New Review – A Quiet Place

A decent flick with an interesting plot twist: What if you had to be absolutely silent to survive? Despite a few plot holes (big ones), A Quiet Place is a fun 90 minutes or so with plenty of slimy monsters to keep you entertained.

A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place (2018)

Directed by John Krasinski

Written by Bryan Woods, Scott Beck

Run Time: 90 minutes

In a Nutshell

Family with deaf kid tip-toe around so they don’t get eaten by slimy monsters.

Wrap Up

The Abbott family have survived over a year after a mysterious monster-apocalypse has wiped out humanity.

Fortunately for them, the landscape and nearby city are undamaged and conveniently full of food and medicines.

Unfortunately for them, humans are no longer at the top of the food chain and the aforementioned monsters now infest the world with their super sense of hearing. Yes, even the tiniest scuffing of feet on the floor brings a pack of them swarming in to tear the careless person to pieces.

Despite this stifling, silent existence, the Abbott family has an advantage: their youngest child is deaf, thus they all know sign language and can communicate while out scavenging without making a sound.


Having survived for more than a year, the Abbotts have developed some interesting survival techniques to minimize sound. For example, they all walk barefoot on sandy paths that they have made by hand. (Wow, that seems like a lot of work) They have also marked all the squeaky boards in their house so they can avoid stepping on them when they walk across the floor. (Question: Why not just live someplace with a concrete floor? More on this later…) Food comes from a nearby fishing stream and, I guess, scavenging in town? Unclear, but no matter.

The big hitch in the relative serenity of their quiet life is that mom, Evelyn, is 9 months pregnant. Uh-oh. Not smart…and you can guess what happens when she unexpectedly goes into labor while everybody is out hunting for food and what not. Yes, a yell of pain brings the Ear Monsters swarming in but somehow she manages to avoid them (while giving birth!) by hiding in the shower until Dad gets back.

Anyhoo, Dad Heroically Sacrifices© himself to save his family…but I´m kinda thinking that it wasn’t totally necessary…see the movie and judge for yourself. Meanwhile, Mom and the kids discover that they can use little Regan’s hearing aide to generate super high-pitched sounds to kill the monsters when amplified over the family’s loudspeaker system. (Why on earth would you have a bunch of loudspeakers set up around the house when monsters are attracted to sound?!)…so maybe there’s hope for humanity after all. Too bad they didn’t find this out before dad got killed, eh?

Hall of Nit-Picky Questions

First, before I get too nitty-picky, I want to point out that this was a fun movie if you can manage to get over some huge plot holes and just enjoy the ride.

Now, that I’ve cleared my conscious:

Why live in an old creaky house? Not only that, but why not try soundproofing at least one room so that you could talk to each other and, you know, sink your shoulders a little bit. Not to mention having a place for Evelyn to give birth! Better yet…live on a boat!

Where does the house get the electricity from? Solar? No way. Yes, it may sound nit-picky, but they have it pretty darn cozy in that house with all the lights, electrical appliances, ham radios, cameras, warm water, etc. Where’s the generator? Wouldn’t the monsters be drawn to its noises and tear it up?

OK, the monsters are attracted to sound. Fine. Cool. But it’s easy to see in the scenes with the creatures that they must be totally blind and have no sense of smell since they couldn’t even detect Evelyn laying bloody in a glass shower cabinet. Given that the Abbotts must be aware of this weakness, why not build some traps? You don’t need to make a lot of noise in order to sharpen a bunch of sticks, fasten them to a wall and lure these blind monsters into the spikes with some sort of audible bait.

Speaking of sound, the father takes his son on a fishing expedition and demonstrates how the sound of a waterfall masks their voices from the monster’s hearing. So couldn’t you just play loud white noise over the house’s exterior loud speakers to give cover to any accidental sounds that might be made?

