The Moviegoer: Cinema Two Ways

Evelyn (Emily Blunt) braves the unknown in “A Quiet Place Part II.”

Tailor moviegoing to fit your comfort level  

By Diana Beechener  

This week, the moviegoer got to actually GO to the movies. A momentous event over a year in the making, I grabbed my mask, my favorite movie buddy, and bought tickets. The experience was slightly different—we got our popcorn to go, seats are carefully spaced between parties—but wholly wonderful. There is nothing quite like sitting in a dark room laughing and shouting with a group of strangers, the energy that comes from that shared experience is the reason I love movies.   

If you want to return to the theaters with a movie that reminds you why big screens and great sound systems are essential to cinema, consider getting tickets to A Quiet Place Part II. The film picks up right where the first film ended, with the remnants of the Abbott family grieving for their lost patriarch, but armed with a system that can cripple the marauding aliens that have taken over the world. Though the aliens are blind, their incredible sense of hearing means even whispering could lead to death.  

Mother Evelyn (Emily Blunt: Wild Mountain Thyme) knows they have to leave their farm to survive. She packs up kids Regan (Millicent Simmonds: This Close) and Marcus (Noah Jupe: The Undoing), as well as her infant, and treks north, hoping to find other survivors. Unfortunately, Marcus finds a bear trap.  

With one child grievously injured and an infant to think of, Evelyn must depend on another survivor, Emmet (Cillian Murphy: Peaky Blinders) to take them in. But Regan isn’t content to just survive any longer. After discovering that her cochlear implant emits a frequency that cripples the aliens, she’s become determined to share it with other survivors and hopefully end the violent occupation of Earth.   

Can Regan save the world with her frequency? And will the rest of the family survive her attempt?   

Filled with brilliant sound editing and some genuinely tense set-pieces, A Quiet Place Part II is a film that really does benefit from a theater setting. Surround sound brings to life some fraught moments, where even a twig snap could mean doom. Director/writer John Krasinski (A Quiet Place), utilizes the full screen, where every movement could be a harbinger of doom. It’s an impressive sequel that captures the energy of the first while expanding the world.  

There are a few script problems. Krasinski, who wrote the film without collaborators this time around, has a bad habit of overly obvious dialogue. If a sign is discussed or a point repeated over and over, you can be sure it’ll come up later in the film. There are also a few character decisions that make absolutely no sense and only occur to set up the next scary sequence. But overall, the film does an admirable job of keeping the pace and the characters fun.   

Most of the credit for this goes to brilliant performances from Simmonds and Murphy. Simmonds, who was the heart of the first film, continues to drive the story as determined, resourceful Regan. Still reeling from the loss of her father, she is at first mistrustful of Murphy’s Emmet. Murphy in turn offers a heart-wrenching performance of a broken man who’s lost his family and faith in humanity. His only comfort is the pictures of his lost loved ones he sketches around his bunker. The duo forms a great working partnership, which builds into a genuinely sweet bond.   

If you’ve decided it’s time for you and your family to head back to the movies, A Quiet Place Part II is a wonderful in-theater experience. Get your tickets and remember the joy of screaming at a jump scare.  

Good Horror * PG-13 * 97 mins.   

Stay-At-Home Cinema  

If you’re still not up for a theater experience, plenty of companies are offering wonderful new releases on demand. This week, my top selection is Riders of Justice, a quirky dramedy from Danish director Anders Thomas Jensen (Men & Chicken). The film follows soldier Markus (Mads Mikkelsen), who must return home after a train crash kills his wife. Unable to relate to his daughter and suffering badly from PTSD, Markus is surprised when a survivor of the crash seeks him out and tells him the incident wasn’t an accident, but a planned attack. Markus bands together with the survivor and forms a team focused on getting justice for those killed.   

Hilarious, action-packed, and filled with nuanced performances, Riders of Justice is the type of film that Hollywood rarely produces. You’ll be cringing one moment, cackling the next. It’s a great example of what great writing and acting can do to a familiar genre.   

Riders of Justice is available to rent for $6.99.  

Great Dramedy * R * 116 mins.