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Cloverfield (DVD)

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107 Reviews

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy / Theatrical Release: 2008 / Director: Matt Reeves / Actors: Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas, T.J. Miller, Michael Stahl-David ...

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    107 Reviews
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      09.10.2011 00:41

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      Monster movie 'found footage' better than Independance Day

      Search for JJ Abrams on the net and you would be amazed how this guy is glorified or sometimes criticised for his TV shows and movies. Lost, Mission Impossibe 3 and the revival of Star Trek franchise, this guy is workaholic geek director.

      Cloverifield is one the movie he produced and directed by Matt Reeves which is basically a monster movie shot in the found footage format. An overnight party in New York is suddenly disrupted by sheer panic when a the 'big apple' is attacked by a giant monster. The story follows a group of friends filmed through the lens of handheld camera as they try to reach a safe point when city is in lockdown mode with mass evacuation and the army engaging combat with an unknown force.

      Cloverfield is an excellent spin on the monter genre movie where instead of big CGI blockbuster effects and mass destruction, we are told a story through the eyes of individuals who may looked like us and how they react and try to survive in a critical time. One of such scene is the head of Statue of Liberty ripped and rolling on the streets amidst chaos and dust.

      Cloverfield is an interesting film which may revive the monster movie and do not be surprised to see similar styles being churned in future.

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      09.06.2011 00:38
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      Not for everyone but a breath of fresh air.

      Immediately this film has a home movie style camera shot style, while this may not please everyone for many watchers this provides a fresh of breath air against the repetitive, monster attack movie perfect filming that is ever so common on today's modern movies. Not only this but the abrupt ending can be disappointing to some watchers but for others it provides a gripping ending full of questions that also provides a fresh of breath air.

      The ambiguity over key aspects creates suspense and as a watcher I feel part of what the characters are going through, a key point that makes the film so catching.

      This film plays on the strengths of relatively unused techniques which may not suit everyone but for me, personally, this leaves me gripped into the film. Mixing the old with the new successfully, movie success.

      Well worth of it's 76% positive score on rotten tomatoes.

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      15.03.2011 17:55
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      Disappointment

      I'm afraid to say that I'm quite disappointed with this film, it has four and five star reviews and so I was expecting excellence when I watched it. My initial reaction to the first few scenes was positive, I was thinking it had potential to be really good, and it did! Unfortunately my expectations weren't met...

      We reach the leaving party for a guy named Rob (think that's his name), his brother (Jason) has been asked by his girlfriend (Lily) to document the party and take testimonials from guests, however he doesn't want to and so he asks Rob's best friend (Hudson).

      For a while we're at the party, watching some testimonials and watching the relationship between Rob and Beth uncover. Then there's an earthquake...

      I really don't like the way it's all filmed - it reminds me of Paranormal Activity but much worse.

      Throughout the film the characters don't get developed very well at all, infact I can barely remember names, the only guy I started to feel for was Hudson, the guy who takes us on the journey through the film, he holds the camera, ultimately he decides what we see. And then he dies?! what the?! I thought that part was poorly written and I don't know why he was killed off, they only guy we can relate to...and he's dead...brilliant.

      However the plot's a great idea, the setting and special effects are amazing, and they deserve recognition (in the form of dooyoo stars).

      The end of the film is also amazingly bad in my opinion...we end with Rob, who was due to leave to Japan, and Beth and... It's a terrible (I'll say no more)

      Jason, a funny and entertaining guy who is the first to die.
      Mary-Lynne (or something like that), the girl Hud is besotted with, who we start to like and then BANG they kill her off.
      Hud, our beloved camera man, a bit of a dope, but he's loyal.

      Rob and Beth...hmm what will happen to them?

      There's one character who we're with from the start that definitely survives (I hope), this is Lily, Jason's girlfriend. I don't really have any feeling towards Lily as (stressing this again) the character development is absolutely minimal.

      Overall I suppose it's a film to watch for it's weird structure, but don't expect something brilliant.

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        25.02.2011 14:53
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        A waste of nearly 90 minutes of my life!

        Cloverfield
        (film only review)


        Wanting to build our small DVD collection up a little as compared to most peoples collections, ours looked miniscule; I took a visit to the CEX shop which deals with second hand traded DVD's and games. After flicking through some titles, I came across 'Cloverfield' for only £2.00, and after being recommended it by my sister, I thought I would give it a go.


        ******************
        CLOVERFIELD
        ******************

        "Some Thing Has Found Us"

        Had I have read exactly how Cloverfield was filmed, then I have no doubt in my mind that I would not have picked it up to watch. The whole movie is filmed from the perspective of a hand-held video camera which, in my opinion, is extremely off-putting and annoying. I have only ever seen one other movie which is filmed this way and that was 'The Blair Witch Project' which, for the reason of the hand-held camera perspective, I did not enjoy. I do not see the point of portraying a video camera perspective as it just looks very amateurish. I know that, in a way, this is the point, though it just seems like a great storyline is thought up and then ruined in seconds by the lack of thought, or perhaps over-thought of the filming.

        I know that many may argue the point of this perspective of filming, and I do understand to a degree what the director has attempted to do, and in this sense, this has been achieved. The whole look and feel is exactly like a video camera, complete with cuts in the filming as previously recorded shots have been wiped over and recorded on top of, the annoying shaking of the lens as the person can not keep it still, static cuts and misted lenses when the scene atmosphere throws dust and debris towards it, and so on, and so on. Yes, the director has thought of everything possible in the ways of hand-held recording, though in my opinion, this is a silly way of producing a film. I had become extremely annoyed with it only a matter of minutes in, goodness knows why I continued to watch.

