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January 18 2008

Pics of Drew Goddard at the premiere of 'Cloverfield'. It's great to see Mutant Enemy writers doing so well. And in keeping with the Buffyverse connection, Michelle Trachtenberg was also at the premiere. A round up of reviews for the movie can be found over at Metacritic.

Cloverfield, Awesome movie. Solid B+. The movie is everything it promises to be and only what it promises to be. The movement of the camera added to the experience for me. Ultimate Drew does not disappoint on this one. If you've seen the trailer and think I'm gonna like this movie, you probably will. If the trailer looked awful you will hate the movie.
Also the movie had a trailer for Neil (the Descent) Marshall's new movie Doomsday before it. Which looks so shiny. I hope to finally get around to watching Dog Soldiers this weekend and my hype for Doomsday will probably help. Plus you know how good the Descent is.
'Dog Soldiers' has more of a B-movie, 'Evil Dead II'-ish feel to it theMidnighter, don't expect the same unremittingly dark tone as 'The Descent' but it's excellent IMO, just great fun (do you know 'The Tick' ? Trust me, after watching 'Dog Soldiers' you'll understand why his rallying cry is "Spoon !" ;). And 'Doomsday' is definitely one of my must see films this year.

Really looking forward to 'Cloverfield', it's out here in a couple of weeks.
What did he do to his hair??! I knew he cut it, but THAT short?! He looks like a far-more-hunky Eddie Munster! Grow back the 'do, Drew! (and GOOD LUCK with the opening weekend ;-)
I know writers rarely get credit (and all the hype about Cloverfield seems to leave him out of it), but come on... "actor" Drew Goddard? Has he ever acted in anything before? Guess the photographer or someone thought writer didn't sound noteworthy enough.
Drew does get credited in here in this positive review.
I am a bad bad fan. *smacks hand* Bad fan! But I just never realized what a hottie Drew is. Not at all the point of this thread, I know. I'm just sayin'. Wow!
But I just never realized what a hottie Drew is. Not at all the point of this thread, I know.

Any thread with "picture of [Buffyverse VIP]" is going to go there, though.
I'm already annoyed with the reviewer who declared it "trite screenwriting," and I haven't seen the movie. I want our ME alums to get respect.

And as far as the hottie factor, of course it's gonna come up. (Aside--Jane Espenson? Yummy, especially with those glasses.)
I'm already annoyed with the reviewer who declared it "trite screenwriting," and I haven't seen the movie.

There's actually, I think, a reason why some reviewers are going to see it this way, but I'm not sure I should make my argument in a non-spoiler thread, heh.
Just got back from seeing "Cloverfield." Without being spoiler-y, much much love to Ultimate Drew for a well-crafted, edge-of-your-seat-until-you-leap-out-of-it-and-cling-willy-nilly-to-the-hot-girl-sitting-next-to-you script. It's not cheesy, it's not a parody...it's just a damn good creature feature (if that's not an oxymoron).

See it!!!!
Just got back...awesome movie. I loved it...Goddard and Reeves did an excellent job...this movie is going to make a ton of money
Saw this last night, and loved it.

The audience I saw it with was pissed, though, and let out a very audible groan at the end. Whatever. All I know is, I mourn the death of the collective moviegoing audience's imagination.

(Oh, wait. This happened several decades ago, and said imagination may never have existed at all. Never mind.)
Unpluggedcrazy, loved the comment. Said imagination probably exists in about 5% of the collective moviegoing audience, and that's likely a generous estimate.
Well, hate to rain on this parade of praise, but I saw it and pretty much hated every minute of it. I'm okay with shaky cam, but shaky cam for 84 minutes becomes meaningless static after a while - doesn't enhance the experience at all. Kudos to sticking rigidly to the premise. Pity there's few likeable characters or moments to really appreciate any of it.

Blair Witch did everything this film did years ago. That film also sucked. At least this one had a cool CGI monster.

