Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Summer is ridiculously here with "F9" and "The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard"


Many states are opening up now, and as movies like "F9" and "The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard" get released, it feels like a post-quarantine summer movie season is here.

There is a scene early in "F9" where Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris are talking about all the missions they've been on over the course of the franchise. They take a moment to realize that over all the crazy things they've done, they don't have a scratch on them to show for it. "F9" is as ridiculous as this franchise gets, and it even tested my appetite for cheesy summer blockbusters. I still cackle at the realization that this franchise started as a gritty, realistic, neo-noir crime movie about street racing and has morphed into a no-nonsense thesis on nonsense. But I can at least find the charm when the movie takes the time to realize how preposterous a franchise they've created.

"F9" and "The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard" really feel like a pair of summer blockbusters. Which I guess is perfect for now. They are both are stupid in terms of laws of logic and physics. They both feature humor that walks the line between clever and corny. They both feature crazy amounts of action. They also both feature terrific A-list led ensembles. How much you like either of these films will solely depend upon how much craziness you an tolerate and how much you turn your mind off.

I like Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson quite a bit. I can't really remember the one time I rented "The Hitman's Bodyguard." It was kind of fun for what I can remember, but as you can read, not very memorable. I didn't think it was something that needed a sequel. After watching the movie itself, I can tell why this didn't need a sequel. So much of it feels like treading water. Recycled jokes from the last movie. Memorable plot mechanics. Memorable humor. Just with Salma Hayek in the mix. I like Salma a lot, but she's not enough to save an otherwise paper thin action film. I think at this point Reynolds and Jackson can bring charisma into anything, and that at least makes what you're watching fun, but the movie itself as a familiar plot and of course, everything ends up okay in the end.

On the plus side, I do like that Frank Grillo shows up in this. I think he's on his way to being a leading star and he's showing that he can be loose and limber with the right script. He's not just a gritty tough guy all the time.

The mission statement of "The Fast and Furious" movies seems to be how can we be more ridiculous in the next movie. That becomes perfectly clear when the rumors end up true and the crew literally shoot themselves up into space to stop a satellite late in the film. Cipher, the cyberterrorist Charlize Theron plays is still at large here and she teams up with Dom's estranged brother Jakob (John Cena) to add some stakes. But when Han (Sung Kang) ends up alive and the explanation for why he's alive is flimsy at best, why does any death matter? Why even bother adding stakes at all if nothing those stakes provide matters? I don't really know how this franchise is going to keep me invested or expect me to care about this family onscreen if everybody can come back from the dead. And in speaking of coming back from the dead, this franchise has made it clear that one person in particular can't come back. And I'm not sure if it helps or haunts the franchise to treat one actor as some kind of shadow in the background. It's weird to me.

The bottom line is, both of these movies have summer blockbuster all over them. If you want to see some crazy car chases involving giant magnets, look no further. If you want three wisecracking hitmen stopping a destructive plot, look no further. Its going to depend upon the individual on whether or not you find either of these films charming or cheesy. Even though I've been a fan of the mindless fun that comes along with "The Fast and Furious" franchise, this latest entry has even tested my patience on the formula a bit.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

DC Animation strikes again with "Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One"

                                               

I'm not going to waste time sounding like a broken record. I've written hundreds and hundreds of words regarding my love for the DC animated movies. I don't love them all, but they are so good, so entertaining to watch. At this point, you may have jumped on watching them. They release a few direct-to-video each year. They bring some really good talent in for voice acting. They have made some of their own stories and adapted some great storylines from the comics. They have become a part of each year I look forward to as a movie fan.

This year has been a doozy. First, was "Batman: Soul of the Dragon" a Batman story that took place in the 70's and was told in the style of blaxploitation and 70's style kung fu films. It was so much fun. And now, available today, was the first half of the adaptation of "Batman: The Long Halloween." This is one of the greatest Batman comics of all time. We are finally getting an honest-to-God adaptation of it. Like I said, it is a doozy. Everything I hoped it would be so far.

