Saturday, March 12, 2016

10 Cloverfield Lane keeps you in suspense the entire time

Movie Title:      10 Cloverfield Lane

Grade:   A-

Rating:   PG-13, 1 hour 45 minutes

In a Nutshell:    J.J. Abrams puts a spine-tingling spin on doomsday prepping.  He is a master at suspense and this psychological thriller has plenty of it.  He loves to NOT show the audience things, which adds even more to the achingly tense scenes and viewer anticipation.  

Did you ever see his 2008 Cloverfield movie?  (It made me dizzy with all its shaky cam effects.) This is sort of a sequel, but it’s not necessary at all to have seen that one to understand this one. 

Uplifting theme: 
·       Which is scarier: the known monster or the unknown one?
·       Be prepared. 

Things I liked:
·   Excellent performances by John Goodman (Howard), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Michelle), and John Gallagher Jr. (Emmett) Did you know that both Mary Elizabeth and John got their start on Broadway?
·       The film really plays with you, so much so that you never know exactly what the truth is until the end.
·       Foreboding music really gets you on edge….the whole time.
·       I love the close-ups on small things that really tell the story without words, such as when you see Michelle’s white knuckles on the steering wheel to her chipped fingernail polish.
·       Fantastic car accident in the beginning.  Very well done.  It really got me.
·       You’ll get to see lots of emergency prep products and think about what you might need if there really were some kind of disaster.  I noticed Emergency Essentials buckets in the house, which is a company I have used for many years and can highly recommend!
·       The Santa Clause card game scene was outstanding.  It was intense, funny, and the moment where the movie really revs up and gets crazy.
·       The majority of the movie takes place inside a very small space, which increases the dramatic tension immeasurably.
·       This is director Dan Trachtenberg’s first movie.  It looks like he has a bright future.

Things I didn’t like:
  • The ending.  Hmmm….could have been stronger.  Does that mean this will be a trilogy?   J.J. Abrams refers to anticipation as his “mystery box.”   He is excellent at building expectation, but sometimes the end result is a bit disappointing.  I’m still mad at him for the TV series Lost: Season 6 - Final Season , but I think he did a a great job with Star Trek Into Darkness .  His next one comes out this summer!
  • Like the first Cloverfield movie, you only get to see a tiny bit of the “thing”.  You’ll be disappointed if you think you’re going to see a bunch of monsters or aliens.
  • John Gallagher’s character doesn’t get as much attention as you might want.  There is a tiny back story, but it feels rushed and we don’t get to know him very well.  Of course, Michelle is the protagonist in the story, so her experience is where the focus is.
  • There’s really only one line that shows any connection with this movie to the first Cloverfield and that is when Howard mentions he worked for a satellite company.  In the first movie, it is a satellite that falls into the ocean that awakens a monster/alien from underneath.

Funny lines:
  •  “There’s no place like home.” – Howard
  • “Neither one of us will be able to go up there to help you if you get stuck.  Don’t get stuck.” – Howard
  • “Come on!” - Michelle

Tips for parents:   

  • There are some explosions, a shooting, and some gruesome images of dead people that might frighten young children.
  • Mary Elizabeth Winstead is in her underwear during some scenes.
  • 1 F-bomb.
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