A Quiet Place (spoiler free)

When it comes to critical and box office success, horror/suspense is not usually the first genre that comes to mind. So when a new scary movie comes out and is getting generally positive reviews while raking in money at the box office, it definitely triggers some additional interest in my book. The fact that this movie was directed, written, and stars the goofy guy (John Krasinski) best known as Jim Halpert from the hilarious show “The Office” is the icing on the cake. Mrs. Apologist and I really enjoy scary movies so naturally this one found its way to the top of our list to see.

I don’t want to spoil this movie with too much detail about the plot. This is a tale about survival in the face of mass devastation and death. We start off right away seeing the Abbott family doing their best to not make any noise as they search for supplies in a very empty small town store. It seems something has thoroughly wiped out everyone and everything. The painstaking effort to be as quiet as possible while on their supply run leads us to assume that too much sound brings a swift death. I’ll leave the rest of it for you to discover on your own. It becomes quite interesting to see how they function on a daily basis while living in almost complete silence.

What isn’t to like about this film? John Krasinski completely blew me away as he wrote, directed, and starred in this thriller that had me on the edge of my seat for almost the entire 90 minute run time. The pacing is near perfection as it doesn’t move along too quickly but doesn’t drag its feet either. The whole concept of “be quiet or you can die” was well done and I have never heard an entire movie theater sit in such silence! There are a few legitimate jump scares thrown in for good measure and believe me, they will make you jump. I loved the family in this movie, each actor/actress was convincing and I truly cared about their well being. John Krasinski is wonderful as Lee Abbott, the father doing all he can to keep his family safe from constant threat. He is joined on screen by real life wife Emily Blunt as she plays his movie wife Evelyn. Their on screen chemistry is powerful between themselves as well as their children. It is very refreshing to see such a unique entry into the horror/thriller genre.

I enjoyed this movie so much that I don’t really have any complaints for this section! Everything from the story to the suspense to the actors all added up to an superbly entertaining trip to the theater.

This movie is an instant classic in the eyes of this fanatic and I will be sure to add it to my collection the first day it is available. I get a kick out of the horror/suspense genre but too often I find movies too derivative or predictable or just flat out not scary enough. This movie checks all the boxes and felt refreshing in a sea of sequels and remakes. It may not shock you to discover that I give this movie an spectacular rating of 0 Apologies since I have been raving about this movie for awhile now. If you are a fan of the genre then this is a must watch but be careful not to make too much noise.

-Movie Apologist

John Wick 2 (spoilers)

Sometimes picking a movie to watch can be a difficult process. There are almost endless selections across multiple formats and it is easy to spend more time searching for a movie than actually watching a movie. Usually when I can’t pick a movie I find myself settling on action movies where there may not be too much of a plot but are still enjoyable because of the badass action. Fortunately for all my action movie fans out there John Wick 2 packs in plenty of amazing action and doesn’t totally ignore the plot. I absolutely loved the first movie so I couldn’t wait to sit down and watch the second one.

The plot does not overly complicate itself. If you have seen the first movie then you know that John Wick (Keanu Reeves) was a retired assassin with a massive reputation who gets pulled back into the game by the actions of a young Russian mobster. Chapter 2 essentially picks up right after the events of the first movie. After John briefly reenters his unique world to get revenge on the people who wronged him in the first movie he receives a visit from a fellow assassin: Santino D’Antonio. He has heard that John is back in the game and he needs to call on John to pay him back on a marker, which is sort of like a blood oath type favor. (A marker is given out between assassins when one needs a favor and it must be honored when requested. If refused then your life is basically put on the line.) John does not want to honor his marker with Santino and is adamant that he is still retired, despite the stories to the contrary. Since the marker was refused, John has now broken the honor code. In order to show John that he is serious in his request, Santino blows up John’s house. Eventually John agrees to hear Santino’s request but he isn’t happy about it. He is tasked with killing Santino’s sister Gianna who has a seat at the High Table: a group of powerful assassins and Santino wants that seat. John reluctantly accepts the assignment to clear his debt and goes about planning and setting up. I won’t spoil the rest of the movie from there but I can tell you it is quite exciting and action packed.

