MOVIE BUFF-ET: ‘A Quiet Place’ delivers intense chills despite familiar storyline


John Krasinski is a fine, likable actor, but as talented as he is in front of the camera, he might have more potential behind it.

His latest film “A Quiet Place” is his fourth directorial effort, and it is a winning chunk of sci-fi/horror that is not only intense and scary, but also contains a subtle message that fathers in particular and families in general should take to heart.

New In Local Theaters

  • A Quiet Place (PG-13) 1 hr. 30 min.
    (AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Springdale, Malco Pinnacle Hills)
    » Watch trailer
  • Getting Grace (PG-13) 1 hr. 52 min.
    (Malco Pinnacle Hills)
    » Watch trailer
  • The Leisure Seeker (R) 1 hr. 52 min.
    (Malco Rogers Towne)
    » Watch trailer
  • Blockers (R) 1 hr. 42 min.
    (AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Rogers Towne, Malco Springdale)
    » Watch trailer
  • The Miracle Season (PG) 1 hr. 39 min.
    (AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Rogers Towne)
    » Watch trailer
  • Chappaquiddick (PG-13) 1 hr. 47 min.
    (AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Rogers Towne)
    » Watch trailer
  • Chappaquiddick (PG-13) 1 hr. 47 min.
    (AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Rogers Towne)
    » Watch trailer

The film is set in a dystopian near future where most of the population appears to have been wiped out by a race of large, very fast bug-like alien invaders. The aliens are blind, but they compensate with their ultra sensitivity to sound. They can hear a sound from possibly a mile away and cover the distance quickly enough to make the noisy offender pay brutally.

The protagonists are the Abbott family — the mother Evelyn (Emily Blunt), the father Lee (Krasinski), daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds), and son Marcus (Noah Jupe).

The family, who live on a farm in a rural area must stay as quiet as possible to remain safe from the creatures which react swiftly and ferociously to almost any sound. Early in the film we learn just how deadly the creatures are when an everyday sound leaves a victim ravaged to pieces.

To sci-fi fans, the movie will be reminiscent to “War of the Worlds,” “Signs,” and “Pitch Black,” but the story by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, who also worked on the script with Krasinski, offered enough twists for me not to mind. I won’t mention any of them in the review to preserve their freshness.

Krasinski does a deft job of showing the pains the family, who uses American Sign Language to communicate, goes to in order to remain quiet while still functioning as family. They have established their own type of normalcy, but that includes both the parents and children being on guard at all costs.

Not only is the family struggling with their new normalcy but also with guilt from a tragedy the family suffers early in the movie. The guilt drives a wedge between Lee and his daughter Regan.

While at its core the film is a white-knuckle thriller, its heart rests with the family’s internal struggle as much as it does the external struggle with the monsters roaming their environs.

Like so many fathers in real life, Krasinski’s Lee is so focused on providing and protecting his family that he fails to communicate his true feelings to his children in the most straight forward way. Likewise the kids are so preoccupied with their own insecurities and fears that they fail to see the love in his actions.

Blunt, Krasinski’s real-life wife, shines in the movie as the mom attempting to navigate both the rough familial waters as well as fighting off intense emotional and physical pain while being threatened by the creepy creatures.

Both Simmonds and Jupe give strong performances with little dialogue to help them. Both convey a wide array of emotion with their facial expressions and body language. Again, Krasinski should be applauded for drawing such effective work from the entire cast in a scary and heartfelt film.

(PG-13) 1 hr. 30 min.
Grade: B

Classic Corner

The Films of Michael Curtiz and Errol Flynn

Each Wednesday this month, Turner Classic movies is showcasing the films of one of Hollywood’s most versatile and talented directors, Michale Curtiz.

Curtiz hailed from Budapest and made films in Hungary beginning in 1912 until he immigrated to the U.S. in 1926 and began a 28-year stint as one of Warner Bros. got-to directors. Curtiz made 86 pictures for the company before freelancing from 1954-61.

Curtiz isn’t recognized as one of the top 10 directors of all time any longer, but he still makes most top-50 lists. While his name probably wouldn’t be on the tip of my tongue of my favorite directors, after looking over his filmography, I love a bunch of his movies.

Most famously, he directed “Casablanca,” the 1942 classic that is among the most watchable movies ever made. Give me a choice between “Citizen Kane,” “The Godfather,” and “Casablanca,” and I’ll take another trip to Rick’s Cantina almost ever time.

Curtiz’ next most famous films would likely be his swashbucklers and adventure pictures featuring the dashing Errol Flynn. Curtiz and Flynn made a dozen movies together, all of them were at least good but several were exceptional, particularly the pirate adventure “Captain Blood” from 1935 and “The Adventures of Robin Hood” from 1938.

The lovely Olivia de Havilland and Flynn made eight films together, and Curtiz directed all of them but one.

On Wednesday, April 11, starting at 8:45 a.m, TCM will air ten of Curtiz’ films that featured Flynn back to back, including Westerns at 12:45 p.,. “Santa Fe Trail” and “Virginia City.”

From there we leap back to jolly ol’ England at 5 p.m. for “The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, which featured Flynn as the Earl and Betty Davis as Queen Elizabeth. Reportedly, the two stars despised each other. Did Davis ever get along with a co-star?

After showing of “The Adventures of Robin Hood” and “Captain Blood,” TCM plays the 1939 Western “Dodge City” at 11:15 p.m. Mel Brooks spoofed the movie to great effect in his uproarious 1974 comedy “Blazing Saddles.” Curtiz’ film features perhaps the best barroom brawl in Hollywood history. It’s followed by “The Charge of the Light Brigade” from 1936 and “The Sea Hawk” from 1940.

Though they worked together often, Curtiz and Flynn didn’t get along, but their films together were high quality and more importantly made money for Warner Bros. Their studio contract kept them bonded together for a highly productive six-year period from 1935-41. Perhaps the tension is what gave their films together such a sharp edge?