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Cloverfield (DVD)

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Cloverfield DVD review (click for larger imageReviewed by Uncle Creepy

Starring Odette Yustman, Lizzy Caplan, Mike Vogel, Jessica Lucas, Michael Stahl-David, T.J. Miller, Clovey

Directed by Matt Reeves

Distributed by Paramount Home Entertainment


Thank god for international travel! Producer J.J. Abrams happened to be in a Japanese toy store looking at Godzilla dolls when it occurred to him that Big G was their national monster! Wouldn’t it be cool it the States had one as well? From there the wheels started turning and Clovey was born. What followed was a kickass trailer that told us nothing and led to Internet speculation that would spread like a California wildfire! Was this a new Godzilla movie? Was it a Voltron(!) movie? Was it a movie called Cheese? For a while all we had was a date — 1.18.08. Thankfully it wasn’t long before pieces of the puzzle began revealing themselves, and one of the best giant monster (or Kaiju) movies ever made was unleashed on Western audiences with great ferocity. The film, Cloverfield as it was eventually titled, opened wide in January and set a box office record for that month. Could its DVD cousin be poised to clean up the cash again? Are there any more clues about what the monster is (or was) on the DVD? Sit back, kids, because Clovey is about to start its rampage anew!

Cloverfield DVD review (click for larger imageRob (Stahl-David) had an amazing future planned. He was headed to Japan to start a new gig that would set him on the road to living comfortably. Too bad he’d have to leave all his friends, his brother, and his long-time love interest (with whom he’d finally gotten into the sack) behind. The movie centers on the night of his going-away party. His best friend Hud (Miller) has been given the job of recording testimonials for Rob so he can relive the memory of this night via home video. Would he want to remember though? Going-away parties are notoriously awkward, and this one was no exception until … the ground shakes, the lights go out, and New York City starts screaming while crumbling. What’s the cause of all this ruckus? A three-hundred-foot creature that’s packing not only lots of bite, but also hundreds of smaller blood-hungry parasites. Before you know it, we’re embroiled in some good old fashioned military vs. monster action, all shot cinéma-vérité style!

What we have here is essentially Godzilla meets The Blair Witch. We follow our heroes as they (sometimes) narrowly escape creature encounters from the lens of Hud’s camera, and the results are incredible to say the least. Be warned, though. Many folks without their sea legs have gotten sick due to the film’s run-and-gun style, even folks who endured similar camera techniques in Blair. Hopefully on the smaller screen motion sickness won’t be as much of a problem as it was in theatres. You should at least try to make it through because Cloverfield is nothing short of a spectacle. A fast and furious thrill ride through a monster-laden battlefield. There were, however, a couple of bumps in the mostly smooth road for me. For instance, some of the characters’ motivations seemed a bit daft. Doing something for love is one thing; doing said something while a giant pissed-off monster is riding up your ass bringing buildings crashing down around you is a whole different story! Also, there are a few false notes hit here and there that briefly take the viewer out of the experience. Despite these minor shortcomings Cloverfield is sitting high up on my year-end best of list and is as close to perfect as it gets. It’s nothing short of a love letter to the Kaiju films we all grew up watching and adoring.

Cloverfield DVD review (click for larger imageI want more. Much more. And this DVD does a good job of fleshing out what it took to bring this ambitious project to fruition. What it doesn’t do is further along any lingering speculation about the creature or the events of the film. Wondering what that was at the very end that splashed into the water to the left of the boat in Coney Island? Keep wondering as it’s not addressed even in the commentary. I guess Abrams and Reeves decided to keep things a mystery. It’s more fun that way anyhow. For the keen-eyed viewer there are a few easter eggs to be found on the DVD and even within the film itself (i.e., still shots of some great movies like the original King Kong, Them!, and The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms are there to be seen during Cloverfield in subliminal penile Fight Club style so have your DVD remotes ready if you wanna catch them).

