Reel Reviews: Silence is golden

By on April 11, 2018

‘A Quiet Place’

I successfully avoided seeing “Ready Player One,” and like many other theatregoers over the weekend, eagerly headed out to see “A Quiet Place.” The number one movie at the box office is the latest directorial attempt from John Krasinski (TV’s “The Office”), who also stars in this simple and short flick falling into the category of horror.

More sci-fi suspense than true horror (although Stephen King may disagree*), “A Quiet Place” tells the story of a family in a post-apocalyptic Earth overrun by “alien” beings who hunt with super hearing. The slightest sound brings swift and sure death as the shadow beings race from the woods to slaughter the noisemaker. Because of this (and perhaps the coolest part of the movie) the Abbott family has devised a lifestyle of survival, which includes laying down sand for barefoot travel, eating dinner off of leaves rather than plates, and communicating using American Sign Language.

Filled with a crazy amount of suspense, “A Quiet Place” throws the viewer into a life with similarities of human struggle under unimaginable circumstances. Laughter is muted. Communication struggles. Add childbirth into the equation and the entire movie becomes a series of gripping, edge-of-the-seat moments roughly strewn together in near silence.

My problem with “A Quiet Place” is the simple fact it could have been so much more. The beauty of the movie, which outweighs the bits of cheesy predictability, is the invention, adaptation, and coping the characters present when faced by the rigors of living in a world where sound is taboo. Krasinski should have taken a page out of Stanley Kubrick’s book and added another hour to this film. Oh, and Emily Blunt (as the Abbott mom) is amazing as expected.

*King tweeted over the weekend: “A Quiet Place is an extraordinary piece of work. Terrific acting, but the main thing is the silence, and how it makes the camera’s eye open wide in a way few movies manage.”

Actors Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe run for their lives in “A Quiet Place,” which was number
one at box offices last weekend.

‘Blockers’

As another measure to avoid seeing “Ready Player One” (sorry, I just have no interest in that movie at all) I got a ticket to see “Blockers” on the comedy’s opening weekend. Brought to screens by the writer who delivered “Pitch Perfect,” “Blockers” tries really hard (and fails) to be a mash up between “American Pie” and “The Hangover.”

Parents Lisa (Leslie Mann, “The Other Woman”), Mitch (pro wrestler turned actor, John Cena), and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz, “Neighbors”) discover their daughters have pledged to lose their virginity on prom night. Julie (Kathryn Newton, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Sam (Gideon Adlon), and Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) are regular teenage kids who just want to have a great time before heading off into adulthood. During their prom night adventure, they run into booze, drugs, and sex and discover a bit more about themselves than they knew heading into the evening.

As expected, this movie has its bits of belly-laughing humor, but most of the crass jokes just fall short and left me with an awkward feeling. Butt chugging beer? I mean, come on. There’s stupid-funny and then there’s just stupid. Sadly, most of “Blockers” falls into the just stupid category.

A prediction: the star on the rise is Viswanathan, who is believable, funny, and the most memorable actor in the movie. Anyway, I probably should have gone and seen “Ready Player One.”

Agree or disagree? Reel Reviews works like this: 1) Watch a movie; 2) Send suggestions, comments and criticism to Michael at SomeProMCU@gmail.com.

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