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Cinemaholics Review: A Quiet Place and Blockers

quiet place

Special guest Rebecca Pahle came on the show this week to help us break the silence on A Quiet Place, a new horror film that’s impressing at the box office and earned an A- from me in my review. Directed by perennial camera-shrugger John Krasinski (AKA Jim Halpert and that guy you actually recognize in the indie movie you’re watching), A Quiet Place is sure to take some moviegoers by surprise with its tense, emotional storytelling, and with Krasinski starring alongside real-life wife Emily Blunt, it’s safe to say this is a film worth talking loudly about.

Later in the show, we reviewed Blockers, a new teen comedy starring Leslie Mann, John Cena, and Ike Barinholtz. I shared my thoughts on King in the Wilderness, a new Martin Luther King Jr. documentary on HBO. Will finally saw Isle of Dogs and Unsane. And Maveryke caught Wind River, a 2017 movie that just hit Netflix streaming.

Question for you: How would you survive in a world where you can’t make a sound?

Go on…Cinemaholics Review: A Quiet Place and Blockers

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‘A Quiet Place’ Is Scary For Kids, But Terrifying For Adults

QUIET PLACE

I don’t have children, so I have to imagine the new film A Quiet Place is far more frightening for a parent than it could hope to be for someone like me. It’s probably more impactful, too.

In A Quiet Place, most of the world has been eradicated. A young family of survivors has to live as silently as possible to avoid the blind, super-hearing creatures who prey upon anything making a sound. Danger is everywhere. The family can’t escape these bulletproof nightmares.

So the family perseveres by creating strict, logical rules. They communicate with lights and sign language. They walk barefoot. They make soundproof trails and play board games with cloth materials. The message is quiet, but it’s clear. To parents in any context, the world is a scary place, and every family has a set of idiosyncratic methods for raising their children. In this case, it’s playing a high-stakes version of “the quiet game.”

Go on…‘A Quiet Place’ Is Scary For Kids, But Terrifying For Adults

Review: ’13 Hours’ Is a Punishing Tribute

Michael Bay has a pretty extensive portfolio under his directorial belt, with 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi being his third project based on real-life events.

Like last year’s American Sniper (which was helmed by Clint Eastwood), 13 Hours is a long action drama that puts recent military heroes at the forefront, documenting (sometimes literally) the events of combat in the Middle East.

While Eastwood positioned Sniper to be something closer to Bigelow’s Hurt Locker, Bay channels Michael Mann for 13 Hours, albeit with all-digital video, his signature action stylization, and some graphic content worthy of the R rating.

Unlike a typical action film by Mann, 13 Hours is a bit of a mess, both in writing and in editing.

The film centers around the GRS, a covert security team dispatched against Lybian rebels during the Benghazi attacks. This is the conflict that ensnared American Ambassador Chris Stevens, and 13 Hours goes to great lengths when it comes to capturing the pure chaos of this true event.

That’s probably the film’s biggest issue. Much of the filmmaking is inventive, and it has some of Bay’s creative set pieces. But it’s jumpier than some of the political conflicts consistently appearing onscreen, with its quick-editing feeling too cumbersome throughout the movie.

13 hours review

Despite the film’s high production value and sometimes startling cinematography, the camera hates to linger on any given moment, always cutting you to the next sequence or possible encounter. While this makes for a good study of what true warfare is like, techniques like this and the dreaded shaky cam make it hard for moviegoers to keep up with 13 Hours during its painfully long running time.

The performances in 13 Hours are about as generic as you’d expect, with Krasinski trying his darnedest to work with Bay’s direction. There are a handful of unique surprises, but the character arcs fail to evolve from the high pedestal these soldiers are put on from the beginning, a common side effect when filmmakers create a tribute of recent events.

You don’t second guess the skill or bravery of the GRS, forcing you to rely on some unbalanced comedic timing (yes, 13 Hours is crammed with quips) and some tell-don’t-show exposition to make you care about each of them. That said, the film will likely succeed overall at making you root for them, since you do want to see these super soldiers unleashing hell.

I’m going to give 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi a C+

Too many technical issues hold 13 Hours back from being thoroughly entertaining, despite how hard it tries to deliver a touching tribute with some challenging politics and performances. If you’re not a fan of Michael Bay’s style of filmmaking, it’s best to skip this one.

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

‘Aloha’ Review — Jerry Maguire Goes Hawaii

aloha review

There’s a good, maybe even special, movie somewhere inside of Aloha, the latest Cameron Crowe offering that wants to recapture the magic of Crowe’s early, infectious work. Unfortunately, that hidden movie is quite exactly that: hidden. And it’s beneath a final product that feels harshly edited, despite being pretty confident.

Mounds of character-building scenes are replaced with conspicuous exposition and quick bits of dialogue that are meant to be “enough” for us to keep following along in this strange romantic story about a former-military privateer helping a billionaire launch a weaponized satellite. Or something. Oh, and there’s a quirky romance.

Go on…‘Aloha’ Review — Jerry Maguire Goes Hawaii

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