The Cloverfield Paradox (2018) Review

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

Directed by Julius Onah

Starring: Daniel Brühl, Elizabeth Debicki, Aksel Hennie, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris O’Dowd, John Ortiz, David Oyelowo, Zhang Ziyi

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows an international group of astronauts aboard a space station who, after using a particle accelerator to try to solve Earth’s energy crisis, must find a way home after accidentally traveling to an alternate dimension.

My Opinion:

Well. This was pretty fucking terrible. I can’t be bothered to say much about this movie so this will be more of a short rant than a “review”. Seriously, though – it sucked! I’m so annoyed. This was one of my most anticipated movies of 2018. Ugh! Bad. Very bad. I knew something was up when it was suddenly on Netflix instead of going into cinemas. Now I’m worried about Mute & Annihilation going straight to Netflix. Two more films I was really excited about!

I loved the first Cloverfield. I’m one of the few who didn’t exactly love 10 Cloverfield Lane but I thought it was a decent enough addition to a series of films that promised to be the next Twilight Zone-type thing. I’m obsessed with the original Twilight Zone TV show and got really excited when it was revealed that was the direction these individual Cloverfield movies would be taking. Oh man – we’re off to a bad start. These are going to end up like the Lost TV show, not the brilliant The Twilight Zone. I should’ve known! Go away, J. J. Abrams! These are all going to be set in “alternate universes”, aren’t they? Fuck that shit. Lazy fucking writing. This is like the damn island moving. Argh!

Where do I start? Oh, I don’t care. First of all, why did this movie feel like a TV show? I felt like I was watching a long episode of Black Mirror. Black Mirror is good for what it is but I like the movie experience. You know – some sweeping cinematic epic! Okay – I suppose Cloverfield isn’t some Sergio Leone movie but, still. Did this have a low budget or something? If I want to watch a TV show, I’ll watch a TV show.

Second of all, these characters sucked. There was no set up. Straight into the story! I didn’t know a damn thing about these people, so why would I care if they survive? Our main character, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, was the only one who got some time spent on her but they must have done a shitty job since I didn’t even realize her kids had died. Is that a spoiler?! I don’t think so as I think you’re meant to know that from the start but I somehow managed to miss that. It really would’ve helped to know that. Shit. Maybe it’s not known from the start?! If so, why the fuck not?!?! Hopefully I didn’t spoil that. But, seriously, your experience will be spoiled anyway if you watch this. Because this movie sucked. (Did I mention that?).

I should point out that Gugu Mbatha-Raw actually starred in what’s so far my favorite Black Mirror episode (San Junipero– I’ve not seen Series 4 yet). Probably didn’t help that “This feels like a TV show” feeling I had! Anyway – just watch Black Mirror instead of this if you want interesting morality tales with a modern technology twist. Some episodes aren’t great but overall the show is much better than this movie. And much closer to being the next Twilight Zone (although nothing will ever touch that).

Hey! The Norwegian Steve Buscemi guy (Aksel Hennie) was in this! I’ve only ever seen him in Jo Nesbo’s Headhunters. That was a decent movie. Watch that instead of this as well. And Daniel Brühl was in Rush with Chris Hemsworth’s naked butt. Great film! Watch that instead of this too. Elizabeth Debicki was in Guardians Of The Galaxy: Vol 2. A million times better than this! Chris O’Dowd was in Bridesmaids. I dislike that film but it was still better than this one. John Ortiz was in lots of stuff, including A Dog’s Purpose , which I also liked waaaaaaay more than this. David Oyelowo was in Interstellar. I hate that overrated movie but I hated this one much more. Zhang Ziyi was in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Guess what? That’s also WAY fucking better than this movie. What’s my point? Watch those movies instead! And watch Life (2017). Life sucked. I now like Life much more since seeing The Cloverfield Paradox, which is an even shittier version of Life. AND WATCH ARRIVAL!!! THAT is good sci-fi.

Man, have I even talked about this movie at all? I can’t be bothered. A bunch of twats go into space and fuck around with a particle accelerator and rip a hole in the space time continuum (I don’t know if they used that phrase – I’ve ripped that off from Star Trek). Weird shit happens but you won’t care if they all die anyway. Some gross shit happens but none of it is nearly as interesting as the gross shit in Life. I only liked one character. Well, no – I liked Gugu Mbatha-Raw okay but didn’t care too much as I couldn’t get into the movie. But Chris O’Dowd was somewhat enjoyable. His character was the only one who had a personality, at least. So. Yeah. I guess I’ll end this “review” on that one positive statement.

