‘A Quiet Place’ is the best movie I’ve seen this year

Stop what you are doing and watch this movie.

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Lee (John Krasinski) and Evelyn (Emily Blunt) Abbott have one simple goal: keep their children safe. When the world is overtaken by predatory creatures who track their victims strictly through sound, this family has to rely on the most unique of survival instincts and methods to stay alive. Make a loud noise and these disgusting things will hunt you down like Liam Neeson.

A Quiet Place, directed and co-written by Krasinski, is easily the scariest film I’ve seen in years and an early candidate for best film of the year. What you have here is an emotionally-driven horror film with the most organic suspense that moviegoers have seen in the past decade. Alfred Hitchcock would have adored this film’s setup and follow-through.

Coming in at a lean 90 minutes, Krasinski and company don’t waste a minute of your time, grabbing your attention in the first five minutes with a gripping sequence that sets the tone for the rest of the experience. I dare you to check your phone or use the restroom during this movie. If you must leave the theater for an unforeseen reason, I hope you were a sprinter in high school, because you will miss something. Continue reading “‘A Quiet Place’ is the best movie I’ve seen this year”

‘Beirut’ is an audacious thriller with a star-making performance from Jon Hamm

Espionage supports the political poker game and thrills here

Mason Skiles (Jon Hamm) embraces the gutter. A former United States diplomat who suffered tragedy in the Middle East many years ago and abandoned everything that made him whole, Skiles spends the better part of his days drinking himself into a stupor with no care in the world for whether the night is old or young. When a former colleague and friend, Cal (Mark Pellegrino) is kidnapped, Skiles is requested to broker the exchange, thus bringing back all the trauma and bad blood of his past to the forefront.

As Mason would say, welcome to Beirut, an audacious and insightful thriller that holds your attention due to the star-making performance from Hamm. Continue reading “‘Beirut’ is an audacious thriller with a star-making performance from Jon Hamm”

‘Rampage’ is a big bucket of buttered cinematic popcorn

Wildly ridiculous and also kind of fun.

In order to properly introduce Brad Peyton’s Rampage to you, I feel like I need to do it in a “movie trailer voice guy” tone. Are you ready? Let’s go.

“In a world where evil rich corporations are testing chemicals on lab rats in outer space with the hopes of selling wild government contracts, something goes terribly wrong. The chemicals smash into the Earth and infect other animals, which is bad news. How bad? I’m talking about a ten-foot gorilla who smashes everything. A 30-foot wolf who can fly and devour ten men at once! An alligator mixed with a giant lizard who got a Godzilla makeover. It’s bad, baby! Who do you call? Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Davis Okoye. A special forces operative turned primatologist who is friends with the gorilla, named George. Can Davis rescue his friend, and in the process, save the world?!?!?¬† Continue reading “‘Rampage’ is a big bucket of buttered cinematic popcorn”

‘Ready Player One’ brings back the fun Spielberg touch

Wondrous and visually captivating, this film is a blast

James Halladay (Mark Rylance) didn’t get out much. An analog player in a digital world, James needed a place where he felt like he belonged and could escape to, so he created the Oasis, a virtual reality where regular people could become the extraordinary and escape their troubles. The device has created a dichotomy in the world, though, making reality a long-lost place where few wish to inhabit.

It is Halladay’s death that sparks Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, which sets up in 2045 and follows the young Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) as he prepares to race for the three keys that Halladay left behind. Once a player finds all three keys and locates the Easter egg that the creator left behind, they are entitled to ownership of the Oasis and all its stock and revenue.

Watts is far from alone. There is his resourceful ally, Aech aka H (Lena Waithe), who will crush a fellow racer with his monster truck before fixing the bike of the lovely Art3mis (Olivia Cooke). The dynamic combo of Sho (Philip Zhao) and Daito (Win Morisaki) can slice and dice their opponents with their Japanese samurai abilities. These and millions of others have battled for years to find the keys, but these days, most are just content to escape their world for a few hours. Continue reading “‘Ready Player One’ brings back the fun Spielberg touch”

‘Isle of Dogs’: An animated film for adults

Wes Anderson’s latest soars on real humor and heart

Separating a boy and his dog is a dangerous idea, but always makes for good entertainment. Isle of Dogs is an animated film that is best suited for adults-and it’s a wonderful time at the movies. First, let me tell you a little bit about the movie.

Writer/director Wes Anderson’s latest explores the lengths at which a 12 year old boy named Atari (Koyu Rankin) will go in order to find the dog assigned to protect him, Spot ( voiced by Liev Schreiber), who was dumped on a island by his vicious uncle. Mayor Kobayashi (Kunichi Numora) fears that his city is becoming saturated with sick dogs (infected with a flu-type virus), so he signs an order that pulls every single dog out of their homes and assigns them to an abandoned island. Thus, the isle of dogs.

In a film stock full of political satire and inside jokes, it’s best to appreciate the little things, because this film has so many wonderful details. Continue reading “‘Isle of Dogs’: An animated film for adults”

‘7 Days in Entebbe’ makes a great story seem boring

In the summer of 1976, Israel put their foot down as an international power, and that didn’t sit well with Palestine. War broke out, murder was commonplace, and politicians merely tried to keep a resemblance of peace. Israel’s reputation as a country that didn’t negotiate was put to the test when a group of freedom fighters hijacked a plane containing Jewish passenger, landing in Entebbe, Uganda, demanding terrorists held in Israeli prisons to be released.

7 Days in Entebbe is inspired by this true story, but I wouldn’t call it an idea that was executed well. Jose Padilha directs the movie like a guy reading a recipe off the internet, injecting nothing unique or thought-provoking into the tale to give it any extra cinematic juice. He basically sat in a chair and said, “go ahead”.

The plot is divided between the airport in Uganda and the political war room back in Israel, where the conservative peace seeking Prime Minister (Lior Askenazi, Norman) butts heads with the military force hungry advisor, Shimon Peres (Eddie Marsan, Ray Donovan). The strategy of how to deal with a situation involving over 100 innocent passengers requires multiple trains of thought, but the movie doesn’t stick to either one, spending most of its time with the hijackers, which include Bose (Daniel Bruhl) and Bridgette (Rosamund Pike). Continue reading “‘7 Days in Entebbe’ makes a great story seem boring”

‘Loveless’: A taut and challenging cinematic experience

Brutal and relentless, expect this film to make you mad

When a couple decides to have a kid, they need to know one thing: their lives will become secondary the instant the child enters the world. Their needs and desires are shuffled to the side and the most important thing should revolve around being a good parent. As Michael Shannon’s desperate dad told his alien son in Midnight Special:“that’s the job.” The most important job on Earth.

Aspiring parents to-be should watch Loveless, Andrey Zvyagintsev’s brutally taut film, for how NOT to be a parent. Everything you watch Zhenya (Maryana Spivak reinventing the Bad Mom wheel) and Boris (Aleksey Rozin) do as parents of the 12-year old Alyosha (Matney Novikov) should be written down on a list describing the “do not’s” of being a mother or father.

Loveless will beat you up emotionally and challenge you to place yourself in the worst possible situation as a parent for two excruciating. The film opens with Alyosha celebrating his favorite part of the day: leaving school and enjoying the slow walk home through the cold and isolated park area in Moscow. There’s freedom in his ability to stop and fling a rope over a tree and stare out at the shivering water. He knows when he gets home, all he will hear is civil discourse between his parents, Zhenya and Boris. Continue reading “‘Loveless’: A taut and challenging cinematic experience”