A Quiet Place
- John Krasinski as Lee Abbott
- Emily Blunt as Evelyn Abbott
- Millicent Simmonds as Regan Abbott
- Noah Jupe as Marcus Abbott
A horror thriller that taps into many fears and is ruthlessly tense throughout, A Quiet Place is terrifying and at times quite moving in how it examines people surviving in near silence from director/star John Krasinski.
The year is 2020 and blind creatures have overtaken most of the world. Despite having no sight, they hunt via hearing which is exceptionally advanced. Any significant noise can attract these beings to potential prey. The Abbott family( mother Evelyn, father Lee and three children, Regan, Marcus and Beau )are surviving the best they can in times of darkness and crippling fear. They communicate using sign language, which they know anyway because Regan is deaf. It appears that they are some of the last remaining humans given how abandoned and desolate everywhere around them is. Though they have survived for a long time, a tragic incident robs them of one of their children. When we pick up with the family again, they are living in a farmhouse and Evelyn is pregnant. As heads of the family, while terrified of day-to-day life, they are determined to protect their family by remaining as quiet as humanly possible. They have forged an existence for themselves, with many areas of the house insulated and cameras to observe outside. Lee is the main provider for them, going out to forage for food and attempting to fix Regan’s hearing aid. Evelyn is preparing for the birth of a child while raising her other two children, plus mourning the loss of one. Anxiety hangs in the air as Evelyn’s due date is approaching and the prospect of a baby terrifies all as it spells potential horror for all if they can’t remain quiet. And ever since the loss of one child, uncertainty has grown within the right family unit. But in this time of panic, can the family survive for much longer without becoming victims of the creatures?
Director and star John Krasinski crafts suspense and an uneasy atmosphere right from the beginning and keeps the nerves frazzled with efficiency. His direction is confident and skilled at scaring us and cranking up the tension as events continue. The pacing is just on the mark, building and building to a chilling and relentless last act that will have you gasping for breath with nervousness. I dare anyone to not feel panicked as the family are menaced by the scary creatures and they are separated. Sound and the ability to use it, which we can so often take for granted is crucial to this film as noises are both amplified and subdued. This gives the creepy effect of not being able to express things and the difficulties involved when we are robbed of this essential thing. Jolts of terror and As the family has to live in almost always silence, a lot of the story is told visually. We gain information from facial expressions, symbols and sign language, which gets us involved and has the attention from the start. The life these characters have crafted offers much in the way of intrigue, helping us realise just how precious sound and especially silence are in making sure you don’t become victims to the creatures that terrorise the characters. What surprises in A Quiet Place is that as well as being frightening, it has you emotionally invested too. If anything, the main theme is parental anxiety. It’s amplified here but nonetheless shines in presenting two parents doing whatever they can to shelter their brood from harm. Especially in the case of the mother being pregnant and the collective worry of what will happen when the child is born into this startling world. The creatures are fleetingly glimpsed at the start, but when revealed are truly alarming and well designed to be etched into the memory. Marco Beltrami is on score duty, ratcheting up the scares and overriding eeriness of the piece. And speaking of sound, the effects and design are sublime in dialing up creepiness and oodles of ambience. Every sound could possibly be the last for these characters so it’s imperative that noise is well used and the often deafening silence matters. Just like the characters, we become scared of sudden sound.
The relatively small cast all convince in this merciless horror film. John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, who are a married couple in real life, excel as the protective and resourceful parents. Using body language and facial expression, they get across the terror and will power of this mother and father who are doing whatever they can to ensure the safety of their children. The fact that they are married in real life adds to the closeness of the two and how they complement one another. Krasinski’s survivalist and Blunt’s warm, nurturing matriarch are fully realised and performed admirably. The two children in the film, Noah and Millicent Simmonds exceptionally convey the uncertainty and horror that’s thrust upon their young shoulders. Millicent Simmonds is especially marvellous as the daughter who is dealing with feelings of guilt and loss . The fact that Simmonds is also deaf in real life brings a lot of authenticity to her performance as well as her expressive face.