        The storyline itself is certainly not a new one, which is possibly why the producer decided to film it in a different way in an attempt to make the movie feel different. As I have already said about this matter, I think this was a mistake. The storyline is thus; Five friends from New York attend a surprise party which ends in a suspected earth quake. When the friends go outside in the hope that they can find out more, they see a monster of unknown origin destroying the buildings around them, including the Statue of Liberty. As the friends attempt to escape the monster, their 'adventure' continues to be filmed on their hand held video camera (which has such a long battery life!), following them as they try to save the love interest of the main character. As I said, simple and unoriginal, which wouldn't have been too much of a problem as I have seen many films with old simple storylines, apart from the whole aspect of its recording.

        As already mentioned, there are many moments throughout the film where the main storyline is interrupted as bits a pieces of previously recorded excerpts cut in to help provide a small sub-plot which is helpful to a degree as it allows the viewer to understand the relationship of two characters, though in the main, this is about as interesting as watching paint dry and as annoying as blacking out on a busy main road. These cut-ins do minimise as the film gets going, and although this makes it much better and much less annoying, it also does not help what the director attempted to do at the beginning with filling in the history of the characters. It is like the director changed his mind part way through and decided that the 'flashback' camera scenes were not working as they should. This just adds to the haphazard story and filming of the whole movie.

        The flow of the story is so disjointed, jumping up and down and not really following any of the usual pathways through the story, that it makes viewing extremely difficult. The action with the characters themselves is rather fast paced; a lot of running, shouting etc, yet the story and scenes around them for a lot of the time is slow moving and does not seem able to move forward in any way whatsoever. I have seen and liked simple and short storylines, but the flow of this story makes it feel as though the idea is there yet it is only able to come out in short stammers; never moving forward until the sudden jump to the end. Nothing really happens in my opinion, and due to this I found it very difficult to get into the story.

        The back of the DVD case describes this film as 'truly terrifying' and 'breathless', though for this to be true, you would have to actually 'feel' something for the characters and situations. Everything is so static and the way of filming is so annoying that there is no time to empathise with the situations or characters. There is a certain amount of psychological emotion attached to the story, though I think that this is more to do with the idea and genre opposed to the characters, setting or script.

        I have read a number of reviews about the amazing special effects, though to be honest, due to the way of filming, the special effect quality is hardly noticeable over the shaking and colour changing of the camcorder! So, the film makers have apparently spent quite a lot of money on the effects, only to have them hidden by the poor choice in filming! From what I was able to see of the 'monsters', they did not look like anything spectacular or new, more like big tin cans with legs. The flashing scenes of them quickly appearing and disappearing from shot would normally have made me jump and added to a fearful atmosphere, though again, this was lacking terribly.

        On top of the hidden special effects is the poor lightning. Again, this has been created as relaxed as possible just like a camcorder film would be, though if the set is not half hidden in shadow, then the bright lights are almost blinding the audience. The sound quality matches this description completely, with either useless and annoying panting or so many people shouting at the same time that it becomes inaudible.

        The movie is just under 90 minutes long, apparently the exact length of a DV tape. Another hand-held video camera idea which was well thought out though poorly executed.

        Cloverfield is rated PG-13 for supposed violence and disturbing images. Although it is a good thing to add these warnings as some younger teenagers may find this film a little too scary, I personally did not find it scary at all and the violent scenes were half hidden by the terrible camcorder filming so was not at all in-your-face like some films of this nature. There is quite a bit of blood and gore shown, though a lot of the time this does look very fake, though this may disturb some people none-the-less, especially at one point where a slightly more graphic scene is shown, with some disturbing for some sound effects. There is some sexual discussion and partial nakedness in one scene, though this is very mild and again, half hidden. The language is mild though with a number of choice words thrown in every now and again.

        I had to laugh at the warnings for this film when it stated that the camcorder filming for this movie 'may cause motion sickness'!

        The ending is always a very important factor in a film in my opinion, as if the film is great yet the ending is a let-down, I always feel robbed and do not feel that it was worth my time watching it. Unfortunately, the main bulk of the film itself was poor so I expected no rush of entertainment or love for the ending and I received just that. After such a poorly executed film with lack of story and character, the ending just crept up all of a sudden and that was it; a black screen and then the credits. There was no round up, no real conclusion and no explosive ending of any kind.

        To be honest, the best thing about the end of this film was just that; It Ended!


        *******************
        INFORMATION
        *******************

        This film came out in 2008 and was directed by Matt Reeves, who has directed a few other films, none of which I know, such as 'future Shock' and 'Felicity'. It was written by Drew Goddard who has helped write some episodes of the television series; Lost amongst other things.

        The cast list is a very small list, not including some half baked extras, none of which are memorable. To be honest, none of the main actors stand out for me either, and although I am writing this review a matter of hours after watching the film, I am finding it hard pressed to remember each actor/character in much detail at all. This is unusual for a film as I can usually pick out at least a few actors and their characters either for their greatness or because they stood out in some other way. I think that part of the reason that the characters were so unmemorable is due to the film itself, though it does also have something to do with the extreme blandness of all the actors too!

