Tag Archives: Noah Jupe

A Quiet Place Part II (2021) Review

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A Quiet Place Part II

Time: 97 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Contains violence and horror
Cast:
Emily Blunt as Evelyn Abbott
Cillian Murphy as Emmett
Millicent Simmonds as Regan Abbott
Noah Jupe as Marcus Abbott
Djimon Hounsou as Man On Island
John Krasinski as Lee Abbott
Director: John Krasinski

Following the deadly events at home, the Abbott family must now face the terrors of the outside world as they continue their fight for survival in silence. Forced to venture into the unknown, they quickly realize that the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats that lurk beyond the sand path.

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A Quiet Place Part II was one of the many 2020 movies that was pushed back another year because of COVID and now it’s finally here. The first movie was quite a surprising movie, a horror movie with quite a simple concept that was executed incredibly well, and it was quite a hit when it came out. A sequel was greenlit after its success, and it really didn’t seem like the type of movie that need a sequel and it seemed great enough on its own. So I was just expecting a decent but nothing special sequel, and it turned out to be a lot better than I thought it would be.

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A Quiet Place Part II picks up immediately after the first movie, so don’t read the rest of the review or really even bother to look into the movie unless you have seen the first movie. In short, many of the strengths from the first movie could pretty much just repeated here. At its core it is about a family trying to survive, you are invested with the characters and what they are up against, and the tension is there throughout but doesn’t overly rely on a huge amount of. The main question is what it actually does as a sequel to that first movie, what it adds and what is different. For one it expands the world wider beyond the main setting of the last movie, as the Abbott family goes into unexpected territory, and we get to learn more about the rest of the world and what happened. The film even opens on the day that the apocalypse started, and it really added some context and more to these movies. Part II does go for more of a patient survival drama more than the rather contained horror movie that Part I was, but it works very well. While generally the first movie was about the whole family with a focus on the parents, this one is really about the kids, and that approach was quite refreshing. At a point much of the movie splits into two storylines and while I liked both, without getting too into it here, the one focusing in Millicient Simmonds’s character of Regan was the one I was most interested in the most. The movie ends in a very satisfying way, and the sequel leaves open the potential for a Part III.

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The cast like in the last movie is rather small, but strong in their parts. Emily Blunt, Millicient Simmonds and Noah Jupe reprise their roles as the surviving Abbott family and once again they are great. They are able to convey so much without saying much or anything, especially when they have to communicate non-verbally so to not attract any of the monsters. Much of these movies rely on the performances being great and they absolutely deliver. Out of the three, Millicient Simmonds particularly shines here, in fact I’d say that she carries much of the movie. There’s also the addition of Cillian Murphy in a major role, and he’s also a fantastic addition to these movies, he also gives a great performance here. Djimon Hounsou also appears in the movie in a couple of scenes and he’s good in his screentime.

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John Krasinski once again directs this movie, and his work here is just as good as Part I if not better. Part II definitely feels like an even more confident film on a directing level overall. First of all, it is shot incredibly well, the environments and settings help this world feel believable. The attention to detail is immaculate especially during moments of tension, often times focusing on things that could potentially go wrong. Then there’s of course the effective use of silence and the sound editing, mixing and design with sound being such an important part of the movie. The booming score from Marco Beltrami works well too, especially during moments of tension. There are scares but it feels earned when they are present and they never feel cheap. The creatures as usual are creepy and intimidating from their presence, design and sounds, although don’t feel quite as dangerous compared to in the first movie (mostly to do with the story however). It really is quite an experience to watch it in the theatre, especially with the sound.

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A Quiet Place Part II is a worthy follow up to the first movie and is just as good. Great performances from the cast, story and characters that you’re invested in, and some effective tension and directed incredibly well. If you liked Part I, definitely check Part II out as soon as you can because you’ll probably like it as well. If you didn’t like Part I at all, Part II is unlikely to win you over any better. While I was sceptical of a sequel to the first A Quiet Place, it actually worked quite well and I’m now on board with the possibility of a Part III.

The Undoing (2020) TV Review

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The Undoing

Time:
336 Minutes
Cast:
Nicole Kidman as Grace Fraser
Hugh Grant as Jonathan Fraser
Édgar Ramírez as Detective Joe Mendoza
Noah Jupe as Henry Fraser
Lily Rabe as Sylvia Steinetz
Matilda De Angelis as Elena Alves
Ismael Cruz Córdova as Fernando Alves
Edan Alexander as Miguel Alves
Michael Devine as Detective Paul O’Rourke
Donald Sutherland as Franklin Reinhardt
Noma Dumezweni as Haley Fitzgerald
Director: Susanne Bier

A therapist’s (Nicole Kidman) life unravels after she learns that her husband (Hugh Grant) might be responsible for a widespread disaster.