A nerve jangling exercise in tension, A Quiet Place sustains the interest and induces terror with its story and atmosphere. This is strong stuff from John Krasinski and marks him as a director to watch.
The Devil Wears Prada
- Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly
- Anne Hathaway as Andy Sachs
- Emily Blunt as Emily Charlton
- Stanley Tucci as Nigel
- Adrian Grenier as Nate
- Simon Baker as Christian Thompson
An amusing comedy drama about a young woman’s journey in the world of fashion under the boss from hell, The Devil Wears Prada gets laughs and some surprising dramatic weight. As formulaic as some of it is, it is still a very funny satire on the fashion industry, benefiting from a talented cast.
Andy Sachs is a fresh-faced college graduate who wants to be a journalist and is just out of university. An opportunity comes knocking in a strange way, after not having much luck in finding work. She is in turn recommended a job working at Runway, a New York fashion magazine headed by the notorious and commanding editor in chief Miranda Priestly. She is to be the junior assistant to her, which is a job so many people would give their lives for. Although she has no interest in fashion or the whole scene that she views as shallow, she gets the job unexpectedly. Yet Andy is totally unprepared for what she’ll have to deal with while being assistant to the very high-powered Miranda. What she finds is that Miranda is no walk in the park, but an extremely demanding and at times vicious boss. Having to complete the various, seemingly impossible tasks that Miranda sets her proves to be a severe challenge to someone as wide-eyed as Andy. Andy doesn’t fit in with anyone particularly, not least the snippy senior assistant Emily. Yet with the help of art director Nigel( which includes a glamorous makeover) and adopting of a different attitude towards the industry, Andy starts to succeed and surprisingly get ahead at work. She believes that lasting a year working under the dominating Miranda will be good for references and open doors to her dream. Yet as Andy gets further sucked into the world that she initially disdained, she is forced to confront the fact that her integrity is slipping and that she is rapidly changing into something she never thought she would. Her love life with chef boyfriend Nate begins to sour and she begins to alienate herself from her closest friends, as a result of being at Miranda’s beck and call. But is survival working for Miranda worth sacrificing all for?
David Frankel has a stylish approach to the material, imbued with the right amount of humour and character. I wouldn’t say his direction in The Devil Wears Prada is anything awe-inspiring, but it gets the job done efficiently and with care. Interest does lag within a few scenes that go on for too long( and the main men in Andy’s life don’t particularly give much to the plot of the film). The catty one liners and frequently hilarious events make up for that however, getting your interest as we glimpse a behind the scenes look at a glamorous yet dog eat dog world. Seriously some of the dialogue is priceless in how it skewers the fashion industry and culture, while allowing the relatable but difficult journey for Andy that threatens to overtake her, to feature added depth to the largely funny flick. The look at how easily one can lose themselves in something and feel they have no choice but to oblige is rendered well; owing to the way the script gives measured nuance and surprising insight. Sometimes the film only scratches the surface of what wants to get to in the odd slip, but the satirical edge and stylish glitz are more than sufficient at keeping things in a way that feels fresh for us to enjoy. And like any movie dealing with clothing and image, The Devil Wears Prada is a super stylish and glossy film. From montages to bright colours, it has magazine ready finish from the get go. And while some will say it is just a chick flick, The Devil Wears Prada can equally be enjoyed by men. It’s an all round fun time to be had here in a high glamour world that’s as funny as it is stinging. I mean the while boss from hell plot is a definitely amusing one that I’m sure many people can recall similar situations in their own lives, with less outrageousness I’m sure but you know what I mean. A fashionable soundtrack briskly keeps the film on its course with some great songs to groove to.