        The main cast list includes;

        Lizzy Caplan ... Marlena Diamond
        Jessica Lucas ... Lily Ford
        T.J. Miller ... Hudson 'Hud' Platt
        Michael Stahl-David ... Rob Hawkins
        Mike Vogel ... Jason Hawkins
        Odette Yustman ... Beth McIntyre

        Caplan is possibly the better actor of the group, though still nothing to shout home about in this film. I have seen her in a few series' on television such as Smallville and True Blood and from what I remember of her in these, she did a pretty good job which leads me to believe that it is mainly the film itself which has starved her acting skills here. Caplan plays a slight outsider to the group, though this is not overly apparent, yet one thing which she has that none of the others do, and that is emotion. It is such a shame that Caplan was not able to shine brighter in this film, yet perhaps she can put her choice to act in this down to bad judgement and move on to better things.

        Another talented actor who is suffocated in this film, Lucas seems to make the most of what she is given, yet like Caplan, she is unable to shine very much at all. Her characters story is not at all explored and the lack of information makes it very difficult to empathise with the characters, let alone allow the actor to get to know her character enough to portray thoughts and feelings across.

        Apparently comedy, sketch and improvisation are Miller's speciality, and whilst this may be true in other films, it certainly did not show in Cloverfield. There were a few moments in which some drab humour was attempted, though it was clear in Miller's eyes that even he did not believe it to be funny in any way whatsoever. His performance as a whole was dull and static and his characterisation seriously lacked anything which I would find entertaining or even good. I hate having to slate an actor as I know it is a difficult profession, and many may disagree with me, though I must call what I see, and I hardly saw anything worth mentioning with Miller in this film.

        Stahl-David is a short step up from Miller in his performance, and did manage to bring some sense of emotion in his scenes, even though the camera shots did not allow for much. Although not up to his award nomination standard, he was possibly second to Caplan in his performance.

        Vogel is not even given very long to show just how good he might be as he does not appear in the film very long at all. From what I did see of him, though, he seemed to put a reasonable amount of effort into his stunted character. Unfortunately for him, though, not his most memorable moment.

        Yustman managed to bring some emotion into the film, and was perhaps one of the only actors who managed to portray a sense of fear at the given situation in the film. I would have liked to see more of her character, though, as perhaps she may have had the ability to save such a poor movie!

        Overall, the cast was not a strong one at all, though I do think that part of their weakness lay within the filming and story line itself. It must be difficult for actors to show their all when the script they are working with does not shine in the slightest.

        **********************
        FINAL WORDS
        **********************

        I think that from reading my review, it is pretty obvious that I disliked the whole film from the terrible idea of camcorder recording to the disjointed flow of the story. There is nothing wrong with storylines being reused over and over again as long as they are able to bring something new and spectacular into the midst. Cloverfield lacks any new inspiration, and the idea of the camcorder view is simply terrible. The acting lacks any kind of emotion or ability and the whole horror feel is lost in the constant screaming and running and not enough story to fulfil the audiences need.

        And there is discussion of a sequel! That is certainly not one I will be watching!

        Taken from a professional view of this film found on IMDB really describes this film to a tee:

        "A tale ... full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." (Macbeth's description of life itself)

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          26.10.2010 16:42
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          An exciting B-movie done in an entirely new angle

          Monster! There's a great big monster! And oh look. It's in New York. The current hotspot for all monsters, disasters and sassy rom-coms. Location included, Cloverfield delivers every monster invasion cliché you could imagine, from the screaming army commanders in their billowing plastic tents, to unnecessary missions to rescue damsels in distress, to ludicrous romance in the face of chaos, to slowly building visuals of the scary foe until the final reveal that's always a little disappointing. Cloverfield's setting is just another monster film. But it's done something a bit clever. It's taken your basic monster film, honed in on one of the running, screaming extras you always see in the background, and given them a camera.

          Ah the genius of a simple idea. Suddenly the world of rubbish monster films is turned upside down, approached from a fresh angle with staggering effect. The army are still doing their shouty thing, but we're running past them, wincing at the super loud rockets they're firing, hoping they know what the hell they're doing and ducking behind cars to avoid getting caught in the cross-fire or squished by a massive foot. It's chaotic, dazzling and down-right frightening, sucking away all the roll-your-eyes, here it comes blandness of a typical monster-yawn and replacing it with in-your-face excitement.

          Even the cast of characters are rent-a-victim cut-outs, with the heroic lead, his beautiful romantic interest, the nerdy one who makes witty asides, the sardonic girl, and the token minority. But as they carry their camcorder about, either running for their lives or cowering in a corner, they lose the chance to have powerful speeches over the national anthem, or do something heroic in slow motion to the power chords of Aerosmith. They're just people running about. And you're right there with them, the audience watching everything through the camera lens. You run when they run. You roll across the ground when they drop the camera. It's shake-tastic camera work, not surprising considering JJ Abrams is in the producing chair.

          Cloverfield is a smart piece of film in terms of concept, and will have your heart beating and your fingers twitching to cover your eyes, especially when some fool suggests turning on the camera's night vision. But though the look and feel is pleasingly fresh, it is ultimately stuck in the confines of the monster-movie clichés. The lean running time is an indicator that though the idea is great, you can't do a whole lot with it.

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          12.09.2010 20:09
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          One of the best monster films of the decade

          Cloverfield was released in 2008 to critical acclaim. It was directed by Matt reeves and was thecreation of losts JJ Abrams.

