Archive for January 19th, 2008

“The Cabin”: One Step Closer…

January 19, 2008

The Cabin

No, The Cabin isn’t a movie you can see at your local multiplex…yet. It’s a script, one you’ve probably never even heard of, even though you’re reading the screenwriter’s words right now. There is currently a small group of people that have had the pleasure of it being performed in a reading for them.

How long has it been? I could look to be certain but the first draft of this first screenplay I truly started in 2000, not counting the Punisher screenplay I wrote in High School or my first failed fantasy script in College which I still intend to rework. The Cabin came to me after a series of bad dreams. Leaving an image in my mind of a woman watching me from my closet that kept me awake at night for several months finally forcing my hand to the page. That and this idea that someone who thought they were a Father, never was. Somehow the two ideas married each other nicely. (more…)

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Reviewers Destroy the Fun of Cloverfield, a Critical Response

January 19, 2008

Cloverfield

There’s always a lot of talk over at Jim Emmerson’s: Scanners about the critic’s place in the world today. Do they have any power over the audiences of today or are they out of touch with the general movie going public? After having been proven wrong so many times I guess they decided to get their revenge. And in doing so ruined many of the surprises in one of the best advertised films in a long time.

If you haven’t seen the previews for Cloverfield then you’ve missed out on something incredible. Hand held home cameras and an attack on the Statue of Liberty that had everyone drooling during the trailer before Transformers this last summer. Now there has been a good 5 or 6 months of speculation as to what the heck took off Liberty’s head! No more can there be speculation thanks to our reviewers.

First there was Roger Ebert giving away the attacker of the film in his blurb above his review of Cloverfield, not even in the body of the review. (I vent at my other write up Roger Ebert Undermines Cloverfield’s Campaign.) He responded to an email of mine suggesting that he thought it was common knowledge now, pointing me to the IMDB tagline which refers to the attacker as a “monster”, but what kind of monster it doesn’t say. Even beyond that he goes to great lengths to describe images in the film that are much better experienced for the first time in the movie theatre. But it’s unfair to reprimand Ebert alone.

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Review of “Cloverfield”: It’s Not Donkey Kong Destroying the City

January 19, 2008

Cloverfield

In a movie like Cloverfield it doesn’t matter what’s attacking the city, though it certainly helps if its larger than life and terrifying. In the end it could be anything. What matters is whether or not you give a damn about the characters. On Christmas Day Aliens vs. Predator opened and I didn’t give a stitch about a single person in that film. It ruins the magic, destroys the imagination if we’re not dealing with believable characters. One never feels afraid.

Cloverfield spends some time smartly developing the characters up front and this time is wisely spent because we feel the ripples throughout the rest of the film allowing each situation they find themselves in to be much more involving. They aren’t the usual B-Grade characters you find in movies like this. They’re grounded in a reality most people can relate to.

These young adults are generally smart, have a sense of humor and are affected by decisions they have made or will make. Sex actually has real emotional consequences between two of the characters. And the actors are affable, lending each character a likability that helps later on when the tension is rising.

Rob Hawkins (Michael Stahl-David, who gives a particularly good performance) is leaving for Japan for a new job and his brother’s girlfriend Lily Ford (Jessica Lucas) has gathered a large group of people together to send him on his way: Rob’s brother Jason Hawkins (Mike Vogel) and Rob’s best friend Hud Platt (T.J. Miller) who ends up carrying the camera most of the film giving it the cinema verite look that drew people to the awful Blair Witch Project. Thankfully Cloverfield is more than just a gimmick.

Also along for the ride is Marlena Diamond (Lizzy Caplan also giving a performance that sticks long after the movie is over) who doesn’t look like she even wants to be at the party and probably ends up wishing she hadn’t, since she along with several of the other characters go on a mission to save Beth McIntyre (Odette Yustman) a girl who has made Rob’s life very complicated in recent weeks and will continue to make it even more so. But the mission is noble and you want them to succeed.

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