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I heard about The Undoing for some time, that it’s an HBO mini-series in the murder mystery thriller genre that starred Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant in the lead roles. I didn’t think much of it or have a particularly strong interest in it when it was released, but after it received some TV award show nominations, I thought I might as well check it out. Having watched all the episodes, I’d say overall that it’s decent, but not nearly as good as it could’ve been.

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David E. Kelley, who previously created and wrote Big Little Lies, is the writer and creator of The Undoing and you can definitely feel it. However, it’s not nearly as strong as that other show. The faults mostly lay in the writing, which is the weakest part of the show, though I wouldn’t say it’s bad. It’s decent enough and was enough for me to pay attention to what was happening. Some episodes played out on the slow side, particularly the first two, but I was never bored. This series doesn’t add anything new to the whodunit genre, nor does it do anything better, but it is alright for what it is. As to be expected in this kind of show, there are twists and turns, however I found most of them to be rather lacking in impact. There were maybe 2 twists that I didn’t expect, the rest didn’t really surprise me that much. The ending really sticks out at being very out of place. The last 10-15 minutes were tonally different and felt like they belonged in a completely different movie or show. Much of the story was already a bit far fetched, but it somehow manages to top that. It’s almost like they didn’t know how to really end the show, so they just threw in some random contrived and overblown climax which does nothing but leave the story on a very confused note.

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The Undoing is 6 episodes long and on one hand that sounds alright as that’s not too long (certainly made the idea of watching the show more appealing). At the same time, given how little ground they cover with the story and characters, it does feel like it could’ve just been one feature length film. With it being a 6 hour long mini series, I just expected more from it. The characters aren’t the most interesting or have the most depth, they felt rather thinly written. Another thing to note is what the mystery is building towards, mainly what happened with the murder at the centre of the show, as well as who the killer is. While I won’t spoil anything, the reveal was rather underwhelming. There were plenty of other more unexpected directions that they could’ve taken instead. With that said, even if they were to stick with the direction that they chose (possibly to be faithful to the book), they really could’ve added stuff to that to make it more interesting than it turned out to be. That also applies to the approach to the story, as a whodunnit it’s entertaining but not really surprising or unpredictable despite how hard they try. It’s a show build on red herrings, which isn’t necessarily bad, but the show doesn’t develop those well enough to have them leave an impact or keep you guessing. Potentially it could’ve had a more of a psychological approach, in fact the show is sometimes regarded as a psychological thriller. Although it starts off seemingly like a psychological thriller, by the time it reaches the halfway point that’s not what the show is. Alternatively, it could’ve leaned more into the campiness, as at times it felt like a pulpy thriller (though it unfortunately mostly seemed to be unintentional). That would’ve at least been more entertaining. Either of those approaches could’ve made the series more interesting or more entertaining, as a whodunit though, it’s just fine.

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Essentially, it’s the performances from the cast that carry this show. Nicole Kidman is in the lead role and she is really good. I do think that there are some problems with her character, it feels like there should be more to her character considering that the story is mostly told from her perspective. With that said, Nicole Kidman conveys the emotions necessary, and is quite good here. Hugh Grant is great as Kidman’s husband and a suspect in the murder at the centre of the story. Grant was his usual charming self at times, but also was a darker and more unlikable character compared to most of the role he’s known for playing. It’s the best performance I’ve seen from him, and he displays his immense range in this. Donald Sutherland is also great as Nicole Kidman’s father, he gets some moments to really shine. Noah Jupe also deserves some praise as the son of Kidman and Grant, really getting plenty of chances to stand out among the cast. Another performance worth praising is that of Noma Dumezweni as the defence lawyer for Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman, she was a standout in every single scene she was in.

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All 6 episodes are directed by Susanne Bier, and overall she did a good job with them. It’s good on a technical level, it is well shot and are mostly edited well. There are sometimes flashbacks from when characters imagine what happened, and I think the use of them were a little inconsistent and confusing, especially when it’s meant to be characters’ thinking about events which they haven’t seen themselves.

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The Undoing does enough to entertain for 6 episodes even if it’s not anything special in the genre. However, by the end it’s pretty evident it could be much better, mainly with the writing, and it’s a little underwhelming and disappointing in parts. With that said, it interests and entertains enough, it’s well made, and the performances are great and keep you on board. If you generally like these kinds of plots, then you’ll probably at least enjoy watching it.

