ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Cloverfield (2008)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Matt Reeves

Starring:
Michael Stahl-David/Rob
Mike Vogel/Jason
Lizzy Caplan/Marlena
T.J. Miller/Hud
PLOT-CRUNCH
Rob’s (Stahl-David) surprise "going away" bash winds up being a bigger surprise with more bashing than anybody attending could’ve imagined. Out of nowhere, some enormous Iguana looking thing stomps into Manhattan, drops its monstrous kiddies to the ground and starts a shin-dig of its own…a WAR party! YEEHAW!
THE LOWDOWN

My name is Robert Hawkins. Approximately seven hours ago something attacked the city. If you found this, if you're watching this then you probably know more about it than I do. - Rob

I was one of the few within my immediate circle that didn’t get sucked into the whole CLOVERFIELD hype machine; for reasons that only my shrink and his dumb as a clock wife (see ya next Tuesday Susan) knows for sure. The movie just didn’t appeal to me, no matter the marketing angle they “Frisbeed” my way. So I sneaked into the theatre with little to no expectations and wound up having a gay (no not that kind of gay) old time at the movies.

CLOVERFIELD was JURASSIC PARK in Manhattan but shot without a tripod. It was THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT with a budget, Godzilla’s cousin and no snot. It was the Kim Kardashian sex tape without Kardashian sucking a meat puppet with skill and glee. The film’s “seen through the eyes of a broheem with a DV camera” approach worked in its favor and against it. On a positive note, I commend this bad-boy for slyly sucking me into its world, making me feel safe and amongst friends via its endearing “going away party” first block. It acted as a proficient way to establish characters/relationships and as a bang-on set-up since, well, it all felt so damn authentic. That "reality"vibe went on to sucker punch me hardcore when the shite hit the shite and everybody was shite out of shite.

Being that I was so involved in the situation and that I bought it wholesale – once the Statue of Liberty’s head came a flying and the mucho grande bugger popped out to say “wassup” – my ass got whooped, plus taxes. What followed was a quasi-interactive rollercoaster ride with my sorry ass thrown right in with our small group of heroes running for their lives. Throughout this watch, I was searching the screen like a stalker, stalking in overtime, I “wowed” when Mr. Scary-Lizard surfaced to bust chops and I smiled in delight when a potent fright sequence would jab me in the nads. Damn, I even caught myself ducking a couple of times; yes… ducking. At what? Beats me! But that’s how well the flick worked me.

The fact that CLOVERFIELD focused on the "people" and was driven by a love story first rubbed me the right way as well. You don't see monster movie handled like this everyday! As for the love thang, nothing novel, but hey, it’s universal so I could relate to it. Moreover, I really boogied to the way the romantic angle was communicated: via the events happening “now” AND the remains of a prior recording that were on the “tape” that we were watching. Very clever and yes… sweet…ahhhhh! Add to all that loving; a swift pace (I relished that 90 minutes running time), AMAZING visual effects (top notch CGI in this house), strong acting by all and ingenious creature designs that felt distinctive as opposed to a rip on what we’ve already seen and you get a creature feature that didn’t re-invent the wheel, it just span it in its own direction.

Alas, straight up, my eyes were on fire when I walked out of the theater. You thought BLAIR WITCH was the motion sickness king of genre films; f*ck that noise taco-bean, we have a new champ: CLOVERFIELD! Less shaky cam stuff would’ve been swell. I mean was the dude shooting drunk or not drunk enough? I swear he couldn’t shoot steady for more than 3 seconds at a time. That half effective/half maddening ploy also had me begging for more creature fun. I mean sure, teasing us with glimpses of the reptilian swine added to its fear quota, but simultaneously, I kept craving seeing more of it. Same thing happened with the mini-beasties (who came with quite the gnarly sound design) – I freaking LOVED THEM but sadly they were underused. We needed at least 2 more horror scenes with those suckers at play.

