Film Reviews: 10 Cloverfield Lane and Capture the Flag

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Note to self: Stop looking forward to films. You’ll always be disappointed. Sigh.

I was so excited about 10 Cloverfield Lane. I mean, it stars John Goodman, who is always amazing, so that alone was always going to make me want to see it. Then there’s the Cloverfield connection, which I also love. I’d heard good things about it too, things like “you can’t talk about it without spoilers, but it’s brilliant.”

When my husband said he wanted to see it with me, that was the icing on the cake. My husband and I so rarely agree on films that this gave it the double seal of approval. What a shame it failed to deliver.

If you don’t know what it’s about, Michelle, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, wakes up in an underground bunker after a car crash. Her leg is strapped up and she’s chained to the wall in a locked room. Why the cuffs were deemed necessary is never explained and they’re not used again, which really set the tone of a film that poses a lot of questions and doesn’t give satisfactory answers to them. I mean, a woman with a bashed up leg is in no position to beat her way out through a thick, locked door, but let’s use cuffs anyway to show that John Goodman is, in fact, a Bad Man, just in case people don’t get the hint right away…

Or is he?

To be fair, John Goodman is amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen something where he wasn’t. Howard, his character, built the bunker, and he tells Michelle that there’s been some kind of attack. The only safe place is down in the bunker with him and Emmett (John Gallagher, Jr.) – or is it?

Now, I’m not going to spoil the movie for you, but I am going to say that I clearly saw an entirely different film to the critics. (Same as with Deadpool. I heard you gasp, but that doesn’t change the fact that I wasn’t impressed by it at all.) I found it overly long and confused. It didn’t seem to know what kind of film it wanted to be. If it had been a straight forward thriller, it probably wouldn’t have been especially innovative, but I came up with at least three plot twists that could have made it something special, so I’m sure the script writers could have done the same.

But it’s not a straight forward thriller. It’s something else. And unfortunately for me, the final half hour of the film ruined everything that went before, when the film goes in an entirely different direction without enough time to really go into it in depth and clearly leaving things open for a sequel.

If I go into any more detail about what specifically I didn’t like, it will spoil things, so I’m going to leave it there. Suffice to say that I found it really disappointing.

3 out of 5 stars but only because John Goodman deserves a star all of his own

If you liked this, you’ll also like Kiss the Girls and Cloverfield

Capture the flag

I’d promised my youngest son that I’d take him to whichever kid’s movie was playing at the cinema this Easter holiday, which is how I ended up going to see Capture the Flag.

Meh. It’s not the best children’s film I’ve seen recently, but it’s not the worst. It’s your typical family rift healed by kids stowing away on a space ship kind of film. OK, there aren’t that many films like that, but I think you get what I mean. It’s not innovative in any way, mildly amusing rather than laugh out loud hilarious and the characters are predictable clichés.

If you didn’t know anything about it, in a nutshell, Mike Goldwing comes from a family of astronauts. In a nod to the conspiracy theorists’ claim that the moon landing was faked, he becomes sucked into a race to the moon to ‘capture’ the American flag when Texan billionaire, Richard Carson, decides that he’s going to mine the moon and wants to destroy the flag so that he can claim ownership of the moon by rewriting history and being the first person to plant a flag on the moon.

A Spanish film, it lacks the wit and broad family appeal of more successful children’s films such as Up and Big Hero 6, which is a shame, because Spanish cinema is usually incredible. The basic premise isn’t bad, but it seems to lack that distinct flair of originality that elevates an OK film into a great one. 

Still, for all that, my son loved it, so if you’re five, you’ll probably enjoy it.

3 out of 5 stars, but only because I didn’t pay full price to see it.

If you liked this, you’ll also like Space Chimps and Monster House.