"Batman: The Long Halloween" takes place in some of the early years in Batman's crimefighting career. It has even been suggested that "The Long Halloween" takes place on the same Earth as "Batman: Year One." The various mob families in Gotham City are trying to hold onto their power as the more colorful supervillains of Gotham begin to rise in power. The most powerful of these mobsters is Carmine "The Roman" Falcone, the character you may remember from "Batman Begins." Without warning, people connected to Falcone's criminal empire begin being murdered, always on a holiday. It starts with Halloween, then Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, another member of Falcone's crime family is killed. Even though Batman is in an alliance with Captain James Gordon of the Gotham police department and Harvey Dent, the district attorney of the city, to bring down the Falcone crime family, they must also find out who the holiday killer is.

If you know the history of these characters, there is quite of fun ahead of you. It's a great story of how certain characters are born and how Batman builds a persona that is to last for years. There are some incredible actors who provide their voices here. Including Jansen Ackles as Batman, Josh Duhamel as Harvey Dent, Naya Rivera as Catwoman (in the last role she'll have, unfortunately), David Dastmalchian as The Calendar Man, Titus Welliver as Falcone and Troy Baker doing a great Mark Hamil-like take on The Joker.

There's lots of good twists and turns here and there is quite the cliffhanger left as the film concludes. This is was just so much fun, and you should check it out.


Monday, June 21, 2021

"Luca" isn't top tier Pixar, but its good

                                                

There was a time in the late 90's and throughout the 2000's where Pixar seemed to be able to do no wrong. They made thought-provoking but wildly entertaining animated movies that appealed to every age in the theater. They walked a thin line between something for adults and something just for kids, and there movies were a massive mix of emotions. You and your family was getting something truly special each time a new Pixar film came out.

But these days, Pixar has become just another animated studio these days. They are making fluff pieces just for kids. They are repeating themselves, instead of challenging themselves, which seemed to be defining characteristic of theirs. Sure, every once in awhile, they remind us what made them special in the first place. Every once in awhile, they make something like "Inside Out" or "Soul" and I find myself getting excited again. But then they continue to make things they make now. There is nothing wrong with making safe kids movies...I guess. I just always appreciated Pixar because they dared to treat kids smarter than any other studio, and now they seem to fall in line with them.

"Luca" is about a sea monster named Luca Paguro, voiced by the incredible child actor Jacob Tremblay. Luca is training to be a goatfish herder. His life has grown mundane, and he dreams of going to the surface and seeing what land life is like. His parents forbid it though, out of fear of the humans, see humans hunt sea monsters, so it would be very dangerous for Luca to venture to the surface. 

So guess what Luca wants to do? Go ahead. Guess. Like a shoemaker who wants to be a musician, or a rat that wants to be a chef or a princess who wants to be a warrior or a world of cars that wants to make sense, Luca wants to go to the surface. Like so many Pixar movies recently, this is about a person who wants to defy the odds and take a risk. A just message for a family film, but one we've seen so many times when Pixar used to mix things up and that it feels redundant. So of course, Luca makes a friend. His friend's name is Alberto (voiced by Jack Dylan Grazer) he's a free-spirited, expressive and enthusiastic sea monster who ventures to the surface world alot. When he shows Luca that when sea monsters are on the surface and the water dries off their skin, they appear human. Luca can't resist then, he wants to see the surface more often.

Alberto is hungry to see the whole world, he has a dream to get ahold of Vespa, a motorcycle where he can travel the world. Alberto gets Luca excited about an Italian triathlon with a cash prize big enough for them to buy a Vespa. So disguised as humans, they train for the triathlon, and make friends with a human girl named Giulia (Emma Berman) who helps them train. One thing I will praise "Luca" for is the small scale of the story's stakes. Not every single storyline in movies has to be a world crisis. In fact, its good to remind kids that the small things in life matter, and how dedication and hard work to something than help them earn some type of reward and help them gain confidence they will need in this world.

