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Movie Review: ‘Don’t Breathe’ is a Terrifying Gasp-Fest

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The movie review for Don’t Breathe is here–Can you survive the terror without making a sound?

[dropcap]H[/dropcap]orror film Don’t Breathe has all the thrills of a haunted house picture, sans the supernatural elements. There are no ghosts, zombies, vampires or boogeymen that pop out of the shadows to slaughter their victims.

Don't Breathe Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Stephen Lang is eerie and intimidating in ‘Don’t Breathe.’

The scariest force in the movie is Stephen Lang, best known as the muscle-bound colonel from 2009’s Avatar. Even with the handicap of being a blind veteran, he’s still a terrifying force that could beat the piss out of any living thing in his way. And with the addition of a guard dog, he’s the ultimate slasher villain, putting all those knife-wielding masked killers to shame.

Lang’s character becomes the latest target of a young criminal trio: the security cracking Alex (Dylan Minnette), the small-space-crawling Rocky (Jane Levy) and the brainless gangster muscle Money (Daniel Zovatto). After small acts of robbing houses for goods they can sell, they receive word of a massive pile of cash stashed away in the blind man’s home. If they can pull off this heist, they’ll be set for life and can finally move out of the dumps of Detroit.

A couple of them have their reasons for desiring an escape and are clearly not just in it for the greed (at least Alex and Rocky are not). While they do some research on scoping out the house, they are not prepared for the blind man to be so brutal and crafty with his house of horrors.

Don't Breathe Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Can the thieves make it out of the house alive?

For the majority of the picture, it’s a survival game of the blind veteran gone mad versus the ill-prepared thieves. When the blind man whips out the gun, everyone attempts to be quiet in hopes that they won’t be noticed. When he starts firing, they scurry towards dark closets and dash into vents, hoping they won’t be caught as they fear for their lives. But who do you root for in this bloody battle?

At first, it’s easy to side with the blind guy defending his home from intruders that want to rob him blind (literally). But as the intruders start venturing deeper into the house and the basement, they discover this man’s warped secret life and that he’s not the feeble disabled resident they thought him to be. Despite being blind, he’s well armed and capable enough to lock the thieves in the house, listen for their position, track them through the halls and beat them to a pulp.

Director Fede Alvarez takes this relatively simple premise and shoots it with a keen eye. When first entering the blind man’s house, Alvarez takes us on a tour where the camera pans around every room, every door and every weapon. He gets most of the visual exposition out of the way with solid camera movement and builds the anticipation for when the violence will erupt.

Don't Breathe Movie Review MovieSpoon.com

Fede Alvarez makes you sympathize (a bit) with the villain in ‘Don’t Breathe.’

Prior to the break-in, Alvarez additionally pieces out information about these characters by showing more than telling. With one simple scene and no dialogue, we learn that Alex’s dad is an employee of a security organization, explaining how he has access to house keys and extensive knowledge of disarming security systems. With a few clever visuals, the tragic story behind the blind man’s psychosis is revealed. Rocky’s desire to run away from home with her little sister does become slightly heavy on dialogue, but rarely drags.

There are a few times where the movie becomes freaky and disgusting to an almost hilarious degree, and yet it never becomes a torture porn picture. Alvarez mentioned that this movie was a bit of a response to the criticism that his Evil Dead reboot was too bloody. And he appears to have done just that with a movie that is low on blood, but overflowing with terror. He realizes we don’t need to see the gory details of a blind man laying waste to intruders; the act itself is frightening enough when staged well.

Read more of this movie review to hear about Don’t Breathe‘s one downfall:

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“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office

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It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.

As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.

Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.

View the full top ten weekend box office results below:

Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)

Wonder Park ($16,000,000)

Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)

No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)

Captive State ($3,163,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)

Green Book ($1,277,000)

Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.

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“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back

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With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.

Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.

The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.

Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)

Green Book ($4,711,000)

Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)

Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)

Greta ($4,585,000)

What Men Want ($2,700,000)

Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)

Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.

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Review: “Captain Marvel” is a Solidly Sensational Sci-Fi Adventure

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Captain Marvel joins the ranks of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a much different way. She slides into the MCU via a twisty sci-fi adventure of the 1990s, before the Avengers were formed. And though the film does serve as a strong bridge picture that answers a few more questions about the Marvel universe, the film quickly becomes its own thing and gives its hero a real identity as the powerful addition to the superhero ensemble.

Brie Larson plays Carol Danvers, a woman not sure if she’s a human pilot of Earth or a soldier of the Kree empire’s Starforce. There’s little time to explore these conflicting visions she’s having when there’s special energy powers to control and a war being waged against the shape-shifting Skrull alien creatures. A detour to 1990s Earth gives her a bit of time to find out more while also hunting down some more Skrulls, leading to some interesting scenarios when combatting aliens that could look like old ladies.

Marvel Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL..Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) ..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019

Carol’s landing on Earth leads to treading down familiar Marvel timeline territory as well as evoking plenty of dated 1990s bits. What started drawing me into the picture was how the film holds itself back from the obvious. The 1990s setting is used for some gags of video stores and Windows 95, sure, but never goes the extra mile of becoming an aggravating reference fest, keeping a certain vibe the way Guardians of the Galaxy embraced the 1970s and 1980s. And just like that film, there’s a nostalgic soundtrack to boot, with choice tracks for just the right cue.

Samuel L. Jackson pops up in the film as a younger Nick Fury with his two eyes still intact. He teams up with Carol in her intergalactic spy adventure and thankfully never goes to the booming lengths he was known for that decade. And the filmmakers could have easily made this younger Fury go full Die Hard 3 or Pulp Fiction but he never does, always keeping that cool persona he has been known for in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Marvel Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL..L to R: Att-Lass (Algenis Perez Soto), Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and Minn-Erva (Gemma Chan)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019

But the one aspect that is never shunned and built up grandly is the aspect of female empowerment. Danvers is established as a woman who doesn’t have a clear identity or mindful nature of galactic politics and has to build herself up when she realizes she may be a very powerful pawn in a big game of intergalactic chess. Her memories are that of always being told to back off from non-traditional activities for girls and, sure enough, she rises up to become the smirking and energy-shooting hero when the final piece of her character puzzle is pieced together. It’s just unfortunate that the film spends so much time doing the building amid a twisty sci-fi spy story that Brie never gets a moment to shine as brightly as she could, despite a very enthusiastic third-act closer.

If we’re being blunt, no, Captain Marvel doesn’t quite have the same gravity to be a cultural milestone of a comic book movie. Where others have pointed to Black Panther as not the first the most insightful and cultural of black-led superhero movies, I doubt many will look towards Captain Marvel as the grandest of female-led comic book movies, making its motives known with the power and subtlety of a supernova. But, in terms of what the film is aiming towards, it doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone and that’s perhaps the point. I just wish that Captain Marvel’s astounding powers to destroy starships and aliens had a much bigger punch for a picture that wants to obliterate the glass ceiling and merely cuts a narrow hole within the MCU. It’s a nice hole, mind you, and still weaves a capable and compelling sci-fi adventure with a surprisingly more engaging finale than most Marvel solos.

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