Green Room marks the second of writer/director Jeremy Saulnier’s blood-drenched thrillers to have premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. You may have heard whispers about 2013’s Blue Ruin as it trickled out of the festival circuit, lauded by audiences and critics alike as a paradigm of the vigilante genre. Now Saulnier takes on the backwoods, pitting some young punk rockers against a group of white supremacists.
A natural poster child for the 1950’s cool jazz movement, the young version of Chet Baker was all chiseled jaw, coiffed hair, and lounging trumpet. The image has long drawn comparisons to James Dean, and perhaps if Baker had died young he would also be remembered as a piece of nostalgic Americana. But Baker lived to the age of 58, battling drug addiction and enduring the familiar career rhythms of a special talent who just couldn’t hold it together.
Oh, there’s plenty to be afraid of in The Invitation, the upcoming psychological pot-boiler from director Karyn Kusama. Any time paranoia works its way into a film the audience immediately loses its bearing, unsure of which character is lying, which is telling the truth, or if everything they’re seeing is just the fever dream of an ill mind. A blow could come from anywhere, and we humans are hard-wired to fear uncertainty.
All you should need to get excited for this film is the name Jeff Nichols. The writer/director of Mud, Take Shelter, and Shotgun Stories has made nothing but high-quality films, and his reward has been increasingly bigger budgets and bigger box office totals. Midnight Special is his first studio film, and while it’s being released on a crowded weekend led by Allegiant and Miracles from Heaven, I see no reason to think it won’t surpass Mud’s $21.
This thriller has been winning over genre fans at festival screenings for months, boasting an impressive 8.2 rating on IMDB from the handful of people who’ve seen it. They say it’s a rather twisty tale, which to be honest the trailer doesn’t capture well, as the setup appears to be pretty basic for a traveling, backwoods horror tale.