Tag Archives: Emily Blunt

A Quiet Place (2018) Blu-Ray Review By D.M. Anderson

A Quiet Place Review

Director: John Krasinski
Writers: Bryan Woods (screenplay by), Scott Beck (screenplay by)
Stars: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds

If nothing else, the first ten minutes of A Quiet Place might be the most masterful opening to any horror film ever made. With no dialogue, music or exposition, the audience learns almost everything they need about the apocalyptic implications of the film’s central idea and meets every character essential to the narrative…all before the opening title. Had the film been a short subject and ended right there, it would still come to a shocking, satisfying conclusion. The whole sequence is a triumph of minimalist storytelling.

Fortunately, A Quiet Place is just warming up.

In the not-to-distant future, the world has been subjected to a global cataclysm in which vicious, horrific creatures – mostly unseen until the final act – have decimated most of the population. Completely blind, they are drawn by sound, attracted to even the most minuscule noise. Worse yet, they’re strong, agile and lightning fast; victims are usually dead before they even knew what hit them.

The story focuses on the Abbott family, who’ve adapted to survive in silence at a remote farmhouse, though not without tragedy. Their youngest son, Beau, was killed by the creatures, which deaf older sister Regan (Millicent Simmons) still blames herself for. The father, Lee (John Krasinski), spends most of his days trying to contact others through computers and a radio, while also teaching his son, Marcus (Noah Jupe), survival tips and constructing an effective hearing aid for Regan. His wife, Evelyn (Emily Blunt), has-since become pregnant. As the due date nears, the family prepares by trying to sound-proof the basement.

The Abbotts’ daily routine makes up the bulk of the first half. Life is a challenge, of course, and the film does a tremendous job reminding the viewer what a typically noisy species people are. To go through life making no sound at all – or face dire consequences – makes the entire story fraught with tension, even during the supposedly routine moments.

Not everything is hunky-dory with the Abbotts, either. Regan harbors resentment towards her dad, feeling like he also holds her responsible for Beau’s death. Indeed, it does often seem as though Lee doesn’t completely trust her, leaving her behind while he takes Marcus on food gathering expeditions (even though the prospect terrifies the boy). Their relative estrangement sets-up the film’s most poignant moment later on.

I remember seeing A Quiet Place in theaters and marveling at how the overwhelming silence in the film encouraged the same from the audience. Hardly anyone dared even crunch their popcorn for fear of breaking the tension, which wouldn’t have happened if the film weren’t so consistently engaging. Not only is the premise completely unique (how often can you say that about a horror film these days?), it’s smart, suspenseful and thoroughly exploits the oppressive silence to great effect, intensifying the dread and obligatory jump-scares. And the monsters, of course, are terrifically nasty creations.

Unlike many recent horror films which generate brief amounts of hype and praise before the next one comes along, I suspect we’ll still be talking about A Quiet Place a decade from now. It has the hallmarks of other stand-alone classics of the genre: scary, totally original, lots of fun and definitely worth repeated viewings. On a related note, I sincerely hope they change their minds about doing a sequel (which has already been announced). A premise like this is truly effective only once.

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Sherlock Gnomes (2018) Movie Review By Anna Maria McAlinney

Sherlock Gnomes

Director: John Stevenson
Writers: Ben Zazove (screenplay by), Andy Riley (story by)
Stars: Kelly Asbury, Mary J. Blige, Emily Blunt

Plot: Sherlock Gnomes is an Egotistical London Detective who must work with his sidekick Holmes and Gnomeo and Juliet to try to solve the mystery of disappearing gnomes across London.

Review Summary: Well…at least my 3 year old niece had a good time.

Review: I love kids movies so I am most certainly not just slating this because it isn’t aimed at me. Most filmmakers have a level of awareness that an adult is more likely to bring their child to the cinema if they feel that they might get some enjoyment out of it too (see the success of the Toy Story and Shrek franchises). I really enjoyed Gnomeo and Juliet and I like Sherlock Holmes so perhaps I expected too much, but I was painfully underwhelmed by this one.

Negatives:

-The jokes that are supposed to be amusing for the adults felt forced. It is almost like they wanted to pull a Shrek and be amusing for both adults and children but didn’t fully commit.

Positives:

-This film is really nicely animated. It is aesthetically pleasing and the animation feels very smooth.

