Cloverfield

JOE VS IZZY VS JAMES

Joe says:

There are a few spoilers in here, so hit the back button if youcloverfield-poster-thumb.jpg don’t want any of it ruined for you (though if I had known some of these things I’m about to write beforehand, I might not have seen it).

So there’s this monster that comes in and terrorizes New York City. We don’t know what it is, where it’s from, how it got there, or what happened to it. I’ve been asked to describe what it looks like, but I can’t do it adequately. It’s just a big freaking non-lizard lizard (yeah, I know…:() with long limbs and spider-like creatures falling from it.

Anyhoo, the movie is told from the point of view of a few party-goers in NYC as the events are being taped on a home video camera, with basically everyone dying one by one. You’re watching a party that’s going nowhere for a while, and you’re just sitting there wondering “where the hell is the big BOOM already?” It finally happens, and there’s panic–lots of it.

It was unique and dizzying, but mostly gruesome–probably the most bloody, graphic movie I’ve ever seen. The scene where that one girl literally blows up…now that’s something you shouldn’t take grandma to see [Editor’s Note: I took Joseph’s grandma to see this film. She was quite pleased, and very frisky.] In fact, anyone with a heart condition should avoid this movie like the Plague (do people still get that?)

Bottom line: if you like to watch almost completely inconclusive movies where everyone gets picked off and there’s nothing even close to a happy ending, then this is what you’ve been waiting for. And hey, the characters might not have been real, but they do have their own MySpace pages. That makes it all worth it. (pause) Well, not really, but it was interesting.

Grade: 86

Izzy says:

To put it bluntly, Cloverfield is The Worst Movie I Have Ever Seen. It is an especially poor film to see in theatres. I wanted to leave the theatre after the first ten minutes, and here’s why.

a) The Camcorder perspective – this whole film was done in “Home Movie Mode”. They didn’t have to pay any cameramen because one JVC $100 camcorder and a guy who obviously doesn’t know how to hold it properly (more on that later) was sufficient for this film. I thought the whole “Look, I’m a dude holding a camcorder and you’re seeing the film from the camcorder’s perspective, isn’t this SOOOOO innovating?!!” was going to last about five minutes and then the “real” cameras would pan out and show the film in better quality. Alas, this was not the case. If I wanted to see a home movie, I’d pop in one that my dad made while we were vacationing in Disneyworld when I was seven. At least that was entertaining…at some point, I wear a huge sombrero and say “ADIOS AMIGOS!” and smile a big, toothless smile. And it’s fucking adorable. Now THAT’S good use of a camcorder…and as cute as that may be, I wouldn’t pay to see that. And I PAID to see Cloverfield. More on THAT later.

b) The Shaking – Oh mother of god, the shaking. I’m not stupid – I KNOW the point of this godforsaken film is that it’s supposed to look very realistic, and real people shake the camcorder when they’re running with it. They move it around when they’re trying to get out of “dangerous” situations. But say you’re watching this film in a theatre. Say the theatre is SO FUCKING FULL that you have to sit in the 2nd to front row so you’re staring up at the screen. The shaking becomes a real fucking problem. You have to consistently adjust your eyes to the screen. You have to do it SO often that it becomes fucking painful. On a sidenote, I love rollercoasters. I love going fast and getting spun around and going backwards and forwards and whathaveyou. But this isn’t Cedar Point (props to those who know what I’m taking about), this is cinema!! Unless I’m seeing a 3D Adventure film a la Beowulf, I want my theatre experience to be done properly, with smooth, talented camera work…not shaking. Shaking is bad. Bad shaking bad.

c) The Acting – I knew from the beginning that none of the actors in this film are famous. That’s fine. I’ve seen plenty of movies with unrecognizable actors that won my heart over. And I can see how it’s particularly applicable to use no-name actors in this film because it’s supposed to be “realistic”…as in, this could happen to anyone, not just Angelina Jolie and Harrison Ford (although I wish Laura Linney were in this film and she had blown up from the inside because a giant spider attacked her like one of the characters in the movie…oh did I SPOIL it for you? Did I SPOIL this magnificent film for you? I hope I did so you won’t be tempted to see it), but the point is, even with unknown actors one would expect a little acting expertise. None of the actors knew how to act. None of them. They were all terrible at it. I thought it was all very fake looking. And none of the characters were very developed. For example, the guy whose going away party it was (Rob? Yes?) slept with some chick and cheated on his girlfriend. Schuyler’s mom would say he is a bad person, and I agree, he is. What makes him even WORSE is that he feels compelled to put his and his friends’ lives in danger by trying to rescue his little whore. Apparently he’s in love with this “Beth” person. He’s slept with her ONCE. What is he, a 13 year old girl? “Ohhh I gave myself to this person and now I’m in love!!!” Lame. Go save your girlfriend you piece of shit. I have no sympathy for him, or his love interest. I mean, if this relationship had been developed a little more, maybe I’d understand. But I can’t just ASSUME things.