My Rating: 4.5/10

*It probably deserves an even lower rating but it’s still sci-fi and I’m a sucker for this genre. As annoyed as I am, I’ll probably still watch Cloverfield 4 since “supernatural Nazis” sounds bizarre enough to maybe work better than Paradox did…..

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) Review

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Directed by Dan Trachtenberg

Produced by J. J. Abrams & Lindsey Weber

Starring: John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
After getting in a car accident, a woman is held in a shelter with two men, who claim the outside world is affected by a widespread chemical attack.

My Opinion:

Well, THIS was certainly an interesting one…

I usually like to write a review at least a couple of days after seeing something since, sometimes, I’m not quite sure how I feel about a movie. More often than not, they actually go up a little in my estimation (I ended up liking The Good, The Bad And The Ugly way more by the time I got around to reviewing it. I’m glad I didn’t review it immediately after seeing it). Well, I watched 10 Cloverfield Lane a few hours ago & I’m still trying to make my mind up on how I feel about it. I’ll say that my husband & I seem to disagree on it, which is unusual. I think I liked it quite a bit more than he did. At least, I think I liked it…

First of all, I’ll say that I really liked the first Cloverfield a lot. Okay – these movies are impossible to talk about without spoilers if you somehow know nothing whatsoever about them. If that’s the case, it’s probably best to skip my review. It occurred to me that some bloggers were actually a little too young for the first one when it came out. Oh MAN…. That’s depressing. So, therefore, some are watching this movie with zero idea of what it’s about. I think that’s the absolute best way to see & enjoy this one. Trust me – if you’re in the dark, stay that way.

While discussing this movie with the hubby, I realized what a big part of the problem with it is: It should have been the first film. SPOILERS BELOW if you haven’t seen it:
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Think about it! If the word “Cloverfield” wasn’t associated with “monster movie” because of the first film, this one could have been marketed as the movie it is in the beginning and then BAM! It would have gone all From Dusk Til Dawn on our asses! I’d have loved that. Then, if the first film was actually the second film, it would have carried things on in just the right way & I know I’d be a bigger fan of the overall Cloverfield thing as a whole right now. Instead, this movie ended in the way we were all expecting from the start if we’d seen the first film. And I imagine that those wanting a straight-up monster movie were probably quite disappointed to get something entirely different for three quarters of it.

Personally, I was a fan of the “two movies for the price of one” thing. Not everyone will be, I’m sure. I got the impression that the audience I saw this with were overall quite confused. And the hubby won’t like me saying this as he thinks I always misquote him but, screw it – He actually compared the ending to Skyline. Skyline!!! Have any of you seen that? If you haven’t, DON’T! It’s an enormous pile of shit with the worst movie ending in recent memory. That’s a huge insult to this movie! But, dammit, I can see why he made that comparison. Damn him. That’s ruined this movie for me a little. I should stop going to movies with that guy! But he’s my ride, so…. 😉 He also compared it to Signs, which isn’t quite as bad. It has a definite Signs vibe but M Night Shyamalan isn’t loved by everyone and I think the same people who really hate his stuff also won’t like 10 Cloverfield Lane.

I do like Mary Elizabeth Winstead. I enjoyed her performance and cared about her character. I can’t say I really connected with the two men, though. I didn’t think the characters were as well developed as they should’ve been considering how long we spend with them trapped underground. And. Um. Hmm. Yeah, I don’t know what else to say and when I get that way I tend to ramble on without making any sort of point. I think I’d rather just stop writing about this movie and instead discuss it with you guys in the comments. It’s a good one for discussion!

I’ll just end with this: If I’ve read things right, the plan is to sort of use the “Cloverfield” name to make a series of unrelated films with strange & interesting stories in the same way the name “The Twilight Zone” was used for a series of bizarre stories. That is something that very much has my interest as I think the original Twilight Zone was the best series of stories EVER. If they do that, it could end up like The Twilight Zone did: 90% utterly brilliant stories with 10% that were real stinkers. Some will see 10 Cloverfield Lane as one of the stinkers. If this plan happens and we have ten Cloverfield movies years from now, I’d be very interested to look back on them all to see where this one ranks for me. If there are enough utterly brilliant ones, I think I’d end up actually appreciating this one a little bit more as well. Let’s see where they go with these!

My Rating: 7/10

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) Review

***SPOILER-FREE REVIEW***

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Directed by J. J. Abrams

Starring: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Max von Sydow, Gwendoline Christie

Music by John Williams

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A continuation of the saga created by George Lucas and set thirty years after Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983).