-My toddler niece loved it so they have hit a winner with the very young market.

Many of the jokes fell flat and the story was too complex for young children and the twists were too random for adults to appreciate. The characters seemed prone to overreaction to the extent that I would be worried about children mimicking the behaviour. Not great. Won’t be watching a second time.

Enjoyment Rating: 2/5

Quality Rating: 3/5

A Quiet Place (2018) Movie Review By John Walsh

A Quiet Place Review

Director: John Krasinski
Writers: Bryan Woods (screenplay by), Scott Beck (screenplay by)
Stars: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds

I’ve mentioned countless times before that I don’t scare easy. The modern day horror films over reliance on jump scares often leaves me tutting, rather than quivering like a little girl. I’ve always preferred the more psychological, thriller centric films of that genre and that’s exactly what John Krasinski has produced with ‘A Quiet Place’. It does have jump scares in there, but this film is more than just scares, it goes deeper than that. 

The actual premise of the film is rather simple. It’s set in the near future of 2020, in a post-apocalyptic enviroment where humanity has been pretty much wiped out in a matter of three months. The cause of this near extinction are multi-limbed, alien creatures dubbed ‘black angels’. These fast moving carnivorous monsters have hypersensitive hearing and despite being blind, are very difficult to take down.

The film solely focuses on the Abbot family, struggling to survive in the midst of the terrifying, lurking creatures. We have Lee (John Krasinski), the father; Evelyn (Emily Blunt), the mother; Regan (Millicent Simmonds), the daughter; Marcus (Noah Jupe), the oldest son and finally Beau (Cade Woodward), the youngest son. They’re scavenging for food and medicine in a small town store when the film opens and the fundamentals of this new world are fleshed out early on with communication limited to sign language and the family tiptoeing around in fear.

There’s some tense moments and then as the family make their way out of the store and town Krasinski drops a nuclear bomb to hammer home just why everyone is staying deathly silent. Young Beau has a toy rocket taken off him by his father in the store, before his sister hands him it back, not aware of the tragedy that’s about to unfold. The boy accidentally activates it shortly afterwards, in the middle of a woodland setting, the noise startling me in the process and then he’s taken out by a grotesque shape that storms out from the woods at a blistering pace. 

Not only does this moment highlight their peril and the alien enemy, but it ramps up the tension which was already palpable in the opening shots even further. Before I go any further, I’m going to get into the silence. I have never experienced quietness in a cinema like this in all my years of going. If you’re going to see this film then do yourself a favour and opt out of the snacks at the door, unless you want to turn the theatre into an unintentional ASMR experience. You will hear the drink going down someone’s throat, believe me. 

Now, I don’t want to give the entire plot away because this film should be enjoyed firsthand. That’s a massive part of this films experience in itself. But nonetheless there’s a year long time jump and the Abbotts now sans Beau are living out of a farm. The rest of the film pretty much takes place in this location with a wheat field (soon to be full of monsters), a grain silo, a basement stairway with an uprooted nail and nearby woods providing plenty of scope and opportunity for tense, terrifying and agonising moments.

Indeed, Evelyn stands on the nail in one cringe inducing moment on the basement stairs, creating a racket in attempts to free herself and starting the chain reaction of events that lead to the films riveting finale. The final half an hour of this film is incredible incidentally. I enjoyed the entirety of ‘A Quiet Place’, be it the more deliberate, slower pacing of the opening forty odd minutes of world building and creating emotional bonds with the family, to the more frantic showdown with the extraterrestrials that defined the second half. 

I mentioned the emotional bonds formed and this is another real strength of this film. I genuinely cared for these characters come the end, which is largely thanks in part to the introspective, intimate style of storytelling on show. 

There’s several moments that aid in this process; Lee and Evelyn trying their best to safeguard and provide a relatively normal life for their family, whilst clearly still grieving for their son; the tender moments Lee and Evelyn share together; the waterfall scene between Marcus and his father, during which they could talk freely for the first time and finally the majority of Regan’s arc. Her story was the most interesting for me, the way she had to handle being deaf in a world with those creatures waiting to pounce, the guilt of being involved in her brothers death and fighting against mollycoddling to become more independent.

