Archive for Pregnancy

A QUIET PLACE :: HORROR :: 057

Posted in Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 05/13/2018 by joycereview

A Quiet Place (2018)

It doesn’t happen often, but we scored this movie (initially without knowing) the same as the average IMDB voters- an 8. A Quiet Place was not even an unsure or uneasy 8… instead, it was a solid, heartfelt one.

A Quiet Place is the story of a family of five who must live in relative silence as particular sounds attract deadly creatures; grotesque monsters that have overrun the planet.

John Krasinski (of The Office fame) and Emily Blunt (who are also married in real life) play parents that are doing everything they can to keep their family safe. From padding their walking path with sand to marking the planks of wood susceptible to creaking, they try to eliminate any sound that might attract one of these creatures.

Silence, especially in this film, does nothing but build a sense of tension. Will they accidentally drop a pan, step on a twig, or God forbid one of them talks in their sleep? This movie was superbly done. The acting, screen play and directing (which was all Krasinski) was especially brilliant. Emily Blunt was phenomenal as her role demanded a bit more in terms of fear, shock and pain.

If anything went wrong with this film, it did so in the third act. It is hard to describe without giving away spoilers…however, let’s just say that the ending may come to a surprise to movie goers – I even heard a chuckle or two from the audience, probably from disbelief. Not that I disagree with the ending, but I feel that certain elements such as driving a truck down the driveway and (small spoiler!) certainly having a baby are situations when death is (at least should be) guaranteed.

But I understand the reasons behind many of these moments. Like many horror films it gets you thinking, “Well, I would have done this, this and then, this.” Despite what you may or may not have done, there remains a logical reason why things were done the way it was in the film. Hence, it’s no surprise that A Quiet Place has reached it’s high marks. It has already grossed over $50 million dollars.

There are many types of horror, and though the fans of gore my scoff, this is about as good as it gets when it comes to an “edge of your seat thriller”… certainly one that borders on horror and science fiction.

My advice… do see it while it is still in the theaters.  

The scares and chills are always bigger there.

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JUNEBUG :: DRAMA :: 038

Posted in Comedy, Drama, Indie with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 02/21/2010 by joycereview

I’ve been lucky the past few weeks.

I say “lucky”, because as a film buff,… as someone who loves to dive into the gigantic pool of cinema (often daily), I watch many films that lack substance.

Away We Go wasn’t like that, and Junebug certainly isn’t either.

JuneBug was absolutely a joy to watch from the moment George Johnsten uttered his character’s first words, “I’m from Pfafftown, North Carolina.”

As many of my readers know, I’ve lived and grown up in the city of Winston-Salem, not fifteen minutes away from where this story takes place.  And although North Carolina is the host state for many movies (primarily Wilmington, NC), very few have had stories so closely affixed to our “Southern ways,” not-to-mention the universal complications within families, Life, and our place in them.

BEAR BONES

Meet George Johnsten (Alessandro Nivola) a charming, near-perfect Southern gentleman.

It’s been three years since he’s been home to visit his family, and it just so happens that his wife, a passionate and career-driven Chicago art dealer, Madeleine (Embeth Davidtz), must visit a reclusive artist in Pinnacle, North Carolina (not far from where George grew up).  Seeming like the perfect opportunity to meet her hubby’s family for the first time, her visit creates a windstorm of emotion and uncovers more than could ever have been perceived, about her in-laws, her relationship with George and herself.

Strangely enough, my celebrity crush of Amy Adams, who plays George’s doe-eyed, child-like and very pregnant sister-in-law didn’t  officially begin until I saw this film.  Nominated for an Academy Award for “Best Supporting Actress (2005)” for her role as Junebug’s “Ray of Southern light,” is an inquisitive and perpetually “sunny” character that says (virtually all in one breath):

[Ashley; about Madeleine] I wonder what she looks like.  I bet she’s skinny.  She probably is.  She’s skinnier’n me and prettier too.  Now I’ll hate her.  I can’t wait!

But obviously she never does (hate her)… as Ashley doesn’t seem to hate anyone.

Ashley’s clearly the “creme-filled center” of Junebug (if you find the “creme” to be the yummiest part of the doughnut), however this film’s sugary-goodness comes from the remaining cast.  Peg (played by Celia Weston), the matriarchal mother-in-law to Madeleine, does two things: voices her opinions and looks after her young’ns.  Her husband, Eugene (Scott Wilson) plays the role of the tight-lipped father… a common trait among spouses of brazen, out-spoken, women.  Even though through most of George and Madeleine’s visit Eugene’s looking for a lost screwdriver (a “Phillips head”), his character shines with the reality of what many good ol’ Southern boys become (especially with a wife such as Peg).  Sometimes what Eugene says is for his benefit only, mostly he keeps quiet, and (like many of us) conveys a Buddhistic wisdom.  Consider for a moment a tense moment in the film when Madeleine walks in on a private conversation between Eugene and Peg.  Maybe she heard what Peg had said about her; maybe not.  Peg gets up from the table and leaves the room.

[Madeleine] She’s a very strong personality.

[Eugene]  That’s just her way.  She hides herself.  She’s not like that inside.  (pause) Like most.

Where the story comes up short is through the character of Johnny (Ben Mckenzie), Ashley’s frustrated and tantrum-giving husband.  He’s a torrent of anger and self-loathing; second-rate when it comes to his successful brother, and emotionally handicapped when it comes to showing affection (this is, perhaps, because he feels that he is undeserving of it).  This is evident in the scene where Johnny desperately scrambles to tape a television show on meerkats.  He knows Ashley loves them.  But like everything in his life thus far, he fails.  Either the acting of Ben Mckenzie was over-done, or it was poor directing on  Morrison’s part,… but it was very hard to believe that Ashley; adorable and pregnant – quite plumply of a bump with his child, could ever arouse such anger and internal discord.

The only other sour point, comes by way of the mentally-challenged, heavily accent, “sought after” genius artist, David Walk.  He lives in Pinnacle, NC (which gives us sentimental Carolinians a beautiful shot of Pilot Mountain) but paints lurid, allegorical pictures of American history.  Madeleine, intent on signing and representing him in the art world, comments over a particular piece –

I like all the dog heads and computers,… and scrotums.

I know very little of art, but the art that I do have an appreciation for… makes sense.  People look like the people they are drawn after.  Picasso, someone whose work I wouldn’t pay for (if I never knew the value) seems more like art than the shallow and jejune “art” described as “breath-taking.”

Junebug, written by Angus MacLachlan and directed by Phil Morrison, is…above all else… a story that shows that the problems of Life can seldom be solved within the scope of a single film.  The evolution of the character’s relationships with one another, the deep undercurrent of emotion and pain, and any sort of resolution or understanding cannot be deciphered in 106 minutes (nor could it be solved in 300).  I can’t wait to personally own this film, not only to watch again, but to pass amongst my fellow North Carolinians as a relatable, highly-authentic story about real people… living, loving… and dealing.