          The films plot sees a new yorkers party which was thrown for the films main protagonist Rob being interupted by something destroying New York. Grabbing a video camera he and a few friends flee and record the unfolding events in the city while trying to work out whats going on themselves. Then they go to rescue the Rob's girlfriend who missing in the center of the city which is being destroyed!

          I saw the fim in the cinema the first time and really wanted it on DVD. The film is original and is told through a video camera lense which is a nice touch. Alot of the action here is shakey and at strange angles which makes it feel all the more realistic. The cast are all unknowns and for this film to work in the way it does, it had to be. It just would be too strange to see well known actors running around in the way that they do here. the monster is also well designed and unique.

          The film does have faults however. The shaky camera is annoying after a while as its shakes all the time. With the realism at the beginning of the film, the back end of the story loses rythm and some of the set pieces feel too outlandish to be part of the film (I know its a giant monster movie - but still).

          The major problem with the film is that once you have seen it - theres not too much reason to see it again. This film does not have the charm of other monster movies such as godzilla. It also doesn't have the visual impact that seing the film in the cinema does. However if you havn't seen it then you should add a star or two to the score below because it is very, very good if you havn't seen it before.

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          03.09.2010 15:52
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          AVOID

          I previously say Cloverfield when it was released at the cinema and thought it was quite good. Now seeing it on TV, it made me (unfortunately) think how shoddy it really is!

          ~~~PLOT~~~
          A group of party goers witness the mysterious attacks in New York and tapes their perilous journey through the city to rescue their friend and maintain their survival. The hype behind the film to begin with was of course the hand held camera style like found in the Blair Witch Project.

          I thought there was a bit too much party scene at the beginning. Whilst it does give the character of Rob a bit more depth, it just wasn't worth the audience sitting through twenty to thirty minutes (that's what it felt like!) of partying! The camera work is convincing, I would believe that it was a home video, but once the disaster strikes, it becomes something completely different.

          When the "attack" finally happens, all hell breaks loose and the characters scramble to safety taking shelter in a convenience store. All too conveniently, the camera falls on the floor facing the windows where we can see some sort of smoke stampede... In another scene, the camera drops from about ten/twenty feet mid air but still manages to function and again conveniently lands facing the characters...

          At times, the camera work is way too forced. Who in their right mind would continue to video their friend getting attacked/friend being dragged out from debris? DROP THE STUPID CAMERA AND HELP! But the biggest problem is that we can't see most of what is happening due to the darkness. The most tense and exciting bits in the film are only audible and not visible. A film is supposed to contain both. At one point I was tempted to turn the contrast/brightness right up to see just what was happening, but I just couldn't be bothered with this one. Although I have to say, I definitely did manage to see more (at least I got the impression I saw more) when I saw the film at the cinema years ago, so maybe not one to show on TV!

          OH MY GOD. Since I couldn't see what was going on, the sound was definitely a plus. I did feel it was exciting sound wise and, OH MY GOD, their genuine sounding shouts and screams did appeal; just a shame we couldn't see what they saw. OH MY GOD! It would make quite a good radio broadcast/horror audio book, just not a film. And just a question to you all, how many times did they say "Oh My God"? I didn't notice this at the cinema, but seeing this with subtitles, it just popped up WAY too many times. The film should be called OH MY GOD.

          All this about the camera work is because this film is probably what you are watching it for. Plot in a nutshell: New York under Alien attack, partygoers die one by one, rescue "love interest", escape to helipad point by certain time...

          Whilst many claim the ending to be satisfactory, I myself did not like it. Knowing with these films that a satisfactory ending would be rare, I still felt unfulfilled by the end but I guess there is nothing I could do about it... just bite the dust and don't watch it again I suppose!

          ~~~CAST~~~
          Michael Stahl David- Rob
          Lizzy Caplan- Marlena
          TJ Miller- Hud (Camera man)
          Mike Vogel- Jason
          Odette Yustman- Beth
          Jessica Lucas- Lily

          None of the people I had heard before but none of them makes you really like them, maybe apart from Rob played by Michael Stahl David who is given the lead role... The others are highly forgettable and could've been played by anybody off the streets (probably even more convincing!)

          ~~~OVERALL~~~
          As a film for those with eyes and ears, this probably only satisfies the latter as so much is covered by darkness. With a failing plot that is overshadowed and wrecked by overdramatic camerawork, characters we don't care about and aliens that we don't get to see enough of, Cloverfield (aka OH MY GOD) can only join a scrapheap of films called junk.

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            13.06.2010 20:27
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            Bloke with a camcorder films a whole movie disaster movie!

            Cloverfield is an unusual disaster movie in the fact that it is filmed entirely through the eyes/lens of a guy with a videocamera. It starts off with Hudson "Hud" Platt (T.J.Miller) filming at a party for Rob Hawkins (Michael Stahl-David) who is leaving for Coney Island. "Hud" goes round asking the guests for a message for Rob so he can presumably give him the videotape as a leaving gift.

            Initially I was thinking to myself that this was all a bit tedious and I was considering giving up on the film. However I decided to stick with it for a bit longer and fortunately it turned out to be the right decision.

            The party goers are alerted to a newsflash on the television which reveals that a large earthquake is heading towards Manhattan. Not surprisingly everybody begins to panic and evacuates the building to run onto the streets. Then there is a quite spectacular scene where the head of the Statue Of Liberty comes crashing down onto the street, almost killing people in its path.

            Rob and co. soon come to realise that it isn't an earthquake causing all the panic but some kind of monster which has also released giant spider like parasites onto the ground which attack everything in sight.