There are strengths galore in this movie. The action and fight choreography are second to none and they are on full display for the majority of the film. If you appreciate action then you will love John Wick Chapter 2. Keanu Reeves really is impressive with his dedication and training for this role. You can see how comfortable he is holding the various firearms and he looks natural in his movements while shooting and fighting. In addition to Keanu, the other actors are all enjoyable in their roles. Riccardo Scamarcio is bit bold and quite smug as Santino and his performance sort of makes you want to punch him in the face but that’s really a compliment to his acting. The rapper Common plays Cassian, one of Gianna’s bodyguards, and he delivers a no nonsense, straight forward tough guy.

Really the only weakness I found in the movie was the character Ares, played by Ruby Rose. She is a deaf bodyguard for Santino and is easily out shined by the other characters. She doesn’t necessarily do anything wrong she just doesn’t do anything particularly great either. She seems to be included in the cast since she was a trending celebrity at the time. I didn’t find anything else to dislike here.

Even though I felt Ares was a weak character it wasn’t a huge detraction from the movie as a whole. It kept me entertained for the entire 122 minute run time and didn’t feel like it was too long. I loved the action and was wowed by the choreography. The actors all played their roles well and worked with each other to keep the story moving along. You really can’t ask for much more from the action genre as this movie stands out from the crowd with a spectacular rating of 0 Apologies. I would recommend this to anyone and everyone, as long as you don’t mind the violence.

-Movie Apologist

The Departed

When you think of a modern classic movie, what comes to mind? I would hope that The Departed winds up on the short list in most of your minds. This movie combines everything you would want: a phenomenal cast playing the perfect characters, fantastic story line, well paced action, believable emotions, and some very well placed humor. It is currently sitting as #43 on the best movie list on IMDB, which I personally think is much too low. It has been a favorite of mine for 10 years now. This review may contain spoilers so I do recommend watching it first, coming back to read this, and leaving your thoughts below!

The Departed at its most basic level is about crime and corruption. The two sides involved are the Massachusetts State Police and an Irish gang led by Frank Costello (played masterfully by the great Jack Nicholson). The other two main characters in the story are Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon). Billy is an undercover police officer assigned to infiltrate Costello’s gang, while Colin is working as a mole within the department for Costello. As both Billy and Colin advance up the ladder of their respective groups, it becomes easier to see how the stress of leading double lives is breaking them down. Both the police and Costello have become aware of a rat working for the enemy and attempt to increase their efforts in identifying said rat. The plot moves swiftly along for the entire 151 minute run time. Honestly, it really does not feel that long because you are actively captivated for the duration. I do not want to spoil the entire movie for those who have not seen it, but trust me when I say that it packs quite a punch.

The strengths in this film are quite numerous. The cast is easily one of the strongest casts assembled. Besides the aforementioned three, (DiCaprio, Damon, Nicholson) we also have Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Vera Farmiga, Ray Winstone, Anthony Anderson, and Alec Baldwin for our viewing pleasure. In addition to having great actors, the character portrayals are far from boring cardboard cutouts. It is wonderful to see how they all interact with each other. It feels very genuine and authentic. Another aspect I enjoyed about the characters and the dialogue was how they weaved so much humor throughout all the seriousness of the movie. It was quite refreshing to have the comedic breaks since without it the movie would be even more intense than it already is. As I mentioned before, despite the rather long run time, it travels right along quickly and does not drag during any scene.

I really don’t have any true weaknesses for this movie. The only real complaint is that I have a love/hate relationship with Colin Sullivan’s character played by Matt Damon. He is so easy to hate but that is only because he plays the character so well. Even that could really be listed as a strength since it takes some talent to create such disdain.

It was easy for me to decide on a rating for such an epic movie. With all the strengths stacked up against the lone negative (which is really another strength) the rating chose itself: 0 Apologies! This movie is cinematic perfection and rightly deserves a spot in everyone’s DVD/BluRay collection.

-Movie Apologist