Sunday Morning Movie: Cloverfield (2008)

Cloverfield (2008)
Directed by Matt Reeves

For breakfast: Biscuits and Gravy

I love a good monster movie and when one comes around that’s as clever and well-executed as Cloverfield, it’s hard not to be pleasantly surprised. The shaky, 1st person camera is a tough thing to pull off without being obnoxious, see The Blair Witch Project, but I think Cloverfield does a pretty good job of it. Of course it helps that JJ Abrams seems to bring a certain amount of energy to everything he’s involved with and this film definitely has plenty of energy. It’s an intense ride that only occasionally dips its toe into silliness and despite it’s contrivances it keeps the viewer engaged for the swift 80 minute run time.

Speaking of the run time, I think it’s fairly impressive what all the filmmakers are able to accomplish in such ¬†short span of time. The characters and back story, while somewhat cheesy, are solid enough to make us care about what’s happening on screen. My only real complaint is that they’re far too young for the jobs they’re supposed to have and the apartments they allegedly live in…in Manhattan no less. Had the characters been maybe 10 years older I wouldn’t be distracted with logistics while a giant monster tears up New York City. But honestly, there’s really no place for logic when it comes to a film like this.

Now I’m not sure what all should be attributed to director Matt Reeves, or whether it was Abrams or the writing or all of the above, but I just love how everything about the film was so well done and thought out — from the great ad campaign that left us wanting more all the way through to the enjoyable finished product. That’s not to say the film isn’t flawed, it absolutely is, but the overall experience is so intense that it’s just plain fun.

Grade: B+

 

Sunday Morning Movie: The Thing (1982)

 

The Thing (1982)
Directed by John Carpenter

For breakfast: Biscuits ‘n Gravy

This is one of my favorite John Carpenter films, if not my favorite. I still find it hard to believe that the gore and effects were so offputting for audiences that this was a total commercial failure. Seriously, not only are the production values outstanding, the special effects are absolutely brilliant and still hold up almost 30 years later. By taking the Alien formula and giving us a group of characters in total isolation, the suspense comes almost naturally. Add increasing paranoia into the mix and the fact that the audience is none the wiser than any of the characters on screen, and you’ve got yourself a truly scary film. Though, for me at least, what really makes this work is that it’s set in present day, on Earth, which makes it hit much closer to home. The stark, desolate landscape contrasts perfectly with the closed confines of their camp to create a rich atmosphere. The ambiguity of the ending is great and I suppose we can be thankful it tanked at the box office, since Hollywood didn’t feel the need for a completely unnecessary sequel.

Grade: A