Posts Tagged ‘emily blunt’

a quiet place

On day 89 of a seeming invasion, the Abbot family is besieged by creatures who are rampaging the earth and killing millions of humans. The family’s young patriarch, Lee (John Krasinski) has studied the creatures, and found their Achilles Heel, but he needs to test his hypothesis out on his daughter Regan. (Millicent Simmonds)  Regan is going through some guilt, felt by the whole family, but more acutely by Regan.  Evelyn Abbot, (Emily Blunt) Lee’s wife, is pregnant, and her water has broken while Lee is away with his son, teaching him survival techniques.  Will Lee’s countermeasures against the creatures work?  Will he be able to gather his children and get back to his wife before the creatures do?

The problem with classifying A Quiet Place as a horror movie is this, it’s not scary.  It has elements of other sci fi movies, like scary looking creatures, straight out of Alien, tall corn fields like Children of The Corn, but in the end it’s not a scary film, at all.  Like the movies  It Follows or Goodnight Mommy, A Quiet Place gets a lot of hype for being a different kind of horror film, but it’s not a horror film at all, one can classify it as a character study of a family under great duress, but this is not a horror film.

It’s also a movie filled with plot holes. The movie opens on day 89, and there is no backstory of how these creatures got here, because explaining how they got here would involve telling the audience how non humanoid creatures with big,  sharp teeth are capable of interstellar travel, and that is problematic.   Is Lee Abbot the only man on earth to realize the creatures’ weakness, why can’t he exploit it sooner?

Then there are the little things that don’t quite make sense in a post-apocalyptic world. The movie shows the Abbots eating, what exactly are they eating after 90 days?  How long do batteries last in the post-apocalyptic world?  Why do they say grace?  Are the filmmakers appealing to a certain demographic?  Why are there birds in the sky and woodchucks on the ground on day 89? And the question that applies to all Hollywood films, where are the minorities?

There is a lot of emotional blackmail going on in this film, the audience is made to care, but their emotions are being ruthlessly manipulated.  Regan is deaf,   Evelyn is pregnant, the other kids are cute, so naturally the audience wants nothing to happen to this picture perfect family, and of  course things do happen, so the audience is manipulated throughout.

The acting is good.  Krasinski makes a good leading man, strong in the face of an otherworldly threat, vulnerable when he thinks this wife is in danger, he is the everyman hero, a little too flawless, but that’s got more to do with the writing than the acting.  Emily Blunt is more the damsel in distress and she’s also pregnant, and guilt ridden, which keeps her from defending herself for the most part.  The best acting is by Millicent Simmonds, who wordlessly conveys so much emotion with her face.  Happiness, sadness, anger, it’s all there on her expressive face.

The direction is competent, it does what it needs to do, tells a little about the family and moves the scenes along, the pacing is good, it is not overburdened with special effects, which is also good.  John Krzinski wrote and directed it, and had a hand in producing so it’s his movie.  But people shouldn’t give this movie a free pass because Blunt and Krasinski seem to be Hollywood’s new power couple.

A Quiet Place:  Monstrous plot holes obscure a good character study.

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Sicario

After witnessing an explosion that kills a fellow FBI agent, Agent Kate Mercer (Emily Blunt) is chosen by CIA operative Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) to join an interagency team to hunt down Mexican drug lord, Fausto Alercon.  (Julio Cedillo) Kate meets with Graver and Mexican cop named Alejandro (Benico Del Toro) in San Antonio.  The three then drive to Juarez Mexico, and start looking for associates of Alercon.  Immediately, Kate feels uncomfortable, because the FBI is not supposed to be involved in international operations.  Kate is also frustrated with the techniques of mass arrests that Alejandro and Graver use, but those techniques lead Kate to a tunnel used by drug smugglers.  What does Kate find inside the tunnel?

There is not much of a story here, the plot is the standard chase movie plot, with the garden variety sense of corruption thrown in.  The character development is slim.  The audience knows next to nothing about Kate, except that she doesn’t have a clue as to what is going on, and who her friends or enemies are. Instead of being the take no prisoners character I expected, Kate seems to be wracked by fears and doubts. Graver plays fast and loose with the rules, and Alejandro seems to have an ulterior motive.  But the big reveal is not that big, and after two hours, the viewer is left with an ‘is there all there is’ feeling.  If people riding around in SUV’s are your idea of an action movie, this movie is for you.

I like Emily Blunt, I thought her character in this movie would be more like her character in Edge of Tomorrow, but this character was written as confused, desperate, and scared.  I was hoping she would be a stronger character, but she seemed to be led where she did not want to go, too bad the writing let her down.  Josh Brolin was excellent as the gland-handing, smarmy used car salesman of a CIA agent, quick with a smile, but short on information. Benicio Del Toro is also excellent as a man on a mission, he is a great actor, but he is in danger of being typecast in drug themed movies like Savages, 21 Grams, Traffic, and now Sicario.