Them! (00:24.08)
The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (00:45.29)
King Kong (1:06.55)

Now then, on to the special features. The DVD is pretty stacked but not as packing as I’m sure some folks (myself included) would have liked. After a lively and engaging commentary with director Matt Reeves, the festivities are kicked off with the nearly thirty-minute featurette Document 01.18.08: The Making of Cloverfield. Here we are treated to a genuinely interesting making-of that covers the genesis of the idea, how the cast themselves were kept in the dark, and of course all that crazy speculation while also shedding some light on the filming of some of the flick’s amazing set pieces. If you’re a fan, this is your hot yet brief ticket for some behind-the-scenes goodness. From there we get about six minutes with lead creature designer Neville Page on the look and plight of Clovey called I Saw It! It’s Alive! It’s Huge! Apparently the monster, even at three hundred feet tall, was still supposed to be a newborn (I’d hate to see the adult) that was thrown into a foreign world and then attacked. His roars were to be not those of anger, but of fright. Calling out to its mother if you will. This is a really cool idea though it didn’t convey well on screen. Nice to know though. Kind of puts a different slant on things. You can almost empathize with the creature. Almost.

Cloverfield DVD review (click for larger imageNext up we have a twenty-three-minute look at the film’s visual F/X, which is exactly what it says that it is; a quick four minute gag-reel; and then it was time for the moment I’ve been anticipating … the deleted scenes and alternate endings! Color me disappointed. The new scenes and endings add nothing to the film itself and, truth be told, were wisely excised. The four deleted scenes are about four minutes long combined, and the endings are almost the same except for the last few moments of each. Sorry, folks, but there’s nothing to see here. Man, what a letdown!

So there you have it — the skinny on the home video release of one of the most anticipated films of the year! Did it live up to its hype? For me I’d say yes. It gave me every single thing that I could have wanted from it and more. It’s good to see monster movies back on the map! It’s especially good when the environments on said map are nothing but heaps of smoldering rubble and dust with giant footprints in them. Here’s hoping that mama hears her baby’s call!

Special Features

  • Commentary with director Matt Reeves
  • Document 01.18.08: The Making of Cloverfield featurette
  • Cloverfield Visual Effects featurette
  • I Saw It! It’s Alive! It’s Huge! featurette
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Alternate Endings
  • Clover Fun outtakes reel

    Film:

    4 1/2 out of 5

    Special Features:

    4 out of 5

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    Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 148 – Inside (2017 Remake)

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    We’ve all heard the old saying, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Well, I’m here to tell you that’s only partially true. It seems there is a third certainty that had been omitted from the original quote, “It is certain, if you enjoy a movie, at some point someone will remake that movie.” Now is the time when one of my favorite movies gets reimagined, “for an American audience”.

    In the late 2000’s an explosion of “French extreme” horror films was released. Martyrs and or High Tension can often be found on any number of lists of the “most fucked up horror movies ever”. Unfortunately, the vastly superior Inside is often forgotten (as well as Frontier(s), but that’s a whole ‘nother rant). Now, ten years after it’s initial release, Inside has been Americanized. Don’t worry, we watched it so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

    Mommy says you’re not dead. Is that true? It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 148!

    If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

    The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

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    Totem Review – It’s Not Always A Bad Thing To Look Up From The Bottom Level, If You Like That View

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    Starring Kerris Dorsey, James Tupper, Ahna O’Reilly

    Directed by Marcel Sarmiento


    Following the untimely death of a family’s matriarchal figure, a young woman finds out that managing to hold all of the pieces in place becomes increasingly more difficult when otherworldly infiltrators make their presence felt. We’re going to have to work our way up this Totem, as

    17 year old Kellie is the leading lady of the home following the passing of her mother Lexy, and with a needy father and tiny tot of a baby sister, she still keeps things in working order, regardless of the rather large hole that’s been left in the dynamic due to the death. Kellie’s dad after a while decides to ask his lady-friend to move in with the family, so that everyone can move onto a more peaceful existence…yeah, because those types of instances always seem to work seamlessly. As fate would have it, Kellie’s sense of pride is now taking a beating with the new woman in the mix, and her little sister’s new “visitor” is even more disturbed by this intruder – only question is, exactly who is this supernatural pal of sorts? Is it the spirit of their dead mother standing by to keep watch over the family, or is it something that’s found its way to this group, and has much more evil intentions at hand?