Finally, suspension of disbelief had to kick in terms some dumb character moves and the issue of “why is this mook still filming when the world is ending around him and there’s a monster up his skirt”? I didn’t buy it at times. For example, the last thing I would do when crawling from one cloud glazing high-rise rooftop to another; is put the camera over my shoulder and film medium but that’s just me. Just toss the camera in the trash, use both hands to get to safety and then run to Tibet to start your own cult (funnily enough, that scene was where the guy was at his most steady camera shot wise). And was it me or was nobody filming near the end when only two people were left? Yet filming still ensued. Hmmm...

All in all CLOVERFIELD gave me some good scares, made me laugh and had me forget my troubles for a buck and a half. It got the job done! A masterpiece? Nah, it was well done for sure but just don’t think too hard about it afterwards. So you going to Clover this Field or what?
GORE
We’re treated to deep scratches, bite marks and blood splashes. Nothing to write home to Granny about.
ACTING
Michael Stahl-David (Rob) carried the film and was my human anchor to the whole. It helped that he’s the actor we saw the most in “non coke fueled” cam shots. I love Mike Vogel (Jason) but I can’t say that his part was too memorable here. Lizzy Caplan (Marlena) had something about her that made me want to keep watching her. Big lips? Nice eyes? Charisma? All of the above? YES! T.J. Miller (Hud) brought in some well timed and executed comic relief. He worked! Lili Mirojnick (Lei) had the looks and the chops to make the role happen.
T & A
Everyone at the screening was naked…in my mind…in…my…mind...
DIRECTING
Hard to critique this aspect. Let me put it this way; did the film succeed in making me accept that a colossal mammal took Manhattan (Voorhees did it first though…booya!) and that I was witness to it through some schlep filming the whole thing instead of saving his own hieney? YES!
SOUNDTRACK
No score here (This is “real” remember?), just the sound of the audience screaming and me dropping bombs. Damn Licorice… what do they put in that stuff?
BOTTOM LINE
CLOVERFIELD hooked me in early, frightened me silly, beat me up and even somewhat touched me (I'm a sucker for a good love story). I went with it and I had a blast! Sure some plot holes did arise, suspension of disbelief had to be applied and the shaky cam stuff hurt my eyes (Don't sit in the 3rd row like I did - DON'T DO IT!) and denied me from appreciating the film’s stellar visual effects to their fullest (Come on, the flick cost 30 Million to make - show it to me!) –but hey, what are you going to do. At the end of the kill; it was an engaging, fast paced and thrilling monster ride and as that; it rocked me! Get on this pony or don’t! Your call!
BULL'S EYE
The title Cloverfield was at first just a codename for the un-titled movie. The title is actually the name of a boulevard in Santa Monica where the movie's Prod Offices were.

The teaser trailer was shot on a digital camera before the feature entered production.

The flick was shot in California and of course New York.

VISIT THE CLOVERFIELD SITE HERE

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12:00PM on 08/08/2010
Flawless monster movie. Flawless.
Flawless monster movie. Flawless.
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6:38AM on 06/08/2010
This film is a masterpiece. People need to stop complaining about him filming it all and just go with it. If you do you will find it is one of the best monster movies ever. (Definitely my favourite though)
This film is a masterpiece. People need to stop complaining about him filming it all and just go with it. If you do you will find it is one of the best monster movies ever. (Definitely my favourite though)
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10:31AM on 01/22/2009
Good film, although I have two major complaints. Way too long of a party at the beginning and the shakey cam started to get to me. This is still an interesting take on a horror movie, and with a BIT smoother of a cam and longer of a movie, I'd like to see more attempts at this.
Good film, although I have two major complaints. Way too long of a party at the beginning and the shakey cam started to get to me. This is still an interesting take on a horror movie, and with a BIT smoother of a cam and longer of a movie, I'd like to see more attempts at this.
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11:11AM on 05/05/2008
This was probably one of the best monster films I've seen in years, and hate me if you will, but I enjoyed this one more than The Host (too depressing for my tastes). My jaw hit the floor more than once, and characters I normally wouldn't give two shits about I found myself sympathizing with.