There's humor in this movie but its all slapstick silliness around when Luca and Alberto get wet. They are able to dry at a break-neck speed which makes you question science and logic in equal measure. The mythology of the sea monsters is very vague, and usually Pixar is much better building a world for the characters and story to compliment, and that's just not the case here. The animation is top-notch, which is something we can always depend upon with Pixar. There is lots of talent in the voice acting department, including Maya Rudolph and Jim Gaffigan, all of whom do good work here.

Pixar doesn't seem to be itself these days. It's weird to me that "Onward," "Soul" and "Luca" did not appear behind a paywall on Disney+ like all of their recent releases. I don't know what's going on behind the scenes, if anything and I am not trying to stir the pot. It's merely an observation. If Disney is going to act like they don't care, why should I care? "Luca" isn't a bad film at all. It's quite entertaining and I think how much you like it or love it will depend on how much you are pulled into this world. These days, it seems Pixar is either making things exclusively for adults or they are playing very kid friendly, when back in their golden years they treaded the line perfectly. They are just another family studio making family movies. That isn't a bad thing, but its very different then what they used to be.

Monday, June 14, 2021

I've decided who my favorite working director is...

 Sometimes, its not always easy for me to pick my favorites of anything. I can be rash, or sometimes I can be in the moment. Making my top ten of each year, making my top 1000 almost a year ago, I really try with those lists. I take time to think what really made an impression on me when I sit down to make lists. Naming favorite actors and filmmakers gets tough for me. Its weird because I feel like I generally like most actors and I like most filmmakers. I've spent my whole my life being deep in film fandom, and I've come to realize that even the best actors and even the best filmmakers have some movies on their resumes that aren't good. It doesn't make them bad. Movies are art, and sometimes it means something different to others. Also I love movies from all genres and decades, and that makes picking favorites more complicated too.

But after some thinking, and watching a really cool trailer over the weekend, I think I know who my favorite working director is. I've spent lots of time watching this guys movies. I've loved them all. But loving his movies isn't enough. There are plenty of directors out there that I don't think have missed yet, like Quentin Tarantino. I've loved all of Tarantino's films. The thing with Tarantino. Its the same thing with Christopher Nolan. You can see this with dozens of filmmakers. Tarantino, Nolan...these guys take the same core idea and retell the same story over and over again. Tarantino is always making a Western. Essentially all of his movies are Westerns, that revolve around revenge. Nolan's "Memento," "Inception" and "The Dark Knight" may not look the same. But they are all about a man who is trying to better his life, but ends up making things worse. Same with "The Prestige" too. Great movies, but all feature the same core concept.

Even when you look at work by titans such as Steven Spielberg or Martin Scorsese, these are two men who don't necessarily repeat themselves. However, and I am going to sound like an artsy-fartsy tool for saying this, but they both have distinct "visual signatures." There are certain styles and certai shots that you can only find in a Speilberg or Scorsese movie. You can watch "Goodfellas," "Shutter Island," "Gangs of New York" and "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" over a nice long weekend and come away thinking, yeah Martin Scorsese made all of those. It's hard to describe, but many directors have their own visual signatures. Things you can spot and tell yourself, hey this is made by so-and-so.

I think Edgar Wright is my favorite working director. "Shaun of the Dead," "Hot Fuzz," "Baby Driver," "Scott Pilgrim" I LOVE THESE MOVIES. I LOVE THEM LOTS. But again, its more than love. I love that Edgar Wright never really repeats himself. "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz" may both feature Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in lead roles, but they are totally different movies, not just in story but execution as well. "Baby Driver" may as well exist on a totally different planet from those films. As does "Scott Pilgrim" and even "At World's End." They each feel different thematically. 

Edgar Wright is a genuine movie nerd. His favorites list was my inspiration to create my Top 1000 Favorite Films. He is a lover of all movies, and genres and styles. That really shows in his movies. When you watch each movie I listed above, there is a certain genre he is playing with in each film or genres. He is able to make them stick out in a particular way. There are tons of references to other films, which just shows Wright's nerdiness. It's amazing to see him show off his inspirations, while also making the movies his own.

