

Directed & Written by Jeremy Saulnier

Starring: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, Callum Turner, Patrick Stewart

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Green Room focuses on a punk band who find themselves attacked by neo-Nazi skinheads after witnessing a murder at a remote club in the Pacific Northwest.

My Opinion:

First of all, I absolutely hated Jeremy Saulnier’s Blue Ruin (which I trashed HERE to the annoyance of some fans of the film). I’m happy to inform you that I liked Green Room much more Blue Ruin. Yay! But I still can’t exactly say I loved it & I certainly won’t be rushing out to see Saulnier’s next film, whatever that may be. Boo! (Sorry). It’s a shame, as I wish I could’ve added Green Room to my list of My Top Ten Color Movies. Not even close! Okay – I just looked up Saulnier’s upcoming projects. Not because I want to watch them but because I wanted to see if they have colors in the title. Pfft. Nope! What the hell? Now I’m annoyed.

Here are the things I liked about this movie: 1) That poster is actually really cool. That green one up there. I like it a lot. And green is my favorite color. 2) Anton Yelchin. Is it weird that I still almost want to cry when I see him in stuff? I liked Yelchin and I really liked him in this. 3) The setup. Punk band members witness a murder & end up trapped in the green room of this neo-Nazi skinhead club they’ve been booked to play at (not knowing that it was a neo-Nazi skinhead club). It was a bit of a weird plot but felt quite original. I must say that, when I watched this close to a year ago, I found the setting interesting but extremely far fetched. But, holy hell – maybe places like this actually DO exist in America?!?! Wow. I’m sheltered. Fucking scary shit. 4) The band were pretty cool, especially Yelchin & Alia Shawkat, and I felt quite stressed and wanted them to be able to get out of this crazy situation. 5) It’s an intense movie so I give credit to Saulnier for making a pretty edge-of-your-seat film. It’s not slow & boring like Blue Ruin. 6) Imogen Poots was okay as well, although that skinhead hairdo bothered me. It felt like I was watching This Is England (which I far preferred to Green Room). Kind of nice to see Poots & Yelchin together again after Fright Night.


Here are the things I didn’t like so much: 1) That Poots hairdo 2) Patrick Stewart. Oh noooooo! I love Stewart!!! Oh man, that’s twice that I’ve kind of trashed him this month (I really didn’t like him in Lifeforce but that movie truly sucked balls). He’s not awful in this but he’s just, I dunno… Meh. And I don’t want Captain Picard & Professor X to be a baddie. Ever. Okay? 3) The movie is just so damn violent. And depressing. I mean, I know life isn’t a Disney movie. But GEEZ. 4) I’m now further depressed after finding out that this may be a more accurate representation of modern day America than I thought 5) Anton Yelchin’s poor arm!!!! Holy shit! That was nasty & unnecessary! 6) I just need to add this once more: This movie is just too violent. No thank you. Not for me.

Green Room is a good film if you like strong violence and some very intense scenes. I didn’t hate the movie but it’s just not really my type of thing. If it’s your type of thing, I can see why you’d probably like this one a lot.

My Rating: 6/10

Fright Night (2011) Review

Fright Night (2011)

Directed by Craig Gillespie

Based on Fright Night by Tom Holland

Starring: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, David Tennant, Imogen Poots, Toni Collette

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The plot follows a teenage boy who discovers that his neighbor is actually a vampire, which culminates to a battle between the two.

My Opinion:

I might as well start by pointing out the obvious to anyone who knows me: I prefer the original Fright Night and remakes piss me off. I haven’t actually watched the original in years, though, which is why I’m not going to do a comparison review. But I’ll always be fond of it as, along with A Nightmare On Elm Street, it was my introduction to 80’s slasher-type flicks at a junior high spin the bottle party. Ah, good times!

So, this is indeed yet another completely pointless remake but is it any worse than all the other pointless remakes? I guess it’s probably at the ever-so-slightly better end of things. It at least didn’t completely piss me off & make me want to shout at my TV like that godawful A Nightmare On Elm Street remake. Argh!!! That one actually damaged the franchise & I wish it didn’t exist. This Fright Night is just a bit “so what?”. It’s ultimately forgettable but is luckily different enough from the 1985 film that it hasn’t damaged it in my mind.