            "Hud" is still apparently filming all this on his camera which is some feat considering he is running at the same time. It begs the question, how can he see where he's running and why doesn't he trip over?

            Rob and his friends find their way into an underground railway station and decide to walk along the track hopefully to safety. However when lots of rats appear all running in the same direction it is clear that something is not quite right. Sure enough, within minutes the giant spider like parasites appear and begin to attack the group. Everybody is okay except for Rob's friend Marlena Diamond (Lizzy Caplan) who is bitten all over her back. She claims that she is okay but when blood starts falling out of her eyes it's clear that she is far from okay. Almost immediately the military appear and drag Marlena away to her impending death.

            The film has an element of those old American 1950s B-movies about it and despite a shaky start it builds into quite an enjoyable film. "Hud" the cameraman, Rob and their few remaining friends are led away into a helicopter which hopefully will carry them to safety. However the monster suddenly appears and attacks the helicopter. We get a close up view of the monster and in all its glory its quite an impressive sight. We see the cameraman filming as the monster attacks him with its massive teeth. Will he and his friends survive? You'll have to watch Cloverfield to find out.

            There you have it, despite a tedious first 20 minutes Cloverfield is an enjoyable disaster/monster movie with well realised and convincing effects. Give it a chance, you won't be disappointed. It's not particularly scary but it is worth a look.

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            08.06.2010 14:56

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            Cloverfield.... not a great film, but not bad. Doesn't exceed expectabtions!

            OK, I watched this for the first time last night. Adn what can I say about it really? It was.... OK.

            I was intrigued because of the way it was filmed, but wasn't bothered seeing it at the cinema. It's all filmed by one guy with his hand-held camera. It's quite an effective way of filming it, as you feel like you are there experiencing it, but the film lack a certain something.... most probably substance. It's just a bit empty of plot. And it gets frustrating with the camera angle the more you watch it. And the ending isn't great either. It leaves you with this sense of "what happened?" You want to know what happened, not necessarily to the people, but to the 'monster'.

            Don't get me wrong, this film is a good watch. It doesn't take much thought... it's a lazy film to watch one night when you're bored, but not something to have people round to watch. Open a beer, crack out the pop-corn, and switch your mind off. Just don't expect too much.

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            29.05.2010 14:05
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            Perhaps the sequels will give a completely different overview

            If there hadn't already been a remake of the classic science fiction thriller, Godzilla, then this deficient monster movie, would unquestionably find an enthusiastic audience, despite the fact that it is perhaps one of the most improbable Sci Fi fantasy films ever to have been produced and by such an accomplished movie creator J.J Abrams.

            Matt Reeves, the director of Cloverfiled is synonymous with fantasy, crime and romance genres, though the handful of films he has directed and/or written over less than two decades, means that he is still a fresh prince amongst the superior-veteran media supermen such as Spielberg: the most prolific multi-themed writer and producer ever to have been born on this earth. Reeves is a shadow, that appears from time to time and delivered no more than five movies since 1995, all of which did well, but received no nominations until the release of Cloverfield that received four.

            Before the film gets running, it begins with a chilling yet benign, computerized dialogue statement, warning that the video content is of a case designated to "Cloverfiled" and discovered in the formerly named Central Park. At this juncture of the film, I anticipate something pretty spectacular. We are watching this film as if the Department of Defense are in the act of viewing it themselves. Either that or have made it a recent current affair, the remains of humanity are invited to reminisce of that catastrophe when the story itself is not set in the future.

            Camera switch:

            On the morning of April 27 having bedded a fanciable female friend, Elizabeth "Beth" McIntyre, Robert Hawkins wakes and starts doing some innocent filming before they both jet off to Coney Island for a romantic trip. The video footage jumps into May, Rob's brother Jason and his partner Lily are holding a leave party for him, so invite all his friends and their friends too.

            Central to the plot is Hud Platt (T.J Miller) a mutual acquaintance of the brothers who brings along a video camera to record and document testimonials for Rob as a parting gift, though incidentally tapes over the Coney Island trip. Miller is new to the acting spheres, though is a renowned comedian who had been selected as a new face in the Aspen Comedy Arts Festival in 2007. His prankster demeanor is evident in this film, that makes it difficult to take it seriously in the first instance, despite the affectionate touch of the producer to include a bit of theatrical nonsense.

            Initially I was left confused when Rob began doing some filming then switched to Hud, so wasn't clear at this stage, who was responsible for the Cloverfield documentation so had to watch the film again. Also, we are not given the year of date, presumably because it is open to suggestion here and would perhaps make the film too eager to convince the audience that it it could possibly be real. There were also additional scenes in which we see old footage of Rob and Beth that interplayed between the current filming circumstances, so it threw me off course more than once.

            During the leaving ceremony, a sudden earthquake strikes, and the city is left in a bit of dark chaos, the camera work in this instance does make it a believable experience with the actors not dramatizing exaggerated shock. A news flash report states that an oil tanker has capsized in the Liberty Island with an accompanying explosion in lower Manhattan (the city that always seems to get the brunt of the worst as witnessed in the film AI, The last war and the development of Atomic bombs in Manhattan project.

            Creature from the phantom lagoon:

            The most terrifyingly amusing thing that kept us awake was the statue of Liberty head that appeared to have been blown off by a passing missile (as opposed to ripped off and spat out by the emerging 100 foot alien-lizard) the tyrant responsible for the electricity surges. The solid iron head rolled like a ballbarian skittle into the center of the street that indicated an authentic sense of fear in the face of catastrophe, if only for a moment.