Check out this trailer for "The Last Night in Soho." My God, I can't wait to see this. "Shaun of the Dead" may have had horror elements, but it was an ultimately funny movie. "The Last Night In Soho" looks like a full blown horror movie. I can't wait to see it.


Check out the movies above, and get ready to see my favorite director at work...

Friday, June 11, 2021

New Order: A Violent Green Revolution!


Well this isn't something you put on when you've got a free Saturday night and you want to be entertained.

"New Order" is an import from Mexico, it won a few jury prizes during a festival run, right around the time the world started shutting down for COVID. It's a movie that gives a visualization of what it might look like if the poor got fed up enough and decided they were finally going to eat the rich. I am not going to pretend I am an expert on class and politics down in Mexico, but some of this film is at least relatable as an American viewer. Sometimes, it seems like we are barely holding a violent revolution of some kind by mere shoe-strings. It seems we are divided by class and race and host of other things, nobody wants to help, we just want to point our fingers on those on the other side of the fence. Telling the world our problems are all their fault.

"New Order" begins at a wedding, of Marianne (Naian Gonzalez Norvind) and Cristian (Fernando Cuautle). The families of Marianne and Cristian are rich, uber rich it seems. There is a lavish party for the newlyweds, the judge is on their way to make the wedding legal, but they are taking a long time. There is talk of jammed airports and hospitals. Civil unrest in the distance of Mexico City. Then when Marianne's mom goes to turn on the water in her bathroom, it runs green. There is small talk and some quick development before a bunch of people begin to rush the wedding. The civil unrest spilling into this wedding.

Why is everyone angry? Well it seems like the 99% is after the 1%, but there is no real context set to why. I guess with social class divides in my own country, I should get the point of why a bunch of poor people are wanting to stick it to the rich. But every country has their own history and their own culture and society. The reasons why the poor here in America would want to eat the rich may not align with the reasons the poor in Mexico would want to do the same. Why the uprising is happening, who organized it, and why this is all happening is never really explained.

Marianne is eventually taken by military. As she leaves her wedding party to help a person close to their family, who is poor and needing money for a family medical procedure. The military are bad though. It seems a shady, shadowy, evil military organization has seized the opportunity to take over the country. At least, that's what I thought? Again, we are never given an explanation to how this military entity took power so easily, or if the poor are in cahoots with the military. That too, is never explained. We just know that Marianne is being ransomed for money, along with lots of other people belonging to rich families. While Marianne's family works behind the scenes to get the cash, while Marianne is subject to a horrible prison experience.

I was interested in "New Order" for a couple reasons. I like international cinema quite a bit. I also saw the trailer on YouTube a few months back and found it fascinating. The movie is really too short for any real development to take place, and I don't think enough of the story is given the explanation it needs for me to care. Take note though, there is some very striking imagery in this movie. But for as much talk I read online about the brutality on display in this film, I honestly thought "The Nightingale" from 2018 was harder to sit through.

Still though, this a movie for a certain kind of audience. Again, not a Friday night fun night where when you have an evening free you put on "New Order." If you really care what a political and social uprising would look like today, look no further. But if want context, its missing here.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

"In The Heights" is the perfect movie at the perfect time

                                       

2020 was a hard year, but you don't need me to tell you that.

In fact 2020 through right now has been hard. We are feeling lots of political angst. We experienced a once in a lifetime global pandemic, and sadly some people really believed it wasn't real. We saw social injustice occur. We've been separated from a our families and our friends and our communities and it seems we all didn't get through this passed year without any scars. On the eve I write this up, my home state of Illinois is going to be fully open. It's been great to see news reports of excitement throughout my state. I'm personally fully vaccinated, say what you want about it, I'm not here to debate you, but I am glad I got it done for myself. It seems we are slowly coming out of the dark, even though we have tons still to work on as a people, we are getting out of the dark.

