Wednesday, January 16, 2008

DNfromMN Move Review - Cloverfield

Release Date: 01-18-08

So we saw the first preview back in May ’07 in front of Transformers, before the movie was even finished filming. And it’s been hyped up the wazoo with fun internet viral marketing games, web widget stealing, Facebook ads, and even text marketing (any other Virgin Mobile subscribers). This movie’s been marketed to hell and back. So is it worth it? Since this is a movie you probably don’t want spoiled, I’ll give you my judgment up front:

On my “what it’s worth” scale of $0 (televised bowling is a better option) to $18 (full price ticket + buy your dinner from concessions), it’s probably only worth about $6.50 (aka – matinee/wait for DVD and nuke yourself a bag of Orville Redenbacher).

Why so low, Joe? Because, really, if it weren’t shot in the style that it is (handheld, supposedly by the actors ala Lonelygirl15), it’d be about as good as the Matthew Broderick GODZILLA. And if it weren’t a monster movie, but shot in this style, it’d be something you’d see go direct-to-DVD. Two mediocres don’t make fantastic. It just stays mediocre.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it. I was fully engrossed with a few exceptions (noted at end of review), but when it was over, I knew New York hadn’t been attacked and decimated, I knew it was all (well) acted. I think the audience I saw it with was kind of in the same boat, since everyone was silent for the bulk of the movie.

I liked the characters, and like ABC’s LOST you never know when something’s going to happen to them. First off there’s Marmaduke… ok, so that’s his character’s name on ABC’s CARPOOLERS, Hud in this movie, and Marlena, the girl he lusts after. There’s the hot brothers Jason and Rob, and their respective girlfriends: token minority Lily (who’s now on CSI, I find out from IMDB.COM), and Beth. Rob’s got a job in Japan, there’s a going away party, there’s a brownout, TV News says something’s up at the Statue of Liberty, everyone runs to the roof to see if they can see anything different than the helicopter shots on TV, there’s explosions, everyone runs downstairs and out on the street, Statue of Liberty’s head rolls down the street, aaaaaand: commence escape/running/screaming.

There are some twists, but most people are going to see this and I don’t want to take the surprising elements away. This is not a startle horror movie like ONE MISSED CALL or a gory horror movie like anything Rob Zombie puts out, it’s a thoughtful one, that has tense moments, but didn’t leave my muscles sore from tension like THE DESCENT or 28 DAYS LATER have in the last couple of years.
So yeah, I was pumped, but I’d accidentally stumbled upon a non-review (more a checklist of the movie’s flaws, few of which I agree with, since it ignored my chief complaint – still coming, don’t be impatient like a kid who needs his Ritalin®), which dampened my expectations. So I expected the movie to exceed my lowered expectations (like on MAD-TV), and I’d say it met my lowered expectations.

Oh, and you know how I’ve annoyingly been dropping names and brands throughout this review. That’s what bugged me the most about the movie: non-subtle product placement. Time to call you out: Sephora, Mountain Dew, Aquafina, and others which I’ve thankfully forgotten.

Great idea for a movie, smothered with money.

So your weekend options:
New Releases:
Cloverfield (Marmaduke! Ok, kidding, no well known actors)
Mad Money (Katie Holmes, Diane Keaton and Queen Latifah)
27 Dresses (Katherine Heigl & James Marsden)
Darling boyfriend went to the 27 Dresses screening last week, and his one line review was: “Eh, it’s good for what it’s trying to do.” About what I expected, which is why I opted for book club (even if it deprived my adoring fans another week of my reviews).

Last Week’s New Releases:
First Sunday (Tracy Morgan and Ice Cube – )
The Bucket List (Jack and Morgan’s Not-So-Excellent Adventure)


YahMoBThere said...

Well done, DN. But here's my question. What are you reading in book club? ;-)

Jackson Griffith said...

Cloverfield is one movie where the viral marketing (,, the fake news videos of the mid-Atlantic oil derrick being attacked, the bedroom Jamie Lascano videos, etc.) was too creative that the film would have to be a letdown. Blair Witch Project + Squidzilla from the deep = ???

I'll probably waste 10 bucks to see it in the theater, but that $10 will be more like dana for the marketing department for a job well done than anything else.

Anonymous said...

twist - Stumbling on Happiness.