d) The Monster – the monster was SO RIDICULOUSLY LAME. I mean, come on…what is that thing? Is it made of plaster? paper mache? I have no idea. Is it a lizard? Is it a monkey? And why on earth does it shit out spiders from its orifices? It’s just ridiculous. It’s not even scary. We get to see it for about 10 minutes the entire film. I’d say that’s a pretty big cocktease. And then the monster “magically” ends up outside the city to KILL the camera man (OH MAN! DID I SPOIL IT FOR YOU AGAIN?!?!?!) when the entire police force/CIA/FBI is evacuating the whole city to blow the monster up inside it!!! What’s the point of blowing up the city if the monster is OUTSIDE the city? It makes no sense. At all. Or maybe they were still in the city, although it looked like they were outside. Do you see what I mean? MAJOR plot holes. MAJOR inaccuracies.

e) Three words: BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. “Oh my god! I am so scared! I’m going to cry into the camera and tell the camera how scared I am in case anyone ends up seeing this after I’m dead! OHHH GOD IM GOING TO DIE WAAAAHHHHHHH!” Pathetic. So fucking pathetic and unrealistic. Go to LA. Get some acting lessons. If I wanted to see Blair Witch 3, I’d rent it in the 99 cent rental bin at the local…Rent-A-Shitflick.

f) I paid to see this film. I am a poor college student, yet I gave up about $9 to see this ridiculous display of cinematography. I should’ve asked for my money back because the shaking gave me a headache. I should’ve asked for my money back because the acting, plot, and film itself made me wish I had that…1 hour and 2 minutes back.

I give this film the worst rating possible for the worst movie ever.

Grade: 10

James says:

I’d like to begin by respectfully telling Izzy to eat a dick. I saw “Cloverfield” last weekend, and found it to be thoroughly entertaining. Yes, if you’re a total bitch and can’t handle a little bit of jiggling (I’ve seen her in a low-cut dress, she can handle jiggling), it might be difficult to handle. But for those of us with iron constitutions, the movie takes the viewer on a crazy, relentless rush through a NYC under siege by a gigantic, mysterious monster. Now, I’d like to address some more (but not all) of her complaints.

The acting. Yes, the acting is not going to win an Oscar, but who cares! You don’t go see a movie about a giant monster wrecking shit to revel in the masterful performances. If you did, they would’ve hired Michael Caine or something. You go to see people who aren’t much more than walking snacks trying to escape certain death. And as for the main character’s motivation for trying to save the girl, yes, they only had sex once. But the other characters make any number of references to the fact that they’ve had feelings for each other for quite some time. It’s all in the details, damnit.

The monster. I thought the monster was kickass. It didn’t look at all like what I had expected, being essentially a giant torso with two arms, a tail, and a kickass fishhead. I especially liked that you never find out exactly where it came from or what the fuck is going on. Too many movies that strive for realism have that moment where the main civilian characters, who are unarmed and untrained and nothing more than a hinderance to a military operation, get sat down by the Colonel or whoever, who launches into a “This is what we know…” speech. THAT would’ve been bullshit. These army guys do nothing more than shuffle them through their base, trying to get them out of the city. They don’t know what’s going on either, and what are the odds that anyone would know anything after only a few hours? As for it not being seen a lot, I disagree. You get some damn good views of it, otherwise I could never have described it as artistically as I did.

The plot holes. WRONG WRONG WRONG YOU ARE WRONG. I will forgive Izzy because she’s from the Deep South, but in NYC there is this little thing called Central Park. It’s a big…park…in the middle of the city, and it happens to be where the helicopter crashes. Hell, the opening screen tells you that the movie will end there with the text revealing that the tape was found in the Park.

There are rumors that a second film is in consideration, a companion to the first one that would possibly shed some light on what was really going on with some of the unanswered questions raised during the movie. But in my opinion, getting those answers usually just ruins things. It’s much more fun to simply come up with your own ideas, because they will resonate far more with YOU THE VIEWER rather than what the writers of the film feel is scariest. I’d be interested in this companion mostly because it would tell the story of the attack from a completely different perspective.

I’m tempted to give this movie a ridiculous score just to piss off Izzy more than she’s already going to be, but I won’t. While I did really enjoy it, it wasn’t a perfect film. The pacing was a bit off in the beginning, and I can’t deny that the acting wasn’t too great some of the time. It was still a thoroughly entertaining ride, however, and if you feel at all inclined to seeing big monsters blowing things up and being elusive, see this movie.

Grade: 90

AVERAGE GRADE: 56

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