Cloverfield

I love this J.J. Abrams produced movie because I am mean spirited.

It starts out with a bunch of young, attractive, New York 20-somethings having a party and complaining a little too much and having the bulls**t drama that 20-somethings hold so dear...all this, of course, in a very well decorated apartment. This sequence isn't very long but it feels like two hours.  One of the partygoers is the hippie from True Blood (Lizzy Caplan), who has made an art of being both ditzy and somehow intimidating.

Then a monster invades New York.

Not a brain surgeon in the bunch, as they all think heading to the roof is a good idea after what could have been an earthquake. But No! It gets worse! Explosions! Flaming Debris! Screaming! Fleeing! Poor decision making! Mutants! All of these American Apparel models are going to die!! Obviously, the party breaks up, and we follow a smaller group of people who decide to take Rob (Michael Stahl-David ) on his ill-advised plan: Cross the freshly-made downtown combat zone to see about a girl.

You probably already know that Cloverfield is a standard Monster-Invades-New-York scenario told from the perspective of everyone else. You know those guys on the boat that brought the thing, or the shady government organization that's known about it for years? Not them.

When is the government going to realize we wouldn't need universal health care if they'd just stop bringing ultra destructive monsters into our population centers?

It would also be easier to cover up, since everyone and their mother has a video-equipped cell phone these days. Imagine how much money it takes to police up and erase all that footage filmed in glorious Shake-o-Vision.

One of the silliest things about this movie is just how seriously screwed the main characters are and the decisions they make despite this. Prime example: there's a 30 story tall something trashing Manhattan, and one of three on screen characters decides he needs to  cross the newly made demilitarized zone for a girl he apparently slept with once. Once.

So they go there. They encounter trials and tribulations, like mutant snow crabs and whatever diseases they're carrying, and the 30-story 'something', and it's all pretty pulse pounding. The movie clocks in at a fat-free 85 minutes and barely leaves time to breathe.

Really, this movie gets everything right in terms of straight presentation, cinematography and style. Unlike a lot of other directors, Matt Reeves makes it a point to have almost no signature on his work when necessary, which lends a great deal of credibility to what's going on. Where John Woo has his doves and his fire, Tarantino has his feet and DePalma has misogyny, Mr. Reeves appears to have authenticity; he'll certainly be one to watch, with his remake of Let The Right One In (titled Let Me In ) coming soon.

That being said, you could really have a great time with this movie and any number of "documentary" style horror films with simple "WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT?!" humor.

Unborn, The

This is the sort of film that brings people together... in much the same way being held hostage does. The only way I was able to get through the movie was guffawing with good friends and complete strangers. At one point, a young man leaned forward and told me and my associates that, "Yo, Nigga is old"-and in light of the movie we were watching, it was a welcome change of pace.

The Unborn bites off far more than it can chew. With the line, "you must finish what began in Auschwitz," being the last written words of a Holocaust survivor to a doe-eye college student. Who, by the way, the film doesn't consider worth our time beyond shameful leering.

I found the co-opting of the Holocaust deeply offensive in this context, though I'm not sure why, and I wondered if anyone on the staff of the production was in position to say, "maybe we shouldn't make this movie." It's simple really, because all one has to be to think The Unborn was a bad idea is:

  1. Well-read
  2. Not a moron
  3. Some combination of one of those and Jewish.

Or, at least know one person who is Jewish, and ask them. Even then, I'm sure a local Rabbi would gladly tell you that you and your entire production company are about to make a serious error.

Almost as frustrating, this movie takes the male gaze to a whole new level by leering at this girl's cracks and assets like a strip-club talent scout at a high-school cheer-leading competition. I suppose her adolescent cuteness, barely-there derrière, and knock-kneed lankiness are the reason that no less than fourteen people die to save her from possession from a dybbuk, which is pretty much a demon that posses people (like Pazuzu in the Exorcist, but Jewish). Again, fourteen people die to protect this girl.

This whole film is completely terrible for just that reason. I like hot girls. Who doesn't like hot girlsOther girls like hot girls! But I will be damned-damned I tell you-if I think that I should throw away nearly over a dozen lives because someone is physically attractive.

Topping all this off is the main character, who after surviving this ordeal thanks to Stringer Bell (Elba) and Commissionr James Gordon (Oldman), gets a sonogram that proposes she is about to have undead demon spawn children-and she doesn't get a goddamned abortion.

What. The. Hell?

The one lesson any person with half a brain would have learned in this movie is that children are gateways of the devil. But noooooo, our heroine has to keep the baby, because. . . I actually have no idea. Her grandmother would have wanted it that way, I guess. A stupid ending to a stupid film.