| G. Michael Dobbs
In theaters: “A Quiet Place, Part Two”
Let’s face it, the sequel is one of the oddest conventions of the movie business. For every sequel that works as well as the original there are dozens that simply don’t.
A successful sequel is often the start of a series of films, and in that case, there are relatively few franchises that hold up under multiple installments.
Come on, do you think all of the “Fast and Furious” films are equal? Or all of the movies in horror franchises such as the “Nightmare on Elms Street” films or the “Friday the 13th” movies? There are even not-so-great James Bond films in that series.
And dare I write there are some “Star Wars” movies much better than others.
I’m happy to report that at least in my opinion, the sequel to director and actor John Krasinski’s 2018 science fiction horror film works as well as the first film.
The second film picks up almost directly after the first film. Krasinski and Emily Blunt play a farming couple in New York who are trying to avoid death at the hands of blind alien creatures. The only way they can do so is to be very quiet as the aliens hunt their prey through an acute sense of hearing. Krasinski’s character dies at the end of the first film, but not before realizing a high-pitched sound can render the creatures immobile and vulnerable.
In the new film, thanks to a fire at their farm destroying the barn in which they were taking refuge, Blunt’s character Evelyn is forced to travel with her family of teenagers Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and Marcus (Noah Jupe) as well as her newborn baby to someplace else that would provide shelter from the aliens. They find a nearby abandoned factory where one of their former neighbors Emmett (Cillian Murphy) is now living.
With the discovery there is a radio station not so far away that is still operational, Emmett and Regan begin a journey to find it in order to broadcast the high-pitched feedback in the hopes of disrupting the aliens and allowing people to use the sound to fight them as well.
As in the first film the story emphasizes the characters and their struggles to stay alive, and Krasinski shows again he understands how to build suspense. This may sound obvious – shouldn’t a director of this kind of movie be able to build genuine suspense in his audience? Why, yes, but I’ve sat through plenty of films in which that is not the case.
As in the first film, there is one plot point that seemed to be a misstep, but I just rolled with it.
The performances are spot on with Simmonds carrying much of the action, and she does very well.
With excellent pacing and direction, “A Quiet Place, Part Two” is a rarity: a sequel that works as well as the first film.
On Netflix: “The Kominsky Method”
Speaking of sequels, the third season of this dramady about a venerable acting coach and his less-than-successful personal life just dropped on the streaming service, and like the first two seasons, the production strikes a perfect note.
It’s very funny and very serious – often at the same time. Michael Douglas should be winning awards as Sandy Kominsky and this season Kathleen Turner has a much larger role as one of Sandy’s ex-wives.
I don’t want to give away too much, but I will say that if you’re looking for something to watch that focuses on a group of interesting characters, give this a try.