Honey Boy (2019) Review

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Honey Boy

Time: 93 Minutes
Cast:
Shia LaBeouf as James Lort
Lucas Hedges as Otis Lort (age 22)
Noah Jupe as Otis Lort (age 12)
FKA Twigs as Shy Girl
Director: Alma Har’el

When 12-year-old Otis (Noah Jupe) begins to find success as a television star, his abusive, alcoholic father (Shia LaBeouf) returns and takes over as his guardian, and their contentious relationship is followed over a decade.

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For a while I heard about a movie where Shia LaBeouf was writing a movie about himself and that he’d be playing his own father. It seemed like such an odd idea, but I was actually rather curious to see what that’d be like. I managed to get to see it, and it was really great, and lived up to all the acclaim that it has been deservedly receiving.

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This movie takes place through two storylines, one in 2005 with adult Otis (Otis being the representative of Shia LaBeouf) in rehab, and the other with young Otis in 1995 and his relationship with his father. That storytelling worked quite well for the movie overall. Honey Boy somehow works even better knowing that this script was originally written by Shia LaBeouf as a form of therapy while in rehab, it’s an incredibly personal story and you really feel that throughout, even without knowing the context about the movie. There is such an immense level of vulnerability and tenderness in this writing, and LaBeouf really wrote something incredible here. The movie can be hard to watch at points, mainly some of the scenes between Otis and his father, some scenes particularly feel painfully real, and so much of it comes from the screenplay. However you are locked in from beginning to end, and the ending itself is excellent and cathartic. Honey Boy is about an hour and 30 minutes long, and that’s a good thing and a bad thing. While it gets its everything across and to the point, it really could’ve used at least 15 more minutes of screentime to flesh out certain parts of the story. The 2005 storyline particularly needed some more development, it felt noticeably weaker compared to the 1995 one. That’s really my only problem with the movie.

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One of the highlights of the movie is the great cast. Noah Jupe plays Otis at age 12, and Lucas Hedges plays him at age 22, and both of them are very good in their role. Jupe is particularly fantastic, and with this performance solidifies himself as one of the best young actors working today. There’s also FKA Twigs who’s pretty good in a supporting role. However much of the acclaim has been surrounding Shia LaBeouf’s performance, and for very good reason, he’s absolutely fantastic here. He’s given great performances before, but he’s somehow on a whole other level here. LaBeouf plays his own abusive father, who in this movie is called James, and his performance is truly transformative here. It’s even more impressive given that he’s playing the primary source of his pain and trauma in his childhood. Jupe and him share such painfully believable on screen chemistry.

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This is the feature film debut from director Alma Har’el, and her work here is fantastic, and this movie definitely shows that she’s a talented filmmaker to really pay attention to. Everything on a technical level is top notch, with the cinematography being particularly stunning. The tone of the movie goes between being wonderfully dreamlike and startlingly real, and that was all handled very well.

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Honey Boy is an emotionally raw, heartfelt and personal movie, so beautifully made. The script is honest, therapeutic and well written, Har’el’s direction is great, and the acting is fantastic, particularly from Noah Jupe and Shia LaBeouf. It really needed to be longer and have more time to flesh things out in its plot, and that would’ve taken the movie to a whole new level, but otherwise it’s a truly great film and one of the best from 2019. Definitely check it out whenever you can get the chance to see it.

Ford v Ferrari (2019) Review

Time: 152 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive language
Cast:
Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby
Christian Bale as Ken Miles
Jon Bernthal as Lee Iacocca
Caitriona Balfe as Mollie Miles
Tracy Letts as Henry Ford II
Josh Lucas as Leo Beebe
Noah Jupe as Peter Miles
Remo Girone as Enzo Ferrari
Ray McKinnon as Phil Remington
Director: James Mangold

American automotive designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and fearless British race car driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary vehicle for the Ford Motor Co. Together, they plan to compete against the race cars of Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966.

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Ford v Ferrari was one of my most anticipated movies of 2019. With director James Mangold (Logan, Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma) helming this and with a cast that included Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Jon Bernthal and more, there was a lot of talented people involved. With that said, I wasn’t necessarily interesting in racing or race cars, so I wasn’t hyped because of the premise, but I was still interested for the talent involved in it. I actually liked this movie a lot more than I thought I would, what could’ve been a standard racing biopic is elevated immensely by the direction and the acting.

