Movie reviews: Green Room, Mustang, The Angry Birds Movie, Everybody Wants Some!!
Paul Whitington reviews this week's other big releases, awarding Mustang the full five stars while The Angry Birds Movie earns a measly two star rating. Green Room and Everybody Wants Some!! fare very well with four stars each.
Richard Linklater, it turns out, was once a promising college baseball player before a heart complaint forced him to make other plans. Everybody Wants Some!! (4*, 15A, 117mins) is inspired by those experiences, and is a kind of spiritual sequel to two other Linklater films - his recent triumph Boyhood, and his 1993 cult classic Dazed and Confused. It's set in Texas in 1980, and stars Blake Jenner as Jake, an easygoing freshman about to begin his first college term.
He's studying English Literature but that's entirely beside the point because he's also a star pitcher, and thus part of the college's elite baseball team. At a ramshackle fraternity house he meets some of his swaggering but not unpleasant team-mates, and over the course of a long weekend bonds with them during a series of debauched escapades. But Jake also finds out there may just be more to life than baseball when he meets a pretty drama student.
Mr Linklater may be a fan of Marcel Proust, because this film is suffused with a heady nostalgia for the lost past. Everybody Wants Some!! is not sentimental, however, and in fact the writer/director has been careful not to retrospectively sanitise the early 1980s. Jake and his friends talk crassly if fairly harmlessly about women, and flaunt the many prejudices of the era. But this amusing and warm-hearted film also celebrates the freedoms of a simpler time, before the arrival of Aids, global terrorism and the polarising neo-conservatism of Ronald Reagan.
Jeremy Saulnier's Green Room (4*, 16, 95mins) is a pared back, lean and enjoyably nasty horror film that's full of wit, and dark invention. After being ripped off by a sly promoter in Seattle, the rather po-faced members of a noisy punk band travel to Oregon's dark interior to play a gig at a rural club. It turns out to be the preserve of a group of unhinged neo-Nazis, and when the band accidentally witness the killing of a young woman, they realise they're in trouble.
Alone in the boon-docks and surrounded on all sides by shaven-headed white supremacists, they lock themselves into their dressing room and begin tense negotiations with the Nazis' stony-faced leader, Darcy (Patrick Stewart).
There are shades of Tobe Hooper and early John Carpenter to this film, Imogen Poots, Anton Yelchin and Alia Shawkat are very good as the stranded musicians, and Green Room is one of those rare horror movies that actually gets better rather than worse as it proceeds.
One of the stand-out films at this year's Dublin Film Festival, Deniz Gamze Erguven's moving and elegiac drama Mustang (5*, 15A, 97mins), 5 Stars is set in the Turkish countryside and tells the story of five orphaned sisters. Raised by their stern but kindly grandmother and a bullying uncle, the girls are grounded after an incident in which they went swimming (in their clothes) with a group of local boys.
From their guardians' point of view, the girls are ticking time-bombs, agents of sexual chaos who will only be neutralised when safely married off. And their uncle's disgusting obsession with virginity leads to rebellion, misery and, ultimately, tragedy. It's a wonderful film, beautifully made and a compelling argument against the perversions of puritanism.
Arriving some five years after the Angry Birds craze reached its peak, this busy, not to say frantic little animation The Angry Birds Movie (2*, G, 97mins) could be accused of missing the bus. Here it is anyway, a hectic cartoon set on an idyllic island bird colony where the bad-tempered Red (Jason Sudeikis) is the only fly in the ointment. But when a shipful of piggies come bearing gifts, Red is the only one who questions their motivations.
Jokes come thick and fast in a film that plays to the cheap seats but may bewilder the younger viewers at whom it's presumably aimed.