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Breath of fresh air
It was nice to finally watch movie that didn't seem like anything I'd ever seen before. This, much like Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" and "Children of Men", completely immerses you in this incredible situation with absolutely no knowledge to comfort you. It's very disorienting, which adds to the experience; you never figure out what the hell is going on but you're so into survival that you put it past you. You're placed with a bunch of characters whom you get to know and eventually must join in their frenzied search for a friend while being subjected to some horrifying imagery and new threats.
The effects look great and realistic thanks to the hand-held camera, which isn't too bad-looking if you manage to get a seat further from the screen. The filmmakers came up with some really great creature designs that were menacing yet very much original. If you're bound to be upset over seeing a movie with a lack of music, then stay for the credits, during which a fantastic suite of music composed by Michael Giacchino titled "Roar! (Cloverfield Theme)" plays.
All in all, a fantastic time at the movies. A little more background on the monster would be nice, though the absence of this information is intentional. Everyone in the theater was rooting for a sequel; maybe a second set of footage is found elsewhere? Or perhaps there is more the the viral marketing -- what exactly were Slusho and Tagruato? Also be prepared to suspend some disbelief, but considering the movie is about a monster destroying New York City, that shouldn't be too difficult.
My Name Is Earl (2005)
Funny and full of heart
Several things about this show. One: great cast. Jason Lee is always amazing, and he's well-complimented by Ethan Suplee, Nadine Velasquez, Jaime Pressley and the little-seen yet always-funny Eddie Steeples. Two: the humor. The writing is fantastic and smart, depicting the low-class in a more intelligent way. Three: the heart. Out of the so-far two episodes, each one has left you feeling good at the end that there's at least one fictional character who's out to do the best he can to improve the world. It even inspires someone (specifically in this case, me) to go out and do good things. This show is great, and hopefully Earl's list won't end too soon.
War of the Worlds (2005)
Scary, Intense, Thrilling!
Wow, Spielberg really let loose and did not hold back with this film. It really defines "thriller" whilst being a fun and visually appealing summer action movie. The "tripods" are really done justice from the book, and H.G. Wells would have been proud. Then there are homages to the 1953 film which fit in quite well. And after that are the modifications made to make the film original and modern. Everything--acting, directing, writing, CG, music--comes together perfectly. Forget the whole recent Tom Cruise deal, he pulls through in the role and makes you forget what's going on in the real world. As for Spielberg, this is probably one of his most frightening movies ever, arguably surpassing "Jaws." The guy is so brilliant it can't even be fully explained. Many will say that they were unimpressed with the CG because the movie was so rushed, but I am amazed at how great it was especially considering the timing. This movie is incredible, and a summer movie that is not to be missed.
Batman Begins (2005)
Going psychological AGAIN
This right here comes from a fan of movies who doesn't read comics but appreciated comic book movies.
The first two Batman movies were much more fun than this one. Sure, this one went in-depth and was grittier, but that's what they're doing with all the adaptations these days. The Hulk movie: let's make it psychological! War of the Worlds: how does this alien invasion affect the mind? (though I am confident the movie will be incredible, Spielberg, Cruise and Koepp swore off action clichés, which always make for the coolest movies. Some mindless destruction would have been cool for this flick.) Batman Begins: let's find out what drove him to be like this! Movies like Spider-Man and the original Batman were there to entertain and present a good story with more action time and less psyche time. They were smart with Tim Burton's Batman, right off the bat (pun intended) Batman is there and fighting crime. I was somewhat bored until Batman finally showed up after what seemed like and probably was an hour of getting to the Dark Knight. The action was pretty good, but it just doesn't beat that of the '90s when they didn't have so many cuts and shaky cameras. My major complaint was the music by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard. It was generic and droning with a very weak theme that short changed Batman himself. Danny Elfman's theme ran through my head during the entire movie and I kept wishing it was coming from the theater speakers rather than the disorganized electronic/brass cacophony that was playing. I suppose my money was well-spent, but I wouldn't spend it to go for a second run.
Better than Hollywood
Why can't something like this be in theaters? Supervolcano was better than most disaster movies out there. It certainly beat out Dante's Peak and Volcano due to its scientific accuracy and the fact that it can actually happen. The visual effects were outstandingly realistic. "10.5" and "The Core" looked like low-budget indie films compared to Supervolcano. Plus, it was filmed like a real movie and not in that annoying "24" style. The performances were very convincing and there was a connection felt to the characters. Bring on the movies, Discovery Channel! Documentaries are no longer the best thing you have going for you now, so don't stop!