A Note Before I Start The Review:

I saw this movie at midnight last night and I don’t normally like to review movies so soon after seeing them since I like to give things some thought first and to search my feelings. Naturally, I’m going to be on a massive high immediately after seeing a new STAR WARS movie! But when I think back to The Phantom Menace, it’s likely that I would have given that a good review if I’d written one 30 minutes after it finished. Can you imagine?! So bear with me as I try to be rational while I write this.

I may actually re-visit this movie again in a week and do another post about it and see if my opinion has changed but, for now, these are the initial thoughts of a fairly big Star Wars fan. I’ll also give you my husband’s initial thoughts (he’s been a HUGE Star Wars fan his whole life) and my six-year-old daughter’s initial thoughts (she’s quite possibly the biggest six-year-old female Star Wars fan on the entire planet).

My Opinion:

My Star Wars fandom on a scale of 1-10: 7.5

(AGAIN, NO SPOILERS. PROMISE.)

I still can’t believe I’ve finally seen it! The Force Awakens. The movie my husband and daughter have been talking about (and slightly annoying me with) for what feels like YEARS. As with any huge movie like this, especially for myself and my husband and anyone else our age who grew up with the original trilogy, no Star Wars movie will ever live up to our high expectations. I personally don’t think it will ever be possible to again capture the magic of the original trilogy but I do know that a big part of that will also be my age talking. Can an adult really love a movie in the same way a kid can? When I think of all my favorite movies, the vast majority are from my childhood & teen years. 

Will my daughter feel the same way about The Force Awakens & the movies to follow as my husband & I feel about the original trilogy? I think that’s a definite yes. She already loves the Star Wars universe (she’s seen all but Revenge Of The Sith – she’s still too young) and she’s now the perfect age to grow up with the new movies. And I couldn’t be more happy that she’s the perfect age for these as they’ll be “her” Star Wars movies while the original trilogy will be “mommy’s & daddy’s” Star Wars movies. More importantly, she’ll see these as hers more than the prequels. Because…. Yes! I can confirm that The Force Awakens is much better than the prequels! Thank goodness. 

I’ve really avoided all reviews of this so far as I wanted to know as little as possible so the only thing I’ve read a few times now is that The Force Awakens “captures the spirit” of the original trilogy. I’d say that’s a pretty accurate statement. I won’t pretend that it didn’t take a little getting used to or that it wasn’t a little odd seeing characters like Han Solo & Princess Leia all these years later. It’ll probably be easier for a new generation to immediately buy into this film as they won’t have quite as much of an attachment to these older characters but I have to say that they’ve done an absolutely fantastic job bringing a whole new set of characters to life. 

I already love Rey. I love that my daughter already loves Rey. Just like Leia, she’s a very strong female character. I’m loving the strong female characters in movies these past couple of years! About damn time. Sorry to regulars here who have heard me go on about this before but if you have a daughter, you’ll understand. Positive female role models have become very important to me since she came along. 

After the prequels, I can’t say I personally really had any “favorite new Star Wars characters”. After The Force Awakens, I have lots of new favorites. Besides Rey, there was… Finn! I loved Finn! I wasn’t quite sure how his character would fit in but he’s great as were his relationships with the other characters. BB-8!!!! As I’ve said here before, R2-D2 is my favorite Star Wars character so I’m clearly partial to loveable droids. BB-8 is almost as cool as R2! (And that’s saying a lot because R2-D2 is the coolest robot ever). Poe Dameron! I’d not exactly loved Oscar Isaac in anything before this but I liked his character a lot – he very much feels like someone out of the original trilogy. Kylo Ren! Hmm. Yeah. Good. Yes. Still making my mind up on him… Sorry – I’ve only just finished the movie – my mind is still racing! I know people love a good baddie. Is he a good baddie? Yes, I’d say they’ve created a great character here (better than any baddies in the prequels for sure).

There are some other new characters I also liked but they weren’t really in the trailers much so I’ll leave those out to remain spoiler-free. Then, of course, there were the original trilogy characters! Naturally, seeing them put a huge smile on my face but I really am impressed with how well they did with the new characters and making us care just as much about them as we did about our old favorites. The characters, in my opinion, really are the absolute best thing about The Force Awakens.

What else? Oh my god I need to sleep. I still have to work in the morning! 😉 Not only were the characters great but so was the dialogue and the banter and the way they interacted with each other. We got some funny, lighthearted moments. We didn’t get any of the horrible, cheesy dialogue like in the prequels (and, dare I say, the original trilogy a little bit?). 

