REVIEW: “A QUIET PLACE PART II” (2021) Paramount Pictures

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Sequels. That dreaded word to most – as they usually begin where the original inevitable cliffhanger of it’s predecessor left off. It’s usually a re-hashed, mish-mash of the original film, and rarely if ever, is it as good as the original. Well colour us thankfully out of that sequel slump as “THE QUIET PLACE PART II“, is anything BUT a slouch of it’s original.

This wonderfully woven sequel gives us the briefest of a flash of the past, probably just for old time-sakes to remember where we were, but then with the flick of scene, we are brought to a time we have never seen before. The time before ‘it’ all began that we all really wanted to know about, and answers so many questions in a very short time. Wrapping up it up cleanly on how ‘the Quiet’ came upon them, and giving us our first glimpses of the monsters that we now know, who hunt by sound, like the dropping of a pin or too loud of a breath, and just like that, they’ve got you. And right as we understand the implications, again, with another flick of the scene, we just skip from day one of the invasion to day 474 of the apocalypse, just after mom Evelyn, kills the alien in her home in the first movie that started it all, ‘A Quiet Place‘.

Continuing on, as Evelyn (Emily Blunt), Regan (Millicent Simmonds), and Marcus (Noah Jupe), are forced to venture out and continue traveling on foot with baby Abbott in tow. They enter the fortified compound of old family friend Emmett (Cillian Murphy), who is not nearly as welcoming as they hoped. The family must now face the terrors outside, while continuing their journey and struggle for existence while in complete silence. They also now know some of the vulnerabilities that the aliens are susceptible to as well, like the high-frequency audio feedback from Regan’s cochlear implant hearing aid. But by being forced to venture into the unknown, they realize that these aliens that hunt by sound, aren’t the only dangers they face lurking in the beyond. In a turn of events, Marcus and Regan discover a radio signal that plays the song “Beyond the Sea” over and over on repeat, and after some doing, finally realize the whereabouts of the location it’s emanating from. Regan figures this might be her chance to not just find, but help other survivors that might be stranded as well. But as with everything in a twisty-turning film like this one, there is always going to be that one thing in the narrative that doesn’t really turn out the way you might want or need it to, or maybe it does? And therein lies the fun, brilliance and suspense of it all.

To give away anymore of this film would be to spoil it inherently, and that’s just something to not be done. What can be said is how much a ‘A Quiet Place II‘ does an amazing job of ‘world’ building, to use an odd descriptive of how the locales are made to look deserted and destroyed, with a worn, dilapidated sense to many of them. Along with the places and the practices that must be observed to live in this world help to flesh out this apocalyptic-type setting, just add to the overall feel of the film. There are some imaginative locations and very clever tricks used by everyone in the film to essentially, ‘stay quiet’. This takes thought, oodles of imagination, and is to be appreciated as it adds so much to the sense of tension surrounding our characters. The film is also an acoustical treat for the ears, (ours – definitely not theirs), with great sound and some amazingly detailed, very quiet panic scenes where it made the silence truly all the more deafening. As well, the acting is very good with Simmonds’ taking over as the main lead character, and Blunt playing the strong, albeit, more supporting part. Krasinski, well, he is briefly here at the beginning of our story to tell us why. But it’s truly Simmonds’ who rises to the occasion of being the lead with a fantastic, captivating and compelling performance. Jupe and Hinds, put in some good support here as well, as truly everyone here has a lot to do to just survive, and some of the activities they are forced to do while staying silent are really quite amazing to witness and watch. 

Krasinski divides the action here over three separate narratives, cross-cutting between them to heighten the tension at important points. All the while, he never loses sight of the fact that A Quiet Place Part II – is a horror film, and he keeps the well-crafted scares coming at a steady pace. All in all, Krasinski does the almost impossible here by making a sequel that – dare I say it – is better than the original.

“A”

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Review Screening: Monday, May 17, 2021 ~ Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

A QUIET PLACE PART II” OPENS IN THEATERS NATIONWIDE ON FRIDAY, MAY 28, 2021

Insta REVIEW: “FIRST MAN” (2018) Universal

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Just done watching #FirstMan after a long torturous drive from the Westside to #UniversalCityWalk .. and an even more arduous journey home…I can say I DID IT!!. And got myself a #VoodooDonut to add and they are just as good as everyone says.

Okay okay..I’m getting to the part about the movie.. it’s a foray from #DamienChazelle into space that I never imagined could be so tense, frought with sadness and despair, and yet delves so well in what can only be described as stunning filmmaking chronicling mans marvels and mishaps leading to the ultimate achievement – the first man on the moon. #RyanGosling is solid here, but without his supporting cast of #ClaireFoy #CoreyStoll #JasonClarke #KyleChandler #EthanEmbry #PatrickFugit #LukasHaas #PabloSchreiber to name just a few – are the keys to the lock of this film and his character.

From a technical standpoint the films wows in almost every aspect though there is a lot of shaky-cam work that never bodes well for me personally (headache inducing), but considering its about space and everything that that entails, including putting you in the astronauts helmet, I should have been expecting it.

All in all the almost 2 1/2 hour run time is filled with only a few momentary bumps in the road. This makes it three in a row for Chazelle as I have no doubt some of this will have some Oscar nods..#Whiplash is still hands down my personal favourite, but this one also educates you in the history of man’s exploration into space and is visually effective.

