myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics Totally Biased Book and Movie Review: 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008

Friday, February 01, 2008

Cloverfield Movie Review


Starring: Michael Stahl-David, T.J. Miller, Jessica Lucas, Odette Yustman, Lizzy Caplan

Directed by: Matt Reeves

Rated: PG-13 for violence, terror and disturbing images.

85 min

(continued from last post) ....And I am so glad!

Because if I had gone into the theater with any kind of expectation at all, past the everytime-expectation that my popcorn will be delicious and heavy with white cheddar topping- I probably wouldn’t have liked Cloverfield nearly as much.

The entire thing is filmed Blair-witch style… handheld camcorder, jerking and swaying, and if you are prone to motion sickness …or irritability, you might take a pass on this one. There is a LOT of running in the movie, so there is a LOT of camera jiggling around.

Ok, spoilers, you know the drill. If you don’t like knowing about it, why the hell are you reading this? Go away!

So our home movie starts out with a dreamy, morning after amazing sex- no they don’t say that, but you can tell by the joy in the camera holder’s voice as he zooms in on a lovely sleeping girl. You can tell by the joy in her sleepy, just-woked up eyes. Instead of screaming, grabbing a pillow to hide her makeup-streaked face and saying, “Get that thing out of my freaking face!” she giggles playfully. So-newly in love… and we get bits and pieces of this wonderful day, which took place roughly about a month before the Cloverfield-named monster appeared. Just to save time, I will give the basic set up.

The guy (Rob) is in love with the girl (Beth)- yes we were right on that one. They have been “just friends” for a long time, and finally, overcome by passion or something similar, they slept together. However, after the magical night and glorious day that followed, Rob never called.

His excuse is that he is getting ready to move to Japan for years. She of course feels hurt and used. They are coolly polite to each other- none of this is in the movie, but I’m good at figuring these intricate character emotions out.

So, night of Rob’s going-away party and his carefree younger bro has snatched Rob’s camcorder (with the magical tape still in it) to catch all of the going ons of the farewell scene. Rob, realizing partway through the party, that it is HIS camcorder, and HIS magic tape in it, looks suitably unhappy. We go, AHA. He loves that girl, even though she has shown up at his party with another guy and now they go out in the hall and bicker. We hear her saying. “you don’t call, you don’t write…” or the twenty-something, hip-n-cool, New Yorker version of that. He babbles excuses and snarls about the guy she brought. Eventually, fed up, Beth storms out.

Rob is sad.

Hud, his best friend, has been manning the camcorder and catches a lot of this action on film. Hud is a slow witted good natured guy, and the nicest surprise about this film was how much you actually start to like this dude- even though you see him only in glimpses when the camera happens to turn his way. He is the narrator and his goofy personality throughout the terrible evening that ensues really endeared him to me. Like I said, it was a surprise.

Now the action begins. BAM, there’s a n earthquake. The power goes out. They turn on the news and catch a report about an explosion in the Harbor. Everyone’s thinking terrorist, of course, and it is true that the filmmakers played on our collective fear of this bigtime, but I didn’t mind. Might as well do something fun with it.

Ok, so the sensible people are evacuating from the city as it becomes apparent that it is under attack by a big monster. It is never stated for SURE that the monster came from the sea, and it definitely NEVER says its name is “Cloverfield”, but it IS just a bunch of fun on stilty, forty-story legs and a big alien, praying mantis type head.

You may think, as I did, that a HUGE monster like that is not really THAT scary. I mean, you’re small, you can hide, right? Unless it steps on you, you should be fine. But UH_UH…. Not just yet, My eager friend. Because THINGS are dropping off of the monster, and they are, guess what?

.Small, stalky-legged scorpion alien type monsters… that scuttle on spider legs and snap their beak-fang-jaws while they squeal in a most unbecoming manner. Ok, we have scuttling, snapping and squealing. The list is complete, now we can get scared.

Now Rob, and his friends, although normally sensible people, are in this case, NOT. Rob gets a voice mail from Beth and she sounds like she’s in big trouble. He decides that despite the scuttling, the stalking, the roaring, the frickin MONSTERS… that he is going to get across town to Beth. For some completely unfathomable reason, Hud and a few other friends decide to go with. Ok, I realize that the movie makers needed some monster fodder, so other people HAD to go along, but it just struck me as ODD. I’d be like, dude, I am so sorry your friend is in trouble, and I understand if you feel the need to go on a suicide mission across the city, but if it’s all the same with you, I will just catch up with you next week some time. We’ll do lunch.

Ok, that is the story- handheld camera, heading across the city, scuttling, snapping and squealing. Toss in a few tender moments that actually choked me up (but hell, I am extremely emotional and regularly cry at the sight of bare toes) and did I mention the camera jiggling- and you have Cloverfield. Ok, there was more to it than that but this review has gone on quite long enough, even in trying to make up for my negligence. I give it four ands.

And… It was NOT boring.

And… I never felt like I was wasting my life.

And… I jumped only once (thanks, I hate jumpy movies)

And… like I said, I actually grew fond of good old Hud.

That there is a good movie in my book.

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