Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Quickie: Cloverfield


Release: 01.18.08

DVD Release: 04.22.08
Rated PG-13
1 hour, 25 minutes

Matinee ($$$)

I think I can safely say I'm one of the last movie buffs to see this flick. It was always the next movie to watch at the theater, which then became the next movie to rent from Netflix. Now, it's safely on its way to another renter's home.

In a New York City high rise, Rob (Michael Stahl-David) enters an apartment full of friends. Lily (Jessica Lucas, She's the Man), and her boyfriend, Rob's brother, Jason (Mike Vogel, Texas Chainsaw Massacre) have organized a going-away party for Rob before he jets off to a new job in Japan. Rob's best bud, Hud (T.J. Miller), is documenting everything using a camcorder. They've even invited Rob's unrequited love, Beth (Odette Yustman, Walk Hard), who shakes things up. What really shakes things up begins in Lower Manhattan. The party deteriorates as the Big Apple comes under siege by forces unknown. As the city is evacuated, the friends must double back to rescue Beth and avoid being caught amid the destruction.

It's always nice to be reminded of all the beautiful people enjoying entertaining parties in the city that never sleeps. For that, you can probably thank director Matt Reeves's Felicity experience. The premise is a twist on the old Godzilla movies, only it exclusively follows the flight of a group of individuals in lieu of the city-wide panic. The jittery hand-held camera action was tolerable (mostly), but I couldn't help but cry bullshit more than a few times during the unfolding devastation. Hud repeatedly stresses the need to document the horrific events so people will understand what occurs. Personally, there comes a time in the escape--say, when I am trying to fend off attackers or when I'm attempting to traverse the roof of a near-collapsed building--that I'm going to say fuck posterity and shut the gorram camera off. Obviously, doing so would ruin the gimmick of the film and is therefore why the camcorder rests in the hands of the functionally inept character.

Overlooking that sticking point, Cloverfield is suspenseful and unrelenting. My only other issue is that Beth needed rescue sooner as she is way too sexy to be absent from this herd of hotties for so long. If you're looking for a decent adrenaline rush and can leave the expectation for realistic sensibilities and valid explanation at the door, Cloverfield is just the ticket.

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  1. I really liked Cloverfield better on dvd... Watching it in the theatre was a bit much with the handheld action...

    Just fyi, there's a scene at the very end when the tape shows the couple on the train headed to Coney Island, if you look at the scene carefully as the camera goes past the window looking out to the ocean you can see an object slamming down into the water. This object supposedly is the creature, (its from space...)

  2. Yeah, someone had to point that out to me too.

    I think I liked this movie miles more than you did RW. I thought it was different, and what it might really be like if something like that actually happened.

  3. @790 - wow I found that clip online. I might have seen it on the big screen but I'd have never caught it at home. I think I skipped it in theaters because of the shaky-cam complaints I heard.

    @IW- I did enjoy CF. The panic and fear were really effective. There were just some points when, were it me, I'd be like she's hot and all, but you're on your own!

    It'll be interesting to see where they take CF 2. Will it be another group trying to escape or a continuation?

  4. Cloverfield 2? Oh no! I must have missed that. Damn, Hollywood, burn! lol

    I was annoyed by his desire to go after her too, but I guess he was saving himself in the process, or something like that... :-(

    I also would have put that camera down if I was Hud about one third in, fo sho.

  5. Who can possibly understand the minds of stupid characters?

  6. Its about time you got around to seeing this film Whore. It only came out 11 months ago.
    I thought the "shaky" camera was one of best aspects of the film. The idea of using the film's perspective as a narrative device was brilliant and looked great. If the film was shot in the standard way it would not have been as memorable or as cool.The fact that the girls were smokin' helped as well.

    I do agree that there were some inexplicable moments where the camera was held that no rational person would ever do. Keep in mind though that Hud is a back-birth so he doesn't think or react the way you or I would.

    @790. I'm going to have to look for that Coney Island scene the next time I watch Cloverfield or look it up on Youtube.

    @Invisible Woman. "I thought it was different, and what it might really be like if something like that actually happened." That's one of the things I liked about it as well.

    You didn't hear apart part 2?

    "Help us."

    They were talking about that 11 months ago.

    My full Cloverfield review:

  7. @film-book: Yeah I know, better late than never right?

    Hud wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer by any means. Shaky cam complaints and all aside, Cloverfield still ranks really high on my '08 horror faves. I just missed my chance to see Let the Right One In so looks like another 11 months before I check that out!

  8. After the Let the Right One In screener was sent to me it finally came to the art house near where I live. I saw it once and was going to see it again but I kept putting it off.

  9. I find it's hard to get in all the new stuff and go back and see the good stuff twice.

  10. The only way to do it is to watch films for a job. :)

  11. Ah, to have such a job?! I still want to go the Tarantino route; make a couple kick-ass films and then just lay around years watching movies between projects because I got it like that.

  12. You need to be a good screenwriter first. Are you?

  13. That is an excellent question. I believe I'm a great idea man. I have yet to finish a screenplay though. It was my goal to do so during recovery but I found my motivation lacking thanks to the pain and meds (excuses, right?).

    As my wife like to tell me, "it sounds great but no one can read a script that's in your head."

    I need to find a good coach to keep the whip crackin' on me.

  14. You need a script writing partner.

  15. I know. I had a buddy who used to write small ideas with me but he's moved out of state and has a kid now. Hard to get those brain-storming sessions back.

    I will find someone else and stop using that excuse.