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Friday, January 18, 2008

Film Review: Cloverfield, dir. Matt Reeves (2008)

It's been a long time since I reviewed a movie here, so why not start with an instant classic? This Blair Witch Project meets Godzilla meets 9/11 monster movie mash-up works on a number of levels. Oh, it's pure entertainment--I'm not sure that there's a theme there, other than you never know when you're going to die . . . so live every day like your last. Or giant monsters can really f**k a city up. Or something. But the movie works because it sticks with the "found object/document" conceit--the movie is framed as a videotape found "in the area formerly known as Central Park" after a giant monster attacks the city (guess they didn't rebuild?).

That narrative frame tells us all we need to know--*SPOILER*--the main characters are going to die. Because they don't narrate, they're just on the tape. I really liked that the main characters don't "solve the mystery," "defeat the monster," or anything. They get killed--not really "one by one," but they get it in the end. Indeed, the "main main character" does things that don't make sense unless one assumes that he really doesn't know what's going on. (Of course, if he didn't do those things, less of a movie. I understand that.)

Oh, and there are a couple of scenes shot in ways that the "in the moment" handheld camera dude wouldn't shoot--mainly framing shots, not that important.

So just a group of [privileged young New Yorkers], "in the moment," the moment of the Apocalypse. It's short--you couldn't sustain this for that long, although the movie doesn't even get close to the line, IMO. Maybe they show a bit too much of the monster. It could have been left to the imagination a bit more.

I won't write too many SPOILERS. I liked the small monsters--a nice touch. And what was with the "bite"? As some of you know, I hate a movie that explains too much. And this one explained nothing.


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