Tag Archives: Anton Yelchin

Burying The Ex (2014) Movie Retro Review By Darrin Gauthier ‬


Director: Joe Dante
Writer: Alan Trezza (screenplay by)
Stars: Anton Yelchin, Ashley Greene, Alexandra Daddario

‪Plot:  A guy’s regrets over moving in with his girlfriend are compounded when she dies and comes back as a zombie.‬
‪Running time: 89 minutes‬
‪IMDB Score: 5.4‬

‪Why I watched it: It’s a Joe Dante film and the cast is pretty good.‬

‪Random thoughts: It’s tough watching Anton Yelchin, we lost him way too soon.  I don’t think this film got much of a releases, it’s too bad to see Joe Dante just surviving making these kind of genre films, he’s a very interesting filmmaker who has lost his place right now.‬

‪What I liked: Yelchin and Daddario are both very likable actors and they do have a good chemistry together.  They’re relationship is easily the best part of the film.‬
‪Of course there is a Dick Miller cameo here, if it’s a Joe Dante film then Miller is there. This is a pleasant film, almost a good natured film considering it’s a horror comedy, and it’s got a decent pace to it.‬

‪What I didn’t like: Until the last ten minutes this is not a horror film whatsoever, if you go in thinking comedy or satire in a zombie film then you will be disappointed.  There’s no edge to this film, no teeth.  I would call this more of a romantic comedy than a horror comedy, they do almost nothing with the fact that Greene gets turned into a zombie.  The device they use is so slight and after doing what it does is basically not used again.  There’s a devil genie, they make a wish to be together forever she dies and there we have a zombie story. No backstory or what this was or why it could do it.‬

‪The acting is fine here though I will say Yelchin seems a bit miscast and at times lost, he underplays so much I feared he was going to fall asleep.  The weak link here is Ashley Greene, she’s one note when she was alive then dead she just doesn’t have the comic timing to make the gimmick work.  Don’t get me wrong she’s a decent actress and attractive but comedy is not her strong suit and to be fair the role is very badly written.‬

‪I will say the blame here falls on the script and the direction, the story doesn’t fill fleshed out at all and really Dante doesn’t seem to have something to say.  I also would like to pick at something, usually I leave this kind of stuff alone but I have to complain the way the female characters are written, both female leads are needy and chase after the male lead, both just want to have sex with him and are worried he doesn’t care for them, now they give Greene some backstory, her mother died and she’s scarred her love will leave her, alright but Daddario just had a boyfriend dump here cause he found God and she hasn’t had sex in a while, yes she shares this the first time the two go out. ‬

‪For Greene she’s given a character trait of being an environmentalist, honestly that’s her biggest trait and it’s played for laughs kind of. Plus they have a side character played by Oliver Cooper, he’s Yelchin’s half brother in the film, a joke they say a lot and he treats women as objects, he has to have sex with them at his half brother’s place so they won’t know where he lives.‬
‪The film really only goes in the direction of horror in the end and it’s lame and coming from Dante that’s unforgivable.‬

‪Final thoughts: It’s a well meaning film and everyone tries but this is a flat film that really does nothing with the horror/comedy genre, it feels dated and sadly lame.‬

‪Rating: 4/10‬

Rudderless (2014) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin


Director: William H. Macy
Writers: Casey Twenter,  Jeff Robison
Stars: Billy Crudup,  Anton Yelchin,  Felicity Huffman

Rudderless is one of those movies that really finds the correct balance of emotion in the story, the characters and in this case the music. Sam played by Billy Crudup (Almost Famous and Watchmen) is confident advertising business executive who lives fast, talks fast and deals fast, keeping himself busy and hidden from his failed marriage. The best thing that has came out of his marriage is his son Josh who he appears to have good relations with and enjoys sharing his success stories and experiences with his boy.

Tragedy hits Sam when he discovers via a news flash that there has been a shooting at Josh’s school which sadly takes his life hitting Sam like a truck and sending him on a downward spiral.

Moving on two years and failing to cope with the loss, Sam locks himself away from the world and lives on his boat, whilst making a living as a painter and decorator and drinking his night away on the lake and using the lake as his own personal urinal. Whilst his ex wife played by Felicity Huffman is moving on and moving out of their old house she leaves Sam a few boxes of Josh’s possessions, which are music related. An acoustic guitar, an amplifier and a box of cds with Josh’s home recordings. Rudderless has some great songs that have a heartbreaking story behind the lyrics and it’s fair to say Billy Crudup is excellent as the grieving father in a downward spiral.