            Hud, still with video camera, records what appears to be a colossus gray creature, some few blocks away. Despite its overall anomaly, there is nothing terrifyling evil or sinister about it when it cries and whimpers at the continual bombardment of missile attacks, the American defense armies try and shoot it from the face of the planet, yet don't succeed. Perhaps this is an admittance from anti-war activists that given that the USA boasts a superior wealth of armament, does not make them immune from something far greater?

            Everyone runs and hides from the birthing monster that begins spawning off-spring that look like ornithological spiders the size of Yellow cabs, determined to be the dominant species. From here, it is all about survival, human bonding and plenty more explosions in and around Manhattan. The director's filming and Hud's filming, all merging with the panic stricken scenes, made it difficult watching and not because it rendered a nauseous shaking camera technique to authenticate real life terror.
            My instinct was to eject it from the dvd player just before the ending as it became too difficult to concentrate, but before I knew it, the film had came to an abrupt end anyway with Hud being used as a snack, the creature was still live and well.

            Cast

            Michael Stahl-David as Robert "Rob" Hawkins
            Mike Vogel as Jason Hawkins
            T. J. Miller as Hudson "Hud" Platt
            Odette Yustman as Elizabeth "Beth" McIntyre
            Jessica Lucas as Lily Ford
            Lizzy Caplan as Marlena Diamond
            Ben Feldman as Travis

            According to Wikipedia "to prevent the leaking of plot information, instead of auditioning the actors with scenes from the film, scripts from Abrams' previous productions were used". This is evident in Cloverfield when you consider that there are some delayed responses from the cast when faced with terror, though not sure if this is because Abrams was conscious of there being too much validity to something that is essentially a fantasy themed film.

            Conclusion
            Fantastic virtual and computer generated imagery of the monster and stealth bombings, though lost pace with the ground-level events, so the entire filming effect was falling apart, the trailers for this film do not score anything different, yet as with all sneak previews of movies, glamourize the best parts even if it is the worst possible film ever made. The writers had come up with something refreshing however and as a story apart, it would read in a very fascinating way, but as a film, crams in too much visual information that overlaps even the immediate euphoria at times and where it isn't necessary.

            More significantly, the manipulation of visual effects clash violently with live action shoots. Computer generated effects have become increasingly common to the amateur film maker, J.J Abrams could have given more expertized instruction to Matt Reeves, who went off the cuff with this ambitious project that kept flitting between past and present scenes, continual streaming of unstoppable shots that led me further away from the telling of this story subject and plot.

            The real confusion lies as to whether this is a disaster movie or a monster movie, the two just seem to collide rather than integrate into one event, though given that there are sequels to this film, I am yet to make a full opinion of the overall movie.

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              12.05.2010 15:06
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              I thoroughly enjoyed this film and would recommend it

              Cast -

              Michael Stahl-David as Robert "Rob" Hawkins

              Mike Vogel as Jason Hawkins

              T.J. Miller as Hudson "Hud" Platt

              Odette Yustman as Elizabeth "Beth" McIntyre

              Jessica Lucas as Lily Ford

              Lizzy Caplan as Marlena Diamond



              Filmed in New York City, Cloverfield is made to look like a home movie filmed on a handheld camcorder, and the idea of the film is that the footage was recovered by the United States Department of Defense after some horrific events, happening over 24 hours.

              The film begins with a disclaimer stating that the following footage about to be viewed is of a case designated "Cloverfield" and was found in the area that was formerly called Central Park.

              Robert Hawkins brother Jason and his girlfriend Lily prepare a farewell party or Rob before he leaves New York to work in Japan, and Jason asks Rob's best friend Hud - Hudson Platt - to use the camcorder and film testimonials from people at the party for Rob to take with him, but Hud accidentally tapes over the footage Rob had made of his and Beth's Coney Island trip.

              Beth was a friend of Rob's but at the start of the film you discover they had spent the night together and become more than just friends and had spent the next day with eachother at Coney Island.

              In the process of filming the farewell messages, Hud ends up flirting (somewhat unsuccessfully) with Lily's friend, Marlena who was attending the party.

              Shortly after Beth leaves the party following an arguement with Rob, what seemed to be an earthquake struck and the city suffered a short powercut. News reports state and oil tanker had capsized near Liberty Island. The events cause the party guests to leave the buiding, and find themselves witnessing the head of the Statue of Liberty being thrown down the street. Hud catches on camera, a huge beast several blocks away and a few of the friends take shelter in a convenience store as a building comes down.

              As Rob, Lily, Jason, Marlena and Hud try to escape Manhatten via the Brooklyn Bridge, a huge tail smashes the bridge in half and kills Jason along with hundreds of other New Yorkers.

              Rob discovers he has voicemail messages from Beth claiming she is hurt, and saying she is sorry and she needs his help. So Rob, Hud, Marlena and Lily venture through the now dangerous streets of New York to find Beth's apartment and rescue her.

              The friends find themselves caught in a military shoot out against the monster trying to bring it down. In an attempt to escape the shooting, Rob, Lily, Marlena and Hud walk the subway tunnels toward Beth's apartment building but find themselves being persued by flesh eating creatures that had fallen from the huge monster, and Marlena gets bitten quite badly.