The allusions to 9/11 were pretty offensive.
That can't be Drew Goddard. Whoever it is, he's FAR too good looking to be a writer.
Yes, crossoverman, because there were no monster movies and certainly nothing bad ever happened in NYC on film before 9/11. Do you have the same issues with "Escape from NY" and the more recent "I am Legend?"
daylight Yes, the Ultimate One is amazingly hot. Also quite witty, very tall, and he owes at least me, if not a handful of others, a French kiss.

Drew, if you're out there in Lurkdom - I still don't know what happened in Season Five of "Angel." Now how's that for a feat?
Well, crossoverman, we agree on one point:

The Blair Witch Project did, indeed, suck.
Oh yeah. "Blair Witch" was craptastic. :-)
Giant monsters have been attacking NYC for 50 years in Marvel.. I don't think 9/11 had much to do with them.

[ edited by Awkward Saw on 2008-01-19 19:05 ]
I liked Blair Witch AND Cloverfield!

Drew got in some truly hilarious moments amidst all the mayhem.

My review here, after sushi talk.
It's funny. A lot of the reviews say the 9/11 references are offensive (I personally didn't have a problem with it). Yet, when there was a 9/11 reference in Spielberg's "War of the Worlds," people praised him for his cleverness.

Odd.
That's because Spielberg can do whatever the fuck he wants!
Just got back from Cloverfield, and it was pretty good. Not great. Not good. Pretty good. 3.5 stars on a 5-star scale. And I gotta say, the thing I thought was best about the movie, and my main problem with the movie at the end, was probably Drew Goddard's script. I'll go into my objections below. They're invisotexted because I need a few spoilers to explain what I didn't like, so if you don't wanna know about what happens, don't look.



UnpluggedCrazy and Shey, because of what I said above in the invisotext, I think you're being unfair to that portion of Cloverfield's audience that disliked it when you accuse them of a lack of imagination. I see where they're coming from, and I don't think that's their problem. I think they're like me...that they've seen a bunch of monster rampage films before, and thought this one would be different because of its incredible marketing campaign, and then felt really let down at the end. The only difference between me and them is that I'm willing to give a hell of a lot of partial credit for the rest of the film, which truly was an awesome experience and a tribute to both Goddard's fine writing and Matt Reeve's deft direction.
One other thing. I didn't have a problem with the whole 9/11 stuff. One of the film's greatest strengths is the way it plays off 9/11, to make you realize just how scary it would be if your whole world was turned upside down without warning.
UnpluggedCrazy I'm with you. Very clever concept, very well-executed, amazing continuity and effects, ending makes perfect sense...

...and then the chick behind us says, very loudly, "That is the worst movie I ever saw!" Again and again.

("Clearly never saw 'The Hired Hand,'" I told my son, who agreed.)
I want to see it (although I doubt I'll have time for about another week), but it's intriguing htat the movie is getting such mixed reviews. In fact even the "averages" don't seem to line up: the Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes scores don't correspond very closely with each other, which is unusual.

As far as the 9/11 thing, monster movies have always been linked to disasters--Godzilla was about Hiroshima, if I recall. The line between representing and exploiting a national tragedy isn't always clear. I'll have to see it to be sure.
I saw Cloverfield last night... and am still recovering from the massive motion sickness it induced. While I certainly didn't enjoy it, I did like it. Much like BAFfler, I like how it reinvented the structure, if not the story.

The crowd at Grauman's seemed to like it overall... there was a collective exhalation at the end, followed by applause.
The people comparing and using 9/11 as an excuse to pan the movie are idiots...
The people comparing and using 9/11 as an excuse to pan the movie are idiots...

Well, that's a wonderfully detailed argument. Thanks for your input.

But the moments after the first building collapses and people are running, screaming, covered in dust is clearly meant to be evocative of 9/11. And that's pretty damn offensive for something that is supposed to be just a monster movie. It's one of the few moments of the film that viscerally affected me - simply because of the comparison and not because the film was at all succesful in creating its own tension or horror. It traded on the real life event - no question.

