Those blind alien monsters from “A Quiet Place” are back. Make a sound and they’ll have you for lunch … and I don’t mean as a guest.
“A Quiet Place Part II” (PG-13, 97 minutes, in theaters) opens as a prequel of sorts to the first film. Evelyn and Lee Abbott (real-life couple Emily Blunt and John Krasinski) are at the youth baseball game of one of their sons. It’s a little bit of Americana — only, if we’ve seen the first movie (and you should see it first), we know something very bad is likely to happen.
Sure enough, aliens land … and all hell breaks loose.
I won’t go into details, because I don’t want to spoil the ensuing sequence. Let’s just say it’s insane, absolutely insane, as the humans scatter and the giant critters from space tackle and devour them. I found myself giggling at the outrageousness of it all and thinking “Holy crap!”
And, yes, that’s a compliment.
Written and directed by Krasinski, who also helmed the first film, “Part II” then jumps ahead in time to where the original left off. (Again, I won’t go into details, for fear of giving away too much to those who haven’t seen it.) The surviving Abbotts — which now include a baby — still have to contend with killer aliens who are attracted to their prey by sounds. (In other words, this would be the perfect time to be a mime.)
The suspense from the first film (a first-rate thriller) continues, and often it gets pretty intense.
That’s the good news. The somewhat bad news is that “A Quiet Place Part II” starts to resemble a “Jurassic Park” movie, as characters hold their breath and hide as human-devouring monsters (here aliens filling in for dinosaurs) seek them out. It’s all a little too familiar.
And then there’s the ending, which is too abrupt. Wait, you think. That’s it?
You have to imagine someone is planning a Part 3. *** (out of four)
“Final Account” (PG-13, 94 minutes, in theaters) is infinitely more important than “A Quiet Place Part II” (or most films to come out this year), but it almost certainly won’t be seen by nearly as many people.
Made by British director Luke Holland (who died last year at age 71), “Final Account” deals with the Holocaust, but with a twist. It’s told through interviews conducted over more than a decade with Germans and Austrians, well into old age, who lived through the period and either participated in the persecution and extermination of the Jews, or, at the least, turned a blind eye to what was occurring in concentration camps and elsewhere in Nazi Germany.
Some interviewees claim that no one knew what the Nazis were up to — only to later mention smelling the smoke coming from the camps. Or they will rationalize their actions (as a member of the Hitler Youth or the SS, or as a worker in the camp): What could they do to stop the mass murders? It was beyond their control! At least one man still sees nothing wrong with Hitler or the Holocaust. Besides, some of those interviewed claim, 6 million dead is an exaggeration!
What’s most striking, and disturbing, though, are the “ordinary” folks who didn’t seem caught up in politics but wistfully recall liking the uniforms, the parades, the songs. One man recalls wanting to join the SS because the training involved playing sports. Another recalls finding in his village escapees from a camp and calling the authorities.
Listening to these people, one wonders how they could be so untouched by the horrors endured by their neighbors, their militant obliviousness. And then, inevitably, one’s thoughts turn to the world today, our country today. We see the same kind of callousness, ignorance, selfishness. The same kind of tacit support of fascism.
Do we really need another movie about the Holocaust? You’re damn right we do. ****
** Click here for Tim Miller’s previous movie columns for Cape Cod Wave **
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Tim Miller is a Cape-based member of the Boston Society of Film Critics. He and Tony Raine host “Tim ’n’ Tony’s Rock ’n’ Pop Show” from midnight to 3 a.m. Sunday nights/Monday mornings on WOMR (92.1-FM), WFMR (91.3-FM) and womr.org (archived shows at https://womr.org/schedule/broadcast-archive/ ) . He also teaches film at Cape Cod Community College in West Barnstable. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or follow him onTwitter @TimMillerCritic. Or you can ignore him completely.