The direction is inconsistent, he gets good performances out of Brolin and Del Toro, but not Blunt.  The pacing is slow, it seems to take forever to get to the climax and the climax is not really worth it.  His other movie of note, Prisoners, was not worth the trouble either.  It got an Oscar nomination for Original Score for a score that is more urgent than the movie.

Sicario. Let’s be Blunt.  Not that good.

Movie Review: Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Posted: February 15, 2015 in Action
Tags: ,

edge of tomorrow

In the future, aliens called Mimics invade the earth and are pushing toward global domination.  A reluctant army officer named Cage (Tom Cruise) kills one of the aliens, and dies himself.  Cage then wakes up, and realizes he’s re-living the same day again and again.  He meets one of the heroes from a prior battle, whose name is Rita (Emily Blunt) she starts to train Cage and make him a better, more intelligent soldier.  After dying a number of times, Cage learns that finding the Omega alien is the key to winning the battle against the aliens. The Omega alien is headquartered in Paris, Rita and Cage must kill the Omega alien to end the war.  Why does Cage keep re-living the same day over and over again?  Can Cage and Rita get to Paris and kill the Omega alien and save humanity from extinction?

Edge of Tomorrow is an excellent movie.  One might dismiss it as some sort of military Groundhog Day, but it’s precisely the repetition of the same day, the evolution of Cage from a person who will do anything not to fight this war, to a man fully equipped to fight the war, that makes the movie worth watching.  The reason the day keeps repeating is also interesting.  Sure, there are elements of Groundhog Day in this movie as well as Independence Day, but there are enough interesting new elements to keep the viewer watching.  I also liked that the war against the aliens is not presented in an antiseptic video game format.  War is presented as a dirty, muddy, brutal affair; in fact the first battle evokes memories of D-day, complete with beach landing.  Other cities like Whitehall and Verdun from past World Wars are mentioned, that can’t be coincidental.

Tom Cruise is actually very good in this film, that’s the first time I’ve been able to say that in a long time.  He plays the full range of this character, and plays it well.  It’s refreshing to see the change from the instant hero, ready to fight role that he usually plays.  His character has to learn to fight, and the viewer can see Cage’s confidence growing on Cruise’s face.  It also doesn’t hurt that Cruise’s character is a jerk at the start of the film, and the viewer might get a certain amount of glee from seeing Cage (or Cruise for that matter) being killed again and again.  Cruise may be good, but Emily Blunt is the star who carries this movie, she is decidedly NOT a damsel in distress, in fact she is the battle hardened one who trains Cruise’s character to toughen up.  There is little sentimentality in her character, and that is refreshing.  There is a good ensemble cast, including Brendon Gleeson, Bill Paxton, and Tony Way.

This is a long movie, but the pacing is good, there are some points where the movie lags, but for the most part, it’s a fun trip. Director Doug Limon has directed The Bourne Identity, one of my favorite films, and he keeps the action coming in Edge of Tomorrow.

Edge of Tomorrow:  Tom’s career is not on cruise control anymore.

into the woods

Cinderella (Anna Kendrick) battles her stepmother (Christine Baranski) to go to a three day festival given by a Prince. (Chris Pine)  Red Riding Hood (Lila Crawford) steals cookies and bread from a baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) to feed to her granny.(Annette Crosbie) She must evade a hungry wolf (Johnny Depp) to get to grandma.  A boy named Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) sells his cow for some magic beans from the baker. The baker and his wife are childless.  A witch,(Meryl Steep)  who keeps a girl with long hair named Rapunzel  (Mackenzie Mauzy) locked in a tower.  The witch says she can give the childless baker and his wife a child, if they bring her something milky white, something red, something golden like corn, and golden slippers.  Does Cinderella get her prince?  Does Red evade the wolf?  What happens to Jack and his magic beans?  Does Rapunzel get out of the tower?  Does the baker and his wife have a child?

This is what some people call a fractured fairy tale, I call it a morally ambiguous fairy tale.  The characters may seem familiar, but things are not as they seem, thanks to a twist near the end of the film.  These characters may end up happy or not, but their lives are far from perfect after the twist.  If there is happiness to be had, these characters will have to work for it.  If there is a theme it is about child rearing, how to be a good and consistent parent.  It’s an interesting take on these well-known Grimm fairy tales. The music enhances the story, makes it livelier in some circumstances provides exposition.  If there is an issue with this movie, there are too many characters, and some of the characters have very little development.

The acting is generally good, with Meryl Streep giving a standout performance, with Emily Blunt giving a complex, multi-layered performance.  The younger actors, Daniel Huttleston  and Lilla Crawford also give strong performance,  Chris Pine tries very hard, but neither his voice or acting seems up to the task. Johnny Depp has a great cameo as the wolf.

The direction gives this story the proper eerie feel, the pacing is good and the songs are well-staged. The kids will enjoy the songs, they might not understand the subtleties of the movie, but they will enjoy the fairy tale aspect of the movie.

Into the Woods:  A Knotty Tale.