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Posts Tagged ‘John Krasinksi’

Noah Jupe, Millicent Simmonds, Emily Blunt

“A QUIET PLACE PART II” My rating: B

97 minute | MPAA rating: PG-13

With only two directing credits under his belt, actor-turned-filmmaker John Krasinski has proven himself one of the brightest up-and-comers in cinema.

“A Quiet Place” and its just-released sequel, “A Quiet Place Part II” remind a bit of the Spielbergian splash made by “Jaws” more than four decades ago. Like that seagoing classic, Krasinski’s “monster” movies exhibit a Hitcockian sense for building suspense.

They have their own look and — perhaps even more important for a franchise about eyeless aliens who use their ears to track human prey — their own sound.

And they effectively mine notions of family and parenthood, with a tiny clan battling indescribable horrors to survive.

“A Quiet Place Part II” is a generally enjoyable thrill ride, peppered with gotcha shock moments and performances that far exceed what we’ve come to expect from the horror genre.

Yet despite the many upsides of this sequel, I found myself a bit let down. Not by the execution, but by the sameness. Krasinski sticks with ideas he introduced in the first film, but I never felt he was advancing them so much as recycling them.

You’ll recall that Krasinki’s character Lee Abbott, died in the first film, sacrificing himself to save his children. The new film (the screenplay is credited to Krasinksi, Scott Beck and Bryan Woods) opens with a hugely effective flashback to the aliens’ arrival in the Abbott’s small upstate New York town. It’s got an impressive “War of the Worlds” vibe — and gives us our Krasinski fix before he vanishes from the screen for good.

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John Krasinski

John Krasinski

“13 HOURS: THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI” My rating: B 

144 minutes  | MPAA rating; R

“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” is an effective combat docudrama in the vein of “Blackhawk Down” and “Lone Survivor.”

But what really makes it noteworthy is the man behind it: director Michael Bay, simultaneously one of our most successful (in box office terms, anyway) and most despised filmmakers.

Here he re-creates Sept. 11, 2012 — when Islamic fighters stormed a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, killing U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others.

Bay’s reputation rests on big, noisy, empty entertainments like the “Transformers” movies, which have been calibrated to a preschooler’s attention span. The prevailing attitude among cineastes is that while one cannot prove that Bay has no soul, there’s been no evidence of one in any of his films.

“13 Hours” is a major departure for Bay, a minute-by-minute dramatization of a recent (and hugely controversial) historic event presented with a minimum of Hollywood hokum and a real feel for the professional warriors who are its heroes.

The film takes no stand on American foreign policy in the Mideast and ignores the subsequent political fallout over how the State Department under Hillary Clinton handled the crisis.

Instead it concentrates on the actions of a handful of former Navy SEALs, Army Rangers and U.S. Marines employed as CIA security contractors who risked their lives to save their fellow Americans.

The central figure is Jack Silva (John Krasinski), who, faced with limited job opportunities at home, once again finds himself a security grunt for Uncle Sam. Leaving behind his wife and daughters, he’s the latest addition to a “secret” CIA operation in Benghazi, and through his eyes we get oriented to a confusing and dangerous situation.

As security chief Tyrone Woods (James Badge Dale) explains, the two dozen or so American analysts living in a walled intelligence compound don’t officially exist — although the Libyans would have to be idiots not to realize what’s going on. (more…)

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