              The group manage to get out of the tunnels and into the Bloomingdale's department store wehere they are met by Us Army soldiers, who discover Marlena has been bitten. As Marlena's eyes start to bleed, the soldiers rush her off to quarantine where she explodes behind a curtain.

              One of the soliders allows Rob, Hud and Lily to leave the departent store, but warns them that the military is planning to enact it's "Hammerdown" protocol which involves the whole city being bombed to kill the monster, so they must get to an evacuation site by 6am to get the last helicopter out of New York.

              When the group reaches Beth's aparement building they discover that it had collapsed and was being held up by another building close to it. So they climb the building next to Beth's and climb into her building via the roof. When they reach Beth's apartment they find her impaled on a metal pole and unable to move on her own. Once they free Beth and exit the building, they find themselkves yet again face to face with the monster, over Grand Central Station, and the military are still trying to bring it down.

              Lily is rushed off into a helicopter without her friends and manages to escape New York. Rob, Beth and Hud are put into the final helicopter departing the city, just it time to see fighter jets fly over and bomb the city. Just as Hud starts hailing the military for their defeat over the beast, it reaches up out of the smoke and dust of New York and grabs their helicopter bringing it spiralling to the ground.

              The film cuts to Hud and Beth pulling Rob free of the helicopter wreckage and as Hud turns to recover the camera he sees the beast standing above him. It examines Hud, chomps at him for a moment then spits his dead body to the ground and disappears as quickly as it appeared.

              Rob and Beth take the camera, still recording, from Hud's dead hand and flee to take shelter under a bridge in Central Park to make their last testimonials, stating their names and the date on camera. In the background bombing is heard and the creature lets out a scream of pain and the bridge collapses as Beth and Rob declare their love for eachother.

              The final cut is to Rob and Beth at Coney Island the previous month, and in the distance something can be seen falling into the ocean.





              This film, for me, is a great showing of originality. It's such and exciting film. You never know what is going to happen next. It really keeps you on the edge of your seat. However, it can make you feel a little sea sick as it's filmed on a handheld camcorder.

              I also like the fact they used little known actors and actresses, making it seem somehow more realistic.

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                02.05.2010 21:24
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                Don't bother

                This is a review of the 2008 film 'Cloverfield' Directed by Matt Reeves. I saw the trailer in the cinema, thought 'I have to see that!' then totally forgot about it. I found it greatly reduced to £5 in the supermarket recently and remembered about the watching it thing so bought it!

                *** Brief plot outline ***
                A gang of friends are having a 'bon voyage' party for their friend Rob in a New York apartment when they feel the earth shake. Assuming it's an earthquake, they are all excited and giddy (and a bit drunk) and one of the party is capturing it all on camcorder - that's how we get to see the events as they happen, via the camcorder footage. Amidst the emergency, a sort of romance is unfolding between two of the main characters. We follow the group as they try to escape Manhattan from the thing that turns out not to be an earthquake.

                **I liked it but...***
                The build up to the problem (the earthquake/monster) was really drawn out and a bit boring, a bunch of kids having a party where nothing much happens. The four main characters looked too much alike for my comprehension and although two of them were brothers so fair enough that they were similar, both lead girls were pretty with long black hair and I found this a bit hard to follow.

                **what was it like?***
                A sci fi film that was a mixture between Godzilla and war of the worlds I think. The snatched views you get of the 'monster' are typical shaky camcorder footage and many of the scenes were quite gloomy so you never really get a full picture of what we're dealing with here.

                ***good bits?***
                I thought the angle of using footage from the camcorder (discovered in the area 'previously known as central park' after all the action) was clever and allowed for a fair few wonky shots.

                **Room for improvement**
                I would have thought the battery would have run out on the camcorder but it didn't. The people manage to survive a helicopter crash from way above some of New York's highest buildings? Yeah right! The head of the statue of liberty looked like a buddah to me, not sure about that one at all. The gloomy nature of all the scenes had me guessing a lot about what was going on.

                **Verdict**
                I had high hopes for this film but found it sadly lacking. The lead characters were not at all endearing, in fact when they had the chance to leave Manhattan the selfish Rob chose to lead them all towards the monster and I don't believe they all climbed up 60 flights of stairs, scaled over into the facing apartments and then back down again with the ability to keep running - yeah right!

                I wouldn't watch this film again but it was mildly entertaining for the 85 minutes it lasted.

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                  27.04.2010 22:14
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                  Overall, not the greatest movie of all time

                  Cloverfield is a unique science fiction/fantasy movie released in 2007 and is okay without ever being spectacular and doesn't have too much of a plot to be honest with you. I watched it a while back now on DVD. The movie stars a few perhaps not quite household names as the main characters, including Lizzy Chaplan, Jessica Lucas, T.J. Miller and Michael Stahl-David.

                  The story begins as we see Lily Frank and her boyfriend Jason planning a party for Jason's brother Rob. He is leaving to take a job in Japan so this is a chance to say farewell. Half way through proceedings there was a huge shudder like and earthquake and it wasn't too long before they realised that this was no earthquake but in fact something far more disturbing was happening. It seems as though some sort of monster is attacking the city of New York. Suddenly there is mad panic like you find in many if not all disaster movies of recent times, as people scrambled to get out of the city. However, while this happening Rob receives a call from Beth who is trapped in her apartment. So they have to go on a mission to save her.