Oh, and before I forget: WHAT IS IT WITH THAT STUPID NAIL?! (Is it unfair to mention this and then leave it at that? Maybe it will motivate you to see the movie and comment. I know, I’m a bastard, but it is on Netflix…)

Dennis Grisbeck (Sept 2018)

New Review: Godzilla – City on the Edge of Battle

Sean steps in again with a detailed dissection of the latest animated Godzilla feature…No stone is left unturned in this one…

Godzilla – City on the Edge of Battle

Godzilla – City on the Edge of Battle (2018)

Directed by Hiroyuki Seshita, Kobun Shizuno

Written by Gen Urobuchi, Yusuke Kozaki

Produced by Yoshihiro Furusawa, Takashi Yoshizawa

Run Time: 100 minutes


OK then. The 2nd installment of the animated Toho/Netflix Godzilla trilogy is out, so it’s time to once again don my High Tech Anime Space Armor and push the play button. Last time it wasn’t so good, and I spiraled into several months of angry depression. Happily, there are significant improvements this time around. I can’t call this movie genuinely good, as it still has too many fundamental flaws. But I don’t hate it, and I’m grateful for that. Still, I guess the big question is, do the filmmakers “get” what a Godzilla movie should be? As earnest and ambitious as they are, I don’t think so. And I’ll briefly explain after a semi-short plot recap.

We pick up where we left off after Part One. The pitiful remnant of humanity that survived Godzilla’s first attack, by fleeing on a Generation Space Ship, has returned to earth. Because of relativity it’s been about 20,000 years since they left – but Godzilla is still around, they are horrified to learn. So they send down a military force to the surface in order to defeat him and retake the planet. They do battle with the great beast, and destroy it, only to have a far larger Godzilla pop up out of the ground and scatter their forces.

Up in the orbiting Generation Ship, the captain and his crew have lost contact with the military force, and even worse, they now calculate that the new, huge Godzilla could use it’s fire-ray to shoot them out of orbit. Debating whether or not to stay and search for survivors on the surface, or flee the solar system, the captain decides to wait 48 hours before leaving earth. (This is just one promising set up that isn’t carried through.)

Down on the surface we meet Haruo. He’s the young brooding hysteric with the Messiah complex who got the Generation Ship back to earth and who led the charge to fight Godzilla. If you read my previous review you’ll know I found him pretty much unbearable. I’m happy to say he is greatly improved this time around. The Haruo in this movie has been chastened by military defeat, grown more aware of his own emotions, and has even developed some humility. In short, while I still can’t buy that everyone would pick such an inexperience kid as their leader, he is a much more sympathetic hero.

Coming to in the middle of a fog-shrouded forest, Haruo meets a mysterious young woman. Apparently, despite the poisonous air and plants made of steel that now cover the earth, some of earth’s human population still survives. The young woman dashes off into the mist, but after Haruo is reunited with the other survivors of the battle with Godzilla we meet her again. That’s because her tribe attacks and captures Haruo’s troop. Once in their cave city, they explain how their god battled Godzilla in the past, but was defeated. The god did, however, leave an egg. An egg we never see. Clearly this is Mothra, although the name is never mentioned. More on this later.

A ceremonial alter in the Mothra tribe’s cave city.

Well, after some semi-tense negotiations the woman and her twin sister (another Mothra reference), along with the tribe as a whole, agree to let the survivors go. Once outside we have some brief excitement as a flock of dragons attack. Several are mysteriously killed by something, and this something turns out to be a city hidden in a valley. It turns out this city evolved from the broken remnants of Mecha-Godzilla. And here I shall have to explain that along with the earthlings an alien race called the Bilusaludo also returned to earth on that Generation Ship still orbiting the earth.

You see, back some 20,000 years ago the Bilusaludo arrived on earth just as Godzilla was destroying it. Wanting to help humanity, they offered to build a giant robot to fight him. Unfortunately, Godzilla destroyed the robot before it was completed, so that was that. But now everyone discovers that the broken robot somehow “evolved” into a city made of “nano-metal.” That sounds way cool, but unfortunately the “city” is just a collection of huge domes, so it doesn’t look very interesting. And while various characters mention how the city and its nano-metal, which can move and grow, are “evil,” they have no more personality than a useful software program. (Another big mistake by the script.) Once the Bilusaludo among the military force take up residence, they control the city and start preparing it for another showdown with Godzilla.