These signs seemed extraneous at the time…

The only reason I decided to watch this was to see Anton Yelchin (R.I.P.). I’ve liked Yelchin ever since Charlie Bartlett & was saddened by his untimely death. He was uniquely talented and the absolute perfect choice to play Charley Brewster in Fright Night so I have no complaints there. I also liked Toni Collette as his mother and had no problem with Imogen Poots as Charley’s girlfriend even though she’s too hot for him. But that’s movies for you! The nerdy guys always get the hot girls. Anyway – She’s a cutie & the name Poots never fails to make me giggle. Finally, I loved David Tennant as “vampire hunter” Peter Vincent. He’s my favorite Doctor Who and I found him strangely attractive in his leather pants & eyeliner…


Unfortunately, while the casting of these actors/actresses was spot on, I really disliked Colin Farrell as our main vampire baddie Jerry. I don’t normally like him much anyway but he really didn’t have the charisma or the sexy charming thing going on that I expect from a vampire. As for Christopher Mintz-Plasse, I can see why they chose him as Charley’s nerdy friend Ed but he’s so typecast now that he’s starting to get on my nerves & just ended up an annoying distraction. Massive fail with the casting of these two, which was disappointing as everyone else was so good.

Summary:

Fright Night (2011) is pointless but I suppose it’s not horrible. I’m not stupid, though – I know that younger people don’t like watching older movies so are very unlikely to seek out the original. Therefore, I’m not going to waste my breath (er… fingers?) telling everyone to just watch the 1985 film. If you like Yelchin & think this looks like your type of thing, give it a go. As a standalone film, it’s a fun vampire flick. I’d have liked more humor & it dragged to begin with but it did really pick up once Tennant came into the picture more about halfway through. Tennant & Yelchin are both very good and made a fairly mediocre vampire movie not feel like a complete waste of time. Meh. I’ve seen worse.

My Rating: 6/10

We Are The Best!, Blue Ruin & A Long Way Down Movie Reviews

Three more quickie reviews today! I know I often do “meh” movies or the occasional movie that I HATED in this way so I decided to throw a good one in this time as well. Okay, of the other two, one is “meh” and one I HATED. 🙂

Here we go!

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We Are The Best! (2013)

Directed by Lukas Moodysson

Starring: Mira Barkhammar, Mira Grosin, Liv LeMoyne

My Opinion:

I really enjoyed this Swedish film set in 1982 Stockholm in which three 13-year-old girls decide to start a punk band. In fact, I just watched the trailer again (which I’ve included at the end of this post) and it genuinely made me smile & realize just how much I liked the movie.

The movie starts with two friends who have very different personalities but share a love of punk music so are therefore not exactly “popular” at school because of their strange taste in music & their short hair. Bobo is shy & insecure while Klara is mouthy & confident. The girls one day decide to start a punk band after being picked on by some boys. Unfortunately, they’ve had no musical training. After seeing a Christian girl named Hedvig perform in a talent show at their school, the girls ask her to join their band.

What I really liked about this movie is that these girls seemed real. You never forget they’re only 13 and, even though I’m far, far, FAR away from that age now, I think every female alive remembers that age well as it’s a very tough time in life and all you want is to fit in. Klara, who has a better home life than Bobo, is pretty secure in herself but Bobo always worries that she’s not pretty enough and that boys will never like her. When they befriend Hedvig, who is very shy and has had a strict Christian upbringing that goes against Klara’s beliefs, they form such an odd trio with very different personalities that somehow end up working perfectly together. They literally bring out the Best(!) in each other.

We Are The Best! is a coming-of-age film but without all the melodrama that sometimes comes from movies in that genre, which can feel contrived at times. It just tells a believable, straightforward story of three very likeable misfits who love punk music. Or love, at least, the punk lifestyle as, other than Hedvig, they don’t have any musical talent. But, hey – that IS punk and, by the end, these girls prove that they’re more punk than the boys who originally made fun of them. It’s a great final scene & the whole movie was just fun. I also found it very interesting hearing a lot of punk music in Swedish (which sounded no different as, let’s face it, all punk sounds the same). And the song the girls write, Hate The Sport, is hilarious. That’s SO what a 13-year-old girl would write about! They write this while annoyed at having to run laps in gym class & the song talks about people dying all over the world while some people obsess over silly sports (I like the lyrics “The world is a morgue, but you’re watching Björn Borg.” lol!).

Seriously, this is a delightful film & I can’t remember the last time I liked all the main characters in a movie so much. It’s still a bit “indie” and the story may feel like it’s not going anywhere as it’s just that style of film but I love that – it makes it feel real. Oh! And the 1982 thing felt so genuine that you kind of forget that it was made in 2013. I don’t have a bad thing to say about this movie – it’s just great to watch a simple film that leaves you with a smile on your face.