Meryl Streep completely steals the show as the demanding and commanding Miranda. Possessing a glacial demeanor and a certain regal poise, she creates a character who may be a tyrannical, but is still quite unexpectedly human despite her frostiness. Miranda both inspires fear and awe within the film and the audience, with Meryl Streep steering her away from just being a wicked caricature. What we get instead of a one-dimensional part is one that is frequently ruthless yet not above revealing a hidden vulnerability, in a nuanced way that Streep effortlessly portrays. Miranda doesn’t need to raise her voice to make a point; a simple purse of the lips, look up and down or a cutting, deadpan remark is enough to reduce anyone to a pile of quivering nerves. A scary, fascinating, darkly funny and fabulous character is brought to life with measured shading and conviction by the always excellent Meryl Streep. Anne Hathaway delightfully portrays the inexperience and uncertainty of Andy, tempered with an intelligence and feeling of doubt over what she can achieve. Hathaway has an inborn sensitivity and vulnerability that I’ve noticed in many of her performances, that is used excellently to make Andy a conflicted yet relatable heroine the audience wants to help. I mean how can you not have sympathy for this girl, going through the motions and figuring out just what she wants to do? Her sheer awkwardness and coltish appearance is rendered nicely by Hathaway, who refuses to make the character a brainless girl. Emily Blunt gets a whole of laughs in her role of minion to Miranda, whose neurotic and desperation to please provide hysterical desperation and scintillating, bitchy sassiness. Splendid and side-splitting support comes from Stanley Tucci as the confidante, who instructs Andy in how best to approach her job and how Miranda is not above rewarding loyalty, in her own roundabout way of course. Tucci though is the only guy in the film who is actually given something good to do. Adrian Grenier and Simon Baker are left stumbling and with little in the way of material to work with.
So for all the contrivances in the film and how it can seem predictable, The Devil Wears Prada boasts a high entertaining factor, finding humour and pathos from a cast headed by an imperious Meryl Streep and how the whole fashion world is a place of survival. A biting yet somehow sweet engaging and humorous film is what The Devil Wears Prada emerges is, which brings out big enjoyable laughs for the viewer.
2000's, Amy Brenneman, Drama, Emily Blunt, Hugh Dancy, Jimmy Smits, Kathy Baker, Kevin Zegers, Lynn Redgrave, Maggie Grace, Marc Blucas, Maria Bello, Robin Swicord, Romantic Comedy, The Jane Austen Book Club
The Jane Austen Book Club
- Kathy Baker as Bernadette
- Maria Bello as Jocelyn
- Emily Blunt as Prudie
- Amy Brenneman as Sylvia
- Maggie Grace as Allegra
- Hugh Dancy as Grigg
- Jimmy Smits as Daniel
- Marc Blucas as Dean
- Kevin Zegers as Trey
- Lynn Redgrave as Mama Sky
A thoroughly charming romantic comedy drama about the joys of reading, friendships and the ups and downs of love, The Jane Austen Book Club may be predictable but it is so lovely, funny and given heart by a talented cast that it more than makes up for the feeling that you’ve seen something similar.
In California, the eponymous book club is set up by the lively and loving Bernadette, who is something of an authority on the works of Jane Austen. Part of the inspiration comes from meeting Prudie, an unhappy and prim French teacher who is married to Dean, a man who seems to busy with his work and other ventures such as watching basketball to pay her any attention. Prudie is also somewhat enchanted by one of her handsome students Trey. The other half of the inspiration comes in the form of good friend Sylvia, who is currently in the process of separating from her philandering husband Daniel after he admits to having an affair. Also joining the club is dog breeder Jocelyn, who has never really been in love, Sylvia’s adventurous lesbian daughter Allegra who delights in daring stunts and seems to always get injured in the process. And not forgetting the one man of the bunch, science fiction geek Grigg, who is brought in by matchmaker Jocelyn tries to set up with a broken-hearted Sylvia. The amusing thing is that Jocelyn tries to force Grigg on Sylvia without realising that he actually likes her, though it’s obvious to everyone else where the affections of Grigg lie. Over six months, they will read the six books by the legendary Jane Austen and meet to discuss them with one another. As the reading of these classic books continues, each member’s life begins to resemble many of the aspects contained within the books. Romance, repair and camaraderie ensue within the group as they all become more enlightened on love through the reading of literature.