The dark and boring interior of the Mecha-City

As they do that, I should mention that we have ANOTHER alien race among the survivors of old earth. They are the Exif, enigmatic mystics who wax poetic about things like Fate, Faith, Destiny, and God. The main Exif for us is a character called Metfies. In Part One his sinister manner telegraphed him as a manipulative villain, but here he seems to have been retrofitted into a trustworthy ally of mankind. Still slightly insufferable with his air of mystical superiority, but a stand-up guy all the same. This is a mixed blessing for me. On the one hand, Haruo’s blindness to the scorn and general creepiness emanating from Metfies in Part One drove me crazy. But Metfies was a potentially interesting villain. As an ally, he’s better company, but maybe less interesting. So I’m conflicted about this “reboot.”

This time around Metfies’s main job is to let Haruo know that some god-like beast destroyed his own home world. The name of that terrible monster is a dread secret, but Metfies tells Haruo anyways. And that name is …..drumroll…. Ghidorah! (OK, so now we know that both Mothra and Ghidorah will appear in Part Three.)

The next half-hour of the film is one long, leisurely bit of character development as our crew starts readying the Mecha-City for battle. There is almost no sense of threat through any of it. Earth now has poisonous air, but the air in the city is just fine. The wild vegetation is as sharp and strong as steel knives, but no one so much as cuts a finger. The ground crew is also back in communication with the generation ship, which stays in orbit. The threat of Godzilla shooting it down is completely forgotten as Godzilla conveniently sleeps through the first two-thirds of the movie. Ack.

Instead of kaiju action what we get is lots and lots of talk. Many interesting problems and aspects of contemporary earth, including the tribe of Mothra-worshippers, are discussed, explained, and forgotten about. There’s much earnest conversation about personal issues between Haruo and Yuko, the movie’s heroine. Various characters also spout various philosophical positions about the nature of humanity, and slowly, oh so slowly, a conflict of ideas comes into focus.

An angry Bilasaludo harangues the earthlings to wage all-out war on Godzilla

Whereas Haruo was a messianic hothead with fascist tendencies in Part One, he’s now a much more reasonable character. He’s decided he wants to preserve his crew’s humanity, even if it means avoiding a fight. The Bilusaludo, on the other hand, are all for doing whatever it takes to defeat Godzilla. Even if it means letting themselves be absorbed by the nano-metal. For in doing that they become one with the Mecha-city, which makes it better able to fight Godzilla. That sort of thing. The human characters, not willing to sacrifice their individuality draw back, and are then sneered at as “weak” by the fascistic Bilusaludo.

Godzilla encounters the nano-metal trap

Cutting to the chase, Godzilla finally wakes up and starts advancing on the city, where he walks right into a high-tech trap – which works! Godzilla is on the verge of being destroyed when Haruo decides the Bilusaludo and their nano-metal city are the bigger threat. The turning point for him is Yuko’s tragic encounter with some nano-metal. Enraged by the loss of his love, he blows up the Mecha-City command room. Freed from the trap, Godzilla proceeds to destroy the city while Haruo sobs over the seemingly dead body of Yuko.

So Endeth Part Two…

Sean Ledden (August 2018)


Despite the downer ending, Part Two doesn’t wallow in morbid gloom like Part One. Like its young hero, it has outgrown its fixation with all or die vengeance. Now it’s the Bilusaludo who cheerlead suicide missions, and they are repudiated. This is all to the good, and watching this movie didn’t drive me crazy the way Part One did. But alas, Part Two has a host of other problems that keep it from being actually good. Here they are:

Needless detail. The writers, perhaps inspired by the richly detailed fantasy worlds of works like Dune and Lord of the Rings, stuff the script with all kinds of fantasy elements, problems and dangers. But few of them play any dramatic role in the story. All they do is slow things down when the characters talk about them. Speaking of talking, let’s go on to the next problem.