Emily Blunt is outstanding as Evelyn. I’ve not seen this lady in a bad film, I think she’s a fantastic actor and she’s brings an emotional grounding to the chaotic action of the final thirty minutes. John Krasinski was amazing too. He directed, co-wrote and starred in the film and hats off to him because he was excellent. He’s obviously married to Blunt in real life so it’s not surprising that they have great chemistry. He has a moment late in the film which was heart-rending. Young Millicent Simmonds was the true standout however. Much of the film was seen through her perspective and in the end she proved to be pivotal in a rather ingenious way. 

One aspect of ‘A Quiet Place’ I’ve failed to touch upon yet is the most important one in the entire film. The pregnancy of Evelyn and the decision to bring a new baby into such a dangerous, hostile world. It’s a bewildering decision at first but you quickly realise that this is the primary theme the film is exploring. Sure it explores side issues like grief and dealing with utterly horrific situations, but primarily it’s about family bonds, hope and survival. The arrival of Evelyn’s newborn baby represents all of this in a microcosm. I.e. the indomitable spirit of humanity to fight on and survive no matter the odds. 

If I was to have one small criticism then it would be the score which I felt they relied on just a little too much to emphasise the scares or proximity of a threat. It was offensively bad however. 

I absolutely loved this film. Its one of the best horrors I’ve seen in years which is remarkable when you consider its relatively small budget of $17m. It took a well trodden monster horror premise and a simple concept with the silence and expanded it into something truly impressive. It forced the actors to convey their emotions through body language and facial expressions which was aided by some brilliant close up shots and I just found it to be a totally unique cinematic experience. The CGI stood up, I cared about the characters, the performances were outstanding, it was the perfect length and the story was riveting. 

Highly recommended viewing for me. 

Rating: 5/5

Sicario (2015) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

Sicario.png

Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writer: Taylor Sheridan
Stars: Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro

Plot:  An idealistic FBI agent is enlisted by a government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico.
Running Time: 121 Minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 93%    Audience 84%

Why I  Watched it: The trailer looked good, it got rave reviews and the cast is good as well.

Thoughts: Director Denis Villeneuve is on roll, everyone of his movies seem to be loved by critics and he’s also doing very different films. Here’s another movie to prove my Josh Brolin rule, when he’s a secondary character the film is good when he’s the lead well let’s say not so much.

What I Liked: This is a very well directed and well shot film, actually all the tech stuff is great, editing, sound all top notch.  I will also give the film a ton of credit for taking a well worn plot, the war against drugs and coming at it from a different angle. The film is intense and has this doom and gloom feel to it, we actually feel the sense of losing the war on drugs.  The film is also a pretty good thriller and action film, the opening scenes is scary as crap and sets the tone.  Also the boarding cross scene is text book on building suspense and tension.

The acting here is good but I want to single out not only the acting of Benicio Del Toro but also his character, this is a different dude, I don’t think we’ve seen someone like him in this kind of movie, and he really sets the tone of this film not being about white and wrong but the gray area of what you have to do to make a difference, it’s not about following or breaking rules it’s about doing what needs to be done.

Del Toro crushes this role cause he’s not trying to be a good or bad guy he just is and he does what he feels has to be done. Love the fact that his character is quiet a lot, he’s in the background. The stuff his character does is shocking cause we haven’t seen “Good Guys” do this type of thing but in another sense it fits who he is, I like he doesn’t say his backstory, we learn about it but for him I don’t think he needs to tell someone just so he could justify what he does.  There’s a coldness and also a business like approach. Josh Brolin is also good, he gets to be cocky and glib and he does it well.

The other thing about this film is that it nails the fight and the battle and the fact that this film is so dark really clicks with the subject matter, this isn’t a balls out action film this has real stakes and shows how people become corrupted.  Sometimes it isn’t who people are it’s what they do that seals their fate.

What I didn’t like: Won’t beat around the bush the only real problem with this film is Emily Blunt’s character, now I’m going to go on a rant and I’ll be clear I hated her character and the way it was written, as an actor Blunt is very good and I like her, she’s talented but the film is lucky everything else was so good cause that character was the turd in the punch bowl.  The big factor with the character is if you take it out she not only wouldn’t be missed but would make the film better.  Her character is so cliched it hurts the film, we get it, she’s the audience she’s our surrogate, but come on she’s been doing this for 4 years she’s this naive and also she’s one note, she says and does the same thing the whole time and it gets to the point you have no idea why the rest of the characters are putting up with her.  Also she has no arc, and love the backstory for her she’s divorced and she smokes and drinks. The other real problem with the movie is almost every time she’s on screen the momentum stops dead, her scenes add nothing and look the most telling thing about her is that this character is not in the sequel. Blunt is a good actress if they did something with this character then I wouldn’t mind but she’s there to ask questions so we find out what’s going on.  As a character she adds nothing.

