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CAPONE Stomps Some Cityscape With CLOVERFIELD!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. I’ll have my own review of this one up in a little while, but for now, it’s our man in Chicago weighing in on the weekend’s biggest experiment...

Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here. You really have no idea what you're in for. You know who I'm laughing at right now? All the people who are convinced this film is going to fail as a work of extraordinary terror. Forget the title-less trailer, widgets and other scenes you've dabbled in up to this point. When you finally see CLOVERFIELD from beginning to end, you're going to wish you doubled-bagged your diapers. Just to give you a sense of the power of this film, it actually made me do something that I haven't done in a movie theater since I was a preteen. I yelled at the screen. I yelled "Run!" at the people on the fucking movie screen because if I didn't my head and/or heart would have exploded. It's a scene set in a subway tunnel. You'll know it when you get there. I'm not going to bother explaining the set up of CLOVERFIELD. You probably know it. All you need to know going in is that nothing is more terrifying than not understanding what or why something bad is happening to you. There's a moment right after the first rumbling of New York City, where the lead character Rob's best friend Hud (the camera man) is running down a stairwell along with a bunch of scared people and you hear a woman say, "Do you think it's another terrorist attack?" The line is almost lost in the noise and confusion, but it would have to be foremost in the minds of anyone in this specific situation. An explosion in the night sky, a beloved New York landmark beheaded, buildings tumble, and a cloud of white smoke and debris comes racing down the street as people run and duck into buildings. At that moment, I wondered if this movie would have been as effective without 9/11. Probably not, at least not the opening half hour or so. Rob and his pals race all over the city, often in the wrong direction, since Rob (Michael Stahl-David) seems determined to find and rescue a woman who is not his girlfriend but he clearly loves. The opening 15-20 minutes are all party prep and actual party for Rob, who is on the eve of leaving for a fantastic job in Japan. But it's clear just from a few fleeting shots of him with Beth (Odette Yustman) that he's leaving his heart behind. Character development is kept brief but surprisingly still gets the general feel for these young, good-looking folks who have some degree of bravery between them. But who cares about characters? You want monsters. Do you get to see the CLOVERFIELD monster in this supposedly "found" footage that has a nice Department of Defense stamp on the front end of it? You bet. But you know what? I liked the film better when you were only getting glimpses of the enormous creature. What's cool about the monster reveal is that this is nuttiest beast every created for film. And as you see pieces of it in the beginning of the film, your brain is working overtime to assemble something that your databank simply has no reference point for. Was that a tail or a tentacle? Is that a mouth or an elbow? You just can't tell. Much like the creature in THE HOST, the CLOVERFIELD monster is a bizarre and exquisite mash-up of parts, appendages, orifices and weird little things flaking off its body. Only this monster is even more impossible to conceive, even when you see it all in one shot. What you're looking at quite simply registers in your brain as an abomination. So does the shaky, hand-held camera work make you a woozy? It might. And if you know that about yourself, you probably will hate this movie. Get over it. Director Matt Reeves has a fantastic sense of what a person with video camera would do in these unchartered circumstances; and sometimes a person will put down the camera or turn it upside down, or run as fast as he can not caring whether the shot is steady. The visual style here is frenzied, chaotic and utterly authentic, but somehow it still gives us all the information we need (although maybe not everything we want) to get to the next scene. CLOVERFIELD is also a deeply emotional experience. People in Rob's life die, sometimes horribly, and there's almost no time to process these losses and still concentrate on survival. This is filmmaking at its most primal, but there's a level of sophistication at work here that I admired tremendously. But forgetting all the deep analysis and self-reflection, CLOVERFIELD, at its core, is a lightning-strike awesome monster movie. It comes and goes before you even hear the thunder, but once you hear it, you know you're doomed. You really have no idea what you're in for. Capone
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