Telling, not showing. Whether it’s the steel plants, the origin of the Mothra People, the functioning of the Mecha-City, or the question of God, everything is explicated by conversations between the characters. This could make for a fascinating graduate school course, but is death by a thousands cuts for a Giant Monster Fantasy Adventure. (Frowny face emoji.)

Part Two is mostly just a retread of Part One. Where most of One was spent in the gloomy interior of the Generation Ship, most of Two is spent in the nearly as gloomy interior of the Mecha-City. It’s a real puzzle why they didn’t make the City look more interesting. And it’s a major flaw. And just like in One, the climax in Two is a military operation against Godzilla. Sure, in Part Two the weapons include 3 cool sets of flying robo-armor. But, you know, meh.

Where are the kaiju? – Part One had a worldwide kaiju invasion, but refused to show it. All we got were a few snapshots in the prologue. Here we are told, yes TOLD, of an epic battle between Mothra and Godzilla that happened in the past. They don’t even show us the egg! Mecha-Godzilla too was introduced in Part One, but not shown. And here it has morphed into what looks like an industrial chemical processing plant. An industrial chemical processing plant with no will or personality. So again, meh. – Why does this series keep all the cool kaiju action off-screen?!?

A serious lack of Godzilla. Not only is he off-screen most of the time, when he does finally show up, he doesn’t present much personality. The design is pretty cool, but he’s reduced to a generic threat. The kind that justifies endless emotionally charged conversations between the characters. Another big problem is that the Mecha-City trap was effective against him. If this was a stand-alone movie, that would be OK, but it’s Part Two of a trilogy. Handing the villain a huge defeat in the middle of the story merely drains away the dramatic tension. I understand they wanted to give Haruo an agonizing moral dilemma, but that’s not enough of a justification. Oh, and another thing, the music is part of the problem. There’s no thrilling Godzilla theme, just a bunch of OK anime action music. It makes me long for the days of Ifukube.

The filmmakers don’t seem to realize that most people will tune into a Godzilla movie for the thrill of seeing him in action. He’s the star, and the human cast is there to set the stage for his big entrance. I want the human characters to be interesting and sympathetic enough so that I care whether or not they weather the storm. But I’m not there because I want to be dragged into discussions about their hopes and dreams and troubles and heartbreak. I can tune into Day of Our Lives for that sort of thing.

Nor do I want heavy-handed debate over the nature of God, Humanity and Reality. A giant monster movie doesn’t need any of this, because giant monsters are spectacular manifestations of divine power. They affirm, even at their most destructive, that the miraculous is real. Indeed, the Old Gods have returned! And through their awesome power they tell mankind it had better attend to, and respect the world around them. Pacific Rim hinted at this when it mentioned that Kaiju Cults had sprung up in the wake of their attacks. Unfortunately, it didn’t do anything interesting with the phenomenon. And Godzilla: City At The Edge Of Battle doesn’t even know this mystical truth exists. Sigh.

Well, I guess that’s about it for Part Two. I’ll tune into Part Three in the hopes that we get a good Godzilla-Mothra-Ghidorah fight. I just hope I don’t have to sit through too much philosophical soap-opera to get to it.

New Rant: Solo – A Star Wars Story

The disdain Sean feels for the newest Star Wars movie is so great that it compelled him to submit a superb rant.
Has the Star Wars money train reached the end of the track? Maybe so…

Solo: A Star Wars Story Rant from Sean

Rant: Solo – A Star Wars Story


Chapter Two: A New Hope

With the crash of the “Solo” Super Battlecruiser, the Separatists have won their first major victory! As the Disney Corporation braces for heavy financial loses and sees it’s stock price dip, calls to depose Empress Kennedy are now being […]

New Review: Strays (1991)

Dug up this old Made-For-TV during one of my late night insomnia fuelled surfing sessions. Oddly enough, I had seen this before way back in the VHS days. Well, enough about me…enjoy this really, really bad movie about killer…cats. Yep.

Strays (1991)

Strays (1991)

Directed by John McPherson

Written by Shaun Cassidy

Run Time: 82 (dull) minutes

Tagline: They have nine lives…We only have one!

Strays is yet another half-brained attempt at a “nature-gone-bad” film, the kind that inspires Netflix to constantly spam my inbox with “Hi Dennis! Here’s a movie that […]

Baby Driver…some first thoughts

Just to reassure everybody that I’m alive and well, I wanted to post some quick thoughts about Baby Driver. I assume I’m the last person on the planet to see this movie, but just in case I’m wrong, there are spoilers galore in this brief write up…

Baby Driver


First Thoughts: Baby Driver

OK, I just got around to seeing “Baby Driver” last night, rented it on iTunes…am I the last person on Earth to see this? Probably.

After a fairly fast-moving 2 hours or so, I admit that I liked it. I didn’t love it, no, and no, I probably won’t ever […]

New Rant: The Last Jedi

The Last Jedi

I have to admit, I lost interest (and faith) in any and all future Star Wars movies after…oh, what was the one before Rogue One?…see? How sad is that? Thankfully, Sean steps in (again!) to drop some knowledge and a bit more grumpiness to the Shack!


The Last Jedi




Chapter One: The Alternate Reality Canon Cannon


The galaxy is in chaos as separatists, outraged at the Disney Empire’s brutal treatment of Luke Skywalker, have left the Fan Federation. Operating from countless bedrooms scattered across the vast Flyover Territory they have […]

New Review: The Cloverfield Paradox

Sean reports that Netflix is at it again! In league with Arch Super Villain J.J. Abrams it has released a movie that’s just like an old plastic model kit. They kindly open the box, dump the pieces over our head and say, “Here, you build it.” What fun!

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)


The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

Directed by Julius Onah

Written by Oren Uziel

Run Time: 102 minutes


This is Grumpy McFaultfinder, back for another swipe at Netflix, because good grief they are putting out some crappy sci-fi lately. First Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters, and now The Cloverfield Paradox. (Their series Mindhunter, however, is […]

New Review: Godzilla – Planet of the Monsters

Secret Guest Reviewer Grumpy McFaultfinder examines Netflix’s animated production: Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters. A promising idea that quickly falls flat under the cold reality of the reviewer’s merciless eye.

In his words, “Makes my morning commute on a cold, rainy Monday filled with subway delays seem enjoyable by comparison.”


Godzilla: […]

Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters (2017)

Directed by Hiroyuki Seshita, Kobun Shizuno

Written by Gen Urobuchi, Sadayuki Murai, Yusuke Kozaki

Produced by Yoshihiro Furusawa, Takashi Yoshizawa

Run Time: 91 minutes



PROLOGUE Hello, this is Grumpy McFaultfinder, and I’ll be your guest reviewer for today. The occasion is […]

New Review: Frogs

Trying to cash in on the earlier success of the “Willard” film, Frogs is a limp attempt at an eco-thriller that could have been much better given the premise.

Oh, and it stars lots of frogs.

Frogs (1972)

Frogs (1972)

Directed by George McCowan

Run Time: 91 minutes

Frogs might be loosely considered an “eco-horror” disaster film. It can be considered as having the most misleading promotional poster of all time.

Here, take a good look:

With that in mind, allow me to point out a couple of […]


Sean and I vent our spleens and our thoughts on the recent slick release Arrival

First Thoughts: Arrival


I always love the sense of awe and dread whenever I see giant space ships silently hovering over the Earth, humans helpless to stop them, unable to communicate with them, at the mercy of inhuman alien minds…and…

Arrival starts out right on target. Twelve enormous alien ships hover […]