My Rating: 8/10

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Blue Ruin (2013)

Directed by Jeremy Saulnier

Starring: Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Eve Plumb

My Opinion:

I saw a lot of reviews for this movie pop up on WordPress in the last year or so. I could tell it probably wasn’t my type of thing but, when I saw it appear on Netflix, I hit ‘Play’ against my better judgment. I should’ve gone with my gut instinct – I HATED this movie.

I do like a good revenge film (like Kill Bill!). A good revenge film. For a revenge film to work, you need a sympathetic character. This is very important & Blue Ruin doesn’t manage this. Okay, I guess you do feel kind of sorry for the main character & see why he’d want revenge but his character is so poorly developed! We learn very little about him other than the past tragedy that occurred to make him want to seek revenge. You never warm to his character, which makes it hard to care what the outcome of the movie will be. And what a load of scumbags he goes up against! I just didn’t find that realistic – no one is that horrible, are they??

I struggled to make it through this one. I watched it in three sittings as I kept getting so bored that I turned it off. It’s soooo slow! I do have quite a bit of patience when it comes to movies but, god, it felt like this one would never end. It was also far too violent for me, which is something I’m not a big fan of (unless it’s Kill Bill, I guess! lol). Umm… I don’t know. I just didn’t care. By the end, when there’s a little “twist” of sorts, I was like “So what? NOW we finally get a bit of a story to this thing? Five minutes before it ends??”. I didn’t care. Just like I don’t care enough to discuss this movie any further. Boring. Pointless. I hated it. But Jan Brady was in it so that’s kind of cool, I guess. Not as cool as if it had been Peter Brady, though!

You’re welcome for that in-depth review. 😉

My Rating: 3/10

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A Long Way Down (2014)

Directed by Pascal Chaumeil

Based on A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots, Aaron Paul

My Opinion:

MEH! Sometimes I really wish they could make better British movies. They just make far too much of this sort of bland drama over here (sorry, British people. I do love 28 Days Later…!). This suffers from the same sort of problems that Starter For 10 had – I think it just tries too hard to be a some sort of “quirky” indie based-on-a-book drama.

First of all, I’m a fan of Nick Hornby’s books. I wouldn’t call him my favorite author (that’s Stephen King) but I’ve enjoyed all his books that I’ve read & High Fidelity was great. I did read A Long Way Down & it was okay but not one of his best so it was unlikely to be a really great movie. It was a long time ago that I read it so I can’t really compare it to the movie but it seemed a fairly faithful adaptation from what I remember.

The movie is about four people who meet on a London rooftop on New Year’s Eve. They’ve each come there planning to take their lives but, after meeting and forming an unusual sort of friendship, they make a pact to at least wait until Valentine’s Day to decide if they still wish to, well, kill themselves. Sounds morbid by my description. I suppose it is but instead of ending up some interesting sort of dark comedy, it’s a rather bland drama with only two likeable characters out of the four.

Toni Collette’s character is the most sympathetic by far. To avoid spoilers, I won’t go into their reasons for each wanting to commit suicide but Collette’s Maureen is the one you’ll feel for the most and she makes the other three appear shallow by comparison. Brosnan’s character is kind of the main one in the book from what I remember and, while he’s not totally unlikeable, his problem is the one that most people really won’t be able to sympathize with. I did like Aaron Paul’s character, who is the most withdrawn and seems genuinely sad. Imogen Poots, however… First of all, how much do you think she got made fun of for having the name Imogen Poots?? That name is hilarious. As for her character, she’s very hard to like. She’s rude to the others and comes across as completely selfish. She’s one of these “pretty, young, damaged girls” (okay – I’ll admit I’m probably just jealous as I’ve always wanted to be one of those). Granted, when you find out her true reason for being on that roof, you do start to care more about her but her treatment of the others, especially Aaron Paul, does get annoying at times. I think she’s a decent actress, though, with stunning eyes. I thought she was very good in 28 Weeks Later (which is a much better British movie than this one).

This movie isn’t bad, it’s just a bit “What’s the point?”. For a fairly controversial set-up, it goes a little too predictable-mainstream-Hollywood at the end. But, from what I remember of the book, that also didn’t delve too deeply into the dark subject matter. It’s worth a Sunday afternoon watch if it sounds like something you’d like, though.

My Rating: 5.5/10

Trailer for We Are The Best! – Check it out if you’re interested. I’m hoping I’ve talked some people into watching this film. 🙂