Last Week’s Films (09/04 – 15/04)

A much more successful week this week in terms of both quantity and quality. Here we go!

A Quiet Place (John Krasinski, 2018)

This film follows a family trying to continue their lives after aliens who hunt by sound have invaded Earth and exterminated a large portion of the human race. The family communicates by sign language and makes as little sound as possible to avoid attracting these aliens and being exterminated themselves. Early in the film the youngest son is killed by one of these aliens, and the family drama comes from the deaf daughter who blames herself for his death. It was something of a unique cinematic experience, with the audience remaining as quiet as possible, seemingly afraid to rustle sweet wrappers or popcorn bags so they can avoid breaking the immersion, since the film is largely silent (or at least, quiet). This quietness helped heighten the tension and drama when any sound was made by the characters. Suspension of disbelief is stretched somewhat throughout the film (for example, they have electricity at their house, if it’s from a generator surely that would make a lot of noise…) but nothing you can’t get over enough to enjoy the film. I would have liked to have learned more about the world as a whole rather than just the family, but then it would have been a different film I guess. Overall it was fairly enjoyable, but nothing magnificent. 6/10

Ghost Stories (Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson, 2018)

This was more of a straight horror film than A Quiet Place, an anthology of ghost stories held together by a framework of a TV sceptic being given 3 “unsolvable cases” to investigate by a fellow paranormal investigator. The 3 stories differ in quality, with the first being the pick of the bunch and extremely creepy (featuring Paul Whitehouse as the subject of the paranormal encounter), while the other two were less impactful. I enjoyed myself but found the ending didn’t really hit the mark for me, and the 3 stories didn’t seem to be “unsolvable” at all, based on what was shown. There are some pretty good and well delivered jump-scares though, so I would recommend it if you are into horror. 6/10

Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt, 2016)

Three loosely connected stories of women living in the American Northwest. There was a sort of everyday sadness about the stories, nothing extreme (except for Laura Dern’s story, I guess), but I wasn’t particularly engaged by them. 5/10

Dead Ringers (David Cronenberg, 1988)

Jeremy Irons plays twin gynaecologists who share everything, switching places frequently even when dating and sleeping with women. A woman eventually comes between them and their relationship breaks down. Jeremy Irons is very convincing as being two completely different people, but other than that I didn’t find a lot to enjoy about the film. 5/10

Vernon, Florida (Errol Morris, 1981)

After loving The Thin Blue Line I sought out more of Morris’ work but I just couldn’t get into this one, it was essentially just an hour of the people of Vernon, Florida talking nonsense.  Maybe a little interesting to think about and see their idiosyncrasies but no real narrative made it all seem a bit aimless. 4.5/10

From Beyond (Stuart Gordon, 1986)

A scientist finds a way into a parallel world by inventing a machine that stimulates the pituitary gland, and is soon killed by the monsters there. His assistant is put into an asylum afterwards, until a doctor brings him back to the machine to try and find out what has gone on. It’s pretty crazy, and there are some really nice looking practical effects the plot is fairly thin and not compelling. Worth a watch if you enjoy outrageous gorey horror nonsense though, which I sometimes do. 5.5/10

Andre the Giant (Jason Hehir, 2018)

A documentary following the life and career of French wrestler/actor Andre the Giant. It’s a very sad story, and you can really feel the love the interviewees (such as Hulk Hogan, Billy Crystal and Ric Flair) had for the man, but it doesn’t tell us much about his childhood (though this may be because, as the film points out, Andre didn’t really start growing abnormally until around aged 15). It’s a very interesting look at the wrestling business as well as a sad tale of an ill man who died young. I think anyone would find this enjoyable, wrestling fan or not. 6/10

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