10 Cloverfield Lane – Dan Trachtenberg

10 Cloverfield Lane starring John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Photo Credit: Michele K. Short / Paramount Pictures

10 Cloverfield Lane starring John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
Photo Credit: Michele K. Short / Paramount Pictures

10 Cloverfield Lane may have nothing to do with J.J Abram’s original Cloverfield (2008), but it is one hell of a movie just the same.  It was released in March 2016 with virtually no build-up and no press. Produced by J.J Abrams (Star Trek, Star Wars: The Force Awakens), Directed by the unknown Dan Trachtenberg, and marketed as a “blood relative” to Cloverfield, 10 Cloverfield Lane has received a lot of praise so far and is definitely a good start to 2016.

There are three characters in this movie and the whole thing takes place in an elaborate underground bunker. While this may not sound exciting, the whole atmosphere and the constant state of anxiety will have your stomach in knots for just over an hour and 45 minutes. Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wakes up after a bad accident and finds herself locked in a bunker with no idea how she got there and why she is seemingly being held against her will. Howard (John Goodman) is the man keeping her there. He is quick to anger and his motives aren’t quite clear; there’s just something “off” about him and you know he can’t be trusted. Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.) is the third person in the bunker and is thankfully a little more light-hearted. As the movie progresses you find out a bit more about why they’re in the bunker, but you never really know until the very end. It’s an intense ride and a unique type of thriller that doesn’t come around very often. Avoid spoilers at all costs.

John Goodman’s performance in 10 Cloverfield Lane is superb and possibly a career best. He is easily the most terrifying part of the movie, which is certainly out of the ordinary for the man best known for The Big Lebowski and Rosanne. Some of his scenes will leave you wide-eyed in shock. The underlying sense of dread remains constant until the last few moments of the movie when all is revealed. People who are squeamish and quick to scare likely won’t enjoy themselves as much as those who prefer a good thriller. Calling 10 Cloverfield Lane a horror movie is a bit of a stretch, but there are certainly some elements of that genre present throughout the film. Thankfully the found-footage style of Cloverfield was abandoned for this movie, but it is filmed in a way that will make you feel cramped, like you’re with them breathing the same stale air in the bunker the whole time.

10 Cloverfield Lane has been in theatres for just under a month and has already racked in over $80M worldwide. Check out local listings to see it on the big screen before it’s too late.

Watch the official trailer here:

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens – J.J. Abrams

Star Wars: The Force Awakens starring Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Harrison Ford.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens starring Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Harrison Ford.

The force of nostalgia is strong with this one. It could possibly be the one time parents and grandparents appreciate a sci-fi film more than the kids; because it’s not just about the action, it’s about the feeling you get from seeing old friends again after spending more than 30 years apart. Although it’s true that Star Wars never really went away (since the 70’s it’s been an almost constant thing in our lives – the merchandise, the toys, the digital remastering, the re-releases, and of course the prequels), this new movie feels like a real homecoming.

People will be, and have been, flocking to Star Wars: The Force Awakens in droves since it was released in theatres on December 18, 2015. It’s everything that fans, both young and old, were waiting for. We can finally let go of Episodes I, II, and III and pretend they never happened at all; they have been replaced with a reboot that we all deserved and waited so long to see. All it took was a new director, producer, writer, a (mostly) new cast, better technology, and a couple hundred million dollars.

The newcomers to the series need to be applauded because they essentially carry the movie. Their lead roles in the film were kept secret (even from their parents) and the end result was pleasantly surprising. Both Daisy Ridley (Rey) and John Boyega (Finn) had not done anything of consequence up until this point and are well on their way to becoming stars. Their acting abilities are so far beyond anything that had been seen in Star Wars previously and it’s certainly a breath of very fresh air for the series that struggled in that department in the past. Other supporting actors like Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis), Domhnall Gleeson (About Time), and Adam Driver (This Is Where I Leave You) are all slightly more recognizable and accomplished actors and played their parts perfectly, especially the two villains. Oh, and you’ll fall in love with the new droid BB-8; it doesn’t say anything but it’s amazing how much can be conveyed with a few beeps and bops and a slight tilt of the head. Bringing back R2-D2, C-3PO, Chewbacca, Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) was icing on the cake and probably the best thing that J.J Abrams was able to accomplish early on with Episode VII.

The plot of the film isn’t overly complicated and thankfully doesn’t involve any council meetings or a senate. It is focused on finding the location of Luke Skywalker and defeating the evil Empire (once again) who have created yet another planet-destroying weapon. There are a few other side-plots where it helps to have seen Episodes IV to VI, but it remains something that can still be enjoyed by strangers to the galaxy.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the reason why people watch movies: entertainment, entertainment, entertainment. It simply doesn’t stop! At the end of the 135 minute runtime, you’ll likely find you didn’t want it to end at all. Lucky for you though, the next movie is already filming.

With all the terrible things going on in the world today and with tragic headlines only a click away, Star Wars: The Force Awakens offers the chance to escape to a galaxy far, far away. It won’t change anything, but it’ll help you forget as you’re immersed in a world where evil is literally black and white and the good guys always win.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is now playing in theatres everywhere.

Watch the official trailer here: