Movie Review Roundup: Despicable Me 4, A Quiet Place: Day One, A Sacrifice

movie review A Quiet Place DespicableMe4 A Sacrifice 

Headed to the movie theaters on this long 4th of July weekend? New flicks include DESPICABLE ME 4 and recent holdovers include A SACRIFICE starring Sadie Sink and Eric Bana, A QUIET PLACE: DAY ONE, HORIZON: AN AMERICAN SAGA, Kevin Costner's Chapter One of Four, or Russell Crowe's horror flick, THE EXORCISM. Here's a roundup of movie reviews and recommendations.


For a family outing, two animated movies from beloved franchises are great options. Disney*Pixar's INSIDE OUT 2 remains #1 at the box office for the last few weeks for good reason. It's double the fun with returning emotions plus the addition of equally riveting new emotions. Check out the full review.

Illuminations' fourth sequel continues to delight with the adorable minions, some now super-sized in the form of the Mega Minions. Gru's (Steve Carell) family has grown with the addition of a new baby, with a relatable story centering on the bonding between a father and son.

The writing is clever as usual thanks to Mike White (SCHOOL OF ROCK, THE WHITE LOTUS) co-writing the script.

This new franchise entry never disappoints.



Eric Bana and Stranger Things Sadie Sink star in this thriller from Jordan Scott,  daughter of Ridley Scott, and serves as a producer. Based on the novel Tokyo Nobody by Nicholas Hogg, Scott moved the setting from Japan to Germany because of COVID-19, but it works in the story's favor.

American social psychologist and cult expert Ben Monroe (Eric Bana) investigates a local Berlin cult after their members commit suicide. Ben's daughter Mazzy (Sink) arrives to visit her estranged father but she's lured into the city's underground party scene and groomed as a potential member of the mysterious group.

Scott delivers the suspense from the start when the cult members are found dead, and Ben is brought in to evaluate the situation. While he's embroiled in the mystery, Mazzy feeling neglected by her father seeks comfort in a stranger's arms, but is he grooming her for something more sinister?

A SACRIFICE progresses in a fascinating way showing how cult members and leaders work to lure in vulnerable individuals. The language barrier also works for the story in that the character's German dialogue is not translated for the viewer, making it feel even more sinister given Germany's past.

A SACRIFICE is a good choice if you're looking for more original storytelling.



The prequel to John Krasinski's A QUIET PLACE stays true to the franchise and focuses on characters rather than churning out an alien invasion movie. Lupita Nyong'o and Stranger Things season 4 break-out star, Joseph Quinn play New Yorkers caught up in the attack.

Samira (Nyong’o) suffers from cancer, and unlike others seeking to get out of NYC, she’s determined to make it back to her home in the Bronx. Tagging along is Eric (Quinn) who is terrified and needs moral support to make it out alive.

John Krasinski’s A QUIET PLACE remains innovative with the lack of sound. The sequel did much of the same. While DAY ONE uses many of the same devices, director Michael Sarnoski's (PIG) focuses on the character's emotional journey in this Apocalypse. Instead of escaping the city, Samira is going the opposite way since she has nothing to lose because of her diagnosis, but Eric can’t fathom being alone so he follows this fearless and independent woman.



Russell Crowe is one scary dude in THE EXORCISM.

The demons of Anthony’s (Crowe) past make him an easy target for an evil entity on the set of his new movie. The washed-up actor’s daughter Lee (Ryan Simpkins) moves in with Anthony to help in his sobriety.

The premise is an unexplainable one. The movie ignores how an entity has inhabited a movie set on a soundstage. Several things don’t quite add up or make sense.

The glue that holds the movie together is Crowe’s performance. Anthony unravels frighteningly. His descent into madness is a gradual one and by the time he’s possessed, you fear for his daughter. Crowe’s possession was free of prosthetics instead relying on make-up and the actor’s “if looks could kill” face to drive the horror. As Crowe’s performance in UNHINGED proves, the Australian actor can play intimidating with just one look.

Director Joshua John Miller explained to CineMovie why they chose to go without prosthetics for Crowe but use them for actor David Hyde Pierce.

Another cool factor about THE EXORCISM is the set design. The doll house set up in a sound stage is visually interesting as a vehicle to portray the manipulation of characters within the space. It’s effective in particular in one frightening scene with Anthony smashing his head onto a table as the possession takes full effect.

However, what happens next after that scene is confusing and makes zero sense. That kind of behavior would immediately get you locked up in the mental ward. instead, he’s back home. There are other instances of that type of nonsense taking you out of the movie.



Western fans revisit the Old West with Kevin Costner’s first of four installments with HORIZON: AMERICAN SAGA. Costner’s affinity for Westerns is no secret and he delivers on the beautiful scenery, cowboys, and native Indian action. 

The film stars Costner, Sienna Miller, Sam Worthington (AVATAR), Michael RookerJena MaloneTom Payne (The Walking Dead), Danny Huston, Luke Wilson, Jamie Campbell Bower (Stranger Things)Will PattonAbbey LeeIsabelle FuhrmanElla Hunt, Owen Crow Shoe and Tatanka Means.

However, his latest western is formatted as a television series with numerous storylines and characters that pop out of nowhere. The introduction of characters and new settings are jarring, and Costner doesn’t appear well into 40 minutes of the film. Another set of new people on the Oregon Trail appears midway through the film. The best villain is killed off early.

'Horizon: An American Saga's' Sienna Miller, Abbey Lee, Ella Hunt, and Isabelle Fuhrmann Gained New Perspective on Being A Woman On The Oregon Trail

As for the native American and settler conflict, it's surprising that the DANCES WITH WOLVES filmmaker is propagating the stereotype of the indigenous as savage. The horrendous murder of settlers is disturbing, and the counter-narrative isn't powerful. Sam Worthington's character, however, does put things in perspective when he remarks that the indigenous have every right to protect their lands which the settlers are claiming. But the messaging isn't strong enough and most viewers will take away the most horrific visuals committed by the native Americans. However, the truth is that the West was stolen from the first inhabitants.

The whole film inspires a lot of head-scratching. Costner seems to ignore film structure and goes off the beaten path. The Academy Award-winning filmmaker has every right to do his own thing given he’s financing the HORIZON Saga himself. So whatever floats his boat, but will viewers turn up for more of the same?

Chapter 1 is now in theaters and chapter 2 arrives on August 18. 



'Inside Out 2' Movie Review: Double The Fun

Viggo Mortensen's 'The Dead Don't Hurt' Movie Review

'Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes' Movie Review: A Worthy Successor


Latest Interviews

Latest News

Latest Trailers