Tag/Unsane/A Quiet Place Triple Review

I’m writing this because I don’t have enough to say about any of these movies to fill an entire review, but I still wanted to cover them.

Tag is an action comedy based on a real group of friends who played the same game of tag for thirty years. This really happened, look it up. Well, the concept happened. In reality, the group of friends was about ten people, and the craziest antics they’d get up to is disguises and hiding in unexpected places. I doubt that most of this movie happened, but does that really matter? For the most part, no. It’s mildly engaging and pretty funny throughout, even if it feels a bit conventional most of the time. It’s not filmed that creatively, and most of the movie takes the audiobook approach to filmmaking. Except the tag scenes. The movie really shines is in the scenes when the group is actually playing tag. It’s stylized, it’s goofy, and it’s funny. It used slow motion a bit too often, but not to the point where it got annoying. The situations they came up with are fun to watch, and it’s hilarious to see the lengths that Jeremy Renner will go to to avoid getting tagged.

The story itself isn’t horribly compelling, but that’s generally not too important in a comedy. We’re here to laugh, and this movie gets the job done, even if it tends to rely on raunchy gags too much. It’s a fun, fine movie. Certainly worth a watch to see these actors goof around for an hour and a half. I could bring up how the emotional stuff isn’t that great, and the movie ends in a weird place, but it’s not really about that. Even though the emotional stuff at the end isn’t well done, it was a heartwarming ending. I left the theater in a good mood, and that’s all I can really ask for from this movie.

5/10 (Average).

Unsane is a horror movie directed by Steven Soderbergh, director of Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen, among many, many others. It’s entirely shot on an iPhone, and it’s really good. It’s about a woman who’s wrongfully put in a mental hospital, but the whole “wrongfully” part of that begins to be called into doubt. Claire Foy is excellent in the lead, and the whole movie has an uncomfortable vibe to it, due to the abundance of still shots and upward-facing angles. It’s got style in droves, and that style benefits the film greatly. It even makes some flaws with the filmmaking seem like vaguely intentional choices, although not all of them. There are disadvantages to filming with an iPhone that can’t be easily overcome, like highlight issues and similar things that iPhones aren’t built to overcome. However, the movie’s written, directed, acted, and edited well enough to make most of those technical issues less obvious.

It starts out kind of slow, which might turn you off if you’re not into slower-moving films. When it picks up, though, it really picks up. By the end, my friend and I were sitting there with our jaws dropped because the movie got so insane that we couldn’t believe it. Push through the first forty minutes or so, the slowness of the beginning makes the ending even crazier.

People often think you need millions upon millions of dollars to make a successful movie, but movies like this (and Upgrade) are proof that you can do a whole lot with very little. This movie’s budget is estimated to be around $1.5 million, which is miniscule for Hollywood. If you ever think that you don’t have enough to make a movie, you no longer have an excuse (unless you have a full-time job, that might make it a little more difficult). Unsane is proof that anyone can make a compelling movie, and I highly recommend for aspiring filmmakers.

7/10 (Very Good).

A Quiet Place is directed by John Krasinski of The Office fame, a man who has been trying to make people take him seriously since that show ended. His attempts have been sort of unsuccessful so far, with movies like 13 Hours and The Hollars being relatively unimpressive to critics. Until now. This movie has become a critical and box office darling, and deservedly so. It’s very good. Not without flaws, sure, but it’s rare that anything is.

Probably the most notable thing about this movie is the almost complete lack of dialogue throughout. They communicate, sure, but a vast majority of the movie proceeds without anyone speaking. That is insane. What’s even more insane is that it works. It works really well. They have to be quiet because the world has been invaded by monsters who have no eyes, but they have excellent hearing. And very sharp arms. The constant, looming threat of monsters who could be anywhere at any time and could kill you in an instant adds a lot to the atmosphere, especially with how well they establish the danger in the beginning of the movie. The whole movie is a test to see how long you can hold your breath, not only because it’s incredibly tense throughout, but because every sound you make is the equivalent of a gun going off. Watching this movie in the theater was one of the weirdest experiences I’ve had in that context because everyone was trying their absolute hardest to remain completely silent. Not only was no one speaking, no one was eating, because you could hear people eating popcorn like they were right next to you.

Except my brother. He kept digging in his bag of Reese’s Pieces like there was no tomorrow.

There are plot conveniences and unbelievable moments that have the potential to take you out of the movie, and although I can’t ignore them, I was mostly able to overlook them. I mean, it’s hard not to when scenes like the firework sequence exist. If you want a real butt-clencher, watch that part.

I mentioned at the beginning of this section how John Krasinski has been trying to get people to take him seriously, and I think he succeeded with this movie. Not only does he direct the movie pretty well, he acts his heart out and pulls off a compelling performance. So does Emily Blunt. The kids were fine until they opened their mouths, then they kinda sucked, but that’s beside the point. John Krasinski has proven himself as a legitimate filmmaker and dramatic actor with this movie, and I can’t wait to see what he does next.

7/10 (Very Good). The misgivings I have with some spoilery moments of the plot hold it back from an 8, but it’s certainly worth a watch or two.

Up next: One of the worst movies I’ve seen in a while.

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