Final Thoughts: I did like the film, it felt different and it had real intensity but I’m not joking about how much the Blunt character took me out of the movie she takes a film I would have given an 8 to and drops it to a 6.

Rating: 6/10

Looper (2012) Movie Retro Review by Stephen McLaughlin

LOOPER

Director: Rian Johnson
Writer: Rian Johnson
Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt,  Bruce Willis,  Emily Blunt

The Retro Review season continues with the 2012 Rian Johnson movie Looper starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis. I have to admit I totally missed the initial release of the film and only got round to watching it in 2014. The movie itself although was still fresh in my mind as I decided to review it, I thought I should view it once more as this is a film although complex in many levels goes to great lengths to avoid any glaring plot holes.

Time Travel movies have always consistent of audience members looking for these plot holes at great lengths and deep debates of trying to find them. Here Writer and Director Rian Johnson really nails the situation within the first 10 minutes of the movie on how it works. Loopers are employed to assassinate a person sent back from the future immediately and that is their job until “retirement”. When a “loop” closes (basically when that looper is done when they are older they are sent back in time to be killed by their younger self, hence the loop is closed.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays young Joe and Bruce Willis plays the old version of Joe who is sent back in time to the exact time and location that young Joe is waiting on to kill him. Obviously the young Joe isn’t aware of his next victim and  this is one thing I liked and understood about older Joe. He was aware and prepared to do battle with his younger self knowing this path. In typical Bruce Willis fashion his character doesn’t get bogged down with how this happens and why it happens etc. The character really just bypasses any deep and logistical explanation as if all that matters is the situation now and there. I found this with all the main character in the movie that they all had their own reasons why they were there and why they had to do what that had to do and to be honest this works for this movie as the plot is multilayered and complex enough without over complicating the storyline.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a younger Joe is brilliant and delivers once again. But he is also a younger Bruce Willis and under heavy prosthetics and makeup is a passable younger Willis too. The make up is as good as its going to be and to be honest if I hadn’t known what Gordon-Levitt looked like before I probably wouldn’t have noticed the change in his appearance. Apart from the cosmetic side of the Actor I noticed Gordon-Levitt adopted a few of Willis’ mannerisms and I was pleased to see that he wasn’t impersonating Willis but really captured the essence of the veteran actor instead.

Bruce Willis is equally as good playing opposite Gordon-Levitt and there is a real chemistry between the two leads which was great and really helped convince the audience that they are one of the same person. It’s not often you get to see Willis perform as the “Bad Guy” in a movie and here is an exception based on the fact that he is trying to stay alive and as the story unfolds his actions and mission are explained in a believable and emotional way which if you haven’t watched “Looper” I won’t go into any great detail as it is a major spoiler.

Supporting the leads is Emily Blunt as Sara who performed very well and really held her own with both Gordon-Levitt and Willis. although not entering the story until a good hour into the movie Blunt really makes her mark right away as a no nonsense mother protecting her son and to be fair is a long way off her more familiar roles we were used to seeing her in up to this point. Her character is convincing and she really fits into the role with a convincing american accent and looks pretty comfortable holding a rifle when protecting her family and land.

Her son Cid in the movie portrayed by Pierce Gagnon is a stand out and fantastic in such a pivotal role. The chemistry between Blunt and Gagnon is so obviously there that you would be convinced they are Mother and Son in real life and the emotional pull between both actors really goes beyond anything I was expecting from the supporting cast. Gagnon also has some tender and funny moments with Gordon-Levitt in the movie and really added to the relationship between the characters.