And is it just me, or was the horse-drawn carriage shot really messed up?
This was probably one of the best monster films I've seen in years, and hate me if you will, but I enjoyed this one more than The Host (too depressing for my tastes). My jaw hit the floor more than once, and characters I normally wouldn't give two shits about I found myself sympathizing with.

And is it just me, or was the horse-drawn carriage shot really messed up?
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9:41PM on 01/26/2008
With J.J. Abrams behind the movie, I was ready for 'Lost' kinda suck, which is why I was pleasantly surprised by the flick.
It had some problems (Shaky cam was uncomfortable at first, but quickly got used to it; And the love story angle didn't catch my fancy), but overall it had me entertained and on-edge for most of its running time, which is way more than I expected from it.
With J.J. Abrams behind the movie, I was ready for 'Lost' kinda suck, which is why I was pleasantly surprised by the flick.
It had some problems (Shaky cam was uncomfortable at first, but quickly got used to it; And the love story angle didn't catch my fancy), but overall it had me entertained and on-edge for most of its running time, which is way more than I expected from it.
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10:04AM on 01/21/2008
Cloverfield was amazing. It wasn't Oscar worthy or anything, but the movie was damn near perfect in the whole entertaining aspect of entertainment. I love that not much was explained, as it almost assures a sequel. Wouldn't it be awesome to do the movie in the viewpoint of a Marine squad? Not only would you find out more about the creature, but it could be even more intense and ballsier than the first. Please tell me that would not be an awesome idea. And you could have an marine with a camera
Cloverfield was amazing. It wasn't Oscar worthy or anything, but the movie was damn near perfect in the whole entertaining aspect of entertainment. I love that not much was explained, as it almost assures a sequel. Wouldn't it be awesome to do the movie in the viewpoint of a Marine squad? Not only would you find out more about the creature, but it could be even more intense and ballsier than the first. Please tell me that would not be an awesome idea. And you could have an marine with a camera attached in his helmet that's a playback for some Marine Base monitor and they could find the footage.
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1:10AM on 01/20/2008
The movie was good; but I agree with arrow, you would think Hud would have tried to film a little more of the monster - clearly - if he was supposed to document what had happened you would expect a clearer money shot.

The only thing missing are some lose ends that weren't really explained or tied up (eg, did the first helicopter make it?) but that's far better than Hollywood tying things up in a neat little package.
The movie was good; but I agree with arrow, you would think Hud would have tried to film a little more of the monster - clearly - if he was supposed to document what had happened you would expect a clearer money shot.

The only thing missing are some lose ends that weren't really explained or tied up (eg, did the first helicopter make it?) but that's far better than Hollywood tying things up in a neat little package.
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+0
6:57PM on 01/19/2008
I had a really good time with this one. I do agree that the shaky cam got to me on several occassions, but the Hud character just annoyed the hell out of me. I was surprised, however, to find myself gasping at several points, which is something I rarely do in movies.
I had a really good time with this one. I do agree that the shaky cam got to me on several occassions, but the Hud character just annoyed the hell out of me. I was surprised, however, to find myself gasping at several points, which is something I rarely do in movies.
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+0
2:20AM on 01/19/2008
A simple truth: I'm a sucker for monster movies. If it's not the incompetent and idiotic GODZILLA remake of 10 years ago, chances are I'm going to dig it, at least a little (or in The Host's case, a lot). For those brief, wonderful visions of Mr. Cloverfield rampaging down an avenue or stomping on a tank, I'll sit through the dull chatter of people I don't care about. Shaky cam didn't bug me too much, but how many times was I saying to the screen "Hud ya fudge, if you're gonna keep shooting,
A simple truth: I'm a sucker for monster movies. If it's not the incompetent and idiotic GODZILLA remake of 10 years ago, chances are I'm going to dig it, at least a little (or in The Host's case, a lot). For those brief, wonderful visions of Mr. Cloverfield rampaging down an avenue or stomping on a tank, I'll sit through the dull chatter of people I don't care about. Shaky cam didn't bug me too much, but how many times was I saying to the screen "Hud ya fudge, if you're gonna keep shooting, shoot the MONSTER and not Rob, who you're obviously smitten with!"
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11:38PM on 01/18/2008