Sam reluctantly takes on board his boat Josh’s stuff and stumbles across a box of his recently deceased son’s demo tapes and lyrics. Sam is stunned to discover his son’s unknown talent and heartfelt demo tapes that he begins to listen to them on a daily basis whilst working, breaking down the chords and learning the lyrics as a coping mechanism for his loss and possible redemption.

Feeling compelled to go on stage for an open mic night at the local bar (ran by the director of this movie William H Macy) and try one of Josh’s songs in front of an audience, this is after he has had a few beers for Dutch courage. The tune catches the attention of Quentin (Anton Yelchin), a shy and socially awkward musician who feels a connection with the  quality of the songwriting and chord structure and convinces Sam to form a a collaboration with him with some coffee and donut bribery added in for good measure.

Sam reluctantly agrees, never admitting that he didn’t actually write any of the songs lyrics or music, and what begins as a duo quickly transforms into a four-piece that includes a pair of Yelchin’s fellow collaborators, played by Ben Kweller and Ryan Dean) on Drums and Bass respectively. The younger members of the band quickly come up with the name “Rudderless,” which takes a while to grow on Sam and the band begin to have a local following and he finds himself swept up in the joy of playing music, with no regard for the consequences that may come when his secret is inevitably found out.

Billy Crudup arguably gives his best performance since probably Almost Famous but it’s his chemistry with Anton Yelchin that drives the film in every scene they are in which really saddens the situation knowing the tragic circumstances in real life regarding Yelchin’s sad passing in 2016 knowing that such a young actor with brilliant range and charisma is no longer with us and fans of the actor being robbed of what other roles he would have worked on in the future.

The growing bond between Sam and Quentin is a thinly-disguised parallel for Sam’s lost relationship with Josh, but truth be told, Quentin needs Sam’s guidance and friendship even more than Sam needs him.

Laurence Fishburne’s music store owner says at one point, “It’s great, what you’re doing for that boy.” and it has to be said although only in this movie in a supporting role Fishburne’s Del is a likeable old man whose passion is clearly music and really gives a good grounding and guidance for both Sam and Quentin. Billy Crudup as Sam was excellent to watch. It was emotional witnessing how he dealt with something that he could not deal with and the scenes where he would go into self destruction mode really hit home. Yelchin as Quentin was brilliant and a joy to watch. Quentin was the relatable character in this movie and where Yelchin brought the movie, Crudup brought the emotion.

Selena Gomez plays Kate whose role in the movie like Laurence Fishburne’s is limited and is only there to reveal Sam’s secret to the band before they were set to play a big gig they regarded would get them noticed. Kate was Josh’s girlfriend and was briefly shown at the beginning of the movie shortly after his death and we understand that the last few years since his passing have been tough on her, Gomez is slightly different from when we first saw her to two years down the line who is angry and bitter towards her involvement with Sam’s family and doesn’t feel it is right that he is portraying those songs and passing them off as his own.

William H Macy makes his directorial debut in Rudderless and appears in a small role as the bar owner does a superb job of capturing the spirit and emotions of the main characters and keeps the movie running along at a nice pace with very few if any pointless scenes or dialogue. His vision for the live music scenes were clever in the techniques he used to reveal the band’s increasing interest in the facial reactions from a couple of folk in the bar taking notice to a full house hanging on to every lyric sang.

Rudderless is an uplifting and emotional first directorial from William H Macy and he really should be congratulated for making a truly excellent film. The acting was superb. The story line is interesting and unpredictable. The music is beautifully haunting. I’m glad a was able to catch Rudderless and feel this movie is one I will go back to one day.

Green Room (2015) Movie Review by John Walsh


Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Writer: Jeremy Saulnier
Stars: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat

Green Room is a turbulent, violent, siege thriller from Jeremy Saulnier. It follows the Ain’t Rights, a downtrodden punk band that unintentionally witness the murder of a young woman and subsequently find themselves trapped within a remote Oregon roadhouse, surrounded by a murderous group of skinheads that want them dead.

