Tag Archives: John Goodman

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016 Review)

14 Mar

In what is being touted as “The best sci-fi blockbuster thriller of the decade”, 10 Cloverfield Lane marks a different approach to storytelling than its cinematic sibling Cloverfield. Released in 2008 as a found-footage alien invasion, the former isn’t so much as a direct predecessor as it was inspiration for this J.J. Abrams-produced mystery.

Something has happened. Something big. Our heroine Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wakes up in a sort of make-shift hospital after a car accident. She learns that “an attack” of some sort has left much of the civilized world in shambles and she had been brought underground for her own safety by a mysterious ex-military man named Howard (John Goodman).  Tensions between the two characters rise as the films progresses, creating unexpected results.

Directed by Dan Trachtenberg and co-written by Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken, and Damien Chazelle, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a quieter, scaled back, and more intimate film than Cloverfield, though equally as anxiety-ridden and claustrophobic. By restricting most of the action to a few rooms, the film becomes heavily reliant on the writing strength of its plot and characterization. Unfortunately, this is where 10 Cloverfield Lane falls a bit short; the few characters are simply a flat and uninteresting mix of tropes we have seen many times before, and the narrative becomes convoluted and veers dramatically off course during the film’s second half. At points the film almost feel comically hokey in the same way something like Grand Piano does (a film that was also written by Chazelle). However, if you liberally apply your suspension of disbelief and just accept whatever happens, then 10 Cloverfield Lane actually becomes a lot of fun. Though it’s filled with tropes and plot holes, the story, most importantly, is a largely unpredictable slow burn, with several twists awaiting the viewer during the chaotic third-act.

Bottom Line: Though it suffers from basic character tropes and less-than-stellar writing, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a surprisingly fun and unpredictable thriller if one is willing to suspend expectations. 

Rating: 6/10

Film Recipe: Room War Of The Worlds 

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The Internship (2013)

23 May

I kinda didn’t like this movie. Vince Vaughn, who must have been paid a fortune from Google (the entire thing is really one big PR piece), wrote the screenplay which is way too formulaic and unoriginal. The film’s cameos (Will Ferrell, John Goodman, BJ Novak, Josh Gad and Rob Riggle all make appearances) are desperate and awkward, and do little to move the story along. While still a better comedy than their recent solo works, (does anyone even still remember The Watch or Hall Pass?) The Internship feels flat, repetitive and unneeded.

4/10 stars

Similar to: Accepted, The School of Rock, Cheaper By The Dozen

 

 

Argo (2012)

15 Oct

We have had some great movies-about-movies recently.

Adding to that list is Argo, the film about 6 American diplomats who are taken as part of the 1979 Iranian Hostage Crisis.  In arranging for their escape, CIA specialist Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) comes up with the idea of creating covers for the individuals by claiming that they are part of a film crew sent to Iran to look at shooting locations.

As a political thriller, Argo is just about as good as they come. There is some great screenwriting going on that mixes the drama and action in such a way that we never get bored.  I thought the cast was great; John Goodman and Alan Arkin give just the right amount of comic relief. Ben Affleck is no rookie when it comes to great acting, and he really knows when to amp up the suspense with his performance and direction.

The third act of the film is really what won me over.  Though some of the events depicted are obviously dramatized, I couldn’t help but thinking “Wow – this really happened” over and over during the film’s final 20 minutes.

Overall, Argo is a very good film and proves that you can have a blockbuster thats smart as well as entertaining.  I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on this one for some Oscar recognition.

Rating 7/10

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