A QUIET PLACE PART II
Talk about suspense! We've been waiting for A Quiet Place Part II since March 2020. The second film was about to be released when the pandemic curtain fell on Hollywood. Now more than a year later, it leads off the Memorial Day weekend. That's traditionally the time for blockbusters to take a bow, but will it be enough to draw people back into theaters? One guy with his fingers crossed is John Krasinski, who returns to direct the screenplay he wrote.
Except for an opening sequence, the movie picks up where the last one left off. Krasinski's real-life wife, Emily Blunt, is back as the mother, Evelyn Abbott. She's doing her best to keep her three kids quiet so those flying lizard monsters with freakishly sensitive hearing don't spot them and attack. Blunt once again beautifully covers the range from tender to terror.
But the standout here is the deaf daughter, played by Millicent Simmonds, who is deaf herself. She detects a signal that others might be out there and sets out to explore with the help of a family friend played by Cillian Murphy who's new to the story.
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Is there a place where humans can live under the radar monster-free? Will the surviving members of the Abbott family make it through this one? And is "A Quiet Place Part II" as good as the first one?
The novelty is gone, but the post-apocalyptic world is strangely more relatable after we've all gone through our own isolation. It will still keep you on the edge of your seat, your movie theater seat. And that's where this movie screams to be seen. Just muffle your own screams. You never know where monsters might be lurking!
Paramount Pictures (PG-13) - In theaters only - Running time 1 hour 37 min.
Then there's "Cruella" an origin story to Disney's fierce villainess, Cruella de Vil. Etched in our minds from the classic animated movie, "101 Dalmatians" Glenn Close portrayed her in the 1996 live-action version, followed by a sequel.
So who doesn't want to know how this woman who kidnaps spotted dogs came to be so evil? And who do you cast? The versatile Emma Stone, of course! She plays Estella, born with a flair for fashion along with that iconic two-toned hair. Her mother called her "Cruella" when she acted up as a kid, and that was often. When she arrives in London as an orphan, she joins two grifters who pickpockets.
Eventually, she lands a job at a department store where a drunken night in a storefront window leads to a display that gets the attention of a top designer, 'The Baroness,' played deliciously by Emma Thompson. Under her employ, Estella discovers she should not idolize but revile her, and "Cruella" sets out for the ultimate revenge. This is where Stone has her most outrageous fun, all set to a pulsing punk rock soundtrack.
Both Oscar-winning Emmas command the screen. Put them together, it's as close to Disney magic as this film comes. The real star, however, is the fashion. The costumes are jaw-dropping. But at 2 hours 14 minutes, the movie is too long making it even less kid-friendly than the storyline.
Which begs the question: Who is this film for? Emma lovers? No doubt. Fashionistas? Absolutely. It did play well on a big screen where I saw it, but it's also available to watch at home on Disney+ Premier Access. Depending on the size of your party, that can be an off-the-rack deal for the couture-only "Cruella."
Disney Studios (PG-13) - In theaters and streaming - Running time 2 hours 14 minutes.