“10 Cloverfield Lane” review

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I was not a big fan of Cloverfield (2008) when I first saw it (and I’ve never seen it since, so I don’t know if I’d like it now..), so when I heard about this movie, I was not very hyped. But I soon realized that this movie had almost nothing to do with Cloverfield. If you’re thinking you’ll be seeing a sequel or prequel or anything like that, you might be disappointed. First of, the styles are very different; for example, this one is not filmed with a hand-held camera, which already brings a very different vibe to the film. Plus, the story itself is nothing like the first movie. Besides sharing a same Universe, a same world, these two movies don’t have a lot in common. 10 Cloverfield Lane is not a monster movie, nor a horror movie, but a really convincing thriller. I was on the edge of my seat most of the movie.

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John Goodman gives an amazing performance as Howard, a survivalist man who may or may not be right about what’s going on outside the bunker. Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays Michelle, a young woman who, after a car accident, wakes up in said bunker. Howard keeps her captive, saying that what’s going on outside is too dangerous, even deadly. The relationship between these two characters was one of the bests I’ve seen in a movie this year. I think the actors portrayed with brilliance a complicated relationship that could have seemed fake performed by others. There is also a third character, Emmett, played by John Gallagher Jr. I liked his performance better than in Hush (2016) (“Hush” review), but he was still the least convincing character, according to me.

The atmosphere of the movie is amazing. Just like Michelle, you are uncertain at times whether you should believe Howard or not. We are scared of him, but at the same time, he seems “nice” enough for us to trust him. I know it barely makes sense, but if you saw the movie, you might understand my point. You really wish Michelle could get out of there, but would it truly be safer? You can feel the tension that is going on between her and Howard through the whole movie, and it just sets a greatly uncomfortable vibe.

I also loved that Michelle was not portrayed as a dumb horror/thriller movie cliché character. Unlike other suspenseful movies, I was actually rooting for her the whole time. Never did I think “she shouldn’t have done that, that was really stupid”. I think she reacted the way most of us would in a similar situation.

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This movie is a lot about the characters; we learn a lot about them in different ways, sometimes very subtly. Michelle and Howard’s character arcs were pretty interesting and well-written, but Emmett’s seemed kind of forced. It feels as if they did not know what they wanted him to be like, so his backstory was rushed. At one point in the movie, it becomes clear that Emmett’s character was written purely to give us another example or Howard’s character. Yes, it is an important element of the story, but it would have had even more of an impact if we actually knew Emmett like the others.

All in all, don’t expect this movie to be anything like Cloverfield, otherwise you might not enjoy it as much. I think it is definitely worth a watch; it is a very interesting and entertaining movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

10 Cloverfield Lane: A-

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“The Nice Guys” review

When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I did not think I would love it as much as I did. I thought it would be a fun movie, but not that fun. And I never thought Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe could have such good chemistry.

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If you loved Shane Black’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), you’re probably going to love this movie too. You easily recognize the director’s style, even though it evolved and changed a little bit through the years. The story is intriguing and quite dark, yet very funny. Holland March (Gosling) and Jackson Healy (Crowe) team up to solve the mystery of a young woman’s disappearance, who is herself involved in a much bigger story. March’s daughter is also quite an important character and is actually very helpful. It has a lot of buddy cop film characteristics, but remains original and interesting. The characters are a lot of fun too. Healy is a tough guy who is mainly hired to beat up people and March is a private investigator who kinda sucks at his job right now. They work so well together, their relationship really does feel genuine.

The movie is also very well written. Probably one of the best written movies I’ve seen in a while. It’s hilarious and authentic and dares to remind us that a movie doesn’t have to be filled with CGI and special effects to be good. It focuses on the intrigue and the characters, something many movies have a hard time to do today. Plus, the movie looks amazing. The colours, the light, the camera work… Everything looks absolutely beautiful.

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I’m not saying this movie is perfect, but it is great. And honestly, right now, I can’t find anything wrong with it. I’m sure there are a few things I’d like to change, but they seem so minor I can’t even write about them.

In the end, if you love funny movies or movies in general, you should definitely check it out. Don’t spend your money on the next Alice in Wonderland movie, which probably is as deceiving as the first one, and go see The Nice Guys instead.

The Nice Guys: A

“Hush” review

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Hush is a movie written and directed by Mike Flanagan and was distributed by Netflix. I honestly wasn’t expecting much of the movie, but I was a little bit surprised.

Maddie (Kate Siegel) is a deaf writer, who lives in a cottage in the woods. One night, as she is working on the ending of her new book, a masked man (John Gallagher Jr) starts to stalk and terrorize her. The premise of the movie might sound similar to the one of Wait Until Dark, a 1967 movie directed by Terence Young and staring Audrey Hepburn. I guess Hush was probably inspired by it to some extent, but it still was pretty entertaining. I found the suspense quite good; since the main character is deaf, we sometimes “become” deaf with her. What I mean here is that sometimes the sound cuts off and just like her, we don’t hear what is going on. I thought this brought something very interesting to the movie. I also love how minimalist the movie was; it all takes place in the same location and we only see 5 characters throughout the whole movie (including one we only see on a computer screen). I also quite enjoyed a little sequence near the end, which I do not want to spoil so here: Spoiler Alert – I liked the sequence where she tries to figure out every outcome possible, quite like when she writes many different endings for her book. I’m not usually a big fan of similar sequences, but I did not mind this one. End of spoiler (that might not have been a spoiler but hey whatevs right).

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Something I did not really like was that the bad guy takes off his mask too soon. I know it sounds silly, but I thought he was much scarier with his mask on, more mysterious. None of the actors were excellent, but they were good enough for their performances to be believable. For example,  John Gallagher Jr’s acting was not always on point; I sometimes didn’t find him threatening when he should have been. Maybe if he had kept his mask on longer, I’d have been more scared. However, Kate Siegel’s performance was better. I got attached to her character and really wanted her to win.

I’ve always loved movies with home invasions, because they usually terrify me. I have no idea how I’d react if someone attacked me in my own house. This movie did not terrify me, but I found it entertaining. Nothing in this movie is mind-blowing, but it is still very enjoyable. I probably will not watch it again, but I don’t regret seeing it. I think it was a good “realistic” horror/thriller movie and it would definitely be fun to watch with friends at a sleepover or something.

Hush: B

“Hell and Back” review

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I love stop motion, I love monsters and I love dark comedies. But I didn’t like Hell and Back.

Hell and Back is a 2015 movie directed by Tom Gianas and Ross Shuman. When I first heard about this movie, I was pretty excited; it seemed to have everything I like. And Susan Sarandon is in it. As I was writing I love stop motion animation, I realized I had not watched this movie yet, so I did. And I ended up being pretty disappointed. I knew, in the first 5 minutes, that I was not going to like this movie.

I have to admit, I really enjoyed the animation. The characters looked great and original. I loved the colours too. The sets looked amazing and the demons looked pretty damned cool (pun slightly intended). Judging only on how the movie looks, I’d give it something near a full mark. I also enjoyed the music throughout most of the movie. But unfortunately, the movie also has a script. The premise of the story is quite fun; Remy (Nick Swardson) and his friends Augie (T.J. Miller) and Curt (Rob Riggle) work in an amusement park that is clearly dying out, when Remy finds a book with a picture of the Devil (Bob Odenkirk). But it is no ordinary picture; it is crying. After breaking a blood oath he made on the book, Curt is sucked into Hell and Remy and Augie decide to go and save him. The whole “finding a cursed book” thing is not the most original premise ever, but it could have been good. Plus, the blood oath Curt breaks is pretty silly, which is probably the only thing I found amusing.

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Hell and Back is trying to be funny but it does not quite succeeds. Most of the jokes are racist or sexist and just plain bad. And most of them are quite repetitive. It seems like it’s trying really hard to have a South Park kind of vibe, by swearing a lot and trying to be controversial, but once again, it fails. South Park is satire, Hell and Back wants to be but ends up being kind of offensive instead. There were a few little moments that made me giggle, but nothing important enough to redeem the whole movie. The other times I giggled were because I thought the dialogue was really bad. Had the movie been well-written and actually funny, it could have been a good, enjoyable movie. Sadly, it seems like the writers did not put much effort into it. All the characters were incredibly annoying (except maybe the Devil, I quite liked him sometimes) and most of them were very flat, with absolutely no development whatsoever.

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In order to write a proper review, I wanted to watch the movie until the end, but it was so difficult! I kept being distracted by anything else. I couldn’t concentrate on the movie; it was that bad. Not “so bad it’s good”, like Tommy Wiseau’s The Room (2003), but just bad. Anyway, if you want to check it out for the animation, go ahead, it is the only thing worth it in the movie. Otherwise, you can avoid this movie and won’t be missing anything.

Hell and Back: C-