Michael Scott

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10 Cloverfield Lane

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Movie: :3.5stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :5stars:
Extras: :2stars:
Final Score: :4stars:



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Movie

10 Cloverfield Lane is basically J.J. Abrams spiritual successor to his 2008 film Cloverfield, but with a strange new coating over the old monster plot line. Instead of being a shaky cam’d film about a giant monster, or alien, terrorizing the city as a bunch of teens scream and run away, we have a strangely hypnotic paranoia thriller that capitalizes on the LACK of knowledge about what’s going on in the outside world. However this compartmentalization of information comes at a price, as the first 2 acts of the film keep so little of the supernatural, or extraterrestrial, that by the time the shocking “reveal” happens we’re sitting there going “wait? This just feels a bit awkward”. 10 Cloverfield Lane does a FANTASTIC job with the first two acts, and they are so rightfully praised that it sort of makes up for the weakness in the third act, despite my critical mind going haywire over the already suspected ending.

We had already known by the name alone, as well as J.J. Abrams stating this was sort of a spiritual successor to his 2008 flick, Cloverfield, that there were be the monsters in the film. We just didn’t know WHEN that would happen. Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is on the road after an argument with her boyfriend, only to be run off the road and into a horrible accident. Coming to in the bottom of what appears to be some sort of cement bunker, Michelle realizes that not only is she not in her car, but she is chained to the wall by a crazed doomsday prepper named Howard (John Goodman). Howard informs her that the he witnessed an attack outside and that he barely made it in to the shelter in time with her body that he found on the side of the road. Naturally suspicious, Michelle tries to escape from Howard time and time again, only to have the gruff man restrain her once more.

Interestingly enough, Michelle is not the ONLY waif that Howard picked up, as the contractor who helped BUILD the doomsday shelter that they’re in, Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.) is there and is able to corroborate his story about some sort of attack (combined with seeing the rotting corpses of farm animals just outside the bunker window). However things are not ALL hunky dory, even after that revelation. Howard eccentricities seems to belie a darker secret underneath. Something that he’s been hiding from them the whole time, exasperated by the fact that he controls every aspect of their life and goes into a rage every time they make even the slightest deviation from the plan. Desperate to get out from the man’s iron control, Emmett and Michelle come up with a plan that very well save them, or doom them if Howard ever finds out.
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The first 2 acts of 10 Cloverfield Lane are actually rather brilliant. The film has this sense of claustrophobia and tension that mimics those of your standard kidnapping thrillers. John Goodman is pure creepy as the sometimes sympathetic, sometimes domineering and evil Howard. Emmett and Michelle seems to have a bond over their captor, despite Emmett completely trusting him at the beginning. However that changes as new information is revealed and Howard’s wild mood swings seem just a bit different than your average kook. The third act of the film is where the film starts to fall apart as we have just spent a majority of the movie in what seems to be a conspiracy thriller with a kidnap angle. The whole plot points about Howard maybe killing a young girl, or his domineering nature, or even WHO he IS just gets wiped to the background once Michelle makes it topside.

I may be spoiling for some, but it was common knowledge that we were going to see a bit of an alien influence here, so I don’t feel so bad about revealing that YES we get to see a bit of the alien invaders, but that is where the movie falters. Now that Michelle realizes that Howard WASN’T lying, all of the tension and story buildup gets overshadowed by her trying to survive in a world with aliens. All of the questions raised in the bunker seem moot as the tone dramatically shifts to a sci-fi adventure that doesn’t seem to mesh well with the first two acts. With that being said, the first two acts are nothing short of enthralling, and even though the 3rd act falters, it doesn’t do so ENOUGH to where I just throw my hands up and say “wow, you just ruined the movie”! Rather it’s just a frustration and a bit of a letdown in the execution of the ending.




Rating:

Rated PG-13 for thematic material including frightening sequences of threat with some violence, and brief language




Video: :4.5stars:
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Like many films that were finished in 2K for the Blu-ray release, the 4K UHD version of
10 Cloverfield Lane shows a moderate improvement over the already great looking Blu-ray. Shot on Epic Red cameras for the most part, and finished in 2K, the Blu-ray was a real treat. The 4K UHD edition gives us crisper looking colors and fine details show noticeable improvement. Especially facial details and the edges of in focus items. Backgrounds show a nice uptick, and the use of HDR is quite pleasing. The main primary colors don’t show a dramatic improvement, but the backgrounds and color saturation is definitely improved. Look at the maroon and yellow looking “suit” that Michelle is wearing when she comes out of the bunker, and especially look at the surrounding burnt grass. It just looks much more vibrant and colorful overall. The film itself is mostly shot indoors with blue and amber alternating color grades, and these moments show the LEAST improvement, but overall the uptick in quality from the 1080p version to 2160p is worth it.





