Charlize Theron Chris Hemsworth

Fairy Tale Origins and More Movies To See This Weekend, April 22, 2016

Friday, April 22, 2016 Rob Samuelson

This weekend sees the release of only one major new film, a sequel to a movie that does not seem to have much of a following. However, the limited releases coming out are certainly intriguing, and one may even be a shoo-in for your disturbed vision of the human race. You never know! Let’s check ‘em out.

The Huntsman: Winter’s War
Director: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Writers: Evan Spiliotopoulos, Craig Mazin
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Jessica Chastain, Emily Blunt

One of the more unlikely sequels of recent years, The Huntsman: Winter’s War drops Kristen Stewart’s Snow White from the narrative, focusing instead on Chris Hemsworth’s ax-wielding adventurer and a trio of some of the best actresses working today for a story that appears to be about a land dispute maybe? Charlize Theron returns from the first movie as the villainous Ravenna, fresh off creating one of cinema’s best characters of all time in last year’s Mad Max: Fury Road. Joining her are Zero Dark Thirty’s Jessica Chastain and Sicario’s Emily Blunt, forming a knockout cast.

As a first-time feature director, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan has no track record. This means he could be filled with potential, but the trailers released for the movie have been relatively lifeless. It appears the coldness of the title has infiltrated the movie as a whole. For a CGI-filled fantasy extravaganza, this just doesn’t look like a lot of fun. But trailers have been wrong before. Fingers crossed this is one of those times.

Elvis & Nixon
Director: Liza Johnson
Writers: Joey Sagal, Hanala Sagal, Cary Elwes
Starring: Michael Shannon, Kevin Spacey, Alex Pettyfer, Johnny Knoxville, Colin Hanks

Elvis Presley once hung out with President Richard Nixon for a day at the White House. The fact that this story has not been told already on the big screen baffles me. These two titans who dominated the mid-late 20th century were so mismatched in every way, except for the fact that they shared a passion for music. But they spent a bizarre several hours together and now we get to see two strange-but-inspired casting choices square off in a fictionalized account of the unlikely encounter.

Seeing Michael Shannon, one of the nerviest actors working today, play Elvis may end up being one of the biggest treats of going to the movies in 2016. Or it could be a disaster. He doesn’t resemble the King in any way, nor does his voice really match up. But he can handle the tortured, druggy period of this era of Presley’s life. It’ll be fascinating to see how it all works out, especially opposite Kevin Spacey as the jowly, paranoid president.

Green Room
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Writer: Jeremy Saulnier
Starring: Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Patrick Stewart, Anton Yelchin

Expanding from an extremely limited release to a slightly larger “at least I can see it in Chicago” release this weekend is a movie I have heard nothing but rapturous praise for since it debuted at film festivals last fall. A punk band (I’m listening) stops to play a gig at a seedy bar in the middle of nowhere (go on…) and learns that the bar is frequented by a bunch of neo Nazis (sign me up). The band, which is not too keen on the politics of their crowd, witnesses something grizzly. They were not supposed to see this thing. The neo Nazis aren’t happy about it. Demented things follow. This is the follow-up to writer-director Jeremy Saulnier’s 2014 effort, Blue Ruin, which also had some bonkers violence in it. By all accounts this is not a movie for the weak hearted. But if you’re on a certain wavelength (which I’m not sure I’m on given my “it was pretty good but nothing extraordinary” reaction to Blue Ruin) it apparently works like magic. We’ll see, folks.

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