Cloverfield

Cloverfield

3.5 33
Director: Matt Reeves

Cast: Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas, T.J. Miller

     
 

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Producer J.J. Abrams teams with writer Drew Goddard and director Matt Reeves for this frenetic tale of a powerful destructive force that descends upon New York City, and the four desperate people who put their lives on the line to embark on a perilous rescue mission. Rob HawkinsSee more details below

Overview

Producer J.J. Abrams teams with writer Drew Goddard and director Matt Reeves for this frenetic tale of a powerful destructive force that descends upon New York City, and the four desperate people who put their lives on the line to embark on a perilous rescue mission. Rob Hawkins (Michael Stahl-David) is a young American professional who has recently been offered a coveted new job in Japan. Eager to send his older sibling off in style, Rob's younger brother, Jason (Mike Vogel), and his girlfriend, Lily (Jessica Lucas), organize a surprise going-away party to take place the night before Rob boards his Eastern-bound flight. As the party gets underway, Rob's longtime friend and current love interest, Beth (Odette Yustman), shows up with another man as the dejected guest of honor's best-pal Hud (T.J. Miller) encourages partygoer Marlena (Lizzy Caplan) to wish him an on-camera farewell despite the fact that they barely know one another. Moments after Beth storms out following a bitter skirmish with Rob, the entire New York City skyline goes dark. Power is quickly restored, prompting partygoers to turn their attention toward the news, where they learn that a freight tanker has been overturned in New York Harbor. Racing to the rooftop in hopes of getting a better look at the situation, the group is terrified to witness a massive explosion that rains debris across midtown Manhattan, causing mass chaos and unparalleled destruction. But the worst is yet to come, because it soon becomes apparent that this is not the work of a terrorist or an act of war, but a massive creature beyond human comprehension. Now, as the military moves in and the streets of New York City become a virtual war zone, Rob, Lily, Marlena, and Hud race to rescue Beth and get out of the city before the powers that be unleash the ultimate weapon of mass destruction on one of the most populated cities on the planet.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
A much-debated source of cinematic speculation ever since the mysterious untitled trailer debuted before Transformers in the summer of 2007, producer J.J. Abrams' attempt to create an iconic American movie monster combines Godzilla-style mayhem with Blair Witch Project-style storytelling in a way that's sure to rattle both monster movie fans and disaster film junkies alike. Presented as found footage discovered by the U.S. government in "the area formerly known as Central Park," Cloverfield opens as New York couple Jason (Mike Vogel) and his girlfriend, Lily (Jessica Lucas), prepare a warm going-away party for Jason's brother, Rob (Michael Stahl-David) -- a promising young professional who has recently accepted a high-profile job offer in Japan. As the party gets underway, Rob's mentally deficient best friend, Hud (T.J. Miller), wanders the room on a mission to videotape as many fond farewells for his soon-to-be-departed pal as possible. When, in the middle of the party, the lights flicker out and a massive explosion rocks midtown Manhattan, the group quickly discovers that they are dealing with a destructive force the likes of which humankind has never seen -- leaving Hud with the camera still in hand, ready to capture the entire ensuing ordeal. Reviewing a film like Cloverfield is a trick endeavor if one chooses to respect the remarkable lengths to which the producers of the film went in order to keep the primary aspects of the plot a secret, yet by placing the film in a historical context (both cinematic and otherwise), it's easy to see why it is so effective in rattling viewers who are capable of stomaching the disorienting camerawork. (Note: Viewers who suffer from severe motion sickness will either want to take a healthy dose of Dramamine and sit a safe distance from the screen, or simply wait to watch the film when it comes to home video.) Cloverfield's familiar but intriguing means of folding fictional horror into a very real cultural context can be easily understood with just a little historical perspective. On August 6, 1945, humankind officially entered the nuclear age when the United States Army Air Force unleashed the fury of the atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima (dropping yet another on the western Kuyshu city of Nagasaki within the course of the next 72 hours). Just nine short years later, Japanese filmmaker Ishiro Honda tapped into the atomic fears that plagued Eastern society in the aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to give birth to one of the most instantly recognizable monsters in movie history -- Godzilla. Though the version of Godzilla that ultimately reached American shores had a decidedly campy slant thanks to a particularly shoddy dub job and the awkward insertion of additional scenes featuring well-known English-speaking actor Raymond Burr, Honda's original cut of the film was a much different, and decidedly grimmer affair. At the time, the citizens of Japan were still reeling from the trauma of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in a similar manner to how contemporary Americans are still reeling from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and Godzilla embodied everything that their post-nuclear society feared most -- namely wide-scale destruction and the as-yet-to-be-determined effects of nuclear warfare. While the titular character gained popularity around the world in the following decades, the fact remained that Godzilla was a distinctly Japanese creation -- a sort of cautionary mascot for the atomic age. Compelled by the prospect of creating an American counterpart to Godzilla, producer Abrams called upon a creative team that included screenwriter Drew Goddard and director Matt Reeves to make that concept a reality. The result is a film that, despite suffering a few minor flaws in terms of storytelling, accomplishes that lofty goal in a manner that is at once deeply unsettling, highly entertaining, and consistently thrilling once the action gets under way. The greatest strength that Cloverfield possesses is its ability to recreate that suffocating feeling of dread that washed over Americans just after the fall of the Twin Towers. The film's early scenes of destruction eerily parallel the amateur footage that saturated the media following 9/11, depicting massive clouds of debris swallowing up entire city blocks, and confused citizens wandering the streets in a dreamlike haze. While some may argue that Cloverfield loses a few points for originality once the viewer grasps the true nature of the disaster and the primary plot gets under way, the breathless pacing of the film ensures that the viewer isn't likely to be bored for any more than a few moments throughout its scant 85-minute running time, and there are enough surprises to keep even the most demanding viewer giddily off guard. A tense scene in a subway tunnel makes masterful use of both sound and the night-vision function on your typical consumer-grade video camera, a treacherous trip across a collapsing rooftop is dizzying not just for the shaky camera work, and a final confrontation involving a helicopter and a close brush with the source of the widespread destruction will no doubt satisfy monster movie addicts who feared that they might not get a good look at the "terrible thing," given the film's handheld production style. While the actors are all commendably natural, it's a saucer-eyed Lizzy Caplan who truly stands apart from the pack as a girl intensely traumatized by the horrors she has just witnessed, yet somehow able to muster the courage of a hero when the situation demands it. While her prickly zinger in one subterranean scene feels just about as forced as the film's predictably ironic coda, that's a small complaint to register for a film that delivers as many grimly enjoyable, panic-induced jolts as Cloverfield does. In an era when Internet hype and creative marketing can effectively build a film up so much that it's impossible to meet expectations on opening day, odds are that viewers who settle into their seats knowing what to expect both thematically and aesthetically aren't likely to walk away disappointed.