It's a perfect time to go to your local theater and see "In The Heights."

Some of you may shy away and say eww, musical. But we live in cynical world right now, and for some reason, we are addicted to cynical stories right now. I don't know why you'd truly want dark superhero movies when the world around us is so dark already, but its the time we are living in right now. It helps me to see something as joyous and as broad-stroked as this. Something that makes you feel happy to be alive. We get one life, and you got to be sure you're happy.

"In The Heights" takes place in a neighborhood in New York City called Washington Heights. It's a closely knit community of diverse individuals, who are all trying to get by and make their dreams come true. Usnavi (Anthony Ramos) is trying to get enough money together to go back to the Dominican Republic and get a beach bar. Kevin Rosario (Jimmy Schmits) is selling his life in order to send his daughter to Harvard, while his daughter (Leslie Grace) wants to make a difference in her community. Usnavi has a crush on a girl named Vanessa (Melissa Barrera) who just wants to be seen through her art.

These people. Their friends. Their family. Their entire community. It all interweaves together. The community affects the people as a whole. The community and vibrant and they feel for each other. It's the type of energy we need so much right now. Not in just one community but in all communities. We can achieve our dreams together, but we have to try first.

If you caught "Hamilton" on Disney+ or if you actually saw the musical live, you know Anthony Ramos and Lin-Manual Miranda, who also makes an appearance in this movie. These guys have the goods and there are many great musical numbers and dancing in this movie. I don't know the backgrounds of the other performers. I don't know if actors like Schmits or Corey Hawkins or Stephanie Beatriz really sang, but its a fun watch all the way through, the music is so addictive throughout.

We need a movie like "In The Heights" right now. I implore you all to see this in a theater. Allow this thing to make money, lots of it. Send the message to Hollywood, loud and clear. Sing it out. We need movies like this right now. It's boisterous but its also human. A wonderful piece of pop entertainment that also means something true in all of us. Please pay money to see this.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

"Seance" is a big splash for Simon Barrett

                                         

I don't know how many horror fans know the name Simon Barret, but they surely should. He has written some of the best modern horror movies in recent memory. He's written and directed segments in the anthology movies "V/H/S" and "V/H/S 2" and "The ABC's of Death." All fun films for all horror fans to see. He also wrote "You're Next," something you need to just track down and see without watching trailers or reading about it. You'll be glad you did. He also wrote "The Guest," a fun little action horror thriller. Last but kind of least, he wrote the 2016 "Blair Witch." He's had all sorts of stuff to his name by now. In 2021, he wrote and directed his first full feature film, "Seance."

"Seance" feels like the typical horror film you've probably seen before. A bunch of girls at a boarding school are having fun scaring each other during lights out. Alice (Innana Sarrkis) is the ruthless leader of this clique of girls and one of her pranks involves invoking a suicide of a past student. This rattles Kerrie, one of Alice's girlfriends. Kerrie, played by Megan Best, heads back to her room and after some weird stuff happening there she dies. It is also ruled a suicide.

New student Camille Meadows (Suki Waterhouse) takes Kerrie's place at the school. She is bullied by Alice and her horrible friends, which leads all of them to detention. Instead of doing what they are supposed to do, they try to contact Kerrie through a seance. Like these movies usually go, talking to ghosts once they've left the Earth tends to not go well. Alice's girlfriends eventually begin to die one at a time. Is there an angry ghost after them? Is Camille killing them? Is Alice killing them? What's going on here?!

Something to expect from a Simon Barrett movie is to expect the unexpected. "Seance" unravels like a typical slasher ghost thriller, but there are little tweaks to the genre that I found unexpected. Nothing is completely what it seems, and had "Seance" received a full blown theatrical release, it would have been a spooky good time at theater. It's not perfect, but it sure is fun. I love how Barrett inserts some fun into horror movies and rich characters that are full of fun too.