Jackson - if only they'd been able to transfer that magic onto the screen. (Although I will look up the jamie lascano things because i hadn't seen those.)

I'm wondering if I hadn't given up on the viral marketing early on (too much gossip to catch up on) if I would've enjoyed the movie more -- known more about the world they created.

But like I said, there were kids behind us on line who'd already bought t-shirts and everything who were totally obnoxious on line and totally silent during the film. said...

"don’t be impatient like a kid who needs his Ritalin®"

That is funny on several levels. You must have been lurking in on some comments yesterday.

Thanks for taking the time to write these reviews for us.

Bad Ass Momma said...

Great review, i like your writing style

YahMoBThere said...

DN, thanks for the scoop. I'm an avid reader and always looking for more books.

I agree sometimes the hype about something leads to disappointment. I'm hoping that's not the case with Juno. One friend told me "it's what Little Miss Sunshine SHOULD have been and COULD have been if it hadn't tried so hard." Well, having seen only one commercial for Juno, it looks to me like Juno may be trying too hard. We'll see.

YahMoBThere said...

Oh, and 'on' line? Are you from MN via the east coast?

captivagrl said...

dnfrommn - ty for the review.
***** anyone see THE ORPHANAGE???? i might see it tonight. it looks good. any thoughts?? please...

Anonymous said...

thx for the positive comments everyone.

twist - no, but I think we have grammar police in the comments, and I believe that "on line" is correct grammar and didn't want to get called on it. :)

captiva - The Orphanage is a good thriller. Not great, but probably better than any other horror movie out there right now.

captivagrl said...

dn - ty.

YahMoBThere said...

LMAO!! DN, I heart you!

Sue's recipes said...

Is it just me or is Diane Keaton, Katie Holmes and Queen Latifa the most random team in all of movie history? Like they pulled names out a hat comprised of AFTRA members? I wonder how many actresses declined these roles while making the sign of the cross to ward off the devil.

Pardon me while I skip this stinker.

captivagrl said...

dn - did you see The Orphanage? or are you going by other reviews?

YahMoBThere said...

Sue, I thought the same thing. It doesn't even look good in the previews, so it's got to be a real dog.

Anonymous said...

captiva - I saw it back in mid-December. I didn't do a review because I didn't realize it was going to have a wide release.

Like all ghost stories, it has a twist, but it's a logical one that works if you were going to watch the movie again.

Darling Boyfriend liked it enough that he wants to see it again and buy it when it's out on dvd.

captivagrl said...

dnfrommn - thank you very much:)

Sydney in Wonderland said...

Thanks for the reviews. Saw Juno last weekend, adored it. Not sure how I feel about seeing this one; might go the DVD route like you suggested. What's your best bet for this weekend? Thinking of giving the sis a day off for a date for her husband, suggesting dinner and a movie.

Anonymous said...

alpine - it really depends on what's available in your area, and what they're into. If it's a relaxing fun evening - Juno's probably the best comedy out there. The Orphanage is probably the best horror movie (but it has subtitles). Cloverfield's significantly better than In the Name of the King (which would have made a great made for Sci-Fi channel movie but not a movie I'd actually feel good about paying for) for action. I really don't know much about 27 Dresses or Mad Money -- but with the amount of talk show coverage Mad Money's getting, I'd assume it's about as good as Because I Said So (Diane Keaton's movie from last year that came out around this time and had similar publicity).

ladorabelle said...

Haha, thanks for your help, DN. Alpine Summer is my little sister, and, while sweet and well-meaning, she's obviously not the secret-keeper in the family.

Juno sounds like a good bet . . . it's not too chick-flicky, is it? I've never been much for those or horror. Action and comedy is much more my speed.

ladorabelle said...

Oh, and most things play around here. I'm in the Atlanta area.

Anonymous said...

ladorabelle - ah, you brought your sister into the cult of Entie. You're a good blogger buddy.

Juno is not chicky flicky. It's a little too hip for itself, but it's sweet and entertaining without being a chick flick. Sweeney Todd would be a good one, too if you haven't seen it yet.

Unknown said...

Adoring Fans?! lol

Anyhoo, probably seeing Cloverfield tonight so I hope its good. My boyfriend is a huge fan of monster movies like a typical boy, but I find they are usually a let down.


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