For the past two weeks of May, cinemas have been able to re-open and I have been able to see three films. Whilst two of these have had mixed reviews, I am glad that report that it has been a strong two weeks and I am excited to be able to share some mini reviews for these films.
Before I share my thoughts on the films though, I want to thank the staff who helped make my experiences at the cinema not only safe, but good. The work that these staff members are putting in to make the cinemas work during the pandemic should be recognised, and I thank them for being part of the experience.
Here are my mini-reviews of the three films that I saw in the cinema in May 2021.
Those Who Wish Me Dead
Director: Taylor Sheridan
Writers: Michael Koryta, Charles Leavitt, Taylor Sheridan
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Nicholas Hoult, Finn Little, Jon Bernthal, Aidan Gillen
Synopsis: A teenage murder witness finds himself pursued by twin assassins in the Montana wilderness with a survival expert tasked with protecting him — and a forest fire threatening to consume them all.
For a small thriller of this style, I found myself being engaged with the film and having a lot of fun seeing this on the big screen. Angelina Jolie is fantastic and it is refreshing to see her take the role that she did here and bring it to life in a way that does feel organic. The supporting cast is also great, but a shout out goes to Finn Little who gives a stellar performance and is an actor that we should look out for in the future.
There are certainly issues with this film, and a large portion of that comes from the story itself and the development of the villains. They were so poorly written and a lot of the action did feel convenient, leaving the two main storylines feeling disjointed for a lot of the film. However, that should not distract from the other strong aspects of the film, and the ending is incredibly powerful to tie up what was surprisingly a really good first film back to the cinema.
Director: Simon McQuoid
Writers: Greg Russo, Dave Callaham, Oren Uziel (story)
Starring: Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson
Synopsis: MMA fighter Cole Young seeks out Earth’s greatest champions in order to stand against the enemies of Outworld in a high stakes battle for the universe.
I will begin this review by highlighting that I am not a player of the Mortal Kombat games myself, but I have seen my boyfriend and others around me enjoy the series. He ended up not liking this film due to the tone, but it was surprising to me that I had a lot of fun with this film. This is mostly down to the choreography and visual effects, both of which are so beautifully crafted and help bring this particular world to life.
I will admit that the story itself is weak, particularly with a few of the characters that are introduced. A lot of the plot is incredibly convenient, with things happening that really have no explanation or reason other than to simply have a way to move the plot forward. A lot of fan service is also forced in, with characters saying famous quotes in ways that ruin the tone of the gory violence. Still, I have to say that I had fun whilst watching the film and I would recommend seeing it on the big screen if possible.
A Quiet Place Part II
Director: John Krasinski
Writers: John Krasinski, Scott Beck (characters), Bryan Woods (characters)
Starring: Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Cillian Murphy, Noah Jupe
Synopsis: Following the events at home, the Abbott family now face the terrors of the outside world. Forced to venture into the unknown, they realise the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats lurking beyond the sand path.
I gave the first film a perfect score when I first saw it, and I am definitely interested in revisiting it to see if that score lasts. However, I am glad to report that the sequel is a very strong follow-up and helps show that there is a lot more to this story that needed told. The performances once again shine in this, with Millicent Simmonds in particular showing again that she is a star.
What is fantastic to see is that John Krasinski continues to make the right calls as a director to elevate his material. The score in this film by Marco Beltrami is even better than the first film, the tone is consistent and even the editing choices feel purposeful to match those of the original. The movie does sacrifice the hard-hitting scares to instead focus on narrative and atmosphere, but the final result is still incredibly satisfying. If there is one film that is a required cinema watch, it is A Quiet Place Part II.