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Green Room: Blu-ray + Digital HD Review

Green Room (2016) movie poster Green Room

Theatrical Release: April 15, 2016 / Running Time: 95 Minutes / Rating: R

Writer/Director: Jeremy Saulnier

Cast: Anton Yelchin (Pat), Imogen Poots (Amber), Alia Shawkat (Sam), Joe Cole (Reece), Callum Turner (Tiger), Mark Webber (Daniel), Eric Edelstein (Big Justin), Macon Blair (Gabe), Kai Lennox (Clark), Patrick Stewart (Darcy Banker)

Buy Green Room from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + Digital HD DVD + Digital Instant Video

Anton Yelchin recently passed away at the age of 27 due to a freak car accident in his driveway. Obituaries led with J.J. Abrams' Star Trek movies, which featured the Russian-born actor as navigator Pavel Chekov,
but anyone writing about film for the past several years could tell you that Yelchin had squeezed a ton of big screen credits into his brief time on this planet. From leading roles to supporting ones, from studio films to indies, from Clumsy Smurf to Kyle Reese, Yelchin did it all and he did it frequently. In the past six years, I've reviewed no fewer than 16 DVDs and Blu-rays featuring Yelchin prominently, a total eclipsed by few, if any, actors in my years in this profession.

Five additional Yelchin films will be released posthumously, including Star Trek Beyond next week. The last theatrical release whose premiere Yelchin lived to attend was Green Room, a critically acclaimed horror film written and directed by Blue Ruin's Jeremy Saulnier, who appears to have a thing for bisyllabic, two word color-noun titles.

Green Room opens with the Ain't Rights, a young punk band from Arlington, Virginia in the middle of nowhere on their way to a gig. It's a dud, but a young punk enthusiast refers them to another job in a questionable venue in small town Oregon. This is a place with Confederate flags on the walls and angry skinheads as the clientele. After finishing their short set, the band -- consisting of Pat (Yelchin), Sam (Alia Shawkat), Reece (Joe Cole), and Tiger (Callum Turner) -- find themselves trapped in a room backstage after witnessing the aftermath of a distressing fatal stabbing.

In "Green Room", one of his final films, Anton Yelchin plays a punk band member who gets trapped in an unpleasant situation by white supremacists.

The band and Amber (Imogen Poots), a young woman with an unfortunate blond hairdo who knew the deceased, end up with an unregistered gun and an oversized security guard (Eric Edelstein) in their presence. A bit of a standoff emerges, as the establishment's owner Darcy (Patrick Stewart) arrives and arranges to deal with the situation on his own terms, without police involvement. Turns out that Darcy is the leader of "a movement, not a party" of white supremacy and things suddenly ain't looking so right for the Ain't Rights.

Like Blue Ruin, Saulnier's stylish sophomore feature, Green Room looks to deliver thrills economically and with plenty of carnage. This is not a film for the squeamish, as maulings and mutilations occur throughout. They're only graphic sometimes, but they induce cringing every time.

This is what horror without supernatural elements or an unrealistically deranged villain looks like. Green Room is different at least, which is rare and welcome in this genre. But it's not an easy film to endure, as it leisurely spends much of its runtime raising questions it is no rush to answer. What starts as kind of a band on the road travelogue becomes a rural survival tale, without the most describable of conflicts or identifiable of threats.

Patrick Stewart picks up a rare theatrical credit outside of his two signature franchises as villain Darcy Banker, the owner of the establishment and leader of the movement.

As always, Yelchin is good here. He never failed to elicit sympathy as a twentysomething everyman who remained kind of introspective and sharp no matter what ordeal he faced, be it an undead girlfriend in Burying the Ex or Colin Farrell's vampire next door in 2011's Fright Night remake.
It's a strange film for Stewart to show up in (frankly, it's tough to think of many live-action movies outside the X-Men and Star Trek series he's done) and he isn't really utilized well enough to justify the prominent "And" billing. Other cast members, from Mark Webber to Blue Ruin star Macon Blair, have limited opportunities to make their mark, as the cast shrinks while the band tries to make a perilous escape.