The look of the film was good – it felt like it was still a part of the same universe as the original trilogy in a way that the prequels didn’t quite manage. The story, which I can obviously say nothing about, was good. Was it the best story possible of the myriad of stories they could’ve done? Hmm. I don’t know. But I did enjoy it and am happy with the end result. 

I need to wrap this up soon so I can sleep for a couple of hours but, clearly, I’m initially quite happy with The Force Awakens. It’s not a “perfect” film but I’d have a hard time picking out many flaws. Let me mull it over a little more while I give you some very brief initial thoughts from my daughter & husband…

My Daughter’s Opinion:

Her Star Wars fandom on a scale of 1-10: 8

She liked the film a lot but it was pretty much a given that she would. I’m very happy that Rey lived up to her expectations and can tell you that Rey was definitely her favorite thing about the film (followed closely, I think, by adorable BB-8). She got upset a couple of times and the film is a bit dark but it’s still nowhere near as dark as Revenge Of The Sith, which I won’t be letting her watch until she’s much older. She declared the movie was a “9 out of 10!” as we left the cinema but then in the car said “I thought The Force Awakens would be better than it was” so figure that one out. Kids! So indecisive. 😉 I think the “dark bits” made her say that but I think she’ll end up loving the movie just fine once she gets more used to it. And I’d say that it’s Rey who very much made the film for her. Yay Rey! 

My Husband’s Opinion: (as written by him)

His Star Wars fandom on a scale of 1-10: 9

Where do I start? Well, it’s not “MY Star Wars” (and let’s face it, it truly never COULD be).. but it’s not far off.

In one of the TV spots, you hear a character say they see the same eyes in different people if you live long enough.

This episode HAS the eyes of the Star Wars that I grew up with. The magic, the soul, the used universe, the spirit, the humour, the dirt, the wonder, the hero’s journey, the oddities, the surprises AND the familiar are all there in droves.

The best thing for me was to see a new Star Wars through the new eyes of our daughter, for whom THIS Star Wars will hold just as much magic as the original trilogy and better yet, will give her an important cinematic icon to relate to in Rey. She and her generation will ensure Star Wars lives on without looking “so old to young eyes” thanks to JJ, KK and company and their careful balance of reverential echoes and imaginative new ideas.

The balance between pleasing the OT generation and each new generation since has been achieved as much as it can be, given Hollywood marketing forces these days.

Despite some flaws in editing & soundtrack, The Force Awakens shows us even more clearly where the prequels got it wrong. Occasionally I wondered if too many ideas from A New Hope were being echoed here. (Which if you are any degree of Star Wars fan you would know is all part of the will of The Force anyway?)

But I will take that over the prequels’ fart jokes and Jar Jar in a heartbeat.

Without making excuses for anyone, this DOES truly rekindle the magic for a new generation – and for most of the old. Star Wars is back. But of course, in our household Star Wars never went away… Star Wars is forever!

My Summary:

**This updated summary is being written after a second viewing four days later**

I knew that my initial reaction to The Force Awakens was probably due to me needing more time to accept the film into the Star Wars universe that I love and know so well. I figured it would just be a case of me needing to see the new film a few more times but a second viewing was all that I needed: The Force Awakens IS Star Wars.

I care about new characters such as Rey & Finn as much as I did about Leia, Luke & Han. BB-8 is amazing and fits in perfectly with my most beloved and iconic pair of droids. I still think the “baddies” are a little weak in this (Snoke and especially Hux) but my opinion on Kylo Ren has gone up slightly on a second viewing. I’ve always liked the good guys more anyway and they’re perfect in The Force Awakens.

More than anything, though, Rey really makes this film. I’m not saying that because I’m a girl – I just think Daisy Ridley is fantastic and, let’s be honest, out-acts everyone in all seven films. Oh, and I really like her theme within the score (which I wish I could say I noticed throughout the film much more than I did but her theme was the only new part of the score that really stood out for me).

Any flaws this film has are really quite minor and more than made up for by just how strong the new characters are. I can now firmly say that I love this film and that it’s helped even further to make the prequels, which I rarely even gave a second thought when I thought of Star Wars anyway, a distant memory in my mind.

The Force Awakens is fantastic. I love it. To those who think the movie with go down in people’s estimations once the excitement has died down, I have to say that the opposite has occurred with me. I think some initial reactions have actually been overly critical. It will be interesting to see where it ranks in everyone’s mind once all the films have come out. As great as it is, though, it will never be higher than fourth place for me as I’ll always love the original trilogy the most. But it’s a very close fourth place! Far closer than I had thought possible.

My Rating: 9/10