Writer/Director Rian Johnson to be honest created a very believable future that isn’t a far cry from todays world and doesn’t portray it too much in the style of the Fifth Element or darker in the way of Blade Runner. Johnson’s style intrigues me as his tone is some major dark scenes at night (obviously) and during daylight looks very gritty and grainy, much in the way Logan (2017) is shot (if that makes any sense) and overall I have to say that I like more of the things “Looper” achieved in storytelling, acting, direction and chemistry. The plot isn’t over complicated and I think this is why it’s a likeable film. Johnson appears to respect the audience enough not to patronise and appears to relish keeping the audience interested and in suspense. “Looper” is a fine piece of filmmaking and has a wonderful multilayered and intelligent storyline that I can’t recommend enough.

The Girl on the Train (2016) Movie Review by Kevan McLaughlin

GIRL ON THE TRAIN

Director: Tate Taylor
Writers: Erin Cressida Wilson (screenplay),  Paula Hawkins (novel)
Stars: Emily Blunt,  Haley Bennett,  Rebecca Ferguson

As paranoid as a curving bullet made of steel-melting jet fuel fired by a lizard-person.
Rachel Watson (Blunt) is a drunk who is prone to blackouts and fits of rage which effectively ended her marriage to Tom (Theroux). Even though Tom was caught cheating on Rachel with their real estate agent Anna (Ferguson), he’s portrayed sympathetically as he’s seen to be the one who’s often been at the wrong end of Rachel’s abuse and constant embarrassing behaviour, most notably when she caused a scene at an office party which lead to him being fired by his boss (Lisa Kudrow).

Now divorced from Tom, Rachel spends her time stalking and harassing her ex and Anna, who is now married to. Rachel is also living with her friend Cathy (Laura Prepon) but lies about having the job she was fired from. To conceal how bad things are for the depressed alcoholic Rachel, she spends her days travelling to the city by train so her friend won’t find out the truth. During these daily journeys Rachel is almost always drunk, which has become apparent to some of her fellow commuters.

The train journey she takes every day passes directly by her old house, now inhabited by Tom, Anna and their beautiful daughter. But, as is the case with a lot of addicts, Rachel develops new obsessions. Her latest fixation is Tom and Anna’s neighbours, Megan and Scott Hipwell (Haley Bennett and Luke Evans, respectively). Rachel idealises Megan and Scott’s relationship, imagining them as the perfect couple. Of course, all of this is based on fleeting glimpses of their lives as she whizzes past on the train through a haze of vodka.

When Rachel spots Megan, whom she has never actually met, kissing another man she drunkenly departs the train, distraught at the thought of Megan ruining this rosé wine-tinted fantasy she’s concocted to confront her. Unfortunately, that’s the last thing Rachel remembers as she awakes in her apartment from a blackout.

When Megan is reported missing and presumed dead Detective Riley (Allison Janney) questions Rachel, believing her to be involved somehow, due to reports of her unpredictable behaviour. This is where Rachel really goes off the deep end. Posing as Megan’s friend, she approaches Scott and informs him of the affair. Scott identifies the other man as Megan’s therapist, Dr. Kamal Abdic. She then makes an appointment with Kamal, pretending to seek therapy. The irony is not at all subtle here.

It’s apparent that Rachel, like almost all addicts, can’t fully trust that even a broken clock is right twice a day. She goes from one erratic theory to another, pointing fingers in an attempt to solve the disappearance of Megan and finally have some closure to why, from her point of view, this perfectly happy young woman’s life was thrown or taken away. Rachel sees herself in Megan, but doesn’t want to let anything happen to ruin the latter’s life the way it did her own.

The truth is that Megan and Scott’s marriage is far from happy. Scott is jealous and controlling and has quite the temper. Megan is depressed and going through the motions. Kamal’s career would be at risk if rumours were to spread of him having an affair with a patient. And Rachel herself is erratic, has a history of violent outbursts and can’t seem to trust her own judgment.

The Girl on the Train is icy cold and fraught with peril. There’s an uneasy, almost sickly, tone pulsating throughout the film. Blunt is superb as the spiraling drunk. She plays Rachel with such empathy and sadness it’s hard not to root for her. Rachel is complex and that’s, in no small way, down to Emily Blunt’s performance. It’s hard to hate her but she’s also difficult to like.

Bennett’s performance as Megan is tragic. She’s icy cold and with good reason. Her early life, in a series of flashbacks, will break the hardest of hearts.

With tension like this it’s difficult to like this film. It’s difficult to like feeling tense for almost two hours. But it’s a compelling movie. Riveting, even. With such great acting on display it’s an enjoyable way to feel uncomfortable and frustrated.