The film opens in a cornfield with the band awakening in their van. Evidently empty on gas, the fragile nature of their day to day existence is perfectly illustrated by their need to syphon fuel in order to continue on to a pre-arranged podcast interview. Upon arriving, they answer the usual inane questions, before things take an awkward turn for the worse when a promised gig falls through. The interviewer, probably fearing a beating, offers them a short set that earns them a whopping $25 and some takeaway food scraps consisting of rice and beans. The same mohican wearing interviewer later tells them of a bigger opportunity at an out of town roadhouse and so off they go chasing the cash.

Now at the roadhouse, the band then humorously chose to begin their gig with a Dead Kennedy’s cover of ‘Nazi Punks Fuck Off’. Perhaps not the best of song choices in a venue, where I think even dear Adolf himself would’ve blushed at the sheer amount of Nazi paraphernalia on show. SS lightning bolts and all manner of other neo-Nazi symbolism adorning just about every free surface. The bands less than subtle displeasure at the audiences ideologies earns them a few thrown bottles, finger flicks and looks of disgust, but the majority appreciate the ballsiness and mosh along regardless. The film then cuts to end of their gig, with the band walking backstage towards the dressing room, only to be told of a change of plan and hurriedly ushered away. Sam (Alia Shawcat); the drummer, suddenly remembering that she’s left her phone, asks Pat (Anton Yelchin); the bassist, to retrieve it. Sneaking away, he hurriedly enters the dressing room and stumbles upon a murder scene. Lying on the floor, with a knife protruding from her temple is a young woman. Of course, in a panic and with her friend screaming at him to call the cops, Pat rushes from the room and rings 911, but only has time to speak a few brief words before it’s ripped from his grasp and the band are forced into the room again.

It’s at this point really that the film begins. The band are locked inside the room with the bearded brute of a man, Big Justin (Eric Edelstein) and left to stew a little while, whilst Gabe (Macon Blair), who’s had to concoct a story, runs off and explains the mess to his superior. He then picks two loyal members of the group and has them stab each other in order to get rid of the nuisance cops. Darcy (Patrick Stewart) the leader of the organised, skinhead, crime network, mostly dealing heroin and dabbling with fight dogs, then arrives on the scene clearly meaning business. Initially, he masquerades as a reasonable man who’s trying to resolve the situation amicably, whilst in the background he’s already coordinating a plan to have them killed. Speaking softly through the door to the trapped musicians, he attempts to reassure them that everything will be fine. That is until things go south in the dressing room and the band overpower Big Justin, taking him down with a choke manoeuvre and relieving him of his gun. “You’re trapped. That’s not a threat, that’s just fact” he tells them as the facade begins to slip.

What follows is a pretty traditional horror style film if truth be told. The musicians and the dead girls friend, Amber (Imogen Poots) begin frantically trying to find a means of escaping from within and they do actually discover a bunker underneath the dressing room, but their hopes of escape are dashed when they discover the sole exit is locked from above. And so, when Pat has his arm grotesquely sliced open by the ‘red lace’ machete wielding lunatics, after attempting to hand over the gun to Darcy, it becomes apparent that there’s only one option left. That option being to try and fight their way out. In the usual fashion of these type of films, there’s several failed attempts at escaping, with the groups numbers slowly dwindled down as the film progresses. There’s plenty of shocking moments, including a couple with a particularly blood thirsty fight-dog, not to mention some brutally realistic gore. It’s wasn’t all serious either with some good use of dark humour throughout. The running joke about the desert island bands was particularly good. It’s reemergence, and punch line if you like, in the final shot was genuinely well worked and funny.

The film features some pretty solid acting from the cast as a whole, with even smaller supporting characters putting in very decent performances. I was particularly impressed with the dialogue and interaction between most of the characters, which felt very natural. With that in mind, I can’t really go into full detail with each and every one of them. The three that really stood out to me however were Anton Yelchin as Pat, Imogen Poots as Amber and Patrick Stewart as Darcy. The latter really impressing as something of a mastermind villain, methodically issuing orders out, whilst spearheading an elaborate cover story, that would see the band take the fall for the deaths at the roadhouse. It was the earlier encounters though that were a firm favourite of mine. His soft, dulcet tones, carrying the most subtle of American twang. Yelchin and Poots meanwhile, I thought had great chemistry in their scenes together and both delivered impressive, believable performances that effectively carried the film from around the mid way point through to the end.

I enjoyed this film. It was a simple enough story, but was very well executed. It had a good mixture of tension, action and properly shocking moments. I would have no hesitation recommending this film.