Suki Waterhouse, Inanna Sarrkis, Madisen Beaty, Ella-Rae Smith, Stephanie Sy and Djouliet Amara make up the main cast of girls, and they all do a good job. They all bring something special to their roles while also making their characters feel human. They do really well here. The boarding school is just creepy enough to create some good tension, but isn't the typical old boarding house meant to look creepy because that's what we expect here. There is a difference to what Barrett creates.

I don't want to spill too many beans on this one. If you are a fan of this genre, check this one out. If you've seen any of the movies I listed in my first paragraph, then you'll probably know to expect. If you like horror that throws a wrench into what you think you're going to see, this should be a fun one for you.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Oh hey! It's Cruella...but no De Vil

                                         

This is the last straw. The straw that broke the camel's back.

If Disney, or any studio for that matter, makes another origin story about a supervillain and explains that they really aren't so bad, but society or an even more evil individual was responsible for their villainy and their just plain misunderstood, well I am going to skip them. I don't think "Hannibal Rising," or "Maleficent" or "Joker" and I am not such a fan of "Cruella." To put it in the simplest of terms, I find movies like this pointless, especially when "Cruella" and the other movies I listed take monstrous villains and explain them in the lamest of terms.

If you want more, I'll be happy to indulge. I think Emma Stone and Emma Thompson are having a ball in this movie, and that at least makes it watchable. If you think a hybrid of sorts involving "Joker" and "The Devil Wears Prada" sounds like fun to you, then you should see this. You may be the audience for it. It doesn't play as dark or daring as either of those films, because this is still Disney after all. But you may still have fun. The set design and the costume design is about as outstanding as it could get, and this movie could possibly get Oscar nods in both those categories next year. The supporting cast includes Mark Strong, Joel Fry and Paul Walter Hauser, all of whom do very well here. The movie has an awesome soundtrack, and the movie is great to just sit and listen to. 

I just wish this was all in service of a movie that wasn't pointless.

So here's the thing, Emma Stone's Cruella is actually Estella and she was raised by a single mother. Her mother knew from a young age how cunning her daughter was, but she loved her. One night, she goes to the house of a lady for help. Instead, the lady kills her mother and Estella is orphaned. She rises on the streets meeting two kind-hearted con men named Horace and Jasper (ho, ho!) and eventually gets into fashion. The lady that killed her mother is known as The Baroness (Thompson), who is a high profile fashion designer, and Estella who has been going by Cruella as a nickname as a girl, gets her revenge!

If you really want to call it that. In the original 1961 animated movies, and the live-action Glenn Close movies, Cruella DeVil was a dog napper. She killed dogs in order to make coats out of them. That's an awful, slimy person to say the very least. Here, she has dog side kicks, she apologizes for all of her bad behavior. Horace and Jasper agree to do Cruella's bidding because she is going after bad people. She's still very pro-dog by the end of the film. How does she get the nick name DeVil? Why are you wasting The Rolling Stone's best song on a character who doesn't transform into a villain by the end?

There is literally a mid-credit scene where Roger is writing the famous Cruella DeVil song from the animated classic. But in the context of this film, it makes no sense. Cruella commits some crimes here, but none of them really affect Roger. She apologizes for how she treats people and the movie makes us believe that even her shady at best actions are justified. Why have the song written in the first place? How can you expect me to believe this Cruella turns into a psychopathic dog-napper?

These villain origin movies we are getting aren't offensive. They aren't completely bad, and that what is making them even more frustrating. There is lots of good work and effort going into these movies. But the movies themselves are just pointless. I want to know why Cruella DeVil became the dog-hating, dog-killing coat maker from the other films. I don't care about Estella, I don't care about another girl on film getting wronged and them getting their revenge, always playing the revenge safe because this is Disney film. 

If you want to make a villain origin story, cool. But you got to make sure they are villains by the end of the film.

Saturday, June 5, 2021

The Devil Made Me Tell You About the Third Conjuring Movie...