Grade: B
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Media Review screening courtesy of Universal Pictures

REVIEW: “RED SPARROW” (2018) 20th Century Fox

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So with my media screening confirmation for “RED SPARROW” we received this note from Director Francis Lawrence. I much appreciated this as I hate spoilers and always try to avoid them in reviews. However, after the screening, I’m thinking he doesn’t want anyone to reveal his ‘plot points’ and ‘ending’ because they are downright ridiculous.

To sum this up quickly and make this review as painless and short as possible the basics of this story is Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence), a Bolshoi Ballet dancer – yes, if you eyerolled here, you are not alone – who sees her career go down the tubes when her dance partner makes a bad move and breaks her leg. It’s a horrible break which would take months to heal let alone walk in heels – and yet there she is three miraculous months later – running around in heels. Not just that, but she finds out of a conspiracy on the part of the aforementioned partner and her replacement. This is all thanks to the fact that her uncle Vanya Egorov (Matthias Schoenaerts), who is nothing less than one of the heads of the secret service of the “mother country” has given her secret tape on this. Dominika exacts a revenge that can only been seen to be believed, in other words yes, again ridiculous. She is then faced with the need to keep her home and medical care for her sick mother, Nina (Joely Richardson), both of which have been provided by the Bolshoi. Well weclome back Uncle Vanya who offers her a job because you know..she has been so intuitive as a child even. YAWN! Well, sweet Uncle Vanya sends her to ‘Sparrow School’ or as JLaw puts it in her ridiculously bad Russian accent, Whore School. You know that place we all want to go to because they train you to have sex and use your body as a weapon to overcome the enemy. After watching some of the weirdest, most uncomfortable sex scenes to grace the screen in a long time, we go to part duex. Sigh.

Dominika has to approach Nate Nash (Joel Edgerton), a CIA agent who had been working for years with a mole in Moscow and who eventually had to leave the country when he unmasked himself when he mistook some police officers for secret service agents. Nash and Dominika immediately begin a relationship because of course they do – and of course the physical attraction will prove to be a bond to guarantee a “mutual benefit”.

Honestly, that’s all I can give and it’s even more than planned. Red Sparrow is just plain ridiculous and bad. There is no chance anyone is EVER going to believe Jennifer Lawrences’ performance here as not only a ballerina, but a Russian Agent to boot. EVER! Nor Joel Edgerton as a spy – I mean when is this guy ever going to speak his native Aussie again? He really tries with his accents, but never really gets it right. Not even my go to guy, Matthias Schoenaerts or the great Jeremy Irons can save this film. It’s almost like if Fifty Shades of Grey met Die Hard in the worst way possible. With Domenika’s line “They gave me a choice: die or become a sparrow.” I wish I could have chose for her and saved myself from watching this.

Grade: D-
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Media Review Screening: Tuesday, Febraury 20, 2018 ~ Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
RED SPARROW will be in theatres worldwide on Friday, March 2, 2018

REVIEW: “HITMAN: AGENT 47” (2015) 20th Century Fox

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The stunning Rupert Friend explodes onto the screen here as “Agent 47” – one of a numbered group of genetically DNA engineered ‘Hitman’ from the popular video game giving a second try at a film franchise here. Hannah Ware plays Katia van Dees, the daughter of a missing scientist Dr. Litvenko (Ciarán Hinds) who back in the 1960’s was responsible for creating a super-soldier program that brought Agent 47, and at least 46 other deadly assassins into the world. Syndicate International, one of those typical diabolical organizations that always seem to exist, run by Le Clerq (Thomas Kretschmann) wants Katia’s father as they think he holds the secrets to making more. Agent 47’s employers want her dead.
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Zachary Quinto’s aptly named character John Smith – who’s name pun you will understand when watching.. seems not to really fit his part in the beginning..after a few decent plot twists in his favour he turns it around and pulls his character off. He after all is also an ‘agent’ in a sense with a pretty neat change up of DNA in him.

Along with a bland storyline and too many plot holes to count or even care about, the films plus side is in if there is one demographic that it would try to please, it’s obvious that aim is for 15-20 yr olds video-gamers who live for hours stepping into this world of CGI-done assassins killing off his enemies while wreaking maximum havoc in the process. And oh..the blood looks good. I’m serious it really does. 47 1
Friend as Agent 47, is a killing machine fighting other killing machines with whom I’d thought that we’d seen every imaginable killing stunt – but this film truly does become imaginative in that area and comes up with some doozies I’d think the likes of us haven’t even dreamed up.
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In the end, we do have a few surprise twists but there is no spark of life is to be found in a few of the characters most disappointingly in Ware, whose Katia is meant to be the supposed emotional linchpin of the enterprise. We’ve seen Friend do the cold and calculating before as Peter Quinn on Homeland where he actually scares us at times. The same goes here, American accent included. They have a few moments of mild playfulness mostly that Friend tries half heartedly to inject in their partnership without much success.
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And of course what would the ending be if not to give us a little after name credits roll – scene of what is to come. And for the third time in a month, I’m seeing in that teaser scene what will probably be a better sequel than original.

End note: Paul Walker was scheduled to play Agent 47 and due to his untimely and tragic passing, Rupert Friend stepped in. RIP Paul

Grade: C-
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Screening: Tuesday, August 18th, 2015 – Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Nationwide release: Friday, August 21st, 2015