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Saturday, January 19, 2008

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Posted By on Sat, Jan 19, 2008 at 1:25 PM

MOVIEGOER REVIEW: CLOVERFIELD

J.J. Abrams, best known for his two successful television series "Alias" and "Lost" returns to the big screen (his first effort, Mission Impossible III, was in 2006) with this sea monster scary film set in the heart of midtown Manhattan.  It's impossible not compare "Cloverfield," to every film made about "Godzilla," and other frightening creatures from the sea that find their way to New York.  And those films, from the 1954 original to the 1998 flop, pale in comparison to what Abrams and director Matt Reeves have been able to accomplish here.

The story isn't complicated:  friends have gathered in an apartment for a going away party when a creature arrives wreaking havoc and ripping the head off the Statue of Liberty.  For two-thirds of the film you don't have a clue what it is, or what it looks like.  And you almost don't want to know as it hurls cars, destroys buildings and bridges, and kills lots and lots of people.

Abrams and Reeves shot the film one a hand-held digital camera, creating a home-movie, You Tube-like feel.  With dizzying camera techniques and an unknown cast, "Cloverfield" could have been a silly fake-out like, say, "The Blair Witch Project."  But it's not.  It's a genuinely scary and thoroughly intense monster film. 

Sit back and enjoy.  "Cloverfield" is a great start to the 2008 movie year.

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