Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Ten Statements About....10 CLOVERFIELD LANE (2016)

"You're going to play Barrel of Monkeys Giant
Size Edition or else!"
“People are strange creatures. You can't always convince them that safety is in their best interest."

1) Mary Elizabeth Winstead owns this movie, and not just because she is the main character.  A lesser actress would be subsumed by John Goodman’s performance, but Winstead is able to keep the viewer’s attention, and gain his or her sympathy.

2) That’s not to take away from Goodman, who manages to walk a fine line between being creepy and being...well, sort of melancholic.  He keeps the suspense in this film running smoothly because he creates a character with different facets, so that when we’re sure he’s one thing we get some indication he might be something else.

3) That being said...there’s something that Winstead discovers towards the end of the second act that is pretty much unnecessary.  It adds nothing to the narrative, and diminishes Goodman from this interesting character to a cliche.  The whole subplot can be excised whole.

And up there you might find Roseanne's career...
4) You know what else can be excised whole? John Gallagher Jr.’s Emmett.  I get that he’s there so that Winstead’s Michelle has someone to explain things to, but Winstead and the director are talented enough to convey the things that need to be conveyed without Regulation Expository Dialogue.

5) Maybe it’s because it’s not used to punctuate violence like it’s used so many other places, but the use of 50‘s and 60‘s pop music here manages to be creepy, emphasizing the situation without slipping into the parodic.

6) I dunno...if you introduce an acid supposedly so toxic it’ll strip human flesh to the bone, you should show someone who falls into a pool of it has more than just a crispy temple....

7) Give ‘em credit...they introduce something, they use something.

8) The big revelation...I’m not sure about it.  Yeah, it’s there to cement the connection between this film and the original, but the way it’s shot is confusing and manages to obscure more than it reveals.  However...

Not time for a selfie, Mary Elizabeth....
9) This revelation does manage to throw Goodman’s Howard into a different life.  It makes you wonder how different the film would be if it concentrated solely on Howard’s survivalist tendencies and didn’t stray into the cliches it embraced earlier.

10) The ending seems to promise a sequel, which really isn’t necessary. My hope is that J.J. Abrams follows through on his original intention of making the Cloverfield franchise into an anthology of unrelated stories set in the same universe.

Overall...worthwhile for the excellent performances by Winstead and Goodman.  If you’re looking for something else, well...shrug.

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