Near-universal approval from critics only took Green Room so far in a release that started in three theaters and expanded as much as 777. The film's $3.2 M domestic gross is insignifcant by most measures, but many a Yelchin film barely made it to theaters, so this well-reviewed release would have to be considered something of a highlight. Lionsgate, the home video partner of theatrical distributor A24, brought Green Room to stores this week in DVD + Digital and Blu-ray + Digital HD editions.

Green Room: Blu-ray + Digital HD cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray Disc Details

2.40:1 Widescreen
5.1 DTS-HD MA (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Not Subtitled
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Suggested Retail Price: $24.99
Single-sided, single-layered disc (BD-25)
Blue Eco-Friendly Keepcase in Cardboard Slipcover
Also available as DVD + Digital ($19.98 SRP) and on Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

Green Room is stylishly composed and looks terrific on Blu-ray. The 2.40:1 visuals are sharp, suitably colored, and clean. The 5.1 DTS-HD master audio mix satisfies as well.

Jeremy Saulnier directs Macon Blair and others on the set of "Green Room." Green Room's Blu-ray menu adapts its theatrical poster art.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

Green Room is joined by two on-disc bonus features. First up comes a solo audio commentary by lone writer-director Jeremy Saulnier. He gives us a very candid discussion of things that had to be done,

from buying a two-acre corn field for a shot to sneaking in to reverse door hinges. Saulnier also discloses what the film drawns from personal experiences. There is obvious passion to both Saulnier's filmmaking and his reflection on it. The track may have additional value for those looking to expand from independent films to quasi-studio ones.

On the video side, there is "Into the Pit: Making Green Room" (9:58), an HD featurette. It lets Saulnier and cast discuss the fast-paced production in Oregon, touching on a few technical aspects.

The disc opens with trailers for The Witch, The Lobster, Swiss Army Man, Room, and . The same four previews repeat from the menu's "Trailers" listing. No trailer for Green Room Is included.

The stylish menu cycles through clips and what looks like subtly animated stills. The disc both supports bookmarks and lets you resume playback of anything.

A sleek, foil, fingerprint-attracting slipcover tops the eco-friendly keepcase that holds only your Digital HD with UltraViolet insert and the plain gray disc.

In "Green Room", Pat (Anton Yelchin) and company get much more than they bargained for when they play at a backwoods joint with a Confederate flag on the walls.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Green Room is not just another horror movie, but some may prefer convention to this violent, offbeat backwoods survival tale that is easier to appreciate than it is to like. Writer-director Jeremy Saulnier has displayed clear filmmaking talent and seems capable of applying his sharp, visceral style to a more resonant story.

Lionsgate's Blu-ray provides a satisfactory feature presentation plus two substantial extras. It may warrant a rental for those who are fond of genre fare but tired of seeing the same kind of horror movie again and again.

Buy Green Room from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + Digital HD / DVD + Digital / Instant Video

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Related Reviews:
Written and Directed by Jeremy Saulnier: Blue Ruin
New to Disc: Everybody Wants Some!! The Adderall Diaries The Dark Horse Eye in the Sky The Witch The Mermaid Midnight Special

Anton Yelchin (1988-2016):
The Driftless Area Only Lovers Left Alive Fright Night (2011) Burying the Ex Rudderless
Like Crazy Star Trek Into Darkness The Beaver Middle of Nowhere New York, I Love You
From Up on Poppy Hill The Pirates! Band of Misfits The Smurfs The Smurfs 2 The Smurfs: Legend of Smurfy Hollow

Imogen Poots: Knight of Cups Need for Speed 28 Weeks Later | Alia Shawkat: The Runaways Whip It Cedar Rapids
Joe Cole: Secret in Their Eyes | Mark Webber: 13 Sins Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
2016 Horror: The Witch The Boy The Neon Demon Regression

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Reviewed July 14, 2016.



Text copyright 2016 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2016 A24, Broad Green Pictures, Filmscience Productions, and Lionsgate. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.