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[I return momentarily with reviews of a few movies that opened today.]

J.J. Abrams, the creator of hit TV shows like Felicity, Alias, and Lost knows how to market a movie and, in effect, get people in the theater. The original teaser trailer for Cloverfield didn’t even feature the name of the movie and managed to stir up an incredible amount of attention. So, even though the film will probably score record-breaking box office numbers by the time Monday rolls around, from what I’ve seen of the movie today, some people will be walking out the theater and shaking their heads.

 
The only thing remotely cool about Cloverfield: the ad campaign.

The movie is shot with a handheld camcorder and attempts to portray itself as a lost video record of a monster tearing New York apart. But it doesn’t feel realistic at all aside from the great special effects (which blend in well with the pixelated cinematography).

It’s a common assumption that handheld footage in movies gives the illusion of real life like in the early cinéma-vérité films. However, I felt dizzy for a good portion of the movie due to the constant lack of equilibrium of the camerawork. And it didn’t make me think, “Wow, this is so real!”

Also, it’s supposed to be the “Property of U.S. Government” as the watermark in the beginning of the video informs us. In the context of the movie, how did the studios get a chance to release such a secretive video? And why wouldn’t the watermark stay on the whole time, especially since it’s accompanied by the phrase “Do Not Duplicate?”

Even though these may appear to be minor quibbles, the filmmakers didn’t take the whole “secret video” issue as seriously as they should have in order to make the film not seem like a total gimmick. The “random” video recording even has a three-act structure! All the shots happen to come in at the right time, even the clips previously recorded on the tape that pop up every so often. (That brings us to another subplot I won’t get into here…)

But what made me even sicker than the tripodless footage was realizing that the only times Cloverfield worked were when those moments made the movie appear to be a little too similar to other disasters, i.e. playing on the audience’s emotions during those previous events, i.e. exploitation of the lowest denominator. I was only moved by certain shots/scenes because they seemed too much like handheld camera footage from the events of September 11 or videotaped interviews with citizens of New Orleans on the eve of Hurricane Katrina. How shameful, exploiting emotions that people harbor from these terrible tragedies in order to give a cheap movie some “authenticity.”

But even if these, or other such disasters, didn’t share such similar footage with the movie, Cloverfield would still be a waste of time. The film manages to make an hour and twenty-four minutes feel like at least double that.

Rating: 4/10

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7 Comments

  1. wow you really have no sense of feel for anything. first of all the only real reason the movie would make you dizzy is if your drunk or on drugs the whole time. If the movie made people dizzy and throw up, they would have put something to say that. Second of all, how does a monster destroying New York City have ANYTHING to do with terrorists blowing up 2 buildings. This thing takes down like 20, the millitary is in attack mode and shooting missles at it. I don’t think that happend on 9/11. and With Katrina, WTF? do you even know what a HURRICANE IS? it’s when water destroys land. Not a frickin monster destroying new york. If you thought this movie was a waste of time, why did you go see it? to make a crappy review of a good movie. the movie is supposed to be without a tripod (like a handycam). “how did the studio get a chance to release this video?” THIS IS OBVIOUSLY A MOVIE STUPID

  2. if this was ACTUAL footage, this obviously wouldn’t have gotten released because it’s the government. you obviously have no taste in film making. if this movie was a 4/10 why did it make more than HALF as much as it cost to make the movie. $16.7 mill first day. it cost $30 mill to make. if this was such a bad movie, it would not make this much money. You are just an ignorant person who likes every single detail explained to you right up front. Movies are supposed to be intresting and for you to not know what happend right away, that ruins every movie. the point of not knowing anything about the monster is because the characters knew NOTHING about the monster, it’s just a big thing and they have to get out. How are they exploiting emotions from sept 11th or Katrina???????? when did they once interview someone about the monster or the damage????? sure they asked the military what it was but that’s about it. You obviously DON”T know what your talking about. You probably sat through the movie giggling or not paying attentions, because you missed more than HALF the movie in your little 3 paragraph review. I feel sorry for anybody who reads this because they are being told bad info, and a bad review.

  3. Actually, there have been numerous complaints from critics and ordinary moviegoers about dizziness. And they wouldn’t “put something to say that”: they didn’t for movies like Husbands and Wives, Boogie Nights and Pulp Fiction, whose patrons either became dizzy or passed out during screenings. Someone had a heart attack during The Passion of the Christ, but I don’t see a warning label on the DVD.