                  The whole movie is filmed almost like it is on a camcorder so reminded me a bit of the Blair Witch project to add to the creepy atmosphere. I'm not too sure whether it really works as it is a bit shaky at times and can be off putting when watching it. The movie got off to a slow start for me and wasn't quite as interesting as I'd hoped once things got going and the city was under attack. You see glimpses of the monster at times but the majority of the movie you see people panicking and running trying to avoid the monster.

                  Overall, it's not the worst disaster movie I've ever seen but I wouldn't worry too much about watching it unless you can pick it up very cheaply.

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                  29.03.2010 13:55
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                  Yeah, it was quite fun.

                  There was a heck of a lot of marketing for this movie when it launched in 2008. The teaser ads seemed very intriguing- depicting an unknown force destroying New York City, being seen from a first person viewpoint on a hand held video camera . Who wouldn't want to see a new big budget monster movie? We haven't had any of those since the glory days of Godzilla!

                  The plot follows a group of friends who are attending a going away party for lead character Rob, who is leaving to start a new job in Japan (huh! Japan of all places! See what they did there?! Clever no?) The job of filming the party falls to likeable doofus Hud. We meet a few other characters, the obligatory love interest (yawn) Beth, Rob's brother and Hud's infatuation Marlena, played by the ever sarcastic and sassy Lizzy Caplan; who seems to get all the parts needing such a character.

                  Unbeknownst to Hudd, he's taping over a video of 'ole Rob and Beth getting jiggy and having a splendid day out at the shore. The footage cuts between the party and this tape in a kind of meaningless way, but keep your eyes peeled as there's a hidden message at the end (if you have the eyes of a hawk and pause still on your dvd player).

                  Suddenly- Kapowee!! There's a huge impact, like an earthquake, and much running about and confusion ensues. We discover that there's something crashing around the city and causing mayhem. This is the best part of the film as we don't know what the thing is, we see blurred snapshots of cars being upturned and Liberty's head rolling about. (how fun!) Eventually we see it's a big monster and everyone decides to vamoose over the bridge, which is promptly destroyed by said monster, trapping our group of mates on Manhattan.

                  Rob decides he has to go get Beth in best Knight in Shining Armour style and the party of friends battle underground through more, smaller baby monsters (the sound effects here are hilarious- they almost sound cute!) We get the usual- oh no someone's been bitten side plot and then they eventually reach Beth's place. But is she still alive and will anyone get out in one piece?

                  There's tons of cool special effects and goo and gore in this, but I liked it much better when you couldn't see the monster in it's entirety- when we do see it, I felt it was a bit of a let down, as your imagination will always be better than CGI. If you're a fan of thrills and shocks, there's some good ones in this, and the novel way the film is shot keeps you interested. However, it is a bit confusing- I asked where the "WTF" button was on the extras when it finished. (sadly there wasn't one- I had to Wikipedia it the next day to figure out what had actually happened)

                  However, it's a good bit of fun and will keep you entertained for a while.

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                    19.03.2010 18:49
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                    A Very Good Film

                    Now I must mention, when I first became aware of this film and watched a few of the trailers I thought I'd give it a miss. I'm not into all this hand held camera business, especially not when watching a film at the cinema, it just messes my head up. But a few months ago I ended up watching this anyway, so here is what I thought.

                    Cloverfield came out back in 2008. This is a sort of Sci Fi disaster movie starring Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas and T.J.Miller. The film was directed by Matt Reeves. The film did pretty well at the box office, this was mainly due to all the hype it got and the dramatic trailers. The film picked up four awards and got lots more nominations.

                    The film tells the story of a small group of people who are living in New York. One day while they are going about there business something attacks New York city. They assume its terrorists or something and start recording everything on there hand held camera. Soon they realise this is no terrorism but a giant monster that is destroying the city and killing everything in its path. Now the group of friends must flee for there lives and try and escape the destruction that is going on all around them.

                    As I mentioned in my opening, this is all filmed on a hand held camera. Very much like Blair Witch, so there is lots of rocky camera work and bouncy movement. It is a little hard to get used to at first but after a while I hardly noticed it.

                    The film really moves at a very fast pace, everything seems to happen so quickly. There really is not much back ground information on the characters or whats going on, but somehow that does not really matter. The film sucks you in and you feel like your living it along with the people filming. I'm not sure if this is because of the camera work, but whatever it is it makes for a really entertaining film.

                    Part of the appeal of this film to me is the fact that you don't really see the monster. This is good because you can use your imagination which can be more powerful than any film work. There are some really tense sections in the film and some great action.

                    Even though the story is simple and there is no real depth to it, you do find yourself identifying with the characters. You feel there terror and there need to survive. Its based on a prime emotion that we all have, the will to live.

                    The film runs for just 85 minutes. A very short film. It flys by and I was quite surprised when it finished. I think they maybe could have added a little more to make the film longer, maybe some more information about the characters or something would have been good.

                    The film is rated as 15. There is a little strong language and some gory and violent scenes, however its not as bad as some films I've seen.

                    The DVD its OK. It has a few extras like trailers and what not, but really you should buy this to watch the film and not worry about any extras you might be getting.

                    Overall this is a really good film. It's quite a simple idea but it works so well. This is one of those films that suprised me, I was not expecting much from it but really enjoyed it. If you've never seen Cloverfield I urge you to go and get a copy, it's a really good watch!

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                  • Product Details

                    Five young New Yorkers throw their friend a going-away party the night that a monster the size of a skyscraper descends upon the city. Told from the point of view of their video camera, the film is a document of their attempt to survive the most surreal, horrifying event of their lives.