In the movie Day for Night (La nuit américaine), director François Truffaut, also playing a director in the film, says, “Making a film is like a stagecoach ride in the old west. When you start, you are hoping for a pleasant trip. By the halfway point, you just hope to survive.”

Sometimes the act of watching a film can be best described by the above quote. It seems that last week’s releases of Isle of Dogs and Ready Player One set the bar so high that movies that only deliver half the goods are relegated to the discount bin.

In the horror flick A Quiet Place the premise revolves around terrifying monsters who’ve decimated the population of Earth and, while blind, have extrasensory hearing prowess and at the slightest sound will find you and tear you to pieces. So the first scene has our surviving nuclear family grabbing goods in an abandoned grocery store quietly tiptoeing around like Howie Mandel in Walk Like a Man.

John Krasinski stars, directs and co-wrote the movie and at least had the sense to cast his real life wife Emily Blunt as his wife and give her the movie’s best sequence. The family hides in plain sight in a country estate that seems to have an unlimited power supply despite the post-apocalyptical situation. Everyone talks with sign language.

The actress playing their daughter, Millicent Simmonds, herself is in real life deaf from birth, and while an amazing actress can’t elevate the material beyond its limited exposition. By the way, Simmonds was scene stealing in last year’s Wonderstruck.

As one-note horror premises go, A Quiet Place seems wedged between films like It Comes At Night (unknown threat against the world that forces people to live in isolation) and Don’t Breathe (blind man defends his home against invaders) rather than true modern horror classics like It Follows or the upcoming Hereditary.

Don’t be totally dismayed — the technical effects like editing, directorial pacing and sound design are above average. It’s just at the end of the movie you’re still in the dark as to where these havoc wrecking creatures came from and the question abounds if they are indeed blind and only able to function by sound why they can’t separate ambient natural sounds like wind and water with human created noise.

Say what you will about cheesy 1950s sci-fiers, but at least they had a team of scientists that would pop up from time to time to figure out why, for instance, a bunch of giant grasshoppers or huge stone monoliths were threatening humanity.

A Quiet Place will be remembered for a sequence where the pregnant Blunt has to give birth and must go into labor in complete silence. This is not a film where you can munch on popcorn, as breaking the silence constitutes a breech in the fourth wall. A person in the row in front of me had to sneeze at one point and when they did several people to my right (I always sit on the left end) jumped in their seats.

As Blunt descends the stairs in the partially soundproofed basement to give birth she steps on a nail. The audience has been already been given the visual information, in a Hitchcockian manner, that there is a threatening nail protruding on the steps. The moment is magnified as she can not only not scream out in pain but also must pry her foot off the nail and proceed down to the depths of the basement and attempt to give silent birth.

Too many people will give A Quiet Place a pass, perhaps based on the scene just described, but in the end the whole affair seems weighed down by its own incongruity.

Blockers takes place on the night of a high school senior prom, and the main plot involves neurotic parents (two of them single) trying to prevent their daughters from having sex.

Universal has sewn up the template for raunchy summer R-rated comedies cemented with previous films like Trainwreck, Bridesmaids and Knocked Up.

A distaff Superbad (Columbia/Sony) at best, Blockers shines in a couple of scenes and then coasts by on its good looks for the rest of its bloated running time.

Here’s what I took away from Blockers. Films about sex and drugs are okay, and there’s certainly plenty of sex and drugs in Blockers. But in real life wouldn’t you rather be doing it yourself. The sequence where all the students start vomiting en masse, in a limo no less was not funny by any stretch of the imagination. (See Stand by Me for the only time that situation was funny.) Also not particularly funny, but perhaps perversely appealing, were the full frontal nude cameos of Gina Gerson and Gary Cole.

By the time Blockers ran its course, I couldn’t help but think how shallow the parents (Leslie Mann, John Cena, Ike Barinholtz) came across yet how much I wouldn’t mind a sequel with the teen duo of Geraldine Viswanathan and Miles Robbins as they had the only true chemistry, and the best lines, in the film.

Final Portrait focuses on the real-life personas of fine artist and sculptor Alberto Giacometti (an amazing Geoffrey Rush) and writer James Lord (Armie Hammer).

Rush, always in his element playing hyperactive genius types, excels with his portrayal of a chain-smoking libertine who’s at his best when working on several projects (both paintings and wet clay sculptures) at once. Hammer continues to develop as a performer here playing a closeted gay writer who uses his debonair manner as a mask in the world of artistic abandon. In a sense, Hammer is playing an aged version of his character from Call Me By Your Name.

The essence of the film evolves when Lord agrees to sit for a portrait to be painted by his friend Giacometti, who himself assures his friend that the painting will take a single afternoon.

Naturally, the painting takes up days and then weeks of their time. Expect to divert your attention to Parisian cafes and bordellos as well as the quaint studio of Giacometti where no statue or canvas stands completed.

As written and directed by Stanley Tucci (best known for his flamboyant acting roles), Final Portrait takes on a compact yet all-encompassing study of the finality of artistic ambition.

Blockers and A Quiet Place open wide this weekend. Final Portrait unwinds exclusively at the downtown AMC Houston 8.