I suppose a similar comparison can be made to Speilberg's War of the Worlds, but that didn't seek to recreate the moment precisely. It alludes to it without actually being it. War of the Worlds is also a classic piece of literature. Cloverfield is merely schlock monster movie entertainment - and it's almost a complete rip-off of the Blair Witch project, down to the teary snotty to camera confession late in the film. Both films basically end the same way as well. I expect more of Drew Goddard, although under JJ Abrams I guess some writers don't flourish the same way as they do under Joss Whedon.

One of the film's greatest strengths is the way it plays off 9/11, to make you realize just how scary it would be if your whole world was turned upside down without warning.

We need a movie to show us this? Have people really forgotten the images of 9/11 already? Clearly, because this films trades on them and most people don't seem to have one problem with it at all.

Do you have the same issues with "Escape from NY" and the more recent "I am Legend?"

It's not merely about the destruction of New York, though. What happens in I Am Legend is nothing like what happened on 9/11. Neither it nor Escape from NY is trading on images we all remember from that day.

My objection is about moments in the film specifically staged to recall that day in 2001.

And speaking of Escape from New York, the head of the Statue of Liberty in Cloverfield is an obvious rip-off of the Escape from New York poster.

Hey, it's just a monster movie, right? Why take it so seriously? Okay, 9/11 allusions aside, the strength of the film is its resolve to stick so resolutely to its premise. Yes, it's found footage. Yes it's one guy taping over another guy's last happy day.

But beyond that, watching the shakiest of shaky cam is really like watching static. Sure, eventually you get used to it, but it's not really aesthetically pleasing.

Yes, the CGI was amazing - although given how blurred nearly every shot in the film is, the CGI doesn't even need to be rendered to the high quality we expect on the big screen these days.

Characterisation is mostly flat, too. The story itself become ludicruous. Did they have to descend a building to climb into a toppled building? Wasn't it enough there were creatures all over the city? These people really climbed 47 stories up and 47 stories back without being the least bit tired?

I'm willing to suspend some disbelief, but when it keeps piling up and up, it's hard to keep suspending it. And by that time, I wanted to kill the guy who was holding the camera and didn't really feel for the main guy or the girl he was in love with.

Different strokes for different folks, I guess.
We need a movie to show us this? Have people really forgotten the images of 9/11 already? Clearly, because this films trades on them and most people don't seem to have one problem with it at all.

Let me rephrase, then, so you understand my point. Were you actually in New York on 9/11? I wasn't. I was in Oklahoma City the day the Murrah Building collapsed, but that doesn't compare. Yes, I remember the images from New York. I've watched the videos time and time again. But were you on the streets? Did you run from the falling debris of the World Trade Center? Well, that's what I meant...the part of the movie most strikingly associated with 9/11 is capable of making you feel like you were there, which is exactly the experience that most Americans didn't have.

Don't get me wrong. I get why you don't like it, I do. And I understand exactly why you might find it offensive. I just happen to disagree with you. A lot of art trades on disaster. Should I sell my copy of Godzilla, which treats Hiroshima/Nagasaki in the same sense as Cloverfield treats 9/11, because it's exploiting a tragedy? Should Abrams have waited three more years, to match the nine years between Hiroshima and Godzilla? I'd be interested in your take on this.

And speaking of Escape from New York, the head of the Statue of Liberty in Cloverfield is an obvious rip-off of the Escape from New York poster.

Some people might call it a homage, or a reference. Those people would be more charitable than you, obviously. For my part, I have no problem with it. Movies have been referencing each other for almost as long as there have been movies.

...watching the shakiest of shaky cam is really like watching static. Sure, eventually you get used to it, but it's not really aesthetically pleasing.

