On DVD & Blu-Ray: July 9, 2018


There is a lot to say about A Quiet Place, the third directorial effort from John Krasinski (The Office) starring real-life wife Emily Blunt in their first on-screen collaboration (and as a married couple no less), but more than anything this is a movie that encapsulates the equal amount of unexpected fear as compared to the expected amount of joy that comes along with becoming and being a parent. It is something society doesn't often prepare you for and that you don't hear much about when embarking on this particular chapter in your life. People tell you how it will change your life, certainly, and how it will do so for the better as well as how tough things will be at different times for different reasons, but no one ever seems to warn expectant parents just how much fear will encompass their lives and in what are otherwise seemingly the most normal of situations. This isn't what A Quiet Place is about outright, but as the father to a three year-old daughter that is what A Quiet Place is most explicitly about to me. It is a summation and tense execution of what it feels like to solely be responsible for the lives of those that are dependent upon you whether they see it that way or not; they simply expect you to be there for them because that has always been your role without a second thought to the worry and fear that role might encompass and carry. A child's perspective is difficult to re-adjust to the point they understand the full spectrum of various emotions we as human beings are capable of experiencing, but there is something inherent when becoming a parent where your brain automatically switches to all-of-a-sudden be weary of any potential dangers to your child while at the same time coming to the realization your strengths and abilities might not be enough to protect them from whatever the world throws at them. Granted, A Quiet Place is this times fifty-seven and represents the worst-case scenario of what are most of the time internalized fears, but that is what makes the film so effective and ultimately, so moving. At the center of the story is a family unit that has been fractured by grief in the midst of having to adjust to this new way of life thanks to an extra-terrestrial threat whose origins remain a mystery sans some quick glances at a few newspaper clippings, but the context doesn't matter as much as the concepts that bound forth from its simple, but intriguing premise. Through all of this, Krasinski hones in on what makes the premise work so well, that being the grief, necessary coping, and inherent fear that inevitably comes with making ourselves vulnerable enough to care so much about others. Realizing these emotions and this feeling of need to protect and shelter those you are responsible for even when you have no idea how you might accomplish as much into a tight, ninety-minute actualization that will have you holding your breath and remaining as still as the reflections we see on screen. Full review here. A-

The moon looms in so many of the shots here just as it did in the news cycle during that 1969 July when Senator Edward Kennedy drove off a bridge, killing his passenger.

His first words after the accident are: “I’m not going to be president.”

How Chappaquiddick might hold up against history is uncertain, but director John Curran (The Painted Veil) swiftly clarifies what he and the writers believe to be the answers to questions that have no doubt plagued the incident since that fateful night. How did Kennedy end up driving off the bridge? Was he drunk? What were he and Mary Jo Kopechne doing together that night? Was there a third person in the car? Why did he wait so long to report the accident? There is no hesitation to paint Kennedy into an unflattering corner with Ed Helms as conflicted Kennedy cousin Joseph Gargan being a highlight. Gargan's struggles and position within his famous family are what illustrate what it seems Chappaquiddick is truly trying to get at; that the Kennedy's never held themselves to the same laws as those they felt they were meant to serve. That somehow, because they lived a life of service they were exempt from the same standards. It's an interesting if not obvious thesis, but I wish it was explored in a deeper and more moving manner as Curran's film feels very much like a CliffsNotes version of a much bigger story. B-

It seems there has been good buzz around Lean on Pete for so long now and I was bummed that I didn't make it around to seeing the film when it played for a week or two at my local art house theater. Lean on Pete follows fifteen-year-old Charley Thompson (Charlie Plummer) who wants nothing more than the simple things in life-a home, food on the table, and a high school he can attend for more than part of the year. As the son of a single father (Travis Fimmel) working in warehouses across the Pacific Northwest, stability is hard to find. Hoping for a new start Charley and his father move to Portland where Charley takes a summer job, with a washed-up horse trainer (Steve Buscemi), and befriends a failing racehorse named Lean on Pete. Given the aforementioned buzz and the fact I met Charlie Plummer a few years back when he came to town to promote his film King Jack and have had a vested interest in his career ever since (and also because this is now available to stream on Amazon Prime) I'll hopefully have rectified he fact I've missed this thus far by the end of the day.

In this terrible-looking Mad Max knock-off a queen (Lucy Liu) lays dying as her son Prince (Jeffrey Wahlberg) travels across barren waste lands to find a near-mythical medicine to save her life. After evading violent raiders on motorbikes led by the Warlord (James Franco) and his enforcer (Cliff "Method Man" Smith), Prince meets Ash (Suki Waterhouse), the Warlord's robot sex companion-assassin who's in search of her own soul. As Prince is captured by the Druglord (Milla Jovovich), the Warlord's forces roar in and Prince fights to save the remnants of humanity in what they've called Future World. Blah.