A quiet place part II (12)
Verdict: more high thread tension
Dream Horse (PG)
Verdict: unfortunately no thoroughbred
More than 14 months after it was slated for release, A Quiet Place Part II is finally tiptoeing into cinemas.
The good news is, it’s well worth the pandemic-forced wait, and not just because it portrays a world more in danger than our own. It’s great and really should be seen on the largest screen possible.
A bit like the second part of The Godfather trilogy, which is a flattering point of comparison for any cinematic follow-up, it acts as a sequel and a prequel. An exciting pre-credits sequence shows us how Planet Earth (well, the US, which is the same in the movies) ended up in the almighty maelstrom that was well underway at the start of the first film.
More than 14 months after it was slated for release, A Quiet Place Part II is finally tiptoeing into theaters
The 2018 original started on day 89 of the apocalypse, but Part II takes us back to day one. Lee and Evelyn Abbott (John Krasinski and Emily Blunt) are at a Little League baseball game with their son Marcus (Noah Jupe). Beside them in the stands is another dad, Emmett (Cillian Murphy, transferring his Peaky Blinders charm to the big screen). The scene is pure, wholesome Americana, until something strange happens in the air.
Yes, it is the beginning of an alien invasion. Soon the terror has set in, at the ferocious claws and deadly teeth of monstrous ravagers who are blind but possess what one of my childhood literary heroes, the schoolboy Jennings, would have called supersonic hearing.
It’s such a simple premise for a horror thriller, which turns The Day Of The Triffids on its head by blinding the predator, not the prey, that it’s a wonder no one has done it this well before. Make a noise and they will find you and eat you.
A bit like the second part of The Godfather trilogy, which is a flattering point of comparison for any cinematic follow-up, it acts as a sequel and a prequel. An exciting pre-credits sequence shows us how Planet Earth (well, the US, which counts as the same in the movies) ended up in the almighty maelstrom that was well underway at the start of the first film
Krasinski, also the writer-director, handles the prequel masterfully. But then he has to write himself out of the proceedings because, as those who saw the first film (possibly between their fingers) will recall, poor, brave Lee ended up being an alien’s breakfast.
We move on to Day 474. Evelyn, though very resourceful, is now a widow with two surviving children and a baby to care for. At an abandoned foundry, they run into Emmett, who is grieving for his own family and in no mood to play proxy.
It’s now that Evelyn’s deeply deaf teenage daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) takes center stage. The first film ended on a hopeful note, with the realization that these seemingly invulnerable creatures could be disabled by amplifying high-frequency feedback from Regan’s hearing aid.
When this beautiful girl then realizes that the song Beyond The Sea is being played repeatedly on a radio as a signal to warn people that there is a safe harbor on a remote island, she sets off, armed only with a rifle and her hearing. support. Evelyn begs Emmett to go after her. Tension rises to the same knuckle-chewing height as last time, as Krasinski cuts repeatedly between Regan, Emmett, and the others.
Dream Horse doesn’t ask for the same big eyes, but it’s a pleasing enough image that belongs in the same camp as all those British charmers in which the underdogs have the upper hand
Murphy, Blunt and Jupe are all great, but the standout star of this sequel is Simmonds, deaf in real life, giving another transfixing rendition.
As for the film as a whole, it doesn’t suffer one iota from Krasinski’s use of the same devices as last time, especially the impossible compromise between sudden, excruciating pain and the need for life or death to remain silent. And again, this mindset inexorably settles on the public. In the Cineworld Leicester Square I didn’t even hear the rustle of even one bag of Revels.
Dream Horse doesn’t ask for the same big eyes, but it’s a pleasing enough image that belongs in the same camp as all those British charmers in which the underdogs have the upper hand. That said, it’s no Billy Elliot or Pride, and is saddled with a few caricatures that even Richard Curtis would have been against.
That said, it’s no Billy Elliot or Pride, and is saddled with a few caricatures that even Richard Curtis would have been against
It is a true story. In a Monmouthshire village, Jan Vokes (Toni Collette), co-op cashier by day, barmaid by night, ambitiously decides to apply her pigeon breeding expertise to horse racing. With local accountant Howard Davies (Damian Lewis), she forms a syndicate of villagers to increase fees so that trainer Philip Hobbs (Nicholas Farrell) can lead Dream Alliance, the horse they bred on an allotment, into winning ways.
A convincing native of the old version, Collette, who is from New South Wales, gets solid support from a pedigree cast that also includes Owen Teale, as her orthodontically challenged husband Brian, and the venerable Sian Phillips. She plays a potty neighbor who seems less of a scam from Doris in Gavin & Stacey on TV without the presence of two G&S regulars (Joanna Page, Steffan Rhodri).
Director Euros Lyn keeps it galloping in a pretty jovial way, building up a few slightly difficult setbacks and personal problems, so that it’s not all sugar cube sweet. But given the power of the source material, Dream Horse is a slight disappointment, not the full-blooded feel-good movie it could have been.
Both films are in cinemas from today.
Britain’s international stature may have declined in recent decades, but we can still boast of the two most famous hard-working 95-year-olds on the planet – namely the Queen and, less than three weeks old, Sir David Attenborough.
The latter just can’t stop presenting documentaries, and the latest of these is Breaking Boundaries: The Science Of Our Planet (★★★★). In it, he introduces evidence that even climate skeptics struggle to refute: that humanity is well on its way to destroying its own habitat.
The melting of the Greenland ice sheet and the destruction of the Amazon rainforest is a double whammy that life on Earth, as we know it, will ultimately not survive.
Still, there is hope in this film, as well as a degree of despair that makes a biologist cry to tears in front of the camera. According to the big man, it’s not too late to make things, if not good, then better.
Nail Bomber: Manhunt (★★★★) focuses on a different kind of destruction, the insane hatred that caused far-right activist David Copeland to detonate three nail bombs in London in 1999. It’s another very good documentary, showing how Copeland was captured, but also revealing the depths of his depravity; packing his devices with nails wasn’t enough, he also soaked the nails in rat urine, to maximize infection among those he didn’t kill.
Both movies are now available on Netflix
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Joanna Scanland is simply fantastic in After Love (★★✩✩✩, 12A), the intense feature debut from writer-director Aleem Khan. She plays Mary, a Muslim convert whose Pakistani-born husband, a ferry captain, dies abruptly at their home in Dover.
As if sudden widowhood wasn’t painful enough, she discovers he’s been dating Genevieve (Nathalie Richard), a woman on the other side of his Channel across the Channel, in Calais for years. Even more devastating was that they had a son, now in his teens – which Mary doesn’t realize until she confronts Genevieve and is mistaken for the new cleaner. It’s pervasive stuff that cleverly uses that standard device of farce, mistaken identity, as the dramatic engine of a film that somehow condenses themes of sadness, jealousy, parenthood, cultural assimilation, race, and even homosexuality into its compact playing time.
Land (★★✩✩✩ , 12A) follows another grieving woman (Robin Wright, who also makes her directorial debut) to Wyoming, where she hides in a remote cabin, doesn’t care if she lives or dies. It’s not the last thanks to a friendly fighter (Demian Bichir) with his own emotional baggage. Sometimes it feels like an endurance test to us too, but it’s predictably well acted.
I loved Adam Rehmeier’s Dinner In America (★★✩✩✩), which won’t be for everyone, but it’s a funny, punchy, subversive novel about the unlikely relationship between an angry punk singer (Kyle Gallner) and his most nerdy fan (Emily Skegs).
At first it is difficult to recognize their virtues, but gradually you find yourself going all out. A cult classic in the making.
After love and country come in cinemas. Dinner in America has begun digital platforms.