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Product Details

Release Date:
04/22/2008
UPC:
0097363520641
Original Release:
2008
Rating:
PG13
Source:
Paramount
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Time:
1:24:00
Sales rank:
50,037

Special Features

Audio commentary by director Matt Reeves; featurettes including "The Making of Cloverfield," "Cloverfield Visual Effects," "I Saw It! It's Alive! It's Huge," and "Clover Fun"; additional scenes including "Congrats Rob," "When You're in Japan," "I Call That a Date," "It's Going to Hurt," and two alternate endings; 11 Easter Eggs.

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Lizzy Caplan Marlena
Jessica Lucas Lily
T.J. Miller Hud
Michael Stahl-David Rob Hawkins
Mike Vogel Jason Hawkins
Odette Yustman Beth Mcintyre

Technical Credits
Matt Reeves Director
J.J. Abrams Producer
David Baronoff Associate Producer
Michael Bonvillain Cinematographer
Bryan Burk Producer
Sherryl Clark Executive Producer
Will E. Files Sound/Sound Designer
Chad S. Frey Set Decoration/Design
Drew Goddard Screenwriter
Crew Goodard Screenwriter
George R. Lee Set Decoration/Design
Doug Meerdink Art Director
Ellen Mirojnick Costumes/Costume Designer
Rip Murray Asst. Director
Douglas Murray Sound/Sound Designer
John Pollard Art Director
Guy Riedel Executive Producer
Kevin Stitt Editor
Alyssa Weisberg Casting
Martin Whist Production Designer
Ed White Sound/Sound Designer
Jane Wuu Set Decoration/Design

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Cloverfield
1. Chapter 1 [:39]
2. Chapter 2 [3:05]
3. Chapter 3 [1:16]
4. Chapter 4 [1:36]
5. Chapter 5 [:37]
6. Chapter 6 [2:24]
7. Chapter 7 [4:03]
8. Chapter 8 [:31]
9. Chapter 9 [:45]
10. Chapter 10 [:21]
11. Chapter 11 [4:01]
12. Chapter 12 [2:04]
13. Chapter 13 [1:32]
14. Chapter 14 [:23]
15. Chapter 15 [:55]
16. Chapter 16 [:46]

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