    Yes, I do know what a hurricane is. I live in New Orleans.

    If I knew this movie would be a waste of my time before I saw it, of course I would not have seen it. But, to properly judge the film, I would have to see it first.

    I know this is a movie and not actual footage, but I believe part of the fun of this whole gimmick we call Cloverfield was the believability that this is a real video (same for Blair Witch Project). There is no sense of this being a “real” video in the context of the movie world created by Cloverfield‘s filmmakers, which I think is a failure on the producers’/director’s/writer’s parts.

    Gross is a poor argument for how good a movie is. Titanic is by no means the greatest movie of all time just because it has made more money than any other movie in history. In Cloverfield‘s case, the reason it made so much money (especially during the first day) was because of the clever marketing campaign, which I mention in the first paragraph of my review.

    Thanks for reading.

    P.S. I counted seven paragraphs.

  4. I agree with you and the other two are obviously idiots. Just because you make a comparison, does not make it identical. Playing on the memories and therefore the associated feelings can be construed as wrong, but it is mimicking true human feelings and emotions.

    Its like when I watched 28 days later. They had all the pissing persons posters up on the walls and it was like a memory of NYC after 911.

    If another disaster hits, I’m sure we’ll see a repeat of everything once more…

  5. ok Joey Laura, you can just be an arrogant ass and say “ooo i counted seven peragraphs”. you missed the whole point all you did was see something that you can say against me.

    quoting you “Someone had a heart attack during The Passion of the Christ, but I don’t see a warning label on the DVD.” of course that wouldn’t be on the dvd. anybody could have a stroke at any time. just because they have a stroke doesn’t necessarily mean the movie caused it, and I was obviously being sarcastic when I said you didn’t know what a hurricane is, but you have to be an idiot and not no sarcasm when you hear it.

    “Gross is a poor argument for how good a movie is. Titanic is by no means the greatest movie of all time just because it has made more money than any other movie in history.” I never said that how much money says how good the movie is. All I was saying is why would people go see this movie if it was horrible?? I never said it was the greatest movie, I just said it was good. Who are you to decide what the greatest movie is? maybe Titanic is the greatest movie made, maybe it isn’t, I don’t know, you don’t know. NOBODY KNOWS. That’s what makes the movie industry work. Nobody ever knows what the best movie made is. You could argue about it all you want, you can have all the evidence in the world. But that would not make it the best movie ever. The best movie is a movie that NOBODY hates. If you can get every person in the world to say Cloverfield was the worst movie made, I would agree with you. But you can’t can you? that’s what I thought.

    Dave, here’s something I need to stress completely. ANY movie can be compared to 9/11 or hurricane Katrina. Tell me any movie I have seen, and I can tell you something they have in common. If every movie made after 9/11 or Katrina had no connections or comparisons, movies would not be made. Because you can find anything to compare them. “Playing on the memories and therefore the associated feelings can be construed as wrong, but it is mimicking true human feelings and emotions.” IF a monster actually hit new york, do you think people wouldn’t be sad? angry?, or scared half to death? They would, same as anything else bad that’s happend. It’s not like we have 100 diffrent emotions. the same emotions are used almost all the time. It just takes one idiot to make the tiny comparison to a bad event to make everyone believe him.

    Here’s an example. In the Simpsons Movie, Springfield was kept in a bubble surrounding them containing them from the rest of the world. Making the miserable. No food or anything was supplied besides what they already had. They were in this bubble because they had bad pollution. Can’t this be connected with Hitler and how he imprisoned The Jewish people for having a diffrent religiong??? containing them from the world making them miserable and supplying them with barely any food? see it just takes a small detail to connect movies to events. It takes a smart person to decide if THE SIMPSONS has anything to do with hitler, if it does then PLEEEEEEAAAAAAAAASSSSEEEE point that out.

    So please don’t question me because your resentment towards this movie makes no sense at all, your reasons are flawed, and it tests me to ask if you have even SEEN the movie. Please don’t do it again and make me explain to you.

    THANKS FOR READING

    P.S. your reviews suck if you didn’t know……-_-

  6. Yet you like them enough to come back. :)

  7. I only came back because I wanted to see if you had anything to say about what I said about your cloverfield review. that’s why, and the only reason I came to this site is because I wanted a big picture of the cloverfield poster, and your site was on google images.


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