Writer-director Robin Swicord does a very successful job at bringing these characters and their stories to life. In her writing, she really has a knack for showing us the changes they make both in terms of funny moments and touching ones. Swicord just knows how to bring them to life and make a fairly predictable and none too new story seem very interesting and filled with warmth. Wit, romance and friendship all feature heavily throughout this movie and by the end it does you make you feel very cosy. Now it must be said that sometimes the pacing is a bit off within The Jane Austen Book Club, but there are enough distractions to settle this flaw. Mainly, there is the examination of how Austen’s work still rings true today that keeps events ticking over nicely. It seems that even after all these years, Jane Austen’s witty look at relationships and romance is still just as fresh and keen as ever, as the six members navigate their way through life and love, while finding their lives somewhat mirror the characters that populate the work of Austen. A well-chosen soundtrack compliments the tone of finding love and discovery within the movie very well.
A finely assembled cast adds up to a wonderful ensemble film where the characters are given time to grow. As the mind behind the book club Bernadette, Kathy Baker is delightfully warm-hearted, bohemian and matriarchal in every sense of the word. Maria Bello is natural and good-hearted as Jocelyn, who begins to play matchmaker much like the character of Emma, yet doesn’t realise that love is staring her right in the face. The talented Emily Blunt manages to blend poignancy with a sharp brittle quality as the unhappy Prudie. The character could have easily been extremely unlikable, but in the hands of Blunt, we at least see why Prudie acts the way she does to others and that she just needs an outlet for her feelings that she finds in the book club. Amy Brenneman is sympathetic as Sylvia, who doesn’t know how to react to her husband’s cheating but later regains her confidence. A youthful humour along with the impassioned way of throwing herself into love is provided by Maggie Grace, who resembles the character of Marianne in Sense and Sensibility. While the women of the story are the main focus, the men also get a look in, especially in the case of Hugh Dancy, who plays the sole male member of the book club. Exuding affability and geeky tendencies, it’s hard not to like Dancy in this movie because of his energy and spirit. The other guys in the movie(Jimmy Smits, Marc Blucas and Kevin Zegers) have smaller roles but still have things to do and a great cameo from Lynn Redgrave as Prudie’s pot-smoking hippie mother is really funny.
A cosy, warm-hearted film full of humour and pathos, The Jane Austen Book Club is far from original but filled with life and verve that is enjoyable nonetheless.
2010's, Anna Kendrick, Billy Magnussen, Chris Pine, Daniel Huttlestone, Disney, Emily Blunt, Fantasy, Into the Woods, James Corden, Johnny Depp, Lilla Crawford, MacKenzie Mauzy, Meryl Streep, Musical, Rob Marshall
Into the Woods
- James Corden as The Baker
- Emily Blunt as The Baker’s Wife
- Meryl Streep as The Witch
- Anna Kendrick as Cinderella
- Daniel Huttlestone as Jack
- Chris Pine as Cinderella’s Prince
- Lilla Crawford as Little Red Riding Hood
- Billy Magnussen as Rapunzel’s Prince
- MacKenzie Mauzy as Rapunzel
- Johnny Depp as The Big Bad Wolf
Something of a re imagining of classic fairy tales bound together with a newer story and put into a musical/fantasy hybrid from Disney, Into the Woods is also a mixed bag of sorts.