Just to preface this review, I’m not really interested in cars or racing or anything like that, nor did I have any prior knowledge of the real life events. Thankfully it’s still reasonably accessible to those people like me, you can still follow along with what’s going on without being too bored or confused. The first half of the movie is the whole creative process, and I think most of us can be interested in that if it’s handled well, whether fully understand everything that’s going on or not. The last third act for the most part is a massive racing sequence, and it’s quite a rewarding experience. In many ways, Ford v Ferrari is a standard biopic, and at times it definitely feels like it. However it was injected with quite a bit of humanity. While I’m aware that a lot of biopics also have those manufactured emotional moments placed to make the audience care a little bit about the characters, I think Ford v Ferrari does just enough for it to elevate it above most similar movies. Ford v Ferrari is rather long, it’s 2 hours and 30 minutes in fact. While the pacing is generally good and faster than you’d think it would be, I still feel like it could’ve been a little shorter. The early portions are fine but after the initial setup, that’s when the movie really picks up. A very small gripe but we don’t exactly get a sense about how much time has passed. We are told that they have 90 days to build the car but the way the movie progresses, it feels like it didn’t take more than a month.

The performances are really good, and Ford v Ferrari has quite a talented cast. Matt Damon and Christian Bale are great, and they share some convincing onscreen chemistry together. Bale particularly is great, and a real scene stealer throughout. You have some solid work from the supporting cast as well. Jon Bernthal is really good here, he’s a prominent supporting character, and thankfully gets far more screentime than he receives in most of his movies where he’d usually get up to 10 minutes max. Other actors like Josh Lucas and Tracy Letts also play their roles well.

So I said earlier about how Ford v Ferrari is really a standard biopic at its core, however a big reason why it worked so well was James Mangold’s direction. The movie is basically perfect for what it’s trying to be on a technical level. It’s a good looking movie, and they captured the time period and setting really well. And that’s even before I talk about the racing scenes, which you can probably tell are among the highlights of the movie. The racing scenes are engaging, tense and really gripping, it’s very well filmed and it really allows you to see everything and never becomes confusing. It seems that very little CGI was used. This movie cost just under $100 million and you can definitely feel it throughout, they seemed to have utilised that very well. The score by Marco Beltrami does well to helps raise the tension even further.

Ford v Ferrari may not reinvent the genre and you can probably guess 95% of the plot beats or the structure, but I can’t deny that I still had a good time watching it. What made it stand out so much was the performances (especially from Damon and Bale), but also James Mangold, who gives such humanity and energy to what could’ve just been a mediocre biopic at best, and making it something great. If you’re just looking for a racing movie with a bunch of racing tense driving scenes, the whole movie isn’t won’t be like that, but you’ll definitely get your fix here. If you’re like me and aren’t particularly interested in cars or racing, I’d still say that you can get invested in the movie and it’s well worth checking out.

A Quiet Place (2018) Review

Time: 95 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Contains violence, horror scenes & content that may disturb
Cast:
Emily Blunt as Evelyn Abbott
John Krasinski as Lee Abbott
Millicent Simmonds as Regan Abbott
Noah Jupe as Marcus Abbott
Cade Woodward as Beau Abbott
Director: John Krasinski

A family is forced to live in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound.

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I was growing curious of A Quiet Place in the lead up to its release. From what knew beforehand, John Krasinski directed and co-wrote a horror movie, and starred in it alongside Emily Blunt. It had a simple, yet unique premise, which is heavily based around not making any sound. So I was looking forward to seeing what Krasinski and co. had in store for us. A Quiet Place was even better than I thought it would be and it definitely lived up to its premise and the well deserved hype its been receiving.

A Quiet Place is about an hour and 30 minutes long and it was the right length overall. From beginning to end, it had me really interested in what was going on. It is not very scare heavy in the first half of the movie (even though it has it’s fair amount of moments) but I think that’s good. A Quiet Place isn’t just a horror movie, at it’s core its still about a family trying to survive and you really care about what’s happening with them as they are up against many odds. The tension was also held pretty consistently, even in calmer scenes there’s always a feeling that not everything is okay. And of course the tension is really amped up in the last act. If there’s one issue I might have, it would be the ending. I wouldn’t say its bad but it is something that I’m not exactly sure of how I feel yet. Without spoiling anything, it is something I’ll have to think about.

