PavCo Multimedia Synergistics Weblog

January 20, 2008

Cloverfield

Filed under: Entertainment,Movies — CPav @ 12:10 am
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It’s out. It’s making a ton at the box office, so it appears that word-of-mouth is good. But is the movie?

In a word: Yes. Chris, Chip, and I were all blown away by Cloverfield. Described by one guy in the row in front of us as “Blair Witch with a budget”, Cloverfield is the brainchild of J.J. Abrams, creator of Felicity, Alias, and Lost. While the other viewer’s description is accurate, I prefer my own: “Godzilla from the point of view of Tokyo.”

Cloverfield is the story of a group pf twentysomethings who gather one evening for a party for Rob (Michael Stahl-David), who is moving to (fittingly) Japan to take a lucrative job with his company. The party is being thrown by Lilly (Jessica Lucas), the girlfriend of Rob’s brother, Jason (Mike Vogel). Also invited are Lilly’s friend Marlena (Lizzy Caplan), and Hud (T. J. Miller), Rob’s best friend, who is drafted by Jason to document the evening on digital video. It is this video, including a the previous contents of the tape, which makes up the movie.

The party is interrupted by a momentary blackout, which in turn is followed by television reports of a capsized tanker near the Statue of Liberty. When the partiers go to the roof of the building to attempt to get a view of what’s happening, they get more than they bargain for, seeing explosions from that direction. The evening goes south from there, and the film follows a small group of the partiers as they attempt to escape from Manhattan.

Cloverfield represents a number of hours in the lives of a few young people who find themselves caught in the middle of something much larger than their lives. It is action-packed and intense, full of confusion, action, and emotion. The performances, from a group of relative unknowns, are realistic (much of the dialogue was evidently improvised). The plot is relatively minuscule, but it moves along briskly, with some true shocks along the way. The jumpy handheld photography won’t sit well with some viewers. The plot has holes in it you could fly an F15 through, and people who like everything explained and tied up in the end should probably avoid this movie entirely, but for us, Cloverfield is a roller coaster ride, and a really fun one at that.

With any movie that gets as much pre-release publicity and hype as Cloverfield got, there’s the risk that it won’t live up to the hype, but, for my sons and I at least, Cloverfield did.

Now I’m gonna hunt down some of those viral web sites and see if any of them answer any of the questions that were left wide open by the movie.

The 300 Project: 14/14

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January 16, 2008

Early Returns, Pt 1. (Cloverfield)

Filed under: Entertainment,Movies — CPav @ 11:42 pm
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Once upon a time, there was a movie with a simple title which explained the simple plot of the move in four simple words. And the internet went crazy, and embraced the movie voraciously, and made suggestions for the movie, which the movie makers embraced and incorporated into the movie. Unfortunately, Snakes on a Plane sucked.

Which brings us to Cloverfield. First it was the Unnamed J.J. Abrams Project, then there was the rumored title of Cloverfield, before it became official. A poster, showing a decapitated Statue of Liberty, was distributed at last summer’s San Diego Comic-Con, along with Slusho t-shirts, tie-ins to the movie. Details were few and far between, except for a teaser trailer released on the internet and tacked onto the front of the summer blockbuster Transformers. It was a monster movie, set in America. Based on the trailer, it was filmed, Blair Witch-style, with shaky hand-held camera. And, for the fanboys, it was conceived and produced by J. J. Abrams, he of Alias and Lost.

And it was supported by viral marketing sites, some of which weren’t actually related to the movie but which took advantage of its buzz for their own nefarious ends. And there was much debate about the monster and what it could do and what it might look like, none of which was answered by even later trailers.

And now it has come. And for all of the anticipation, all of the good feelings and good thoughts and good prayers, we are down to one simple question: Is it any good?

Early returns are running toward the positive, though it’s hard to say. The folks who have seen it early and have chosen to write about it (formal reviews are forbidden until Friday) have mostly been positive about it, but most of them were probably inclined to like it anyway. Monster movies are typically a tough sell, and monster movies with an entirely new monster (as opposed to a Frankenstein rehash or a new take on the Dracula legend) aren’t all that common. So we’ll have to wait and see. Largely it’s a personal thing.

I’ve got my tickets, and I’ll let you know.

The 300 Project: 12/12

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