Audio: :5stars:
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Wowza! Simply WOWZA! Paramount’s Dolby Atmos track is a literal monster of an experience, with wide dynamic range that shifts from one spectrum to the other, and a wildly immersive experience. The film starts out quiet enough, but not 5 minutes into the film we have a scene that literally made me leap in my chair. I won’t spoil it, as it is an important moment in the film, but the sheer ferocity and suddenness of the explosive leap from whisper quiet to incredibly raucous is jaw dropping. What makes 10 Cloverfield’s sound design so appealing is the fact that it doesn’t keep up a bone tearing “action” experience the whole way. Large portions of the film are spent in relative quiet, with just the sounds of the dialog to keep the listener company. However those quiet moments can be disturbed at a moment’s notice with the sound of a helicopter roaring overhead, or the slam of a person’s fist against the glass door with a sense of incredible force and power. At the same time the little things make for an intensely enriching experience like the room filling music from Howard’s jukebox, or the rushing sound as Michelle makes her run for freedom near the end of the film. The heights and surrounds get a VERY active workout during those scenes, but know when to quiet down when the movie gets a bit more dialog heavy.






Extras: :2stars:
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• Audio Commentary by Director Dan Trachtenberg and Producer J.J. Abrams
• Cloverfield Too
• Bunker Mentality
• Duck and Cover
• Spin-Off
• Kelvin Optical
• Fine Tuned
• End of Story











Final Score: :4stars:


10 Cloverfield Lane seems to be one in hopefully several films that may take place independently within the Cloverfield universe (or in a parallel one), but I’m not sure how much audiences will be able to absorb if the series continues on like 10 Cloverfield Lane did. The first 2 acts of the film are fantastic as a character driven thriller, but the last act tries way too hard to cram too much sci-fi goodness into a short 20 minutes. In the end you feel a little bit cheated, especially with how well the buildup was with John Goodman’s character and Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Michelle. Still, it was entertaining up until that last eye rolling 30 minute period, and still a very entertaining sci-fi/thriller. Audio and video are simply outstanding, and while the extras are uber slim, the package is still impressive enough to make for a solid watch. As for the upgrade from Blu-ray to 4K? Well, the audio is the same stellar Atmos track from the Blu-ray, and the extras the same as well, but the video is definitely improved from the already great looking Blu-ray, making it a worthy addition to any 4K home theater lovers collection.






Technical Specifications:

Starring: John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr.
Directed by: Dan Trachtenberg
Written by: Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 HEVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (TrueHD 7.1 Core), French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Japanese DD 5.1
Studio: Paramount
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 103 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: January 23rd, 2018
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Recommendation: Solid Watch

 
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tripplej

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Thanks for the review. Greatly enjoyed this movie.
 

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On the list. Thanks for the review Mike!
 

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Ended up pulling the cord on a BD version... the triple-the-price 4K couldn't be justified for this title. Look forward to seeing it.
 

Michael Scott

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tsk tsk Todd. you know the pattern. Wait a few weeks to a few months and they go on super sale.. Catalog titles always follow this pattern (unless it's Pacific Rim... Warner has been holding that title price hostage since it came out, and it's demo worthy)
 

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In that case, you need to wait a few weeks to a few months to publish these reviews! They're like a drug... for buying!
 
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Michael Scott

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This was an odd movie and I actually enjoyed it. It has several "wife jump moments" as I call them as my wife grabbed my arm on a few of the scenes LOL
 

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In that case, you need to wait a few weeks to a few months to publish these reviews! Their like a drug... for buying!
Sheesh, you took the words right out of my mouth! This is me!
 

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Every time a hot new title posts I have this "Oh sweet!!!!" moment, quickly followed by an "OH NO!!!!!!"
 

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Alright alright... watched it.

REFERENCE AUDIO ALERT. Wow did this film have my home theater singing... bass was off the chains. Dialog, perfect! Atmos material... WOW!

The story had me right up until the explosive cocktail. And to be honest, if I had watched this flick on an airplane with a pair of earbuds, I think I would have had a ho-hum reaction to the overall film. But, this baby is fantastic home theater fodder. A+
 

Michael Scott

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lol, yup, the audio mix is INSANE. One of my favorite. And yeah, that third act is a little wonky, I had the same criticisms
 
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