                                         

We are living in a time cinematic universes. While there are have been a ton that have tried to emulate Marvel, many have not been successful. DC went from trying to catch up with Marvel, and has instead resorted down to kind of doing something different, maybe. Universal tried it with "The Dark Universe," but "The Mummy" in 2017 was so bad that the Dark Universe was only one movie. Arguably, the second most successful cinematic universe next to the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been the Conjuring Universe. I bet one day what's going on with Godzilla and King Kong will get there, but for right now its Conjuring. They branched out into other franchises and they've garnered lots of fans. While "Annabelle," and "The Nun" and all are fine, nothing beats the scares of the first two Conjuring films.

The third film, "The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It," may be a mouthful for a film title, it's based on an actual case from 1981. It was literally known as the Devil Made Me Do It case. It involved Ed and Lorraine Warren, real life demonologists who performed an exorcism on an 8-year-old. Apparently during the exorcism, Arnie; a family member, invites the demon inside of him so it will leave the 8-year-old. Later, Arnie kills his landlord, but it wasn't really Arnie apparently, it was the evil spirit forcing him to. Arnie was in some deep trouble in 1981, but the Warrens helped with the trial. Instead of the death chair, Arnie served 5 years for manslaughter. It sounds too wild to be a true story, but all of the Conjuring movies are based on actual cases regarding the Warrens. An actual recording of the real exorcism plays during the credits.

Patrick Wilson and Vera Farminga have become the Warrens at this point. There is a grace of realism in their performances. They make it real and authentic. Which is good, because this third film is easily the craziest of the films made so far. There is so much wild imagery on display that I wonder just how much of it was reality and how much of it was Hollywood exaggerating the realism.

The first film in the series is arguably the scariest, while the second film had some good scenes. I can't say I was honestly scared throughout much of this. Too much of a reliance on special effects, not enough of the tense imagery and shock value of the first two films. The story itself is very interesting, but this wasn't nearly as scary as the first two. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

"A Quiet Place Part II" just kind of exists

                                         

I was a really big fan of the first "A Quiet Place." The whole cast, across the board, were amazing in it. It proved that John Krasinski had an eye for directing. It was amazing telling a modern story nearly in silence. Most of all, it had some really scary parts in it. The entire stretch of Emily Blunt in the bathtub is probably one of my favorite moments in any scary movie in the last decade. I was really happy with the film overall and I was excited by the prospect of a sequel.

A sequel is exactly what we got. John Krasinski is once again directing. Krasinski co-wrote the first film with Bryan Woods and Scott Beck, and this time for the sequel, he is writing all by himself. He proves once again that he's got a remarkable eye. He can shoot scenes really well. He can bring some great performances out of people, even veteran great actors like Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou. I think if Krasinski really wants a career directing movies, he's going to be just fine.

With all that said and with all do respect, I don't think "A Quiet Place Part II" really goes anywhere as a sequel. It almost doesn't feel scary. It doesn't have a single moment that even comes close to matching the bathtub scene in the first film. There is a cool opening sequence, where we learn (kind of) what life was like the moment before the aliens came to Earth. Why the aliens came and what their motive is, is never expanded upon. But it usually isn't in movies like this. I always find it fun seeing how the world fell apart in these types of movies, and its a pretty good opening scene. 

Besides the opening sequence, I can't really say there's anything else really scary. There aren't any good boo scares and not much suspense, and I think that was the most disappointing thing about the movie.

Cillian Murphy plays an old friend of John Krasinski's character and he eventually meets up with Krasinski's family, Murphy knows of a place where other survivor's are. The family plan to go to this Survivor's colony, which is on an island. The aliens can't seem to swim very well. There, they will use the signal from the daughter's deaf earpiece to send an even greater signal to help fight the aliens. Okay, cool story, but it does end up feeling like a bigger version of the first movie.

The acting is still solid all around. There is still some fun to be had. But "A Quiet Place Part II" does indeed feel like a sequel.