"Cloverfield" Review - A Monster Hit!

"Cloverfield" is the latest film from Producer J.J. Abrams, creator of "Lost", and director of Mission Impossible III, as well as the much anticipated new "Star Trek" movie. The film is directed by Matt Reeves and is written by Drew Goddard.

The movie stars newcomer (Michael Stahl-David) as a yuppie about to move to Japan with a big promotion. His friends throw him a going away party where we get to meet the rest of the small cast. At the party, we discover David has had "secret" sex with a long time girl friend (Odette Yustman), but is now leaving her to pursue his corporate dream overseas. When David realizes that she is truly the woman of his dreams and he's made a huge mistake, it's too late, as the city suddenly comes under attack by an unseen force.

The rest of the cast are mostly unknown television actors as well. Jessica Lucas is their best friend who tags along to offer moral support throught the mayhem.
Lizzy Caplan and T.J. Miller are friends three and four respectively, and it is Miller who is shooting the "Live" footage through his friends video camera. We barely see Miller's face on screen, since it's his POV (point of view) through the camera that the movie takes place.

The film is shot entirely with a hand held camera which is really annoying in the beginning of the movie. The camera is jittery and constantly moving, which gives the appearance of someone's amateur home movie. Even though we know we are looking at the camera's POV, it gets monotonous. That all quickly changes once the monster attacks. Once the action starts, the hand held footage puts us right in the middle of the malay and doesn't let up until the film ends.

There is some minor editing to move the action forward, but it's mostly shot in "real time", which makes the audience feel as though we are right there as New York City is being destroyed around us. The fact that the destruction takes place close to "ground zero", you can't help but feel at times as though this could be a terrorist attack. When the military comes in with guns blazing, it is truly terrifying.

There are many unanswered questions in the film. Who is the monster? Where did it come from? Why is it attacking Manhattan? The filmmakers never tell us, but it really doesn't matter. You get so caught up in the in-your-face-action, it literally feels like you are right in the middle of Armageddon. You no longer care about any questions or answers, you are just hanging on to the wild rollercoaster for the thrilling ride.

As I left the theater, I felt as though I just survived the attack myself. There is almost a feeling of relief knowing that what I just experienced was only a movie. Never have I been so caught up in the moment and the action of a film to where I was physically affected. It's "Blair Witch" with a budget, good acting and great effects.

This is great date movie, because at the end, not only are you both ready for a stiff drink, you will be comforting each other that (unlike some of the characters in the film), you will both live to see another day.

For more information on the film got the official website at http://www.cloverfieldmovie.com

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