    What works here is the context of something innately malicious that has found its way into the home – there are only a couple moments that come off as unsettling, but the notion of having to weave through more than half the film acting as a sullen-teen drama is rather painful. The presentation of the “broken family” is one that’s been done to death, and with better results overall, and that’s not to say that the movie is a complete loss, it just takes far too much weeding through at times stale performances and even more stagnant pacing to get to a moderately decent late-stage conclusion to the film. Under the direction of Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl), I’d truly hoped for something a bit more along the lines of a disturbing project such as that one, but the only thing disturbing was the time I’d invested in checking this one out. My best advice is to tune into the Lifetime channel if you want a sulky teen-melodrama with a tinge of horror, or you could simply jump into this one and work your way up…but it’s a LONG way to the top.

    • Film
    2.0

    Summary

    Sulky, moody, and ridden with teen-angst buried in the middle of a supernatural mystery – SOUNDS like a decent premise, doesn’t it?

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    IAMX’s Alive in New Light Review – A Dark, Hypnotic, and Stunning Musical Endeavor

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    Recording eight albums is an achievement no matter the artist, group, or band. This is especially true for Chris Corner’s IAMX, his solo project after the trip hop group Sneaker Pimps, which has enchanted listeners since 2004’s Kiss + Swallow with its dark electronic aesthetic. There’s something fascinating about the music Corner puts out as IAMX. Perhaps it’s the underlying melancholy that seems to pervade the music, almost certainly a result of the musician’s battle with depression and chronic insomnia [Source]. Perhaps it’s the unexpected melodies that reveal themselves with each new measure. Whatever it is, IAMX’s music is a constant delight.

    On Alive in New Light, Corner reveals that his eighth album was a product he created as a way of “…breaking free from demons that have long plagued him,” per an official press release. Strangely enough, this uplifting attitude may easily be overlooked but repeat listens unveil a sense of hope and wonder that are simply breathtaking. The title track echoes with almost angelic choir pads that positively shine as Corner exultingly cries in a shimmering falsetto, “I’m alive in new light!” This comes after the Depeche Mode-esque “Stardust”, which offers the first collaboration with Kat Von D, whose pure voice is a beautiful addition to the pulsating track.

    The third track, “Break The Chains”, has an opening that immediately called to mind Birds of Tokyo’s “Discoloured”, which is meant as a compliment. It’s followed by the Nine Inch Nails influenced “Body Politics”, which meshes Corner’s crooning vocals with a 90’s industrial backdrop. “Exit” has an almost sinister progression lurking in the background that builds to an aggressive, in-your-face third act. The cinematic Middle Eastern flairs of “Stalker” mutate effortlessly into a heartbeat pulse that features back-and-forth vocals between Corner and Von D. The haunted circus vibe that permeates through “Big Man” is mirrored by its playful gothic aura, ghostly “oohs” and “aahs” sprinkled carefully here and there.

    While the album has been a delight up to this point, it’s the final two tracks that took my breath away and left me stunned. “Mile Deep Hollow” builds layer after layer while Corner passionately cries out, “So thank you/you need to know/that you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow/and I love you/you brought me home/because you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow.” The way the song’s melodies back these wonderfully uplifting lyrics feels grand and epic, as though a journey is coming to an end, which is where “The Power and the Glory” comes in. Far more subdued, it’s a beautiful song that feels almost like a religious experience, a hymn of a soul that is desperate to claw its way to salvation and escape a life of pain and darkness.

    What makes Alive in New Light so wonderful is how much there is to experience. I got the album and listened to it no less than five times in a row without pause. I simply couldn’t turn it off because each return revealed something new in the music. Corner also makes fantastic use of Von D’s vocals, carefully placing them so as to make them a treat and not a commonplace certainty.

    While some may be disappointed that there are only nine tracks, each of the songs is carefully and meticulously crafted to be as powerful and meaningful as possible. It really is a stunning accomplishment and I’m nothing short of blown away by how masterfully Alive in New Light plays out.

    • Alive in New Light
    5.0

    Summary

    IAMX’s Alive in New Light is a triumph of music. Full of beauty and confidence, it doesn’t forget the foundation that fans have come to know and love for over a decade but instead embraces that comfortable darkness with open arms. Corner states that this album was a way to break free from his demons. It certainly feels like he’s made peace with them.

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    User Rating 5 (2 votes)
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