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Blu-ray Review: 10 Cloverfield Lane

June 10, 2016 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
10 Cloverfield Lane
Not how you wanna wake up.

It seems as though any time a moderately successful IP hits Hollywood it invariably becomes a matter of not if, but when a sequel will follow. Such has been the case with Cloverfield, a “found-footage” monster movie from producer J.J. Abrams during the height of Lost, which was a massive box office success and introduced more than enough unique elements to create additional films.

Nearly eight years later, audiences were given 10 Cloverfield Lane, a film that isn’t a direct sequel but exists within the same universe. While it shares little common ground with its spiritual predecessor, the intense psychological thriller is actually a much better movie.

THE PLOT

After an unseen fight with her fiancé, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) leaves their New Orleans apartment and ends up in a car accident while driving through some very rural areas. She awakens disoriented to find herself chained up and with an IV drip in her arm. It’s here she meets Howard (John Goodman), who explains where she is, how she came to be there and, more importantly, what has happened above ground.

Michelle is skeptical of Howard’s story about a mysterious attack, though that softens a bit when she meets Emmitt (John Gallagher, Jr.), who voluntarily entered the shelter after witnessing something he struggles to explain. Still unconvinced, Michelle tries to escape, only to find a delirious woman with skin legions pounding on the outside of the shelter trying to get in.

This convinces Michelle that Howard is telling the truth, and, for a time, the three of them get along quite well inside the shelter. Soon, however, Michelle starts to suspect Howard may be as dangerous as whatever unknown threat is awaiting them above ground. That leaves her with two upsetting options: remain indebted to (and trapped with) Howard or escape and take her chances.

THE GOOD

There’s a strong narrative at work here, and that you’re only privy to the same information as Michelle instantly makes you sympathize with her. You literally never have a moment when you peek in to see what Howard or Emmitt are doing. The movie puts you with Michelle for the duration, and it’s incredibly effective in building tension and making your brain posit all kinds of theories.

Delivering on the strong script are three very good performances. Characters are subtle when they should be, tender when they should be, scared, angry and so on — it never feels like anyone stops being who they are for the convenience of a twist or a jump scare.

As good as all three of them are, though, Goodman is the show stealer. He’s so creepy and threatening, and yet at the same time he appears to have literally saved their lives by getting them in the shelter. He has light moments and shows tenderness at times, but you always feel like there’s tremendous anger bubbling just below the surface. It’s great.

While the movie’s final act doesn’t feature the same claustrophobic tension that some of the build does, it offers up some interesting twists that you probably won’t see coming while creating an entirely different type of anxiety for the audience to experience.

THE BAD

We didn’t find much to complain about. A few moments here and there missed the mark, but when the most notable item we could remember was a locked car in a situation in which you’d never lock a car, you know it’s a good movie.

THE BONUS FEATURES

It’s a little surprising there isn’t more on the bonus side with the various featurettes, which add up to less than an hour. Granted, we’d prefer that to meandering puff time fillers, and most of what is presented is worth a watch, but there’s nothing that warrants a second look.

OVERALL

10 Cloverfield Lane is one of the better films we’ve seen in 2016, and that it manages to create such a tension-filled ride while still managing to maintain a PG-13 rating is doubly impressive. It’s clever, well acted and does a great job of keeping you engaged until the credits roll.

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Blu-ray Review: 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

June 3, 2016 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
They find the defenses to be woefully inadequate, and on September 11 a group of militants storm the location and trap Stevens along with several others. Despite being rebuffed in their request to render aid, the group eventually dispatches to the diplomatic compound. While they’re able to help, casualties are suffered and the militants track them back to the CIA annex where a siege begins.
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Video Game Review: Hitman: Episode 3

June 2, 2016 | by Herija Green | Comments (0)
Having settled things in Sapienza, Agent 47 is off to Morocco in Episode 3: Marrakesh to take down two more targets. First up is Claus Strandberg, a Swedish-born banker that stole huge sums of money from the population but escaped custody and is now holed up in the Swiss embassy. Your other mark is General Zaydan, who engineered the escape and intends to use the chaos surrounding Strandberg to overthrow the current government.
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Blu-ray Review: Zoolander 2

May 30, 2016 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
Age hasn’t educated Derek or Hansel, and being dumb as rocks has its payoffs. There are several times during the movie when their stupidity elicited LOLs, which isn’t all that common when watching alone. The stuff when the two of them are trying to get their mojo back, complete with Hansel firing objects at Derek’s face, is great, and the ending scene is deliciously absurd. Oh, and the hippo.
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Video Game Review: Alienation

May 23, 2016 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
Aliens have come to Earth and are kicking some serious ass. In our desperation, humans have made robotic exo-suits to help turn the tide. That’s where you come in. You’ll pick between three character types (tank, saboteur or bio-specialist), each with unique base weapons and upgradeable skills, and jump into the fray in a last desperate attempt to save humanity.
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