In classic fairy tale fashion, the movie opens with the words ‘Once Upon a Time’. The main story is of a Baker and his Wife who more than anything in the world want a child, yet somehow for them it has proved impossible. The source of this comes literally spinning into their home like a whirlwind in the form of an evil and very powerful Witch. The evil being explains that due to the Baker’s father stealing beans of magical properties from her precious garden, she placed a curse upon his family so that future generations would be unable to have children. The devious hag also took the Baker’s baby daughter and raised her as her own. The girl eventually became the long-haired Rapunzel, imprisoned in a tower from the outside world, singing lilting lullabies to pass the time. She is later discovered thanks to her lovely voice by a handsome prince, who falls deeply in love with her. Meanwhile, desperate to break the curse upon their family, the Baker and his Wife accept the terms of the Witch’s hard bargain. If they can procure four specific items from classic fantasy stories within the days before the third full moon, the curse will be forever lifted. This in turns means they must both journey deep into the mist enshrouded woods where magical mayhem and mystical mischief awaits them. We also have the stories running alongside this one, that include the items needed to break the curse. These consist of a young boy named Jack selling his beloved cow for magical beans that grow the famous beanstalk, a greedy girl in a red cape visiting her Grandmother as well as being stalked by a hungry wolf and a downtrodden Cinderella transformed from rags to riches so she can attend the nearby ball held by another dashing royal prince.
As aforementioned, Into the Woods is something of a mixed film of both excellence and parts that could have been improved upon. Rob Marshall does infuse the piece with visual style and theatricality, which is very befitting of the musical genre. And boy does the visual style deliver with the Gothic woods being a particular highlight of production design. The costumes are also very well crafted with technique and effortless skill. I must say I enjoyed Corden’s narration, he brought a wry delivery to it as magical events continued to mount. Where Into the Woods falters is in its length and lack of memorable musical numbers. Although the pacing in the beginning of the movie, in the second half it tends to drag and become a little boring. As for the musical numbers, the stream of consciousness approach is actually rather good for a while. Yet it can become very monotonous and though some numbers bristle with energy, there isn’t really a killer song to be remembered once the movie ends. The same can be said about the altering of classic fairy tales. In some cases it provides interesting and often dark viewing, but in others it should really have been left to the classic version. Saying all this, Into the Woods is definitely a more enjoyable movie that Marshall’s last musical Nine, but it still has many flaws.
James Corden and Emily Blunt are really good in the central roles and have humorous yet loving chemistry with one another. Blunt is especially excellent at portraying the good-hearted Wife with warmth and shows off considerable skills in the vocal department. Meryl Streep takes what is essentially a pantomime villain role as the crone and breathes life into it. You can really see that Streep is having a ball here portraying the evil and cunning Witch and she plays it with such delicious glee. As always when Streep is in a movie, she gives it calibre with her engaging and highly talented presence. Anna Kendrick combines a beautiful voice and sympathetic delivery to give a modern interpretation of Cinderella; as we watch her wrestle with indecision over a union with her Prince. Daniel Huttlestone plays Jack with wide-eyed charm and youthful energy as he inadvertently gets himself tangled up in this magical quest. Chris Pine is used too little to be really memorable. Though it must be said that his musical number where he argues that the pain caused by love is greatest of all is particularly funny. Lilla Crawford brings a bratty and not so sweet disposition to a successful revamp of Little Red Riding Hood. And it’s quite good to see another take on a character that is so often portrayed as winsome and lamb like. Billy Magnussen doesn’t have much to work with as Rapunzel’s Prince, just like MacKenzie Mauzy as the imprisoned maiden. Johnny Depp contributes a creepy cameo as the predatory Wolf looking to make Red Riding Hood his next meal.
So all in all, Into the Woods has its share of excellent moments partly because of some stylish direction and fine performances. It’s a shame that it couldn’t be more memorable considering all the attributes it had.
With me being a generous guy, here is another post of gorgeous women. And not forgetting the guys for all those ladies out there.
The super sexy Margot Robbie sizzles for my Aussie buddy Jordan Dodd.
The long blonde locks and shapely legs of Katheryn Winnick are on display for V.
And now for the handsome guys for you ladies.
Once again for V, we have Travis Fimmel in his modelling days.
The masculinity of Tom Hardy is very much on show in this dapper shot.
Bringing brooding and athletic charm to this shot, Charlie Hunnam is here for all of you in all his shirtless glory.