Most of the time, the actors don’t speak but they conveyed so much without saying anything through their body language and expressions, they were all great. John Krasinski and Emily Blunt are great in the lead roles and share great chemistry as the parents of the family (of course, those two being married in real life really helped with that). The children played by Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe were also quite good in their roles. On another note, I’d like to acknowledge that they cast an actual deaf actress (Millicent Simmonds) as the deaf daughter of John and Emily, definitely a decision that is worth praising. All of them together felt like a real family, which was an important aspect of the film that needed to be done well.

John Krasinski did a great job directing this film. On top of A Quiet Shot being well shot and edited, it’s also an effectively scary movie. Yes, there are some jump scares in the movie but it actually feels earned and not just put in just for a cheap scare, and the jump scares are actually used effectively. The creatures that hunt the main characters were creepy and unnerving, not only because of their freakish design, but the sounds that were used for them were very unnerving. This brings me to one of the most stand out parts of the film, which is the use of sound, which is so essential to a movie built around the idea of not making any sound to survive. This movie really is worth experiencing in the theatre because you can appreciate how silent the majority of the movie is (assuming of course the people in your theatre don’t make any noise), it really is engrossing and captivating. Any small sounds that in most movies wouldn’t mean too much suddenly mean a lot here, because we know the stakes and thus just builds up the tension even more. The music by Marco Beltrami was quite effective during the more intense scenes, though I will admit that I am curious about how the movie would’ve been without any music, because it was effective enough without the music.

A Quiet Place was quite a surprisingly great film and also one of the best horror movies in recent years. It was fantastically directed, greatly acted and the scares and the horror were really effective. John Krasinski has done an incredible job with this movie and I hope to see him direct more films like this in the future. If you like horror movies, this is definitely one to check out whenever you can, especially in the cinemas.

Wonder (2017) Review

Time: 113 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Coarse Language
Cast
Julia Roberts as Isabel Pullman
Owen Wilson as Nate Pullman
Jacob Tremblay as August “Auggie” Pullman
Izabela Vidovic as Olivia “Via” Pullman
Noah Jupe as Jack Will
Mandy Patinkin as Mr. Tushman
Daveed Diggs as Mr. Browne
Director: Stephen Chbosky

Based on the New York Times bestseller, WONDER tells the incredibly inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman (Jacob Tremblay), a boy with facial differences who enters fifth grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time.

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I was curious about this movie ever since I heard that it was going to be made. I actually studied the original novel Wonder in English class in school, so I was interested. With director Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) and a talented cast, it definitely looked like it had potential to be quite good. I have to say that this is a really good movie and a great adaptation of the book, definitely a movie that everyone should watch.

I admit it’s been years since I read the original novel of Wonder but from what I can tell the movie is very faithful to the book. The novel is split up into different sections focussing on different characters and the film is partially that as well. Despite the movie being one hour and 50 minutes long, it did feel a little long at times, but that’s maybe that’s because I remember many of the events of the movie and I was waiting for them to occur. To everyone else I don’t think the length or the pacing will be a problem at all for them. Wonder is also very effective at having emotional moments, you really get invested in this movie and these characters, which is helped by the main characters being quite likable. It also showed well how much Auggie’s appearance has an impact on other people, on his sister, on her sister’s friend, on a boy at school, etc, which is part of why this movie stands out so much, you aren’t just purely focussed on August and what he’s going through. The sweet moments that happen also doesn’t feel forced at all, they all actually felt genuine. On the whole I had no issues with Wonder, it was just a really good movie which also had some good messages to it.

The acting is really great from everyone overall. Jacob Tremblay was great in the lead role of August Pullman. Tremblay was great in Room and he was also good here too, proving himself once again to be a really good actor and one of the best child actors working today. He had a lot of make up on (which was by the way great and effective) and he manages to act very well through it. Also there was good acting from the mother, father and sister played by Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Izabela Vidovic respectively, the chemistry and dynamic between them all was quite strong and they really did feel like a family. The rest of the supporting actors, including the child actors were also good and were very believable in their roles.

This movie was directed by Stephen Chbosky who also directed the great Perks of Being of a Wallflower and he did a great job here too. As previously stated, the makeup on Tremblay was great and made him look ‘different’ enough, yet it wasn’t too over the top and allowed Jacob to act with it.

Wonder was a really good adaptation of the novel and was a good movie in itself as well. The story was just wonderful, the acting was really good and it’s a really good movie that people of all ages can watch. In fact really everyone should watch Wonder, it’s a really good movie that also has some good messages to it. So I definitely recommend everyone watching it, I guarantee that the vast majority of people will like this movie.