Tag Archives: Lizzy Caplan

Cloverfield (2008) Review

Time: 85 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Contains fantasy violence.
Cast:
Michael Stahl-David as Robert “Rob” Hawkins
T.J. Miller as Hudson “Hud” Platt
Jessica Lucas as Lily Ford
Odette Yustman as Elizabeth “Beth” McIntyre
Lizzy Caplan as Marlena Diamond
Mike Vogel as Jason Hawkins
Director: Matt Reeves

As a group of New Yorkers (Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogel, Odette Yustman) enjoy a going-away party, little do they know that they will soon face the most terrifying night of their lives. A creature the size of a skyscraper descends upon the city, leaving death and destruction in its wake. Using a handheld video camera, the friends record their struggle to survive as New York crumbles around them.

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Cloverfield did have a big impact upon it’s release, a big part of that was its mysterious marketing, a trend which would continue in the series, to the point where the trailer is being released hours before the film’s actual release (AKA Cloverfield Paradox). Cloverfield is a found footage movie that is quite effective in its execution despite its simple premise. It’s opening 20-30 minutes wasn’t the best but after that, director Matt Reeves delivers a very solid movie.

First I should clarify that I’m judging this movie by itself and not comparing it to the other Cloverfield movies. I will admit, earlier in the movie I really didn’t care about what was going on. It’s just all these characters at a party and I was completely unengaged, I wasn’t interested in the characters at all. Once the destruction start, that’s when my interest really picked up. The film does a good job at keeping you riveted from start to finish from that moment. It occasionally gives you moments to breathe and it doesn’t feel too long or short. You really feel like you’re with these characters as they are going from place to place, trying to survive. It also really benefits from the simplicity, there aren’t tons of scenes filled with exposition about what’s happening, you only really know what you can see. Found footage movies always have the issue of explaining why the main characters keep carrying with them a camera and recording everything even though they shouldn’t even be bothering with it, Cloverfield is no exception. While initially you can understand why the camera is there, over time it just seems increasingly pointless and you wonder why our main characters would bother carrying this camera around with them (though that goes for most found footage horror movies). Outside of that, after the first 20-30 minutes Cloverfield is pretty good for what it is.

The characters weren’t all that great or interesting but the cast did a good job playing them, with a cast that includes Michael Tahl-David, T.J. Miller, Jessica Lucas, Odette Yustman and Lizzy Caplan. Found footage movie characters aren’t really all that great, but the ones in Cloverfield ended up being on the better end of the spectrum.

This is a found footage movie, and as its being inside a lot of destructive events, there is a lot of shakiness. If you are easily dizzy, you’ll probably find Cloverfield to be hard to watch. The illogical reasoning for the main characters keeping recording with a camera aside, it is very effective at being very tense and scary to a degree. As I said earlier, Cloverfield is effective at making you feel like you are one of the people witnessing the carnage and destruction. It’s no real secret nowadays that a source of the destruction is a giant monster but you don’t see too much of it and it is used effectively. It’s probably underwhelming if you just watched all the trailers because with all the build up it just turns out to be a monster, but otherwise it’s fine. Matt Reeves did a really solid job at directing this movie, delivering on creating one of the more effect found footage movies.

Cloverfield is a very solid found footage movie that is very effective as a thriller. The first 20-30 minutes were quite iffy and didn’t have much of my interest but after that, it really picks up and becomes a really good found footage thriller. If you like thrillers and don’t mind dizzy found footage movies, I’d say definitely check it out if you haven’t seen it already.

Now You See Me 2 (2016) Review

Time: 129 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
Cast: 860940[1] Violence
Mark Ruffalo as Agent Dylan Rhodes
Jesse Eisenberg as J. Daniel Atlas
Woody Harrelson as Merritt McKinney and Chase McKinney
Dave Franco as Jack Wilder
Lizzy Caplan as Lula May
Daniel Radcliffe as Walter Mabry
Morgan Freeman as Thaddeus Bradley
Jay Chou as Li
Sanaa Lathan as Agent Natalie Austin
Michael Caine as Arthur Tressler
Director: Jon M. Chu

After fleeing from a stage show, the illusionists (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson) known as the Four Horsemen find themselves in more trouble in Macau, China. Devious tech wizard Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe) forces the infamous magicians to steal a powerful chip that can control all of the world’s computers. Meanwhile, vengeful FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) hatches his own plot against Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), the man he blames for the death of his father.

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I liked the first Now You See Me, its not great by any means but I had a fun time with it. So I had mild expectations when it comes to a sequel, it would probably be entertaining but at the same time it wasn’t really necessary, no one was begging for it to exist. Now You See Me 2 was pretty much what I expected it to be, it is around the same level of quality as the first. It’s pretty entertaining and decent but nothing much more than that.

The first movie didn’t really focus too much on The Four Horsemen, with Mark Ruffalo and Melaine Laurent being the main perspective. This time with the 2nd movie, it is from The Four Horsemen’s and Mark Ruffalo’s perspective. Like with the first movie, the plot isn’t great but it does keep your attention and for the most part it keeps you entertained from start to finish. I wasn’t really ever bored but it’s not a completely riveting plot, I was partially curious as to which direction the story was going in. It does feel like it’s just throwing twists at you, and I’m not sure how well those twists would actually hold up upon repeat viewings but I didn’t have too much issues on my first viewing. Though I have a feeling that I’d probably be able to pick some holes on a second viewing.

The previous cast returns with Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Dave Franco and others and they are still pretty entertaining. Isla Fisher wasn’t able to return for the sequel, so Lizzy Caplan ultimately took her place as the fourth horseman and she did a good job. On a slight note, it was a little rushed how they explained why Fisher wasn’t here, it’s a small aspect but its not movie breaking. One slightly annoying aspect was that in this movie, Woody Harrelson has a twin brother, which is an annoying cliché seen in many movies. He’s not as annoying as he you’d think he would end up being but he is still very distracting and pointless. It was great to see Daniel Radcliffe in a more villainous role and he actually does pull it off quite well, I’d like to see him more in this kind of role. Other actors like Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine are nice to see return.

The direction was decent enough. Whereas the original was directed by Louis Leterrier, the sequel was directed by Jon M. Chu and it was about at the same level. Honestly had I not known this prior to watching the movie I probably wouldn’t be able to tell that the two movies were directed by different people, I wouldn’t have noticed it myself. It is quite entertaining to watch the characters perform magic, and that’s an area that the movie really shines in.

As someone who thoroughly enjoyed the first Now You See Me for what it was, I really enjoyed the sequel. I liked seeing these actors here, I was entertained by what was going on, I overall had a good time. This is an entertaining movie but I don’t think I would call it a good movie. If you don’t like the original Now You See Me, you won’t like the sequel, there’s nothing really here that’s going to change your mind. I heard there is going to be a third movie in the franchise, again, its unnecessary but I wouldn’t mind watching it if it actually ends up happening.