Part of judging a piece's aesthetics has to be putting it in context. The movie chose to play the found-footage angle, and did it well...it succeeded at its aim. You may not like the form it took, just like I don't like modern art sculptures. But when I view them, I at least try to do it on their terms instead of sitting back and muttering, "Well, this sure isn't the Pieta."

These people really climbed 47 stories up and 47 stories back without being the least bit tired? It's called adrenaline. Look it up. (And in this vein, I'm surprised you also didn't mention the girl who was wearing those gold high heels. Great for parties. Not so much for combat zones, though.)
Should I sell my copy of Godzilla, which treats Hiroshima/Nagasaki in the same sense as Cloverfield treats 9/11, because it's exploiting a tragedy?

Godzilla is a metaphor. Scenes in Cloverfield were a recreation of 9/11 vision. Neither is subtle. The first comments on a tragedy and the other trades explicitly in it.

The recent Korean film "The Host" is a monster movie that comments on American foreign policy. It has layers.

Cloverfield does not have layers. Cloverfield uses 9/11-like images to take us back to a day we already vividly remember. It turns a tragedy into a theme park ride.

Some people might call it a homage, or a reference. Those people would be more charitable than you, obviously.

To me it's just another long line of rip-offs the film uses. If it was just one thing, it might be okay. It's a great image, that poster. But everything else is borrowed from somewhere else. It's lazy screenwriting.

It's called adrenaline. Look it up. (And in this vein, I'm surprised you also didn't mention the girl who was wearing those gold high heels. Great for parties. Not so much for combat zones, though.)

Well I didn't want to list all the ludicrous things about the movie. I'm sorry, but adrenaline aint getting you from the other side of Manhattan, up and down 47 flights of stairs, etc, etc. But you are more forgiving than I of the implausibilites of this film.
I'm sorry, crossoverman, but I simply don't agree. Bad things happen in NYC in movies all the time, pre- and post-9/11, and sometimes those bad-things-on-film are going to produce the same results as the bad-thing-that-happened-in-real-life: dust from collapsing buildings, running of terrified victims, mass hysteria, etc. It would be ridiculous and bordering on censorship to suggest that we can never again make a disaster film that takes place in NYC because an actual disaster occurred there. And for the record, whether or not any of us were there or not has ABSOLUTELY no bearing on our abilities to have an opinion about either 9/11 or any movie taking place in NYC.

As for what I would consider your picking on the movie and trying to find more things wrong with it as opposition to your opinion grows (the homage to various other NYC-based films and previous monster movies), it would just be considered flaming to address them in the fashion I'd like so... you're entitled to your opinion and have a nice day! :-D
It would be ridiculous and bordering on censorship to suggest that we can never again make a disaster film that takes place in NYC because an actual disaster occurred there.

Yes, this is an old, specious argument - discussing what I don't like about a film is tantamount to censorship. Uh, no.

I was kind of over seeing NYC destroyed long before 9/11 - I want to see other cities destroyed please. Thanks.

As for what I would consider your picking on the movie and trying to find more things wrong with it as opposition to your opinion grows (the homage to various other NYC-based films and previous monster movies)

I had all these objections before I posted here, but just didn't list them all at once.

And truly, the reason I dislike the film has little to do with 9/11 - that's a minor complaint next to my major problem with the way it was written and the way it was shot and the way it's constructed exactly like the Blair Witch Project.
Gee, crossoverman, please PLEASE forgive me for addressing the points *you* brought up and assuming that the way you presented them in some way represented your feelings about them. Silly, silly me. Shan't make that mistake again. My deepest apologies.
Silly, silly me. Shan't make that mistake again. My deepest apologies.

Sarcasm will get us nowhere.

Not once did I suggest the film shouldn't have been made or that no films about NY being destroyed should ever be made. I did suggest it - in part - was in poor taste. Yes, that's my opinion. It's shared by others, although obviously not anyone else here. That's fine by me.

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