ANOTHER VICTIM OF HYPE>>>>

The most original and exceptional creature designs I've seen in years. Unfortunately they were overshadowed with a boring love story and a handheld perspective that I admit at certain points enhanced the monster terror but didn't translate well in other areas. I wanted more monster and less friends. Another movie that was victim of website marauders and bullshit links to pictures and posters that this movie didnt fulfill. J.J Abrams has innovative ideas but lets face it he's no Scorcese.
The most original and exceptional creature designs I've seen in years. Unfortunately they were overshadowed with a boring love story and a handheld perspective that I admit at certain points enhanced the monster terror but didn't translate well in other areas. I wanted more monster and less friends. Another movie that was victim of website marauders and bullshit links to pictures and posters that this movie didnt fulfill. J.J Abrams has innovative ideas but lets face it he's no Scorcese. It's time for the webcam geeks to cease their ass-kissing ways and just admit not everyone who creates original television shows make great cinema.
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2:48PM on 01/18/2008

A FUN RIDE

Just came back from watching the movie and I was very impressed with every aspect of the film. Story, filming technique and the special effects. A solid thrill/suspense ride!

Anyone that was a part of the 9-11 disaster should consider not watching this film. It might open up old wounds.
Seriously.
Just came back from watching the movie and I was very impressed with every aspect of the film. Story, filming technique and the special effects. A solid thrill/suspense ride!

Anyone that was a part of the 9-11 disaster should consider not watching this film. It might open up old wounds.
Seriously.
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8:33PM on 01/17/2008
In death, members of Cloverfield have a name. His name was Robert Hawkins. His name was Robert Hawkins. His name was Robert Hawkins.

hahaha. I thought the movie was good but definitely not worth ruining your jeans with a load of ejaculate.
In death, members of Cloverfield have a name. His name was Robert Hawkins. His name was Robert Hawkins. His name was Robert Hawkins.

hahaha. I thought the movie was good but definitely not worth ruining your jeans with a load of ejaculate.
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+0
7:38PM on 01/17/2008
I thought the movie was fantastic fun.

Arrow, one thing about the review, it was not a birthday party like you stated twice, it was a going away party, which adds a crucial point to the "love story" aspect of the movie.
I thought the movie was fantastic fun.

Arrow, one thing about the review, it was not a birthday party like you stated twice, it was a going away party, which adds a crucial point to the "love story" aspect of the movie.
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+0
5:51PM on 01/17/2008
I agree with Arrow in most aspects, but also disagree with many of his problems. I was fine with the shaky cam, which was used perfectly, and I think the issues which you stated were linked. The camera was so shaky because he wasn't really concentrating on keeping it steady. He was running the hell away!! He kept holding onto it so he could document what happened, and, probably, hopefully, keep a little souvenir for himself. The monsters were rarely focused on because he was trying to run away,
I agree with Arrow in most aspects, but also disagree with many of his problems. I was fine with the shaky cam, which was used perfectly, and I think the issues which you stated were linked. The camera was so shaky because he wasn't really concentrating on keeping it steady. He was running the hell away!! He kept holding onto it so he could document what happened, and, probably, hopefully, keep a little souvenir for himself. The monsters were rarely focused on because he was trying to run away, not film his attacker, he's not THAT stupid. And I may be mistaken, but I believe Rob was filming at the end.
Oh and I know you all probably think I'm preaching this movie heavily, and I suppose I am, but thats because the last film I watched before it was the Black Christmas remake (2006), and I enjoyed it/appreciated it a hell of a lot more than the other films I'd seen lately.
Plus, BRING ON STAR TREK!
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